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TIME SCALE student events on space exploration and life science

TIME SCALE aims at inspiring next generation space explorers. Students at several universities were invited to inspirational and social space-events in February and March 2017, in cooperation with ESA Education Office.

“Really a lively and interested group of students”, astronaut Kevin A. Ford pointed out after the event at Wageningen University on March 22. While ESA astronaut Reinhold Ewald spoke to students in Stuttgart, NASA astronaut Ford joined the TIME SCALE events in Wageningen and Trondheim. Experiences and reflections from the astronauts’ journeys to the International Space Station were highly appreciated by the more than 150 students participating in the events at the universities in Stuttgart, Trondheim and Wageningen.

Students at Wageningen University tohether with NASA astronaut Kevin A. Ford. Photo: TIME SCALE.

In addition to first-hand experiences from space, students and other interested people got to hear about space exploration, life science in space, the TIME SCALE project and how they can participate in space research themselves.

Crash course in space exploration

“It’s rewarding to visit students that are so interested and positive”, said senior research engineer Liz Coelho, from Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS) in Norway, one of organizers of the TIME SCALE events. “It’s tricky to give a crash course in space exploration within such a short time-slot,” she said, “as I believe we could have kept on discussing until tomorrow, whether it be ESA’s space vision or the gravity we can simulate while growing plants in the European Modular Cultivation System”. “This looks promising for the future of space research, and who knows – maybe some of these students will be partners in one of our future collaborative projects”, she added.

Liz Coelho from CIRiS, NTNU Social Research, giving a crash course on Space Exploration. Photo: TIME SCALE.

A glimpse into space research

Stefan Belz (University of Stuttgart), Sander van Delden (Wageningen University & Research) and Øyvind M. Jakobsen (CIRiS, NTNU Social Research), all researchers working on the TIME SCALE project, gave the students a glimpse into space research as they presented the backdrop of the TIME SCALE project and examples of the ongoing research, including development of algae photobioreactor and water and nutrient delivery system for life science research in space.

Student possibilities: Participate in space research!

The TIME SCALE project encourages students to participate in space research. In cooperation with ESA Education Office, TIME SCALE has announced a student competition. This is an opportunity for students to take their research project and themselves to weightlessness. The Education Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) offers master and PhD students the possibility of taking scientific experiments to microgravity conditions through their Fly Your Thesis! programme. Nigel D.L. Savage, Programme Coordinator for University Student Experiments at ESA Education Office joined the events via video-link and presented attractive possibilities for students: The ESA academy in general, and particularly the Fly Your Thesis! programme.

TIME SCALE invited students to participate in their student competition by writing an outline of a Fly Your Thesis! application. The student group with the best outline will receive help from the TIME SCALE consortium to complete their full Fly Your Thesis! application this fall.

Nigel D. L. Savage from ESA Education Office explains about ESA academy and the Fly Your Thesis! opportunity for European master and PhD students. Photo: TIME SCALE.

In Stuttgart, the students were additionally introduced to the German/Swedish Rexus/Bexus program. Simon Mawn from ZARM at Bremen University explained the program which invites students to carry out scientific and technological experiments on research rockets and balloons. Each year, two rockets and two balloons are launched, carrying up to 20 experiments designed and built by student team. As an extra offer to the Stuttgart students, the student-driven Small Satellite Student Society offered to help interested students along their way towards a Rexus/Bexus application.

Mini competitions and pizza

During the event, the students were challenged to demonstrate both creativity and knowledge. Students at University of Stuttgart drafted a space-ship with different compartments, while the participants in Wageningen and Trondheim were challenged in a space-quiz. Prizes, fame, honor – and pizza!

Winners of the Space-quiz at Trondheim, together with NASA astronaut Kevin A. Ford and TIME SCALE representative Øyvind M. Jakobsen, March 8. Photo: TIME SCALE.

March 26, 2017