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!
The participant’s core lectures ranged from learning about Astrobiology with Dr. Reut Abramovich from Israel, to Space Law from Ted Ro an Engineer-Layer from NASA Johnson Space Center and, we also discovered how far our ideas could stretch with futurism presented by Dr. Jim Dator from Hawaii. But, it was Dr Chris Welch’s Orbital Mechanics class that really excited us; Dr. Welch’s class was anything from the ordinary as he used Liquid Rocket Fuel for a class demonstration! But, then, the participants put the ‘fun’ in fundamental! The participants for this year’s Space Studies Program include scientists, engineers, lawyers and even artists! This week they took the next step in mastering their team building, design, intercultural and writing skills. These important skills along with the class lectures will not only benefit the scientific community but also the general public!
In addition to all the class discussions, there has also been a lot of fun activities that we have been sharing together! We have met so many new “space-geeks” that is almost impossible not to enjoy the almost non-existent free time! Both, participants and staff came together to build the best Ultimate Frisbee team Cork, Ireland has ever seen!
From time to time, a lot of people who aren’t within the space community ask me why learning about space is so important. I immediately think back to when I was an SSP participant and share all the interesting things that I learned! Thanks to the Space Exploration Program, multiple spin-off devices and different technologies have developed over the years and if you think about it, humanity wouldn’t be the same with all this developments. This is why STEM education is so important. But, we can’t also forget the importance of friends when working in such a small, highly qualified and very competitive industry . The greatest thing about being in the space industry is that we are all pursuing the same goal; we want to be part of the generation that saves the world, so we all identify ourselves not because we are from different countries but because we are part of the same place. We all live on the same blue dot in the middle of universe. We identify ourselves as citizens of the Earth…. A space family as we call “The Space Mafia.”
By Camilo Andres Reyes, SSP17 Research Assistant