Budding space scientists excel at Space School 2016
Second up for the School of Physical Sciences’ outreach team this summer was the annual Space School, running 29th-31st July. The weekend was attended by 24 students aged 14–18, from all across the country.
The students worked on three different projects during their time at the University; each project was linked to an area of research within the Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CAPS) and followed on from lectures from CAPS staff Professor Mark Burchell, Dr Stephen Lowry, and Dr Kathryn Harriss.
The projects saw the students coding in IRAF to produce light curves and using them to determine the shapes and rotation rates of asteroids; using an Arduino to design, code, and build their own instrumentation devices to measure the atmosphere of other planets; and analysing some of the many impact plates from the light gas gun to perfect their own design for a Whipple shield. In between these projects, the team ran yet another successful rocket launch, with many of this year’s egg payloads surviving their violent return to Earth!
The weekend got overwhelmingly positive feedback, with 96% of the students giving the weekend 4+ stars out of 5. With this kind of response, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the event had a stunning impact, with 96% saying that the event increased their interest in Physics and 92% saying they would consider studying for a degree in the subject. We look forward to seeing them in a few years!