’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 will 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!

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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!

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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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Top 10 – STEM Christmas Gift Book List 2018

With Christmas fast approaching, you are probably looking for perfect gifts for your family and friends etc – here is our ‘Top 10 – STEM Christmas Gift Book List 2018’.

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 Techniquest Glyndwr’s Christmas Market – 1st December 2018!

We had a fantastic time running our drop-in ‘Be Mystified – The Forces of Science!’ workshops at Techniquest Glyndwr’s Christmas Market – 1st December 2018.

We were running two different drop-in activities and some friction challenges:
Be Mystified – The Forces of Science!

Visitors made Hoop Gliders with a shooting star twist and Thaumatropes, while learning the science behind them!
Plus, we had some friction challenges that got them thinking!

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!

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Congratulations to brothers Jonah & Dylan who were the lucky winners of our raffle – the prize was a signed photo of Helen Sharman (below)!

Jonah (left) and Dylan (right) were thrilled with their prize!

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

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Touchdown for NASA’s InSight Mission!

26th November 2018 – Mars received its newest robotic resident.  NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (485-million-kilometre) journey from Earth.

The NASA InSight spacecraft launched on-board a United Launch Alliance Atlas-V rocket, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California – Saturday, 5th May 2018.

InSight’s two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

The landing signal was relayed to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, via NASA’s two small experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, which launched on the same rocket as InSight and followed the lander to Mars.  They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space.  After successfully carrying out a number of communications and in-flight navigation experiments, the twin MarCOs were set in position to receive transmissions during InSight’s entry, descent and landing.

Photo source – NASA

With InSight safely on the surface of Mars, the mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is busy learning more about the spacecraft’s landing site.  They knew when InSight landed that the spacecraft had touched down on target, a lava plain named Elysium Planitia.  Now they have determined that the vehicle sits slightly tilted (about 4 degrees) in a shallow dust and sand-filled impact crater known as a “hollow”.  InSight has been engineered to operate on a surface with an inclination up to 15 degrees.


NASA Insight’s First Photo on Mars –

We look forward to NASA Insight’s future discoveries!’s ‘Galactic Outreach Workshops’ at the Launch event for the Snowdonia Solar System Trail – 29th November 2018!

We had a great time running our Mars Mission egg drop workshop at Snowdonia Solar System Trail for adults and children – 29th November 2018!

We held a competition to test which participants expensive technical equipment (an egg) would survive the long drop from the probe to the surface of Mars.

We challenged the participants to design and make a protective lander for the equipment so that it landed safely on Mars.

They designed and built Mars landers from a range of materials.
The landers were then be put to the test to see which would survive the impact.

They had to minimize the force of the impact in order to give their eggs the best chance of survival!

They learnt about acceleration, velocity,  gravity and much more!


The participants were split in two groups – so we held two sessions with competitions.

The two winning landers in group 1 were built by…….

Jacek with his fantastic lander and Team ‘Jo Mission Mars’ – Olimpia and Jan!

From left to right: Olimpia, Jan and Jacek receiving their prizes.


The two winning landers in group 2 were built by…….

Carys and Eleth!

Carys and Eleth receiving their prizes.


Congratulations to Jan, who was the lucky winner of our raffle – the prize was a signed photo of Helen Sharman (below).

Jan was thrilled with his prize!

All of the event participants had a
STEMtastic time!

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