Space has filled our imagination for centuries, from Galileo in the Italy of the sixteenth century to children fascinated by the Clangers, the family of space mice gently created for television in the wake of the 1969 moon landings.
In the past 50 years, our understanding of space has changed, whether it's A Brief History of Time by Professor Stephen Hawking or joining Professor Brian Cox as he marvels at our universe.
The Glasgow Science Center is another vital institution in our understanding and celebration of space. Since its opening in 2001 it has developed programs that ignite the fires (perhaps even the Bunsen beaks) in the imagination of children that could become our next engineers, scientists and inventors, in space or on this planet.
As part of the British Association of Science and Discovery Centers, Glasgow invited visitors to discover Destination Space. Part of the network of science centers, Glasgow has received a second tranche of funding from the UK Space Agency to provide this exciting program.
"We played a key role in this," says Stephen Breslin, CEO of the Glasgow Science Center. "As part of this network, we have carried out activities that are aimed at involving young people's interest in space and the science behind it."
Space is not always a South African sale, but letting them see that it could be part of their future is the ultimate goal of the program.
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"Through these activities we can talk to them about potential career opportunities, whether it is working in the satellite sector or even inspiring them to be part of programs within the European Space Agency and beyond.
"There have been speeches by scientists and engineers working in companies or in our universities, and they have highlighted the work done locally."
There was also a visit to the astronaut Tim Peake, who spent 186 days aboard the International Space Station.
This year, the Glasgow Science Center will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing of the Moon in its own way, inspiring the young locals again. "We are implementing the plans at the moment. What we are trying to do is almost bring the celebrations home and give them a real Scottish flavor. We will observe the development of the Apollo program and draw the contributions from Scotland.
"We know that Scottish engineers have contributed to so many great developments and our ingenuity seems to be in every corner of the world.
"Glasgow will work with NASA and the UK Space Agency to make the most of an event that has changed the course of history and that still arouses awe."
As Stephen explains, space has always been a key theme at the Glasgow Science Center. It is always a popular attraction for children and adults and as such is a great tool for expanding popularity for all ages. "I think there has always been an understanding that the Science Center is a great place for a vacation day," he says. "Of course it is, but the appeal extends far beyond. In the last two years we have been able to expand our programs and offer adults who are equally fascinated by space and science, but who may not be parents or able to identify with young relatives ".
The David Elder Lectures have attracted a wide variety of speakers at the center, sharing their experiences and knowledge of spatial and astrophysical subjects. "We organized a series of adult-only events called Science Lates on Friday nights, which were extremely popular," adds Stephen. "In fact, the space-themed science we held last September was the most popular of the year, with more than 1000 adults present."
An ingenious use of the Digital Planetarium is the combination of night skies with music in a spectacular audiovisual experience. What better place to listen to the interstellar sounds of Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall by Pink Floyd? These events, which combine the stratospheric sonic of Pink Floyd with the 360 degree screen, will be repeated throughout April.
These shows, besides being spectacular and unmissable, not only for Pink Floyd fans, but for anyone who appreciates the combination of sounds and lights, were another way to encourage a different audience in the Science Center.
"We find that once someone has been attracted to an event like Pink Floyd it shows that it is more likely to return to other events, such as talk or just to enjoy what the center has to offer."
The Glasgow Science Center is a space where space is brought to Earth and part of our entire future. It is much more than something that touches the soul, it can be part of a great future, as Stephen Breslin explains. "If you really get the interest of people with these great ideas, it all comes down to more general interests involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the perfect model of STEM subjects. The inspiration is our target.
For more details on upcoming events at the Glasgow Science Center, visit www.glasgowsciencecentre.org