A Taranaki high school student is reaching for the moon, or more accurately the planet Mars, with the news he has been selected to attend an elite academic programme in the United States this year.
Stratford-based New Plymouth Boys' High student Bradley Hare-Bint, 15, says the experience is guaranteed to be "out of this world", especially given the participants work on a series of scenarios based around a simulated manned mission to Mars.
Organised by the Foundation for International Space Education (Fise), the two-week United Space School course is in Houston, Texas in July, meaning Bradley has only a few months to fundraise the amount needed to cover his flights and any other costs.
"I don't want to just ask people for money, so I am hoping to work for businesses or individuals to earn the money. I don't mind what type of work, I can wash cars, mow lawns, whatever people need doing."
Over the two-week course Bradley, with other students selected from all over the world, will work through various scenarios as well as attending lectures featuring guest speakers from various parts of the space industry. Students will stay with host families during the course, giving them a taste of life in the US with a range of activities and outings planned during their stay.
Bradley hopes the experience will be a launch pad into a career in astrophysics or the aerospace industry.
"I know I want to work in that field in some way in my future. I enjoy physics which is a main part of it, and to apply for this programme I had to show I had knowledge in the subject already."
His school selects one student each year to attend the course, meaning competition for a place is fierce.
"I know five or six others applied for it as well, so I wasn't sure I was going to be selected."
He is already completing homework for the programme and is balancing that alongside his regular schoolwork as well as the extra demands of fundraising.
"I don't know how much exactly I am going to need yet, but with flights, all the travel requirements around Covid and other bits and pieces I think it will be more than $5000."
Anyone who is able to offer Bradley some paid work opportunities or help him fundraise in other ways can contact his mum, Joanne Hare, on 027 572 4031 or via email: email@example.com
Alternatively he has a givealittle page: www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/help-bradley-get-to-space-school