World Space Week 2020 at Surrey: Launch kids into space
Here’s our list of five cool – and free – activities to excite both children and adults alike about exploring space. Even better, you can do them from the comfort of your own home!
1 Visit the International Space Station (ISS)
Taking a journey to a spacecraft orbiting 400km (250miles) above Earth may be a stretch for an early evening walk. There is, however, a live feed from the ISS. As the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, there’s a sunrise or a sunset to enjoy every 45 minutes. If the live feed isn’t working, the channel streams previously recorded footage. Which is still pretty fantastic.
2 Snap a selfie next to Andromeda
The Nasa Selfies app is great fun. Download the app in android or IoS, take a head shot and the app uploads your face into an astronaut’s helmet and places you against an amazing background from somewhere in the universe. Locations range from the Milky Way to the Sombrero Galaxy. Yes. That is a real thing.
3 Watch NASA TV
The Great British Bake-off may be brilliant, but it’s not going to feature anything this fabulous. No matter how much you like cake! NASA TV has around-the-clock content on all manner of space-related topics. It also provides a live stream of not-to-be-missed events, such as upcoming rocket launches. If you want to see something truly awe-inspiring, their collection of Ultra High Definition Videos is worth a look. Mercury’s transit of the Sun (above) is particularly stunning. Not to be outdone, the European Space Agency has a live TV feed that’s similarly superb.
4 Spot Mars
As long as there’s no pesky cloud cover, Mars is visible in the night sky at the moment. At 38.6million miles away, it’s the closest the Red Planet will appear to Earth for another 15 years, so it’s an excellent time to view it. If you have a clear sky, you can spot it without the use of a telescope. Simply work out where the eastern sky is, look high and the planet should be easy to spot as a stunning reddish light. It reaches its highest point in the sky around midnight, should you have trouble sleeping. Planetary alignment means that Tuesday 13 October will be an excellent day to spot it.
5 Activities to inspire
The NASA website has a whole section of activities for kids of all ages. This includes films and downloadable PDF booklets to excite the next generation about the Artemis space programme. This will not only see humans return to the Moon in a bid to establish a base to use as a springboard for potential trips to Mars, but it will also see the first woman walk on the Moon.
Find out more about Surrey Space Centre.