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Ecsite Space Group 2022 annual meeting: back where it all began

10 years ago, during the 2012 Ecsite conference themed "Space and Time, unlimited", a task force came up with the idea to create an Ecsite Space Thematic Group - a group that would bring together representatives from ESA, science centres and museums, and private companies to exchange together on how to communicate about space to the general public. 10 years later, 38 space professionals from 10 different countries gathered for the Ecsite Space Group 2022 annual meeting there where it all began: Cité de l'Espace, Toulouse.

The first day opened with the welcoming words of Catherine Franche, Executive Director of Ecsite, and Jean Baptiste Desbois, CEO of Cité de l'Espace, who praised the great work done by ESA and called on the participants to create more and stronger connections around the challenges and wonders of space communication. It was then time for Maria Menendez, Head of Outreach Coordination office at ESA and also outgoing co-chair and founder of the Ecsite Space Group to hand over to Sandra Benitez Herrera, Education Scientist & ESAC Communication Officer at ESA.

Highlights of the first day included keynote speeches addressing ESA's digital resources, educational programs and merchandising. Participants were invited to explore how ESA collaborates with science centers by walking through the missions they developed at Cité de l'Espace. Among others, it was possible to dive into the daily life of astronauts at the heart of the international space station and walk on the surface and rocks of the "Red Planet" alongside the robot explorers currently traversing the surface of Mars.

The second day was dedicated to ESA’s next missions and milestones and how to present Earth Observation in science centers and museums. Participants themselves shared how they communicate about space in their science centers and museums, presenting projects ranging from escape rooms on Mars observation to art-science projects on the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nikolaus Copernicus.

These two days of exchanges, knowledge and new discoveries ended with the announcement of the next annual meeting which will take place in November-December 2023 at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

If you are curious to learn more about the Ecsite Space Group activities, sign-up to its bi-monthly newsletter and keep an eye on the 2023 Ecsite Conference, where the Space Group will reconvene in person in June!


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Thematic group

The Space Group

The Space Group improves and extends communication about space science by helping science centres, space professionals and non-specialists to develop collaborative projects and events.