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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/

21 September 2020
Laser insight could lead to petrol being replaced by a fuel from renewable sources
Laser insight could lead to petrol being replaced by a fuel from renewable sources

Researchers working at STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) investigating catalyst materials used in the production of gasoline from simple hydrocarbons, such as methanol, have made a new and unexpected discovery that could help to reduce the cost, and environmental impact, of the process.

09 September 2020
New published papers reveal how new instrument MOONS will be used in astronomy
New published papers reveal how new instrument MOONS will be used in astronomy

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) has published three papers about ground-breaking instrument, MOONS.

03 September 2020
What do microscopy and astronomy have in common?
What do microscopy and astronomy have in common?

…cool tech that helps us to see more clearly through 3D biological tissue samples and into the Universe.

11 August 2020
STFC's Susan Smith recognised for her professional contributions to accelerator science
STFC's Susan Smith recognised for her professional contributions to accelerator science

Congratulations to Professor Susan Smith, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, who has been recognised with the 2020 Group Prize for Outstanding Professional Contributions. This annual prize recognises outstanding individuals who have contributed to the field of accelerator science and technology in the UK or Ireland and raised its public profile.

20 July 2020
Exploring planets with a rover – from home!
Exploring planets with a rover – from home!

What links the UK’s deepest working mine with remote schools in the Scottish highlands? The answer: Remote3, a school robotics project funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

15 July 2020
Sci-fi comic gives voice to young people during pandemic
Sci-fi comic gives voice to young people during pandemic

PLANET DIVOC-91, an exciting new webcomic released this week, wants to bring COVID-19 issues to the fore in a unique way for young people.

13 July 2020
Engineered llama antibodies neutralise Covid-19 virus
Engineered llama antibodies neutralise Covid-19 virus

New research from the UK shows that antibodies derived from llamas are able to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus in lab tests.

07 July 2020
What she did next! – a work experience case study
What she did next! – a work experience case study

In October 2017 Louisa Arnell, then a school pupil, came to the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC)’s UK Astronomy Technology Centre (UK ATC) in Edinburgh, to participate in a week-long work experience placement.

06 July 2020
STFC team helps national consortium deliver 13,437 ventilators
STFC team helps national consortium deliver 13,437 ventilators

Technicians, engineers and scientists from STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have helped deliver 13,437 ventilators as part of Ventilator Challenge UK, more than doubling the stock available to the NHS.

06 July 2020
New space start-up Craft Prospect – graduates from business incubation programme at the Higgs Centre for Innovation
New space start-up Craft Prospect – graduates from business incubation programme at the Higgs Centre for Innovation

Craft Prospect – the NewSpace company providing quantum and AI-enabled space technologies for small satellite space missions – is the first incubatee to graduate from the business incubation centre (BIC) at the Higgs Centre for Innovation.

Last updated: 28 October 2019

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