They are some of the littlest people in a room full of big ideas.
11-year-old Madison Bender and 12 year-old Sara Clucking don't wear a military uniform or work in the space industry, but some argue these sixth graders are just as important.
"These children are our future, not to rehash and old song, but they really are," said Kirk Pierce, a NASA spokesperson.
Madison and Sara and 28 other classmates from the classical academy took the detailed tour of the Space Symposium.
They are the next generation of potential scientists or deep space explorers.
But getting them there could be an uphill climb.
"If we continue to teach them math and science the way we did 100 years ago will prepare kids for 100 years ago. We need programs to prepare them for the future," said Carol Oleary, president of Challenger Learning Center of Colorado.
Faced with declining interest in degrees in the fields of math and science, the concern among the space industry is the U.S. as a one-time leader in innovative technologies will fall behind unless interest is sparked early.
At 11, Madison is at the very least curious.
"I really like the capsules and stuff...I'd like to go to space," she said.
Sara likes math and science and the stars, but at 12, isn't sold on seeing space in her future.
"I don't know. I think it might, but I don't know," she said.
These kids will be out of college by then and possibly the first eligible to set foot on the red planet by the time the u.s. is prepared to make a trip to Mars.
Sara and Madison's teacher tells 11 news she’s already talking with students who at 11 or 12 are already making plans to do just that.
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