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Mission X 2012: UK has landed!

29 Mar 2012

Mission X: Train Like an Astronaut 2012 has come back down to Earth after two months ‘in space’. This health and fitness challenge has seen 38 British schools compete nationally and internationally to be the first school to ‘walk to the moon’.

For the past six weeks schools in 16 countries have undertaken physical and educational training modules inspired by space exploration. It would take 478 million steps for Mission X mascot, Astro Charlie, to walk the moon. The challenge for each school is to earn these steps by being awarded points for successfully completed modules. Through the combined effort of all the schools around the world Astro Charlie can now land on the moon!

The UK winner is Bentfield Primary School earning 1634 steps to the moon. The Irish competition winner is St Patrick’s National School with 1880 steps. In April the winning schools will be congratulated by astronaut André Kuiper from the International Space Station (ISS).

The Mission X UK challenge, led by the UK Space Agency, blasted off on 2nd February 2012 by André Kuiper. Since then school children have been training for spaceflight by doing astronaut agility courses and a whole range of physical activities targeting strength, endurance, coordination, balance and spatial awareness. Students have learnt how human physiology alters in space, learning how to checking bone strength and hydration levels. They have also designed space rockets and solar sail buggies, cooked up space food and fashioned astronaut clothing. Schools have worked alongside scientists, engineers and university students in their astronaut training and kept mission logs to review their progress throughout the mission.

Mission X logo

Schools across the UK took part in a variety of space based activities as part of the challenge. St Ninian’s School voted the Astro Agility course as their favourite Mission X activity, while Lyneham and Broadtown Schools preferred cooking space meatballs by a recipe devised by astronaut trainers. Wootton Bassett School designed buggies that could harness the solar wind of the sun for energy and Malvern St James and Mountfitchet Mathematics and Computing College had a visit from Bridget the Mars Rover prototype. Cumberland School will be hosting the Mission X London 2012 games. Elsenham School focused on the importance of hydration to astronauts and Eastlea Community School incorporated some moonwalking into space-inspired dance routines. You can read more about UK school activities on the UK blog.

By taking part in this challenge, students have learnt the importance of good nutrition and a healthy body to astronauts. They have practised scientific reasoning and teamwork and learnt about the options for their own educational success. Ultimately they have learnt the excitement of space exploration and what it takes to train like an astronaut.

From 26-28 April the UK Space Agency is proud to be hosting the international Mission X closing event as part of the 50 Years of the UK in Space celebration. More than 100 students from participating schools around the world will be meeting in London to take part in fitness and space related activities, meet astronaut Paolo Nespoli and to mark their achievement.

I work in space

Ian Whittaker I work as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago.

UK Space Agency on Twitter

@spacegovuk (79,931 followers)