International Women’s Day 2019

Encouraging women into science

According to the Women in Science and Engineering (Wise) campaign’s latest analysis of UK labour market statistics, women make up just 23% of those in core science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) jobs.

Plus, there are still considerably more boys studying science than girls – the latest Higher Education and Skills Agency (HESA) statistics showed that only 25% of graduates from UK universities with degrees in science are women.

This International Women’s Day – we are highlighting the incredible achievements of some of the most influential and inspiring women in STEM….


Helen Sharman-The first UK astronaut & first woman to visit the Mir Space Station!

Helen Sharman!
Source – RocketSTEM

Helen Patricia Sharman is a British Chemist who became the first British astronaut and the first woman to visit the Mir Space Station in 1991!
Sharman was born in Grenoside, Sheffield on the 30th May 1963.

Project Juno

After responding to a radio advertisement asking for applicants to be astronauts for a mission to the Mir Space Station, Helen Sharman was selected for the mission live on ITV, on 25th of November 1989, ahead of nearly 13,000  other applicants.
Before launch, Sharman spent 18 months in intensive flight training in Star City.


Katherine Johnson – Calculated the trajectory of the 1961 flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space!

Katherine Johnson!
Source – NASA

Katherine Johnson is a former NASA mathematician.  Born on August 26, 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, Johnson began her career in 1953 at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the agency that preceded NASA, one of a number of African-American women hired to work as “computers” in what was then their Guidance and Navigation Department.


Working at NASA Langley Research Center  from 1953 until her retirement in 1986, Johnson made critical technical contributions which included, calculating the trajectory of the 1961 flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space.

She also played a crucial role in verifying the calculations made by early electronic computers of John Glenn’s 1962 launch to orbit and the 1969 Apollo 11 trajectory to the moon.
Johnson worked on the Space Shuttle Program and the Earth Resources Satellite and encouraged students to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics).


Mary Jackson – NASA’S First Black Female Engineer!  (1921 – 2005)

Mary Jackson at Work at NASA Langley!
Source – NASA

After two years in the computing pool, Mary Jackson received an offer to work for engineer Kazimierz Czarnecki in the 4-foot by 4-foot Supersonic Pressure Tunnel, a 60,000 horsepower wind tunnel capable of blasting models with winds approaching twice the speed of sound.  Czarnecki offered Mary hands-on experience conducting experiments in the facility, and eventually suggested that she enter a training program that would allow her to earn a promotion from mathematician to engineer. Trainees had to take graduate level math and physics in after-work courses managed by the University of Virginia.  Because the classes were held at then-segregated Hampton High School, however, Mary needed special permission from the City of Hampton to join her white peers in the classroom.  Never one to flinch in the face of a challenge, Mary completed the courses, earned the promotion, and in 1958 became NASA’s first black female engineer.  That same year, she co-authored her first report, Effects of Nose Angle and Mach Number on Transition on Cones at Supersonic Speeds.

Mary Jackson began her engineering career in an era in which female engineers of any background were a rarity; in the 1950s, she very well may have been the only black female aeronautical engineer in the field.


Dorothy Vaughan – NASA’s first African-American manager!  (1910 – 2008)

Dorothy Vaughan
Source – NASA

It’s easy to overlook the people who paved the way for the agency’s current robust and diverse workforce and leadership.  Those who speak of NASA’s pioneers rarely mention the name Dorothy Vaughan, but as the head of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA’s) segregated West Area Computing Unit from 1949 until 1958, Vaughan was both a respected mathematician and NASA’s first African-American manager.

Dorothy Vaughan came to the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in 1943, during the height of World War II, leaving her position as the math teacher at Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, VA to take what she believed would be a temporary war job.  Two years after President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 into law, prohibiting racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in the country’s defence  industry, the Laboratory began hiring black women to meet the skyrocketing demand for processing aeronautical research data.  Urgency and twenty-four hour shifts prevailed – as did Jim Crow laws which required newly-hired “coloured” mathematicians to work separately from their white female counterparts. Dorothy Vaughan was assigned to the segregated “West Area Computing” unit, an all-black group of female mathematicians, who were originally required to use separate dining and bathroom facilities.  Over time, both individually and as a group, the West Computers distinguished themselves with contributions to virtually every area of research at Langley.


Libby Jackson – The Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme Manager for the UK Space Agency!

Libby Jackson!

Libby Jackson is currently the Human Spaceflight and Microgravity Programme Manager for the UK Space Agency, so she is responsible for the UK’s Human Spaceflight and Microgravity programmes on the International Space Station (ISS).

She used to be a flight director on space missions, ensuring that everyone worked together and everything went according to plan.

Libby attended space school when she was 15, and that made her realise there was a space industry you could work in.  Then in Year 12,  she had to do a work placement and herself and a friend wrote to NASA – They never expected to get in, but to there amazement they were invited to do two weeks at the Johnson Space Center!

Libby has recently published a book –
A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space
From small steps to giant leaps, A Galaxy of Her Own tells fifty stories of inspirational women who have been fundamental to the story of humans in space, from scientists to astronauts to some surprising roles in between.


Valentina Tereshkova – First Woman in Space!

Valentina Tereshkova before her mission!
Source – Roscosmos


Interested in parachuting from a young age, Tereshkova began skydiving at a local flying club, making her first jump at the age of 22 in May 1959.  At the time of her selection as a cosmonaut, she was working as a textile worker in a local factory.

After the first human spaceflight by Yuri Gagarin, the selection of female cosmonaut trainees was authorised by the Soviet government, with the aim of ensuring the first woman in space was a Soviet citizen.

On 16 February 1962, out of more than 400 applicants, five women were selected to join the cosmonaut corps: Tatyana Kuznetsova, Irina Solovyova, Zhanna Yorkina, Valentina Ponomaryova and Valentina Tereshkova. The group spent several months in training, which included weightless flights, isolation tests, centrifuge tests, 120 parachute jumps and pilot training in jet aircraft.

Four candidates passed the final examinations in November 1962, after which they were commissioned as lieutenants in the Soviet air force (meaning Tereshkova also became the first civilian to fly in space, since technically these were only honorary ranks).

Originally a joint mission was planned that would see two women launched on solo Vostok flights on consecutive days in March or April 1963.  Tereshkova, Solovyova and Ponomaryova were the leading candidates.  It was intended that Tereshkova would be launched first in Vostok 5, with Ponomaryova following her in Vostok 6.

However, this plan was changed in March 1963: Vostok 5 would carry a male cosmonaut, Valeri Bykovsky, flying the mission with a woman in Vostok 6 in June. The Russian space authorities nominated Tereshkova to make the joint flight.

Valentina Tereshkova remains the only woman ever to have flown a solo space mission.

Her daughter Elena, was the first child born to parents who had both been in space.


Sally Ride – First American Female Astronaut!  (1951 – 2012)

Sally Ride poses on the Aft Flight Deck with her back to the on orbit station!
Source – NASA

One of six women selected in NASA’s 1978 astronaut class, Sally Ride was the first of them to fly.   When she rode aboard the space shuttle Challenger as it lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on June 18, 1983, she became the first American woman in space and captured the nation’s attention and imagination as a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers.  As one of the three mission specialists on the STS-7 mission, she played a vital role in helping the crew deploy communications satellites, conduct experiments and make use of the first Shuttle Pallet Satellite.  Her pioneering voyage and remarkable life helped, as President Barack Obama said soon after her death last summer, “inspire generations of young girls to reach for the stars” for she “showed us that there are no limits to what we can achieve.”

Fascinated by science from a young age, she pursued the study of physics, along with English, in school.
As she was graduating from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in physics, having done research in astrophysics and free electron laser physics, Ride noticed a newspaper ad for NASA astronauts.  She turned in an application, along with 8,000 other people, and was one of only 35 chosen to join the astronaut corps.  Joining NASA in 1978, she served as the ground-based capsule communicator, or capcom, for the second and third space shuttle missions (STS- 2 and STS-3) and helped with development of the space shuttle’s robotic arm.

.Retiring from NASA in 1987, she became a science fellow at the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University and, in 1989, joined the University of California-San Diego as a professor of physics and director of the California Space Institute. In 2001, she founded her own company, Sally Ride Science, to pursue her passion for motivating girls and boys to study the STEM fields-science, technology, engineering and math.  The company creates innovative classroom materials, programs and professional development training for teachers.
In 2003 she also served on the presidential commission investigating the Columbia accident (the only person to serve on both commissions).
In addition to this work, she wrote a number of science books for children, including The Third Planet, which won the American Institute of Physics Children’s Science Writing Award in 1995.

In 2003, Ride was added to the Astronaut Hall of Fame.   The Astronaut Hall of Fame honours astronauts for their hard work.


Roma Agrawal – A structural engineer on The Shard!

Roma Agrawal!
Source – IET

A structural engineer with a physics degree.   She has always loved science and design and found engineering to be a great combination between the two.

She has designed bridges, skyscrapers and sculptures with signature architects over her  ten year career.  She spent six years working on The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, and designed the foundations and the ‘Spire’.

In addition to winning industry awards, her career has been extensively featured in the media, including on BBC World News, BBC Daily Politics, TEDx, The Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, Guardian, The Telegraph, Independent, Cosmopolitan and Stylist Magazines, documentaries and in online blogs.  She was the only woman featured on Channel 4’s documentary on the Shard, ‘The Tallest Tower’.   Roma was part of M&S’s ‘Leading Ladies’ campaign 2014 and was described as a top woman tweeter by the Guardian

Outside work, Roma promotes engineering, scientific and technical careers to young people and particularly to under-represented groups such as women.   She also engages about these topics with the Institutions and government to understand and develop an effective way forward.    Roma has spoken to over 3000 people at over 50 schools, universities and organisations across the country and organisations across the country and abroad!

Roma has recently released a book –
Built: The Hidden Stories Behind our Structures
A unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to towers of steel that reach into the sky.


Ada Lovelace – The first ever computer programmer!  (1815 – 1852)

Ada Lovelace!
Source –

The idea that the 1840s saw the birth of computer science as we know it today may seem like a preposterous one, but long before the Bombe, the Colossus or the Harvard Mark I – long before any computer was actually built – came a remarkable woman whose understanding of computing remained unparalleled and unappreciated for 100 years.  Brought up in an era when women were routinely denied education, she saw further into the future than any of her male counterparts, and her work influenced the thinking of one of World War II’s greatest minds.

Fearing that Ada would inherit her father’s volatile ‘poetic’ temperament, her mother raised her under a strict regimen of science, logic, and mathematics.
Ada herself from childhood had a fascination with machines – designing fanciful boats and steam flying machines, and poring over the diagrams of the new inventions of the Industrial Revolution that filled the scientific magazines of the time.

in 1833, Lovelace’s mentor, the scientist and polymath Mary Sommerville, introduced her to Charles Babbage, the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics who had already attained considerable celebrity for his visionary and perpetually unfinished plans for gigantic clockwork calculating machines.  Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace both had somewhat unconventional personalities and became close and lifelong friends. Babbage described her as “that Enchantress who has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force which few masculine intellects could have exerted over it,” or an another occasion, as “The Enchantress of Numbers”.

In 1842 Lovelace translated a short article describing the Analytical Engine by the italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea, for publication in England.  Babbage asked her to expand the article, “as she understood the machine so well”.   The final article is over three times the length of the original and contains several early ‘computer programs,’ as well as strikingly prescient observations on the potential uses of the machine, including the manipulation of symbols and creation of music.
Although Babbage and his assistants had sketched out programs for his engine before, Lovelace’s are the most elaborate and complete, and the first to be published; so she is often referred to as “the first computer programmer”.
Babbage himself “spoke highly of her mathematical powers, and of her peculiar capability – higher he said than of any one he knew, to prepare the descriptions connected with his calculating machine.”


Maria Mitchell – The First Female Professional American Astronomer!
(1818 – 1889)

Maria Mitchell!
Source – Big Think Youtube

Maria Mitchell was an astronomer, librarian, naturalist, and above all an educator. She discovered a comet through a telescope, for which she was awarded a gold medal by the King of Denmark.  She was then thrust into the international spotlight and became America’s first professional female astronomer.

Her father was a great influence on her life; Maria developed her love of astronomy from his instruction on surveying and navigation.   At age 12, Maria helped her father calculate the position of their home by observing a solar eclipse.  By 14, sailors trusted her to do vital navigational computations for their long whaling journeys. Maria pursued her love of learning as a young woman, becoming the Nantucket Atheneum’s first librarian.
She and her father continued to acquire astronomical equipment and conduct observations.

On October 1st, 1847, Maria was sweeping the sky from the roof of the Pacific National Bank on Main Street, where her father was the Cashier.  She spotted a small blurry object that did not appear on her charts.  She had discovered a comet!
After achieving her fame, Maria was widely sought after and went on to achieve many great things.  She resigned her post at the Atheneum in 1856 to travel throughout the US and Europe.  In 1865, she became Professor of Astronomy at the newly-founded Vassar College.

Maria was an inspiration to her students. It was Vassar College that Maria felt was truly her home.  She believed in learning by doing, and in the capacity of women to achieve what their male counterparts could.  “Miss Mitchell” was beloved by her students whom she taught until her retirement in 1888.


Dr Stacey Habergham-Mawson – the manager of the National School’s Observatory!

Dr Stacey Habergham-Mawson!
Source – LJMU

Stacey is the manager of the National School’s Observatory and science outreach officer at the Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University.

Her work is specifically concentrated on the distribution of core-collapse supernovae in disturbed or merging galaxies.

She is very interested in the communication of physics, specifically astronomy, to the wider public.  Stacey believes it is extremely important to share the work that goes on at university level with both the tax-payers who fund the majority of this work, and with a younger generation who may be inspired by the content.

Most of her work to date has been related to looking at the local environments of CCSNe in galaxies which are undergoing collisions or interactions with other galaxies, compared to those in “normal” systems.


Dr Tamsin Edwards – Climate Scientist and Lecturer at King’s College London!

Dr Tamsin Edwards!
Source – @flimsin Twitter

Tamsin Edwards is a Climate Scientist and Lecturer at King’s College London!

As a Climate Scientist, she specialises in testing and assessing uncertainties for climate models, especially for the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheet contributions to future sea level rise.

Tamsin started her scientific career as a particle physicist before moving into climate science in 2006.

Her primary research focus lies in quantifying uncertainty in predictions from earth system models, including climate, cryosphere and vegetation – both in the interests of understanding past changes and predicting the range of possible futures.

Tamsin is also a popular science communicator and definitely an amazing role model for girls!

Sue Nelson – An award winning radio producer, science journalist and former BBC TV science and environment correspondent

Sue is an award winning radio producer, science journalist and former BBC TV science and environment correspondent.

She has reported on science for all the BBC’s national television and radio news programmes. She has presented numerous Radio 4 programmes, was editor of The Biologist (2010-15) and produces documentaries for BBC radio. She also co-produces/presents the Space Boffins podcast.

Sue is a published playwright, has written for a TV game show, most of the UK’s newspapers and has had several screenplays made into short films.

Sue has recently published a fantastic book –
Wally Funk’s Race for Space: The Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation Pioneer.

Sue is determined to inspire more girls to develop a love for space.

World Book Day 2019

Happy World Book Day

To celebrate we are sharing Ten Top STEM books –

In no particular order –

1 . Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to Earth – By Al Worden and Francis French

As command module pilot for the Apollo 15 mission to the moon in 1971, Al Worden flew on what is widely regarded as the greatest exploration mission that humans have ever attempted  He spent six days orbiting the moon, including three days completely alone, the most isolated human in existence.  During the return from the moon to earth he also conducted the first spacewalk in deep space, becoming the first human ever to see both the entire earth and moon simply by turning his head. The Apollo 15 flight capped an already impressive career as an astronaut, including important work on the pioneering Apollo 9 and Apollo 12 missions, as well as the perilous flight of Apollo 13.

Al is a lovely person with a wonderful sense of humour – this book is an inspirational read for all!


2.  Built: The Hidden Stories Behind our Structures – By Roma Agrawal

In BUILT, structural engineer Roma Agrawal takes a unique look at how construction has evolved from the mud huts of our ancestors to skyscrapers of steel that reach hundreds of metres into the sky.  She unearths how engineers have tunnelled through kilometres of solid mountains – how they’ve bridged across the widest and deepest of rivers, and tamed Nature’s precious and elusive water resources.  She tells vivid tales of the visionaries who created the groundbreaking materials in the Pantheon’s record holding concrete dome and the frame of the record-breaking Eiffel Tower.  Through the lens of an engineer, Roma examines tragedies like the collapse of the Quebec Bridge, highlighting the precarious task of ensuring people’s safety they hold at every step.

Roma’s passion for engineering is most certainly clear in BUILT!


3.  Ad Astra: An Illustrated Guide to Leaving the Planet – By Dallas Campbell

Whether you’ve got itchy feet and need a bit of a break, or you’re looking for a complete change of scene – this book has all the information you’ll need to leave, with FREE expert advice from the men and woman who can actually make it happen!
It covers the wonders that we can all feel about science, and more specifically space exploration, even if you’re not a professional scientist.
It’s fascinating, witty and imaginative!

If you’ve ever looked up into the skies or dreamed about leaving the planet – this book is definitely for you!

Dallas has a fantastic presenting style and his passion for STEM makes this book a compelling must-read!


4.  A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space – By Libby Jackson
From small steps to giant leaps, A Galaxy of Her Own tells fifty stories of inspirational women who have been fundamental to the story of humans in space, from scientists to astronauts to some surprising roles in between.
Packed full of both amazing female role models and mind-blowing secrets of space travel, A Galaxy of Her Own is guaranteed to make any reader reach for the stars!

Written by Libby Jackson, a leading UK expert in human space flight – this is a book to delight and inspire people of all ages.

Libby is an inspirational speaker and author – a truly lovely person to know!



5.  Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery – By Scott Kelly

A stunning, personal memoir from the NASA astronaut and modern-day hero who spent a record-breaking year aboard the International Space Station – a book that will inspire generations to come.

Scott gives a personal account of his year in space, from his training, to adjusting back to life on Earth!
A deeply absorbing and vivid look at a year in space, showing the importance of long duration space missions – that will help us explore further into the cosmos!
A truly inspirational book by an incredible, delightful and witty astronaut!



6.  Wally Funk’s Race for Space: The Extraordinary Story of a Female Aviation Pioneer – By Sue Nelson

In 1961, Wally Funk was among the Mercury 13, the first group of American pilots to pass the Woman in Space programme.  Wally sailed through a series of rigorous physical and mental tests, with one of her scores beating all the male Mercury 7 astronauts,  including John Glenn,  the first American in orbit.

But just one week before the final phase of training, the programme was abruptly cancelled.  A combination of politics and prejudice meant that none of the women ever flew into space.  Undeterred, Wally went on to become America’s first female aviation safety inspector, though her dream of being an astronaut never dimmed.

Sue is determined to inspire more girls to develop a love for space – Wally’s story is an inspiration for all!


7.  The Astronaut Selection Test Book: Do You Have What it Takes for Space? – By Tim Peake

Have YOU got what it takes to be an astronaut?

This book will help readers of all ages find out.  Featuring 100 real astronaut tests and exercises from the European Space Agency’s rigorous selection process, ranging from easy to fiendishly hard, The Astronaut Selection Test Book goes where no puzzle book has gone before.

Including puzzles and tests on:
· visual perception and logic
· mental arithmetic and concentration
· psychological readiness
· teamwork and leadership
· survival, physical and medical skills
· foreign languages (every astronaut has to know Russian!)
and much more.

This richly illustrated book draws on Tim Peake’s first-hand experience of applying to be an astronaut in 2008, when he and five others were chosen – out of over 8,000 applications!

Tim’s book is a fascinating read!


8.  Aliens: Science Asks: Is There Anyone Out There?: Science from the Other Side – Professor Jim Al-Khalili

Do Aliens Exist?


And if they do – what would they look like? Where would they live? Would they be conscious beings?  And what would happen if they found us?


These are the biggest questions we’ve ever asked – and here, Professor Jim Al-Khalili, theoretical physicist and host of BBC Radio Four’s The Life Scientific, blasts off in search of answers.  Coming with him are Martin Rees, Ian Stewart, Louisa Preston, Monica Grady, Sara Seager, Paul Davies and a crack team of scientists and experts who’ve made it their life’s work to discover the truth.

So get ready to visit the ice boulders and hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan, meet the tiny eight-legged critters that could survive in space and learn about the neuroscience behind belief in alien abductions.

Lively, curious and filled with scientific insights fresh from the cutting edge of the Galaxy.


9.  Hello World: How to be Human in the Age of the Machine – By Hannah Fry

You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate – a human or an algorithm?
An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgement – yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence.

Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not too distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who we send to prison.  So how much should we rely on them?  What kind of future do we want?

Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us.  In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.

This book is fantastic – you must read it!


10.  Quantum: A Guide For The Perplexed – By Jim Al-Khalili

From Schrodinger’s cat to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, this book untangles the weirdness of the quantum world.

Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself and yet it has been said that if you’re not shocked by it, you don’t understand it.  But is quantum physics really so unknowable?  Is reality really so strange?

Our journey into the quantum begins with nature’s own conjuring trick, in which we discover that atoms – contrary to the rules of everyday experience – can exist in two locations at once.  To understand this we travel back to the dawn of the twentieth century and witness the birth of quantum theory, which over the next one hundred years was to overthrow so many of our deeply held notions about the nature of our universe.  Scientists and philosophers have been left grappling with its implications every since.

We recommend this book to anyone who is seeking an introduction to quantum mechanics!’s ‘Galactic Outreach Workshops’ at World Museum Liverpool’s Stargazing Night – 25th January 2019!

In a unique collaboration with the World Museum Liverpool we were proud to be running our drop-in ‘build your own balloon car’ workshops and a Galactic Quiz with prizes at this spectacular stargazing event.

Visitors got to build a Balloon Car – while learning the science behind it – which they could take away with them!

During the event we ran the fastest balloon car competition!

We timed every balloon car on our ramp to the finish line and recorded all the times!

After sorting through the many lists of names we found our winner……..

The Lucky Winner was…..  Cora Bilsborough with her car ‘SHOOTING STAR!

Cora’s car had an amazing time of 1.06 seconds!

Cora was thrilled with her prize (below) –

The lucky winner with her prize

 Congratulations Cora – we hope you enjoy your prize!

Also, well done to all the other participants, all of the cars were exceedingly fast.


We took our new Galactic Photo Prop which was very popular with the visitors!
More photos of visitors with the photo accessory at the end of the article.

Also, we provided a new photo editing experience – space selfies!

Click here to view the Space Selfies


All of the visitors to our stand had a STEMtastic time!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.’s ‘Galactic Outreach Workshops’ at World Museum Liverpool’s Stargazing Night – 25th January 2019!

In a unique collaboration with the World Museum Liverpool we are proud to be running our drop-in ‘build your own balloon car’ workshops and a Galactic Quiz with prizes at this spectacular stargazing event.

Build a Balloon Car – while learning the science behind it – which you can take away with you!

The fastest car recorded over the event will win a surprise prize!

We will also have our Galactic Quiz with prizes and some friction challenges that will get you thinking.

Plus, we will be bringing our new Galactic Photo Prop.

We will also be providing our new photo editing experience – space selfies!



Our drop-in ‘build your own balloon car’ workshop is always extremely popular!

Find out more about the event here –

So come and find us, to have some fun and learn about astronomy, Newton’s Third Law of Motion and friction in the process!’s ‘Galactic Outreach Workshops’ at take pART, Llandudno – 12th & 13th January 2019!

We had a fantastic time running our drop-in ‘Camera Obscura’ workshops at take pART, Llandudno – 12th & 13th January 2019.

Visitors made Retro Pinhole Cameras – a device with a small hole that lets light through to show an image.

We also had our Galactic Quiz with prizes, some friction challenges that got the visitors thinking and a STEM themed raffle.

Plus, as an added extra on the Sunday – in addition to Pinhole Cameras – visitors got to make Shooting Star Hoop Gliders!

We took our new Galactic Photo Prop which was very popular with the visitors!
More photos of visitors with the photo accessory at the end of the article.


Also, we provided a new photo editing experience – space selfies!

Click here to view the Space Selfies


The lucky winner of our raffle was Techniquest Glyndwr Science Communicator – Kevin!
The prize was a signed photo of Helen Sharman (below).

All of the visitors to our stand had a STEMtastic time!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


On this day 3 years ago…..

On this day 3 years ago (15th January 2016) – Tim Peake became the first British ESA astronaut to perform a spacewalk!

Tim Peake uses the reflective coating of his space suit helmet to capture the ultimate space selfie!
Photo source – NASA/ESA.

Major Peake stepped outside the International Space Station’s Quest airlock, along with NASA astronaut Tim Kopra.

They scheduled to spend six and a half hours on the exterior of the outpost.

The astronauts completed the primary goal of the spacewalk: replacing a faulty component on the station’s exterior.

Tim Kopra exited the Quest airlock first, followed by his British colleague a few minutes later.  Kopra then proceeded to the worksite with a toolbox, where he anchored a foot restraint as an additional safety measure.  The US astronaut then gave a “Go” signal for Major Peake to follow the NASA astronaut, carrying the replacement electrical box.

They were told by Mission Control to ‘hang out’ for 10 mins until the Sun went down. The only way to protect them from the high voltage from the solar panels was to wait until it was dark – Tim Peake quoted “Most memorable 10 minutes of my life”.

NASA ended the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) after Tim Kopra reported a “small amount” of water in his helmet, but the flight director took the precaution of ending the event early.

The astronauts were outside the space station for four hours 43 minutes.’s ‘Galactic Outreach Workshops’ at take pART, Llandudno – 12th & 13th January 2019!

We will be running our drop-in ‘Camera Obscura’ workshops at take pART, Llandudno – 12th & 13th January 2019.

Make a Retro Pinhole Camera – a device with a small hole that lets light through to show an image.

We will also have our Galactic Quiz with prizes, some friction challenges that will get you thinking and a STEM themed raffle.


Plus, we will be bringing our new Galactic Photo Prop.

We will also be providing our new photo editing experience – space selfies!


The event is being held at Venue Cymru, Llandudno.

More information here –


So come and find us to have some STEM fun!

Brian May’s Tribute to NASA’s Celebrated New Horizons Mission

Brian May has debuted New Horizons, his first solo track in 20 years, to celebrate NASA’s mission that gave us our best ever look at Pluto and should, all being well, soon return images of Kuiper belt object Ultima Thule.

The song and its accompanying music video is a celebration of the science involved with the New Horizons mission.  Visuals show the probe’s mission to Pluto, including its Jupiter gravity assist.

The song starts with words spoken by Professor Stephen Hawking, explaining that New Horizons will teach us about how the solar system was formed.

May’s vocals then kick in with a comforting familiarity that Queen fans will recognise immediately.

He sings “New Horizons to explore, New Horizons no one’s ever seen before” while the video shows the probe leaving Earth’s orbit and heading out into the solar system.

Celebrating the whole 12-year Journey of New Horizons probe.  This is Brian’s personal tribute to the on-going NASA New Horizons mission.

The NASA spacecraft has flown past the most distant world ever studied by humankind – sparking jubilant celebrations from scientists.

The New Horizons spacecraft paid a visit to the tiny, icy world of Ultima Thule, which lies one billion miles beyond Pluto, in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Roughly 20 miles long and shaped like a giant peanut, the mysterious object lies four billion miles from Earth.

It will take an estimated 10 hours for flight controllers to find out whether the spacecraft has survived the close encounter and will find out if the pass was successful at about 3pm UK time.

Clear images of the cosmic body are expected to emerge in the coming days.

As crowds cheered at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, the mission’s lead scientist Alan Stern said: “Go New Horizons!  Never before has a spacecraft explored something so far away.”

John Spencer, from the Southwest Research Institute, added: “Now it is just a matter of time to see the data coming down.”

The spacecraft was aiming to collect about 900 images in a matter of seconds as it travelled past from a distance of approximately 2,000 miles.

More information coming soon……

On this day 3 years ago…………

Today (15.12.2018) is three years since Tim Peake launched to the International Space Station (ISS).

On the 15th December 2015 – Tim took the most exhilarating ride of his life, lifting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket with Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko and US astronaut Tim Kopra.

Source – European Space Agency

Dallas Campbell reported live from the launch in Kazakhstan.

Source – BBC

Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain presented live coverage of British astronaut Tim Peake’s arrival at the International Space Station, at the Science Museum in London.  They were joined by astronauts including former ISS commander Chris Hadfield and Helen Sharman.

Source – BBC

Since his Principia Mission, Tim has done many tours/talks, attended events, took on the role as a Scout ambassador, writing books and much more.

Young people have been inspired by Tim’s Principia Mission – they may not have had the interest in space subjects before, especially from a scientific or mathematical point of view, but have been drawn in through a number of different ways, such as competitions, challenges and experiments!


Congratulations Tim on all of your fantastic achievements!

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