Harry of Notre Dame’s Y7 has recently completed a fascinating science project which resulted contacts with the European Space Agency, based in Madrid, and possibly even with NASA. Harry tells the story in his own words here:
For a recent Y7 space project, my science class were asked to choose a particular aspect of space that they were interested in, then to research it and present it to the rest of the class. I chose the Cassini-Huygens space mission.
The Cassini-Huygens mission launched on October 15th 1997 as a joint US-Europe mission to explore Saturn and its moons. Initially planned to last four years, the mission was extended twice due to its success and Cassini ended up orbiting for 19 years and 335 days. A key point in the mission came in 2005 when NASAs Cassini released Europe’s Huygens probe into Titans atmosphere, leading to the first spacecraft landing in history on a moon other than our own.
The discoveries made by Cassini and the photos it took are incredibly exciting, and I presented all the information as a stop motion film. When I showed this to my uncle, using his contacts, he put me in touch with the ESA (European Space Agency) based in Madrid, and eventually with Nicolas Altobelli who is the Cassini-Huygens Project Scientist at the ESA.
Just before Christmas, I presented my film to Nico via Skpe, in Madrid, who was accompanied by two of his scientist colleagues from the ESA. They appeared to be very impressed and gave me some great feedback. It was incredible to be in touch directly with those involved in such an amazing mission. They are now planning the Europa Clipper mission – due for launch in the 2020s which will aim to explore Jupiter in the same way and will be looking for scientists……!!!
In the last week, Nico has been back in touch to say he has contacted two scientists at NASA who are the leads on the Cassini project USA about watching my presentation and they will be in touch with me. I will let you know what happens!