On Thursday 26 July, the village of Cordes-sur-Ciel in the Tarn department of France opens its doors for the seventh ‘Ciel sur Cordes’ operation, which runs until Thursday 2 August. The event invites residents, tourists and enthusiasts alike to learn more about space. CNES is a long-standing partner of this event, which is a remarkable initiative by Paul Quilès, Mayor of Cordes-sur-Ciel and former Minister for Space. This annual summer gathering in the Occitania region of southwest France is a chance for a wide public to engage with key European players in space and learn more about the riches of space in an exceptional heritage destination where sciences and cultures meet.
Space exploration and planetology are the focus of this seventh edition, with a programme spotlighting three major CNES exploration missions in 2018. In early October, the MASCOT lander will be released onto the surface of asteroid Ryugu as part of the Hayabusa-2 mission. On 18 October, the BepiColombo mission will take off from the Guiana Space Centre to explore Mercury, one of the least understood and hard-to-study planets in our Solar System, due to its proximity to the Sun. And the InSight probe will land on Mars on 26 November, carrying the French SEIS seismometer, which will “listen to the Red Planet’s beating heart”.
The public will be invited to learn more about these three CNES missions through an exhibition on space exploration and a series of talks by project leaders and scientists, hosted by journalist Michel Chevalet, on the topics of “Listening to Mars’s beating heart”, “Asteroid in sight!” and “Earthlings, what’s to become of us?” For younger visitors, fun educational workshops will be a chance to make their own comet, or learn how to explore the Red Planet by controlling a small Mars robot, a reproduction of the MSL Curiosity rover.
This seventh ‘Ciel sur Cordes’ event, with its focus on space exploration and planetology, opens the doors to a wealth of knowledge, inviting the public to learn more about our beautiful planet and the origins of the infinite cosmos to which it belongs. 2018 is a busy year for CNES and full of expectations, and ‘Ciel sur Cordes’ is an invitation to join the adventure!
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