Europa no espaço

O Rui Borges – membro da comunidade astroPT – tem um blog em inglês: spacEurope.
Comemorou o seu 1º aniversário.
Vai daí, ele decidiu convidar algumas pessoas para lá escreverem alguns artigos. Um dos textos, é meu.

“Addressing the challenge proposed by Rui Borges, I’ll talk a little bit about my view of the European space outreach.
NASA achievements and Hollywood ideas dominated television and news for several decades. Thus, it’s no surprise that, in general, people were unaware of European space activities.

Six years ago, for my undergraduate thesis, I saw at first hand what other studies had been saying: the Europeans knew about the American Space Agency (NASA), but were oblivious about their own Space Agency (ESA). According to my study, 96% of all the interviewees knew NASA very well, but only 22% were aware of ESA.

And the interviewees were European people, living in Europe!

Yet, they had better knowledge about the agency in the other side of the Atlantic than its counterpart “at home”.
There was a clear need for ESA to change its relationship with the public. And it did. In recent years, Europeans are much more aware of their Space Agency and space news in general made by Europeans.

Some people may say that because there is more information available about everything, then it logically follows that there is also more information about Europe in space. That may explain part of it, but in my opinion currently space activities made in Europe are better promoted by Europe itself.

Reasons that contribute to this current state of affairs are for instance: ESA promoting and sponsoring European students to attend international space conferences, ESA sponsoring students into incredible opportunities (like a trip in the “Vomit Comet”), very successful space missions like the Mars Express, and so on.
In our country, Portugal, during the 1990s and into this millennium, there has been an increasing awareness of space related activities: PoSat, Visionarium, Centro Multimeios de Espinho, CAUP, NUCLIO, José Matos, João Magueijo, Pedro Russo, and many others, through different means, made the Portuguese people more aware of space-related issues, knowledge, and activities.

And of course, the Internet is also a huge booster in promoting space news in general and European space news in particular.
This is exactly where this blog comes into play. The success of this blog comes not just from the enthusiasm and dedication of its author – although these are very important characteristics – but especially because it fills a gap in the blogosphere: it concentrates especially on European space news.

As an European living in USA, except through the Internet, I have no access to European space news – television mainly, or even exclusively, shows American space news, which is understandable taking in consideration the strength of it worldwide.

Even on the Internet, American news are in majority in the space news agencies on the web. Thus, spacEurope is a breath of fresh air allowing its readers to know that Europe is also dynamic and ESA is achieving great feats. I hope that spacEurope in 2008 – and in the next 20 years – will continue to bring us the most needed knowledge about European space news.”

O Rui Borges também fez uma entrevista de cerca de 25 minutos ao Hans Schlegel, astronauta da ESA que participou na última missão do Atlantis.
Duas frases que realço dessa entrevista:
Every human being must find its own path
Keep Your Dreams Alive
Podem ler aqui, e ouvir toda a entrevista, aqui.

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