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Calling all space detectives to hack an exoplanet
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Dec 02, 2022

Artist's impression of Cheops, ESA's Characterising Exoplanet Satellite, in orbit above Earth. In this view the satellite's telescope cover is open.

In early 2023 Cheops satellite will observe two exoplanets, KELT-3b and TOI-560c. An exoplanet is a planet orbiting another star. By joining a Hack an Exoplanet hackathon, teams of secondary students will get to analyse real satellite data collected by Cheops and hack these mysterious alien worlds. In other words, teams will be given the tools to understand what these worlds look like, just like real scientists!

Find out more about this exciting new event in the video below featuring the exoplanet experts Didier Queloz, 2019 Nobel Laureate in Physics and Kate Isaak, ESA project scientist for the Cheops mission, and on the dedicated Hack an Exoplanet web platform.

Online and physical hackathons will be organised in April and May 2023, and you can even host your own hackathon at your school! The hackathon activities developed with the support of ESA experts will be made freely available on the Hack an Exoplanet platform in multiple languages.

In preparation for the hackathon, we have compiled a variety of inspirational resources for educators to engage students in STEM subjects using the fascinating topic of exoplanets as the learning context, including classroom resources, videos with experts, a quiz, the opportunity to pose a question to a space expert and much more. You can also vote for your favourite exoplanet!

After teams participate in a hackathon, they can submit their project until June 2023 and apply for the Best Project prize. This activity is recommended for students between 14 and 19 years old (no university students allowed!).

The hackathon is expected to last about 3 hours and should be accessible to all students. As extra support, we provide classroom activities that you can complete with student teams beforehand in preparation for the hackathon.

Hack an Exoplanet is an educational activity developed by ESA Education in collaboration with the ESA Science directorate, with support from members of the Cheops Mission Consortium and the ESERO network.

Related Links
Teach with Exoplanets at ESA
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Commercialisation of space boosted at ESA Ministerial Council
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23 Member and Associate States of the Agency pledged a total 117.6 million euros to ESA's ScaleUp programme at ESA's Ministerial Council CM22 to encourage entrepreneurship and commercialisation in the European space sector. This amount exceeds the target funding request by more than 17%, thus confirming the strong support that ESA Member States intend to provide to the development of a strong and sustainable commercial space ecosystem. ScaleUp is part of ESA's directorate of Commercialisation, Ind ... read more

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