Hannah Sargeant

Favourite Thing: Working on something that will one day fly in space, and also handling real Moon soil



The Open University: 2016-now; The University of Leicester: 2015-2016; Loughborough University: 2013-2014; The University of Sheffield: 2010-2013;


MSc in Space Exploration Systems, PGCE in physics and maths, BSc in Physics, AAB A-levels

Work History:

Science teacher at The Polesworth School, lots of summer jobs like admin/cleaning/sports coaching

Current Job:

PhD Student


The Open University

About Me

Space engineer in the day, athlete at night

I am a PhD student at The Open University which is based in Milton Keynes. I have a physics degree and a masters degree in Space Exploration Systems. I also worked as a physics teacher which I loved but I missed doing research! I have always been very sporty and I was a competitive athlete for many years but I gave it up and started playing Ultimate Frisbee a few years ago. It is so much fun and really hard work! If you don’t believe me, check youtube! I play tournaments and train (when I’m not injured) and I play all over the world!

My Work

I find different ways of getting water and oxygen from the Moon to help humans one day live on a Moon base

I am helping a team to build a new device that will land on the Moon in a few years time. The device will try to get chemicals from the Moon rocks and soil. I get to build new equipment, work with real Moon soil and help to come up with new ideas. We are doing this work so that one day we can build a Moon base using supplies we find on the Moon.

As a researcher you also get to go to conferences all over the world where you can talk about your work, meet other people with similar interests, and share ideas!

My Typical Day

I read lots of papers, get hands on in the lab, and talk to lots of people to help come up with new ideas

Each day is different for me. I have lots of post-it notes with all the things I need to get done and I just pick which ones I should get done today. At the moment I am spending time researching similar experiments to give me tips and I keep a record of what I find. When I am tired of reading I work in the lab to help get the equipment ready for our tests. This is very hands on which I love. Other times I have to predict what our experiment will do which involves lots of calculations so I use programming to help me with this.

What I'd do with the money

Fund a space balloon project for a local school

I would help fund a project for a school to launch a space balloon to collect footage and learn about preparing instruments for space!

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

curious, sporty, clumsy

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran

What's your favourite food?


What is the most fun thing you've done?

A month long trip backpacking across Europe playing frisbee tournaments and training with local teams. A great way to travel and meet lots of fun people!

What did you want to be after you left school?

to work at NASA (dream big!)

Were you ever in trouble at school?

Not really, getting in trouble looked scary!

What was your favourite subject at school?

P.E. or Science

What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?

Lived and worked in Italy and France to design a pretend mission to Mars. We worked with lots of professionals and presented our work to experts at the European Space Agency.

What or who inspired you to become a scientist?

My A level teacher was so much fun and he cared so much it made me want to work hard. I also loved space films, especially Apollo 13, because it made me want to use my skills to help humans survive space!

If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?

Athletics coach or physiotherapist

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

I would love to go to the Moon and see the Earth from Space. I would then wish for my own house (years of studying and living in shared houses gets old!), and then I would wish for lots of holiday time to travel the world

Tell us a joke.

Where do Martian’s go for a drink? The Mars bar

Other stuff

Work photos:

This is the model I am working on at the moment with the help of another member of the team. Everything is built from scratch! With this model we want to get water from a certain type of soil we hope to find on the Moon. It’s very difficult because the Moon is dry. With water we can fuel rockets and help humans survive on the Moon.


One of my favourite things we have at work is the meteorite collection. This rock is from Mars. After a meteor hit Mars it sent lots of rocks into space and this one landed here on Earth. It’s very rare and VERY expensive!


We love working with the public at The Open University so I get involved when I can. This is a picture from when the Scouts visited us and I showed them all the  different spacecraft that has been built here.