Danielle's NASA trip was out of this world

A LEYLAND schoolgirl had an out of this world experience after scooping a top competition prize.

Balshaw's High School pupil Danielle Findlay travelled more than 4,000 miles to the Kennedy Space Centre, at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The visit to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration base was the top prize in a writing competition organised by the South Ribble Learning Federation.

Danielle, a year eight pupil at the Church Road school, impressed the judges with her entry.

Entrants were challenged to write a mission report in the form of an essay or newspaper article about the planet Mars.

Danielle, 12, was selected as one of 10 pupils from across the country to go on the once in a lifetime trip.

She said: "I had to write a 1,000 word essay on how we could get to Mars, what thing on the planet we may find useful and how we could live on Mars.

"I was really pleased to be one of the 10 people who got to go on the eight day trip."

During her mission to the NASA base, Danielle had a tour of the launch pads, Cocoa Beach, planetariums and a trip to the Apollo/Saturn visitor centre to see the Mad Mission to Mars show.

She also managed to cram in a detour to one of Florida's top tourist spots Sea World, in Orlando.

Danielle, said: "The best part of the trip was at the astronaut hall of fame where we did the Astronaut Training Experience.

"We were able to practice a space mission, learn about previous astronauts and pretend to be moon walking."

Danielle's essay explored the idea of travelling to Mars.

She said: "There was lots of different things to think about, especially ways we could live on the planet.

"I thought that one of the most important things would be to design a system to recycle air so we would be able to breathe when you are there.

"I would love to be able to do something like it for a job, like be a flight director at Mission Control. If anything goes wrong on a mission they have to take the blame."