Space-Age Engineering

Posted on: 30/04/2018

On 28th March, half of Year 7 went on a Science trip to the Airbus Foundation Discovery Space, Stevenage where we engaged with many interesting activities. After an initial briefing, we had time to explore a room which had many scientific interactives to do with space exploration, for example: magnetic phenomena, charcoal claw machine, an air table with fascinating shapes that hover above the surface, and a cube puzzle.

Then we went to a room where we could see the actual Mars yard where the ExoRover is tested before it travels to Mars, and this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We had a presentation from an engineer about the Mars ExoRover mission - there were some incredible facts that were discussed with the class, e.g. why the ExoRover has six legs which walk across the surface for better flexibility on unknown terrain.

In the afternoon, we took part in a challenge programming Lego Mind-storm Rovers, to simulate the type of work engineers controlling Mars Rovers would face. In teams, the task was to code our rovers to follow a path as fast and accurately as possible, with the winner getting a prize. The programming was similar to Scratch (which we learned in primary school), so we were very familiar with how to use the Lego Mindstorms program. After we concluded the race, we had to look at rock samples under microscopes connected to a computer. Using our observation skills, we recorded our notes in a table and used this to deter­mine what rock type they could be. For example, we looked at obsidian which is an igneous rock formed from cooling lava. We also looked at graphite, which is a metamorphic rock and is the most stable form of carbon at room temperature. Lastly, we wore special glasses to watch a 3-d documentary about how, billions of years ago, the solar system gained shape from a swirling cloud of gas and dust.

In conclusion, we found the trip to Airbus stimulating, fun, and interesting.

Written by: Moez Anwar 7MMO and Prince Patel 7ACA

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