Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Start of Space School - Masters'13

So classes have officially begun and the assignments have been rolling in. Luckily, I go to Space University..where both the lectures and projects are all about the future welfare of our planet and in essence, the human race.

Lectures on Space Policy, Orbital Mechanics, Life Sciences and Rocket Propulsion have given me a valuable insight into both the scientific and business aspects of the space industry. I even heard the first International Space University lecture given from space, by astronaut Bob Thirsk! My first assignment was to produce a report on the Indonesian space industry. My team and I were given the responsibility of suggesting future recommendations for the developing country and to present this to the class.

Learning how to get to Mars using transfer orbits - Dr Chris Welch

Astronaut Bob Thirsk giving us a lecture from the ISS
whilst in orbit

My team mate giving our presentation
on the Indonesian Space Industry

As well as working, I've met some wonderful people. Strasbourg is a beautiful city to live in and I've finally worked out how to distinguish one cobbled street from another (thanks Google Earth)! Having sampled the traditional Alsatian dish of tarte flambée, rainbow-coloured macaroons and enjoyed both German and French cuisine thanks to Strasbourg's unique location.

Traditional Tarte Flambée
Macaroon heaven

I was lucky enough to touch actual meteorites, over 4.6 Billion years old. Formed at the start of the Universe, meteorites have remained unchanged since then and as a result they provide a valuable window into the past. Presolar nanodiamond, extracted from a carbon-rich meteorite was another treat provided by my lecturer Dr Hugh Hill. Commonly known as 'stardust', the nanodiamond formed in the cool atmonspheres of old stars which found their way into the interstellar medium, before joining the giant molecular cloud that collapsed to form our Solar System.


Presolar Nanodiamond - older than the Solar System itself

My current assignment involves designing a proto-proposal for a NanoRacks experiment on plants to be flown aboard the International Space Station. This is something that I've been enjoying greatly since my Biology background has been helping my team decide on the species of plant and experimental design to be used.

My current project on a NanoRack experiment
for the ISS

- Nikita

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