Exploring Space Week 2017

Carol O’Brien discusses the events happening during Space Week this year

Today, October 4, marks the beginning of Space Week 2017. Stretching from now until Tuesday October 10, Space Week will see a range of cosmic themed events taking place nationwide. Space Week was established in 1999, with a United Nations declaration aiming to celebrate “the contributions of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition”. Last year there were over 2,700 events held celebrating space exploration in 86 countries.

This year, there will be a whole host of events all over the country, including a Cork secondary school making direct radio contact with the International Space Station, and a visit from former astronaut Dan Tani to Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT). Here in Dublin there’s plenty of events to keep space enthusiasts busy, including some right here on campus. Here’s a lowdown on what’s happening throughout the week.

Trinity Space Society Rocket Launch

Space Week will see the maiden flight of the Trinity Space Society’s Spacecraft, Spáslong Tríonóide Danu. The rocket, named after the Irish goddess of knowledge and wisdom, was constructed in February by members of the Trinity Space Society Rocketry Team. The launch will take place in association with the Irish Rocketry Society, and will see the ST Danu face off against another rocket built by a team from University College Cork. The launch will take place in Birr, Co. Offaly on Saturday October 7 at 12pm.

After the launch, there will be tours of the newly-constructed I-LOFAR telescope, one of the most advanced astrophysics telescopes in the world, as well as the historical Leviathan telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world from 1845 until 1917. Get in touch with the Space Society if you are interested in heading along!

Trinity Space Society Talks

In addition to building and launching their own rocket, Trinity Space Society have two more events planned. This Thursday October 5, there is a talk and panel discussion (prizes for the best audience contribution!) on “Life in Space”, with evolutionary biologist Dr. Arthur Wallace, exoplanet expert Dr. Ernst De Mooij, Zoo Society’s Daniel Dunleavy and Trinity Space Society’s Kate Finucane. It takes place at 7pm in Room 3074 of the Arts Building.

Then on Friday October 6, after their EGM, head along to Chaplins Pub at 7:15pm for a screening of The Farthest, a documentary about NASA’s iconic Voyager mission by Trinity alum Emer Reynolds.

School of Physics Talks

Trinity’s School of Physics will also host two talks by space scholars. First up, on Wednesday October 4 at 7.30pm is “Live Fast and Die Hard: Studies of Monster Stars at the European Southern Observatory (ESO)”. Trinity’s Professor Jose Groh will give an overview of the lives and dramatic deaths of the most massive stars in the Universe.

Next up on Wednesday the 11th of October at 11am, is Dr. Dava Newman, the Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems at MIT, who will give a talk on “Humanity’s Exploration: From Outer to Inner Space”. Dr. Newman’s talk will cover recent space science missions, as well as look forward to the advanced technologies and innovation required for the next giant leaps of exploration, and to achieve a human mission to Mars.

Both talks take place in the Schrödinger Lecture Theatre, Fitzgerald Building, in the School of Physics, and are free and open to the public.

UCD Talk

Slightly further afield, University College Dublin (UCD) are hosting a talk, and question and answer session on “Designing for Extreme Human Performance in Space” with Gui Trotti and Dava Newman. Trotti, an expert in designing for extreme environments, and Dava Newman, Apollo Professor of Astronautics and Engineering Systems in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will discuss pushing human limits to the extreme. It takes place on Tuesday October 10 at 2pm in the O’Brien Centre for Science, UCD.