University of Exeter: Budding space enthusiasts to be taken on voyage of discovery at Goonhilly 60 event

Scientists from the University of Exeter will share their knowledge and expertise about space and the environment, at the family friendly Goonhilly 60 event this weekend.

The high-profile event, which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the distinctive facility, gives people of all ages the chance to get hands-on with space science and exploration, alongside some of the world’s foremost experts from the Penryn Campus.

The University of Exeter will be joined by colleagues from the South West Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SWCoESA) at the event to give hands-on activities, talks and information to allow visitors to step into space and explore the galaxies.

The event takes place in the Visitor Centre from 1-6pm on Saturday, July 23rd.

Professor David Hosken, from the University of Exeter said: “We are delighted to be taking part in this wonderful community event. We know that so many people of all ages have instinctive curiosity towards space, and to be able to demonstrate such a wide array of our research and work to the people of Cornwall helps nurture that passion.

“Goonhilly is a fantastic resource to have on our doorstep and the University is proud to support its endeavours and celebrate its history as Spaceport Cornwall, and other ventures, come to the forefront of the UK’s space initiatives.”

The University of Exeter will run a number of activities and discussions over the course of the celebrations. They include a water clarity demonstration using a mini-Secchi disk – which was invented in the 19th century, but is still used for satellite validation of water transparency products, an introduction to Smartfins and their use in satellites looking at sea surface temperatures, and a short film showing work on remote sensing research.

The University’s world-leading astrophysicists will also run a host of activities around exoplanets and the farther reaches of the universe, including searching for exoplanets using the “transit method” by looking for dips in brightness of stars. They will also give a tour of some of the exoplanets that have been discovered with accurate densities and their sizes to scale, asking visitors to decide whether they are terrestrial and rocky, or a gas giant planet.

The stand will also showcase the work conducted for the airspace digital twin project. This project uses machine learning to predict likelihoods and outcomes quickly and cost-effectively to aid decision making, as well as being used for the smart management of assets like buildings, manufacturing plant, airspace, drone deliveries, warehousing, energy networks and much more.

Professor Karen Hudson-Edwards is also taking part in the panel discussion ‘Going to Space Shouldn’t Cost the Earth’ at the event, from 1-2pm.

Colleagues from the SWCoESA will also give demonstrations and have hands-on activities to highlight their work. This will include VR headsets with a demo from the Satellite Applications Catapult about how a satellite works; a large TV screen with augmented reality rockets and satellites accessed via QR codes; and some origami making activities and paper plane making.

Goonhilly Earth Station was opened in 1962 and acts as the UK’s gateway to space, as well as being the world’s only commercial Deep Space station. This special event offers a rare and exciting opportunity for members of the public to enjoy a range of curated music, talks and educational workshops for all the family.