In recent years, students at Northeast High School have virtually saved mankind from a meteor, discovered water on Mars and repaired the International Space Station. But their current mission to establish a habitat on the moon was nearly aborted because of education budget cuts.
The Space Research Center, started 52 years ago as the first NASA-recognized high school space program, was saved by more than $13,000 in donations after the nearly broke Philadelphia school district could not afford to fund it.
The money allowed students Thursday to launch their annual two-day simulated mission, which is staged in an actual Apollo training capsule and 21-foot-long homemade space shuttle simulator. They spent the night at school and planned to finish the mission Friday.