Solenix at ESOC's Long Night of the Stars

23 October 2017

On 8th September, ESOC organised the "Long Night of the Stars" event to celebrate its 50 year anniversary. This event was open to the public and gathered visitors from Darmstadt and its surroundings, passionate for space and fascinated by the activities that are conducted at ESOC. Our colleagues Toril Bye Rinnan and Thorsten Graber took part in the event showing future concepts and plans for human-robotic missions in the Moon tent. We met up with them to know more about their experience.

What was the reaction of the public in the Moon tent?

Toril: People were very enthusiastic and interested in both how future Moon missions will be operated and how we are preparing for it. A lot of the visitors were also very up to date on what's happening within the space domain, but they wanted to know what's planned and when new Moon missions will actually happen. 

Thorsten: Especially kids got attracted by the Lego moon rover(s); they loved to watch the rover "moving" and playing with the life camera stream.

How did you like the event?

Toril: I thought it was great fun! Yes, it was exhausting, but it's easy to forget that our every day work is so interesting and cool in the eyes of the general public and that's highly motivating!

Any particular anecdote you would like to highlight?

Thorsten: At the end of the long day, with the very last group of people who got their 90 Minutes stay in ESOC (23:30), two young women approached me with several questions about robotics and surface operations. After a quite intense technical discussion, I found out they were coming from Kiel just to take part in the Long Night event - this means a 12 hour trip by public transport! One way! And they still had to travel back in the same night. I was very impressed by the commitment.

What are your key take aways from this event? Any lessons learnt?

Thorsten: In order to draw people's attention, you have to be proactive and directly approach them. Personally, I was quite surprised how much fun it was to present our work to the public.

Toril: Yes, a day like that takes a lot of work and preparation and it was mostly voluntary work. However, it is maybe one of the most important aspects of our jobs. I think ESOC should have an open day every year!

Thank you very much Toril and Thorsten for sharing your experience with us!