As bigwigs and dignitaries fly out on the first Aer Lingus direct flight between Dublin and San Francisco in five years today, the real stars of the show will be five young CoderDojo members who plan to snap pictures of space by remotely controlling a US telescope during the flight.
The re-opened Aer Lingus route, which will fly five times a week starting today, will allow executives from IDA-client companies, such as Facebook, Twitter and Google, to fly between their offices without lengthy and expensive stopovers.
Members of the CoderDojo coding club, Áine Ellen O'Neill (13), Ruth Whelan (13), Emily Mary Ray (13), Andrew Barret (13) and Matthew Mallon (12), have been invited to San Francisco, California, by the city's mayor, Edwin Lee, who is often called the technology mayor.
The students will present Lee with a unique gift further promoting the science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) agenda they have embraced in Cork.
Heads the clouds
Andrew Barret (13), Matthew Mallon (12), Áine Ellen O'Neill (13), Ruth Whelan (13) and Emily Mary Ray (13)
Using live access to robotic telescopes in California as part of a dual education sister city partnership developed by Cork Institute of Technology's Blackrock Castle Observatory, the five youngsters will use the airline's Wi-Fi to connect to the telescope in the Portola Valley to take snapshots of outer space before dawn breaks on the west coast.
The students are flying to San Francisco today to promote CoderDojos in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
They will meet with a number of students from San Francisco, as well as a group of leading global tech players, such as Flextronics, VMware, Trend Micro and others, to demonstrate how CoderDojos work, during the five-day trip.
The students will showcase their coding skills to representatives of top Silicon Valley-based firms as they teach Lee and their own peers how to code.
“Studies show that inspiring kids when they are young has the greatest long-term economic benefit,” said Dr Niall Smith, head of research at Cork Institute of Technology and founding director of CIT-BCO.