Almost half of the nation’s children believe humans will live on Mars within their lifetime, a study has found.
Six in 10 kids feel anxious about the environment on Earth with more than a third (34 per cent) saying they don’t think enough is being done to solve the world’s environmental problems.
As a result, 48 per cent of under 16s believe they will live to see a human colony established on Mars.
Another 49 per cent reckon humans will look to space for other places to live in future, while 59 per cent expect to holiday in space in the future.
The research released by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) surveyed 1,000 children aged six to 16 and their parents. It also found 61 per cent of youngsters believe climate change issues could mean humankind will leave the planet.
Worries about the future of Earth are not solely confined to the younger generation, as two thirds (66 per cent) of parents admit they are ‘future-proofing’ their children to ensure they have the engineering skills required to tackle a future threatened by climate change.
The idea of living on another planet in the future has led to 46 per cent of children to develop an interest in engineering and technology.
Engineering is now the third most popular profession children would like to work in (15 per cent), with the career only falling behind being a YouTuber (18 per cent), or footballer (17 per cent).
Of all the careers available in engineering, 16 per cent of children said space exploration would be the number one field they would want to work within.
While historically, inspirational figures in engineering relating to space have been male, this looks set to change in the near future as 36 per cent of children who say they would consider a career in engineering were girls.
Parents, polled via OnePoll, also have engineering aspirations for their children with 37 per cent saying they would like to send their children to an extra-curricular activity such as a mathematics, coding or science club.
And STEM extracurricular activities proved to be more popular than music (34 per cent) and drama (33 per cent) lessons.
To help inspire the next generation of astronauts and engineers, the IET has launched a competition with iconic comic Beano inviting six to 16-year olds to design a product which they could not live without on Mars.
The competition is open for entries from now until 3rd July 2019. Entrants must send their design for a product, along with a few sentences on how they would adapt it to work on Mars.
IET Young Woman Engineer of the Year and aspiring astronaut Sophie Harker (27), said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for under 13s to experience the creativity that a career in engineering brings.
“The future of space exploration will require the ingenuity of as many young people as possible with the right skills.
“Showing young people – and especially young women – that STEM careers have infinite possibilities is vital.
“Who knows what products we’ll need in space in the future? The competition with Beano aims to inspire children to think outside the box about what is important to them and how engineering can help make their dreams a reality.”
The winner of the competition will be selected by a panel of judges from the IET, Sophie Harker and the editor of the Beano.
The winning design will be made into a 3D prototype and sent to the edge of space on a hydrogen balloon, which the winner and two runners-up will be able to watch.
Beano will also turn the winner into a cartoon character, and will feature in the comic in a future issue.
For more information about how to enter, please go to https://www.engineer-a-better-