Esther Kang

NASA astronauts welcomed at Palos Verdes High School [PHOTOS]

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Col. Mark Vande Hei, a NASA astronaut, enjoys the company of young space enthusiasts Emma Mae Fredricks, 2, and Katherine Jean Fredricks, 5, at a Feb. 19 speakers’ event Palos Verdes High School.

Col. Mark Vande Hei, a NASA astronaut, enjoys the company of young space enthusiasts Emma Mae Fredricks, 2, and Katherine Jean Fredricks, 5, at a Feb. 19 speakers’ event Palos Verdes High School.

On Feb. 19, Palos Verdes High School welcomed two distinguished guests: NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Jet Propulsion Laboratory scientist Steve Collins. Their visit, organized by NASA as a nod to the high school’s robotics program and numerous STEM projects, brought some 450 students, faculty and community members to the school’s multipurpose auditorium. Vande Hei, a U.S. army colonel, spoke about his training and preparations for future missions while Collins presented on his efforts to help land the Curiosity Rover on Mars.

“The presentations were both exceptionally informative, fascinating and very engaging,” PVHS Principal Charles Park said. “ … Our VIPs departed our campus with Sea King hats and a photo in front of our mural. Students, faculty, parents and community members alike were all grateful for their visit.”

Since opening at the high school in 1987, the Palos Verdes Institute of Technology (PVIT) program has racked up acclaims nationwide as one of the first high school robotics programs in the nation. Photos courtesy of Payton Ricci

Col. Mark Vande Hei and PVHS sophomore Chandler Jones demonstrate the distance between the earth and the moon.

Col. Mark Vande Hei and PVHS sophomore Chandler Jones demonstrate the distance between the earth and the moon.

 

JPL scientist Steve Collins describes the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars.

JPL scientist Steve Collins describes the landing of the Curiosity Rover on Mars.

PVHS Principal Charles Park welcomes the audience of 450 students, faculty and community members at the start of the event.

PVHS Principal Charles Park welcomes the audience of 450 students, faculty and community members at the start of the event.