20 November 2014

Educational iPad game Planet Challenge released

The Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) has released the educational iPad game Planet Challenge internationally. The app is now also available in English, Swedish, Spanish, German and French. In the game, kids are taken on an exciting scavenger hunt passing the eight planets of our Solar System, dwarf planet Pluto and our Moon. The Swedish version of the game Planet Challenge was presented on friday 19 September by astrochemist Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden Observatory, Leiden University) at the award ceremony of the prestigious Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award 2014. The game can be downloaded for free for three days.

The educative game Planet Challenge (Planetenreis in Dutch) takes children from the age of six on a journey through our solar system. The player travels from planet to planet to collect objects and take them along in a rocket. These objects are necessary to successfully complete the assignments on the eight rocky and gas planets, dwarf planet Pluto and the Moon. The child learns about the characteristics of the planets and distances in our solar system while playing. The goal of the mission is to bring the ice from Pluto back to earth!

The Swedish version of the game Planet Challenge, Planetresan, was offered at the award ceremony of the Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award 2014 on 19 September 2014 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Awardee professor Van Dishoeck is enthusiastic about the educational game: “Through this game, young children become aware of our fascinating universe in a playful way. They learn about our Solar System by a fun game with a unique design.”

The Gothenburg Lise Meitner Award is awarded annually to a scientist who made a breakthrough discovery in physics. Van Dishoeck receives the award for the identification of the molecular pathways that allow the formation of stars and planets from dilute gas and microscopic dust particles.

Planet Challenge was developed by Game Oven commissioned by NOVA and Moon Uitgevers with a contribution from Marijn Franx (Leiden Observatory, Leiden University). The translations were possible thanks to a contribution from Ewine van Dishoeck (Leiden Observatory, Leiden University). The game was awarded third prize in the Meester App contest of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The jury on the game Planet Challenge: “It is a real scavenger hunt, you learn by doing. There is a team behind it with great understanding (…) And the design is exceptionally beautiful.”

Win a class workshop for World Space Week in Cork or Dublin

To celebrate World Space Week (WSW) 2014 CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and the Dunsink Observatory have partnered with ESERO Ireland to offer free space themed workshops, talks and activities to the students of Ireland. Based on this year’s WSW theme ‘Space Guiding Your Way’ both venues will be offering specific workshops for both primary and 2nd level schools. Note that transport costs are NOT included.

How to enter the competition?

All you have to do to win your place is “In 50 words or less tell us what you know about the European Space Agency” – all entries are to be submitted online at the link provided below.

Deadline for entries is the 25.9.14 when the shortlist will be sent to Dominic Doyle, a senior optical engineer with the European Space Agency at their technical centre ESTEC in the Netherlands. Originally from Galway, Dominic will be helping us to choose the schools who send the best answer in. Winners will be contacted on the 29.9.14.

Submit your entry to

Call for applications for ESA/GTTP Teacher Training 2014

Galileo Teacher Training ProgramThe fifth in a series of training workshops for science teachers, organised by ESA and the Galileo Teacher Training Programme (GTTP), is now open for applications. The workshop will be held at the Lorentz Center@Snellius, Leiden, in the Netherlands.

Participants at this workshop will have the chance to explore innovative ways to use space science and astronomy in the classroom to engage students in the sciences.

A limited number of places are available. Applications will be accepted until 09:00 CEST on 13 October 2014.

Learn more and apply

To space at Tiger Dublin Finge

To SpaceScientist and performer Dr Niamh Shaw is the first Irish woman with a chance to go to Space.

Her show To SPACE will premiere on the 9th of September in the Dublin Science Gallery as a part of Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival.

It’s a multimedia, immersive performance, created in association with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork, Science Foundation Ireland, and ESERO Ireland.

The show explores the politics behind the Space exploration, a phenomenon that in the recent years became again one of the most discussed topics – especially after Mars-One mission unexpectedly gained so much publicity.

Dr Niam Shaw not only presents the little known facts about this new stage of a Space race, but also asks brave ethical questions and confronts scientific data with deeply personal stories.

Hypergravity proposals requested for Spin Your Thesis! 2015

The ESA Education Office is issuing a call to university students who want to take advantage of next year’s opportunity to conduct hypergravity experiments.

The sixth SYT campaign, which will take place September-October 2015, is open to four teams of undergraduate, graduate and PhD students from ESA Member or Cooperating States.

The selected teams, each comprising up to four students, will be given the rare opportunity to conduct science or technology experiments under hypergravity conditions (between 1 and 20 times Earth’s gravity). These experiments must be linked to part of their academic syllabus.

The submission deadline for experiment proposals for SYT 2015 is 7 December 2014.

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