Hunter Students Experiments Launched into Outer Space

280 Hunter ME Program students recently made history as their experiments joined Australia's first mission to the International Space Station

280 Hunter students involved in Cuberider, a ME Program partner project, recently had their experiments launched into outer space.

Cuberider teaches electronics and programming skills to help engage students in experiments that will be conducted in outer space during a real-life space mission. The project encourages students to learn interdisciplinary skills - from coding and electronics design, to physics, maths and data analysis. It gives students a taste of real work in STEM fields, the tools they need to launch into a STEM career and be competitive in the global market.

"We transform the science classrooms into a mission control centre and over the course of half a year they develop experiments for NASA ... and we send that up," Solange Cunin, Cuberider founder, told The Huffington Post Australia.
"It's not a competition, it's not selective. Everybody gets to be a rocket scientist and this year we have about 1000 students involved in the first run."

Cunin says after the cargo gets "shot up" to the International Space Station, astronauts unpack the projects and participants follow the progress back on Earth.

"All the experiments have been preloaded and tested here in Sydney and Houston so they should start running," she adds.

The bold project was started in 2015 and includes experiments from 60 schools nationwide on topics like Einstein's theory of relativity and how to create music and art in space. The experiments are all written in Python computer code, which can be a neat introduction to coding for kids and teens.

According to ME Program Director, Dr Scott Sleap, the Quberider Program epitomises the exciting career opportunities that STEM skills can provide students.

“Space is an appealing topic for students to explore and the ‘real-life’ aspect of Cuberider’s Create for Space program has ensured its popularity. The launch event was absolutely fantastic for the students to be part of - seeing their work launched into space and applied in an international setting was extremely rewarding for them. We look forward to our continued association with Cuberider in the future.” said Dr Sleap.