2016 Christmas Lecture: Families Set to Explore Space with Britain’s First Astronaut

Rockets, Robots, Astronauts and Aliens are the stars of this year’s space-themed RSE Christmas Lecture, which will be held at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh on Saturday 26 November.

In what promises to be an action-packed day of space exploration for aspiring astronauts, science-fiction fans and the space curious, families will get the chance to explore Earth using augmented reality, build and launch a soyuz FG rocket, take an astronaut on a spacewalk using a robotic arm and much more at the various hands-on activities and meet-and-greet sessions available throughout the day.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to ask questions of a panel of space experts that include a real-life astronaut, robotics engineer, science-fiction writer and a rocket designer if they book to attend either of the two discussion sessions.

At the first session–Robots and Rockets–Space Scientist Monica Grady, Robotics Researcher Maurice Fallon and Space Engineer Colin Mcinnes will answer questions and discuss the science behind space exploration, from new technologies to robotic missions.

For the afternoon panel discussion we are delighted to welcome Britain’s first astronaut and the first woman to visit the Mir space station, Helen Sharman along with Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer Joan Lennon and Extra-terrestrial Intelligence Researcher Duncan Forgan. These panellists will lead a session on Astronauts and Aliens and discuss human exploration of other planets, the possibility of life outside of Earth, and the representation of space exploration in literature and media.

Helen Sharman commented, “I am delighted to be part of the RSE Christmas Lecture this year. Enabling people to feel the impact of science, thinking about issues and possible solutions and making science part of everyday life is vital for a good democracy as much as for encouraging STEM take up by young people, which itself is good for the economy. What is more, for families to enjoy science as entertainment makes it a load of fun for everyone, speakers and presenters included!”

The RSE looks to appeal to a wide range of ages and audiences to make learning accessible and interesting for all. An annual highlight of the RSE event calendar, this year’s Christmas Lecture will build on the success of the 2015 sell-out lecture with YouTube/Minecraft sensation Stampy Cat. A new format of a day-long event with a number of inspiring speakers and a wide range of activities will ensure that there is something for everyone on the day.

Highlights of the Christmas Lecture will be recorded and the film will be made available shortly after the event. Additionally, all speakers will feature in upcoming episodes of the highly popular video series ‘Quiz-a-Whiz’, which will soon be published on the RSE website and YouTube channel.