In the coming months several international missions will land on Mars and the Cité de l’espace, in keeping with its mission of scientific facilitation, shall closely accompany this new phase of space exploration.
Life in red 2021, Martian year
In 2021, the Cité de l’espace proposes to its visitors to discover Mars like they have never done before. The year-long exciting program includes special day-long happenings, totally new events, life-size models, renowned guests and the launch of new permanent outdoor equipment dedicated to the Red Planet. This ambitious program which will strengthen the existing offering of scientific mediation of the Cité de l’espace has received support from CNES, the French Space Agency and a historic partner of the Cité de l’espace and founding member of Semeccel. “Space exploration, and Mars in particular, is a fascinating subject that inspires people to dream. As disseminating scientific culture is one of the missions of CNES, it is quite natural that we wanted to set up this partnership with the Cité de l’espace. We have been working together for a long time and this year dedicated to Mars is a superb showcase for our actions”, says Marie-Claude Salomé, Director of Communication for the CNES. Another major partner of the Cité de l’espace during this Martian year is COMAT, an engineering company based in the Haute-Garonne which will be present throughout the year alongside the CNES. Specialized in the design and provision of space mechanisms, the company has been selected by IRAP (OMP, CNRS, Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier) to handle the manufacture and implementation of the integration of the SuperCam camera of the Perseverance rover which left for Mars in July 2020. COMAT also worked on ChemCam, the camera carried by the Curiosity rover, currently on Mars. “Our partnership with the Cité de l’espace is a great sounding board both to show what we are capable of achieving but also to congratulate our teams for all of the work that they have done. It is also an opportunity to attract new motivated people for future projects. We have big ambitions for the coming years, both on the global and European levels”, says Ludovic Daudois, CEO of COMAT.
Relocation of France Info
France Info is partnering with the Cité de l’espace to present Martian news and in particular to cover the landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars on February 18, 2021. Naturally, this is a not to be missed event for the Cité de l’espace. France Info will relocate its base on the occasion of this special program that will be broadcast live from the Cité de l’espace. The France Info team, accompanied by the scientific journalist of the Cité de l’espace, Olivier Sanguy, will bring this event to life for listeners, featuring the participation of the astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, but also engineers from the CNES and many other experts. To prepare for this major event, podcasts created in partnership with France Info will be broadcast on the network of the national radio station in early February. The program includes renowned participants such as Sylvestre Maurice, astrophysicist at l’Institut de recherche en astrophysique et planétologie IRAP (OMP, CNRS, Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier) and co-director of the design of ChemCam and SuperCam, Baptiste Chide, post-doctoral researcher in planetology at IRAP/ ISAE –SUPAERO, Romain Charles, engineer from MEDES which participated in Mars 500, Didier Schmitt, head of the strategy and coordination group for the robotics and human exploration program of ESA (European Space Agency) and the journalist, Olivier Sanguy from the Cité de l’espace. These experts from a wide range of backgrounds will analyse the reasons for the enthusiasm about Mars exploration, the objectives of the mission underway, the possibility of a manned mission for the Red Planet and many other topics. There will be six fifteen minute long podcasts to find out everything you ever wanted to know about Mars!
L’Astralia takes on the colours of Mars
Starting in February and for the first half of 2021, Astralia Hall will enable visitors to experience the Martian environment thanks to an exhibition designed by the Cité de l’espace teams. The stars of this exhibition are the life-sized, motorized models of the Perseverance rover and its drone. In keeping with its educational mission, the Cité de l’espace will propose an experience-based event on the Mars theme to enable visitors to better understand the interactions between the rover, its drone, and the Martian environment. In particular, visitors will discover how the Perseverance drone can technically take off in the Martian atmosphere.
Mars sets up in the gardens of the Cité de l’espace
In step with the Curiosity adventure on Mars and the landing of Perseverance on the Red Planet in February, all year long in 2021, the Cité de l’espace will follow, explain and disseminate Martian news including the latest news about the landing of the Chinese rover Tianwen-1 planned in April and the Hope mission of the United Arab Emirates. June will be marked by a milestone event with the opening of the latest addition to the permanent outdoor installations of the Cité de l’espace: le Terrain Martien. This area totally dedicated to Mars has been conceived of and designed in partnership with CNES and IRAP (OMP, CNRS, Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier) and with the participation of the company, COMAT. It features a 213 seat amphitheatre with a highly immersive decor. The space will be mostly covered to protect visitors from the sun and bad weather. Two geodesic domes will house the replicas of the rovers Perserverance (with its drone) and Tianwen. The two life sized, animated models will be the stars of 30 minutes long scientific activities. The activities, programmed on a regular basis throughout the day, will enable visitors to learn about why robots are sent to Mars, what they do there, and the environment in which they operate along with the opportunities for manned travel to the Red Planet. Business events are also planned, especially in the evening.
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