Portugal Space challenges college students to create science experiments and to fly in zero gravity
The Portuguese Space Agency, together with CNES, is promoting interaction between higher-education students from Portugal and France through participation in a contest that will allow them to conduct experiments in microgravity. Applications are open until October 28th.
[Update: CNES is holding on 6 October (9:00 – 11:00 GMT) a virtual workshop session on parabolic flights. Those interested should register here]
Between February and October of 2022, Portugal and France will come together on land and in space, onboard Saison Croisée – Temporada Cruzada (Crossed Season). The initiative, which aims to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two nations, will have a multidisciplinary program in several areas such as culture, education, economy, tourism and scientific research, with a special focus on the younger population. Within this scope, and in the field of space study, Portugal Space has associated with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, to develop a set of activities that aim to stimulate interaction between students and researchers from both countries.
The integration of at least one French-Portuguese team onboard a parabolic flight will be one of the highlights of this exchange, offering higher education students the opportunity to develop experiments in a microgravity environment. The competition for the selection of the experiments that will fly in zero gravity runs until October 28.
“Microgravity research, which has enormous potential in the development of medical applications, pharmaceuticals, biological processes, and new materials, among many others, is one of Portugal Space’s best bets,” says Marta Gonçalves, responsible for Education and Science projects promoted by the Agency. In addition to creating opportunities for Portuguese students to develop fundamental research while strengthening the ties of international cooperation, this initiative aims to reinforce the development strategy for an educational framework capable of boosting sustainable growth in the space sector in Portugal.
“Scientific proposals conducted by Franco-Portuguese teams of college students who intend to test the effects of microgravity in various areas are eligible for this program,” adds Marta Gonçalves. A total of three projects will be selected and the results will be announced on November 29.
CNES organizes this event annually, offering the opportunity to high school and college students every year. The flights take place aboard the Airbus A310-OG, operated by Societé Novespace, in the French city of Mérignac, between the end of September and the beginning of October next year.