When space shuttle Endeavour launched in March of 2008, a group of 35 middle and high school students followed the mission closely. The event they were waiting for came a few days after takeoff. That’s when shuttle Commander Dominic Gorie unfurled a blue banner. On it was an emblem with the words, “Operation Deep Climb.”

The students, from the Tampa Bay, Fla., area, had been looking forward to this moment ever since their exciting trip to Hawaii. That’s where, five months earlier, they had probed the depths of the Pacific Ocean, and hiked to the top of the mountain Mauna Kea. At the mountain’s peak, they were joined by Gorie on an up-close tour of a famous observatory.

The activities were part of Operation Deep Climb, one of various missions organized by SCUBAnauts International.

Who are SCUBAnauts? They are young marine science explorers, ages 12 to 18, who take part in underwater exploration activities throughout the year. They explore marine environments and train with marine research scientists. They also help the scientists conduct meaningful research.


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