World Space Week and the National Space Academy
- Published on Wednesday, 26 October 2016
In celebration of World Space Week, the National Space Academy along with the Abingdon Science Partnership ran a masterclass for students from three local schools, all with a keen interest in Astronomy.
Hosted at the Abingdon School for Boys' recently opened Yang Science Centre, the students, who are all taking GSCE Astronomy, were provided with a full day Physics Masterclass by lead educator Robin Mobbs.
Robin took the students on a journey beginning with what it takes to become an astronaut; even providing an analogue space suit for the students to dress up in.
He then took them through the stages of a launch, at each point referring the students back to the scientific principles involved such as Newton's Laws of motion.The narrative continued, with the students looking at how atmospheric pressure governs the lives of astronauts, which was demonstrated by examining marshmallows expand in a syringe, and even watching as water is boiled at a reduced pressure.
Robin then demonstrated how to build a comet for the students, to enable them to understand not just the physical, but some of the chemical, and biological processes as well, involved in the forming of comets at the deepest reaches of our solar system.
The day culminated in a rocket building competition, with each student aiming to achieve the longest time of flight.
The students were even given an early preview of the AstroAcademy: Principia videos that were produced by the National Space Academy, and filmed aboard the International Space Station by Tim Peake.
One of the participating students said 'I had expected it to be like a lesson, but it was much more fun'!