Space Zone text for Newcastle's Centre for Life
‘It was fantastic to see so many women represented and I’m sure lots of children will feel inspired to be a part of the science of Space in the future.’ Rachel, review
Just one hundred kilometres above our heads, space begins.
If you are standing in the Centre for Life, Newcastle, then space is nearer than York or Edinburgh. And you are also in the perfect place to discover that the North East of England is a hotspot for space research and careers.
When I was commissioned to write text for the new Space Zone at Life, one of my aims was to make sure that visitors to this hands-on interactive gallery learned they were in a unique position. In Newcastle, a job in the space industry is only a few steps away – no giant leaps required.
Locally, people are using satellite data to detect oil spills and water leaks, to track wildlife and record landscapes damaged by climate change. Engineers and technologists are working on cleaner fuels to send payloads into orbit, and sport scientists are monitoring the health of astronauts when they return from space.
With Newcastle University, Teesside University, Durham University and Northumbria University on the doorstep, as well as high-tech companies in the region, I had lots of projects to choose to write about. The team at Life arranged to photograph and include a range of people in the gallery design, giving a sense of the diversity of roles available.
Visitors can see the vast range of space-related careers – from surgeons to space-suit designers, programmers to project managers, roboticists to astro-photographers. In addition to meteorologists, lawyers and psychologists, NASA even employs a ‘chief sniffer’ to check equipment for strange smells before it’s loaded aboard a confined space capsule.
The gallery is packed with hands-on experiences from living aboard a space station to launching a rocket, and getting involved with space research from Earth. Get a taste in the virtual gallery https://www.life.org.uk/virtual-visit/space-zone
‘When you think of jobs in space you think of being an astronaut. You don’t usually think of all the jobs that go along with it.’ Dragons and Fairy Dust, review