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  I went to Space School UK
Updated 20 August 2004, 09.50
Joe went to Space School UK
Experts beamed down to Earth to share the secrets of space with 200 mere mortals at the annual Space School UK, held at Leicester University.

Joe tells us what he got up to during four days of fun-filled lectures and workshops.

"My favourite part of Space School was learning about black holes and astrophysics.

A black hole is a White Dwarf Star compacted into a few centimetres so it's too small to see. It has a strong gravitational pull and sucks everything in.

During one workshop, we designed robots using plastic cylinders and motors which could spread butter on a slice of toast.

The robots had to tip forwards, angle the knife, raise it up and down and move it from side to side.

It's amazing to think the human body does this so easily. It shows just how complex the brain is.

Rocket-propelled eggs

We used cardboard tubes to build a rocket with a probe inside containing an egg.

Joe is thinking about doing a course in astrophysics at uni
Joe is thinking about doing a course in astrophysics at uni
We shot them 70 or 80 metres into the air and deployed the probe. The idea was to prevent the egg from smashing.

Some of the best probe designs had a parachute and landing feet to cushion the egg's landing.

Half human, half plant

We also designed a human body which could adapt to the conditions in space.

My creation had really big eyes to see in the dark and a bacteria-fighting enzyme for skin.

I also gave him human features so he could interact with the rest of the crew members on board the space ship.

Space mission

We also visited the National Space Centre in Leicester and completed a simulated space mission.

We were in a pretend rocket and had to work as a team to complete a number of tasks including fixing the carbon dioxide filter before the crew died from a lack of oxygen.

It was really challenging.


We also learnt that there may well have been life on Mars before the cold temperatures killed everything.

Although there may not be life on the red planet now, I think there must be extra-terrestrials somewhere in the universe

Given the millions of stars and planets there are, and the size of some planets, there is no way people are the only beings alive.

In the future, I think people will find a way to live in space. Although the moon is too small, I think there will be more space stations orbiting the Earth and people will live on Mars.

I enjoyed Space School so much, I want to go for 12 days next year."

Joe, 14, Lancaster

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