You’ve made it to the final day of the Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Treasures Family Space Camp. It has been an action-packed week and we have learnt about training for space, getting to space and what it is really like to live, work and eat in space. Our mission today is to travel past the ISS and explore the planets and stars farther away.
We live on a planet that is just the right distance from the sun, not too hot, not too cold, in a solar system of eight planets, in a galaxy of millions of other stars, in an observable universe of trillions of other galaxies.
Looking out from our planet can fill us with wonder and inspire us to look further and understand more. Some of these wonders are visible to the naked eye but there is so much more out there. To tell us all about stargazing we will be joined by David Moore from Astronomy Ireland. David is one of Ireland’s best-known astronomers and in 1990 he founded Astronomy Ireland which has grown to become the biggest astronomy society in the world relative to our population.
Today we will also explore astrophotography, which is photographing the night sky and we have some beautiful examples of images taken by astrophotographers in Ireland.
As you learnt throughout the week, Ireland has a rich history in space and there are many places around the country that families can visit to learn more about astronomy and explore the night sky. One of these places is Dunsink Observatory based in Castleknock, Dublin. Today we’re taking inspiration from the trip to Dunsink for our make-and-do challenge and we want all of you at home to build your own model solar system.
In our solar system you have our sun, the eight planets, the moons of those planets, a dwarf planet, and lots of asteroids, comets and meteoroids. We are going to make a simplified version of our solar system. Here’s what you’ll need*:
- Large black card
- Silver pen/pencil/chalk
- Styrofoam balls or blank paper for the planets
- Coloured markers or paint
We know many of you that have tuned in throughout the week now might even be thinking about how you can work in this area. The great news is there are lots of different careers and professions that feed into the space sector; we have the launch, the living, the exercise, the living, the experiments, the design, the food and much more. We’ve seen that Ireland has a rich connection with the space sector and it is great to see more and more opportunities opening here. We’ll be hearing from Lana Salmon, a PhD student in the UCD Space Science Group, who also works on EIRSAT-1, building Ireland’s first satellite.
Of course, we couldn’t let this fantastic week finish up without bringing you an astronaut who has actually flown to space. We are absolutely honoured to be joined by former NASA astronaut Dan Tani. Dan has flown two space missions, performing six space walks and has logged 152 days in space.
Before Norah and Mark sign off from Family Space Camp, they set themselves one final challenge to test themselves at Vertigo – the indoor skydiving centre in Belfast.
The end of today’s episode unfortunately brings an end to our space journey together, but hopefully it is just the beginning of yours. Some of you watching may even be the first space tourists, our future astronauts and maybe some of you will even set foot on another planet. This week you’ve seen what it takes to get to space, live in space, you’ve built your own rockets and we’ve met some incredible people working in the space industry.
As we officially sign off from Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Treasures Family Space Camp 2020 we hope we have inspired you all to follow your dreams and maybe even become the first Irish person in space.