Giant leap to make space programme

Some of the pupils with astronaut Commander Tony Antonelli at last week's space school, hosted by the University of the West of Scotland. Around 200 students from across the region were involved in the project.
Some of the pupils with astronaut Commander Tony Antonelli at last week's space school, hosted by the University of the West of Scotland. Around 200 students from across the region were involved in the project.

Secondary scholl pupils from South Lanarkshire are waiting eagerly to find out if their science experiments will be launched into outer space as part of a programme hosted by the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).

Schools from across the region have been involved with the Mission Discovery project, which the university has run with the International Space School Education Trust (ISSET).

The week-long space school, held last week, has involved around 200 pupils from South Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde council areas, and UWS students, in a range of hands-on science experiments in the hope that theirs will be chosen to be tested in space by NASA astronauts.

As well as devising their experiments, the pupils and students learned more about what life is like in outer space from former NASA astronaut Tony Antonelli, who was the Space Shuttle Discovery pilot on the STS-119 mission to the International Space Station in 2009.

The purpose of Mission Discovery is to teach young people about space and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related subjects, in a unique and engaging way. The initiative’s aim is to raise the aspirations of students to consider STEM subjects while demonstrating the breadth of career options they offer.

Commander Antonelli said: “It has been a pleasure to meet participants of Mission Discovery at the University of the West of Scotland this week. The students have really impressed me during the week-long endeavour with their innovative and creative ideas, and it has been great to see the University supporting so many students onto the programme.

It is an incredible opportunity to have your idea used as an experiment on the International Space Station, and it’s been fascinating to watch the ideas develop over the last few days. A huge well done must go to all involved.”