SCUBAnauts Watch as Shuttle Carries Banner into Space

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (Tuesday, March 11, 2008) -- A group of middle and high school students who take part in the SCUBAnauts program watched as the space shuttle Endeavour blasted into space, carrying with it a banner that the students took to the depths of the ocean and the top of a mountain. The photo at right shows the Endeavor blasting into space early Tuesday morning. Photos courtesy of Lake Shore Camera Exchange.

During the shuttle's space mission, the SCUBAnauts will watch a live downlink as their banner is unfurled in space.

The local SCUBAnauts is sponsored by the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, the National Oceanic and Athmospheric Administration and the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. The program is designed to get students involved in science.

Last fall, the SCUBAnauts took their banner to Hawaii, where they carried it to 20,000 feet below the surface of the ocean and then, in a long and difficult hike, to the top of Hawaii's tallest volcano, Mauna Kea.

One of the USF grad students working with the SCUBAnauts--Jennifer Dupont--says she loves to see the students grow and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of science.

To see a video feature that was shot as the students prepared for their Hawaii trip, click here.