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WATCH: North-east schools encouraged to get involved with space project


By Kyle Ritchie

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Local schools have been encouraged to participate in an exciting project which could see their experiments sent into space.

The MARSBalloon project is designed to give young people practical experience of designing and testing things to go into space that could one day be destined for Mars.

It is open to secondary and primary age children and there is no cost to take part in the project other than that of experiment materials and postage.

The MARSBalloon project will carry more than 100 student experiments to an altitude of 30km where they will be above 99 per cent of Earth’s atmosphere.
The MARSBalloon project will carry more than 100 student experiments to an altitude of 30km where they will be above 99 per cent of Earth’s atmosphere.

Gordon MP Richard Thomson is writing to local schools urging them to get involved with the initiative.

The project is supported by Thales UK and run by enthusiastic STEM supporters from Thales Alenia Space that will test student ideas for technologies that could one day be destined for Mars.

The video below outlines more about the project:

Mr Thomson said: “The MARSBalloon will carry more than 100 student experiments to an altitude of 30km, more than twice the height of commercial airliners, where they will be above 99 per cent of Earth’s atmosphere.

"Along the way they will experience conditions very similar to the surface of Mars including temperatures of -50°C, pressures 1/100th that of sea level and an increased radiation dose.

“This allows students to test the response of electronics, materials, plants and even food to the conditions outside of a future Mars base, helping future explorers to prepare for this strange and hostile environment.

Gordon MP Richard Thomson.
Gordon MP Richard Thomson.

"The whole flight lasts approximately four hours and the MARSBalloon team will chase after the balloon to recover the experiments after landing, allowing them to be returned to the students for analysis.

“This is a great opportunity for local schools to get involved and enter their experiments for the competition.”

Teachers can find out more about the Mars Balloon experiment and download the teacher pack at https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/futuremartians


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