Connecting schools with space!
We were absolutely thrilled to help host the Let’s Talk Space two-hour online event, bringing together school children from Scotland, Ecuador and Houston, Texas, to discuss all things space with five astronauts. The event even included a live link with NASA to the International Space Station, where the children were invited to pose questions to the two astronauts.
The event was led by Professor David Alexander, director of the Rice Space Institute in Houston, and was supported by Kim McAllister, Paul McGinnity and Stephanie Koetsier from our team. Our senior communications consultant Kim hosted, speaking in both English and Spanish, and helped organise the event, while our frontend developer Paul worked behind the scenes, ensuring the event ran smoothly technically. Publishing assistant Stephanie assisted with social media promotion and live chat moderation on the day.
Also hosting the event was chief executive of Scottish space data company Space Intelligence, Dr. Murray Collins, and on the panel we had Lord David Willetts and Robert Aillon, President of Guayaquil Space Society, who both added their own funny anecdotes and interesting insights.
An astronomical 1,239 delegates signed up to listen to the astronauts as they answered the children’s questions, from how much does a space suit weigh to how much packaging is needed for food in space. Children got to hear from Bonnie Dunbar, Colonel Greg Johnson, Serena Auňón-Chancellor, and Kate Rubins and Shannon Walker, who are both currently on the International Space Station.
Professor David Alexander said: “It’s been a tough year for school children across the world, so we wanted to give them a unique opportunity, and the chance to talk to an astronaut is hard to beat.”
The event was also incredible in the fact that only 65 women have ever been in space, and we were lucky enough to have four of them on our webinar.
Kim McAllister said: “It was so inspiring to hear them talk about their work and the reality of being an astronaut. When we have such a gender imbalance in the science and technology sector, I felt very proud to showcase the work of these amazing women. Kate Rubins was the first person to sequence DNA in space and Shannon Walker is a Rice University graduate which was wonderful given that Professor Alexander made this event possible. We had Kate’s only downlink from the Space Station to Earth and it was a totally thrilling experience.”
The purpose of the event was to hopefully encourage more children, across the globe, to consider careers in space and science.
Professor David Alexander said: “The exploration of space is an international endeavour. I really wanted to involve schools from different countries and backgrounds and being a proud Scot based in Texas, Scotland was the first place on my list. Together with Houston and Guayaquil in Ecuador we have the opportunity to not only explore space but different cultures. We’re hoping it will be the start of something exciting, creating great relationships and inspiring students to pursue opportunities in the space sector. Talking live to the Space Station is a very rare event – we were so thrilled with the excitement it generated in the participating schools.”
The out of this world event on 8 April was recorded, so you can watch the event (above) or on YouTube by clicking the button belowWatch now