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Coimbra Space Summer School, the 3rd edition!
Photo by IPN

Coimbra Space Summer School launched the challenge: to stimulate business ideas that bring technology from space to the earth day-to-day. Many were the people who responded to it.

The Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory of the University of Coimbra hosted two full days of activities, such as Space Sessions and Business Sessions (among which general knowledge about space, successful applications of space technology in our daily lives, earth observation, data collection and Satellites). In these sessions participants learned about the two strands and how to relate them.

The peak of the first day was the lecture "How to be an Astronaut" by cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienk. The auditorium of the Department of Physics was small to welcome all those who wanted to hear it. Mikhail Kornienk remembered in Coimbra his 516 days in space (of which 340 followed, the second largest stay of a human being in space).

There were questions in all sort of forms: How do astronauts bathe? How do you eat? Why do you have two watches? What are you doing all day on the space station? What did you miss the most? The cosmonaut answered all questions with a touch of humour.

Over two hours, the cosmonaut spoke from day to day in space and looked ahead to the future: conditions must be met to advance to Mars. For Kornienko the conquest of Mars and its colonization is possible and urgent, as humans destroy the planet Earth. The Russian cosmonaut was still confident about the possibility of future human colonies on other planets. He also warned of the imminent destruction of our planet, calling on young people to change their attitudes to defend the planet.
Yet during the first day there was time for a different activity, a nocturnal observing session, during which participants had the opportunity to see stars such as Saturn, Jupiter, double stars and swarms of stars.

Several challenges were introduced to the participants, who gathered in teams to solve them. On the second day, it was up to the teams to make a final presentation of the draft resolution of the challenges to the scientific and business community.
The day was closed with an “Astro Barbecue”, in which, in a more relaxed atmosphere, the Coimbra Space Summer School ended, and the prizes were awarded to the winning team, one drone per participant.

Coimbra Space Summer School was organized by the Incubator of Companies of the European Space Agency in Portugal (ESA BIC Portugal), headquartered at IPN, and by the Geophysical and Astronomical Observatory of the University of Coimbra.