A tech-savvy teenager from Boston has won £10,000 in a competition to find space entrepreneurs of the future.
Thirteen-year-old James Pearson landed top spot in the UK Space Agency nationwide competition, which was in fact open to people up to the age of 22.
The mission set by the ‘SatelLife Challenge’ was to come up with innovative ideas on how to use satellite date to improve life on Earth.
James was inspired to look at what satellites could do for coastal change after seeing how recent flooding had affected some family friends.
His idea was for a mobile app which collects, analyses and visualises a range of data to allow users to see changes in the coastal environment over time. It would also ‘geo-tag’ wildlife to track sightings, view trends in weather and climate date and monitor sea levels.
James described winning the competition as ‘fantastic’ and said he was ‘thrilled’.
“This competition has taken me on a massive learning curve. It has inspired me to learn more about satellites and space technology,” he added. “It is just incredible what information is inside every image. You can see the world in a completely new perspective – it has given me an entirely different view of the world as well as around my home.
“What was impressive to me was how my local coast has changed over a short time. Hopefully I can use this knowledge to help protect the environment and change other people’s perspectives as well.”
James, who wants to be an engineer, said he would like to use the prize money to buy a computer so that he can start to build the app.
His dad Simon said the cash would also be going in the bank for the future!
Simon said both he and mum Louise were extremely proud of James achievements. Meanwhile, his younger sister Emma, 10, just hoped they would get the chance to see a ‘rocket launch’, he added.
Simon said James has always been interested in technology and having a number of nature reserves close by he is also a member of the RSPB.
James, who attends The Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Horncastle, entered the competition after it was posted on the UK Space Agency Facebook page.
He will now get the chance to pitch his idea to a group of industry expert ‘dragons’ who could decide to take it on as a project.
James is also set to present his entry at the UK SpaceConference – the most influential event for space in the UK – held in Manchester from 30 May to 1 June, 2017.
Emily Gravestock, head of applications strategy at the UK SpaceAgency, said: “The judges thought his idea was both novel, and practical, bringing together information to manage coasts and also to improve tourism. They all thought it was fantastic and we think he has real potential as a space entrepreneur of the future.”