Space Talk: The search for life beyond Earth, in space and time

In September, Miss Etherington attended a lecture at The University of Oxford.  The lecture was organised by The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers and the University’s Department of Physics.  Miss Etherington thoroughly enjoyed herself and thought that children in year 5 to 7 would be interested in the lecture too.  Over a series of break & lunchtimes interested children had an opportunity to watch the lecture online and talk around the subject.

As Chief NASA Scientist, Dr Jim Green has managed many successful missions from Mercury to Pluto that have pushed the boundaries of planetary exploration.  Children listened to Dr Jim Green explain the components needed for life:  energy, organics, water and mostly importantly time. They then discovered facts about our solar system and Kepler’s discoveries beyond our solar system.

Did you know?

  • There is more biology (life) under our feet than on Earth itself. Life has been found in caves 2 miles deep.
  • Earth is currently in the habitable zone (a good living place from the sun). This habitable zone moves and Venus and Mars have been in the zone before and maybe again.
  • Mars and Venus have both been blue planets (have water). Jupiter and Saturn have water in them too and so do their moons.
  • Mars has a water cycle including snow during its winter. An ancient ocean on Mars filled most of the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Comparing climatology between Venus and Mars helps us predict what might happen on Earth.
  • The moon IO (a moon of Jupiter) has over 100 active volcanoes at all times.
  • Ganymede (a moon of Jupiter) is the largest moon in the solar system.
  • Trappist 1 is a newly discovered solar system, only 40 light years away! All seven planets are tidal locked meaning the same side always faces their sun.
  • On Europa (a moon of Jupiter) there is a geyser 400km high – that is from Earth to the International Space Station.
  • There are more known planets in our galaxy than there are stars!

If you would like to find out more, why not watch it at home by scanning the QR code.