Teen Responsible For Science Experiment Explosion Hoopla Scores A Scholarship To NASA Space Academy

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NASAKiera Wilmot, the 16-year-old Florida teen who was confronted with federal charges after her science experiment exploded on campus, is being recognized for the prowess she clearly possesses. Not only have those absurd charges been dropped, but her scientific curiosity has caught some very influential eyes at NASA. Eyes with cash monies.

ABC News reports that after Kiera’s story broke, a NASA veteran of 18 years took notice. Turns out Homer Hickam found himself in a very similar experience as a kid:

In the late 1950s, Hickam had a brush with law enforcement for allegedly starting a forest fire. State police came to his high school and led him and his friends away in handcuffs, but his high school physics professor and school principal came to the rescue, clearing him of wrongdoing.

Back then, schools did not have zero tolerance rules. Kids could make their mistakes without the threat of a criminal record, or serving time in jail.

So Hickam, a former lead astronaut training manager for Spacelab and the International Space Station, ponied up to give Kiera a shot at the big time:

“I couldn’t let this go without doing something,” Hickam said. “I’m not a lawyer, but I could give her something that would encourage her. I’ve worked closely with the U.S. Space Academy, and so I purchased a scholarship for her.”

And the good news keeps on coming. Hickam also threw down so that Kiera’s twin sister, Kayla, can also head to space camp with her sister come July. They’ll be hardcore geeking out over five nights worth of “hands-on training” and astronaut education.

Kiera maintains that she is not only pumped about going, but that she can’t wait to give the zero gravity tank a whirl.

And all she had to do to garner that opportunity was get slapped with federal charges for her scientific inklings.

(photo: Songquan Deng / Shutterstock)