Summit High Teacher Returns from Mission to Mars

  • Britaney Phillips and her crewmates, and her looking out a porthole window

    Published September 21, 2021

    A Summit High engineering teacher is returning from an out-of-this-world mission.

    SHS Aerospace Engineering teacher Britaney Phillips was one of five crew members to take part in a Mars simulation at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), which is run by the International Moonbase Alliance. Phillips was surrounded by lava fields on Mauna Laua in Hawaii from August 13-27.

    "I found out about the Analog Astronaut missions through reading about it in a book and on social media," Phillips said. "Being on Mauna Laua helped us learn about the geology of lava flows, which provided insight into what the surface of Mars is like."

    Phillips served as the Crew Engineering Officer throughout the mission and was responsible for monitoring and maintaining the habitat life support systems and the space-walk equipment. While she was there, she was able to take some of her own research to perform, so Phillips took an activity from her Principles of Engineering class's energy unit. She was able to observe what she teaches her students on a daily basis.

    "Connecting our curriculum to real-world, whether it be our world or another, experiences is important to help provide relevance to students," Phillips said.

    Phillips says her teammates were a real inspiration to her and one of the most memorable parts of the mission.

    "I grew so much from working with them, and I also created lifelong friends," she said. "I learned a lot, and it truly felt like we were on another planet."