Youngsters will have the chance to present their work to experts from the space industry at a conference hosted by the University of Portsmouth later this year.
The Principia Schools Conference, on Wednesday, 2 November, is being organised by the UK Space Agency in collaboration with the University’s Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG).
Selected pupils will exhibit their work linked to Tim Peake’s Principia space mission and meet experts from the space industry. British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake will attend the event, subject to his operational requirements. He is currently on the International Space Station, which orbits some 250 miles above Earth.
Director of ICG, Professor Bob Nichol, said: “We are so excited to have been chosen as a host institution for this conference. Tim is an alumnus of our University, having graduated in 2006, so it’s great there is a chance to have him back with us after such a successful decade away.
“While he was in training for his Principia mission, Tim kindly joined us via videoconferencing for the National Astronomy Meeting in 2014 in Portsmouth. It was amazing to see how much the children of Portsmouth enjoyed talking to Tim remotely from Russia, so I can only imagine their reaction if he is here in person.”
The competitive application process to attend the conference opens today. Individuals or groups of schoolchildren are required to submit a summary of their project or work before Thursday, 15 September. The judging panel will be made up of representatives from the UK Space Agency, ESA and the many Principia education projects.
Dr Jen Gupta, SEPnet/Ogden Outreach Officer from the University’s ICG, is helping to organise the event. She said: “Tim’s mission is hugely inspirational and it’s brilliant that schoolchildren in the UK can get involved with so many different aspects of the Principia mission, from monitoring radiation levels on the International Space Station to growing rocket from seeds taken into space.
“This conference is a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the mission and the fantastic work being done by children across the country. We hope that lots of our local schools will get involved and submit applications to attend the event.”
A second conference will take place at the University of York on Saturday, 5 November. Click here for more information about taking part in the conferences.