Lift-off! Voyager and family go to space
26 Jan 2018 16:46
Taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone, we broke up the journey by staying the night at Hotel du Moulin aux Draps in the beautiful Opal Coast of France. Première de réception Stephanie was wonderful as ever and the hotel was accommodating with our late arrival by providing a buffet, including the all-important French cheese and wine!
After a good night's sleep in the comfortable rooms at Hotel du Moulin, we awoke bright and early for breakfast before heading onwards to our main destination: Belgium! Shane, our Pegasus Coaches driver, was fantastic and got all 50 of us there in one piece through the snow we encountered in Belgium (a welcome sight for the kids on the trip - not so much for the targets of their snowballs.)
Upon arrival at Euro Space Center, we were shown to our rooms and had a moment to drop our bags before being whisked off for the beginning of our astronaut initiation. We were given a crash course in the science and physics which makes space travel possible by our Euro Space guide Joseph, who had the unwavering attention of all the kids in the room with his engaging and humorous presentation; including videos and live demonstrations. The adults also learned a thing or two!
After the presentation, we split into groups which we stayed in for the rest of the activities during our trip. Groups alternated between activities, ensuring we all experienced as much as we could during our 2-day condensed school science trip programme. Inside the Planetarium, a projector transformed the ceiling into an interactive night sky. The extremely knowledgeable guide talked us through the history of the constellations and how our understanding of the solar system and beyond has evolved over time. The guide informed us about how the presentation can be tailored to suit students of all age groups, from primary to GCSE Science students.
Our next activity was a space shuttle take off simulation. Each group member was given a role, which we played as we sat at our stations in the mock NASA control rooms. We communicated with each other through a script on-screen using microphones and video link. Roger that!
In the evening we headed to Bouillon for a dinner of Moules-frites before a torch-lit tour of Bouillon castle. We explored the castle as two groups and our local guides were brilliant. Their passion and historical knowledge of the castle and the crusade was entrancing.
Our second and final day at Euro Space Center was jam-packed with fun and interactive microgravity simulations. The groups rotated between the head-spinning multi-axis chair, the VR Moonwalk, the rotating chair and the microgravity wall. On the microgravity wall, your weight is balanced by a water tank, sending you shooting up when you move and giving the feeling of weightlessness. You must force yourself back down using the wall as you repair a makeshift satellite!
We finished our time at Euro Space with a rocket-making workshop, which brought out the competitive side in all the adults. The rockets were then launched by an electric charge outside, where they shot up 250-300 metres!
Our short time at Euro Space Center was an enriching and engaging learning experience for participants of all ages. For a science school trip destination that is out of this world, look no further.