3…2…1…lift off! World Space Week got off to a great start at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, with 180 primary school pupils taking part in a Space Explorers Day on 4 October. The United Nations organised week, which runs annually from 4-10 October, is a celebration of science and technology, with thousands of events held worldwide.
Lots of exciting activities were in store for the budding space explorers. Throughout the day, pupils got to try out various space-themed activities, including going inside a planetarium, launching rockets, studying meteorites and more.
In the darkness of the planetarium, pupils experienced the night sky up close, learning about star constellations and the stories behind them. They also learnt about how the human eye adjusts to the dark, as well as examples of how constellations have influenced culture and society.
Next up: an ‘Earth Observation Detectives’ session led by Catapult, learning about the importance of satellites and earth observation. They then attempted to create their own origami satellite models, exactly 62 years to the day since the launch of Sputnik 1, the first ever satellite.
The space explorers also learnt about the Apollo 11 mission, the astronauts involved and the pioneering computer programmer behind the mission’s success, Margaret Hamilton. The process of launching a rocket and the distance between the Earth and the Moon was demonstrated on a much smaller scale, allowing pupils to appreciate the challenges of the three-day journey. Pupils then had the chance to make and launch their very own rockets!
At the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (ISIS) pupils took part in a ‘Microscopes and Meteorites’ activity. Here, they had the opportunity to examine space rocks under a microscope, before learning about how the world-leading facilities at ISIS can act as very powerful microscopes themselves.
The children had a fantastic time, with one pupil from Hagbourne School commenting “My favourite part of the day was everything we’ve done so far!”
Inspiring young people and the wider public in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a core value at STFC.
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Last updated: 28 October 2019