Schools in Durham have been treated to a visit from a crew of astronauts who had just landed after spending a week docked at the International Space Station.
The crew of the STS-132 shuttle were asked to share their love of science and show pupils at schools across the county what it can achieve. Among the team was British-born NASA astronaut Piers Sellers, who visited seven schools in Durham and spoke to more than 3,300 pupils about "space as inspiration".
The scheme also gave the astronauts a chance to tell pupils of their experiences living more than 200 miles above the surface of the Earth.
Alasdair Wilson, chair of the North East branch of the Institute of Physics, which staged the scheme, said: "This was a really exciting opportunity for students in the North East to hear what it's like to be in space and to appreciate how the study of physics has made mankind's adventures in space possible." RV.