Broncos on the final frontier
The United Space Command, part of the U.S. Department of Defense responsible for military operations in outer space, includes the Academic Engagement Enterprise. This initiative provides educational and research opportunities for students focused on space and aeronautics. Boise State recently became one of the initiative’s newest members, joining fellow universities Florida Tech, Purdue University and others.
This year, Boise State students participated in a NASA student competition to design an augmented reality display and other equipment that would be useful in missions like NASA’s upcoming manned trip to the moon in 2025. Steve Swanson, a retired astronaut and a Distinguished Educator in Residence at Boise State, converted his backyard into a simulated lunar landscape so students could test their devices, even enlisting a few fellow NASA astronauts to help.
This is not the first time Idaho has been a stand-in for the moon.
In the 1960s, NASA trained Apollo astronauts at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The lunar-like terrain allowed them to practice geological exploration, sample collection and navigation for their missions.