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Teesside students play a part in promoting space travel

17 April 2015 @TeessideUni


Teesside University students are helping to promote space travel and the arduous preparation involved in becoming an astronaut.

A group of five students were invited to London to take part in an Ideas Hack event as part of the Space to Earth Challenge, organised by The Ideas Foundation, Venture Thinking and the British Triathlon Trust.

Animation students Ruthie Nielson, Vicky Wainwright and Jade Hallitt, psychology student Alex Kerry and sports and exercise student Lukasz Kupczak joined other participants from across the country to begin work on devising a programme of activities linked to astronaut Tim Peake’s preparation for his Principia mission which will take him to the International Space Station later this year.

The organisers brought together a diverse range of people including students of all ages, teachers and scientists to start planning an engaging programme to encourage children to become more active, using Tim Peake as a role model.

Vicky, 20, originally from Scarborough, said: 'During the day we worked with a variety of people from different ages and backgrounds, such as creative, sport and science.

'We brainstormed ideas to help kids get active using Tim Peake as someone to look up to, as he has to be very fit and active in order to do his job. We worked in groups to devise a name and logo, before shaping ideas on how to promote the project through schools and social media.'

She added: 'I genuinely enjoyed every part of it and I feel like we came up with some fantastic ideas too.'

Ruthie, 20, originally from Pitstone, in Buckinghamshire, said: 'I became involved as the organisers contacted the University as they were looking for an animator to go to London with a couple of other students for the Space to Earth challenge.

'We were all asked to bring a space related object, for a sort of show and tell. The most exciting of all of the objects was what Lucy Hawking brought – her dad Stephen Hawking’s zero gravity suit.'

She added: 'We came up with ideas to encourage teenagers to record their progress and be rewarded for exercising. I had a really great day, meeting new people and being creative. It was great to see people of different ages coming together to design an inspirational programme.'

The students' involvement builds on the recent success of a Mission X event hosted by Teesside University, as part of a nationwide initiative providing students with more information about the science and technology behind space exploration and the healthy lifestyle required to pursue a career as an astronaut.

The Mission X event saw the University team up with the UK Space Agency to host an astronaut bootcamp for pupils from Freebrough Academy in Brotton, Thornaby Academy and Manor Community Academy in Hartlepool.

During Mission X the pupils experienced the extreme cold of the University's environmental chamber, weightlessness in the state-of-the-art hydrotherapy pool, built rockets and sampled freeze dried space food. Following the event four pupils from Freebrough Academy were invited by the UK Space Agency to visit the Houses of Parliament and present to the Parliamentary Space Committee, members of the UK Space Agency and the Astronomical Society. They also had the opportunity to hear ministers debate the importance of space exploration.

Abbie English, Recruitment Officer in Teesside University’s Department of External Relations, said: 'This is the beginning of a series of projects with the UK Space Agency and we are looking forward to giving more young people in the North East the chance to take part in something so innovative and exciting.'