ESA astronauts and Star Trek actors to join debate in EU Parliament

As EU Member States fight over the Horizon 2020 budget, MEPs will meet with astronauts and science fiction actors in bid to inspire a new generation of innovators

Frank de Winne, the first European to command the International Space Station, will be among the participants. Image: ESA

European Space Agency (ESA) astronauts, science fiction actors and senior European Union policymakers will be participating in a discussion hosted by EU40, a cross-party group of young MEPs. The event, focused on how to inspire the next generation of European scientists and researchers, is set to take place in the European Parliament in Brussels on 18 October.

“Science and technology have always been drivers of human progress. As young Members of the European Parliament, we believe that we must be part of that discussion,” EU40 said in a statement. The event is set to take place before a special European summit will decide on the financial fate of Horizon 2020, the EU’s new research and innovation strategy, next month.

Astronaut Frank de Winne, current head of the ESA Astronaut Centre and first European to command the International Space Station, will be participating in the event, as well as astronaut André Kuipers, who holds the European record of longest stay in orbit. Anne Glover, the EU’s first Chief Scientific Advisor, and astronaut Andreas Mogensen will also be attending.

Walter Koenig, the American actor famous for playing Russian Star Trek character Pavel Chekov, will be among the participants. “Europe desperately needs more young scientists and Star Trek has provided that inspiration for generations of innovators,” the EU40 statement reads. Over 100 secondary school students from across Europe are expected to join the debate.

EU40 requests persons who wish to attend the discussion – which will take place between 16:00 and 18:00 - to send in an RSVP, which can be done at ‎Katarina Nevedalova MEP (S&D-SK) and Alexander Alvaro MEP (ALDE-DE), Vice President of the European Parliament, will be hosting the event on behalf of EU40.
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