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‘It’s a lifelong skill’

Participants in the 27th Georgia Annual Young Astronaut’s Day at the Museum of Aviation were able to choose from a total of 15 workshops highlighting robotics, parachutes, moon rocks, geospatial intelligence and twister tubes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jenny Gordon)

Participants in the 27th Georgia Annual Young Astronaut’s Day at the Museum of Aviation were able to choose from a total of 15 workshops highlighting robotics, parachutes, moon rocks, geospatial intelligence and twister tubes. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jenny Gordon)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- About 280 prospective astronauts spent the day at the Museum of Aviation May 7 to learn what it takes to be a space explorer. 

But before students took on the challenge, they spent time in workshops geared toward STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, during the 27th Georgia Annual Young Astronaut's Day.   

"This is truly a collaborative community project with one goal in mind - strengthen America's youth by promoting interest in STEM through fun aviation and space activities," said Melissa Spalding, MOA education director. 

The guest speaker was Capt. Shayla Redmond, who is currently pursuing a master's degree in systems engineering with a concentration in space systems. 

An air weapons officer with the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, she's spent the last four years volunteering at the MOA event.   

"I've always loved exploring, and being an astronaut is something I've always wanted to do," she said. 

A total of 15 workshops highlighted robotics, parachutes, moon rocks, geospatial intelligence and twister tubes. 

Instructor Liz Skinner taught gravity and force through rocket flights in front of the World War II Hangar. 

"We want these kids to be interested in STEM," she said. "We stress teamwork and learning how things work. It's a lifelong skill."