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Europe

The Space Tweep Society European Branch

@SpaceTweepsIt’s been two years since the European Space Agency (ESA) first opened it’s doors to Space enthusiasts, and already the SpaceTweeps community has grown into a vibrant solid group in Europe, with new members joining everyday.  Inspired by some of the Society’s core U.S. members, who crossed the pond to attend the 1st SpaceTweetup on September 18, 2011 in Germany, the European SpaceTweeps have grabbed the torch and.. have been running ever since!

In the past two years, SpaceTweeps have been invited to more than ten Tweetups in Europe organised by numerous Space & Science Institutions such as ESA, DLR, CNES, OeWF, CERN, ISU etc., and they have spontaneously attended almost all major space related conferences and events on this planet, including the 2012 ISS Symposium in Berlin, Germany, SpaceFest V in Tucson, Arizona and the 64th International Astronautical Congress in Beijing, China. They have also  joined forces with scientists and space professionals in already organizing four SpaceUp un-conferences all over the continent.

While having tons of fun in the process, SpaceTweeps have been spreading their excitement and love for space exploration and scientific research to thousands of people, with their tweets, posts and blogs.  Happily, officials in Europe have not been shy in publicly acknowledging SpaceTweeps’ contribution to increasing outreach and public awareness of their activities on twitter or on their official websites.  ESA was even bold enough to host the second largest European SpaceUp in its Paris headquarters and to promote it on its official website.

The video below was produced, during last week’s ESA/DLR SocialSpace event, by Henning Krause of Helmholtz Association (CC-BY 3.0), who has been fascinated by the Society’s momentum and drive. Many claim that this says it all 😉

SocialSpace interviews: The Space Tweeps Community

 

World Space Week 2013 with MarsTweetup on 5th October 2013

World Space Week 2013 with MarsTweetup on 5th October 2013

This year’s World Space Week motto is: Exploring Mars. Discovering Earth.

From 4-10 October 2013, more than twenty organizations spread across four continents will be exploring Mars – and discovering more about Earth in the process. A campaign of networked Mars analog simulations, including a 4-day Mars simulation at the Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah (US), is being launched to celebrate World Space Week (WSW) 2013.
The Mission to Mars and all satellite events will be coordinated from the WSW 2013 Mission Control Center, located at the Headquarters of the Austrian Space Forum in Innsbruck, Austria.

Invitation for 2nd MarsTweetup #simulateMars

On 5th of October 2013 the Austrian Space Forum (OEWF) is inviting 20 Social Media followers to the World Space Week Mission Control Center (MCC) in Innsbruck. This is a unique opportunity for Social Media users get a behind-the-scenes look into Mars analog research, an operating Mars analog MCC and to meet other Social Media users sharing the same interest. Through the MCC in Innsbruck the activities in the Mars Desert Research Station as well as global satellite events will be coordinated.

Planned activities during the MarsTweetup:

  • Mars analogs and MARS2013 Morocco Mars Simulation 2013
  • “Failure is not an option”, the role of a Mission Control Center (Mars Simulation flight controllers share their experience first-hand!)
  • Mission Control Center tour – an intimate look-behind-the-scenes of Mars Analog Research
  • Extra-Vehicular-Activity with the Aouda.X Mars spacesuit simulator EVA
  • Live-Link to World Space Week satellite events

This MarsTweetup will be held in Innsbruck, Austria on 5th October 2013, 09:00 a.m – 6:00 p.m

Registration ends on Thursday, 7th of September 2013 at 12:00 pm CEST.

More information:

SpaceUp Poland Livestream!

During this weekend (24-25th of November) SpaceUp Poland will take place in Warsaw.

It is great opportunity to meet people who are fascinated by space and excellent chance to discuss with them and share experience in this field. Traditional and local food with the atmosphere of the capital of the country will be a great background for the unconference and with inspiring presentations and talks will create an unforgettable SpaceUp Poland!

If for some reason you cannot take part in SpaceUp Poland,

you can reach us on our livestream channel:

 http://www.ustream.tv/channel/spaceuppl.

Starts at 11.00 AM, CEST, 24th November.

SpaceUp Poland is dedicated to the fact, that Poland became 20th European Space Agency member state this month, which is great milestone for all space and astronomy enthusiasts in Poland!

SpaceUp Poland is coming!

#SpaceUp events are doing great in Europe. After @SpaceUpEU and @SpaceUpStuttgart it is time for Warsaw to be the host of @SpaceUpPL!

Expression #SpaceUp rings a bell for more and more people around the world. An “unconference” with the possibility to share your ideas with other “space freaks” sounds like heaven for many human beings for whom “the sky is no limit”. Shorter, longer presentations, talks, films, discussion panels, workshops and more discussion in-between create the unique atmosphere of this event and reveal more and more space enthusiasts across the globe.

Such an atmosphere was also present on the #SpaceUpEU event in Belgium this September. Open and friendly people with huge knowledge and their fascination to the space were amazing and extremely inspiring. This impression, connected with the fact that Poland soon becomes a 20­th member of European Space Agency encouraged us to think about organisation of @SpaceUpPL event.

So here we would like to invite everyone to come to Warsaw and help Poland and its space enthusiasts to make first steps into international space society. Join us during SpaceUp and share with everyone your experience, interests and thoughts. Make a discussion about future space exploration, find out what other participants can offer you à listen, actively participate in different SpaceUp sessions and talk, talk, talk with everyone around! Everything is about sharing – so help us to share and spread space-spirit around Poland!

SpaceUp PL is a great opportunity not only to meet enthusiastic and ready to join ESA group but also to visit the capital city of Poland and fall in love with it 😉

We’re looking forward meeting you in Poland 😉

Your @SpaceUpPL Team – @imperator_jarek, @llirael, @liwyj, @cissidy.

More information:

Website: http://spaceup.org/near-you/poland/

Registration: https://newspace.wufoo.eu/forms/spaceup-poland/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SpaceUpPoland

I tweeted my way to ESO’s Very Large Telescope!

As an introduction, let’s just say that ESO – the European Southern Observatory – basically builds and operates the most advanced and powerful telescopes observing from our planet. For their 50th anniversary, they had the awesome idea to get one of their followers to tweet their way to the VLT… I came back a few days ago, and it was a beautiful life-changing experience.

Striking a pose on the VLT platform

The Very Large Telescope is located on top of a Chilean mountain, Cerro Paranal, at an altitude of about 2600 meters. Cerro Paranal is in the Atacama Desert, the driest region on Earth, 2 hours away by car from the nearest town. ESO chose the southern hemisphere to install their telescopes because it enables them to observe the center of the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds… and they chose Chile because the “seeing”, the quality of the observations is excellent. The atmosphere is very stable, the skies are almost always clear, there is no light pollution whatsoever.

Cerro Paranal is often nicknamed the astronomers’ paradise by those who visit it… and with reason; one of them even told me that if he was not married, he would never want to leave! The conditions up there are harsh, and of course observations last all night long, 365 days a year, but Paranal is nonetheless an amazing place to work and live. ESO did a great job when they built the Residencia,  which is beautifully integrated in the surrounding landscape. From the outside, it looks a bit like the underground lair of a James Bond villain… which may explain why the Residencia was chosen as a filming location for Quantum of Solace!

Cerro Paranal hosts 10 active telescopes. There are four telescopes with an 8.2-meters diameter mirror, named UT-1 through 4 and a.k.a. Antu (The Sun), Kueyen (The Moon), Melipal (The Southern Cross) and Yepun (Venus) in Mapuche language. There are also 2 survey telescopes, VST with a 2.6-meters and VISTA with a 4-meters mirror and 4 “small” ones, with “only” an 1.8-meters mirror (the auxiliary telescopes). Telescopes can be combined for specific observations using a process that is called Interferometry – which makes them even more powerful. The 4 auxiliary telescopes can be moved around to any of the 30 positions available on the platform, which opens an amazing range of observation possibilities. I think the only place where I can say it this here, among spacetweeps… I sure did not expect to be so emotionally moved by these gentle giants.

The telescopes are amazing pieces of technology… powerful, silent, and gorgeous in the chilean light – sunrise, daylight, sunset, darkness, moonlight… The view from and on the VLT platform is always breathtaking. Please check out check out my pictures here if youre not convinced yet!

On my last night at Cerro Paranal, I teamed with Henri Boffin – a renowned ESO astronomer- to image Thor’s Helmet, the NGC 2359 nebula… The observation was streamed live on ESO’s website as part of a six-hours broadcast, which I can only recommend you watch if you’re interested in astronomy. The picture we took is stunning! Mathieu (outreach team), Gabriel (astronomer), Claudio (shift supervisor) and I were also live from the VLT platform a few hours later for a Q&A session…

Credit: ESO/B.Bailleul

If I had to sum up this week in Chile… I had a great time, met a lot of people who are passionate about their work, and learned a lot about astronomy and ESO. And if you’d rather read the longer version, please check out my blog entries for this trip… available in both english or french!

Can you imagine that the mirror for the future E-ELT (European-Extremely Large Telescope) will be 39 meters wide?

 

SpaceUpEU – A personal perspective

Wow. How do you sum up one for the coolest things you have ever done?! When I went to Florida last year for STS-134 I thought that experience would take some matching. SpaceUpEU did just that.

As I’d never done anything remotely like a un-conference or SpaceUp before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found impressed me, excited me, blew me away almost. I think what I have experienced at SpaceUpEU is a huge melting pot of passionate, enthusiastic people both individual in their views and interests but also united equally by their love of space and curiosity to discover other people’s passions and interests. Everything from the range of topics to the massive age range of the participants, the 15 countries participating, how far people had travelled. It made you think very differently and it helped me be more encouraged and open about something I usually only talk about online.

With so many topics, talks and discussions and, of course, overlapping slots it is impossible to absorb everyone’s ideas during the weekend but hopefully with the abundance of video equipment and recording hopefully some things I didn’t get to see might filter down later on, probably a good idea given the rather crammed state of my brain! From square one, even maybe before the event began on Friday night I have learned lots of great stuff that I hope I can remember when I need it. The sheer range of topics was also mind-blowing. From the meticulously prepared to the totally ad-hoc, enthralling to the brain-cell popping (Yes, I’m still recovering from Christer Fuglesang’s mass, weight and particle physics!!) to the down-right controversial (Mars One caused by far the most discussion!) and pretty-much everything in between.

For me personally, the diversity of information and the friendliness and openness of the crowd stands out a lot at events like this. I wore a replica NASA flight suit to day 1 of SpaceUpEU and so many people commented on how cool it was and how good it looked. Also I knew very few people there, probably only half a dozen at most, but *everyone* was open and friendly and wanted to get to know you and talk to you. Most impressive however was actually giving a talk to a group of people, in my case an Astronomy Kickstarter, who were genuinely interested in what I had to say. Although I’d have loved more time and to open the discussion to the people there with me, I still got a massive satisfaction from talking to them about a shared interest and presenting helpful information to people who wanted to get going themselves.

My only regret is perhaps that a lot of passions, information and ideas were presented but perhaps that we didn’t always have time to discuss those within the SpaceUp event format. A lot of the discussion occurred in the evenings and outside the talks themselves which is sort of what SpaceUp and ‘un-conference’ is supposed to be working to bring into the main event. I don’t think this was necessarily a failure of the event so much as so many people were so interested in sharing their passions and, being the first European SpaceUp event, it uncorked a rich source of this passion and sharing. As a first event, an opener and a launch of the SpaceUp concept in Europe, though, it was a hugely successful and exciting event to be part of. Hopefully (and I know there are other SpaceUps already happening or being planned, starting with SpaceUp Stuttgart in October) this will be the spark that ignites the fires of other people to continue the flow of ideas and information in our area of the world.

Last but by no means least, I couldn’t write a blog post about SpaceUpEU without offering massive thanks to our organisers:

  • Remco Timmermans  (@timmermansr)
  • Eico Neumann   (@travelholic)
  • Angie Kanellopoulou  (@akanel)
  • Alex von Eckartsberg (@starlingLX)
  • Marco Frissen   (@mfrissen)
  • Joachim Baptist   (@JustBe74)

Although, as they kept reminding us, SpaceUp is as much a product of the participants as the organizers, their amazing efforts and hard, dedicated work opened the door for so many people to get together under this common banner to share and ignite discussion, some of which will still be going for a good while I’m sure (but hey, the rovers will do it!).