It wasn't all sci-fi at Destination Star Trek Birmingham, as the European Space Agency hosted four informative panels at the event on Sunday. These featured smart people talking to and with, not at, fans about ESA, what the agency does, how they do it, the science of it all and, yes, the ways in which real-world science and Trek's fictional futuristic version of it often meet in the middle. took a few notes when class was in session:

Shahrzad Hosseini’s panel was called Human-Robotic Interaction on the Moon. “I view these as two systems -- the human system and the robotic system,” she said. “So, we need to get to place where we can have them interact in the best way possible.” She also talked about preparing crews for missions out in space.

Markus Landgraf, a mission planner and PhD in Physics, hosted a session titled Star Trek: Enterprise - How Close Are We? Among his key comments: “Technology has advanced to a point where we can all live healthy lives;” “Space agencies of this world already work together;” “The next big step is called the Deep Space Gateway. Now, it’s called just the Gateway, and that will be an orbit around the moon;” “We’re building an architecture that’s much more similar to Star Trek,” and, “Even though we’ve already been to the moon, there’s so much left for us to learn. My boss says the moon is like a museum, and we’ve only been to the gift shop “

Aybike Demirsan, a spacecraft operations engineer and software engineer, hosted the panel Remote Chekov: How to Command Spacecraft from Earth. She addressed the issue of space debris. “It doesn’t have to be big to have an impact because of its intense speed,” Demirsan said. “The impact becomes very dangerous.” As for space weather space weather, “It is so bad. It’s so cold, there’s no protection from the earth whatsoever.”

Lastly, biomedical data analyst Mario Cypko hosted the aptly named panel, Human in Deep-Space? - Scotty, DON'T Beam Me Up, At Least Not Yet! He discussed cosmic radiation, micro/partial gravity and their effect on human blood flow, and how space crew must “train 3-4 hours a day.”



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