Try on Helen Sharman’s spacesuit at Science Jam

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HELEN Sharman’s spacesuit will be on display at the University of Salford’s Science Jam this weekend on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 October (10am – 4pm).

Salford Science Jam at the University’s MediaCityUK campus is FREE for the whole family and is a popular part of the annual Manchester Science Festival – England’s best attended festival of science.

Dr Helen Sharman OBE became the first British astronaut and the first woman to visit the Mir space station in 1991, and spent eight days on the Juno Mission as flight chemist, carrying out medical and agricultural tests and photographing the British Isles.

Curiously, while in training at Star City, Russia, the Sheffield-born astronaut says her greatest discomfort was doing tests in an off the shelf spacesuit, which was suited to fit a man!

Try it on!

For Juno, Helen was measured in 54 different places to ensure her Sokol (‘Falcon’) suit was a snug fit and could protect her during cabin depressurization, during take-off, docking, undocking and landing.

The 22lb suit consists of an inner layer of rubberised material and outer layer of white nylon. The suit includes the cosmonaut’s feet and its gloves attach by means of blue anodised aluminium wrist couplings. There is a pressure gauge on the left wrist and a mirror on the right to help the cosmonaut see things that would otherwise be outside his or her field of view.

Visitors can try it on so long as they are 5’3-5’4″ and slim!

Dr Gary Kerr, who secured the suit from the Ideas Foundation, said: “The Salford Science Jam is all about making science come alive, and what better example than being able to touch and feel something that has actually been worn in Space!”

Other Salford Science Jam highlights include:

The Forest of Curiosity – Explore the science of the forest, from insect and animal behaviour to the bacterial communities behind many of the world’s foods and medicines, and experience the post-apocalyptic world of Chernobyl’s radioactive wilderness.

Lego Robots – Build Lego models and bring them to life using software linked to motors and sensors, while discovering engineering tools like gears, pulleys and cams. Add your own imaginative features and develop algorithms using simple programmes.

Sensory Sound Pit – What does the world look like when you perceive sound through your hands and eyes, as well as your ears? Enter an immersive, tactile environment where sound is represented by shape, touch, motion and visuals inspired by neuroscience research into the way the brain responds to sound. With European City of Science artist-in-residence Di Mainstone.

Silent Signal –Six animations explore new ways of thinking about the human body: battles with bacteria, intercellular memory, the science of sleep and the link between biology and machines.

Ryoichi Kurowaka: Unfold – Experience an audio-visual representation of how the solar system was born and how our galaxy might evolve. Japanese artist Ryoichi Kurokawa’s works with data taken from giant molecular clouds in space – data which may hold the secrets to the birth of the stars.

Maths on Display – Join mathematician and Josh award winner Dr Katie Steckles for an introduction to the mathematics behind photographs and digital displays. Find out how colour images are stored, displayed and compressed; learn about Katie’s massive megapixel project at this year’s Festival; and discover how a simple spreadsheet can be so much more.  – Friday, October 19 6 – 8pm. (Advance booking required for this event. See www.manchestersciencefestival.com

 
MediaCityUK campus, University of Salford, Plot B4, Salford Quays, M50 2HE See venue map and information

The University of Salford is the lead educational sponsor of the Festival which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Manchester Science Festival events are taking place from Thursday 20 October – Sunday 30 October 2016. Visit the festival website for full details.

Andy Miah
Chair in Science Communication & Future Media
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