ESA at Ecsite 2017

31 May 2017

Ecsite is the European network for science centres and museums, and has more than 350 members.

Since 2012, Ecsite and ESA, have been combining their strengths, networks and capabilities in order to share European space programmes and achievements in space with their members.

The Group, that includes today more than 90 science centres and museums, meets twice a year: during the Ecsite Annual Conference, and for the Space Group Annual Meeting, that takes place at an ESA establishment facility or a science centre.

Ecsite Annual Conference 2017

Panel - 'ISS: Living and Working in Space' part of the space group kit Access the image

The Ecsite Annual Conference is the most prominent meeting of science communication professionals in Europe, bringing together 1000 professionals. ‘Life Everywhere’ is the theme of the annual conference 2017 that will take place in Porto, Portugal on 13–17 June.  

The conference celebrates its 28th edition and is hosted by the Natural History and Science Museum of the University of Porto and Ciência Viva. Open to all professionals working in science centres, museums, universities, research institutes, European institutions and private companies.

Workshop ‘Space for Life’

The Space Group workshop ‘Space for Life - Develop and Share Resources’, organised by ESA and Ecsite, takes place on 13–14 June in room 3, at Alfândega Congress Centre in Porto, Portugal. 

Representatives of science centres and museums will work together for two days on a programme that includes:

  • an overview of ESA highlights 2017-2019, ESA’s latest achievements and future projects in education; space news from the FCT, Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia Space Office
  • a presentation and dissemination of the new kit  ‘The International Space Station: Living and working in Space’ comprising a series of panels developed by Cité de l’Espace, Toulouse, France; learning activities, developed by Tycho Brahe Planetarium, Copenhagen, Denmark; and ESA exhibition material 'Europe and the ISS'
  • exchanges on the second phase of the project ‘Is there life out there?’,  an educational game, led by City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia, Spain, and fully developed in 2017
  • next steps on the topic ‘Climate change: Monitoring the Atmosphere and Oceans from Space’ towards completion in 2018
  • a presentation of space projects and best practices by participants.
Space Group visiting EAC during the Ecsite Annual Meeting 2016Access the image

Key speakers from ESA and experts in the fields of science communication, education, Earth observation, planetary science and astronomy, will be able to discuss, exchange ideas and work with delegates of museums and science centres.

“It is fundamental that ESA and the European scientific community work closely with science centres and museums, as they play a key role in communicating with the general public and inspiring young generations,” commented Philippe Willekens, ESA’s Head of Communications.

Space group panel session

On 15 June, the Space Group will hold a panel session entitled ‘Is there Life out There?’.  Scientists and museums representatives will explore the topic and discuss some of the most intriguing enigmas in the cosmos.

 Exhibits and interactive communication tools will also focus on some of the themes that lie at the core of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2020 programme:

  • the conditions for planetary formation and the emergence of life
  • how the Solar System works
  • the fundamental physical laws of the Universe
  • the origins of the Universe and what it is made of.

ESA exhibition

Booth at Business Bistro 2017Access the image

During the Ecsite conference, the Alfândega Congress Centre will host an ESA exhibition about ESA’s activities in: Space Transportation, Earth observation, Navigation, Telecommunications, planetary Science, and Human Spaceflight and Exploration. 

ESA will also be present at the traditional Ecsite Business Bistro, a place for professionals and institutions to present new science communication tools. 

Visitors to the ESA-Ecsite Space Group exhibition area will have the opportunity to learn more about the new kit ‘The ISS: Living and Working in Space’ and about ESA exhibition material on the topic ‘Space for Life’.  The stand will also offer a platform for further discussions and exchanges for new projects.

The Space Group

The Ecsite Space Group was founded with the support of ESA in 2012 and now comprises more than 90 museums and science centres. It offers a platform to facilitate cooperation among science centres, museums, research institutions, universities, national space agencies and industries all over Europe. Together they design projects to better share European space activities with the general public thanks to the strong leverage provided by European science centres and museums.

The Space Group is led by Marc Moutin, Director of Exhibitions at Cité de l’Espace, Toulouse, France; Ana Noronha, Executive Director of Ciência Viva, Lisbon, Portugal; and Maria Menendez, Head of ESA Corporate Exhibitions and Events. 

To join the group or for more information, please contact:

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