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Sansa broadens horizons

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Stefan Loetz, a researcher at Sansa, explains the data displayed on the various monitors in the Space Weather Station.Photo: Bianca Du Plessis
Stefan Loetz, a researcher at Sansa, explains the data displayed on the various monitors in the Space Weather Station.Photo: Bianca Du Plessis

If you have ever wondered about what happens in space and how this affects life on earth, you should definitely undertake a visit to the South African National Space Agency (Sansa) in Hermanus.

It hosted various activities and public tours last week as part of the World Space Week celebrations from 4 to 10 October.

This year’s theme was “Celebrating Women in Space”. In keeping with this topic a number of local women involved in the space sector presented a series of webinars last week exploring exciting topics such as forecasting space weather to protect technology and using space to inspire science career choices.

Members of the public also had the opportunity to visit the space agency as part of the public tours held free of charge. These tours give visitors a closer look at the intricate equipment used by space weather experts and an insight into the important work done at Sansa.

Dr Stefan Loetz, a researcher at the agency, explained to visitors exactly what was displayed on the various screens in the Space Weather Regional Warning Centre.

He informed visitors about phenomena such as solar flares and how this can affect communication systems on earth. Visitors were also taken to the electronic engineering department where they met Mfezeko Rataza, an electronic engineer based at Sansa, who will leave for the SANAE Station at Antarctica at the end of November along with other scientists and experts.

At the end of the tour, visitors are given a more ‘hands-on’ experience when they visit the newly upgraded Science Centre boasting numerous interactive science exhibits and a stunning mural featuring the Antarctic South African base.

In addition to the hands-on displays, the centre also offers science shows, curriculum-based hands-on workshops, holiday programmes, science camps, travelling exhibitions, robotics workshops and tournaments, mini-exhibitions on topical science events and much more.

Sansa also runs various programmes aimed at inspiring the youth to take up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (Stem) subjects in order to encourage an interest in pursuing careers in the science and engineering fields.

The public tours are held every Wednesday from 11:00. Tours are limited to 15 people per tour, therefore it is advised that you book your spot by sending an email to events@sansa.org.za or call 028 312 1196.

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