This weekend I took the family on a field trip. To the ESA ESTEC Open Day in Noordwijk, in the beautiful Netherlands.

Before I being I’d like to thank ESA for offering this opportunity, and all the staff involved, because everybody was really cool and awesome!

We arrived just in time for the opening ceremony, but sadly we couldn’t really understand anything because people all around us were oblivious that something was actually happening and kept on talking…

After handing in our tickets and having our bags looked at we headed towards the main building, just like pretty much everybody else. In retrospect this may have been a really stupid idea, but I guess we’ll learn from our mistakes. Either way, we entered the building, just as a Stormtrooper, an Imperial Officer and an Imperial Guard were exiting, which was confusing, and we made our way to the first exhibits.
The first big mission on display was the Rosetta Mission, displaying scale models not only of both the Rosetta probe and the Philae lander, but also of Comet 67P itself. We then started making our way towards the conference center, but got sidetracked by way too many cool and interesting things, like miniature Ariane rockets, videos of rocket launches, and and and… So we were too late to drop into the lecture of Andre Kuipers, a dutch astronaut who had the opportunity to spend time on the ISS. Since we missed out on that we lined up to join in on his autograph session, which got my son a nice autograph and a photo together with a real astronaut. He had been really excited about meeting the astronauts before we set out on our trip, so I am sure that’s something he’ll remember fondly for a long time.

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