Above and Beyond


optical telescope at PARI

Above and Beyond is PARI’s signature camping experience designed to immerse high school students in the world of space science and research while building confidence and critical thinking skills.

Originally developed in partnership with Duke University and refined for nearly two decades, this space camp explores the universe through astronomy, physics, and astrobiology, while also providing time for adventure and fun.

The process followed by scientists and researchers who’ve made space science their career is modeled to show how new discoveries are made about the universe.  Campers are provided the tools and guided through the process by professionals who have made space their life’s work.

From determining the expansion speed of a super-nova remnant, to characterizing an exo-planet or finding evidence of dark matter; your data will reveal and your conclusions will add to humanity’s knowledge of the universe!

Learn more about the camp and curriculum.

Dates & Pricing

July 7, 2024 – July 18, 2024
$50 registration fee

Payment plans available.

Scholarships may be available for families with financial need.

Age Groups

Best for students who have completed
9th-12th grade

Quick Links

With world class telescopes and archives at your fingertips, a team to collaborate with, and mentors to guide you, what will you study?

  • The expanding remnants of super novae from long ago?
  • Volcanos, rings, and moons in our own solar system? 🪐
  • The structure of a distant nebula?
  • Measure the speed of the arms of our home galaxy?

Camp Description

  • Campers are given the knowledge and tools required to conduct an investigation into a celestial object and draw conclusions from their findings. Work is done in teams and models the process used by researchers to produce publishable work.
  • Campers will also investigate current astrobiological research on life in space, human or otherwise, giving campers a chance to show their individual work.
  • The work they produce will be shared in the same ways commonly used at space science conferences, events, and publications.
  • Guest speakers share their experiences working in space science and their paths to a career in the future of exploration and discovery.
  • Campers will use radio telescopes, optical telescopes, and data archives to gain the information they need to study their chosen celestial objects.  They may even build an instrument themselves.
  • PARI’s emphasis on community and teamwork enables campers to establish friendships that last a lifetime.  Many campers from this program return as interns and counselors.
  • Campers will participate in fun and engaging recreational activities built to encourage social comradery and confidence while exploring the spectacular Pisgah Forest and Blue Ridge Mountain region.

Surrounded by natural beauty in a forest perfect for adventure

PARI embraces our unique location with plenty of time outside of the classroom too.

Field Trips & Activities

  • Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Pisgah National Forest to take in amazing views.
  • Visit dramatic cascades in PARI’s home in The Land of Waterfalls, then go swimming nearby or tubing.
  • Take a break with the best ice cream around at one of our favorite ice cream shops.
  • Toast marshmallows, make s’mores, tell stories, listen to music, and be dazzled by the atmosphere around our giant camp fire.
  • Compete in challenges to build the most powerful rocket or a lander that can withstand whatever it’s thrown at.
  • Design spacey t-shirts.
  • Search for the answers hidden around you in our camp long scavenger hunt.
  • Unwind in the rec room with board games, puzzles, pool-table, ping-pong, foosball, and air-hockey, or kick back and relax.
  • Master our signature game, PARI Ball

You find a star with a brightness that fluctuates and varies. What could cause this behavior? Will you uncover its secret?

  • It is surrounded by exoplanets that block its light as they orbit.
  • It is a “standard candle” shining as a guidepost and revealing the distance its surrounding region.
  • It is nearing death, sure to explode and destroy us all! 💥

Academic Curriculum

  • Learn and apply fundamental concepts of astrophysics and astrobiology.
  • Learn to use radio telescopes and antennas and work with the data they collect
  • Learn to use optical telescopes located both at PARI and at sites around the world.
  • Create a research plan and share their progress.
  • Analyze data and compare with expectations and the work done by other scientists.
  • Formulate conclusions using scientific data.
  • Strengthen problem solving skills.
  • Sharpen presentation skills through the delivery of scientific findings to an audience of peers and professionals.
  • Develop teamwork skills by collaborating with others while attempting to solve complex problems.

*(It is highly recommended that campers have competence in Algebra prior to attending Above and Beyond.)

Register for Above and Beyond Space Camp

Get ready for camp with out of this world PARI accessories

Each pattern is available on a huge variety of items.  Click one to see everything you can choose from!