St Joseph’s Northam students helping keep astronauts safe

08 August 2018

Students from St Joseph’s School in Northam have been tracing objects in space and sharing their findings with science partners around the world as part of the Falcon Telescope Network.

The network, a collection of 12 telescopes spread around the world, observes objects in space from multiple points, allowing more precise mapping of their location with the aim of keeping astronauts safe.

Objects in space can collide with shuttles and space stations that contain astronauts with the potential for catastrophic accidents. The Falcon Telescope Network was built to locate and record these objects to keep astronauts safe while they do their work.

One of the telescopes in the network was built at the Gravity Discovery Centre in Gingin with CEWA a host of the project in partnership with the University of Western Australia’s Department of Physics.

Mark Gargano, Curriculum Coordinator of Teaching and Learning at St Joseph’s, said the relationship commenced with the signing of the Co-operative Research and Development Agreement in 2012, enabling students to access a research grade telescope for imaging and research projects.

Students from the school took part in the ‘First Lights’ project, and used the telescope at Gingin to look at the night sky and develop and conduct scientific experiments that sought to answer questions they formulated about objects in space.

Data collected by the students from St Joseph’s was shared with students in the USA and Chile, and visiting members of the ‘First Lights’ team showed students how the data was able to help people stay safe in space.

St Joseph’s School and CEWA are proud to be keeping astronauts safe and inspiring rural students in science and space exploration!

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