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Space explorers of the future land at RAL

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.

Find out more about what we do at all our sites by visiting: https://stfc.ukri.org/public-engagement/

03 July 2020
STFC'S Rachael Buckley – Institute of Physics Honorary Fellow
STFC'S Rachael Buckley – Institute of Physics Honorary Fellow

Congratulations to Rachel Buckley, a leading technician at STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, who has been made an Honorary Fellow by the Institute of Physics, its highest honour.   

24 June 2020
STFC welcomes Space Park Leicester to national business programme for start-ups
STFC welcomes Space Park Leicester to national business programme for start-ups

The world’s largest space incubation programme for space tech start-ups will extend to the new Space Park Leicester in the East Midlands, in a drive to support the vibrant, growing regional space clusters across the UK.

23 June 2020
Scientists find cosmic object that may reshape our understanding of the biggest stars in the Universe
Scientists find cosmic object that may reshape our understanding of the biggest stars in the Universe

On August 14 last year, the US-based National Science Foundation's LIGO, part -funded by the STFC, and the European Virgo detector picked up a gravitational wave signal from the merger of two astronomical objects.

19 June 2020
UK scientists contribute to major update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics
UK scientists contribute to major update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics

An update to the European Strategy for Particle Physics announced today will guide UK priorities in the coming years within the global research landscape. The key scientific priorities are the detailed study of the Higgs boson and the continued exploration of the high-energy frontier, both seen as two crucial and complementary ways to address the leading open questions in particle physics.

17 June 2020
UK space sector gets a boost with the installation of a giant new satellite test chamber
UK space sector gets a boost with the installation of a giant new satellite test chamber

The UK’s space industry has received a major piece of new equipment to help get larger, more complex satellites ready for launch. A 16m long space test chamber, amongst the giants of Europe, has been installed in the UK’s National Satellite Test Facility in Oxfordshire

11 June 2020
UK Research and Innovation seeks further council members
UK Research and Innovation seeks further council members

Council members play a critical role in UKRI’s strategy development and governance, working with their Executive Chair to deliver their council's aims and objectives and to support UKRI's overall mission.

11 June 2020
Could coffee be the world's first ever commodity traded with satellite data?
Could coffee be the world's first ever commodity traded with satellite data?

In a plantation in the Brazil’s south eastern state of São Paulo, fintech start-up Trade in Space is pioneering the meshing of blockchain trading with satellite data – to drive efficiencies for growers to the end-user customer.

11 June 2020
Designing new radiotherapy technologies to treat cancer in low and middle-income countries
Designing new radiotherapy technologies to treat cancer in low and middle-income countries

A new project supported by STFC aims to design and develop new radiotherapy technologies to give more cancer patients in Sub-Saharan Africa access to radiotherapy, and save lives.

09 June 2020
Simulation and machine learning techniques at STFC's Hartree Centre could improve the way we treat diseases
Simulation and machine learning techniques at STFC's Hartree Centre could improve the way we treat diseases

Research carried out at STFC’s Hartree Centre could help reduce the cost and speed up the development of new types of drugs, such as for cancer therapies or new types of antibiotics.  The research, which focuses on a specific type of peptide, could improve the way we treat diseases in the future.

08 June 2020
New Executive Director announced for UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
New Executive Director announced for UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has announced today that business development expert, Paul Vernon, will take the helm as the new Executive Director of Business and Innovation. He will play a critical role in helping STFC shape and deliver a business and innovation strategy.

Last updated: 28 October 2019

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