Mission Discovery

The third Mission Discovery Ayrshire space programme was a huge success, delivered at Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock Campus by the International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET) to over 150 secondary school pupils from East, North and South Ayrshire.

The participants worked in mixed teams to design space experiments, with the knowledge that the winning idea would be launched into space later this year and tested by astronauts at the International Space Station.

23 teams developed experiments over the course of the week, with the help of the ISSET team that included NASA astronaut Steve Bowen, NASA’s Deputy of Orion Vehicle Systems Performance and Analysis, Sarah Murray, and ISSET Chief Scientist Julie Keeble.

Team 20 was announced as the winner with their idea: Microgravity on the effect of phospholipase A2 (venom) on Staphylococcus aureus. The experiment involves taking proteins from snake venom and investigating whether they can use it to treat diseases and infections that antibiotics can no longer treat.

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) were delighted when the judges read out their names.

Mission Discovery Ayrshire 2018 was sponsored by the Ayrshire College Foundation, Developing the Young Workforce Ayrshire, East Ayrshire Council, North Ayrshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport, NATS and the Ayr Rotary Club.

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."