Home' The Wellingtonian : May 17th 2012 Contents 3
THE WELLINGTONIAN, MAY 17, 2012
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rocketing into space
Space cadet: Connor Hale, 16, with the solar telescope the Tawa College Astronomy Club will use to watch the Transit of Venus.
Photo: MARY BAINES
Ground control to Connor Hale
By MARY BAINES
Tawa whiz-kid Connor Hale will be taking off to
a prestigious American space camp to find out
what it is like to be an astronaut.
The Tawa College student was selected by The
Royal Society of New Zealand to attend the week-
long International Space Camp in Huntsville,
Alabama, in July.
Four secondary school students from New Zea-
land have been chosen to join more than 150 like-
minded students from 23 countries.
Two of the other New Zealanders selected are
also Wellingtonians -- Callum Brazier from Para-
paraumu College and Darina Khun from Welling-
ton East Girls' College.
The students will be immersed in a programme
designed to promote space science and explo-
ration, including scuba diving, weightlessness in
a space simulator, and the four Gs of lift-off force.
They will also undertake leadership training
and learn about the mental, emotional and physi-
cal demands astronauts face.
Connor said he has always wanted to try scuba
diving, because it would teach him to breathe in
difficult situations with equipment, just like in
He was selected for his excellent academic
results in science and his involvement in astron-
omy clubs, the Royal Society said.
Connor is an avid member of the Wellington
Astronomical Society and the Tawa College
Astronomy Club, where participants get together
to look at and talk about constellations, clusters
He mentors other students in the Tawa College
Astronomy Club, and teaches them about the
night sky, telescopes, and how to find things in
It is amazing some of their reactions. They are
shocked at what they can see,'' Connor said.
This year the club is looking forward to the
Transit of Venus on June 6. It occurs every 105
Another treat will be the partial solar eclipse in
November, when 75 per cent of the sun will be
Tawa College science teacher and Tawa College
Astronomy Club organiser Chris Monigatti said
Connor deserved the opportunity.
He has put in a fantastic effort and has been
great with the other kids.
The great thing is that he will bring a lot more
Eighty per cent of his travel costs will be met
by the Talented Schools Students Travel Award,
which is funded by the Ministry of Science and
Innovation. Lower Hutt Lions Club offered to pay
most of the rest.
Connor said he would be interested in a career
in biomedical engineering or astro-photography.
The camp will probably be a bit of a decider
whether I do astronomy in the future.''
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