A kid has to know European Space Research and Technology Centre

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European Space Research and Technology Centre in Noordwijk, Netherlands, or as the ESA people like to call it simply, ESTEC, is a very special place. I’ve been there a few times for professional reasons, and I’ve enjoyed an Open Door Day event a few years ago, but the this year’s event on 6th of October, 2019, was special for me as a father. Not only because it was the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing (the theme of 2019 Open Day was “ESA to the Moon”), but also because it was the first time I took my 8-year-old son to ESTEC to show him around, and introduce him to ex-colleagues. We had been to the nearby Space Expo before, but of course without special permission or a public day, it wasn’t possible to visit the main ESTEC site.

We went there one day before the event, because I wanted my son to enjoy the beautiful and serene Noordwijk beach and coastline, one of my favorite places in the Netherlands. Because ESTEC is only a few kilometers away from the coast, we stayed there and before setting on our way we explored the area a little. Fortunately, the weather wasn’t rainy, and we even enjoyed a little Sun:

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Explain it like I’m 7.5: Does the space have an “outside”? Does it even have a “surface”?

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A while ago, my 7.5 year old son asked a seemingly simple question that had no easy answers at all. Instead of struggling with the question alone, I decided to tap into the collective intelligence of the whole world. Internet, after all, is supposed to be used for more than sharing cat videos, right? Right?

So, I asked:

One of the Internet denizens suggested that I ask the same question on Reddit’s ELI5 channel, that is, “Explain it Like I’m 5” channel. Being a casual Redditor for the last 14 years, I said “why not?” More

A kid has to know his Euro Space Center

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For a long time, I wanted to take my older son to the Euro Space Center in Transinne, Belgium. Finally, last Sunday we had a small window of opportunity for a few hours and we went there. Both of us enjoyed the event, even though we didn’t have time left for some of the attractions such as Moon and Marswalking experience. I can recommend Euro Space Center to all space and science enthusiasts, especially to the kids. But be aware that you’ll be bombarded with information, exhilarating demonstrations, and a lot of surprises in an intensive atmosphere. I’m already getting impatient for my younger toddler to grow up a little more, so that I’ll have another excuse to revisit the center. 😉


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Space Expo @ Brussels

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We had a great time at Space Expo in Brussels this weekend. I wish I was a kid again and run from one space artifact and simulator to another for hours (though I’ll never understand his being scared of Space Shuttle landing simulator (I had so much fun 🙂 )). We also considered going to German Aerospace Day at Cologne, but considering the tempo of a 4-year-old, decided to postpone it to his 6th year, that is 2017. But taking into account his enthusiasm, maybe our next stop will be Euro Space Center.

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Space Expo at Noordwijk, Netherlands: A wonderful space center for children

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit the ESA center at Noordwijk. The biggest ESA site, namely ESTEC , is also very close to Space Expo, a great place where families can take their children to introduce them many interesting and exciting aspects of space research. My colleagues were kind enough to show me some parts of it and I was surprised by the things I have learned.

I definitely plan to take my son there, but I think I’ll have to wait a few years more.

If you are interested about similar activities for your children you should check out these, too:


Want to continue the space adventure with your kids? Time for a visit to Cosmodrome @ Genk

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Well, after this and this, I have discovered yet another space related activity for kids in Belgium, particulary in Genk: Cosmodrome. According to De Redactie, “Cosmodrome has opened in the Europlanetarium in the easterly city of Genk (Limburg) in 2010. The Cosmodrome is a dome measuring 250 square metres covered with monitors on the inside. This makes it possible to do 360° projections.

Cosmodrome at Genk, Belgium

Cosmodrome at Genk, Belgium

Two full high definition projectors create a three dimensional experience. The dome will be used to create projections of the heavens showing the different star constellations. Special software will allow visitors to get the impression that they are hurtling through space or are visiting the International Space Station.

Animation films and documentaries will also be projected. The animation films include “The Enchanted Reef” for children and the documentary “Ice Worlds” that focuses on the delicate balance between ice, water and life on earth.

Visitors are seated in the middle of the dome. The dome has a capacity of 100.”

Ready for the adventure with your kids? Time for a Space Odyssey at Belgium!


Thanks to a recent article by Emma Beddington at The Bulletin (“A Space Odyssey“), I learned about the European Space Centre at Belgium. A place for the whole family to spend the weekend and explore space related activities and get a taste of the training that astronauts undergo.

European Space Center @ Belgium

And if you are looking to continue the adventure, but in a bigger place, do not forget other options, too. 😉

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