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Tim Peake’s spacecraft could be touching down in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:02 21 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:14 21 February 2018

Tim Peake with the Soyuz TMA-19M. Picture: SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP

Tim Peake with the Soyuz TMA-19M. Picture: SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP

Lee Mawdsley LEE MAWDLEY

With Norwich in the running to land a real-life spacecraft, here television astronomer Mark Thompson explains why everyone should back the bid.

BBC and Norfolk astronomer Mark Thompson.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY BBC and Norfolk astronomer Mark Thompson. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Well, you could be in luck if The Forum and Norwich Science Festival win a national competition.

The Science Museum Group and Samsung are touring Tim Peake’s Soyuz TMA-19M capsule around the UK, and Norwich is up against four other cities in a competition to host the spacecraft.

But why should it touch down in Norwich?

Norwich has a great science following and the local interest will be huge, but people will also come from far and wide to see the exhibit, from all across East Anglia and beyond.

Collecting data for science is a huge part of life on the International Space Station. Some of the studies that I found most interesting were ‘life-science’ experiments – whether taking blood samples, testing for airway inflammation or investigating muscle atrophy – the research was always fascinating. Picture: Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake is published by Century and is out now. Collecting data for science is a huge part of life on the International Space Station. Some of the studies that I found most interesting were ‘life-science’ experiments – whether taking blood samples, testing for airway inflammation or investigating muscle atrophy – the research was always fascinating. Picture: Ask an Astronaut by Tim Peake is published by Century and is out now.

The city hosts the acclaimed Norwich Research Park, whose researchers are in the top 1pc most cited in the world. There are countless organisations and groups across the county who champion science and science events, such as Norwich Astronomical Society, Seething Observatory, and the British Science Association Norwich branch. Plus there’s a definite appetite for space-related events, with huge crowds for recent events with astronauts Helen Sharman and Michael Foale.

2016 saw the first Norwich Science Festival. Last year saw an even bigger and better one with around 82,000 visitors to events across the city. The Astronomy Day at the Festival is one of the most popular days, with people of all ages exploring the wonders of science and space.

Big crowds came to see Museum of the Moon in The Forum for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and enjoyed gazing up at the replica moon.

There is no doubt about it, the people of Norwich are going science-mad like never before.

Tim Peake's spacecraft. Picture: SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP Tim Peake's spacecraft. Picture: SCIENCE MUSEUM GROUP

If Norwich wins the competition, people will come to see the display and see an important part of space history, but more importantly it will capture the imagination of people who have probably never even heard of the Soyuz spacecraft.

The Forum has a fabulous atrium which has thousands of people through its doors every day from all walks of life and is ideally positioned to get even more people interested and enquiring – not just about 
science but about the UK Space Agency’s crucial role and our civilisation’s journey out into 
the universe.

I fully support the bid to bring the Soyuz capsule to Norwich and more specifically, to The Forum in the centre of the city.

Let’s land Soyuz in Norwich!

Discover the planets with Mark Thompson. Picture: JMA Photography Discover the planets with Mark Thompson. Picture: JMA Photography

You can show your support on Twitter by asking the @sciencemuseum to bring the #SouyuzTour to @TheForumNorwich as part of @NorwichSciFest.

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