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ESA scientists launch their Cosmic Diaries

12 January 2009

The International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009) has arrived and with it the launch of the Cosmic Diary. Through this IYA2009 cornerstone project, professionals from all around the world will blog about their lives and work.

ESA scientists are among the professionals who have begun contributing to the Cosmic Diary. What does the International Year of Astronomy mean to them, why are they sharing their lives online and what are their hopes and aspirations for 2009?

ESA Cosmic Diary bloggers

Detlef Koschny has made a commitment to looking at the stars more often himself during 2009 and hopes to spend more time with his family. When asked what he would like to achieve by participating in the Cosmic Diary he says "I hope that by sharing a bit of my life via the Cosmic Diary, I can share with everybody that being related to astronomy is a very exciting thing. What I am allowed to do professionally is very rewarding and fascinating. I think we're doing something special - but we're just normal people, so everybody can do it and I want to share this fascination with other people. As an amateur astronomer I sometimes can spend a few hours behind my telescope and always feel calm and relaxed afterwards - but why? I hope that by sharing my feelings via the blog I can get some feedback from others to help me find the answer."

Salim Ansari's hope is to lure as many young people as possible into taking up astronomy in the future. When asked what he seeks to accomplish through the Cosmic Diary he explains "My son always asked me, 'Dad, what is it you actually do at work?' I hope to answer that very question by sharing my experience with others. I will try to relay as much as possible about what it is I really do at my work." He continues, "It is my conviction that we can inspire to aspire! I am sure that there is a lot of talent out there waiting to be tapped into! We have to motivate and excite the next generation of scientists to get involved in Astronomy." Salim is looking forward to attending the spectacular International Year of Astronomy Opening Ceremony on 15-16 January in Paris. He will share his thoughts and impressions about that on his blog.

Giuseppe Racca kicked off the New Year on the ski slopes of North-West Italy and now, back at work, he has planned activities for the coming year. Through the Cosmic Diary Giuseppe says, "I would like to be able to explain to the general public what are the practical challenges that one faces when a novel experiment or an observation, that nobody has done before, is realised. What are the various issues that keep us busy for many years before we can 'see the light' as the astronomers say. I hope I can explain that all the efforts spent are worth doing and the taxpayers money well spent. I also think it is interesting to see all the efforts which were necessary before a discovery is made (for example: when Gravitational Waves will be finally detected). Efforts by many people, not all astronomers, but all very dedicated to this fascinating branch of science." Giuseppe's aspiration this year is to provide some insight into how the people involved in LISA Pathfinder work together to solve the technical challenges that are still ahead of them in order to build this space experiment that is designed to prove the feasibility of Gravitational Wave detection.

The Cosmic Diary is now live. Visit the Cosmic Diary website to follow the blogs of Detlef, Salim, and Giuseppe. Other colleagues will join the ESA Cosmic Diary community during 2009.


Last Update: 06 March 2009
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