Venturing is about adventure, exploration, and discovery and those are part of NASA’s missions as well.
Cave exploration may be possible on other planets, where astronaut Jessica Watkins (on the right in the image above) is a geologist. Furthermore, astronauts sometimes train for spaceflight missions through adventurous activities like caving. Check out video clips with NASA astronaut Jessica Meir on her first and last days in a cavenaut mission with the European Space Agency (ESA). Meanwhile, astronauts have gone on missions in Antarctica and underwater through the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) project.
Many Venturing crews concentrate on high adventure, but astronaut adventure can be quite high – off the planet! While some Venturing crews specialize in scuba diving, that is essentially how astronauts train for spacewalks. They are in space suits which are weighted so that they neither sink nor float upward in NASA’s giant ‘swimming pool,’ the Neutral Bouyancy Laboratory (NBL). Other crews are focused on photography, where that’s a critical skill for astronauts to document their observations, for example of Earth. And astronauts on the International Space Station regularly communicate with people from across the world via amateur radio, for example at the 24th World Scout Jamboree.
While only a small fraction of NASA’s employees are astronauts, Venturing experience can help prepare Scouts for NASA careers on the Earth, for example in these areas, which are listed with some crew specialties.
• Biological Sciences: Animal care/pets
• Earth & Space Sciences: Spelunking/cave exploring
• Engineering & Technology: Ham radio/citizens band radio, Model aircraft/rockets
While Venturing can help prepare youth for NASA adventures, that is perhaps especially true through the STEM Nova Awards where the modules tie to a variety of NASA’s careers and missions as shown in the graphic below.
• Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
• Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth
• Internship Programs
• NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO)
• Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL)