And the winner is: 'Education'
On 28 August 2003, ESA presented the winners of the SUCCESS 2002 Students Contest at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. After the final selection, 40 proposals remained and their authors were invited to the award ceremony. Sitting in the auditorium, they eagerly awaited the results of the scientific jury.
"I did not expect to win the first prize at all", said Adalberto Costessi, the winner of the first prize of the SUCCESS 2002 Student Contest. He was busy inserting fresh batteries into his digital camera to photograph the winner when they called out his name. It had not crossed his mind that he himself might be the lucky winner.
Costessi learned about the contest from a ESA poster displayed at the University of Triest in Italy. Studying Biotechnology and being interested in astronomy and black holes since his childhood he was looking for a subject for his thesis. It occurred to him that very few things were known about the phenomenon of bone loss in astronauts in space.
To better understand the cellular mechanisms of osteoblast cells, which produce bone, he proposes introducing a well-established tool for analysing proteins for the first time in space. This method will help to identify the difference between signal transduction proteins of osteoblasts during weightlessness and on Earth. Costessi hopes that this will shed some light on how the osteoblast cells sense gravity.
A scientific jury found his proposal to be the most convincing of all and awarded him the first prize. "It took me some time to realise what happened. Looking at the certificate I realised I was going to spend one year at ESTEC to make my proposed experiment fly on the ISS!" said an excited Costessi.
The second prize was also awarded to an Italian student: Roberto Rusconi, from the Technical University of Milan, for his proposal 'Thermal Lens Measurement of the Soret Effect'. The third prize went to a French student, Eric Belin de Chantemèle from the University of Lyons. He proposed a comprehensive evaluation of energy and water metabolism adaptations to spaceflights.
"I would like to congratulate the winners," said Jörg Feustel-Büechl, Director of the ESA Human Spaceflight Directorate, "but also I would like to point out that ESA is very pleased of the high quality of the proposals it received. This clearly calls for maintaining and elaborating our efforts to support students in using our microgravity facilities for their experiments".
For further information on the SUCCESS 2002 Student Contest, visit the SUCCESS website at http://spaceflight.esa.int/users/success
ISS Utilisation and Promotion Division
Directorate of Human Spaceflight
European Space Agency
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Phone: +31 (0)71 565 4820
Fax: +31 (0)71 565 3663