The goal of Spaceship Earth is to inspire, engage and educate teachers, students and the public about STEM through launching five high-altitude balloons from Ireland to the ‘Edge of Space’ and back on 2 July 2021.
Space is an amazing way to enthuse people about STEM. Furthermore given the current justifiable concern for Climate Change, the ability of high- altitude balloons to carry student projects & cameras to the “Edge of Space” into the stratosphere (~30,000m), allows reflection on the uniqueness of our blue planet – Spaceship Earth. The project team (including NUIG/UL/Met Eireann) will work closely with the participating schools to prepare students and teachers for their first high-altitude balloon mission. These high-altitude balloons have a worldwide established track record of safe and effective use in weather forecasting, astronomy and STEM outreach. The format of Spaceship Earth is to engage students in real-world project-based experiments in the classroom that are used to develop collaborative problem solving skills and a framework for asking and answering scientific questions.
Students will develop experiments that they can launch to the stratosphere. Once the experiments return to Earth, students will engage in analysis and discussion about their experiments that will extend and deepen students’ learning. They will also host a school event where they will report their findings back to the wider school and local community. This celestial pilot project proposal represents a new dawn of innovation for Irish STEM education and public engagement.
The Spaceship Earth team (NUIG/UL/Met Eireann) aim to pilot this project by engaging with a primary school from counties Galway, Limerick and Kerry.