Science Stars Space Science Issue

Page 1

SPACE SCIENCE

ISSUE 2021


SAVE

THE DATE


IN PREPARATION FOR THE 2024 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE INTERNATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL UNION

Forum on Astronomy in Africa

Find out more about the Africa Forum and preparations for the 2024 IAU General Assembly:

www.astronomy2024.org


FEATURES

1

0

cput’s nano–

satellite programme

1 1 1 2 2 2

2

explaining space weather

5

Profile: Mpho Tshisaphungo

8

tvet study courses

12 15 28

0

local wins: elsies river high

2

a visit to ska

5

profile: local organisation,

zaspace

2

8

20

film review: rising star

REGULARS

16 37

6 3 3 3 3 3

COVER STORY

1

quiz

2

puzzles

3

puzzle answers

6

facts

7

science centre

22


ED’S NOTE

team Science Stars

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Editor • Shani Tsai Graphic designer • Stacey Swartz

Maybe we need some space…

Contributing writers • Zakiyah Ebrahim • Nadine Sims • Chireez Fredericks • Lusanda Tamesi

I have a confession … I’m an adrenaline junkie.

Chairman • Madambi Rambuda

And at the very top of my bucket list is a trip outside of the world as I know it. My thoughts often wander into outerspace – my imagination is good at mimicking the intense speed at which I would travel and my mind puts on a spectacular shows of sparkles that would come when the stars and planets are in plain sight. Now, I know this isn’t something that is likely to happen (not even with those Lotto millions I won’t win with the tickets I don’t buy) but just thinking about it makes me happy. So, in this issue, it’s been a pleasure for me to come right back down to South Africa and to learn about the great projects and the work that is being done right here on our soil.

Ambassador • Prof. Azwindinni Muronga Subscriptions • info@sciencestars.co.za

Copyright 2021 Science Stars Pty Ltd. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or any means, electronically or mechanically, without prior permission. Science Stars is published by Science Stars Pty Ltd

On page 15, we celebrate Mpho Tshisaphungo – SA’s first woman to head the SANSA Space Weather Centre, and we talk to high school learners from Elsies River in Cape Town about a big win (page 20). And we’ve got your back with TVET courses you could apply for if you’re interested in pursuing a career in space science – see page 18. 1 Bridgeway, Century City, Cape Town, South Africa, 7441

I hope you’ll enjoy this issue, and that you’ll never stop dreaming – your future, like outerspace, has no limits!

Shani Tsai

+27 21 830 5240 info@sciencestars.co.za www.sciencestars.co.za

Editor

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

5


COVER FEATURE

A JOURNEY INTO SPACE There’s so much about space that we’re still learning about. We put a spotlight on a few of the interesting bits of information.

By: Zakiyah Ebrahim

PAST VISITORS TO SPACE Human beings have been soaring into space for more than half a century. Here, we take a look at some of the epic events that became widely recognised worldwide.

1961: Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet cosmonaut, was the first person to fly into space and orbit the Earth on 12 April. At 27 years old, he had been chosen three days before the mission took place. Gagarin spent 108 minutes in space in the Vostok 1 spacecraft and returned to Earth as a hero.

1961: Less than a month later, NASA astronaut Alan Shepard, became the first American to travel into space. His 15-minute suborbital flight was done using NASA’s Mercury capsule, named Freedom 7, which took him around 188km above Earth's surface.

6

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

1965: Alexei Leonov, a Soviet and Russian cosmonaut, made history as the first person to perform a spacewalk. He exited his spacecraft for the walk, known as an extravehicular activity (EVA), for a good 12 minutes. He was tethered to his spacecraft, Voskhod-2, with an almost five-metre-long cable. According to reports, he and Gagarin became close friends.

1969: Apollo 11, the first human spaceflight to land on the Moon, allowed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to be the first two people to perform moonwalks. The spaceship has been dubbed one of the most sophisticated that was ever conceived, and with it, the duo-pair could return to Earth with 22 kilograms of moon rocks and lunar dust.


COVER FEATURE

candidates”. After two years of training and evaluations, they could call themselves professional astronauts.

2003: This year was cemented in the record books for China, as they became the third country to send an astronaut into space. Yang Liwei, who was 38 years old at the time, missioned in the Shenzhou 5 on 15 October and it lasted just over 21 hours, successfully.

In Japan, for example, the selection process is a little different: finalists have to sit together in an isolation chamber for a full week. They are then observed by psychiatrists and psychologists, who monitor their skills in teamwork. On the other hand, the Johnson Space Centre in Texas, US, has a training programme whereby candidates have to undergo basic military water survival training, such as swimming three lengths of a 25m pool without stopping and managing to tread water while wearing a space flight suit – yikes! What’s needed? There are several requirements for NASA applicants. These include: • • • • •

A degree in engineering, physics or mathematics. Professional experience related to the above degree. Sharp and clear vision (20/20 vision). Being healthy and fit. A height of between 1.57m and 1.9m.

Does South Africa have space training? WANT TO BE AN ASTRONAUT? As it stands, more than 500 people have been trained as astronauts over the years. As of 2020, NASA had 48 active astronauts as well as trained 350 astronauts since the agency began training space travellers in the 1960s, Space magazine reported. The journey to becoming an astronaut is far from simple, so we give you a glimpse of some of the requirements and training processes it involves. Although the thought of being an astronaut may encompass spending time in space itself, bear in mind that the reality is that it mainly involves preparing for missions and travelling to other space agencies, explains YOU Magazine. While the first astronauts to blast into space were all military test pilots, today, astronauts have to work in teams on the International Space Station (ISS). Training programmes are similar worldwide, making it simpler for all astronauts to work well together, especially during joint space missions. Here’s an example of NASA’s selection programme: In 2003, the agency received more than 6 000 applications – they had just eight astronaut positions available. The process entailed 120 people being selected to undergo interviews and evaluations. Of this, 49 were selected to undergo further tests until the eight final applicants were chosen to be “astronaut

Unfortunately, South Africa does not have an astronaut training centre although there have been calls for an astronaut programme in Africa. But a spokesperson at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) told YOU magazine that they can help individuals to apply to one of the international training centres. SOUTH AFRICA’S ROLE IN SPACE RESEARCH South Africa is one of more than 60 countries that have its own space agency, which means our country contributes valuable research in the field of space science. Here are some ways we make this happen: • Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory, located in Gauteng, has supported many past space missions, such as Apollo 15 in 1972. • South Africa has already launched eight satellites. Egypt leads the way in Africa with nine launched satellites. Such satellites may enable us to pick up on the risk of disasters taking place, such as floods, and respond to others easily, including fires and earthquakes. • The country also houses the single largest optical telescope in the southern hemisphere, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). It can be found near the small town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape. At 10 metres long, SALT has been in full science operation since 2011 and is “realising its huge potential as Africa’s Giant Eye on the Universe,” notes its website. • A space regional warning system is located in Hermanus, the Western Cape, and it is currently the only available one in Africa.

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

7


COVER FEATURE

This system provides a critical service to the country as it monitors the sun and its activity. This, in turn, enables our scientists to have information, early warnings and forecasts on space weather conditions. • In May 2020, the South African government approved a partnership between SANSA and NASA to host a “deep-space ground station” to support human spaceflight missions to the Moon and Mars. The station will be based in Matjiesfontein in the Western Cape and will integrate into an existing network of three other sites (based in the US, Spain and Australia). “The station will benefit South Africa in, amongst others, the development of scarce skills and the growth of the science, engineering, technology and innovation sector,” the government said in a statement. THE COLONISATION OF MARS: WHAT’S AHEAD? Efforts are underway to determine if human survival on Mars would be possible in future, and some countries and entrepreneurs are spearheading these efforts. NASA aims to send their astronauts to Mars, which will likely happen in the 2030s. The United Arab Emirates have also made their plans clear by outlining a 100-year plan to create a colony on the Red Planet. Similarly, China has stated that sending humans to Mars is its long-term goal. But Elon Musk has been at the forefront of this goal, and arguably the most ambitious at it too. His company, SpaceX, was set up with a mission to enable people to live on other planets. Reaching Mars could happen as soon as 2026, Musk previously said. His company has a spacecraft in place – Starship – a fully reusable transport system that is capable of carrying up to 100 people. Musk’s ambition is said to possibly be the riskiest human quest ever. He previously explained that the whole idea is partly motivated by existential threats, such as an asteroid striking Earth and being large enough to wipe out humanity.

8

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


www.sutherlandplanetarium.co.za

SPACE AND ASTRONOMY

FULL DOME DIGITAL THEATER

BOOK NOW AND EXPLORE Sutherland Planetarium is located in the centre of Sutherland en route to the Southern African Large Telescope. It is the latest and only privately owned Digital Planetarium in South Africa. The 30-seater Planetarium is open 7 days a week showcasing a wide range (54) of 3-D Fulldome films to ensure educational entertainment for the whole family.

GET IN TOUCH HOURS Monday - Saturday: Hourly shows (09:00-18:00) Sunday: 09:00-11:00 (Only long weekend and seasonal) ​ SHOW FEES ​ Daily: R80 per adult / R50 per child (under 12 years ) CONTACT US Phone/ WhatsApp: +27 78 603 0058 Email: info@sutherlandplanetarium.co.za

Walk among the stars and learn more about Sutherland’s incredibly clear night skies!

Corner of Piet Retief Street and Sarel Cilliers Street Sutherland, 6920 ​Northern Cape ​South Africa


CPUT PROJECT

THE LOWDOWN ON LOCAL SATELLITES CPUT HOSTS AFRICA’S LEADING NANOSATELLITE PROGRAMME. By: Lusanda Tamesi

Image of ZACUBE-2 by CPUT

10

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


CPUT PROJECT

YOU ARE PROBABLY WONDERING WHAT A NANOSATELLITE IS… A nanosatellite is any satellite weighing less than 10 kilograms – the term “nanosatellite” or “nanosat” is used to explain a weight mass between 1 - 10kg. Nanosat or CubeSats are named for their specific characteristics including a cube shape, a generic size of 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm known as U, and weight. The use of nanosatellites to curb climate change With South Africa having a patchwork of climatic conditions, this programme is an advantage. Nanosatellites might be small in appearance but their work comes in handy. Now, to South Africa’s advantage, these satellites are used to train students for the aerospace industry to apply their knowledge in biomedical research, space observation and space missions. Over the years, South Africa has been dependent on space-based technology and application to manage and support its inhabitants. The South African Space Agency (SANSA) was created at an ideal time, in an effort to promote space-based research, engineering and innovation. Through this initiative, the CPUT space programme (established in 2009) developed stronger ties with SANSA. With the help of the French South African Institute of Technology (F'SATI) and the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChl), CPUT is able to expand its research activities via small satellite technology. A cross-cultural institute for learning, research and development between France and South Africa, F'SATI works to create knowledge and transfer technology between the two countries.

It has housed more than 65 Masters and Doctoral graduates. The CPUT space programme is “a man of many talents” as it will launch a third satellite Maritime Domain Awareness mission MDASat-1 this summer, whilst M2MSat, the fourth nanosatellite, is under construction for the year 2022/23. This follows after two successful missions, namely TshepisoSat that was named by Chachane Kgothalang (a grade 9 learner from Eastern Cape who won the naming satellite competition in 2013), and the second satellite, ZACube-2, launched in 2018. MDSat-1 is the country’s first mini-constellation of three satellites that will monitor the water off South Africa’s coast for shipping movements. With a ground station at CPUT, the mission will send signals received from the ships at deepsea level and gather the data which, in turn, will be used by the South African government to contribute to the management of the country’s territorial waters. The former head of the Africa Space Innovation Centre, Professor Robert van Zyl, told Space in Africa that, “MDSat-1 is a major achievement and a milestone for CPUT, South Africa and the continent as a whole, not only providing strategic significant vessel tracking data to the government but also developing skills and advanced technologies”. MDASat-1 has already undergone several assessment stages including cleanroom, which is a room or controlled environment where contaminants like dust particles are filtered out in order to provide the cleanest area.

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

11


SPACE WEATHER

WHAT IS

SPACE

WEATHER? We visit the regional Space Weather Warning Centre in Hermanus, Cape Town. By: Nadine Sims

12

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


SPACE WEATHER

M

uch like Earth, space has weather patterns as well.

Space weather is actually quite turbulent above our heads and the main influence on space weather is our nearest star, the sun. In space, weather events have many names but generally they are called “solar events”. The word “solar” is derived from the latin word “sol” which means sun. Solar storms can cause a lot of disruptions that could be dangerous. That is why there are Space Weather Warning Centres, to help predict and prepare for catastrophic events. The SANSA Space Weather Warning Centre in Hermanus is decked out with a huge wall of TV monitors that have various images of the sun and this is where the experts are able to look at it and supply warnings, alerts and forecasts of any space weather events. This centre is one of only 17 international space weather warning centres and is the only one of its kind in Africa. Monitoring space weather events is not only important to scientists but it should be important for everyone that uses modern technology, as it has the potential to disrupt and impact systems such as satellites, power grids and radio communication. This could be quite dangerous for the aviation industry that requires their GPS and navigation systems to run smoothly on all aircrafts, especially in adverse weather. This is one of the main reasons why the centre provides regional space weather updates to the airline industry. A solar superstorm also has the potential to have detrimental effects on communication systems like mobile phones, and could have a severe impact on the world economy and society at large. Therefore, it is vital to monitor the sun and its daily activities and hopefully pre-empt any space weather events. An example of a big space weather event that disrupted everyday life in the past is the Carrington Event of 1859 where the digital telegraph (some say that it was the internet of its day) was affected by the largest geomagnetic storm ever recorded. If something similar were to happen today, it would cripple society and potentially affect GPS systems, internet-based technology, power and electricity and transport. Therefore, it is important to be able to forecast any solar weather events.

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

13


SCIENCE STARS FOLLOW US ON BUILDING LEGENDS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Science Stars is supported by: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Department of Science and Technology CSIR University of Stellenbosch UCT SANRAL Shanduka Foundation Old mutual NSFAS UJ Engen Scifest Africa Shanduka black umbrellas SAASTA TCTA

Science Stars is distributed to all 9 South African provinces by ELTINSEF.

/sciencestars.faceb.co.za @ScienceStarsmag 021 839 2507 info@sciencestars.co.za www.sciencestars.co.za www.sciencestars.co.za info@sciencestars.co.za /sciencestars.faceb.co.za @ScienceStars2 +27 21 830 5200


TRENDING TOPIC PROFILE

A JOURNEY TO SPACE WEATHER

We talk to Mpho Tshisaphungo about weathering challenges and how she made her way into space history. By: Chireez Fredericks Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

15


PROFILE

M

pho Tshisaphungo is the first female to head

the Space Weather Centre at the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) in Hermanus. She is responsible for coordinating and managing the Space Weather Centre, a place where she and her team monitors the space weather conditions in real-time. These documented conditions are then further analysed to prepare forecasts, warnings and alerts for government and private industry users. Growing up in Limpopo, Tshisaphungo remembers loving school and says: “I never wanted to miss school. When I was sick, I would go to school. Even when it was raining and there were no taxis, I would be in my uniform, making my way to school”. Although Tshisaphungo didn’t have a favourite teacher, she had a fascination with numbers and was drawn to Mathematics, a passion her parents supported. “My mother couldn’t complete her schooling, but she is very clever and she understood the importance of education.” Tshisaphungo’s parents always encouraged her to learn and although her mother never completed her education she was always there to ensure they had food to eat before school and

16

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

that their uniforms were prepared the night before. “Although she wouldn’t be able to check our homework, my mother would always ask if we had done it. If you wanted to, you could cheat yourself by telling her you did your work and she wouldn’t know, but she always asked. And if we didn’t do our homework, she would sit with us late at night so we wouldn’t have to sit alone,” Tshisaphungo says. This was the kind of support Tshisaphungo’s mother gave her while growing up. As a child, Tshisaphungo wanted to work in chemistry. “When I could, I would spend my time in the lab, mixing some medicine. That was my dream, ” she recalls. After high school, she applied to as many universities as she could. “I applied to Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) even though I didn’t even know where it was located. I thought it was out of the country,” she laughs. Although she was accepted at CPUT for a degree in Chemistry, she did not have the required funding. Tshisaphungo recalls being influenced by those around her and talks of earning lots of money when working in the world of Computer Science, saying: “When you are young, you are driven by earning lots of money”. She then applied for the Bachelor of Computer


PROFILE

Science with Mathematics and Physics at the University of Venda in Limpopo. Tshisaphungo scrunches her brows as she talks about the frustration of having to share a computer with two or three people while trying to complete a practical at university. “How was I going to solve problems if I couldn’t even sit at a computer by myself?” She then decided that computer science was not for her and chose to follow her passion by completing her Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics and Physics, despite not knowing what career prospects she would have. After her third year, Tshisaphungo was looking for any opportunity to further her education, when she spotted a poster advertising the winter school in Hermanus. At that time, she had no idea what space weather was but she was intrigued and decided to apply. She was accepted into the programme and by June 2006, she was on her way to the Western Cape. And although the winter school only lasted for one week, Tshisaphungo’s curiosity lingered. “Learning about space science and technology opened up a whole new world for me and I was fascinated! During the winter school, I spent a lot of time with the SANSA researchers who recognised my potential and offered me an opportunity to continue my studies,” she explains. Determined to pursue her interest, Tshisaphungo accepted SANSA’S offer to intern at the centre for six months. By December of that year, Tshisaphungo applied for her honours degree in The National Astrophysics and Space Science Programme (NASSP) at the Universe of Cape Town. She then completed her masters in December 2009 and was offered an opportunity to become a space weather assistant in January 2010.

ALTHOUGH SHE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO CHECK OUR HOMEWORK, MY MOTHER WOULD ALWAYS ASK IF WE HAD DONE IT

For Tshisaphungo, education has always been an important part of her life. She enjoys organising space weather courses, as well as training programmes in space weather forecasting. “We are also developing the training material for users in the aviation sector, as this information has to be customised for their use”.

Tshisaphungo says she is most proud of completing her PhD. However, undertaking that while working has been one of her most challenging ventures thus far. When overcoming challenging moments, Tshisaphungo encourages that one should “step back and take a break because in those moments you will find yourself making mistakes.” She also advises prioritising things that are important to you and tackling one task at a time. When asked what advice she would give young people, Tshisaphungo says: “Know that each and every person is unique – you have your own talent, everybody is good at something. You need to identify your strengths and focus on what you are good at. Don’t follow what your friend is doing, follow your own heart.”

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

17


COURSES

ON THE RIGHT (STUDY) COURSE Considering studying space sciencerelated courses at TVET colleges in South Africa? Here are some options. By: Zakiyah Ebrahimm

T

VET, which stands for “technical and vocational education

and training”, is an international educational term that applies to a college education that aims to prepare students to become

COLLEGE OF CAPE TOWN FOR TVET (CENTRAL METROPOLE DISTRICT)

functional workers in a skilled trade. In other words, this type

What they offer: Mechanical Engineering

of education will provide you with all the necessary skills and

Satellite systems involve many different engineering disciplines, including mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineers design, develop, build and test mechanical sensors and devices that support space missions. As a mechanical engineer, you could be involved with the building of hi-tech space satellites.

knowledge you need for your career. TVET Colleges are open to students who've completed Grade 9, 10, 11 or 12 at the high school level. The quality of education and training you’ll receive is internationally recognised. In South Africa, TVET Colleges fall under the national Department of Higher Education and Training. These colleges are fully equipped to educate and train at a tertiary level and will provide you with your pathway to career success. There are 50 TVET colleges across South Africa, providing students with abundant options. When you think of careers in space science, ‘astronaut’ is probably the first profession that comes to mind. But there are many other employment opportunities in this field. Here, we look at qualifications offered at three TVET colleges in the country and explain how you can register, what you can do with your qualification. 18

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

At the College of Cape Town for TVET, you can enroll for the National Certificates N4-N6: Engineering Studies (leads to diploma). Once you’ve completed your N4-N6 Certificates, you will need to work towards obtaining your National N-Diploma, which you will qualify for through the Department of Higher Education and Training when you’ve completed at least two years of practical work experience in your specific field of study. Duration of course: 1 year (each level is 12 weeks) + 2 years practical work experience in the industry for a National N-Diploma. Details: cct.edu.za | 021 404 6700 | info@cct.edu.za


COURSES

EASTCAPE MIDLANDS TVET COLLEGE What they offer: Information Technology and Computer Science In the era of “Big Data”, computer science is considered extremely valuable in scientific astronomy. According to NASA, computers are an integral part of all current spacecraft. John Bresina, a computer scientist at NASA, majored in both mathematics and computer science, with a specialisation in artificial intelligence (AI). His job covers a wide range of possible employment. “The majority of what I've done at NASA is research in AI, specifically in the area of planning and scheduling, and how to apply these AI technologies to space missions. More recently, I've worked directly on space missions as part of the mission operations staff employing the technologies that I helped to develop,” he said. Details: emcol.co.za | 041 995 2000 PORT ELIZABETH TVET COLLEGE What they offer: Mechatronics As a mechatronics engineer, your career options would be manifold since your qualification would mean that you’ll have a skill set combining many fields, including electrical, mechanical and control engineering, pneumatics and robotics. Your qualification can also lead you to work in aerospace. Programmes are currently in progress to land humans on the moon by 2024. NASA, for example, as well as its related agencies, need mechatronics engineers to assist with their goal of landing on the moon, as well as exploring Mars and beyond. Duration of course: 3 years – full time Details: pecollege.edu.za | 041 509 6000 | info@pecollege.edu.za

Need funding? The department of higher education offers bursaries available for National Certificate Vocational courses at public TVET Colleges to students who meet the criteria. The bursaries are administered through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), although other bursaries are available and vary from college to college. The NSFAS bursary covers accommodation, transport and an incidental/personal care allowance. Some of the requirements to qualify for NSFAS funding includes: • Being a South African citizen; • Being registered or intending to register on a PLP, NC(V) or Report 191 programme at any of the 50 public TVET Colleges in South Africa; • Needing financial assistance; and • Demonstrating good academic performance.

Science StarsA Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

19


LOCAL STORY

DON’T HATE … DEBATE! We meet the girls from Elsies River High who recently stole the debating show.

By: Lusanda Tamesi

20

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


LOCAL STORY

T

he STEM field is increasingly influencing

the way society operates and driving the innovations needed to solve the world's most pressing problems. However, interest and enrollment among girls is low, and this field is still overwhelmingly male-dominated. Global Citizen reports that only 13% of STEM graduates are females. But 17-year-old girls from a township high school in Cape Town are breaking boundaries and also helping Africans in STEM tell their own success stories. Through the application of technology, entrepreneurship, innovation and business opportunities created in the world of science, learners from Elsies River High have made their school a hot topic in the Astronomy and Space Science Debate competition. “Show me your friends and I will show you my future” … these are the words that encouraged the group of grade 11 girls that won the debate against Cape Science Academy. Jodi Meyer, Lisa Jacobs, Mubaaraka Wilson and Taytum Baugaard walked in pride after winning the debate. The event was organised by the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) under the debate topic: Is the colonisation of Mars a good idea?

do that, but it is about admitting the need for business and psychological aspects for mission planning,” said Meyer. Wilson said that her passion for astronomy stems from her business studies and the details of it have left her starstruck saying that if she would be given an opportunity to study a field that comprises a bit of both, she would jump on it. The girls further added that their application of research to the theme was daunting as they were demotivated that they were competing against a science school and the stigma of astronomy and science is only for males hit a nail for a second. But this initial fear faded and the girls felt more empowered and wanted to prove that they can do it … and they did it!

“I come from Elsies River but I am not Elsies River”

In the panel of judges was NASA’s Jim Adams, Dr Martin Snow from the SARchi Research Chair (SANSA) and Dr Sithabile Kolwa from the University of Johannesburg (UJ). It all started when a physics teacher received an email for the school to participate in The South African Agency for Science and Technology (SAASTA) debate competition. “The email from the physics teacher, Mr Gordons, immediately reminded me that my team, who had been with me since grade 9, needed to dust off their scrapbooks to write some cue cards,” said Cher Franks, head of The Debating Society at the school. “To us, astronomy is not only about looking at the sky and saying I need Maths and Science to

“Having to oppose the colonisation of Mars was stressful but walking out as champions is still unbelievable,” the group said.

Teachers‘ tips on reaching success: – Be fearless – Activate your gift – Embrace your greatness – Take part in extra-mural activities – Attend science camps if possible

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

21


SALT

THE SALT OF SUTHERLAND Home to the southern hemisphere’s largest optical telescope, Sutherland is a land of astronomical wonder. By: Lusanda Tamesi

22

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


SALT

Just a four-hour from Cape Town lies Sutherland's Namakwa District in the Northern Cape, and the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO). This is home to the biggest optical telescope in the Southern hemisphere, the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT). The Observatory has initiated direct and indirect opportunities for the community. Some of which include 200 bursaries that will cater to the youth of Sutherland who want to study Mathematics and Physics-related courses at tertiary institutions. A great feature of the Community Hall is a computer center that acts as a hub to help students enhance their computer skills and apply to varsities.

“A great feature of the Community Hall is a computer center that acts as a hub to help students enhance their computer skills and apply to varsities”

The Science Stars team attended an event led by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul; Dr Clifford Nxomani, the Deputy CEO of the National Research Foundation (NRF); Acting Chief Director of Astronomy, Takalani Nemaungani, and an Independent Public Participation Consultant commissioned by UCT, Mrs Doreen Februarie.

With the astronomical research in South Africa celebrating 200 years of existence and astro-tourism, the SAAO expanded on its community initiatives. “We are grateful to the officials of the South African Astronomical Observatory as well as the National Research Foundation for hosting us on what has been a very insightful visit,” said the Premier, Dr Saul, who went on to appreciate the professionalism of the “energetic and intellectually agile, SALT SA Project Engineers and Scientists that are creating a name for us worldwide in the field of astronomy!” In having SALT in the Northern Cape there is also the guarantee that the province’s name will forever appear in scientific journals. “We will continue with collaborations with the SAAO and SALT for the benefit of the community, especially the youth,” added the Premier.

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

23


SALT

It was a day filled with much applause and excitement for the Sutherland community. It truly was a case of a large-scale project filtering down to benefit the surrounding community. In so doing, we are certain that the residents will also value and protect the SALT area. It is, after all, theirs and will soon benefit 200 of their brightest minds. The next day was off to a busy start. Little did we know it would be quite an emotional experience for all participants. Activities commenced with a visit to the local computer centre to showcase what the community has at its disposal. We then witnessed a meeting between Dr Saul and the descendants of nine individuals who were unethically removed from their graves in the Sutherland district and provided to the University of Cape Town for research purposes in the 1920s. “In our culture when people suffer hardships, a cemetery visit is the only way to connect spiritually with their ancestors,” said Dr Saul as he listened to the painful story of graves being removed. We met Alfred Stuurman (58), a descendant of one of the families whose graves had been removed. He shared with us his wish to visit his forefather’s grave, Dawid Stuurman. Before this day, that dream seemed quite impossible for him. But upon learning about plans to rebury their family members, there was much excitement. The process of repatriation has been set in motion. Stuurman's history is now firmly in my grasp! And I hope that one day I will be able to walk to the graveyards without hesitation," said Alfred. If all goes well the reburials could be done this year. Plans for the re-burial were planned for much earlier but were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr Saul apologised to the families present for the delay and reiterated the government’s continued commitment to this process to ensure that the Abraham and Stuurman families and community at large find closure.

24

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


LOCAL ORG SALT

INSIDE ZASPACE Here’s a brief look into an organisation making waves in South Africa’s geospatial sector. By: Zakiyah Ebrahim ZASpace was created in 2019 and was the first initiative of its kind to grow South Africa’s geospatial sector. The geospatial industry comprises private companies, the government, non-profit organisations (NPOs), as well as academic and research institutions that focus on researching, developing, manufacturing and using geospatial technology. WHAT IS GEOSPATIAL TECHNOLOGY? Geospatial technologies include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS) and Global Positioning Systems. They are unique in that they can track specific geographic information. Thousands of geospatial technology applications are in use worldwide. These technologies have numerous purposes, such as allowing for the studying of objects or surfaces at faraway distances. Scientists can then use this to assess the risk of natural disasters and global climate change, for example. Incorporating these technologies also makes it possible for officials to make informed decisions based on the priority of resources on Earth. ZASPACE’S ROLE ZASpace has support from the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) and has access to resources and expertise, which is used to improve collaboration between different sectors. Its vision is to stimulate growth and transformation of the space industry.

Justine Letard, who is Head of Brands and Digital Channels of ZASpace, told Science Stars that ZASpace improves collaboration between public sector institutions, such as SANSA, and the private sector organisations in order to allow for better opportunities to grow the private sector and business overall. WHY WAS IT CREATED? The organisation was born out of the need to maximise the impact of space assets accumulated by SANSA, Kamal Ramsingh, CEO of ZASpace, told Space in Africa in 2019. Ramsingh also believes that South Africa has had “decades of missed opportunity” because it outsourced its technology needs, but that this was not necessarily needed for the growth of the country’s geospatial sector. One of ZASpace’s plans from the very beginning was to develop learning contents and academic curriculum on geospatial science and technologies – in collaboration with secondary schools in South Africa – in order to broaden awareness for career opportunities in the sector. While ZASpace does not have any student offerings at this stage, they will be looking at incorporating youth projects as a mission in the future and are happy to promote youth development projects, Letard said. To find out more about how ZASpace is benefitting the industry, visit their website at zaspaceinc.org

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

25


Living with Space Weather What is space weather? There is no greater influence on the Earth and its space environment than that of our local star, the Sun. Did you know, just like Earth, space has weather too? Snowstorms and thunderstorms occur on Earth while in space they are known as “solar storms” and like their counterparts on Earth they too may cause problems for us humans, especially because we are so dependent on satellite technology.

Can space weather affect life on Earth? Although space weather can pose a health risk for astronauts in space, it will not harm humans and other life forms on Earth as we are protected by the Earth’s magnetic field. However, space weather can cause a geomagnetic storm, which can result in disturbances to technological systems such as GPS, radio communications, internet, cell phones, DStv and our electrical power grids.


What causes space weather? Space weather is caused by four main components: solar flares, coronal mass ejections, high speed solar wind and solar energetic particles and refers to the effects that the Sun has on the Earth and the planets of the solar system.

Solar flares How do you monitor events on the Sun? The South Africa National Space Agency (SANSA) is host to the only Space Weather Centre in Africa which provides an important service to the nation by monitoring the Sun and its activity. SANSA space weather forecasters utilise a variety of ground and space-based sensors and imaging systems to view activity at various depths in the solar atmosphere. With this information the Centre is able to form a picture of the environment from the Sun to the Earth providing forecasts and alerts to anyone affected by space weather.

The Sun is a huge ball of boiling gas with loop-like structures on the solar surface. When one of these loops becomes unstable, it breaks off from the Sun and creates a solar flare. FACT

The biggest flares can be hundreds of times the size of the Earth. Approximate size of the Earth

What is a Satellite? A satellite is a moon, planet or machine that orbits a planet or star. Earth and the moon are examples of natural satellites. Usually, the word “satellite” refers to a machine that is launched into space and moves around Earth or another body in space. FACT

Satellites are used for communications, such as beaming TV signals and phone calls around the world.

Coronal mass ejections A coronal mass ejection (CME) is a massive cloud of hydrogen ions which erupt from the surface of the Sun when stored energy is suddenly released. The impact of a CME causes a disturbance to the Earth’s magnetic field and can interrupt communication and navigation systems.

FACT

CME’s travel at supersonic speeds of up to 2 000 km per second. That speed would get you from Johannesburg to Cape Town in less than one second.

For more info on SANSA See our website: www.sansa.org.za South African National Space Agency | @sansa7 Tel: 028 312-1196 | Fax: 028 312-2039 | E-mail: spacesci-info@sansa.org.za


LOCAL FILM

This article first appeared in African Science Stars magazine Issue 2

A LOOK AT A RISING STAR A fully immersive astronomy experience is now showing at the Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town. By: Nadine Sims 28

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

T

he locally produced planetarium film Rising Star takes a glimpse into Astronomy in South Africa, allowing unrestricted access and views of significant sites, such as

the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and MeerKAT. The 24-minute film can be viewed at the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome in the Cape Town’s city centre and can also be viewed in VR format. The film is suitable for audiences of all ages and aims to excite and inspire viewers about the origins of astronomy and stargazing in South Africa and the world. It also introduces multi-wavelength and multi-messenger astronomy and what the future holds for astronomy development and research in the country. The film was produced by the company VR Capture, with support coming from the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory (SARAO). It is the brainchild of astronomer Daniel Cunnama. “I just hope that it inspires people to find out more about the astronomy we are doing here and be proud of our achievements as South Africans, and hopefully visit Sutherland and Carnarvon to take some of it in," says Cunnama.


LOCAL FILM

The Iziko Planetarium was established in 1987 and in 2017 the digital dome underwent an 8K digital upgrade making it one of the most advanced on the continent, and one of four major planeteria in South Africa. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the 15.2m digital dome catered to around 100 000 people annually. Not only does it host public showings but is also able to be utilised by scientists and astronomers for research purposes, by using the facility to better visualise their data. South Africa has a rich history of astronomy, with telescopes like SALT and MeerKAT. SALT is the largest optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere – so powerful, it is able to detect stars that are dimmer than the faintest star visible to the naked eye. And MeerKAT, with its 64 antennas, is the most sensitive radio telescope of its kind. Virtual reality tours of the Sutherland facility are available, through which the different telescopes can be explored. Visit salt.ac.za for more information on these tours. For more information about viewing times for Rising Star, visit the Iziko Planetarium website or call 021 481 3800 for bookings.

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

29


COMPETITION

All you have to do is tell us about star gazing in your country. It can be about your own personal account of star gazing or professional instruments in your region. Your entry should include a bit about yourself, where you are from and how old you are.

ENTRY INFO: Email your entry to: info@sciencestars.co.za For extra entries: Like our Facebook page Like the pinned post and tag a friend Competition ends February 28th 2022 The winner will be contacted and will be announced in the next edition of African Science Stars. Terms and conditions apply

30

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


QUIZ

PICKING YOUR BRAIN

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

ZASpace was created in… A. 1962 B. 2019 C. 2007

GIS stands for… A. Get it somewhere B. Granted it succeeds C. Geographic Information System

Who was the first person to fly into space? A. Alan Shepard B. Neil Armstrong C. Yuri Gagarin

8 9 10

Which planet has no solid surface? A. Saturn B. Mars C. Earth

Sunset on Mars is… A. Very hot B. At 4pm C. Blue

Which is not a South African organisation? A. NASA B. SAAO C. SAASTA

When did NASA start training space travellers? A. 1960s B. 1970s C. 1950s

What is a nanosatellite? A. Any satellite you can see through a microscope B. Any satellite weighing less than 10 kilograms C. Any satellite weighing less than 100 kilograms

The latin word “sol” means… A. To sell B. Sun C. Sole

There are __ international space weather warning centres. A. 17 B. 18 C. 44

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

31


PUZZLES

SUDOKU Fill in the 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, row, and 3×3 section contain the numbers between 1 to 9. 6 1

87

2

2

5 8

6

4

9

7

76

28

1 54

3

1

4 2

7

5

1

24

3 8 6

6

19 2

7

3 6

8

8

16

93 5 4

3

6 1

7

2 9 1

1

7

4

3

5

8 16

3

5 78

1

4 3 5

WORD SEARCH AE

ET

CS

U M

RE

ET

H S

TY

EAS

TRE

CW A

UG L

RO

ES

H

T

A

E

W

G

N C

SR

LX

IP

EL

DC

V I

NB

CGT

RKI

LO

I EE

LA

D

I

N

G

I

O

E

BN

E

T I

PI

FA

I

C

I

NR

EE

IC

N IO

FS

IS

C

E

CI

M

R R

LN

OC

EL

T

ES

CD

M ER

E RG

NT

OA

L

I

Y

A O

OP

A O

O U

EE

U

IG

YO K

AA

OR

AR

UT

E

C

C

T

S M

CO

B M

R O

US

CCG

CE

TN

SA G

CO

E M

O

S

L

E

A

AA

W H

IT

A N

SEC

LS

EU

APY

AN

HL

T

L

E

Y

R

N

S U

ET

O C

LIT

EDI

YC

RHE

NA

UL

T

M I

IE

AL

EK

Y W

W O

A O

AY

I LE

EZSI

ATE

EY

W U

OI

O

P O

PL

EA

N O

SE

ET

O C

N I

OD

PNO

EO RI

ON

S T

ET

C

Space science I R E C Astrobiology T S D E Astronaut U Stars G K A U Planet C E N Cosmology N E S U Milky Way C I D C Exploration A E S T Solar system I Satellite D N I

SC

O R

S E

M E

NO

L H

O O

AG

SDY

RE

EO G

EN E

C N

HE

O

A

D

E

O

E

G F

TO

NS

ET

M A

N R

O S

RU

GIE

TVL

NNS

EEY

G O M

NE

O

R

I

V

N

E

32

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

O G R A P H Y N


PUZZLE ANSWERS

TEST RESULTS What was your score for the Energy issue?

SUDOKU 84

6

6 3 17

2

56 18

4 7 9

8 53

2 1

9

8

3

4

8

75

29

97

1 4

2

6

57

1

9 2 6

6

73

5

79

1

32 8 6

2

3 5

4 6

63

1

4

62

8

5

3

7

9

13 1 2

3

9

6 2

41

8

75

6

5

3

7

2

8

4

8

1 7 1

4

12

95

5

2

9 8

6

3 57

5

4

6 11

7

9

QUIZ

WORD SEARCH

1. B - The kind of wind where the El

TI

CE

U U

RI

ED

H R

TA

EAL

TO E

CW S

UG

RL

EN

H

N C

A R

LE

IN

EL

DC

V I

NB

T CG

RKI

LO

I EE

LO

D

I

BN

E

I

I

FV

I

C

I

NR

EE

IC

N IO

FA

IE

C

E

CI

M

R

N

OI

EL

T

ES

CD

M ER

E RG

N D

OL

I

Y

A O

OP

A

U

ER

U

IG

YO K

AA

OR

AS

UE

T

airA moves E up. W

2. A - Rises.

G

N

G

I

O

E

I

R

E

C

O

L

T C - Hydropower. S D E 5.

G

E

6. U B - Iceland. G K

A

R

3. B - Germany.

4. C - My Octopus Teacher.

7. A - Air pollution.

C

C

T

S M

CO

M

O

UO

CCG

CE

TN

SA G

CH

M M

O

U

C

E

N

A

S

L

E

A

AA

W H

T

N

SM E

LS

EU

APY

AE

HE

T

N

E

S

U

P

L

E

Y

R

N

S U

ET

C

LI

E ED

YC

RHE

D N

UN

T

C

B I

OE

R A

ED

Y W

H O

SO

R A

IX E

EZS

ATN

EY

W D

OT

O

10. A C - 26% E

S

T

Y

P O

PL

EA

N O

ST

ES

O C

N I

OD

PN

ERI

T ON

SI

ES

C

I

D

N

I

N

G S

R

S E

E

NL

R H

O

AU

SDS

RE

EO

EE

N N

H

O

A

D

E

O

E

G F

TO

NS

ES

MI

N L

O F

RU

GIE

TVL

NNS

EE

G M

NH

O

R

I

V

N

E

8. A - Fossil fuels.

9. A - Solar and wind energy I intermittent. D C are

H

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

33


The Sun & its Solar Cycle Our local star, the Sun, is a huge ball of boiling gas with a very strong magnetic field that rotates with a differential rotation on its axis with different velocities at the poles. This differential rotation twists the magnetic field and causes a variety of solar features. In order to see the different structures, the Sun is observed in a variety of wavelengths, ranging from hard X-rays to radio.

Main Solar Features Sunspots and Solar Active Regions - Sunspots are dark features that appear on the surface of the Sun. They vary in size, shape and lifetime. Sunspots appear in areas where the magnetic field is very strong. They appear to be darker than the gas surrounding them, because they are several thousand degrees cooler.

S

Th

Wh

Due to space weath Sun an Sun em mass e and pl

Image from: NOAA SciJinks The Sun has an 11-year cycle of solar activity known as the solar cycle.

The magnitude of the magnetic flux that rises to the surface of the Sun, follows 11-year cycles of activity known as the solar cycle or sunspot cycle. During this cycle the Sun reaches periods of maximum and minimum solar activity. Solar minimum refers to a period when the number of sunspots is small, resulting in less solar activity. Solar maximum is the period when the number of sunspots is high, resulting in more frequent solar activity.

Image from: Space.com

A small sized sunspot is about the size of the Earth. However, when sunspots are observed by means of ultraviolet or X-ray filters, there appears to be high emission activity in the corona. That emission is produced by the plasma that travels on the powerful magnetic fields emerging from the sunspots. We refer to the whole view as solar active regions. Active regions may produce coronal mass ejections which may result in solar superstorms.

Solar winds travel at speeds of up to 800 km/s Coronal Holes

Coronal Holes

These are large holes in the Sun’s corona that are caused by the Sun’s magnetic field. They are less dense and cooler than surrounding areas. High-speed solar wind streams flow from coronal holes into space at speeds of up to 800 km per second. If conditions are right and these streams reach the Earth, geomagnetic storms may occur.

Image from: NASA.gov

High-speed solar wind streams from coronal holes may cause geomagnetic storms on Earth.

Solar Wind The solar wind is a stream of charged particles constantly flowing from the upper atmosphere of the Sun. It consists mostly of electrons and protons and varies in temperature and speed over time.

Find out more about space weather at SANSA Email: spaceweather@sansa.org.za | Tel: +27 (0)28 312 1196 ext 2764 | Website: http://spaceweather.sansa.org.za SANSA Space Science, Hospital Road, Hermanus 7200, South Africa

The ch wind, radiati move slowe journe magne cause


s that

very m,

or orona. owerful whole al mass

SPACE SCIENCE

The Impact of Space Weather What is Space Weather?

What are the effects of space weather?

Due to societies increasing dependence on modern technology space weather has become a hot topic around the world. Space weather refers to a collection of physical processes, beginning at the Sun and ultimately affecting technology on Earth and in space. The Sun emits energy by means of electromagnetic radiation, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) which release high-energy charged particles, and plasma streams.

An extreme space weather event or solar superstorm is a potentially high-impact, low-probability natural hazard. Due to a growing awareness of the potential consequences of extreme space weather, governments in numerous countries now consider this as an element of national risk assessment.

Superstorms may have detrimental effects to the power grid, satellites, avionics, and aircraft over polar regions, High Frequency The charged particles from the Sun travel outwards in the solar (HF) radio communication, mobile telephones and GPS systems, to wind, carrying parts of the Sun's magnetic field. The electromagnetic name a few. Solar superstorms have consequently been identified as a risk to the world economy and society. radiation travels at the speed of light and takes about 8 minutes to move from the Sun to Earth, whereas the charged particles travel slower, taking a few hours to several days to complete the same Magnetic disturbances induce electric currents in long conductors journey. The radiation and particles interact with the Earth's such as power lines and pipelines. This may cause power outages or magnetic field and outer atmosphere in complex ways which may excessive pipeline corrosion. Magnetic disturbances also directly cause disturbances to technological systems in space and on Earth. affect operations that use the magnetic field, such as magnetic surveys, directional drilling and the use of compasses. Radio waves, which are used for satellite communication and GPS navigation, may be affected leading to disruption of communication and/or navigation systems. Satellites may also suffer damage to electronics due to radiation.

In Service of Humanity


FACTS

IT’S A FACT are made of dust, sand, rocks, 1 Comets ice and carbon dioxide. They were formed billions of years ago when the solar system was first created.

on Mars is a little different 5 Sunset than on Earth – it’s blue!

amount of stars in the sky far 6 The overtakes grains of sand found on all

2

These four planets have no solid surface: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. They are known as gas giants.

the Earth’s beaches.

is an estimated amount of 7 There 500 000 pieces of space junk in to Pluto would take over 3 A800flight years (if it was possible to fly

the universe. This refers to humanmade objects, such as satellites and spanners, that are no longer in use.

a plane to it). is less dense than water, 8 Saturn meaning it could float in a body of water. highest mountain in the universe 4 The exists on Vesta, which is an asteroid. The mountain is 22km high (three times taller than Mount Everest).

Sources: Natgeokids.com; Nasa.gov

36

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

fastest planet, Mercury, travels 9 The at a speed of 172 000 km per hour. A year on Mercury is equivalent to 88 days on Earth.


SCIENCE CENTRE

SOUTH AFRICA’S FIRST GREEN SCIENCE CENTRE We step into the state-of-theart Cofimvaba Science Centre that recently opened in the heart of the Eastern Cape. By: Nadine Sims

L

ocated two hours from East London, the small village of

Cofimvaba welcomed the Minister of Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, as they unveiled one of the country’s first green science centres. Situated in the Chris Hani district, the centre will service approximately 32 senior secondary schools in the area and aims to be fully self-sufficient, with an off-the-grid energy and water supply. The facility has solar panels and relies on rainwater harvesting, water recycling and smallscale wind turbines. Eskom-supplied power is also available as a back-up measure and if there is excess energy not being used by the centre, it can be routed back to the municipality. The Director General of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), Dr Phil Mjwara, explains that the design is not only environmentally friendly but can also be

presented as an exhibit or feature, making visitors aware of issues like climate change. Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za

37


SCIENCE CENTRE

“The fact that it will be a green building on its own, means that

Despite the fact that the science centre is in a rural part of the

the young people will be informed about this functionality of the

province, Dr Mjwara explained that schools that are further away

building and about this innovation. This is one of the examples

will still benefit through connectivity on lectures and exhibitions

that the young people will not only read about, but that they will

that the centre provides and hosts.

experience in the centre,” said Dr Mjwara. “You will find that the centre will provide lectures, but it will The building boasts a big exhibition space that consists of

also be connected to surrounding schools in the area. And the

approximately 20 interesting and interactive pods to visit.

schools that perhaps do not have maths and science teachers,

These pods will cover different topics ranging from Chemistry,

could benefit from the lectures that are being offered in the

Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy and Technology.

science centre,” said Dr Mjwara.

There is also a separate lecture hall that can be used as

He also added that the facility will not only welcome school

a planetarium, and outside the centre there is an optical

students and young people, but also hopes to encourage and

telescope that can be used by visitors to explore the skies.

engage with the entire community in the area. That is part of the purpose of the centre, he explained.

The construction of the building started in July 2018 and finished in April 2021, with the DSI investing more than R47 million and the Eastern Cape Department of Education investing R30 million.

The design is not only environmentally friendly but can also be presented as an exhibit or feature, making visitors aware of issues like climate change

Speaking about the substantial investment, Minister Nzimande said: “This is the kind

A grade 11 learner from St James Senior Secondary in Cofimvaba, Angel Dlakadla, expressed her excitement about the new facility and its equipment, saying that she is looking forward to doing practicals at the science centre (something she doesn’t get to do at her

school at the moment).

of seriousness that the government wants to see Science, not only going to the grassroots but also to the most rural areas like

“Here we get a chance to experiment and [get to] understand

this. Who would have thought we could have a science centre in

what we want to do with our careers. There are different types

a deep rural area like Cofimvaba? Twenty years ago we wouldn’t

of careers – here you can see there’s Technology, Science and

have thought of that.”

Biology. So you get to see whatever you want to do in the future,” Dlakadla said.

Out of the 32 schools in the area, 80% of them are within a 60km radius of the science centre. Only five of these schools

The 17-year-old pupil said her favourite school subject is

have science laboratories and only two of the five are fully

Mathematics and once she matriculates, she wants to study

functioning with running water.

astrophysics and pursue a career in astronomy.

38

Science Stars Space Science Issue | www.sciencestars.co.za


Mzansi For Science

Scientists, Technologists and Innovators are just like you. They’re curious. They ask questions. They try new things. The desire to try new things has been inside you from the very beginning.

Facebook.com/MzansiForScience Mzansi4Science



Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.