STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Discovery STEM Academy 5th grader Crewe Campbell

Tackling the problem of space junk

Posted: May 15, 2024

Crewe Campbell had never given much thought to debris from past space exploration missions floating around in outer space.

His participation in the Newport News Public Schools summertime STEAM Camp before entering fourth grade introduced him to the topic.

"We were talking about missions that we could use and robots we could use to help and get all of that space garbage out of space," Campbell said. "Because NASA and all of these other rocket ship places are trying to make sure you can go up in space without even getting hit by space junk because one thing of debris can just dent your entire ship.

"Screws and the nut that they have; one single nut could just pierce straight through it. That's the intense speeds that they're going through."

Now a fifth grader at Discovery STEM Academy, Campbell is among those working on how to eliminate that pesky space junk.

"It's very messy," Campbell said. "We just want clean space like we want on planet Earth."

Since coming to DSA in fourth grade, Campbell has explored and participated in all kinds of STEM adventures. He volunteered to work a robotics table to showcase one of his recent robot builds and coding at DSA's recent STEM Night.

Campbell is in the Robotics Club, where he has made friends and had lots of fun, and his curiosity about space junk continues.

As the Robotics Team worked on the topic of innovating solutions for space junk as a challenge for competition, Crewe and the group looked for ways to increase awareness.

The team and teacher Mark Egerton organized a podcast with Dr. John Crassidis, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo, who is a leading expert on space junk and works with NASA and the military. Two DSA students edited the podcasts.

Crassidis outlined the potential dangers of large pieces of space debris landing on Earth.

"He was telling us the future generations are going to have to be very well aware of that and have a solution to our problem," Campbell said. "Because that's when it's going to start affecting us."

Outside of school, Campbell enjoys spending time with friends and family, building Lego sets and drawing. He loves the programming platform Scratch.

"It's where you can go on and you can code games," Campbell said. "You can look at some of other people's games. They are extremely amazing. You can find Geometry Dash on there.

"You can find whatever you're looking for. It's easy to code on there and you just have fun with it and explore."

Visit Student Spotlights on the Newport News Public Schools website.

Visit <a href=>Student Spotlights</a> on the Newport News Public Schools website.
Visit Student Spotlights on the Newport News Public Schools website.