Outreach for World Space Week 2013

posted: 1558 days ago, on Monday, 2013 Oct 14 at 02:55
tags: astronomy, outreach, space, space craft, SANSA, Cape Town, WSW.

Despite rain and cloud on Saturday October 12, our World Space Week 2013 outreach event at Zevenwacht Mall (Kuilsriver, Cape Town) went ahead full steam.

We set up our large display stands inside the mall, although the original plan was to set up outside, with telescopes pointed at the Sun (and at the Moon during the evening).

Alan and Rose Cassells joined our team and they were a stellar duo.

Besides the very engaging back-and-forth Q&A with the public, we had very attractive handouts from SANSA, which promoted our nation's own space agency - which most people didn't seem to know about.

Space debris, space careers, how the Moon rocket worked, and the benefits of space research, were the main topic discussed. As at previous events, a number of teachers were very keen to find out if we could do an event at their school.

Our clickers counted 623 visitors, while we managed to collect 393 signatures in our visitor's book.

Special thanks to Zevenwacht Mall for their willingness to host us and the excellent assistance from Samantha Hendricks and her team - in addition to all the arrangements they made, they also created adverts (see first image below) which appeared in the Mall and in the local newspaper. Thanks to Catherine Webster of SANSA for the space handouts, and Sue Duffell of In-Touch Printing for excellent service.

Posters and printed goodies

Spacecraft and missions exploring the solar system, from the first mission to those currently under serious consideration. Shows at a glance how intently each body has been explored, which missions were a failure, and what future projects are under way.

Graphic summary of the history of spacecraft exploration of Mars. Shows from the first mission to those currently under serious consideration. Colour-coded by country of origin, the diagram shows the hits and misses, as well as the mission type (e.g. orbiter, rover, etc.).

Interesting factoids about space debris, keeps the viewer busy for a long time :-)

Front and back of the handout flyer. The verso lists SA involvement in space science.

Inside spread of the flyer, showing some interesting Earth/Mars links.

What are the big questions space scientists are working on?

Most people think you just fly directly towards a planet in your spaceship. This diagram shows a simple Mars transfer orbit, and a more complicated Jovian trip.

Shows craft currently active either in orbit around the Sun, as well as planned solar missions. Also shown are craft at the L-1 point, and those orbiting the Earth, that are monitoriing our nearest star.

A cheat-sheet for the presenter. Using a large inflatable Earth ball, we made a scaled model of Mars and the Moon from papier mache. This A3-sized print is folded and glued so that it makes a triangular display piece, with a pretty picture on the front side facing the audience. At the back is a table with scaled distances. So, for example, on the scale of our Earth ball and planets, the Sun is 48-m across located about 5 km away. Mindboggling to realize that this places alpha Cen about 1.4 million km away! In the base of the triangle are two circles which are cut out. Their diameter represents the volume of water and air on our planet. A little water balloon can be inserted in the cutout and blown up to the correct scaled diameter, giving a strong visual feel for just how little water, and air, there actually is on our Earth.

nothing more to see. please move along.