A triathlon-styled challenge, set by British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake, and funded by the UK Space Agency, was announced today at a World Space Week event attended by 175 children and hosted by the Cool Aeronautics team. Named the Space to Earth Challenge, it’s one of a number of educational opportunities on offer as part of Tim Peake’s Principia mission this December.

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When Tim Peake moves into his new home in space – the International Space Station (ISS) – he would like children across the UK to exercise alongside him as he trains two hours a day in the world’s highest and fastest-moving gym – travelling at 27,600 km per hour, and circling the world every 90 minutes.

“While exercising so far away in space I will have some amazing views, although I will miss the sights, sounds and fresh air of planet Earth,” said Peake. “I hope students across the UK will join me in my training and share what they see as they work out back on Earth.”

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Peake is especially keen on space-based training that will support his triathlon interests in cycling, running and swimming. Schools taking part in the Space to Earth Challenge will be encouraged to create their own ‘spaceathlons’ of a trio of space, sport and science activities. The schools who can demonstrate the most innovation and engagement in the activities will be invited to take part in a unique visit to the European Astronaut Centre in May 2016.  Other prizes available for schools taking part include a diving class from the expert team at Blue Abyss.

The distance of 400km is just one of a series of space-themed sports and science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics (STEAM) challenges that students can try. The sports and science challenges have been designed by experts from the European Astronaut Centre, British Triathlon Trust, University of Cambridge, Kings College London, Blue Abyss, LFT Consulting, The Institution of Engineering and Technology and Durham University. Further resources are being developed by the University of Southampton, Queen Mary University of London, Teesside University and Manchester Metropolitan University and the United Learning Trust. Creative challenges have been set by the Ideas Foundation and will be announced at the World Skills Show.

Schools across the country can sign up for the FREE challenge and resources on: www.spacetoearthchallenge.org.uk