Out of this world trip for Wisbech students creates buzz around space exploration
- Credit: Archant
Students experienced what the descent back to earth was like for British astronaut Tim Peake when a virtual reality bus visited a Wisbech school.
The visit at Thomas Clarkson Academy (TCA) was part of The National Tour of Tim Peake’s Spacecraft presented by Samsung and the Science Museum Group.
The aim was to create a buzz around space exploration and to bring to life the STEM subjects of science and maths.
Astronaut Tim Peake spent 186 days working on the International Space Station (ISS) where, during his first month, he conducted a spacewalk to repair the station’s power supply.
Tim returned to earth on June 18 2016 in a Soyuz TMA-19M capsule, which has been on display at various locations around the UK and most recently, at Peterborough Cathedral.
As part of the project, the interactive bus has been developed to give students an insight into space travel and what life is like for astronauts working on the ISS.
The lower deck is designed to look like the ISS, complete with views of earth.
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TCA students completed four modules of space training, including taking off in a rocket and landing safely back down to earth.
Subjects like chemistry were brought to life when students had to work out the correct quantities of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen to make rocket fuel.
They also had to draw on maths skills to calculate the correct angles required for a safe decent to earth.
Students learned that much of the original 1950s technology is still in use and heard how the ISS has been developed by different countries over time.
On the upper deck, students donned Samsung Gear VR headsets to experience in 12 minutes, the 3.5-hour descent to earth that Tim Peake completed, narrated by the astronaut himself.
Event Manager Edward Hall said: “The purpose of the tour bus is to get students interested in science and space, to let them know what’s happening and how exciting it is. We want to inspire them to learn more about science and engage with it as a subject.”
Older primary school pupils were also invited in to visit the bus, as part of an on-going partnership between TCA and primary schools to develop the teaching of science.
Year 13 student, Dylan Graham, said: “I was mesmerised by the experience. What I found amazing was that astronauts can be so high up in space – 400km - and then be back down to earth so quickly.”