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2013

Tayside Space Cadets return to Abertay this weekend

13 June 2013

The Tayside Space Cadets will be going through their final training at Abertay University this Saturday (June 15), ahead of the week-long summer school they will be attending in July.

Tayside Space School runs every year, and gives space cadets from Dundee and Perth the chance to see how the things they learn about in science at school are used by astronauts, and other types of scientists, to explore outer space.

Two sessions will run on Saturday: “Science Fun in Space” and “Food Contamination in Space”.

Speaking ahead of the event, Tayside Space School organiser Dr Alan Bruce – who will deliver the "Science Fun in Space" Session – said:

“All aspects of our everyday lives are governed by science and, although space exploration provides unique challenges, it nevertheless is governed by the same basic scientific principles as here on earth.

“On Saturday, we’ll be examining a range of Biology, Chemistry and Physics experiments to show how some of these principles – such as pressure, electrical currents and gaseous exchange – work, and we’ll then use them to demonstrate some of the particular challenges associated with space travel and exploration, and how we can overcome them.

“There’ll be lots of opportunities for the space cadets to try things for themselves, so hopefully, getting to try their hand at a few experiments will instil in them a curiosity which will stand them in good stead for the future should they decide to follow a career in science or in space travel.”

Jonathan Wilkin, who will be delivering the “Food Contamination in Space” session, said:

“In 'Food Contamination in Space' the space cadets will learn all about Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points – or HACCP – which is a food safety standard that was developed by NASA in the 1960s to prevent astronauts from getting food related illnesses.

“Although HACCP was developed for astronauts, it's now something that we use here on earth – in everything from restaurants to food manufacturing – to ensure food is safe for everyone. So the space cadets will get the chance to find out more about food safety and see for themselves why food hygiene is so important for keeping us safe and healthy.

“We'll do this by getting them to make a ham sandwich, using ham spiked with Wash and Glow ™ - a dust that, although invisible to the naked eye, glows when viewed under UV light. Wash and Glow ™ gets everywhere and is easily passed by hand contact, so when we shine the UV light on it, we’ll be able to investigate where they’ve been and what they’ve touched, and see how easy it is for bugs (bacteria) to be spread and for things to become contaminated.

“We’ll then get them to repeat the process, but add in a stage of washing their hands after touching the ham, to see what difference this makes. So hopefully, this hands-on experience with something as simple as making our lunch, will get them interested in food science and thinking about how they could use it in their future careers.”

Space School will culminate in a week-long summer school at Abertay University in July with a similar separate event running in Perth College for pupils from Perth & Kinross primary schools.

During that week, an astronaut and Space Educator will visit from NASA to help support local primary school teachers to run workshops, which will include “Mission to Mars” and “Rocket Launching”, where the children will get to carry out their own experiments and have the chance to ask any questions they may have about what it takes to get a job in the field of space exploration.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact Kirsty Cameron T: 01382 308935 M: 07922041198 E: k.cameron@abertay.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

Tayside Space School is run by Abertay University in conjunction with Dundee City Council and Perth & Kinross Council Education Departments, Dundee Science Centre and Discovery Point.

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