Science - Falconry Display and Trip to Mars Back to archive
23rd September 2014




The beginning of term has been extremely busy in the Science department. On Monday 15 September the School were treated to wonderful falconry display staged on Guldeford Green. They watched as an eagle owl flew low (very low) and silently, over their heads and learnt that owls have one ear at the top of their faces and another at chin level, which gives them incredible hearing. The next performer, a rather ugly looking vulture, was on the lookout for anything that she could eat, including a biscuit being held by a pupil.  The Harris hawk brought the display to an end once he had successfully nailed the lure being pulled by one of the students. The Fourths had an extended talk and were able to stroke the birds, learning more about their characteristics and were treated to a flying display by the peregrine falcon and seeing the magical white gyr falcon.


The following Monday 22 September Science welcome Josh Richards, Mars One Project candidate who came to tell the Fourths all about the proposed establishment of a permanent human settlement on Mars. Josh has so far passed his NASA astronaut physical, and now is hoping to be selected for the nine year training programme to be eligible for the one way trip to Mars.  It is proposed that crews of four will depart every two years, starting in 2024 and part of the test for this is that Josh has to spend time in one of the pods with others to test their psychological suitability for the mission.  Once on Mars they hope that they will be able to extract water from the soil which could have electricity passed through it to break it down in to its component parts of hydrogen and, most importantly, the oxygen needed to breathe. The students were extremely shocked when Josh emphasised that this is a one way trip and it dawned on them the enormity of what Josh is undertaking.  He said he was so excited to be considered for being part of this expedition and he felt elated to be one of the people who could make history in such a dramatic way.  Originally 200,000 people applied. The pupils were suitably awed and asked a variety of questions mainly based around ‘What if…..?