Schools across the United Kingdom are being invited to take part in the Space to Earth Challenge, a fitness-inspired space race – to run, swim, scoot and cycle the 400km distance from the International Space Station to Earth.
British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake is set to take residency at the International Space Station (ISS) and he is challenging children across the UK to exercise alongside him as he trains two hours per day in the world’s highest and fastest-moving gym – travelling at 27,600 km per hour and circling the Earth every 90 minutes.
Peake launches to the ISS on December 15 and returns on 4 May 2016.
Discussing the initiative Peake said: “While exercising so far away in space I will have some amazing views, although I will miss the sights, sounds and fresh air of Earth. I hope students across the UK will join me in my training and share what they see as they work out back on Earth.”
Schools taking part in the Space to Earth Challenge will also be encouraged to create their own “Spaceathlons” featuring a trio of space, sport and science activities.
The distance of 400 km is just one of a series of space-themed sports and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art Mathematics (STEM) challenges that students can try.
The sports challenges are being led by the British Triathlon Trust who are supported by elite athletes and Dawes Cycles who are supplying children’s bikes.
The science activities have been developed by leading universities including Cambridge, Kings, Durham, Queen Mary University of London and Teesside.
The first series of events in the country have taken place in Hertfordshire with four schools taking on the challenge. Each of the schools managed to successfully bike and run the complete distance, with more than 2,500km being covered in the four days..
British Triathlon Trust’s Mike Jubb said: “It’s superb to see children getting active with bike and run activities. By bringing the children’s cycling format indoors, using Dawes bikes on Cyclops turbo-trainers, we have been able to continue our activities through the winter months and the children are loving it.
“The addition of the space-themed challenge from Tim Peake has provided an added element of awe and wonder to the concept. As well as having high-energy music motivating the children, we are able to link up to the live camera feeds on the space station so the children can see views of the earth and also watch the astronauts on board while they exercise.
Full details of the Space to Earth Challenge and how schools can enter, can be found on the website: www.Spacetoearthchallenge.org.uk