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Pequot Lakes students send postcards into space

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Eighth grade students at Pequot Lakes Middle School created postcards that went up to space in December as a part of Blue Origin's Club for the Future program. The students got the postcards back in late January. Submitted photo
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Eighth-graders at Pequot Lakes Middle School have something rare in their possessions — items from space.

Well, items that have been in space, at least.

Blue Origin, an aerospace company owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, recently founded Club for the Future, a nonprofit aimed at inspiring students to pursue science, technology, math and engineering paths. The organization’s latest project asked students from across the country to make postcards containing drawings and writings on their hopes for the future of life in space. Those postcards were, in turn, sent up to space on Blue Origin’s suborbital New Shepard rocket in December before returning to students.

Kyle Spray, a math teacher at Pequot Lakes Middle School, heard about the project from family friend Sarah Phelps, a lakes area native who now works for Blue Origin. At the time, the eighth graders were learning about astronomy in their science class, so Spray thought the project would be a good opportunity for the students.

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Pictures are three of the postcards created by eighth-graders at Pequot Lakes Middle School to be sent up into space as part of Blue Origin's Club for the Future project. The postcards depict students' ideas for the future of space. Submitted photo

“On the postcard, they either drew a picture or wrote what they envisioned people working and living in space would look like,” Spray said. “... The idea was to think about what’s the future going to bring with space.”

One student envisioned millions of people living in space in the future.

“It would look like people in shuttles going to and from Earth to space. There would be big glass bubbles that people would live and work in,” the student wrote.

Another student thought there would be space stations specifically for people to work in.

“People would be working in them, and there would be stars all around them. People would be in space suits working and they could see Earth and all the various … stars,” the student wrote.

Spray said his students seemed skeptical at first that the postcards were actually going to space and coming back, and asked him constantly when they would come back.

Last week, though, they finally did.

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A stamp reading "flown to space" marks postcards made in December by Pequot Lakes Middle School students. The postcards were flown to space as part of Blue Origin's Club for the Future program, aimed at inspiring the next generation of space entrepreneurs. Submitted photo

Postcards with blue stamps reading “flown to space” made their way back to students’ hands, providing keepsakes and perhaps inspirations for their future.

“They enjoyed it, and they just thought it was a fun project to do,” Spray said.

Club for the Future plans to fly postcards on future Blue Origin missions as well and describes the project as the perfect classroom activity. Those interested in participating can visit clubforfuture.org for more information.

According to a spokesperson for Club for the Future, the organization is dedicated to inspiring and engaging the next generation of dreamers and space entrepreneurs as Blue Origin journeys to preserve Earth and unlock the potential of living and working in space.

The nonprofit is also looking for like-minded organizations who want to work together. Those who are interested can reach out to clubforfuture@blueorigin.com .

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THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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