CHILDREN across the city have been taking part in a Space Day to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landings in 1969.
To coincide with the second moon landing, which took place on November 20 of the same year, children from nine schools got to try on space suits, make rockets, operate a Mars Rover and even rescue an astronaut trapped on the moon. Pupils also enjoyed a space-themed lunch including moon cakes and Neil Armstroganoff.
Year 6 St John’s College pupil, Imogen Davies, 10, said: ‘It’s been a really fun day and the best bit was making and launching the rockets.’
Cottage Grove Primary School pupil, Jayden Marshall, nine, added: ‘I didn’t know much about the moon landings before today. I’ve found it really interesting and particularly enjoyed designing our rocket.’
The event, hosted by St John’s College, saw more than 50 children from Oakwood, Fernhurst, Cottage Grove, Northern Parade, Stamshaw, St Paul’s and Newbridge primary schools take part in a range of interactive workshops.
Science teacher and event organiser, Nick Jenkins, said: ‘It’s very important that children learn beyond the boundaries of our planet. At this age they are so enthusiastic and sparking an interest in space from an early age is important to hopefully carry through when they get to GCSEs and A-levels.’
It’s a sentiment shared by Charlie Barnville, director of marketing at the Winchester Space Centre, who were involved in running the workshops.
Charlie said: ‘Today is all about the children experiencing hands-on practical science. Learning about space provides children with a broader perspective that planet Earth is only one part of our solar system.’
Portsmouth aerospace company Airbus ran a workshop in which children got to operate a model of the company’s ExoMars Rover vehicle which is to be launched in 2020 with the mission to find life on Mars.
Airbus engineer John Chimner said: ‘There has been a fantastic response from the children who were all keen to ask questions. As a STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) ambassador I’m really keen to get involved in events like today. Some of these children could be the space engineers and astronauts of the future.’
Pupil, Sonia Grigore, 10, said: ‘I like science and would like to be an astronaut one day.’