Eight girls at Riverview Junior High School blasted off for an imaginary 24-hour trip through the galaxy Friday, and although they will "visit" all of the major planets, they won't physically move from the school's media center.

The girls will stand, sleep, walk and perform work as well as respond to commands from a command center outside their plastic-enclosed space station inside the media center.This is the third trip taken by Riverview students this year, and the purpose of the journeys is to get the kids excited about math and science, said media coordinator Mark Ferguson. Several Riverview boys did a 40-hour simulation last February in Brighton High School's Star Lab, a more sophisticated simulator.

While the Brighton simulator calls for a higher level of math and science skills, the Riverview simulator challenges the students to use their reading and writing skills as well as math and science.

Teams of students outside will judge the girls on how well they respond to emergencies given them, such as radiation hazards, communication breakdowns - and just how well they play the game of simulating their being in outer space, Ferguson said. Their mission control will send in new directions to follow every 15 minutes.

Videos of space launches and landings will be shown on a TV inside the module, and they will also have videos of areas in space they will have to observe and describe in writing.

They will simulate a four-day trip in the 24 hours.

The students on the trip are Jenny Ferguson, Alyssa Bently, Donna Woodland, Millissa Baxbee, Michelle Madsen, Aunilie Hathaway, Colbie Kelson and Richee Stewart.