Do we need a Gravity Theory ?


From Newton to Einstein, the understanding of gravity has been at the very centre of our understanding of the universe. Now, many physicists and astronomers are attempting to move beyond Einstein but how much do they modify gravity and what approach should they take. This talk will explore the possibilities. 

Speaker: Stuart Clark (United Kingdom), well-known astronomer and newly appointed astronomy consultant for New Scientist. His career is devoted to presenting the complex world of astronomy to the general public. Stuart holds a first class honours degree and a PhD in astrophysics. He is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a former Vice Chair of the Association of British Science Writers. On 9 August 2000, UK daily newspaper The Independent placed him alongside Stephen Hawking and the astronomer royal, Professor Sir Martin Rees, as one of the ‘stars’ of British astrophysics teaching. He writes for the European Space Agency and over the years Stuart has written for amongst others: BBC Sky at Night, BBC Focus, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Daily Express, Astronomy Now and Sky and Telescope. 

Astronomy and Emotions


Among the various scientific disciplines, Astronomy is perhaps the one that mostly attracts the interest of the public, capturing its attention through very different aspects. On the one hand, it represents the most extreme geography, exploring the still uncertain frontiers of our universe. On the other, it incarnates desires and intellectual needs which are part of us and of the way we perceive the universe. ESO astronomer Nando Patat will go through these themes, talking about his experience as a scientist, but also as a dreamer. He will do this through a journey in the arid Atacama Desert, where the very large European telescopes pierce the skies with their enormous eyes, unveiling their physical secrets, disclosing their extreme beauty, and leaving us with more questions than answers.

Speaker: Nando Patat (Germany). Head of the ESO Observing Programmes Office. He holds a Master and a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Padua, Italy. Since 1999 he is part of the international staff of the European Southern Observatory, where he currently leads the Observing Programmes Office. He is member of several international collaborations, and is author and co-author of more than a hundred articles on international journals. His scientific research mainly focuses on supernovae in the nearby universe. In the free time he runs a number of activities, which range from archaeo-atronomy, to playing the traverse flute.

The Quest for a Second Earth


Is there life in the Universe other than that on Earth? And where can it be found? As far as we know, you need a planet to harbour life. This makes the exploration of planets crucial. Only since 1995 do we know that there are actually extrasolar planets, i.e. planets around other stars like our sun. The search for exoplanets, and ultimately for a "Second Earth" is among the most challenging topics in modern observational astronomy.
Experts from the European Southern Observatory will talk about their research with the world´s most advanced telescopes. They’re investigating the universe’s black holes, as well as hoping to find the next Earth.

Speaker: Gero Rupprecht (Germany). ESO Instrumentation Quality Manager. He helps develop those instruments that allow mankind to search for Earth-like planets. Since 1988 he has been working on instrumentation projects at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the most productive ground-based observatory in the world. HARPS (the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher), the world's foremost exoplanet hunter, is among the projects he was reponsible for.

Gero loves astronomy and space related things since he was a child. Growing up during the early days of man's first steps beyond Earth, he devoured everything he could find that was related to space. This interest has never waned: he became (and still is) a member of the then newly founded Public Observatory in his home town of Neumarkt (Bavaria, Germany) and went on to study physics and ultimately astronomy. After a post-doc stint at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP), which included a period of working at the Joint European Torus (JET), he returned to astronomy, at ESO, the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe, which is building and operating a suite of the world's most powerful ground-based astronomical telescopes. He continues to be fascinated by the view of the night sky, be it through an 8m or 20cm telescope, or just with the naked eye. Every time he looks at the sky he wonders if there is somebody out there…

Mars One - Humans on Mars in 2023

Bas Lansdorp

Mars One will take humanity to Mars in 2023, to establish a permanent settlement from which humankind will prosper, learn, and grow. Before the first crew lands, Mars One will have established a habitable, sustainable outpost designed to receive new astronauts every two years. To accomplish this, Mars One has developed a precise, realistic plan based entirely upon proven technologies. It is both economically and logistically feasible, and already underway with the aggregation and appointment of hardware suppliers and experts in space exploration. This talk will explain the technical aspects of landing humans on Mars in 2023.

Speaker: Bas Lansdorp, M.Sc. is co-founder of Mars One. Bas has never been one to let bold ventures intimidate him. A born entrepreneur, he sees potential and opportunity when others shy away. He utilizes an articulate vision and genuine enthusiasm coupled with infectious powers of persuasion to get his point across.

Bas received his Master of Science in mechanical engineering from Twente University in 2003. He worked on a PhD at Delft University of Technology for five years before abandoning it to start his first company Ampyx Power. Bas founded Mars One in March 2011, and has worked full time on getting humanity to Mars since.

NASA’s Future depends on Education


In his talk, Mr. James will focus on NASA’s relationship with Education, particularly science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. NASA has a long history of using its mission to inspire future generation of pioneers, explorers, and researchers. James will talk about how NASA does this and will talk about the challenges and opportunities as we look to the next couple of decades of aeronautics and space exploration.

Speaker: Donald Gregory James NASA Ames Research Center. He began his NASA career in 1982 as a Presidential Management Intern at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He transferred to NASA Ames Research Center in 1984. James is currently the Acting Director of the New Ventures and Communications Directorate, responsible for the Small Business Innovative Research Program, Technology Partnerships, Strategic Management and New Business, Strategic Communications, and Education and Public Outreach. He leads an organization of over 120 professionals, and is responsible for a budget of over $60Million (US) annually.

DIYSpace: How you can build things to fly in space


The Maker community is actively changing the economics of how to access space. The world is seeing more and more commercial space providers, Makerspaces, and educators that are changing how humanity will access the heavens above.

Speaker: Matthew Reyes is the Emerging Space Technology Strategist at NASA Ames Research Center.

Asteroids: The leftovers of the solar system

Michael Khan

Minor bodies - (asteroids and comets) are what were left over when the solar system was formed, 4.6 billion years ago. They can be seen as fossils of the solar system - containing some of the original dust, ice and gas that went on to become the Sun, the planets, and ultimately, us - all material that we are composed of at some point was part of a star. If we want to understand where we come from, asteroid research is the way to find out. But asteroids are not only of scientific interest, they can pose a grave threat to the Earth, as they have repeatedly shown in the past. However, an asteroid impact is the ONE major natural disaster that humankind might have the power to avert, thanks to technology. The talk explores the options for asteroid research by manned and unmanned spacecraft and also shows how we could address the risk of an impending collision between the Earth and a minor body.

Speaker: Michael Khan was born in 1962. He is an aerospace engineer and has been dreaming of building spaceships since watching the Apollo 11 moon landing when he was 7 years old. He is a Mission Analyst for the European Space Agency, working at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. He is mainly involved in the planning and design of interplanetary missions, chiefly those to asteroids and to planet Mars. His main baby is the ExoMars project to the red planet, but he has also worked on manned missions to the Moon, to the asteroids, to Mars and beyond.

Campus Party Balloon


Outer space. The last frontier. These are the voyages of Campus Party Balloons exploring the outer space. This balloons will be developed through collaboration between participants from different disciplines, including astronomy and robotics.

Thanks to the sensors that will be installed, we can obtain information on weather and pollution; their cameras also allow us to have a unique view of Europe.

At Campus Party Europe, we will achieve great images of Europe's skies, day and night. In addition, we will organize a workshop for those who want to start in this field. Get ready for something unique that will delight us all with beautiful postcards from the edge of space.

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