It has taken a little longer than expected, but Astropolis, the brand new Space Science Center in Ostend, is finally opening its doors this summer... Since July 6, cyclists and pedestrians along the “Groene Lint” in Ostend can stop by the Astrocafé, and although Astropolis is still working on the educational set-up of the building, they are already planning an event this summer. On Thursday 22 and Friday 23 July, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., you can visit the Astropolis Space Village event in and around the building.
The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB) will also be present and will treat visitors to no fewer than four activities:
Radio observations of meteors
Every day, millions of tiny particles enter the Earth's atmosphere. At night, they sometimes produce meteors (or shooting stars), but these particles also enter the Earth's atmosphere during the day. With the help of radio observations, we can detect those as well. This technique has been used by BIRA-IASB for 10 years with the BRAMS network. Come and see live radio observations of meteors at the BIRA-IASB booth and learn more about the BRAMS scientific project, the citizen science project Radio Meteor Zoo, and the recently launched educational project MOMSTER that allows secondary schools to detect meteors themselves with radio observations.
Mini-Houston: the Belgian Space Control Centre
On June 11, 2021, astronaut Thomas Pesquet installed the "FOAM Coarsening 2" experiment on board the International Space Station. The experiment investigates the ageing of foam in weightlessness. Since then, the operators control the experiment remotely from the Belgian Space Control Centre in Brussels. In the BIRA-IASB tent, visitors will be able to discover the daily life of an ISS operator.
Virtual reality stand
Wish to escape from reality for a moment? This is possible in our VR corner! We offer various summer travel destinations, from close to Earth to the farthest corners of our solar system. Explore the Earth's atmosphere with your own eyes, relive the historic landing of the moon, travel along with the ExoMars spacecraft to discover the planet Mars, or would you prefer to visit the comet Churymov-Gerasimenko? Which exotic destination will you choose?
Astronaut in a flash
Become your favourite Apollo 11 crew member and immortalise yourself alongside Armstrong, Collins or Aldrin. A small step towards becoming an astronaut...
Naturally, many other activities will also take place:
Race to the Moon XPO (reservation required)
During the Astropolis Space Village event, 400 people in the building get an exclusive sneak preview of our “Race to the Moon” XPO. Although the interactive part of this versatile XPO will not be operational yet, visitors will undoubtedly be intrigued by the many fascinating info panels about lunar research.
At the observation stand, visitors will be able to observe sunspots and prominences 100% safely through a series of specialised telescopes and under the expert guidance of AstroLAB Iris.
Workshop water rockets (reservation required)
Feel like building a water rocket? Then bring an empty (rinsed out) 1.5 or 2 litre PET bottle (Coca Cola, Fanta or Sprite) and we'll teach you how to build a water rocket that flies up to 40 metres high!
The Astropolis Space Village event, on Thursday 22 Friday 23 July, is FREE, except for the exclusive visit to the “Race to the Moon” XPO (5€/pp). A reservation in advance is required for this activity (via info (at) astropolis (dot) be), as well as for the water rocket workshop.
The Astropolis Space Village event came about in a cooperation between Astropolis, AstroLAB Iris (Ypres) and the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (Uccle). With the support of Flanders, the National Lottery and the city of Ostend.