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Summer school is out of this world

A summer school will enable gifted pupils to study the origins of life and whether life can exist on other worlds.

The Astrobiology Summer Academy, held at the University, will give 15 pupils aged 16-18 the chance to work with scientists and learn about some of the key scientific challenges of today.

Students from across Britain will learn about various aspects of astrobiology - which focuses on the origins and the limits of life.

These will include how planets form, and how life adapts to extreme environments, such as in the deep sea or in Antarctica.

Range of tasks

We hope this summer school will give students a taste of how exciting science can be, especially in the context of real and important challenges, and perhaps will encourage some to consider a career in science or technology.

Professor Charles CockellHead of the UK Centre for Astrobiology

Pupils will also gain insight into whether life exists on other planets, and the likelihood of human bases being established on other planets and moons.

The summer school is run by researchers at the UK Centre for Astrobiology (UKCA).

They will seek to give students opportunities for personal development, including team-working, critical thinking and collaboration.

Activities will include lectures, lab sessions and field work, and preparing reports and presentations.

Ten of those students taking part will be selected from the Shetland Islands, a community where students rarely have the chance to interact with cutting edge science.

Financial support

The pilot summer academy, from 7-13 July, is supported by the Royal Astronomical Society, the UK Space Agency, The Lerwick Rotary Club and Zetland Educational Trust.

Participants will stay in student accommodation, free of charge, with meals and travel expenses provided.

This is a unique opportunity for these students to experience a range of sciences at university level, while being mentored by experts from across the UK and NASA.

Matt NoelCourse Director, Astrobiology Summer Academy