Local kids are having a ‘blast’ at the Mission Mars Space Camp directed by Nebraska Space Ambassador and Scottsbluff Middle School teacher, Jon Amundsen.

In 2013, Amundsen was selected as a Nebraska Space Ambassador with the NASA Nebraska Space Grant Consortium. He has been invited to attend trainings and bring his knowledge to others through mini-grant funding and stipends, according to a Bluffs Middle School press release.

Thanks to NASA and the University of Omaha space grant, he is able to bring Mars to Scottsbluff with his space camp.

The space camp included two separate sessions. The first session included eight fourth and fifth graders, while the second session included 15 sixth and seventh graders.

With its first year in western Nebraska, the camp included kids from Scottsbluff, Gering, Morrill and Community Christian schools.

Campers got the opportunity to learn about the history of space travel, the missions to Mars, and how to create rockets, like water rockets, air rockets, pencil rockets and paper shuttles.

As a sixth grade teacher at BMS, Amundsen has created a love to science in his students.

“I really like Mr. A as a teacher because he’s fun and funny. I wish he could come to seventh grade with me, but sadly he can’t. He did inspire me to get interested in space and stuff with NASA,” said Sydney Nickens.

Braden Andersen stated, “I’m very interested in space and science, and Mr. A is an awesome teacher. So, he invited me and I thought it’d be fun to go.”

Amundson is very hopeful that the camp will grow in future years. He also hopes to bring more knowledge to his students.

“I’m going to go back to NASA this summer and hopefully learn more to bring back,” Amundsen said.

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