19 January 2024
On Thursday 18 January, STEM Live guest speaker Colin Stuart broke the exciting news to Woldingham students that one of them could be the first person to set foot on Mars. By his estimation, the first manned mission for a Mars landing will take place in 20-25 years’ time and, given that Neil Armstrong was 38 when he stepped onto the moon, the first visitor to the famous red planet is likely to be at secondary school right now.
The rest of Colin’s talk explaining what we already know about Mars and the scientific progress underway to prepare for manned missions – from the development of rockets to growing the first lettuces in space on the International Space Station - will have been useful for students planning ahead to that trip, as well as being fascinating for everyone in the audience.
A seven month long journey to Mars clearly won’t be easy (hours of daily exercise is required to prevent osteoporosis and Colin’s description of space toilets was ‘interesting’), nor life on the cold, dusty planet, where radiation will be just one of many challenges to be surmounted. But this week’s STEM Live talk definitely opened eyes to new career possibilities, as Colin explained that people from many walks of life will be required for future missions, including doctors, architects, engineers and even space lawyers.