On Wednesday 24 November teachers and students from Germany, Ireland and the Czech Republic had the opportunity to talk with German ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer who is currently onboard the International Space Station (ISS) for his Cosmic Kiss mission.
The in-flight call was part of the “Once explorers, always explorers”- themed events organised by three European Space Resource Offices (ESEROs) connecting from the Planetarium Bochum, the Institute of Technology Carlow, and the Smichov technical grammar school in Prague.
Several students and teachers had the opportunity of a lifetime to directly ask Matthias questions about his mission and about space exploration and research on board the ISS. The questions asked to Matthias included how he imagined Artificial Intelligence could be used in future space exploration; what idea space researchers could explore to create a better future for Earth and for space exploration; and how microgravity effects the fluids in our body.
“Wonderful event, amazing opportunity for the students to see science in real life. An unforgettable experience that brought our textbook material to life!” said Edel Murphy, a TY Co-ordinator teacher from the Presentation College Carlow.
Nikita Schüpp, a student at the Goethe-Schule Bochum said of the experience, “I don’t think you forget something like that. I think it’s very beautiful and I’m very grateful that I had the opportunity to talk to him.”
Tomáš Franc, a Teacher at the Litoměřická Grammar School said, “The opportunity to ask a question to an astronaut who is on board the ISS rarely comes to life. I am very glad that I was able to participate in this unique event with my students, it was an unforgettable experience. It is great that ESA organizes such events for schools, because that is exactly what motivates pupils for their studies and for their overall interest in science.”
Watch a replay of the call on YouTube here or below:
The events in each country were coordinated by the local ESEROs: ESERO Germany, ESERO Ireland, and ESERO Czech Republic. Before the in-flight call, European students and teachers, in presence and online, participated in a range of activities including talks from space experts, training workshops, and guided activities. The events were well attended at national level, especially by those online.
The in-flight call with Matthias Maurer is part of a wide range of educational activities delivered by ESA and the ESERO project across Europe. Currently, there are ESEROs operating in 19 ESA Member States. ESA’s ESERO project is a collaboration between ESA, national space agencies and national and local educational partners.
ESERO is ESA’s flagship project in support of primary and secondary education in Europe. The project uses the inspirational power of space, and the immense wealth of knowledge and competences generated by it, to boost the teaching and learning of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines at large. ESERO aims to enhance school pupils’ literacy and competence in STEM-related subjects through activities, tailored to national curricular, needs and context, that include training for teachers, innovative classroom materials, information about STEM careers, as well as access to roles models from national space industry and academia.