Somerset Times

Celebrating Mankind’s Greatest Achievement with the Latest in Technology

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Somerset Times Edition

Week 2, Term Three, 2019

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The Information Services and Science departments have teamed up to give students the ultimate astronaut experience via Virtual Reality. When the Saturn V rocket launched Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins into the atmosphere on 16 July 1969, it was pure mathematics, engineering and physics that got them there.

The launch of astronauts into outer space was a culmination of decades of work by hundreds of thousands of dedicated people.

It has been said there is more technology in a toaster today compared with what was available in 1969 and we are all walking around with literally more than a million times the computing power in our smartphones than the most advanced computers available to NASA in 1969.

Technology has certainly progressed over the past half-century, as our students have been learning first-hand.

We have been running two half hour sessions every day after school since the beginning of Term Three. The Apollo 11 Virtual Reality experience allows the students to ‘become’ Neil Armstrong, through every moment of the historic mission, condensed into thirty minutes.

Mission ISS puts the person wearing the VR headset straight into the zero gravity environment on board the International Space Station. This is a more interactive programme, where students can undertake missions such as ‘space walks’, which can be rather nerve-wracking.

It is a lot of fun seeing the students so engaged and listening to their exclamations of wonder and surprise during this VR experience, the fact that it is also so educational really is a bonus. Possibly the best thing about Virtual Reality, as Shromm Gaind, Year 9 observed, “It helps students imagine things that we wouldn’t be able to in real life.”

The Virtual Reality Space experience is open to all students in Year 4 and over. We will continue to run two sessions each day after school until Friday 16 August (Week 5). Students simply need to visit the KIP to reserve their place.

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