Chance for children to win a photograph taken from space

Posted by ap507 at Oct 22, 2015 10:55 AM |
Researchers launch competition to investigate how the Earth is changing

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 22 October 2015

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Children around the UK are invited to enter a competition organised by the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) hosted at the University of Leicester to win a large photograph of Earth taken especially for them during British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s stay on the International Space Station (ISS).

To enter, children must explain where on Earth they would like an astronaut on the ISS to photograph and why that location is interesting.

Three winning entries will be selected based on the entrants’ creative choice of location, and what they hope the image will reveal about our planet.

The competition, named EO Detective, will launch at the Family Fun Day: Our Amazing Planet event on Saturday 24 October at 1.45pm at the Royal Institution in London:

The Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP said: ”This competition inspires young minds to be creative in thinking about the world around them, engaging them in the realms of science, and encouraging children to be curious about our planet. Science is so important for children to engage with and events like this are crucial to making it fun and accessible.”

Every day UK scientists use imagery taken from space, including astronaut photography, to better understand Earth’s changing environment – from weather and climate to animal migration.

Tim Peake’s stay on the ISS is a chance to celebrate the strength of space science research in the UK and inspire a new generation of scientists who will use Earth observation data.

British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake said: “I’m really looking forward to seeing Earth from space. Photos taken by astronauts from the ISS have inspired me, so I hope that some of mine will fire up others about looking after our fragile planet!”

The competition is run by the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO), the UK’s leading research centre for studying our planet using observations from satellites in space.

It highlights NCEO’s new suite of free classroom resources that have been developed as part of an exciting programme of activities to help children get involved in Tim’s Principia mission.

Professor John Remedios, Director of NCEO at the University of Leicester, will be launching the EO Detective competition and resources. He said: “This competition and the classroom resources will introduce children to the value of satellite images for investigating all sorts of aspects of our blue-green world. We are looking forward to reading the ideas that children come up with.”

Physicist, Oceanographer and BBC TV Science Presenter Helen Czerski, who will join NCEO to launch the competition, added: “My favourite part of any planetarium show is the start, when you get to watch the Earth rotating in space (shh, don’t tell the astronomers). There’s so much to see and we live on such a dynamic planet that it’s always fascinating. I love the idea of this competition, because I think that we don’t appreciate that view enough.  It shows us both the limits and the richness of our planet, our life support system.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the photo taken for the winners.”

This week US astronaut Scott Kelly drew international press attention for breaking the record for the longest time spent in space by an American astronaut. He has passed the 200th day of his year-long stay on the ISS, and continues to inspire people through his startlingly beautiful photographs of Earth, shared on Twitter to hundreds of thousands of followers with the hashtags #YearInSpace and #EarthArt.

NCEO’s EO Detective resources bring 50 years of astronaut photographs and satellite images of Earth into the classroom. Using these beautiful and interesting pictures, students of all ages will discover how Earth Observation Scientists investigate our changing world, and also study concepts that are part of the normal curriculum in maths, science, geography and computing at both primary and secondary levels.

The EO Detective resource packs are available from the Principia mission website:

Competition details and entry forms will be available for download on the Principia website from 24 October. The competition is open to all UK students in Year 11 or below; the closing date is Friday 19 February 2016. For further information please contact


Notes for editors:

Professor John Remedios and Helen Czerski will be available for interview at the EO Detective launch event at the Family Fun Day: Our Amazing Planet at the Royal Institution on 24 October after the 1.45pm launch.

For press passes to the event please contact James Whiting,


For further information about the event please contact:

Jan Fillingham,

National Centre for Earth Observation;


Professor John Remedios,

Director of NCEO,

PA: Jane Hull;

For further information about the competition and resources please contact:

Catherine Fitzsimons,

National Centre for Earth Observation;


Further information:

1. Tim Peake

Tim Peake will be the first British ESA astronaut to live and work on the ISS. His mission, named Principia after Newton’s world-changing three-part text on physics, Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, is scheduled to begin on 15th December 2015. Whilst on-board the ISS he will be using the unique environment of space to run experiments as well as trying out new technologies for future human exploration missions. More information about Tim’s mission and the wide variety of education projects running alongside it can be found on the Principia website:

2. National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO)

The National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) is a distributed centre of over 80 scientists from UK institutions, led by Professor John Remedios. It provides NERC (The Natural Environment Research Council) with national capability in Earth observation science and incorporates world-class capabilities in interpretive Earth observation to meet the needs of society through long-term core science and translation of knowledge and environmental data for government and business.

The focus of our NCEO scientists is to use data from Earth observation satellites to monitor global and regional changes in the environment, as well as to learn more about the Earth system and improve predictions of future environmental conditions. Our scientists have key expertise in data assimilation, comparisons of EO data and models, data services and radiative transfer. We support dedicated infrastructure for processing and storing data, Earth observation rapid response and remote sensing instrumentation. More information about NCEO can be found on the website:

3. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Our work covers the full range of atmospheric, earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere and from the poles to the equator. We co-ordinate some of the world's most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on Earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body. We receive around £370m of annual funding from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

4. UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space.  It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.

The UK Space Agency:

•       Co-ordinates UK civil space activity

•       Encourages academic research

•       Supports the UK space industry

•       Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad

•       Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits

•       Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers

•       Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft

•       Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

5. European Space Agency (ESA)

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA has 21 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 19 are Member States of the EU. One other Member State of the EU, Hungary, has signed the Accession Agreement to the ESA Convention and, upon ratification, will soon become the 22nd ESA Member State.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement. ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space. Learn more about ESA at

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