Cranbrook Schools junior Rebecca Blum has been granted an opportunity that’s out of this world.

She, along with 24 other students in grades 8 through 12, have been selected as the first group of student ambassadors through the Back to Space (BTS) program. Their mission is the promotion of space exploration and STEM concepts within popular culture in order to create awareness and excitement about both concepts amongst their peers and communities.

Rebecca Blum and her grandfather, astronomer Jon Blum, who inspired her Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

Danielle Roosa, granddaughter of Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa, created BTS as a way of igniting students’ passion for STEM and space concepts. As the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 7 mission approaches, Roosa hopes that this program will preserve the legacy of this historical events and the astronauts who accomplished it; inspire young people to explore the past, present, and future of spaceflight; and create a deeper sense of commitment to STEM education across the country. “We aim to bring the accomplishments of these American heroes, starting with the Apollo astronauts, into the foreground of pop culture,” Roosa stated. “And our Student Ambassadors will do just that–empower and inspire their friends and schools with the fascination of STEM and space exploration.”

Rebecca’s passion for this mission has already started. She created the “Beyond Earth” club in 2017, which promotes the application of STEM skills to space exploration. She also assists the facilitation of a space enrichment program at a local elementary school, which helps to get younger students interested in space exploration. She has given presentations at the Warren Astronomical Society regarding her experiences visiting the Kennedy Space Center and her five years of participation in Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. Her plan is to attend PoSSUM Space Academy at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University next year.

In celebration of the launch of this program and its student ambassadors, BTS will be hosting a gala event on Oct. 19 at the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas — the date of the historical Apollo 7 mission which took place 50 years ago.

Look for more about Rebecca in an upcoming issue of the Jewish News.