Welcome to our second newsletter of the year – and it’s full of opportunities and information!
Gadget Girl, Nicola Baker, has been awarded the inaugural Yes! Youth Encouragement Scholarship by the Rotary Club of Sydney.
Welcome to our first newsletter of 2021. I would like to begin this issue with a Tribute to Tom Nolan. Tom was diagnosed with a most aggressive form of brain cancer one month after he retired from NASA JPL last January. The news was devastating. One Giant Leap Australia and Tom had worked together on some incredible plans and we were looking forward to building capacity of the ‘Space, STEM and Your Future’ program. Tom passed away 6 pm on 31st December 2020 from pneumonia. You can read his tribute and if you wish to contribute to the Australian Tom Nolan INSPIRE Scholarship fund you are very welcome to. Our thoughts are with his wife and family.
Charon (discovered in 1978) is the largest satellite of the five known moons of the dwarf planet Pluto. The name Charon originated from Rome, meaning the mythological ferryman of the Underworld, who carried souls across Acheron a mythic river surrounding Pluto. Charon is the most compelling satellite of the three moons Miranda, Triton and Charon due to its distinct geological features and possibility for existence of life. If a spacecraft were to orbit Charon’s surface or potentially disembark, the rover could find an undiscovered landscape consisting of many exotic and pristine land factors that may result in life inaugurated.
We believe that NASA should pick Charon, the largest moon of Pluto to explore further and to gain a greater understanding of the evolution of outer space. Specifically, how did the moon form and continue to evolve after (we think) it collided with Pluto? There might be life on this fascinating moon that we have not discovered yet. Perhaps not life as we know it as being so far away from the sun it is very cold, but where there is ice there is water! The discovery of water on Charon means that it could sustain forms of life, but further exploration is needed to confirm if any liquid water is actually available.
As we all know, the necessary ingredients (or building blocks for life) are: 1) water, which we know is there 2) gases (oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus) and 3) some kind of energy source. Also, if there is water on Charon, we could possibly be able to use the water on Earth and we would be able to fill up all water systems. From the pictures taken from Voyager 2 there is a reddish-brown cap on the north pole of Charon. This organic material is believed to be produced from gases released from the atmosphere of Pluto. Again, this shows that Charon could sustain life and suggests the second building block is already working. The third building block for life is energy. Charon is too far away from the sun to get heat and solar energy, but scientists could look into other ways to produce energy on Charon through movement or friction. Let us explore this great moon and find out new and exciting energy sources that may increase our understanding of outer space.
Triton, Neptune’s largest moon contains many mysteries yet to be discovered. Its attributes have long been unknown to scientists. Photographic images taken by Voyager 2 in 1989 showed glimpses of its true uniqueness. However, still to this day, further investigation is required to greater our understanding. Therefore, it would be the most suitable moon to send a robotic spacecraft to.
In the past, we have only been able to see half of what this moon contains. Through the eyes of Voyager 2 passing by on its mission to study the outer planets, images of a grey, brown moon were taken. In these photos, we saw that the surface contained a thin layer of frozen nitrogen with occasional volcanic plains. It also had scattered geysers which erupted nitrogen gas. Data sent back by Voyager 2 showed that the atmosphere contained mainly nitrogen, although there was a small percentage of methane, mainly due to its volcanic activity. Its mantle is made of ice with a core believed to be a combination of rock and metal; however, this is still undetermined.
WINNER: Introducing Ben Robertson, a year 5 student from Richmond North Primary School in NSW
Ben’s essay submission was on the topic of Neptune’s moon Triton.
Ben was winner of the year 5/6 category for his chosen topic.
DJI and DigiDIRECT provided the sponsorships that put the incredible One Giant Leap Australia Space Camp 2020 Tour into the grasp of two Australian students. The process was gruelling, and the competition was tough. Luke Pringle from Cherrybrook Technology High and Georgia Diab from Cerdon College found they have the ‘Right Stuff’ and gained $3500
Here at One Giant Leap Australia we are loving Lego Masters so much that we are trying to train up the next champion team!
Lucas Bethencourt’s ambitions are beyond sky-high – they’re intergalactic.
The 14-year-old from St Georges Basin hopes to one day become an astronaut and pilot, to be “part of the evolution of space travel”.
Lucas is articulate and softly spoken, but his face lights up when he talks about the stars.
“To discover new things, all the wonders of the universe, is fascinating to me,” he said.
“And the technological advances we’ve made since the 60s – recently we’ve gone from having to throw rockets away to being able to land them vertically, which is really cool.”
A Navy Aviation Engineer has taken one small step towards a truly stellar ambition after attending Space Camp 2019.
Lieutenant Kate Cox, a Certification Engineer at the Capability and Sustainment Group’s Navy Army Aviation Acquisition Project Office, spent 10 days travelling across the United States, visiting The Spaceship Company (founded by Virgin Galactic’s Sir Richard Branson), the Northrup Grumman Headquarters and the US Space and Rocket Centre.
Facilitated by One Giant Leap Australia (OGL), the program fosters an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), as both a study option and as a career.
“I absolutely loved my time at Space Camp and would thoroughly recommend it to students and young-at-heart adults alike,” Lieutenant Cox said.
STEAM Dreaming in Armidale was an outstanding opportunity – jam packed with fun and information to better understand the Indigenous culture and their traditions.
Hearing stories about the land and early Aborigines was an awesome twist on perspective. The morals and wisdom shared from special speakers as very moving and made everyone attending look at themselves and each other differently and a much more positive and motivated manner.
The Destination Imagination Kids Day workshop was a blast. Children aged 4 to 14 were engaged in a variety of activities that catered for different interests and talents.