Mission X (Mission eXplore) is a yearly international challenge for schools initiated by NASA in 2011 and supported by CNES and other space agencies and scientific bodies from 18 countries. The project aims to encourage youngsters to stay fit through healthy eating and exercise, in line with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. Mission X also provides the opportunity to tackle obesity issues in class. The role model for the project is an astronaut preparing for a space mission, focusing on physical training and good diet. The aim is to take part in sporting and diet-related challenges over a period of three months and to share what classes are doing on a dedicated collaborative website. So far this year, more than 50,000 8-to-15-year-olds from all over the world have taken part in this cross-disciplinary project combining physical education and life sciences, among them 3,000 young French school children.
Since 2011, CNES has been giving elementary and junior high-school classes the chance to take part in Mission X from January to April. At the end of the school year, the agency invites the classes to meet up and share their experiences. After a first gathering on 12 May at the Cité de l’espace with classes from the Toulouse region, it is now the turn of schools in the Paris region to come together at the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie on Thursday 9 June from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
One of the high points of this day will be the conference where pupils will be able to meet Léopold Eyharts, the last French astronaut to have been a crew member on the International Space Station (ISS), where he installed the Columbus laboratory module in 2008.
Mission X 2017 is set to inspire vocations and attract a large following in France, as the next ambassador for this international educational project will be Thomas Pesquet, the 10th French astronaut, whose Proxima mission on the ISS is scheduled from November 2016 to May 2017.
Mission X: http://trainlikeanastronaut.org/fr