Clwyd West MS Darren Millar is calling on school children in Denbighshire and Conwy to consider taking part in an exciting Mars science experiment.
The STEM outreach programme, MARSBalloon, which opens for registration today, 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 all across the UK and there is no cost to take part in the project other than that of experiment materials and postage.
Thales Alenia Space’s MARSBalloon team will launch a high altitude balloon to an altitude of 30km, more than twice the height of commercial airliners, where they will be above 99% of Earth’s atmosphere.
Students can work to together to create Mars experiments that fit inside a small egg shaped capsule, which you post to Thales Alenia Space so they can include them in the launch. 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.
After the balloon’s flight, the MARSBalloon team will track the landing and recover the experiments, allowing them to be returned to the students for analysis. Pictures and video of the flight are also made available so pupils can watch and see what happens to their experiments during the flight.
Encouraging young people in Conwy and Denbighshire to take part, Darren said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for any young person with an interest in science and I really hope that primary and secondary school children in Clwyd West sign up to take part.
“The MARSBalloon project is designed to inspire the next generation to get excited about space and this year will also have a competitive element, with prizes being awarded for Best Innovation, Best Decoration, Engineers Choice and VIP Judge’s Choice.
“The deadline for registration is 1st April 2022 with the launch of the balloon in early June.”
Teachers can find out more about the Mars Balloon experiment and download the teacher pack here: https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/futuremartians