Aspire to Engineer: To the Moon with the Royal Commission for 1851 broke all previous records with a week of lunar engineering events before the holidays. And no wonder, when they were able to meet three of the world’s top space engineers all working together on the Artemis programme.

Across the week UK Space Agency’s Head of Space Exploration, Libby Jackson, NASA’s Orion Program Manager, Howard Hu and the European Space Agency’s International Habitation (I-HAB) module project manager Sara Pastor took part in a series of online workshops hosted by Big Ideas’ Lottie Selwyn (pictured above, clockwise from top left). 

Put simply, Libby, Howard and Sara are working together in the international Artemis project which will put humans back on the moon for the first time in more than half a century.  

Schools from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England jumped at the chance to discover the incredible engineering behind Orion – the space craft at the heart of Artemis – the Gateway team building a human habitation pod to orbit the moon, and to get to grips with some of the massive challenges to survival on the moon’s surface.   

The greatest number of classes joined from Bolton – a warm welcome from Big Ideas to Bolton schools!

Everytime the Q&A opened, the chatbox was inundated with questions from more than 15,000 young people who attended the three events. What happens if you fall off the Moon? When do you think the next people wil get to the Moon? What inspired you to work for the space agency? With dozens of questions every minute, it wasn’t possible to answer them all but our guests gave it their best shot.

Fun was at the heart of Aspire To the Moon. Quizzes and games alongside engineering thinking and authentic lunar insights from the team making moon flight happen. 

Libby Jackson responded to designs sent in by teachers and Howard Hu looked forward to future space engineers’ helping people reach Mars.

A massive thank you to three world class engineers at the heart of this event – Libby Jackson, Howard Hu and Sara Pastor – not only for sharing your work with the classes across the UK, but also for entering into the playful spirit of Aspire events. Thank you to the Royal Commission of 1851 for bringing us together and making this happen.