Mission Meteorite! mines local talent for future astronauts

Grade 5 and 6 students from two London schools are heading to Western University this week for Mission Meteorite! – an interactive program led by award winning researcher Neil Banerjee from the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX).

A popular outreach activity, Mission Meteorite! is delivered using a NASA/Canadian Space Agency (CSA)-themed approach, in which students are placed into teams of 10. Each team appoints a ‘Commander’ and the rest of the team members become ‘Mission Specialists.’

Tapping into the students’ own interests, the teams select space-related specialities like astronomy, robotics, physics, or geology, which demonstrates the extreme diversity of talent necessary to run a space mission. This approach also encourages teamwork and leadership.

Members of the media are invited to visit ‘Mission Control’ on Wednesday, October 30 in Room 1053, Biological & Geological Sciences Building at 10:30 a.m.

Banerjee, an Earth Sciences professor in Western’s Faculty of Science, is a world renowned expert in the fields of geochemistry, economic geology and astrobiology.

“The biggest difference between Mission Meteorite! and traditional outreach activities is the chance to learn about precious space rocks in a very hands on way, including investigating samples from the Moon and Mars,” explains Banerjee. “We also conduct an asteroid mining activity using chocolate chip cookies to teach the students about resource utilization in space.”