It was just another typical day for "Capt. Kirk," aka Frank Leonard. Two near misses with asteroids. Another near collision with a meteor shower. An engine that flickered on and off. An encounter with a hostile, alien space ship.
Over in the medical bay "Dr. McCoy," aka Scott McCusker, fought the dreaded space fungus until his medical capabilities where tested to their limits, as waves of patients injured by radiation or the hostile aliens flooded in.Frank and Scott weren't aboard the Enterprise but they were having just as much fun and adventure as the imaginary heroes of "Star Trek."
The two boys were among 145 space enthusiasts, ages 6 to 12, who concluded their three-week space camp Friday by orbiting in a boisterous space station at Rowland Hall-St. Mark's gymnasium, 205 First Ave.
The simulated space journey ended the group's intense study of space that included everything from looking at lunar landscapes and the role that science fiction has played in predicting space travel to learning about computers and robotics and building model rockets.
The space camp was a joint project of the Salt Lake School District, the private Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School and the Hansen Planetarium.
Project director Sally Sheppard said each space camp "crew member" learned some basic astronomy and was taught briefly about the U.S. space program. Then, in designing and creating their own space station, the youngsters tackled how they would live in space.
After the three weeks of study, Friday was the day for blast-off - and fun. At times - in fact, most of the time - organized mayhem reigned as the space kids had the time of their lives.
Pilot Frank, 9, was kept busy working the paper cup controls on his cardboard console, while his co-pilot, Steven Derr, 9, and navigator, George Pence, 8, shouted instructions above the din of the crew as their imaginations forced them to meet one potential disaster after another.
"We outmaneuvered that one," Frank said matter-of-factly as an asteroid zipped by.
While those at the craft's control center were consumed avoiding tragedy, many crew members peered through microscopes at rock samples collected on the imaginary planet Afron, tested their physical endurance on treadmills, drew pictures of the planets and sampled space food.
With his head set firmly in place, Stephen Norman, 11, manned the communications control network.
Like many other, Stephen envisions a career in space.
Maybe, he said, by the time he's ready to launch that career, man will have figured out an even better - and faster - way for space travel.
Something, perhaps, as simple as saying "Beam me up, Scotty."