Israel Space Week Takes Off With Focus on Future Mars Mission
JNS.org – Israel Space Week kicked off Sunday, with dozens of activities across the country centering on this year’s theme of Mars.
Space Week’s activities include simulated missions to the Red Planet, exhibits on developments in the field of space exploration, observations, workshops for building model spaceships, planetarium viewings, astronaut encounters and more.
In the main complex of the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, guests can attempt a series of challenging space missions that demonstrate what life would be like on Mars and the challenges future colonizers of the planet will face. Activities include fixing a space rover that is about to be sent to Mars, farming fruits and vegetables on the planet and a zero gravity simulation. The museum is also hosting an exhibit on Israeli developments in the field of space exploration.
“Space Week is an opportunity to make space accessible to the Israeli public as far as possible and close to home. Israel Space Week takes this complicated field and translates it into an enjoyable experience,” said Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis.
The annual programming is held in commemoration of the legacy of Ilan Ramon, Israel’s first astronaut, who was killed in the Columbia space shuttle explosion in February 2003.
Akunis called Ramon “a pioneering man, a role model and a source of Israeli pride.”
Among those set to attend Israel Space Week are former NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, the first Jew to visit the International Space Station and a friend of Ramon’s; NASA astronauts Don Thomas and Richard R. Arnold; and French astronaut Jean-Jacques Favier, who now works at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.