From Jamestown to Mars
The history of exploration can lead to the future
|NASA experts (from left) Richard Byles and Sharon Bowers talk to Scholastic Kid Reporters Heather Holsey and Taherai Boltz at the Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, in November 2007. (Photo: Suzanne Freeman)|
Four hundred years ago, a ship of European settlers landed in what became known as Jamestown, Virginia. What happened in that settlement helped shape American society as we know it today. Learning from those early days could help us settle other places, like Mars.
Mars? Yes, Mars, say two representatives from NASA who are part of the 400th anniversary celebration of the Jamestown settlement.
“The way people learn how to do things is through history,” said Richard Byles, Director of Education at the Virginia Air and Space Center. “In your lifetime we will be back on the moon, and in your lifetime we will be going to Mars. It is very important that young people might want to be explorers. You can settle new worlds.”
Sharon Bowers agreed. She’s a teacher in residence at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). “The same kinds of challenges, the same kinds of excitement, the same kinds of courage and courageous acts are needed to do both (settle Jamestown or settle Mars),” she said.
Both experts attended the Jamestown Live web cast at Historic Jamestown in November 2006. Also attending was Jim Horn, author of “How God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America.” He also believes history is the doorway to the future.
|Scholastic Kid Reporter Taherai Boltz gets a taste of the past with the help of a re-enactor at the Jamestown Settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, in November 2007. (Photo: Suzanne Freeman)|
“It’s important to understand where we came from to understand where we’re heading to,” Horn told Scholastic News Online. He explained that his book is about early Jamestown, what took place between 1607 and 1625, and why it matters 400 years later.
“History teaches us a lot about ourselves,” he said. “History is our collective memory.”
That memory comes alive at the Jamestown Settlement. While a live Web cast was being telecast from one part of the grounds, re-enactors were taking visitors through Native American huts. It was another great contrast between the past and the future.
“We hope you’ll decide it’s worth your time and energy and sweat and tears to become explorers and consider making these kinds of decisions yourselves,” Byles told Scholastic News Online. “We hope your generation will return to the moon and then travel to other places.”
Taherai Boltz is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.