PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - U.S. Rep. Brian Mast visited students at The Weiss School in Palm Beach Gardens Wednesday to introduce a resolution to increase NASA's budget to prioritize the CubeSat Launch Initiative, which the school participates in.
"We really are inspired by his visit today," said Christina C., an eighth grade student at The Weiss School.
"We helped design and write the resolution being introduced to Congress," said Aadhya Shah, an eighth grade student.
Mast talked to the students about inspiring their communities and working through adversity. He answered questions from the school's debate team.
"I feel like asking him questions that regarded our school programs and regarded his past made me feel connected to Capitol Hill," said Mackenzie Grizzard, who led the question session with Mast.
"His story is really inspiring to me as well and how he was able to overcome those obstacles and still help his community in the best way that he could," said Kaitlyn Sanderson, an eighth grade student.
Mast talked about the students working with NASA on sending a cube satellite into space.
"A major mission of ours is the cube satellite and the high-altitude balloon," said Victoria C., an eighth grade student.
"We were selected by NASA for low-earth orbit in late 2018 to early 2019, so this is a big project of ours that we’ve been working on and Weiss Sat One will test the survivability of extremophile bacteria in low-earth orbit," Christina said.
"With these extremophile bacteria, if they’re able to survive in the conditions of space, then this could mean that there could be life throughout the universe," said Owen Welch, an eighth grade student.
The students also have plans to launch a high-altitude balloon and eventually a space rover onto the moon.
"Another one of our missions is the high-altitude balloon and get the high-altitude balloon to 100,000 feet and transmit data through that distance," said Michelle Brunetti, a seventh grade student.
"They were competing against high schools and beyond for this and here they are, elementary through middle school having their project selected," Mast said. "Absolutely inspirational young people."
Mast talked with students individually about their science fair projects and history day projects.
"I’m ready to take on the world," said Daniella Salazar, a seventh grade student.
"I think that it’s a wonderful experience for such a small school to be able to partake in such wonderful opportunities," said Isabelle Devin, and eighth grade student.
During the question and answer session, Mast was asked what he thinks the most pressing issue facing Palm Beach and Martin counties is right now. His response was school security.