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The first World Space Week celebration outside Luzon certainly proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. Thanks to this event, the Department of Science and Technology–Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) discovered emerging scientific minds in the Visayas.

Young Cebuanos enjoyed fun-filled science activities from October 4-5, 2017 at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel and Labangon Elementary School. The activities were a nod to this year’s celebration theme, “Exploring New Worlds in Space”.

Water Rocket Competition

Naga National High School’s Ian Kenneth Buca, Nico Anthony Tejano, and Kishi Dy topped 14 other teams at the annual Water Rocket Competition. They managed to come within a rather impressive 4.1 meters from the target. The team will be the Philippine’s representative to the Water Rocket Event at the 24th Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum (APRSAF-24) to be held in Bengaluru, India, on November 14-17, 2017.

Meanwhile, placing second and third were Badian National High School’s John Rey P. Amestoso, Yvonne F. Besin, and Clint John V. Tarongoy with 8.3 meters, and Talisay City Science High School’s Hannah Len Rafols, Nick Tyrone Mangaoang, and Christian Al Pilapil with 12.5 meters, respectively.

The water rocket competition taught students the physics behind launching rockets in space through a fun yet competitive platform. Students launched their water rockets made of 1.5 liter soda bottles towards a target 80 meters away. The contestants had to consider water and air pressure in aiming for the target.

Asian Try Zero G program

Another highlight of the World Space Week celebration was the announcement of selected experiment ideas to the 2017-2018 Asian Try Zero G program, an educational activity organized by the Kibo-ABC of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). JAXA astronauts aboard the International Space Station chose eight out of 169 experiments across Asia for execution under zero gravity conditions. Interestingly, two of the selected proposals were from Philippine Science High Schools’ (PSHS) Central Luzon and Central Visayas Campuses.

PSHS CLC’s Red James Catli Manalili, Jovelle Villanueva Adizas, and Justin Gabriel Parel presented a noteworthy idea. Their “Gyroscope and Tippe Top” experiment aims to know how a gyroscope would react when pressed in one direction while its center of gravity is altered with an additional weight. It also aims to simultaneously observe the movement of the Tippe Top.

Present at the World Space Week event were PSHS CVC students Brigham Lucero, Noel Xavier Fuentes, and their teacher, Benito Baje, whose proposal dubbed as “Principles of Density in Space” also got into the program. They talked about their experiment, which tests the possibility of forming a double ball using water and oil while under micro-gravity conditions. Lucero and Fuentes received recognition and tokens during the program.

World Space Week, Visayas

On-the-spot Poster Making

Completing the World Space Week celebration was the annual On-the-spot Poster Making Contest. Here, young science-inclined artists showcased their talents in depicting the theme “United through Space.”

Yesha Alexandra Gocotano of Minglanilla Special Science Elementary School placed first with her creative space exploration artwork. Her winning entry will go to APRSAF-24 to vie against other entries in the region.

Meanwhile, Deanna Ellora Gacayan of Guadalupe Elementary School won second place. Vlademer Paragele of Pardo Elementary School came in third.

Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, Filipino astrophysicist and Focal Person of the Philippine Space Science Education Program (PSSEP), also provided participants with new insights about the applications of space science and the status of space development activities in the Philippines. Sese said that many Filipinos are unknowingly using space technologies everyday including smartphone apps like Waze, Uber or Grab. Thus, as Sese explained, “space is not an unfamiliar territory for us.”

In a message, DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo emphasized the importance of bringing the celebration to different parts of the country. Dr. Biyo also noted that Cebu was a perfect venue to boost the Institute’s efforts to reach more students. This is because the city is home to a large number of schools and major universities offering science and technology courses. As a result, she hopes that the event would encourage young minds to pursue studies in the field of space science.

“S&T is getting bigger and bigger and there’s no better place to be in than in this evolving field. We hope to see you soon in the science community,” said Biyo.

The World Space Week is an annual worldwide celebration devoted to space science. The PSSEP of the DOST-SEI handles the celebration in the Philippines. –MF​

Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco

Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.