PUPILS are being urged to aim for the stars with an ambitious new education project following the 2022 mission to Mars.

Roving with Rosalind is aimed at children aged between seven and 14 in disadvantaged areas who have limited opportunities to take part in science outreach activities.

Schools can sign up to borrow one of five kits packed with practical science experiments and take part in a suite of online activities, each linked to national science curricula.

Each activity provides insight into a different aspect of the science experiments that will be undertaken by the robotic Rosalind Franklin rover when it touches down on Mars in 2023.

The rover is a key part of the joint European/Russian ExoMars mission, set to launch in 2022, which will search for traces of life on the red planet.

At an online event on November 19, organised as part of the Mars-focused National Astronomy Week, teachers and pupils can find out more about how Roving with Rosalind aims to recreate the experience of being a rover mission scientist.

Pupils will be able to design and build Lego rovers, planning routes to points of interest where they will complete tasks to unlock ‘downloads’ of data from Mars to analyse.

Roving with Rosalind, supported by by £30,000 in funding from the UK Space Agency, is organised by Áine O’Brien and Sara Motaghian, two Scottish planetary science PhD students.

Áine, who is working towards a PhD at Glasgow University’s School of Geographical and Earth Science, said: "Research has shown that children who don’t have access to science outreach can feel that science isn’t a realistic career option for them.

Glasgow Times:

“The message of Roving with Rosalind is that science is an accessible career for anyone.

"The rover itself is named after Rosalind Franklin, who made huge contributions to the discovery of DNA but only recently started getting the credit she deserves."

Roving with Rosalind was originally set to roll out across the country in the spring, before the spread of the coronavirus pandemic closed schools and spurred a rethink of plans.

Glasgow University graduate Sara Motaghian added: “Although we’ll now need to quarantine each physical kit between sessions in schools, we’ve made up for any potentially lost opportunities by developing online versions of the activities in each kit."

To register for the Roving with Rosalind event during National Astronomy Week see astronomyweek.org.uk/mars-events/daytime-event-robots-on-mars