Right before the end-of-year break Astrosat were invited to George Heriots school, and in particular the Geography Department, to present to the students the potential satellite data has to solve problems we face down here on Earth.
Before we go any further I’ll tell you that it was great to be invited to Hogwarts… because George Heriots is indeed the original for Hogwarts. Looking closely at footage of the movies, especially indoors of the castle, you will recognise a few places. Unfortunately I wasn’t invited to the magical part of the school.
It had to be said.
Back to the non-magical side of the school, I was enchanted (see what I did there?) to meet with the S4 students and their teachers to tell them about Astrosat’s work, talking about our work fighting illegal logging in Guatemala, storm tracking in Vietnam, and our fuel poverty prediction app called ThermCERT. The students were very interested in the possibilities of using space data, and how Information Technology plays a big part in translating raw data into useful information for the climate issues we face.
It was very refreshing to see how the teachers address these very real issues, and how space data can be used for the content of lessons.
One question which I was asked was on the use of optical imagery and if Astrosat was in the business of spying. This was a very legitimate question to ask as most people will think of spy satellites and intelligence gathering when talking about space data.
Astrosat is not a “defence” company. We do not spy on anyone or anything. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of business in “defence”, but it is not the ethos of our company. After fielding this question more or less successfully we moved on to talk more about what domains space data could help with. I asked the question, “what do you think we should do with space data?” The great answers provided varied from monitoring drought in African countries to preventing fires spreading in forests.
It is really encouraging to see all these bright minds, and to think of all the options which are available to them as they follow their interests and passions. Being able to start the students thinking about space, and confirm to me that “Every Earth problem has a space solution” was very gratifying indeed.
After the session I was glad to see that the teachers were suitably happy with the presentation and the engagement of their students on the topic. We even made an appearance on their twitter feed (@GeographyGHS).