20 Jan 2021



Educational science and space resources.

The Hands on Universe educational resource booklet



​​RA​​​L Space

  • Explore the Chilbolton Observatory, based in Hampshire, where we work with groups around the world to monitor our atmosphere, track satellites in space with the 25m dish, and study pulsars and cosmic rays. You can even see live weather readings and images from the observatory.
  • Our STFC Science and Engineering Careers Challenge​ for uniform groups (Scouts, Brownies etc.) has a whole range of fun hands-on activities to try at home, from making edible Mars rovers to lemon batteries. The activities are available for anyone to do - with or without a group.
  • We need your help! Our satellites circle the globe, gathering important information about our planet and we need to help our computers spot the clouds in satellite images. Everyone in the family can join this citizen science project and become a CloudCatcher!
  • Watch the Armchair Astronomer videos​ to learn all about Earth observation. From 100km abover our heads, satellites are looking down on us, taking images to help us learn about our world and our climate.
  • We're all incredibly excited about the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) later this year. We've worked with NASA and people all around the world to design, build and test this amazing, 6m wide telescope which will peer deep into the furthest reaches of our Universe, learning about the first stars and galaxies that existed. There is more information, and lots of hands-on activities on our JWST website​.

ISIS Neutron and Muon Source

  • Explore the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source for yourself. Find out what it's like to work there and about some of the people who inspire us. ISIS studies the world around us: from spider silk to iron meteorites, and you can learn how to control the accelerator for yourself.
  • The ISIS Neutron and Muon Source is one of our large particle accelerators on site - but even down on the ground they're working hard to find out more about space! From studying sticky space ice to try to understand how planets form, to using technology from ISIS to try to develop new methods of propulsion in space, to learning about salty water on Mars, visit the Space Science at ISIS website to find out more.
  • Only a handful of people have ever visited the Moon, but one day we'd like to send more people there - perhaps even to stay, live and work up there for some time! To keep our astronauts safe, though, we'd need to protect them from potentially harmful radiation from the Sun - on Earth, our atmosphere protects us from this, but it's a different story on the Moon! ISIS is looking at moon dust to see if we could use it to help build lunar habitats that would protect us. Try our Living on the Moon activity​ to design and build a safe lunar habitat for our astronauts. 

Central Laser Facility  

  • ​For the past 60 years humans have been sending all kinds of things to space - and we want to make sure that they're safe and protected from the harsh environment outside of our planet! We can use our incredibly powerful lasers to recreate the conditions our satellites might face, and so make sure they're going to continue working out in space.
  • Supernovae - when massive stars explode - are incredible events that humans have been seeing for hundreds of years! By recreating supernovae in the lab​ (on a much smaller scale!) with our powerful lasers, we're learning more about them and how they happen.

Boulby Underground Laboratory

  • ​Visit the Boulby Underground Laboratory webpage to find out more about the amazing science that goes on deep underneath the surface: from hunting for the elusive particle known as dark matter, to testing out rovers and experiments destined for space and other planets, to helping in the search for alien life. Take part in quizzes, try our activities at home and watch videos about what it's like to work in a mine.
  • Find out more about how we run remote robots in remote locations - including the Boulby Underground Laboratory - with a series of challenges and activities as part of the Remote3 project.
  • Check out our fun scratch challenges - from controlling robots on other challenges, to quizzes about the Boulby Underground Laboratory on our user page. Try remixing the code to create your own! 

Diamond Light Source

  • ​​Explore Diamond for yourself using our interactive map. By using the clickable links you can look at videos, 360°​ videos (where you control the camera), still images and information about what goes on at the UK's synchrotron light source. You can explore our synchrotron, beamlines and more from your computer. 
  • Diamond the Game – Print and Play: Diamond has developed a board game aimed at giving school students an idea of the experiences and challenges involved in a career in scientific research. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have developed a free Print and Play set for you to download and play at home.
  • Recordings of Family Webinars: Diamond has been delivering accessible, family-friendly webinars on a wide variety of topics.
  • Run Your Own Synchrotron! Simulations and animations: Have a go at our interactive simulations​ where you can control each component of the synchrotron at Diamond.
  • Read about Moon Rocks​ – An international collaboration of scientists used Diamond to investigate the effect of gravity on rocky planets. They examined three billion+ year old rocks from the Moon collected during the Apollo missions, as well as meteorites from Mars, Vesta, and other environments collected in Antarctica.​
  • Learn about the Martian Cryosphere​ – Clathrate hydrates are likely to have played a key role in forming the geology of the planet Mars, including its signature chaotic terrains. Mars has both liquid and solid ice, but this water is not pure, and is likely to contain dissolved salts such as MgCl2 and CaCl2. This study investigated the formation of clathrates in the kind of briny solutions found on Mars for the first time, recreating conditions on Mars in the beamline.
Contact: Visit RAL