Tim Peake, the first astronaut in the British manned space programme, will be launched into space at 1103 (GMT) tomorrow and girls across the school support him in his adventure.
This opportunity to do science in a totally new environment must inspire every scientist, even if the isolation and training, not to mention having to learn Russian, provides so much challenge. The competition for an experiment for Tim to do on the space station closed months ago and the results of his work will be available to everyone.
The girls at Portsmouth High School don’t need to go so far. The cosmologists at the University of Portsmouth are also searching the sky for evidence of the evolution of stars, how the universe looked in those first few moments of creation and many more details to answer those unexplained mysteries. Scientists from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation came to share their knowledge through their planetarium followed by a question and answer session earlier this month.
In just twenty-five minutes the girls travelled through the night sky, forwards and backwards in time. They experienced the night sky as if from the space station as, from there, the atmosphere can be switched off giving unbelievable clarity.
‘It is staggering to think that the light we see left our nearest star four and a half years ago,’ said Head of Physics, Mrs Christine Williams. ‘Other light represents stars that have been born and died in the time it took the light to reach us. The fantastic laboratory of the sky can give us information on the history and formation of galaxies and perhaps the structure of matter.’
The junior girls sent their luck and wishes to Tim (photographed) and Sixth Formers look forward to a trip to the Rutherford Appleton laboratory in the New Year to look at the data collected from CERN.
Preparations for a trip to NASA in 2017 are already underway and the girls continue to pursue their interest in cosmology right across the school.