Zenith students recently enjoyed a hands on experience as their final activity for the year.
On Monday 15 November, the Zenith team travelled to The Victorian Space Science Education Centre to learn about Mars and the different aspects of space travel.
We were taught about the history of Mars and the long effort scientists have been making to one day travel there. We were all given the opportunity to go into a big room that was made to look like a replica of a Mars crater and complete various tasks including collecting rocks, locating samples to examine, and collecting data on wind speeds and radiation levels. We wore big suits, helmets and oxygen tanks while inside the room, and had radios to interact with other team mates.
We were also given the opportunity to sit in a big control room and assist others while they were exploring the crater.
This excursion was super fun and we all got a lot out of the experience. Although this year’s Zenith program has been interrupted multiple times by Covid lockdowns, we have still had an interesting and exciting year, and I’m sure future Zenith students are excited for what next year’s program has in store!
Willow Bakker, Year 9
The first thing that we did at The Victorian Space Science Education Centre was watch a short video which stated what we would be doing. After that, we were divided into two groups. One went on an expedition to ‘Mars’, while the other went to the control centre to help solve issues and guide with tasks through headsets.
For the Mars expedition, we wore a heavy spacesuit and were assigned different roles. My role was the chemist, and I had a lot of fun with it! My job was to test the acidity of the rocks, as well as search for iron, copper and opal. The room in which the stimulation took place was very cool. My favourite part was the orange lighting which added to the atmosphere. Our scenario was cut short as there was a sand storm. In real life, if this were to happen, only the first few people who made it onto the ship would have survived.
After both groups had a go at being astronauts and being in the control centre, we went to the lab to test our samples in order to find out more about the past present and future of Mars.
From this experience I learned about the roles on a spaceship, and how to cooperate from afar, which was a challenge for the people in the control room. I think it was a great experience, especially as it felt as though we really were going on an expedition to Mars.
Being on the Zenith program is a great way to learn new things and have knew experiences, and this excursion was the highlight of my 2021 school year.
Anna Lindhaus, Year 8