Space Expo: Small space to see the bigger picture

With over 30 talks and workshops taking place, a visit to the Space Expo in Trinity College Dublin is a must before it’s shipped off on Sunday evening. Filled with a  twirlable globe, five model satellites and twelve info screens, there’s lots to do inside the dome.

The European Presidency was one of the main reasons that Dublin was chosen to host the European Space Expo this week and Seán Sherlock, the Minister for Space (as he said he is unofficially called), was delighted to open the exhibition to the public yesterday.

Space Expo

The expo was so fresh from Bratislava that the GPS on my phone mistook me for being there during the opening speeches. I got a shock when I checked the time (an hour ahead) until I spotted that my location, weather and time were telling me I was in Slovakia! I never look at the location on my phone but since part of the exhibition is focused on GPS it made this glitch more noticeable. A helpful guide told me a few minutes earlier that the US Government currently controls our global positioning system but the European Commission are in the process of building Europe’s first venture into satellite navigation – the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). This will improve the accuracy of GPS over Europe and will be free and open for anyone with an EGNOS enabled device. Thirty Galileo satellites (model pictured above), some of which have already been launched, will be used for this service.

Students from Assumption Secondary School, Walkinstown. Photo:
Students from Assumption Secondary School, Walkinstown

There are many reasons to visit the Space Expo according to its programme manager, Dr Joseph Roche. “You”ll get to learn about space from a viewpoint you might not have seen. You’ll hear passionate scientists and engineers talking about their research and how’s that useful.” He also spoke of the workshops taking place each day including making a comet (using dry ice!) and taking control of a giant telescope in Tenerife. “It’s a great opportunity to show kids that if they study science in school and pursue it in college, it could lead to somewhere wonderful and interesting like this.”

Listen to a short soundbite with Dr Joseph Roche here:

Space Expo is in the front square of Trinity College Dublin and takes place until this Sunday 9th June.