Wow, 8 weeks of our Team Projects have gone by really fast, we here in the Future of the International Space Station team project are busy getting our teeth into potential future missions for the International Space Station after 2024. There are almost 30 use from 15 different countries and many more backgrounds - how on Earth (pun intended) are we going to get this done?
Well we have indeed come up with some interesting ideas: would you rather have a space hotel? Or a space mining processing plant? The possibilities are endless!
Over the last 8 weeks we have spent countless hours looking at a wide range of info on the ISS, how was it built? What are some of the great political feats that were pulled of to make it happen? Then we clustered our ideas, refining them and asking some expert opinions. Chit chatting with astronauts Yi So-yeon and Bob Thirsk gave us some great first hand experiences about floating around in space and it definitely sounds like something that Humans should keep doing!
Rockets, balloons, rovers... These are a few of the many exciting activities of the International Space University’s 30th Space Studies Program (SSP) held in collaboration with partner institution, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). The highlight among them all has got to the most tangible of them all.. Rockets!! The word rocket is all it takes to get the public on their feet and yes, off the ground too!
Well, it has been very busy week of working here in the SSP17 as a TA and now I have the opportunity to tell you what this amazing program did in my life. It is pleasure for me to share with all of you my story.
To be part of this space world belongs I believe something related with your personality. Yes, like you, I was as well fascinated with the Star War movie, scientific books, among others, which was quite unusual for a girl born in a very small city in the middle of nowhere in Brazil, where people normally had your work, family and went to the Catholic Church.
But I wanted much more than to be in a small city. I wanted to discover the world, to go the Moon!! I was lost in which career to follow. I loved math so I decided to follow computer science but in the middle of my preparation to the University I changed to Law. Well, this does not matter! At the end I became a space lawyer.
The staff decided to set the pace for the cultural nights by organizing an intercultural night of food and interesting presentations about the different cultures represented in the staff population.
As the only African and Nigerian, I decided to make proud my cultural heritage by cooking a delicious popular west African meal. Caleb magnanimously offered to drive me to do the shopping even when I didn't know where I was going.
It is Tuesday morning at four o'clock in the morning and our facial expressions are easy to decipher: Our faces are a mixture of fatigue, smile, and enthusiasm! Like every day we’ve experienced since we've been here, it's impossible to predict what our day will be.
We don't know who we're going to meet, what stories we're going to hear, or all the incredible things we're going to learn. Although these factors are completely uncertain, one thing is certain: the day will be enriching and surprising!
So this week was the first week of Departmental Activities here at SSP17. HPS started it off with quite a bang. After covering Medical Care in Space we went ahead and performed one of our Professional Visits for our activity "Train Like an Astronaut".
We went to the National Maritime College of Ireland, which is the leaders in Maritime training in Ireland, to participate in Water Survival Training. This is training that all maritime individuals receive and is part of first level training for astronauts before they are even selected as Astronaut Candidates.
Ever trained like an astronaut before? Me neither - until now! Myself along with the Space Studies Program participants in the Human Performance in Space Department stretched our worthy sea legs for a day of real water emergency scenarios.
At around noon, we arrived at the National Maritime College of Ireland. The College overlooks the gorgeous Cobh Harbour. The position of this institution is quite fitting as Cobh, formerly known as Queenstown, was the Titanic’s last port of call before sailing off for it’s fateful journey.
Berlin-based Mexican artist Nahum was one of the panelists on the Arthur C. Clarke Panel. This panel celebrates the intersection of space and popular culture in the same way that Arthur Clarke's works popularized space to the general public. This panel invites practitioners from different cultural areas to share how space has inspired their work. Clarke also led a workshop entitled ‘After Federov' which encouraged participants to think about alternative rationales for space missions, to let go of conventional thinking and go beyond the limitation of existing concepts and ideals to create their own personal space programs. Participants presented many interesting ideas including a love story as a space rational, peace, the quest to live forever and a dream to go to visit Titan.
How’s a week in the life of a Space Studies Program Teaching Associate? Well, no two weeks are the same, but this newly released footage from week two of SSP17 might give you a unique new perspective. Petter Evju Skanke, the Teaching Associate for the Space Humanities Department, brings you along on a few of his highlights from last week. See what he got up to!
If you want to see more of his videos or just like his Norwegian accent, you can check out his very own YouTube channel here. And be sure to follow @PetterSkanke on Twitter for even more behind the scenes of the SSP!
How incredible it is to realize that the first week of ISU’s Space Studies Program is already over. With so many events happening over the past week here in Cork, Ireland, we didn’t even realize there have been 19 core lectures, numerous team project activities, and fundamental workshops. Also, we have shared this amazing time with three extraordinary astronauts all in “one single week!” As one of the SSP teaching associate’s said: “this is the better way to spend the summer.” In addition, to the mind-blowing talks from astronauts Dan Tani, Jeff Hoffman and Soyeon Yi, their lectures were given in front of a giant moon sculpture titled, “Museum of the Moon!” It was completely mindblowing!
Funnily enough what really touched me at the official Opening Ceremony of the ISU SSP Space Studies Program 2017 was the parade of participants carrying their national flags. I had my reservations about the parade to be honest. Isn’t ISU SSP all about bringing people and cultures together? Why ask the participants to present themselves by means of their national symbols? Also: playing national anthems and carrying flags, isn’t that a bit top heavy?
Struggling with all the names – for a little while
On Saturday 25 June the more than 110 participants of this year’s ISU SSP arrived in Cork from 26 countries worldwide. To make them feel welcome and to get them geared up for their intensive 9-week pressure-cooker program on space, ISU’s Space Studies Program (SSP17) they were treated to a welcome diner, a participant and staff introduction, brunch, instructions sessions and an open-top tour of the city. How are they settling in? Michael: “Great, but I am still struggling a bit with the names.”
We are pleased to announce that the International Space University will be continuing the traditional >Space Studies Program blog!
Over the next nine weeks, our teaching associates, participants and other authors will be highlighting all the great experiences in and outside the classroom and all around Ireland! There will also be loads of behind the scenes with what’s happening at this year's host institution, Cork Institute of Technology.
And, we are very proud to introduce a new digital addition to ISU! Head to your digital app store and download the Int’l space Space University digital application. This is the easiest way to keep up to date with all the news and events happing at this year’s #SSP17!