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Life in space

Grandmother with two children looking and pointing through ISS replica window in Life Science Centre's Space Zone.

Space can be for everyone. And the journey can start at Life.

Here at Life, we share the wonders of space with hundreds of visitors of all ages and backgrounds every day, through exhibitions, events and our schools’ programme.

We aim to encourage every visitor to dream big and bright. We want to ignite the spark that could help a young person – whatever their background or ability – discover a new passion, or pursue a future career.


Girl Stood Underneath Astronaut Model With Her Face Projected Onto The Screen.

The North East is a place for space exploration

Many people in the North East think that the space industry is something that happens somewhere else. In fact, the region is home to several companies and researchers that are playing their part in the exploration of the universe.

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More than 1,000 people in the North East are employed in the space sector, and that figure has risen by more than 10% in recent years.

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The region’s space sector was worth £113million in 2020. Employment has grown by an average of 6% a year since 2020.

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The James Webb Space Telescope gives us clearer pictures of the universe than ever before. Components for this new telescope were built right here in Durham.

Michael Foale


“Science centres play a key role in helping children get into science – and Life does that very well. The impact can be massive when there’s a real partnership between adults, kids and teachers.”

NASA astronauts Michael Foale with a young visitor at Life Science Centre in 2021.

“Life’s planetarium is amazing. Being able to see the wonder of our universe up-close like this will hopefully go a long way in helping to inspire the next generation of astronauts!”

Chris Hadfield, Astronaut

“The space industry is a big, all-encompassing thing, and we’ll continue to involve all sorts of people to progress what we know and do.”

Dr David Rosario, Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics

“It’s about someone showing all this to you. It’s about saying, ‘There’s all this stuff, and it’s for you. You can do it’.”

Dr Pete Edwards, cosmologist and Director of Science Outreach at Durham University

Space workshops

Students Will Learn About Astronauts Living In Space On This Workshop.
Key stage 1 and reception
Living in space

Students will learn about life on board the International Space Station.

Students will learn about life on board the International Space Station on our Destination Space Workshop.
Key stage 2
Destination Space

Students will discover how scientists and engineers help astronauts live and work on the International Space Station (ISS).

Planet Earth from space at night.
Key stage 2
Our Place in Space

Explore planet Earth and the solar system in Life’s immersive planetarium.

Teenager holding iPad with portraits of 16 emotions being displayed.
Me, me, me!

Explore our amazing brains and bodies and learn more about yourself.

Age 5 – 8, Age 8 – 11, Age 11 – 14, Age 14+
Girl extracting DNA from fruit and vegetables in kitchen at home.
Extracting DNA at home

Learn how to extract some DNA from fruit and vegetables in your kitchen! 

Age 8 – 11, Age 11 – 14
Little African American Girl With Dog On Bed
Alreet pet? Animal behaviour

Scientists study animals to learn about their behaviour in the wild and at home. If you have a pet, you can study animal behaviour too!

Age 5 – 8, Age 8 – 11

A launchpad for…

Male teenage visitor wearing a red hoody looking through a microscope in Life's Space Zone.


Our exciting exhibitions, shows, workshops and activities give families a greater understanding of the world and their place in it. We also tackle potentially scary and complex subjects, such as climate science. Highlights of our space experience include an immersive planetarium, mock-up international space station and Gaia, an amazing recreation of Planet Earth. 


Students learning in Mission Control, a hands-on exhibit in Life Science Centre's Space Zone.


Our science centre exhibits, live shows and activities can help young people discover a love of space. Our Schools’ Programme can help them develop their knowledge and understanding, and maybe even explore future careers. We offer a comprehensive learning programme, with curriculum-linked workshops that are simply not available in school classrooms. 

Young adults watching an immersive show on Life Science Centre's Sphere in Space Zone.


It’s never too late to explore the wonders of space, and consider our place in the universe. Adults can enjoy our exhibitions and activities just as much as kids – from the breathtaking planetarium to the thought-provoking Gaia installation.  We also offer adults-only after-hours events, where visitors can consider and explore deep and pressing questions about space.

NASA Astronaut Helen Sharman pictured with two children in Life Science Centre's mock-up International Space Station.


The space industry brings together people with many different skills and interests.  As a leading science centre, Life is an ideal place to showcase these opportunities. In particular, we want to raise aspirations amongst young people, and help them consider the range of careers available to them.

What our visitors say…

“We really enjoyed Space Zone, where we learned about life aboard the International Space Station, tried mission control and handled an actual moon rock.”

“My daughter has been learning about space at school and loved exploring Space Zone  – it was both fun and educational which is just brilliant.”

“There was so much to do – and we landed a spacecraft. The planetarium was amazing too.”

Read about Life in space