What is the objective of the expedition ‘Shelios 2012’ which will begin on October 20 in Greenland?
Is part of the European project Gloria (Global Intelligent Robotic-Array telescopes, Global Network of Robotic Telescopes), which involved the IAC. It is fundamentally a citizen science project, whose main objective is the observation of the aurora borealis from southern Greenland, coinciding with increased solar activity. In issuing 19 people participated, of which three are canaries and two high school students, selected from one hundred students from all.
Besides the spectacular images of the aurora borealis, which provide these comments from the scientific point of view?
We will not do science, we do not do any experiments to science, it would be impossible. Our mission is to make the broadcasts via the web, you will not be easy because we are in the middle of nowhere and have nothing, no electricity, no internet, we have no phone, it will be complicated technically able to deliver these auroras, and will focus all our efforts on this project. The objective is to conduct a daily connection between 24 and 28 August, and issue for an hour each night the starry sky images that will be refreshed at a frequency of one minute, plus a live video of the movement auroras.
Why the need to bring astrophysics into everyday life through these citizen science projects?
I think it’s the most direct way to spread what we do. So far the disclosure issue was reported discoveries and stories that happen in research centers. That’s fine, but now, with the possibility for everyone thanks to the internet, the robotization of telescopes and access to instruments, we have taken a step further and we want citizens to participate in research. We have tried to do our bit with this European project called Gloria, citizen science funded under the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union.
Why have you chosen the south of Greenland?
Greenland has several characteristics or strengths, and the first is that it is a good scenario to see northern lights, which can only be observed from the polar caps of the planet. In addition, Greenland is a unique place because, after Antarctica, is the largest expanse of ice on the planet, and when you land there you realize you’re in another world. It’s where you can see more clearly and even touch the problem of climate change. There is evident the problem of icing, you see the retreat of glaciers. You chose Greenland in 2000 with the first shipment of Shelios we were last year, repeat this and if all goes well, we’ll be there next year. Like most of the places we visit and know about the expedition of 2000, one of the tasks of documentation that will make is the photographic comparison of the evolution of glaciers in this decade, to see first hand global warming on these ice masses.
How does the mission being carried out in NASA Mars rover through the ‘Curiosity’?
It’s a very interesting mission, it was very complicated ground on Mars, and have successfully passed, which will now have to wait to begin the experiments. At the moment they create images, but what’s interesting is that the Curiosity can do including biological experiments to see if you can give some clue about the subject of past life.
Talk about past life, do not you think you can be intelligent life in space?
Today there is no evidence to confirm the existence of extraterrestrial organic life. I personally think that liquid water existed on Mars and probably evolved microorganisms, but I do not have time to develop intelligent life. That will be one of the missions of Curiosity, finding evidence of past life of an organic nature, a fossil would be much.It is almost certain that Mars had water in the past and if you had had life because water is a safe, but you have to prove it.
You have always been committed to the popularization of science among young people with projects like the ‘Route of the stars’ which incorporates high school students to scientific expeditions, or as the Gloria project. Are you helping to create a scientific quarry to ensure the future of astrophysics research?
The goal is not that these kids studying physics or astrophysics but they really target the science bug. We need to increase scientific endowments of our youth, because there is a fall of all races and experimental techniques.These initiatives seek to teaching kids that science can be fun and very useful. Almost all the kids who participated in the Route of the stars have been studied and the experience led them to direct their lives.