The eighth National Astronomy Week (NAW 2020) is here! Running from Saturday 14 November to Sunday 22 November, UK astronomers will celebrate the close approach of Mars to the Earth with a series of free online talks and remote observing events. Mars is currently close to the Earth and visible as a bright red object high in the evening sky, so this is a perfect time to dust down your telescopes, grab a Mars Diary and explore the Red Planet!
Science centres around the country are running morning sessions aimed at schoolchildren in particular, although anyone at home is also welcome to view them. There will also be evening shows hosted by leading astronomers and presenters such as Professor Chris Lintott, Professor Jane Greaves and Dallas Campbell. View the full programme on the NAW 2020 website.
The Royal Astronomical Society have a particularly awesome line-up of morning events for schools and home learners. To help you plan this into your school week, we’ve paired these online events with an activity from the Mission Mars Diary. Enjoy!
Free Events for Schools and Home Learners
Life on Mars, Monday 16 November, 11:00-12:00
Have you ever wondered if there is life on Mars? Join the Astrobiology group at the Open University and The Observatory Science Centre to learn about the conditions for life on Mars, get hands-on with some ideas for experiments and chat to real astrobiologists to answer all your questions about Alien life!
This event is mainly aimed at primary school students, but anyone is welcome to join.
Write a letter to ESA astronaut Tim Peake telling him why you think we should go to Mars!
Mars on Earth, Tuesday 17 November, 11:00-12:00
What’s the difference when you compare our planet to Mars? What do different types of telescope tell us about one of our closest neighbours and what does the study of space bring to the understanding of our planet? Join SpaceFund and the I-LOFAR Observatory for an exciting and interactive session and a chance to ask your questions to UK space and astronomy experts.
This activity asks students to research Earth and Mars and draw them side-by-side, focusing on ‘signs of life’. Examining the differences will help students to understand the concept of life as we know it on Earth and what this means in the context of Mars.
Tales of Mars, Wednesday 18 November, 11:00-12:00
Suitable for ages 3-7yrs, Early Years and children with Special Educational Needs, it’s time to get moving with dance and Makaton to explore Mars and Space with the Lightyear Foundation & Flamingo Chicks. Then settle in for some stories to help you find Mars and other constellations and stories in the night sky this winter with Explorer Dome.
Imagine going beyond Mars! Create a comic about an adventure set beyond the Red Planet. What kind of life might be out there on other planets and the similarities it might have to things on Earth.
Robots on Mars, Thursday 19 November, 11:00-12:00
Rovers, Orbiters & Landers – we’ve sent many robots to Mars! Tonight we are delighted to be joined by Professor Sanjeev Gupta (Imperial College London) and John Chinner (Airbus Space) to talk about the research and engineering of current and future rover missions to Mars. Find out how and why we send these robots… how we operate rovers on Mars… and what we’re hoping to find!
The Mars Rover has detected something in the atmosphere on Mars. Crack the code to find out what it is!
Don’t forget to LOOK UP on Thursday 19th November. This is where you’ll find Mars in the night sky:
Martian Careers Day, Friday 20 November, 11:00-12:00
The National Space Academy invites you to a career’s hour! Have you ever heard of an astrobiologist, could you image designing space suits for Mars, or becoming and planetary scientist? Join us for an hour to meet and quiz some of the space scientists, researchers and engineers of today, to see if you’d like to get involved in the future?
Choose your Mars crew! What the skills, knowledge and experience might people need for a successful mission to Mars?