So, your child wants to be an astronaut?
Along with the aspiring pop star, wizard or princess – is it easy to dismiss these ‘typical’ childhood career choices as fantasy. It is also a common misconception that the UK space sector is relatively non-existent, associating anything ‘spacey’ with the United States.
In actual fact, according to The UK Space Agency, the sector is worth £11.3 billion to the UK economy, employs over 34,000 people and supports a further 72,000 jobs in other sectors. Bet you didn’t know that!
Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Sciences and Cities, has established that one quarter of the world’s communication satellites are built in the UK. The recent Rosetta mission, pioneered by the European Space Agency (ESA), was developed with the aid of Airbus’ facilities in Stevenage. They are also working on a new Mars rover for the ExoMars 2018 mission.
How do Astronauts use maths?
An understanding of maths is essential to becoming an astronaut. Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, explained how he uses both simple and complicated maths on the International Space Station. He uses maths to:
- Calculate measures – speed, velocity, distance
- Help fill up the fuel tanks
- Find and dock the spaceship – using advanced theories such as trigonometry and the Pythagoras theory
- Even measure the growth of his spine due to the absence of gravity!
Growing at over 7% per year, the UK space sector requires more qualified young people to take up 100,000 potential new jobs. However, there are concerns. Major Tim Peake, the first British astronaut to be selected by ESA, expressed these to Sky News:
“The UK space sector is thriving. We have fantastic talent; the problem is we don’t have enough people studying those subjects”
In order to meet this growing demand, more young people need to study STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
It is important to encourage your child from a young age to pursue maths and enjoy the study of numbers. Not only does it arm them with skills for everyday life, it will provide them with an extensive platform and open up very possible doors for the future.
As well as becoming an astronaut, there are many exciting career choices within the space sector that rely on a sturdy knowledge of maths. To name but a few, with the right encouragement your child could become a:
- Mechanical Designer
- Software Developer
- Satellite Technologist
So, we’ll ask you again – your child wants to be an astronaut? As a parent, embrace their dreams and encourage this passion by providing them with a solid foundation in maths.
Catered to your child’s individual needs, Maths-Whizz is a fantastic tool for building confidence, enjoyment and ability in maths. The personalised online tutor helps them to reach their full potential and prepares them for success, whatever their dreams may be!
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