Space encounters of the ‘fit and green’ kind

25 July 2014

It is not every day you get the chance to chat with an astronaut about fitness and sustainable food production. Space opens up to European science and education centers for hosting live hangouts with ESA’s astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti during her stay on the International Space Station.

European planetariums, science centres, museums and science festival venues with a passion for space are eligible to receive exclusive 20-minute video calls from Samantha in orbit. She will live and work aboard the Station for almost half a year as part of Expedition 42/43 as of December 2014.

Two live video calls with Samantha are foreseen, each involving one of the two ESA educational hands-on projects: ‘Food from Spirulina’ and ‘Mission-X 2015, ’ revolving around exercise, healthy nutrition, food production and recycling in space.

Organisations across Europe ready to engage in the ‘Food from Spirulina’ and ‘Mission-X 2015’ projects, addressing school children aged between 8 and 14 years old, are invited to apply.

Go green: Food from Spirulina

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Children running educational experimentAccess the image

Spirulina (a blue-green algae) is a source of high quality protein, is also suitable for obtaining oxygen and can be used as a food supplement for humans. Through this project, aimed at the 12-14 year old age group, students will be able to investigate the process of photosynthesis by blowing carbon dioxide into samples of Spirulina.

To this end, ESA is producing educational kits containing spirulina to demonstrate the important role of recycling carbon dioxide to make food and oxygen. A limited number of these kits will be available to organisations and schools throughout Europe.

ESA will distribute a number of these kits to the schools selected by the host organisations. The timing of this distribution is expected to be around March 2015. These schools shall  perform the experiment before the IFC.  Information for organisations and teachers on how to procure spirulina and make their own spirulina kit will also be available soon on this website.

From space, Samantha will be ready to take questions about the Spirulina experiment, food production and recycling in space in a live inflight call to be held in April next year.

Go fit: Mission-X

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Samantha CristoforettiAccess the image

Mission-X: train like an astronaut, is an international programme addressing primary schools in which thousands of children aged 8 to 12 years old from more than 25 countries train like astronauts for nine weeks. Through Mission-X, children learn about the importance of regular exercise and healthy nutrition, both on Earth and in space. 

A number of students participating in ‘Mission-X 2015’ will have the unique opportunity to hear from Samantha on a 20-minute call with Samantha which will take place during a live event in March 2015. She will take questions about eating and exercising habits, and will share her experiences in weightlessness.  

Organisations participating in the Mission-X-Train Like an Astronaut in-flight call event shall coordinate with the Mission-X National representatives whose contact details can be requested from ESA.

Space calling: How to participate

Organisations wishing to apply for the in-flight calls with Samantha have to:

  • demonstrate their plans for participation, coordination and/or promotion of either the Food from Spirulina or the Mission-X 2015 projects and the in-flight call event(s) in a scale as large as possible;
  • demonstrate the technical and logistics capability, as well the financial availability, to host the in-flight call event(s). Details on the technical and logistics requirements, as well as the application form, can be downloaded from the right-hand side bar.
  • be based in one of ESA’s Member States*.

For each of the two in-flight calls, ESA will select three organisations that will be connected by video conference, simultaneously, to ESA and to the International Space Station.

If your organisation wants to be one of our partners, please send your application to isseducationteam@esa.int. The deadline for submitting proposals is extended to 16 October 2014. The details of how to apply can be found in the right hand navigation bar.

ESA will release more info on the final dates for the inflight calls later this autumn. Host venues can apply for one or both events.

* ESA Member States
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Canada (Associate Member).
European Cooperating States
Estonia, Hungary, Slovenia, Latvia
Cooperating States
Cyprus, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia

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