Chancellor Merkel speaks with André in space
The world's largest IT trade show opened on Monday with a live call by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to ESA astronaut André Kuipers on the International Space Station. Students from the YouTube Space Lab science competition also posed questions to the orbiting astronaut.
The highlight of the 5 March opening of CeBIT, the world's largest IT trade show, was the call by Chancellor Merkel to space.
Presented by ESA's Director for Human Spaceflight and Operations, Thomas Reiter, himself a former astronaut, André Kuipers reported on the 30-plus experiments – including biomedical and biological investigations – he is conducting using Europe's Columbus science lab module during his 6-month mission.
He is also testing information technology systems for future human exploration concepts.
Space Station inspires innovation and science
André, a medical doctor, praised the one-of-a-kind microgravity experimental opportunities provided by the International Space Station, orbiting at 28 000 km/hr above Earth.
Chancellor Merkel and Thomas Reiter were joined on stage by Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, David McAllister, the Prime Minister of the German State of Lower Saxony and Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of the German Association for Information Technology. The keynote speaker was Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Board of Google.
German students Simon and Sara Kopf, candidates in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regional finals of the international YouTube Space Lab science competition, also chatted with ESA astronaut.
André Kuipers and Chancellor Merkel strongly emphasised the critical importance of IT innovation, and pointed out that space exploration is an important motivator for young people everywhere aiming for careers in science and engineering.
'Managing trust' – in space and on Earth
The live video link to the Station symbolised the innovative, visionary nature of humankind’s space missions and space technology, which rely on support from citizens of all ages, scientists, high-tech industry and public policy-makers.
This year’s CEBIT theme, 'Managing Trust', emphasises the need for innovative information technology systems to support modern society by providing affordable IT solutions with access to the global Internet. This will foster peaceful, international cooperation, inspire scientific talent, support education and help to reduce social inequality.