Students are ready to blast off on a mission to Mars with the launch of the new Hamilton Space School facility at Hamilton Secondary College tonight.

Education Minister Susan Close will officially open the Hamilton Space School at 5pm. The event coincides with the 68th International Aeronautical Congress being held in Adelaide.

Astronauts Andy Thomas and Pam Melroy and industry professionals such as Andrea Boyd, Dr Olivia Samardzic and Nicola Sasanelli will be in attendance to view the new Space School.

The Space School facility has three main areas created for its space science programs – a simulated Martian crater and landscape, a Mission Control Room and Briefing Room.

Designed to provide a unique extra-terrestrial learning experience, students will role play space scenarios with teams taking turns to operate as astronauts collecting samples on the Mars surface, and scientists monitoring data and problem solving in the Mission Control Room.

The facility’s Martian landscape has been designed to mimic a crater on Mars, with the surface built from rocks collected from all over Australia to map out 7 different geological areas. The design simulates real-life Martian explorations in the same way that NASA sends space probes to land in craters, as they are prime locations to gather samples.

Hamilton Secondary College is showcasing the new Hamilton Space School facilities at the 68th International Aeronautical Congress.

Background

Hamilton Space School will offer activities that incorporate a problem solving learning methodology and deliver integrated STEM activities based on the Australian curriculum.

The College has worked with the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) to develop the facility and has been supported with a specialised software program that enhances the learning capacity of students.

Hamilton Secondary College is developing an outreach program for primary school aged students from metropolitan and regional South Australia to participate in Mission to Mars activities and camps at the Hamilton Space School.

Other STEM interdisciplinary activities are planned in the future, including building an autonomous Mars Rover and learning computer coding so it can deliver specific tasks. Students will learn about the science of life and sustainability in a silica based environment, as well as how to use maths for navigation and statistical analysis.

The State Government is investing $250 million to provide 139 public schools with modern STEM facilities.

Non-government schools can also apply for a share of $250 million in low-interest loans to upgrade their school infrastructure and build early years facilities.

Quotes attributable to Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close

We are committed to providing innovative STEM learning environments that connect and engage students to fully develop their technical and problem-solving abilities so they can grow their capabilities and skills for future employment.

Students will directly benefit from the Hamilton Space School’s established relationships with the international aeronautical industry, deepening their STEM knowledge within a global context and learning from world experts in the field.

By delivering unique facilities like the Hamilton Space School we are ensuring that our public education system offers South Australian students rich learning environments that encourage a STEM mindset, where creative and critical thinking can flourish.

Quotes attributable to Hamilton Secondary College Principal Peta Kourbelis

By capturing the imagination and enthusiasm of students, we can foster their love for STEM through our Hamilton Space School and inspire them in their learning.

The Hamilton Space School provides an authentic experience for students who will be able to participate in activities like communicating with astronauts in real time and use the very latest software.

Our teachers are committed to delivering world-class curriculum and learning experiences to our students, developing their passion to become the STEM leaders of tomorrow and pursue STEM higher education pathways.