Young space enthusiasts are the first astronauts-in-training on an unforgettable cosmic journey at Cora Cora Maldives! Astral Adventures has launched for all children from age 3 to 12 as a dedicated space camp to ‘Train like an Astronaut’. Ten local girls below the age of nine years of age from the nearby local Ungoofaaru school were chosen after a space quiz and postcard designing competition to join Cora Cora’s young adventurers from the resort.
CoRa kids® Club ignites children’s curiosity and lets their imaginations take flight as they enjoy space-training activities guided by experienced astronaut trainers. The mission of Astral Adventures is to shape young minds, fuel a passion for scientific exploration among guests and local community children, and inspire young girls to become interested in STEM subjects so they hopefully pursue careers in the space industry. The Astral Adventures space camp sent the enthusiastic explorers on a once-in-a-lifetime cosmic journey, where they got to live their astronaut dreams and unanimously declared the camp as “the best day of their lives”.
Through immersive space-themed, real-life astronaut training workshops, cosmic arts and crafts, and a rewarding graduation ceremony, the visionary programme delivers a blend of education and enthusiasm that promises to leave an indelible mark on young minds. While parents have fun in the sun and take time to relax at leisure the little ones embark on an exciting voyage of discovery.
One highlight is the postcard activity. Postcards designed during the Astro Camp will be sent to “Club for the Future”, where they will be launched into space and back on a New Shephard rocket and will be returned to the resort stamped with “Flown to Space”. The postcards will be placed into a payload box, loaded into the crew capsule, and launched into space from the West Texas Desert.
The budding astronauts also have the incredible opportunity to learn about Jupiter and watch the Europa Clipper live from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Clean Room, which will soon commence the voyage to deliver their “message in a bottle” to Jupiter’s moon “Europa” in 2024. The children were thrilled to learn that their names will be included in the “message in the bottle” which will travel 1.8 billion miles on the Europa Clipper spacecraft to Jupiter’s moon “Europa” where it is set to arrive in 2030. The mission will perform dozens of close flybys of “Europa” to gather detailed measurements to investigate whether the moon could have suitable conditions for life.
The activity is as spectacular as space itself – an immersive Space Camp that equips children with awe-inspiring knowledge and skills. Creating meaningful connections, lasting friendships, and memories, Cora Cora’s new Space Camp develops skills and boosts confidence so children’s holiday experience goes beyond a beach holiday.
CORA CORA’S TWO TOP SPACE TRAINERS
Dr Sumbal Mushtaq, Space Camp’s Lead Space Trainer
Bringing her wide-ranging expertise to the project is Cora Cora Maldives resident doctor, Dr Sumbal Mushtaq, Space Camp’s Lead Space Trainer and Pakistan’s first Scientist-Astronaut candidate at the International Institute for Astronomical Science. Her stay on the island aligns with her goal of preparing for the challenges in space through hands-on experience in addressing a range of medical challenges whilst explaining to the children the importance of each part of the space suit when doing space missions.
Dr Mushtaq has also collaborated with Spaceborne United, a respected biotech company in space research in a leading ground-breaking paper focused on enabling practical human reproduction in space conditions. The paper garnered international recognition through diverse publications and media appearances such as the Jimmy Kimmel show in the US.
She is also the founder and CEO of Astral Beam Organisation, which aims to spread space awareness in under-represented countries in the space industry, starting from the Maldives and expanding to Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. It is the Astral Beam Foundation which promotes inclusive space education that led to the setting up of the Space Camp at Cora Cora Maldives, aimed at inspiring and empowering not only the resorts’ young guests but also young local community girls to pursue their interests in space.
She will be recognised as an Emerging Space Leaders Awardee from the International Astronomical Federation/ the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs /World Health Organisation International Conference on Space and Global Health for pushing boundaries in space medicine communication and fostering global collaboration through her island and space experiences.
During the Astral Adventures Camp, Dr Mushtaq explains the concept of extra-terrestrial life during a Q&A session where she shares with the young explorers how exciting it is when a rover or orbiter discovers evidence that water once flowed on Mars. She emphasises how each new finding provides insights into Mars’ past climate, which was similar to Earth’s, suggesting that the Red Planet may have once supported life. For an interactive experience, an alien mascot also made a surprise appearance to entertain the children!
Gianmarco Ciocca: Space Astronaut Trainer, Sport Scientist, Innovator
Gianmarco Ciocca is enthusiastic about optimising astronaut health and performance for space exploration, perfect for helping young Cora Cora Maldives guests understand the importance of fitness. As a Space Astronaut Trainer and Sport Scientist, he is driven by an unwavering commitment to the wellbeing and performance optimisation of astronauts embarking on their incredible journeys beyond the boundaries of planet Earth. With a strong academic foundation, first-hand experience in physical education and coaching, and a commitment to innovation, he is dedicated to shaping the future of space exploration.
Ciocca began his career by moulding young minds and bodies as a physical education tutor, instilling discipline, and a love for physical activity. His coaching expertise extends across various age groups, where he has nurtured athletes to reach their full physical potential, then at the International Space University, gaining insights into the complexities of space exploration.
Pioneering Exergames: He specialises in developing innovative training programmes that harness cutting-edge technologies like exergames. These target astronauts’ physical, psychological, and cognitive health, ensuring they are mission-ready.
Optimising Physical Health: His work revolves around enhancing astronauts’ physical fitness, ensuring they can endure the demands of space travel and perform at their best.
Addressing Psychological Wellbeing: Astronauts’ mental health is a vital consideration for extended space missions so Ciocca focuses on strategies that nurture mental resilience in space.
During the camp, Gianmarco introduces ‘How to train like a real-life astronaut’ to the young space enthusiasts. The exercise protocols followed by astronauts are developed based on the scientific evidence of their effectiveness and on the existing availability of exercise hardware and equipment designed for space application. In the “Astro Gym” and “Speed of Light” activities, he creates thrilling activities for simulating astronauts’ physical conditions and recovery after space missions in a fun manner.
To end the perfect Astral Adventures Camp, the children watch as the rocks they single-handedly designed soared into the sky during the final experiment using baking soda and vinegar – now, that’s rocket science!
Cora Cora Maldives is 45 minutes by seaplane from Velana International Airport or 30 minutes by domestic flight followed by a 20-minute speedboat journey. Cora Cora Maldives is the ultimate idyllic, island escape.