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Llandeilo student reaches for the stars

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A SIXTH-FORM student from Ysgol Bro Dinefwr is heading to Houston to take part in a NASA Space School, with support from Swansea University, which has strong links with Texas.

Ffion James, 17, will be part of a group of 50 students from over 20 countries taking part in the NASA-run programme, which​ started last Sunday (Jul 23) and runs until Monday, August 7.

The theme of the summer school is ​’A Manned Mission to Mars​’. Students will be assigned to teams looking at different aspects of planning a space mission to the red planet: mission control, operations, transit, habitation, and exploration.

While at the summer school, students will be taught by aerospace experts. They will also get a chance to tour the Johnson Space Center, the Space Center Houston, and other science and technology organisations.

They will also link up with the International Space Station, and take part in a teleconference on life sciences, bio-astronautics, and aerospace medicine at a university Ffion, who is currently studying for her AS levels at Ysgol Bro Dinefwr, said that her love of space went back many years: “I’ve always been fascinated by stars especially – there’s something peaceful yet dangerous about them.”

“I got my love of Star Trek from my dad! I always loved problem-solving and puzzles, and I used to save up my Christmas and birthday money to buy telescopes.

“I’ve already been to the NASA launch site at Cape Kennedy ​three times. I’ve spoken to people involved in the missions, which really inspired me.”

The work started for Ffion long before the summer school begins. As part of her preparations she has to complete tests and exams set by NASA. Ffion and her fellow students are already in touch on social media, before they all travel to Houston. Once in Texas, they will all be staying with host families, many of whom work with NASA and the aerospace industry.

Ffion explained the kind of challenges she will face as part of the curriculum:​ ​“NASA wants to be international, with close links for example between the US and Russia on the International Space Station. So one of the big issues they have to address is language and cultural differences.

“We’ll have to face this at the summer school. We have to work in teams, and we’ll have to establish a way of communicating between people who don’t have the same language.”

Ffion added that her dream job would be to be working in the space industry, sorting out problems at ground level:​ ​
“I’ve always been a problem-solver, so I’d be very interested in areas such as working out the most efficient flight trajectories.

​”​I study ethics at the moment, and so I’m also fascinated by ethical questions to do with space travel. Is it right to expose travellers to Mars to high radiation levels on what would be a three-year journey? Would humans still be humans if they adapted to life on Mars? What are the ethics of people ageing at a different rate, as would be the case if they were on Mars?”

As well as grappling with these weighty ethical questions, Ffion said that she was also looking forward to experiencing life in the US, learning about other cultures, adding that top of her wish list for souvenirs was the famous Texan cowboy hat​s. ​

Swansea University has a strategic partnership with several top-ranking universities in Texas, including several in Houston. These links are already bringing benefits such as student exchange schemes and joint research collaborations, in areas from arts and humanities to nanotechnology.

Dr Caroline Coleman-Davies, who manages Swansea University’s Texas Partnership, said: “The University’s links with Texas go from strength to strength, with students and researchers seeing the benefit.​ ​

“It is always great to see local students seeking to broaden their horizons, so we are delighted to support Ffion’s success in winning a place at the NASA Summer School.”

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Carmarthenshire Archives’ new building officially opened

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ON MONDAY, November 28, Cllr Rob Evans, Chair of Carmarthenshire County Council, unveiled a specially designed plaque to commemorate the official opening of the brand new Carmarthenshire Archives building.

The official opening was attended by year 6 pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, along with their Headteacher Mr Dylan Evans, who designed the plaque by compiling various artwork and sketches that are housed at the Archives.

Established in 1959, Carmarthenshire Archives is the local authority archive service for the County of Carmarthenshire and the new building is located at St Peter’s Street, Carmarthen. 

The service is home to our extensive collection of historic documents that date from the 13th century to the present day. The collection includes archives, maps, books, photographs, videos and sound recordings. It is the Archives’ mission to preserve and make its documents available for general study and research.

Admission to Carmarthenshire Archives is free and open to anyone who wishes to use the Council’s records. Most of its services are free, but we do charge for some extra services and help.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Leisure, Culture and Tourism, Cllr Gareth John commented:

“Congratulations to the pupils of Ysgol Y Dderwen, they have designed an excellent and appropriate plaque that is inspired by the treasure troves of our archives. It was wonderful to welcome them to the official opening so that they can see their work take pride of place at a building that holds great significance to us in Carmarthenshire. 

“This is a brand new and modern building that is fit to keep and protect our county’s most precious historical documents. 

“But of course, these documents are meant to be viewed and studied by school children, students, academics and anybody who has an interest in Carmarthenshire’s rich history; and this excellent facility provides the perfect space for people to come and view these treasures.”

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Llandeilo gas works to begin say Wales & West Utilities

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WALES & West Utilities will shortly begin work to upgrade gas pipes in Llandeilo.

Wales & West Utilities has liaised with Carmarthenshire County Council to plan the work and it has been agreed that work will commence after the town has celebrated the Festival of Senses.

The £123,000 investment scheme, which is essential to keep the gas flowing safely to heat and power local homes and businesses, will begin in New Road on 21 November. This section of work will be complete before Christmas and Wales & West Utilities will return to the town next year to undertake further work in the Crescent Road area. Barring any engineering difficulties, work in the town will be complete by the end of February next year.

Wales & West Utilities Adam Smith is managing this gas pipe upgrade work. He said: “Working with the Council, we have planned this work to accommodate the needs of the town.

“While most of the gas network is underground and out of sight, it plays a central role in the daily lives of people across Llandeilo. Whether it’s heating your home, making the family dinner or having a hot bath, we understand how important it is for your gas supply to be safe and reliable and there when you need it.

“We know that working in areas like this is not ideal, but it really is essential to make sure we keep the gas flowing to homes and businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future. We’ll have a team of gas engineers on site throughout the project to make sure our work is completed as safely and as quickly as possible while keeping disruption to a minimum.

“This work is essential to keep the gas flowing to local homes and businesses today, and to make sure the gas network is ready to transport hydrogen and biomethane, so we can all play our part in a green future.”

Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999.

Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, brings energy to 7.5m people across the south west of England and Wales. If you smell gas, or suspect the presence of carbon monoxide, call us on 0800 111 999 straight away, and our engineers will be there to help any time of day or night. Before visiting, we’ll ask you to let us know if you or anyone in your household, is experiencing Coronavirus symptoms or self-isolating. We’ll still come and help you: but our teams will take some additional precautions to keep us all safe.

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Police appeal following theft of items from Home Bargains Crosshands

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OFFICERS from Dyfed Powys Police have confirmed that they are investigating the theft of items, including a Christmas Nutcracker Ornament valued at £129.99, from the Home Bargains store in Crosshands, Carmarthenshire.

The theft occurred at about 12:40pm on Tuesday, 27th September 2022.

Officers have carried out all possible lines of enquiry, and are now appealing for help from the public.

They would like to identify the people in the CCTV image, who may have information that could help the investigation.

Anyone who knows who the people are, or if you believe you are pictured, contact Dyfed-Powys Police.

This can also be done either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk or phoning 101.

If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.

Please quote reference DPP/2006/27/09/2022/02/C

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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