Bootham School student, Luke Bussell, has been offered a work placement at ‘PocketSpacecraft.com’ to be a part of its programming team for its latest project.
Luke, a Year 12 student at the independent Quaker school in York, has already had the taste of space adventure working on a previous project, KickSat with the British Interplanetary Society. This latest project is even bigger.
The idea is to send thousands of small space probes to the moon and on later projects beyond. They will hitch a ride on a commercial rocket launch either supplying the International Space Station or deploying a satellite. About half the size of a CD and far thinner, the first mission, a proof of concept, will be released in Earth orbit falling back to the ground. The second mission will be a voyage to the moon. The idea is that each will be programmed to undertake various tasks from taking photographs to measuring levels of radiation and much more. The ones landing on the moon will remain there for all of time to come, whilst those falling to earth will transmit a radio signal pinpointing their location which could spark a treasure hunt as trackers and enthusiasts seek them out.
Luke has been studying Astronomy with Bootham School teacher, Mike Shaw, Mike decided to sponsor two of the probes himself, he said:
This is such an exciting project to be part of and my own mini spacecraft will provide a real live link to it all. We’ll be able to monitor their progress via smart phone to see exactly where they end up. As Luke said, one will come back to Earth whilst the other will stay forever on the moon. I’ve named them ‘Silvanus’ and ‘Thompson’ after the great physicist and Bootham old scholar of the nineteenth century, and I’m planning to offer sponsoring opportunities to anyone who would like their name printing on the probe in return for a donation to the School’s science department.
Meanwhile, back at Bootham basecamp, the Astronomy group will be following progress avidly, and the group of students has already been signed up to do the programming for ‘Silvanus’ and ‘Thompson’ under Luke’s guidance.
Summing up, Mike Shaw said:
It has all become a truly adventurous and educational journey for everyone involved.