CAPE TOWN – If you’ve ever been curious about what it is like to be shot off the Earth into space and to live and work in a shuttle while orbiting the Earth then don’t miss the upcoming Living Maths Space Tour 2017 with astronaut, Dr Don Thomas.

South African students and families will have a unique opportunity to get into the same room with a bona fide spaceman when Dr Don Thomas visits the country for a series of public talks and school visits. During his seven years with NASA, Dr Thomas completed four sensational shuttle missions, logging over 1040 hours of adventuring in space.

His inaugural mission aboard the STS-65 Columbia in July 1994 set a new flight duration record for the US Space Shuttle program with 236 orbits of the Earth and 6.1 million miles travelled in 353 hours and 55 minutes.

Thomas visited Claremont High School and Phandulwazi High School, to give an inspirational talk to the learners this week.

Dr Don Thomas with pupils of Phandulwazi High School in Cross Roads, Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

He shared his story of how he became an astronaut through persistence and hard work, as well as his experience of what it is like to live and work in a world with zero-gravity.

Living Maths, a STEM-based NGO, is bringing Dr Thomas to Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban for the Space Tour 2017 until November 9.

Chief Imagination Officer at Living Maths Steve Sherman said: “Our mission is to inspire and excite South African children about Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Space is undoubtedly one of those key topics that can ignite a lifelong passion for these subjects. How many of us actually get the opportunity to meet a real astronaut? For some, it’s a dream come true! The Space Tour will be a rare and special opportunity for the daydreamers, the imagineers, the scientists and the curious in our country to learn more and be inspired.”

Dr Don Thomas with pupils of Claremont High School in Cross Roads, Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

Space travel is arguably the most profound way to experience our world and our place in the universe. Many astronauts report the ‘Overview Effect’, a fundamental change to their worldview due to witnessing the Earth from the vantage of space.

Dr Thomas said: “I am taking part in the Living Maths Space Tour for two reasons. As only 550 humans have had the opportunity to fly in space, I feel a sense of responsibility to share what I have seen and experienced with others. I have completed 692 orbits of the Earth and have seen first-hand the beauty and fragility of our planet, and I think it is important to share important lessons with my fellow citizens of Planet Earth.   And secondly, I am keenly interested in having humans set foot on Mars in the future.

Dr Don Thomas with pupils of Claremont High School in Cross Roads, Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

“I know I am too old myself to undertake a mission to Mars twenty years from now, but I hope I can excite and inspire your young learners to follow in my footsteps and perhaps, become future Mars explorers.”

Dates and Venues:

Cape Town
2 Nov – Parklands College Preparatory 6:30-8:30 pm

7 Nov – King David Victory Park Primary 6:30-830 pm
8 Nov – Saxonwold Primary 6:30 -8:30 pm

9 Nov – Durban Girls College Auditorium 6:30-830 pm

Tickets can be purchased through Webtickets, and prices range between R50 and R80, with Family ticket options available too.

Cape Argus/Iol

TOP PHOTO: Dr Don Thomas with pupils of Claremont High School in Cross Roads, Cape Town. Picture: Supplied


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