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Children reach for the Stars with Dr Maggie’s Space tour!

Monday 15th November 2021

She encourages you to reach for the stars… Local school children were ‘over the moon’ to watch a Grand Tour of the Solar System with Space scientist and BBC The Sky at Night presenter, Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock for the Oxford Literary Festival (OLF). Eight Year 5 pupils from St Andrews school in Cowley, Oxford and their families received free tickets to the event at the Sheldonian Theatre, thanks to our partnership with the Festival. The talk was introduced by Science Oxford’s Director of Education and Engagement, Bridget Holligan, one of a short series of OLF events this autumn.

“Thank you so much to Dr Maggie for inspirational out of this world tour of the solar system this morning. You’ve totally made our daughter’s week, she’s buzzing!” (Twitter, Adam Briggs)

Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour was an epic journey of discovery for a packed out audience of fans of all ages. She visited the most magnificent sights and spectacles outer Space has to offer, from planets and moons, to asteroids, comets and satellites – all in the unique setting of the Sheldonian, designed by one of England’s greatest architects and then Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford, Sir Christopher Wren.

“Maggie Aderin-Pocock is my absolute HERO on so many levels and thanks to Science Oxford I’m sat right in front of her and I want to cry with happiness!” (Twitter, Mrs F)

At Science Oxford, we aim to inspire children and young people in STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths) and encourage everyone to ‘have a go’, with experiments and discovery at the Science Oxford Centre’s Exploration Zone and woodland, our immersive Planetarium or interactive shows and workshops across the region. Dr Maggie, who has also appeared in Stargazing Live and Doctor Who Confidential, has also worked on the soon-to-be-launched James Webb telescope (watch the recent BBC Sky at Night telescope Special), and shares our passion for inspiring young people to pursue careers in science. She continued to wow fans at her book signing, enjoying one-to-one chats after the show. Our St Andrew’s pupils – or future scientists, astrophysicists and astronauts? – are currently studying the topic of Earth and Space at school, and reported back to the rest of the class the following Monday. We love their imagination, read some of our favourites…

What was your favourite part of Dr Maggie’s talk?

She encourages you to reach for the stars…

We learned about how the Goldilocks zone was the only place that we could properly have life on.

I learned that she likes Star Trek as well!

What about Maggie inspires you the most?

I like how she was telling children to be whatever they wanted to be – and have any job that they wanted when they grow up.

What I think inspires me the most is she is a black girl who at the time was very usual and she had problems with her spelling and her reading, but she still managed to become what she is now!

What about space inspires you the most?

We only know 6% of the entire universe and that there’s lots more to discover…

Where would you like to visit in space and why?

I’d like to visit Planet Nine to see if it’s really there!

I’d probably feel safest on Mars, as we know most about it.

What are you looking forward to in space exploration of the future?

To travel into space on a rocket that doesn’t have a driver.

The thought that we could build a federation like in Star Trek.

Being able to jump from planet to planet as if you’re going into light speed, and living on or around every planet in our solar system – and maybe even further!

Oxford Literary Festival is back with a 10-day festival between Friday March 25 and Sunday April 3, 2022. Watch this ‘Space’!

Pictured: Dr Maggie and Bridget. Thanks to Adam Briggs (cover pic) and Andrea Reece for the photos.


Inspired? Why not take part in NASA’s James Webb Telescope #UnfoldTheUniverse competition!

 NASA’s biggest and most powerful space telescope ever is launching soon! The James Webb Space Telescope, or Webb, will travel a million miles away to reveal the universe as never seen before. It will look at the first stars and galaxies, study distant planets around other stars, solve mysteries in our solar system and discover what we can’t even imagine. Its revolutionary technology will be able to look back in time at 13.5 billion years of our cosmic history.

Show what you believe the Webb telescope will reveal by creating art. You can draw, paint, sing, write, dance — the universe is the limit! Share a picture or video of you and your creation with the hashtag #UnfoldTheUniverse for a chance to be featured on NASA’s website, social media channels, and the Webb telescope’s historic launch broadcast.

For more info and to enter visit here.

Deadline for Submissions: 18 December 2021.

(Photo artwork: James Webb Space Telescope #UnfoldTheUniverse art – by Kara Peters)

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