Wednesday 12 December 2018

 Space for All

The Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) within the Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation has cooperated with Esplora and the European Space Agency (ESA) on a space-related event entitled Space for All: Observing Earth from Space. The event was held at Esplora National Interactive Science Centre, Kalkara. The initiative is part of the Space Education Programme funded through MCST’s National Space Fund and supported by ESA and the Ministry of Education and Employment.

Space for All, which was attended by 230 secondary school students, was an opportunity to learn more about the benefits brought about by satellites observing the Earth. Amongst other activities, the event featured hands-on workshops that helped appreciate the significance of satellite imagery over Malta in a fun and exciting way. The event also included a special edition space-related planetarium film in Esplora’s full dome Colour Space 4K theatre system. The film journeyed into the International Space Station’s role in the development of various commodities that each and every one of us uses in our daily lives. It exposed how many things learned in space are already benefiting life right here on Earth. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet Maltese researchers working in the sector, as well as experts from the European Space Agency.

The Executive Chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology, Dr. Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando publicly launched MCST’s Space Education Programme at the start of this event. He said that “for the first time in Malta, this programme brings space-related extra-curricular activities developed by the European Space Agency to local schools.” The CanSat Malta Competition and the AstroPi challenge, which are amongst such activities, are now open to all Maltese students. A CanSat is a simulation of a satellite that fits in a soft drink can. Such student-built devices are then launched to an altitude of a few hundred metres by a rocket and transmit mission data as they descend by parachute. The similarly exciting AstroPi challenge is a coding activity where the student-written code is run on the International Space Station.

The Minister for Education and Employment, Hon. Evarist Bartolo, said that “Space Education is important for all of us as it helps us better understand the world we live in. This is because the data provided by satellites observing the Earth is relevant to various sectors.”

A message specially recorded for this occasion by ESA astronaut Tim Peake encouraged the Maltese public to make the most of the space-related opportunities made available through ESA and the Malta Council for Science and Technology. He encouraged researchers and start-up companies to venture into the ever-growing downstream space sector and make the most of MCST’s Space Research Fund. He also encouraged students to explore the wonderful world of space applications through Malta’s Space Education Programme, which is closely supported by the European Space Agency.

Space for All, including the workshops and the Planetarium film, will be also open to the general public on Saturday 24th November 2018.

For further information related to the Space Education Programme, please visit http://mcst.gov.mt/space-directorate/sep/

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