24 April, 2023
Shooting for the stars
A MAREEBA teenager is truly reaching for the stars, being one of only four young Australians chosen for an Endeavour Scholar-ship to attend a “space camp” in Huntsville, Alabama, USA.
At the age of 15, Toby Fealy knows that exploring space is his calling.
Determined to gain a head start in his career, he sought work experience at Space Australia’s new Weipa Launch Centre.
However, he was informed by CEO James Palmer that there were no opportunities available but was instead encouraged to apply for the scholarship by the American Chamber of Commerce.
With the assistance of his brother and mother, Toby created a two-minute video for his application, presenting his solution to the problem of harsh solar radiation in space.
“The scenario was, ‘it’s the year 2050 and there is a mission to Saturn, and you have to solve one of three problems’ and I chose solar radiation,” he said.
“There is a significant amount of ionising radiation in space, and if astronauts spend an extended period there, it can lead to cancer.
“So, if we wish to go anywhere other than the moon, this problem must be solved, so I came up with my idea, wrote a one-page summary on it and made a video that was re-ally my selling point.”
Toby’s idea had the panel intrigued and became one of only four lucky applicants chosen out of the 600 applications submitted across Australia for the scholarship.
Toby is now getting ready for the journey of a lifetime to the “Rocket City” where he will learn all things space alongside students from the United States, France, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and Australia.
“I just sat in my room for two solid hours trying to process the fact that I was accepted. It took a lot of work to get to this point,” he said.
At space camp, Toby will participate in a range of astronaut training exercises, engineering challenges, and team-building activities as part of “Mission Team #10”.
He will be able to design and construct his own rocket, experience neutral buoyancy while scuba diving in an underwater trainer, fly a jet plane through a simulator, and learn about the International Space Station and its significance in the global community.
Toby has always been fascinated with the notion of space, referring to it as “vast sand-box, and if you know the rules and have the tools, you can create anything”.
Combined with his love for solving problems, he believes that his time at space camp will help him in the future when he begins his career in astrophysics or aerodynamic engineering.
“I believe that many people begin with these big ideas of what they want to accomplish, and as they get older, they become more realise,” he said.
“Not to be pretentious, but if people see what I’m doing and are inspired to keep chasing their dreams, like I am, then that’s just awesome.”
Toby will depart for the United States on 2 July and return from his space camp mis-sion on 7 July.