Our Year 7 students are currently studying ‘Space’ in Science and a number were given a unique opportunity this morning to participate in a ‘Flashbuild’, The Flashbuild was led by Dr Tim Parsons from DeltaV Space Hub who was assisted by students from UNSW’s Engineering Faculty. Some of our best Science students from Years 8 to 12 were also part of this great experience.
This morning was part of a series of events promoting the NewSpace Flashbuild that culminates in the launch of a weather balloon on Tuesday 11th November in Muswellbrook.
The Flashbuild involved the group of students being divided into tow missions, one to Mars and the other to the Moon. Tim introduced the missions to the group after giving some background around the Flashbuild and the launch next Tuesday. Dawn, a second year aerospace engineer spoke about the importance of women being part of the Australian Space industry.
Following the introductions the students moved to the iPads where they used the Sky View app to identify the current locations of Mars and the Moon. The app uses augmented reality to show the positions and was a great way to get the students excited about their missions.
The students then split into two groups to take on their missions. Each mission was divided into four teams that were responsible for different aspects of the mission. To begin the mission the students used Google Earth to explore Mars or the Moon. Tim had created brief tours (KMZ files) that were shared with the students so when they opened the file it took them directly to the exact location of their mission.
From there it was all systems go as the four teams worked together to complete their mission. There were many challenges around scale as the team responsible for the habitat found it hard to represent the plan they had created within the space.
One team was responsible for programming the transport devices. The Sphero devices were used for this and there was a great deal of discussion around getting the Spheros programmed precisely so they navigated through the geographical hazards on each mission.
Once the missions were complete it was time to share the learning with the team and hear of the challenges that confronted each group as they went about completing their tasks.
We finished the session with a brief display of some of the items that the UNSW Blue Sat team had been working with. Unfortunately time was against us and we did not get time to delve deeply into the work of Blue Sat.
This was a prototype event to see how effective a Flashbuild would be in a school setting. Without a doubt this was a wonderful success and we hope to hold more of these in the future.
A big thanks to Dr Tim Parsons and the UNSW team of engineers who gave up their time to provide so much valuable learning for our students.
To find out more about each mission view the attached documents.