During his stay in orbit, André Kuipers will have a unique view of ‘Spaceship Earth’ from his very own spaceship, the International Space Station. From the spectacular vantage point provided by Cupola, the ESA astronaut will have the opportunity to observe both the beauty and fragility of our planet.
His observations will support the ESA online lessons designed to help European children strengthen their knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. These will be part of three themes covering topics such as Life in Space, Biodiversity on Earth and planet Earth’s climate.
As part of Spaceship Earth, André will perform experiments on board which can also be carried out by schools. ESA is providing school kits with replicas of the experiments on board the ISS.
Lessons associated with Spaceschip Earth will be released throughout the PromISSe mission.
Theme 1: Life
Radiation is the term used for all phenomena characterised by the transport of energy, either by waves or sub-atomic particles. This lesson for secondary school students (16-18), explains different types of radiations and how some forms of radiation pose a threat to astronauts.
Balance in Space
Keeping balance on Earth is relatively easy because gravity dictates how the vestibular apparatuses behave in the inner ears. In conditions of microgravity such as on the ISS, astronauts can be very easily disoriented. This lesson for lower secondary school children (12-14) demonstrates how balance can also be affected by visual cues and incorporates a fun practical activity.
Understanding how the immune system functions will eventually lead to answers about many diseases including cancers. This lesson, intended for upper secondary school students (14-17), explains the basics of the immune system but also discusses the fact that astronauts in Space, for various reasons, have depressed immune responses. This is particularly important to study if humans are to live in microgravity for extended periods of time
Life Support Systems
We now have the capability to leave planet Earth. However, if man is to live in space and travel to other planets, we must learn how to survive out there for longer periods of time; we have to recreate in space the vital ingredients for life on Earth.
On the International Space Station many of Earth’s environmental support systems have already been engineered. Examining how some of these key technologies work, allows us to understand the vital ingredients that make Earth such an ideal place to live.
In the DVD ‘Ingredients for Life: On Earth and in Space’, aimed primarily at 16-18 year old students, we explore how ESA is dealing with these scientific and technological challenges, and we answer questions like: Why do we need water and oxygen? How do astronauts get the oxygen they need to survive in space?
Theme 2: Biodiversity
Convection depends on gravity: as liquids and gases heat up they become less dense and lighter. When they cool again, they become denser and fall towards Earth. These processes can be observed in large scale on Earth but also in the small convection loops provided in the ESA EPO kits. Ocean currents and atmospheric movement due to warmth from the Sun determines where life on Earth flourishes and where life struggles. Biodiverse regions on Earth are largely dependent on convection.
André makes a PromISSe
All the pieces are coming together for the next long mission by a European astronaut. Now it has a name and logo. ESA today revealed the name of André Kuipers’ mission: PromISSe.
ESA called on citizens of its member states last June to propose a name for André’s mission and received more than 200 proposals in just a month. Surprisingly, they also came from Slovenia, Australia, India, Mexico and Argentina.
The judges weighed the eligible entries from a wide range of people, from a 13-year-old Italian to an 82-year-old Dutchman.
The vast majority came from the Netherlands – André’s home country – and the winner is one of those.
It was not a declared intent to embed the abbreviation of the International Space Station in the logo, but both the design and the chosen name have it.
PromISSe represents ‘Programme for Research in Orbit Maximising the Inspiration from the Space Station for Europe’, explained the winner, Wim Holwerda, a 61-year-old Dutchman.
Wim believes that the name “symbolises the promise space exploration poses to the future of our planet and humankind, as well as the role Europe can play in it.”
André aboard ISS in 2006
An inspirational mission patch
The logo for the mission features the Space Station orbiting Earth, accompanied by three icons and six stars.
The PromISSe name crowns a circular design belted with orange cords, while the International Space Station acronym is highlighted in the same colour to bring out the Dutch participation in the mission.
The core of the logo is a globe free of national borders. A silhouette of the ISS is shown circling Earth, about to fly over Europe.
The icons on the left represent the mission’s three crucial elements: science, technology and education.
The globe stands for a knowledge-based society focused on our planet. The electronic circuit denotes technology. The conical laboratory flask illustrates scientific research.
The six stars represent the six crewmembers, the six months that André will stay in space and, as the stars are similar to those on the EU flag, the European character.
André will work on the Station as a member of Expedition 30. His launch is expected in early December, but the specific date will be selected after the Soyuz launch vehicle is returned to service following the Progress loss in August.
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- Space Helmet Moustache Patch
- Shenzhou 9 Embroidered Mission Patch
- International Space Station Insignia
- Space Shuttle Orbiter Flag Patches including Enterprise,Columbia,Challenger,Endeavour,Discovery & Atlantis
- Looking back – ISS Crew Patches
- Official André Kuipers ‘Spaceship Earth’ Embroidered Patch
- NASA Commercial Crew Pin (CCP)
- ESA ATV-4 Automated Transfer Vehicle Official Embroidered Patch
- ESA ATV-3 Automated Transfer Vehicle Official Embroidered Patch
- ESA National Flags Patch
- Space Station Expedition 3 Insignia