Sunday 2 October marks ESA’s annual Open Day in the Netherlands – the chance for everyone to visit ESA’s technical heart.
UPDATE: German ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter, the Agency's former Director of Human Spaceflight, will now join his fellow astronauts André Kuipers, Hans Schlegel and Franco Malerba. He will be signing autographs along with Hans Schlegel and Franco Malerba.
In place for more than half a century, the complex in Noordwijk is ESA’s single largest establishment, focused on developing technology, planning missions and testing satellites.
Visitors will be able to wander around the sprawling facility at their own pace, meeting astronauts, scientists and mission designers while seeing special exhibits and actual space hardware.
The theme of this year’s Open Day is “Breath of Life” – the ExoMars orbiter, currently nearing Mars, will be searching out methane and associated rare gases in the thin alien atmosphere as evidence of either surviving Mars microbes or a different kind of ‘life’ – subsurface volcanic activity, which would mean the planet remains geologically active.
Back around our home planet, Europe’s Sentinel-5P satellite will be readying for launch, the latest in the Sentinel family of satellites supporting Europe’s Copernicus global environmental monitoring initiative. The satellite’s main Tropomi sensor will survey the changing state of Earth’s atmosphere in unprecedented detail.
Because we are obliged to limit the total number of visitors, to ensure a great experience for all who do attend, we urge you to book early to avoid disappointment.
This annual event takes place as part of the Netherlands’ national Weekend of Science, as well as World Space Week.