Thanks to the UKSEDS team and all the stands at the conference who were so kind in allowing me utilise part of their stand to promote myself!
I packed my bags on Friday afternoon ready for a weekend of Public Relations work. However, because this was a Student conference, my main aims were to get people to see me, understand why I exist, gain support and interest but also; to learn about the UK Space Industry and all the exciting projects that the UK businesses are working on at the moment and where they are headed for the future.
What was abundant, at this conference, was enthusiasm. Everyone within the industry can see the benefit of having a UK Space Mascot to tell young children what is happening and to get very young children excited about the prospects of space. The ideas for my missions, from the conference-goers, were many and varied but the general consensus for my future is definitely INSPIRING THE VERY YOUNG TO BECOME FUTURE SPACE EXPLORERS, ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS.
Focussing on the future whilst highlighting the amazing achievements of the past links in very nicely with the 80th Anniversary of the British Interplanetary Society (BIS) later this year. I was lucky enough to hear the fascinating talk from Alistair Scott, President of the BIS, which highlighted (for me) the ideas and concept designs that past members produced, as well as the realisation of these designs into a physical, working (or in-development) product.
I hadn’t realised how pro-active the UK had been in early concept designs for Space Exploration! I found it very inspiring! I think the children would love to know about this but the information needs to be put into a format that the kids will engage with and enjoy learning from.
So, Vix Southgate (my guardian) is writing ‘From Imagination to Reality- 80 yrs of the British Interplanetary Society’ (tentative title) – aimed at children – which will incorporate myself as the narrator.
As well as the idea to incorporate me into childrens books about the space industry I need to get out into schools. To help me with this, I have two young helpers aged 7 and 9 (recruited today at the conference) and between them, their school and Vix Southgate, they will work on raising my profile and funds for my future work, so I can afford to travel around the country and meet the children in person.
Vix Southgate is also working on a series of children’s iBooks to explain what all the UK space companies and organisations are working on.
I want to be a part of everything to do with Space in the UK and encourage children to think about it as a career choice or just as a hobby. As Nick Howes (from Faulkes Telescope) said in his talk about finding Comets:
“Amateur Astronomers make a huge and valuable contribution to science”
…So… you don’t have to have a qualification in space science to be able to be a part of the industry, but an interest and passion is essential!
I do not have a scientific grounding, but I have a great love of learning about the possibilities and advancements of Space exploration, and through my work I am meeting the most knowledgeable, fascinating and best people in the WORLD who are all willing to help me to inspire the future Space explorers.
Who knows; perhaps the first person on Mars will have been inspired by me! :.D