PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - On Thursday, eighth-graders at a Pascagoula school received what they say was an exciting reward for winning a NASA Challenge: a visit from NASA scientists and engineers.
After a quick countdown, soda shot high into the air. By dropping Mentos into three different types of Coke products, students saw how the sugar candy coating reacted with the carbon dioxide in the fizzy drinks.
"It's really surprising. I didn't think the Diet Coke would go so far up. I think it's actually going to stay up there on the roof for a couple of days," said Clayton Fagan.
NASA scientists and engineers conducted fun experiments for all the eighth graders at Colmer Middle School. The students won a bridge building competition during a Pathways2Possibilities career expo in November.
"So we promised them a NASA Day, kind of a fun exposition to show them what we do at Stennis. Show what we do at NASA and show some nice, hands-on interactive demonstrations," said NASA engineer Aaron Head.
"I asked like, three times. Like, are you serious? Colmer? I was very excited," said Daniela Uvalle.
The students built their own rockets and launched them as far as possible.
"I think that's awesome. We get to experience it ourselves," said Daniela.
Some say hanging out with the Stennis staff could help the students get a jump start on choosing a career.
"It was pretty cool to see someone who sends people into space; to talk to them," said Jay Patel.
"It's all about the future. In 30 years, when NASA's landing on Mars, we need the next generation to be interested in science and technology," said Head.
"I want to be an engineer. I want to work at NASA when I grow up," said Daniela.
In April, the NASA team will put on the same demonstrations at a P2P event in Greenville, Miss.