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Science & Exploration

N° 71–2000: Fly me to the Sun! ESA inaugurates the European Project on the Sun

3 November 2000

On 8/9 November, at Noordwijk in the Netherlands, the European Space Agency (ESA) will inaugurate the "European Project on the Sun" (EPOS), a travelling exhibition conceived and built by European youngsters who have spent the past eight months acting as solar scientists and communication experts working on various themes relating to the Sun.

In an initiative mounted by ECSITE (European Collaborative for Science, Industry and Technology Exhibitions) with funding from the European Commission and under the supervision, coordination and co-sponsorship of ESA, five teams of youngsters (16-18 years old) from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands were selected and coordinated by European science museums from each of their countries (Musée des Sciences et des Techniques - Parentville, B; Cité de l'Espace - Toulouse, F; Deutsches Museum - Munich, D; Fondazione IDIS - Naples, I; Foundation Noordwijk Space Expo - Noordwijk, NL).

The teams each focused on a theme related to solar research: "How does the Sun work?" (I), "The Sun as a star" (F), "Solar activity" (NL), "Observing the Sun" (D), "Humans and the Sun" (B), and built exhibition "modules" that they will present at the inauguration, in the context of European Science and Technology Week 2000 (6-10 November), promoted by the European Commission.

During the two-day event, a jury of representatives of other European science and technology museums, ESA scientists, a science journalist, and two ESA astronauts (Frank de Winne and Andre Kuipers) will judge the youngsters' exhibition modules on the basis of their scientific correctness, their museological value and the commitment shown by the young "communication experts". The winning team will be officially announced on 9 November. The prize is a weekend at the Space Camp in Redu, Belgium.

The objective of the European Project on the Sun is educational. It aims, through the direct and "fresh" involvement of youngsters, to heighten European citizens' awareness of space research in general and the Sun's influence on our daily lives in particular. The role of the European Space Agency as reference point in Europe for solar research has been fundamental to the project.

From ESA's perspective, EPOS is part of this autumn's wider communication initiative called the Solar Season, which is highlighting ESA's Ulysses, SOHO and Cluster solar missions and their results. These missions are also being presented by ESA at the EPOS exhibition, giving an overview of current European solar science.

After its inauguration, the travelling exhibition will move through Europe for the next year, hosted in turn by the five museums that have participated in the project.

Media representatives wishing to attend the exhibition's inauguration on 9 November are kindly requested to complete the attached reply form and fax it back to:

ESA - ESTEC Communication Office,

Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Heidi Graf

Tel: +31 71 565.3006

Fax: +31 71 565.5728

More information on the EPOS project and ESA's "Solar Season" can be found on the web at:

More information on ESA's Science Programme can be found at: Information on ESA in general can be found at

For more information please contact:

ESA Communication Department

Media Relations Office

Tel: +33 1 5369 7155

Fax: +33 1 5369 7690

ESA - Science Programme Communication Service Noordwijk, The Netherlands

Tel: +31 71 565 3183

Fax: +31 71 565 4101 ECSITE Executive Office Brussels, Belgium

Tel:+32 2 647 50 98