Schoolchildren taught all about space exploration during USW visit

The schoolchildren from Newport who attended the Mission X day at USW's Treforest campus. Neil Gibson, June 2018

The schoolchildren from Newport who attended the Mission X day at USW's Treforest campus.


HUNDREDS of schoolchildren from Newport heard from a potential astronaut at a special science event at the University of South Wales (USW).

The pupils were told all about the experiences of Dr Suzie Imber, an associate professor of planetary science at the University of Leicester, during the Mission X day at USW.

Dr Imber won BBC programme ‘Astronauts: Do you have what it takes?’, which led to a recommendation for her to join the European Space Agency.

Organised by AstroCymru, which aims to engage and inspire its audience and promote STEM (science, technology, education and mathematics) subjects, Alex Brown and Nazneen Amin from the UK Space Agency also attended the USW event to highlight what Mission X is all about.

The international educational challenge - Mission X: Train like an Astronaut - focuses on fitness and nutrition, and encourages students to train like a space explorer.

The children learn principles of healthy eating and exercise, carry out training modules, practise scientific reasoning and teamwork, while participating in hands-on training missions. Many of the lessons and activities are linked to the science curriculum and have a clear focus on health and nutrition. 

Pupils from Clytha primary in Newport at Mission X day. June 2018The pupils also had a chance to look around USW, and given a tour of the specialist aircraft maintenance engineering facilities used to train the next generation of aeroplane engineers.

During the tour, senior lecturer Craig Thomas explained how planes fly and gave the youngsters a look at the two aircraft housed in USW on-site hangars at Treforest Campus.

“It was a great experience for me to talk to so many youngsters about the principles of flight,” he said.

“I’m used to teaching students who are a bit older than those who attended the Mission X Day, but the questions were as tough as those I get from the students who are studying at USW, and show how interested the schoolchildren were in what we do here at the university.”

Emma Wride, the UK Space Agency's Space Ambassador for Wales, added: “Giving the children the opportunity to attend events like these, see what space flight, aeroplanes, engineering, and science it all about, and inspiring the next generation of experts, is what the day was all about. We can’t thank USW enough for allowing us the use of its facilities, and giving a children a first-hand look at what they can achieve.” 

#Aircraft Maintenance Engineering