Two hundred students have been given an insight into the breathtaking world of space exploration.
Children from schools in Hartlepool, including Eldon Grove Academy, Jesmond Gardens, St Peters Elwick, Hart Primary, Throston Primary, Lynnfield, Rift House, and West Park, were paying a visit to High Tunstall College of Science yesterday and today.
They were there to find out more about space – as part of a campaign which also included astronaut Helen Sharman officially launching the new STEM initiative at the college today.
Children got a chance to see a life-size Starchaser rocket on site.
There were workshops on rocket building and launching, and a chance to dress up as an alien.
Children also got the opportunity to view the night sky in a planetarium, and to make space rover probes and race them.
They examined what alien life may look like, and found out more about which animals have been in space.
And to complete the day of fun, they also found out about the life of an astronaut including tasting real astronaut food.
As well as a visit to the school, Helen will also be giving a lecture at the Borough Hall on the Headland.
High Tunstall headteacher Mark Tilling told how the visit was part of a major initiative at the college.
Helen will help to launch the college’s new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) system which has seen four houses set up at High Tunstall, each named after a celebrated figure including Helen herself. Others include Stephen Hawking, Marie Curie and Alan Turing.
Mr Tilling added: “We are really excited about Helen being here but this was also about inspiring children about space and about the careers involved in science.
“We are looking forward to an inspirational speech from Helen and the students have been preparing their questions for her.”