Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Space Studies Program 2014: Montreal, Canada

The day I wrote my last blog post was also the day I packed my bags and flew across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada - Montréal to be exact. A 6 and a half hour plane journey and lots of apple juice (my go-to in-flight beverage) later, I landed at Montréal-Trudeau airport. After spending just a few days here I've noticed that the city is a unique blend of Europe and North America. The Montréal skyline resembles both concrete jungle and actually jungle - with shades of grey and green complementing each other perfectly.


I'll be spending the next 9 weeks here working as a Teaching Associate (TA) for the International Space University - the very place I earned my Masters in Space Studies last year and also participated in the 2012 Space Studies Program (SSP) which was held that year in Florida. If you'd like a glimpse of life as a participant first before I tell you all about what it's like to staff the SSP then read my first ever blog post here. Otherwise, I'll give you a brief overview of what exactly I'm up to this summer.
During my time here, I'll be working as staff for the ISU summer program. We are kindly hosted by École de technologie supérieure (ETS) and HEC Montréal - two world- renowned engineering & technology and business institutions that have established a close cooperation for space related activities. 

SSP teaches it's participants about space through various perspectives, each of which have their own Deparment. Ranging from Space Humanities and Space Management & Business to Space Sciences and Space Engineering - ISU has a truly interdisciplinary, intercultural and international approach to teaching. The Department I am the TA for is Human Performance in Space (HPS).

The human side of space is explored within my Department. Understanding how the human body reacts and adapts to the space environment is a major factor to travelling through our solar system and beyond - and the HPS Department will delve into the depths of space medicine, biology, psychology and physiology this summer.


I'm looking forward to writing future blog posts on the exciting visits we have planned as part of the Department. Two of which are  a trip to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) as well as a one on one discussion with astronauts about living and working in space and the ins and outs of life in orbit. Other subjects that will be covered are spacesuit design, neurobiology and planetary surface exploration by humans using a rover. Diego Urbina of the long-term isolation experiment Mars 500 will also run two workshops on this subject.
This is a photo from the day the rest of the SSP14 staff got our staff shirts before welcoming over 120 participants on registration day last weekend. Being at SSP as staff this time around is a different way of experiencing the summer. The summer of 2012 and my Masters year were amazing and most of the staff this year are graduates of my SSP12 and MSc13 classes - so it's great to be surrounded by friends working together to make this SSP as wonderful as we can for this year's participants. 

I'll be sure to write an updated blog post once lectures are in full-swing and I have more photos to share :)

Au revoir!


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