Jodrell Bank Ladies Night

Thursday 8th March was International Women’s Day and, to mark the occasion, Jodrell Bank Visitors Centre held a ‘girls night out’. 5 Year 11 students attended the event which was designed to encourage girls to take up a career related to space exploration and research.

The evening opened with a mind-blowing talk from Sue Horne MBE of the UK Space Agency. She had the amazing job title of Head of Space Exploration and described some of the projects she has been involved with over her long career. She spoke about her involvement with sending a recent mission to Mars and plans for the future of UK Space exploration, including placing habitable capsules on the surface of the Moon and collecting samples from Mars to return to Earth.

Next, we were invited to consider some of the dangers of space travel and how cutting edge research helps astronauts to stay safe during rocket take-off and landing, and during space walks!

Following this, we headed to another building, which involved walking in the shadow of the huge Lovell telescope. The instrument was active – hard at work collecting data and so, through the darkness, we could hear it moving around and we could see its giant shadow through the semi-darkness.

Scientists from the University of Manchester then hosted an interactive session around meteorites. There were many samples to observe and hold and we took part in a competition where the aim was to identify as many real meteorites as possible from a large collection of rocks. Considering the girls were only armed with a magnet and what they had learned that evening, they did well and identified 7 of a possible 13 correctly!

The third and final session of the evening was with a representative from the National Space Centre. She was encouraging us to think more broadly about the careers available in the field of space research, for example lawyers who specialise in the area of space exploration. It was also interesting to hear the speaker say that, for some of our young people, the career that they end up in may not even exist yet as the boundaries of exploration and knowledge are constantly expanding.

This summed up the evening well as it encouraged us to think big in terms of exploring and understanding our surroundings, as well as considering roles for the future!

Take a look at our photo gallery below.