Inspiring Stories – A Space Rendezvous in Rome
In this EPEC Inspiring Outreach Story, Melissa Mirino from the Open University in the UK, tells us how she is helping to organize meetings where the public can meet planetary scientists!
In February 2018, during the lunch of the first SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, a group of space enthusiasts joined an informal meeting in Paris to talking about their passion for space and their personal experiences.
After this event the group of young scientists realized that space enthusiasts from their neighborhood were lacking opportunities to informally discuss their passion for space. This was the start of the Space Rendezvous Project which is running in many cities all over Europe. I had the amazing opportunity to be one of the founders of Space Rendezvous in Rome which is now supported by the Space Generation Advisory Council and Woman in Aerospace Europe.
Our rendezvous in Rome are providing an opportunity for undergraduates, Ph.D. students, and space enthusiasts without any limit of age or expertise, to discuss about topics and news related with the Space sector and Planetary Science.
So those who are interested in space exploration can be inspired from people already involved in the space research and possibly follow their examples in the future. Professionals have the opportunity to share their work and their knowledge with the attendees. In this context, professionals can also get fresh, innovative and sometimes crazy ideas for future research projects or developments
In May 2019, we decided to make our rendezvous a bit different, and dedicated it to Space Art. We thought about the best way to inspire the younger generation to be more involved in our work, and decided to let them be the main characters of the art competition. We asked them to choose a title and give an explanation about what inspired them about Space. As you can see from the examples below, the results were amazing:
By organizing these meetings I have learned a lot: how to manage a meeting, and cooperate within an international team. Other members of my group are from all over Europe and around the world, so we have various backgrounds and diverse work habits. I have also had a valuable lesson in science communication, both in the real and virtual world as we are promoting our actions on social media. We are also having fun organizing games and deciding what the event topic will be each month. It is challenging, but one of the rewards is the great chance to network with others interested in space around Rome area. I would therefore recommend young professionals to find out if Space Rendezvous is happening in their city, and if not to take the initiative and become one of the founders in their area. From personal experience I can assure you that it will be very rewarding and super fun.
If you find yourself in Rome, join our meetings for an interesting chat and a good pizza! Visit our official facebook page @Spacerendezvousrome and discover the upcoming topic of the month. New volunteers and sponsors who would like to support our activities are welcome! So if you are interested please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. All participant cities host their Space Rendezvous on the final Thursdays of each month.
Do you like this story and want more? Browse our archive of EPEC Inspiring Stories and get inspired!
Find out more about the artwork:
'Moon's Rose' by Melissa Mirino
Artwork Submission Example. Author: Melissa Mirino. Title: Moon's Rose. Artist Statement of Originality: "Moon Rose" has been realized using watercolors and a black pen to emphasize the borders of the objects. Size (20x26 cm). The artwork was inspired by the "Little prince" kid story book. The kid on the right of the image represent a personal interpretation of the Little prince and his rose. The Little prince is donating the Rose to the Moon to bring life on the dark side of the "empty" celestial body. Thanks to this gift all the figures in the artwork (stars and the Moon) become alive. For this reason the moon in the center of the image has lines indicating a possible eye and a possible mouth to recall the classic Moon design that we associate with the celestial body when we were kids. The stars also are animated using lines face-similar. This artwork was inspired by a recent experiment realized by the Chinese Space Agency which sent recently a lander on the dark-side of the Moon. On board of the Chang’e-4 lander, there was a biological experiment to grow some cotton seeds and other plants. The plants did not survive to the extreme environment but other biological missions are coming soon! The idea to bring life on other planets of satellite is really inspiring to me and I really hope to see some of these experiments succeed