The pupils of Scoil Naomh Cualán made the trip to L.I.T. Limerick, on the 24th of January for a once in a life time experience.
Pupils from fifth and sixth class participated in an in-flight call with French astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who is currently onboard the International Space Station, orbiting the earth at an altitude of 400km.
The girls and boys were extremely lucky to be chosen, as one of only six schools in Ireland to take part in this unforgettable event. Schools from Portugal and Romania also took part, with each location connected to each other and the I.S.S. by video link.
To prepare for the in-flight call the children with the help of Ms. Mary Gorey from St. Joseph’s College Borrisoleigh, learned all about the European Space Agency, space technology used in our everyday lives and the science experiments being carried out onboard the I.S.S.
The students were very interested to learn, as part of the mission to Mars, scientists from L.I.T. Limerick are developing technology to grow fresh vegetables in a zero gravity environment and they currently have the astronauts onboard the I.S.S. carrying out experiments on their behalf.
The pupils compiled everything they learned, into a beautiful poster that was shown to astronaut Thomas via video link. He was very impressed!
Thomas then was asked some very interesting questions. For example Ms. Gorey asked him, “How long does it take for the research, experiments and new findings done on the I.S.S. to be used in technologies and medicine here on earth?”
His answer to this and other questions were very educational and the children learned a lot about space technology and how it impacts our lives on earth.
To take part in such an historic event was wonderful and it has no doubt inspired the young boys and girls to develop their skills and enhance their knowledge in the S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.
Perhaps one day students from around the world will be talking to our very own astronaut from Tipperary!