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Gravitational wave

Mason Space Exploration Center at George Mason University

We have a new name and email address for our camp in our second year, but our camp will be in the same location, led by the same expert Professor Plavchan, and staffed by students at George Mason University.

The Mason Space Exploration Center camp will inspire the next generation to "launch" their curiosity and creativity about space. Campers will get fun and engaging hands on training in STEM activities from experts in working with programming and electronics (arduinos), generative AI tools like ChatGPT, mathematics, the physics of motion and gravity, creating a scale model of the Solar System, touring the 2nd largest on campus Observatory on the East Coast, a small-sat development lab and radio dish, using a Solar Telescope, experience robotic food delivery, and much more!

A Rocket Ship with George Mason colors landing on another inhabited world with an exoplanet and the milky way in the background.

Registration for Space Camp is open! Space is vast, but our seats are limited.

2024 Mason Space Exploration Center Summer Camp for Middle-School Aged students!


Camp photo

Appropriate for students in the following grade levels:

Rising fourth through rising ninth graders, or with permission outside of these years via email.

30 students per week capacity


$500/week, including $100 in take-home materials

Camp Schedule:

Dropoff: 9 to 9:15 a.m.

Pickup: 4 p.m.


Research Hall, Fairfax Campus, George Mason University

Each week, students will embark on a space exploration journey, with an orientation, countdown and launch scheduled for Mondays. Tuesdays the students will explore the Moon; Wednesdays Mars; Thursdays the outer gas giants and moons Titan and Europa.  Friday the students will conclude their space travel with an exoplanet voyage and produce a technical report of their mission exploration for the center leadership.  There will be STEM challenges and surprises along the way.  This same general schedule will repeat each week, with some variation week to week. Students will be grouped by age/grade into six groups of up to 5 students each, and within each group there will be five mission roles each student will take on in this journey.  For students registered for multiple weeks, we recommend they take on a different role in each week.

Camp Photo

2024 Season Camp Sessions


Session #Start DateEnd DateCamper Positions Available
(as of April 17th)
Session 1June 17June 219 spots left!
Session 2June 24June 289 spots left!
Session 3July 8July 1216 spots left!
Session 4July 15July 190 spots left,
Ready for launch!
Session 5July 22July 26Only 4 spots left!
Session 6July  29August 2Only 1 spot left!

We will continue to update you as our availability changes.

Thank you to our team and sponsorships

We'd like to thank the following organizations and staff for helping "launch" the first 2023 summer camp:

Kevin Collins, Lead Flight Director and Mason PhD student

Flight Directors: S Falgiano, Emi Thorne, Jonathan Saldana, Bobby Craig, Nasiir Davis-Barkley, Sebastian Arnez, and Aiden Kriel; Mason students and alumni.

Center Marketing and Communications: Natasha Gilliam, Laura Powers, Zander Leon, and Tracy Mason

Center Development: Audrey Kelaher and team

For additional questions, please reach out to

Camp Leadership

Center DirectorAssociate Professor of Physics and Astronomy and George Mason Observatories Director Peter Plavchan.

Dr Peter Plavchan's research is supported by NASA and the National Science Foundation to study the formation and frequency of exoplanets, planets that orbit other stars. He has led the development of several NASA mission concepts.

Observatory Director Peter Plavchan

Center Director for Outreach

Howdy!  Dr Rob Parks is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University.  He knew he wanted to become an astronomer in the 7th grade after reading about Dr. Vera Rubin's discovery of dark matter.  While his specific interests within astronomy have changed over the years, his passion for learning what lies beyond our night sky never has.

Dr Rob Parks in front of Mason Observatories