The third Mission Discovery Ayrshire space programme was hosted by Ayrshire College and delivered by the International Space School Educational Trust to over 150 secondary school pupils from East, North and South Ayrshire. Over the the course of the week 23 teams developed space experiments.
The winning idea ‘microgravity on the effect of phospholipase A2 (venom) on Staphylococcus aureus’ will be launched into space later this year. The experiment involves taking proteins from snake venom and investigating whether they can be used to treat diseases and infections that antibiotics can no longer treat.
The winning team was comprised of Alicia Burns (Irvine Royal Academy), Megan Denim (Kilmarnock Academy), Tyler Mitchell (Girvan Academy), Andy Morrison (Queen Margaret Academy), Sam Rae (Belmont Academy) and Savannah Scott (St. Matthew’s Academy).
Winning team member Savannah said: “It’s been an amazing opportunity. I’ve learnt so much and met so many lovely people during this process. You don’t really expect to come here and learn so much, you expect to use the skills you’ve already got. But I’ve genuinely learnt so much on so many different topics, and obviously had the opportunity to make new friends.”
Tyler said “I’m absolutely shocked. Winning is an absolute honour as I didn’t see us getting through to the final to be fair. I’ve never experienced presenting to such a big crowd before but it’s a good experience to build on. I’ve learnt a lot of things about biology that I didn’t know, and I’ve learnt how to present and how to work in a team.”
Megan said: “I still don’t believe our experiment will be going to the International Space Station. It’s amazing that we came up with the idea in four days and it’ll be going into space. It was just a great week.”
Heather Dunk OBE, Ayrshire College principal, said: “Mission Discovery is a really innovative programme, and Ayrshire College is all about innovation. We want to help the next generation think about opportunities in STEM and Mission Discovery is a really fun way to do that. The programme this year has been outstanding. The young people have gone up a notch and their engagement has been tremendous.”