More than 1,000 pupils will have the opportunity on Friday to chat through Skype with the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Paolo Nespoli who is getting ready to be launched to the International Space Station on a five-month mission.
According to an announcement by the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (Cseo), which organised the event, the Italian astronaut “will dedicate some of his limited free time to speak through Skype on Friday morning to more than 1,000 students from various schools”. The event is part of Cseo’s space education programme.
During the teleconference, Nespoli will talk about life in space and will answer questions of students.
Nespoli, the Cseo said, has been an ESA astronaut the last 18 years and is currently in an intensive preparation programme for his launch in May to the ISS.
In November 2007 Nespoli flew on a 15-day mission on Space Shuttle Discovery to the ISS. In his second mission to the ISS Nespoli spent 159 days in space, between December 2010 and May 2011. His duties as a flight engineer during that mission included scientific experiments and technology demonstrations, as well as performing educational activities.
“This is the first in a series of educational events aiming to promote scientific knowledge and prepare the next generation of our country’s scientists,” the Cseo said.
The aim is to involve as many schools as possible, it said, and to mobilise local talent, from schools, to science and innovation, building future generations of scientists.
“We provide future generations a continuing vision for even higher targets and successes in one area – the space – which a few years ago, before our actions, seemed exotic and distant,” the head of the Cseo, Giorgos Danos said.
This, he said, contributes to a reduction of brain drain to other countries and to making Cyprus technologically competitive, “to diversify and strengthen our country’s economic potential”.