Powerhouse: Future Space takes off at two schools

An innovative collaboration with the Powerhouse and Magnitude.io, will see students use NASA-inspired design thinking techniques to develop space and Earth-based experiments.

Image: Badri Younes, NASA Deputy Associate Administrator and Program Manager for Space Communications and Navigation; Dr Scott Sleap, STEM Project Advisor Department of Education; and Sophie Poisel, Head of Lang Walker Family Academy with students from East Hills Girls High School

Students at Arthur Phillip High School and East Hills Girls Technology High School will be the first to participate in the new Powerhouse: Future Space program, launched on Friday 1 April by Badri Younes, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator and Program Manager for Space Communications and Navigation.

“The Parramatta Future Space program provides a unique opportunity for students to be inspired through the prism of space. The Powerhouse Museum, Magnitude.io and our teams have established an innovative partnership that harnesses the strengths of each institution to deliver a truly world-class STEM program,” STEM Project Advisor 7-12, Dr Scott Sleap.

The program connects Stage 5 students (Years 9 and 10) from six Western Sydney local government areas to a global network of learners through the ExoLab-10 mission.

In the 2022 ‘Carbon Farmer’ mission, students will learn about the importance of the carbon cycle on Earth and in space by experimenting with growing alfalfa in the classroom.

“By conducting their own ground trials in line with an active experiment on board the International Space Station they can compare data on effective methods for growing crops in microgravity to sustain future space missions and help filter carbon dioxide from the air for astronauts on long space flights.

“They will also access ground-breaking technologies, stimulating curriculum, and a global team of scientists, engineers, educators, and entrepreneurs,” said Dr Sleap.

Over the course of this three-year program students will utilise NASA-inspired design thinking techniques to prepare an actual space mission on the International Space Station.

“Ultimately, we hope graduates will be leaders amongst of the 20,000 space jobs estimated to be created by 2030,” he said.

Powerhouse: Future Space will be delivered in tandem with the Powerhouse: Design For Space Challenge as part of the newly developed newly developed iSTEM Department Approved Elective. It is the first program to roll-out in high schools under the auspices of the Powerhouse Parramatta Lang Walker Family Academy.

Throughout the three-year program, high schools across NSW will have the opportunity to design and produce their own prototype ExoLab device, simulating a space mission to the International Space Station. The most successful prototype will be launched as early as 2024.

Maitland Grossmann High School and Murrumbidgee Regional High School will also be involved in a virtual pilot of the program.

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