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Kids in space

31 July 2009

Children will soon be able to view the Earth from space using satellite images, as part of a Blue Peter project.

A new Earth observation satellite has just been successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The UK-DMC2 satellite carries equipment that will be able to provide higher resolution images of the Earth at a much faster rate than has been possible with previous spacecraft.

The new satellite is the latest addition to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd's Disaster Monitoring Constellation, which are designed to observe the Earth and provide imagery and data of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tsunamis.

Any and Maggie in the clean room with the Blue Peter 1 satellite

Blue Peter presenter Andy Akinwolere and scientist Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock view the Blue Peter 1 satellite

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is working with space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock, who came up with an idea to use the images being sent from the satellite as part of a Blue Peter project.

"Space is a great hook to get children interested in science" said Maggie. "Many children are not aware of the brilliant work being done in space, especially here in the UK."

She devised the 'Blue Peter 1' project, which has been taken up by the popular children's TV programme.  Children have already been able to watch as the satellite was built and soon they will be able to carry out their own science projects.

This is where NERC comes in. Its role in the project is to create a website that will be ready for children to use once the images start to arrive back on Earth.  The images will be linked to real research topics which use satellites to provide information – such as monitoring the amount of sea-ice in the Arctic as the climate changes.

Poppy Leeder, NERC's External Communications Manager, said, "This is a fantastic opportunity to show children that not only is space really exciting, but having access to satellites can increase our understanding of the world around us."

The Blue Peter 1 website will be up and running at the end of September 2009.

Further information

NERC Press Office
Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House, North Star Avenue
Swindon, SN2 1EU
Tel: 01793 411727 or 411561
Mob: 07917 086369 or 557215

Briefing note: 05/09