‘Girl in the Galaxy’ one step closer to the Moon

Jun 05, 2018

Ireland’s Astronaut in Training Dr. Norah Patten, pictured with Elle McHale, Sam Hendrick and Omar Salem from Sutton Park School in Dublin.

Ireland’s Astronaut in Training Dr. Norah Patten and the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) prepare for Global Moon Analogue Mission

This is a pioneering collaboration and will mark the first time BTYSTE inspired projects are externally tested in a simulated space environment

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) is proud to announce a partnership with Dr. Norah Patten, Ireland’s astronaut in training, as she prepares to take part in her first international moon analogue mission from 14th-29th July. Dr. Patten, who will be representing Ireland on the mission, will be joined by six other crew members from Romania, Australia, Egypt and Canada.

The analogue mission, which is the undertaking of activities on Earth in environments which simulate aspects of human missions to the Moon, and other space environments, will take place in a research laboratory in Pila, Poland.

As part of her role is to carry out a series of scientific experiments, Dr. Patten has selected a number of recent BTYSTE projects to be considered for the mission. Selected project ideas will then be put to the test in Poland by Dr. Patten to see if the findings differ under a simulated space setting. This is the first time that chosen projects from the BTYSTE Exhibition will be examined in a simulated space environment.

Dr Patten said “I am thrilled to be selected as a crew member on this moon analogue mission as it is something I wanted to do for quite some time. My inspiration to bring projects from the BTYSTE came from my partnership with the Exhibition in January 2018. The students’ enthusiasm, dedication and creativity were truly inspirational, and I wanted to use this opportunity to showcase new ways to experiment with their research. To me, it is fascinating taking a task that may be so easy here and exploring how the smallest pressure/temperature and light change might have an impact. All of this new information and knowledge will help us to understand how we may need to adapt to travel and live on the moon in years to come.”

Dr. Patten will be working in an environment called the ‘Hab’ which simulates conditions that astronauts will find in a real base on the Moon. During the two-week long mission, analogue astronauts will be completely cut off from the world. They can go outside from the Hab only wearing space suits and go to the interior of a hangar that simulates the surface of the Moon.

Shay Walsh, Managing Director of BT Ireland said, “We are delighted to have this opportunity to partner with Dr. Norah Patten on this exciting mission. As organisers of the BTYSTE, we are continuously looking for innovative ways to encourage students to imagine the possibilities within STEM and this is an ideal example. Now we are in a position to offer some of our participants the opportunity to have their projects explored by world-renowned scientists and to be part of a global movement to achieve compatibility on the moon”.

“We hope that through this latest exciting development it will show our young people how exciting STEM can be and to encourage more young students to consider submitting a project idea for the 2019 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition”.

The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2019 will take place from the 9th – 12th January 2019 and deadline to apply for the 2019 Exhibition is the 25th of September 2018. For more information, log onto www.btyoungscientist.com or follow the exhibition on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @BTYSTE. You can also call 1800 924 362 from the Republic of Ireland or 0800 917 1297 from Northern Ireland

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