MORE than 800 primary school children have had the rare opportunity to see a prototype of the Mars Rover in action.

The children were excited to meet Bruno, the ground demonstration model of the ExoMars Rover, whose mission is to explore the Red Planet for any signs of life.

The event took place yesterday at the University of Sussex and involved children from all over the county including St Mark’s CE in Brighton and Langney Primary in Eastbourne.

It was organised by Katherine Courtney former chief executive of the UK Space Agency. She has also founded a new charity, PrimarySpace, which aims to encourage pupils to take up careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Ms Courtney said: “Most young children enjoy learning about STEM but a significant majority, especially girls, choose not to continue with these studies.

“Part of the reason is that they can’t imagine themselves doing a future STEM-related job. Space has the power to capture the imagination of children and adults alike.

“PrimarySpace’s mission is to plant a seed of STEM awareness and aspiration that will stay with children.

“We want to help inspire children to become the future scientists, engineers, technologists and space industry workers who will ensure the UK remains one of the leading spacefaring nations in the world.”

University teaching fellow Claire Watts said: “The event provides our teacher trainees with an excellent opportunity to explore how to build on what the children see, hear and do during the day, helping the children develop their ideas and aspirations.”

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