Emma Schnurstein, of Ankeny, recently attended Space Camp at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center’s Official Visitor Center, in Huntsville, Ala.


Emma is the daughter of Mark and Angela (Swenson) Schnurstein, the grand-daughter of Virginia Swenson, and the great-grand-daughter of Betty Martin, all of Ankeny. Emma is the Junior President of the American Legion Auxiliary for Story City, Unit #59.


The weeklong educational program promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), while training students with hands-on activities and missions based on teamwork, leadership, and problem solving.


Schnurstein was a part of the Space Camp program, which is designed for trainees who have an interest in space exploration. Schnurstein spent the week training with a team that flew a simulated space mission to Mars. On that mission, she was the MOD/Mission Operations Director. The crew participated in experiments and successfully completed an extra-vehicular activity, or spacewalk, and returned to Earth in time to graduate with honors.


Space Camp operates year-round in Huntsville, Ala., and uses astronaut training techniques to engage trainees in real-world applications of STEM subjects. Trainees sleep in quarters designed to resemble the International Space Station and train in NASA-inspired simulators.


More than 750,000 trainees have graduated from Space Camp sings its inception in 1982, including STS-131 astronaut Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, European Space Agency astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti and NASA Expedition 48 astronaut Dr. Kate Rubins. Last year, children and teachers from all 50 states and 69 international locations attended Space Camp.