ESA-sponsored students attend COSPAR
The 38th Scientific Assembly of the Committee On Space Research (COSPAR) was held in Bremen, Germany, from 18 to 25 July. As in previous years, postgraduate science and engineering students were sponsored by ESA’s Education Office to attend this event, one of the world’s most important meetings devoted to space studies.
COSPAR is one of the many opportunities offered by ESA’s Education Office for students to attend conferences and workshops, including all of the major international space meetings. It enables the participants to meet experts in their fields and to network with their peers from other countries around the world.
The main conference programme was complemented by a Student Programme, organised by the International Space Education Board (ISEB), which provided dedicated student sessions and activities. This year, more than one third of the 46 students participating in the ISEB Student Programme, were sponsored by ESA.
The participants, who were chosen after a competitive selection process, each presented an oral paper or a poster related to their particular field of study. Their subject areas ranged from a study of the atmosphere of an exoplanet, to space radiation dosimetry, astrobiology and explosive solar activity.
This year’s programme commenced on 17 July with the ISEB Orientation Day, which began with an ‘ice-breaking’ session, comprising indoor games and obstacle challenges, followed by outdoor sports.
After an informal lunch, the students gave presentations about hands-on projects in which they had been involved. There was also an introductory session devoted to different research areas, during which representatives of five COSPAR scientific commissions gave short overviews of their scientific disciplines and highlighted some of the current developments and challenges in each field. The day concluded with a tour of the impressive ZARM Drop Tower facilities at the University of Bremen.
During the rest of the week, the programme featured four sets of keynote lectures by experts from each ISEB agency, covering many areas of space science and research programmes.
One highlight of the programme was the ISEB Interactive Plenary Event on 20 July, when a panel of six Commission Chairs and senior commission representatives spoke about “Space Sciences and their Role in addressing the Challenges of the Next Generation”.
Throughout the week, the International Student Zone in the exhibition area of the Assembly functioned as a meeting and presentation space for the ISEB students and their agencies. Each available lunch time, one of the four agencies and its sponsored students presented their programmes and research by means of posters, videos and other materials in order to attract the attention of passers-by. The zone also provided a congenial atmosphere where students could meet, work and socialise.
The 39th COSPAR Scientific Assembly will be held 14 - 22 July 2012 in Mysore, India.
International Space Education Board (ISEB)
The ISEB represents the education offices of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the European Space Agency (ESA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the French space agency (CNES) and, as Associate Member, the Victorian Space Science Education Center (VSSEC).