On Monday September 3rd, 2018, John Halligan, Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, officially launched Space Week Ireland at CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory.
Space Week is a week that encourages people to engage with Science, Technology, Education and Maths (STEM) through the inspirational topic of space. Space Week is run by CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory in partnership with Science Foundation Ireland and ESERO Ireland.
Speaking at the event, Minister Halligan said “This week-long event will provide an ideal opportunity for Irish people to learn more about the significant impact space has on our daily lives, including our ability to communicate, travel and address climate change. Importantly, Space Week offers children and adults alike the chance to discover career aspirations and to develop a new interest in space, a sector that is playing an increasingly important role in our economy and international competitiveness.’’
Stephanie O’ Neil, Manager ESERO Ireland at Science Foundation Ireland, stated “Space Week is a perfect embodiment of ESERO Ireland’s mission. It exposes young people to the Space field, and STEM more generally, so that they can make informed choices about their futures, and potentially pursue a career in STEM. Space Week is also a wonderful opportunity for the general public to engage with science and to become more science literate, while developing a greater understanding of the importance of space research for their own lives.”
Space Week runs every year from October 4th to 10th and encourages schools, industry, and families to organise, or participate in, Space themed activities. In 2017, 14,000 people from around the country participated in activities, and this year already looks set to surpass that success.
Dr. Niall Smith, Head of CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory feels that “Space Week highlights the importance and excitement of looking out at the cosmos from the vantage point of our fragile home planet, and of looking down on our planet from the vantage point of space. The week provides an opportunity for us all to better understand how we can work together for the benefit of our society and our economy - and to have fun while doing so!"
Some of the key events already planned include a Space Careers Roadshow at Dublin City University and Cork Institute of Technology (on the 4th and 10th of October respectively), a conference for Junior Cycle science teachers at Birr Castle on the 6th of October, and a musical project with musician Jack L and the National Children’s Choir that offers an exciting take on David Bowie’s classic song ‘Starman’.
Space Week Ireland runs in tandem with World Space Week, and Ireland’s cooperation in this global celebration will include a large-scale Space Selfie taken from Planet satellites during the Careers Roadshow at Cork Institute of Technology. The selfie will involve hundreds of participants coming together to form a large 50m x 50m human symbol that will be viewed from the satellite.
To get involved in Space Week, just check www.spaceweek.ie to find events in your area, or for tips on how to register and host your own event. The website has resources for students, teachers, families and industry partners, so there is something for everyone.