- See Also: Minor Characters in Luciana's Stories
Chapter By Chapter Summary
Chapter One: Through These Doors. . .
Luciana and her family pull into the Space Camp parking lot, as Luci starts to point out all the rockets. Luci has been preparing for Space Camp for weeks, in the hopes that she can become the first astronaut on Mars. She takes her rolling suitcase herself, as astronauts don't need their parents to carry their stuff.
Luci and her parents enter Space Camp, and Luci stops to register the sign that reads "Through these doors enter future astronauts, scientists and engineers." They reach the front of the line, and give a lady with a headset her name and age. The lady tells her that she's on Team Odyssey at table seven, and she goes over towards her group, moving through displays of astronaut gear, crowds of other children, and nameplates of important graduates. Luci meets two crew trainers, Alex and Mallory, the latter of whom recognizes Luci as the essay winner; she's entered an essay contest to get a space camp scholarship three years in a row, and finally won with a paper on planetary geometry. Mallory also compliments her on her purple streak, which she added herself with her best friend, Raelyn. Mallory gives her a backpack for her space camp gear and tells her to put her stuff in the girls' bunk in Habitat 4b.
Luci unlocks the Habitat door with her name badge, and Mom realizes that it's time for her and Dad to go to the airport; this makes Luci a little nervous, as her parents will be several states away. Mom tells her that they'll call her if they hear anything about their progress in adopting a girl from their home country of Chile, Isadora. They also give her her special star necklace, which she only wears for special occasions, before they leave.
Chapter Two: Roommates
Luci calms herself down after her parents leave, reminding herself that she'll have to be brave if she wants to be the first girl on Mars. She sees a picture of Sally Ride, the first American Woman in Space, hanging on the wall, and starts to unpack her science books and drawing pads. She opens her backpack from check-in, and finds her official Space Camp flight suit.
At that moment, the door opens and a huge family bursts in. Luci is shocked by the crowd, and eventually introduces herself to the girl who's claimed the bunk above hers. She introduces herself as Ella, and points out her sister, Meg, who is frozen in the middle of the room, and her cousin Charlotte, who is trying to drag Meg around. One of the Dads pulls everyone in for a group hug, which Luci gets stuck in the middle of. The family then leaves the three girls with Luci, and she asks if they're all in the same family. Charlotte explains that they're all on Spring Break, and that her brother is in Aviation Challenge camp, her older sister is too old for camp, and the rest of her family is too young. Luci feels a little jealous of their large family; while she likes having her space, her house sometimes seemed too quiet, especially when Mom had to work late.
Another girl enters, introducing herself as Johanna, from Germany. She has a bag filled with books on mechanical engineering and electrical circuits. Luci pulls out some glitter stickers from her bag, asking if they want to personalize their space suits. Ella is more hesitant than everyone else, pointing out that it might not be allowed and could look unprofessional. Luci shrugs her off, saying that it'll make them more memorable. While Johanna grabs some stickers, Ella still refuses.
Chapter Three: Mission Control Center
Once everyone finishes unpacking, the door opens and a white robot dog comes in. Mallory walks in, too, introducing him as their mascot, Orion, that she made herself. She tells them that they're going for E-V-A (extravehicular activity) practice. Ella has the other girls straighten their beds after they change, as it is a rule; she'd read the entire rules and regulations book before coming, and Luci suspects that she memorized it.
Everyone follows Orion through the hallway and outside. Mallory has them shortcut through the shuttle park and under the rocket, the Pathfinder. They reach the Mission Control Center, where the rest of their teammates- the boys- are waiting. James introduces himself as their commander, and Alex informs him that there are no commanders. They enter the mission floor, and everyone is in awe of the spacecrafts, greenhouses and the ceiling decorated with stars.
Team Odyssey begins to suit up, where Ella starts explaining facts from the logbook, saying that Luci should've been reading that instead of glittering-up her spacesuit. James tries to one-up her on facts, and the two of them seem to dislike each other. Meg comes out, then, with a spacesuit that is much too big for her. Johanna mentions that Meg reminds her of her own sister, and Luci asks her if it's hard to be an older sibling.
Mallory takes Meg to get a fitting space-suit, and Alex takes the rest of the group to the simulation. The simulation involves them being on the ISS- International Space Station- and their mission is to replace tiles on the outside of the MISSE- the Materials International Space Station Experiment. He warns that should their suit be ripped or snagged, the suit will lose pressurization and they will have five minutes before they lose oxygen and have to return to the space station. Meg and Mallory return just in time for the latter to explain that the purpose of the experiment is to test different materials to see how they perform in space with the UV radiation and exposure to extreme temperatures. Their job is to take ten new material tiles and find each one's correct place on the tray, and then to secure them with adhesive foam, like a space puzzle. The team will split into pairs, and the two who perform with the fewest errors will get to captain a robotics team, something that interests both James and Ella. Ella mentions that her robotics team went to State last year, but Meg mentions that they lost. Luci starts to get insecure, seeing that all of her teammates are geniuses.
The counselors take Team Odyssey into the ISS, and start to send teams through the doors, starting with Johanna and Tanner. Mallory says that patience is an important part of being an astronaut, and tells them to take their time waiting for the first pair to read about the activity in the logbook. Ella mentions she doesn't like waiting, and Luci overhears Meg say something about Ella not having any friends. Before Luci can ask more, Johanna and Tanner return and Meg and José get to go next.
Chapter Four: Space Walk
Luciana and James are the pair that is called last. When they go in, Luci hears James gasp at the vision of the mission floor. When he realizes that she's looking at him, he haughtily remarks that he's never seen an astronaut with purple hair. Luci turns to Alex, who stands in front of them and hands them harnesses. James struggles to get in, and Luci feels smug that she can get in faster. The two of them are levitated a few feet off the ground and given toolboxes of materials.
Alex begins the challenge, counting down to five minutes, and Luci takes out the tiles and lays them out to see where they fit the board. However, Alex takes the tiles and scatters them, reminding her that in space, nothing would stay in one place. As Luci scrambles to grab her stuff, she accidentally bumps one of James's tiles, and he asks her if she even read the directions in the logbook; Luci realizes that she hadn't.
Luci starts to take out one tile at a time and puts in the board slowly, eventually picking up her pace as she gets used to using her suit's gloves. Luci starts to stick the foam into the holes to stick the tiles in, and she starts to make good progress when James drops his foam. They're running out of time, so Luci passes James her own foam and tells him to use it and pass it back. The two of them repeat the process until they finish, and Alex yells Time. As they are lowered to the ground, Alex finds that they put all their tiles in the correct places, and announces them the team captains for the robotics team. James says that he hopes she's as good at robotics as she is at putting tiles into the tray, and Luci realizes that she isn't sure if she is.
Chapter Five: Red Rovers
James and Luci pick their teams for the Robotics competition, and they end up picking their bunkmates. Ella claims that this choice is stupid, but Luci thinks that she just wanted to be on James's team. Ella continues to berate Luci, asking if she'd read the robotics section in the orientation packet and if she even knows what she's doing. Charlotte punches her to shut her up, but Ella succeeds in making Luci nervous. Meg suggests giving themselves a team name, and Charlotte suggests "Red Rovers". They all vote for that, though Ella votes for her own idea of "Team Robotics" and seems upset that she lost.
After dinner, the girls head to the robotics lab, where Luci sees pictures of previous winners. They join James's team- the RoboEngineers- and their robotics crew trainer, Leo, greets them. James asks about the gyro sensor, which Leo says is the most expensive part of the Lab, and the most valuable for the competition, and it will need to be earned. Johanna explains to Luci that the gyro sensor is for balancing a robot and keeping it from tipping over. Leo shows them the competition table and explains that their robot will have to take a "rock sample" from the table and place it into a vehicle. First, the robot has to identify the sample- a red ball- and then it has to collect it, break it open to retrieve the smaller marble, and bring it to the space elevator. The team with the most bolts by the end of the competition wins- bolts are earned by how many stations the robot completes and how fast. However, every part of the robot must be paid for in bolts. They would have to earn bolts to build the robot, by completing daily lab challenges or by finding a sponsor. Their first challenge is to build a sample rover that responds to a remote control.
Once they begin, the other girls start building the robot. Luci thinks it's kind of boring, though, and so collects some LED lights to build a block that says their name in flashing lights. Everyone loves it, but Ella freaks out and tries to grab it before Meg begins the test. Ella reminds Luci that they deduct points based on weight, and that her LED lights will cost them parts. Luci starts to panic, and everyone realizes that they've just lost. By the end of the competition, even though the robot works, the Red Rovers are at negative two million bolts, putting them in last place.
Chapter Six: Sponsors
Everyone goes to the habitat common area to watch a movie about Jupiter. Everybody is silent except for Charlotte, who is telling a story about her sister getting lost at Space Camp. She claims that Miss Baker, a "monkeynaut" who flew into space, is buried on the center, though Ella is adamant that there are no monkeys anywhere at camp. James spots them and brags that they now have five million bolts due to their new sponsor- a staff member who gives them bolts for having a cool robot. Ella is confused at who would sponsor James's team.
When the movie starts, Luci moves over to a display case of space rocks. Mallory and Alex are sitting nearby, and Mallory says that she thought Luci would like them. After they talk about rocks for a bit, Luci asks how to get a sponsor (Mallory can't sponsor someone from her own team). Mallory says to just ask somebody, and if they like their idea, then they would give them some bolts to get started; she also adds that the best people to ask are the people who've been there the longest. Alex adds that sponsors go fast, so they'll need to find one fast, and also that a gyro sensor doesn't mean a sure win- creativity does. Luci feels that her problem is that she's too creative, and soon comes to the conclusion that she's not a good leader. Mallory informs her that she knows a good sponsor- Samuel- and simply tells Luci to look for the guy with the robotic unicycle. When the movie ends, Luci realizes that Johanna and Charlotte took their glitter names off of their suits.
Luci calls her parents to make sure they got home okay. However, they don't want to talk about Isadora, and Luci finds out that Isadora is no longer at the same orphanage; she might have been transferred or sent to another family. Luci's Abuelita, who lives in Cuba, is going to the orphanage tomorrow to see what happened, but in the meantime, they'll all be left in the dark.
Chapter Seven: Capsule Crew
Since the RoboEngineers are late to the Mission Control Complex, Mallory lets the Red Rovers do a practice mission simulation. Charlotte, Meg and Mallory go to the mission control room while Johanna, Ella and Luci go into the orbiter. Mallory explains that Ella is the pilot, Johanna is the mission specialist, and Luci is the commander. Luci notices that Ella is upset at this and offers to switch, but Ella instead starts berating Luciana for putting them in last place, and that the RoboEngineers are late because they have an extra build session, and that if she was in charge, they wouldn't be in this mess. At that point, they lift off in the simulation.
As they fly through space in the simulation, they hear an anomaly, and Meg starts talking Luciana through the problem. Luci manages to solve it, and they finally move to dock the spacecraft. However, Ella refuses to dock the probe until Mallory threatens them with failure. They only barely complete the mission.
Chapter Eight: Junk Parts
In order to get more bolts, the Red Rovers split up; Johanna and Meg go to fix a robot as one of the challenges, while Charlotte, Ella and Luci work on the robot. After Meg and Johanna leave, Charlotte asks Ella to stop ruining everything, claiming that if she's not in charge, she forgets about doing anything fun or quits. Luci tells them about the sponsor they need to find, but first they have to built the robot.
The girls find the boys taking a tub of parts out of the closet, and they find boxes of parts. They find a gear for a walking robot, and Luci suggests building that, so that it would climb up the rocky slope better and look different and unique. Leo tells them that the "junk parts" are free, which converts Ella to the idea. Johanna and Meg rush back, then, having completed the challenge and won them three million bolts. Meg says that Johanna is a genius at fixing robots.
The girls all start on their robot, and they find that it actually moves. The girls hide their parts from a passing James, and the Red Rovers decide to build their robot completely out of junk parts.
Chapter Nine: Missing Module
Mallory walks the girls through the gift shop after the Multi-Axis Trailer (MAT)- a part of the astronaut training program in the 1960s to simulate an out-of-control spacecraft. Meg is upset because the boys teased her for not wanting to try it. While still in the gift shop, the girls look around at the items; while Johanna and Charlotte go for the sweatshirts and Meg looks at the spiky balls, Ella and Luciana look at the astronaut suits. Luci finds a postcard to send to Raelyn, and finds out that Ella lost her best friend of six years after she moved away and stopped calling. While Luci tells her to call her, and that maybe she misses her, Ella doesn't believe her.
At the robotics lab, the girls find out that the MarsBots caught up to the Space Heroes, leaving the RoboEngineers at third place. James finds out that the girls are making a walking robot, but the girls manage to push him away before he finds out where their parts came from. Charlotte finds out that the daily challenge is a programming challenge and begs to be able to do it; while she and Meg do that, the other girls look through parts. However, they find out that the RoboEngineers completed the challenge and bought the gyro sensor. After the boys leave to build their robot in a secret area, the girl have the room all to themselves.
They realize that their motor module is missing, even though Meg swears she put it back in the box. After digging through the entire room and everyone's bags and pockets, they realize that the part is gone. They realize that the RoboEngineers must have stolen it, and they must also be building a walking robot. Mallory says that they're jumping to conclusions, but the girls are convinced. Luci tells the girls that they're going to get their part back.
Chapter Ten: The Plan
The girls talk over their plan while performing soil experiments, and Luci, Ella and Meg offer to go get the part after Lights-Out. Johanna tells them how to get into the Lab through a back way, through the Hall of Artifacts, which scares Meg.
Once they're in their dorms, the girls climb out of bed and have to wait until Mallory is asleep. Once she is, Meg worries that they'll be caught and sent home. Luci offers to go by herself, but they all decide to go. They realize that Meg's pajamas glow in the dark, which could give them away, so Johanna gives Meg her robe. Their door slams as they leave, and rush back into the room while Luci pretends to have been getting a drink of water. However, she is spotted by Noah.
Chapter Eleven: Lights-Out Break-Out
The girls sneak out again, and safely get past the stairs and by the wall of graduates. Meg freaks out by the wall of artifacts, however, and Ella and Johanna to stop to calm her down. While they're walking, the lights go on, and they all drop to the ground before getting spotted. They manage to see a guy on a robotic unicycle disappear into another room.
They keep going, trying different doors, until they get into the robotics lab. However, they cannot find the motor module. Unfortunately, Ella accidentally breaks James's team rover while Meg finds their motor module in another tub; Meg had put it in the wrong one. Luciana gets mad at her, and then feels bad for being a bad big sister. Johanna starts to cry, fearing that she'll be sent home after her family had saved so much money to send her. They all rush together into a group hug.
Chapter Twelve: Emergency Meeting
Luciana can't sleep, and gets up early into the Common Area, convinced that they'll all be sent home. Luci calls her parents, and her Mom informs her that Isadora is in the hospital. She finds it impossible to tell her parents about what she did then, and hangs up. Johanna finds her and comforts her.
They go to the Robotics Lab, where Noah accuses them of cheating. The girls confess, though they tell him breaking the robot was an accident, and Luci gives the boys all of their bolts. To punish the girls, their team is disqualified from the competition.
Chapter Thirteen: Samuel & Birdy
At lunch, Luciana keeps thinking about Isadora, and decides to go find the robotic-unicycle guy and get him as a sponsor for the RoboEngineers. She wants to go alone, but the others refuse to let her, insisting that they all go together. They go to the door he'd disappeared into, and Johanna reads "Director of Artificial Intelligence" on the sign. The door opens, and the guy there has a robotic bird on his shoulder that talks to them. Luci introduces themselves, but the man simply goes back inside.
The girls follow him, seeing an office full of technology, including a human-sized robot on a giant wheel. Luci sees the unicycle and asks if he built it; he says that he bought it, and used it to make the robot, called Isaak. While they try to talk to him, he works on a dinosaur robot to make it roar. However, he says that he doesn't Sponsor anymore, meaning that he won't be able to help them. The girls help him take the dinosaur out of the room before leaving.
Chapter Fourteen: Rainbow Rover
The girls all sit in the Robot Lab, and they decide to keep building their robot, just to finish it. They start using whatever they want, since they don't have anything to lose. Luci asks Ella if she can have her number to text, and admits that she takes too many chances. Ella says that it's not always bad to take chances, and that Luci will make a great scientist. They finish the robot as an all-terrain walker. They also add glow sticks and glitter stickers, as well as re-sticking their names on their suits.
At that moment, Leo arrives with the RoboEngineers; James says that their gyro sensor is broken and they want Johanna to fix it. However, she finds that the sensor is completely dead, meaning that the boys have to re-design their entire robot. Luci gives their voice-activated sensor to James, informing him that they found it in the trash, and they decide to all team up to build a new robot together.
They complete it, and Meg dubs it the Rainbow Rover due to the voice sensor shining rainbow lights. While they eat in the Lab, Samuel stops by to thank the girls for helping him move the dinosaur, and is fascinated by their robot made out of broken parts. The team tells him that it was Luci's idea, and he offers to sponsor them. However, she gets him to sponsor the RoboEngineers instead, seeing as their team was disqualified.
Chapter Fifteen: The Competition
The girls all sit outside the next morning, and are surprised by James, who shows up and tells them that they're allowed to take their turn in the competition, though they won't be able to win; apparently, the RoboEngineers convinced them to let the girls compete. Johanna brings them back their robot- dubbed "Mohawk"- and they finish it up as they talk.
The Red Rovers all reach the competition course, while Leo announces the rules. The first two teams don't do very well due to robotic malfunctions, but the third team-the MarsBots- do incredibly well. The Red Rovers go next, and they don't do so well; however, they're alright with that, since they're not competing. The next team, the Space Heroes, look like their robot might be great, but it has trouble opening the rocks. However, they still finish well and end in the lead. The RoboEngineers go last, and while they take more time than the other teams, they end up getting more points; with the help of Samuel's points, they win the competition.
Chapter Sixteen: Graduation
The Red Rovers all go to the gift shop before graduation to look at everything. Luci sees some necklaces on displace and thinks back to home, finding one to give to Isadora; it has one charm shaped like a moon, and blue gem above it.
They go to Graduation under the Pathfinder, and they go up in teams. While everyone gets certificates and patches, some kids are given special medals. When Team Odyssey is called, they go up and Luci can't spot her parents. Alex and Mallory say that their team worked better together than any team they'd ever had, and Leo announces that the RoboEngineers get Best Rover.
At that moment, Samuel rides up and announces that when he was a crew trainer, he used to give a special award to teams that took a big risk and followed through on a risky idea, called the "Fail Smart." He gives the award to the Red Rovers for finishing their robot even though they were not competing, and gives each of the girls a patch.
Chapter Seventeen: Reaching For the Stars
After graduation, the girls have to find their families. The kids say goodbye to each other, and then Charlotte, Meg and Ella's family arrives. James comes up to Luci, and says that if she comes back, maybe they could return on the same week to try and be on the same team again. They shake hands, and then Charlotte, Meg and Ella leave; Ella shows Luci that she got a postcard from the gift shop to send to her friend.
Mallory tells Johanna and Luci that the girls amazed her that week with their determination, before running off to get Orion. Luci spots her parents, and runs to meet them, before dragging them to meet Johanna, who is going to the airport with them. She shows them the necklace she got for Isadora. Her parents show her a picture that Abuelita sent them, of the baby with tubes in her nose, explaining that she has a serious heart condition, and hopefully she'll be able to come to America to get her treatment there, meaning that the adoption was processed. As Luci looks at the picture, she realizes that Luci's hands are pointed towards the sky, already reaching for the stars.