The sky is no longer the limit

Head Boy of Oasis Academy Oldham, Ben Bardsley, has much to look forward to this summer as he enjoys the trip of a lifetime at the United Space School in America. 

After completing a detailed application and an interview online, Ben is just one of 54 pupils from 23 countries specially chosen to take part in an international space mission in Houston, Texas.

For an intensive fortnight this July, the students will bring fresh thinking and insight on a project to plan a manned mission to Mars. 

During their time in Texas they will get to meet with, and receive guidance from, some of the world’s leading minds on space exploration. 

Based at University of Houston, they team will also get to visit the world-famous NASA Johnson Space Centre, while Ben will be staying with a family connected with the space industry. 

15-year-old Ben, who is studying triple science, is hoping to study either engineering or physics after he has completed his A-levels.      

"I didn't think in a million years I would get accepted. When the email came through, me and my family started screaming ­- it was so unbelievable," said Ben."It is a great opportunity to learn so much about about a topic I enjoy so thoroughly."

"Hearing my grandfather's stories about his work on Concorde inspired me to take an interest in aerospace engineering and from there it has switched to astronomy. "I find the limitless possibilities of space fascinating."

Ben Farnworth, Faculty Leader of Technical at Oasis Academy Oldham, told Ben all about the programme after he himself won a competition to teach at the space school six years ago. 

"Ben is very talented, focussed and studious.  It will literally be two weeks of hard work from first thing in the morning to late at night."