I'm guest-posting on the pESApod blog to tell the amazing story from our point of view.
Last weekend, on November 15th-16th we had our third Astronauticon, our annual convention in Montecatini Terme (PT). Every year the convention allows the users of ForumAstronautico to gather and share their passion, with displays of model artworks, talks and speeches. This year we also announced the foundation of the Italian Space and Astronautics Association (ISAA) (isaa.it work in progress). The convention, of course, is open to anyone.
Last year our honor guest was astronaut Umberto Guidoni, and this year we had Paolo Bellutta, an engineer from JPL, in live conference from California, to talk about his experience in the team leading the efforts of the two Mars Exploration Rovers on the surface of the red planet.
But while we were working out the last details for the conference, thanks to our fellow user Rino "Lovell" Casella, we received an offer we just couldn't turn down: a live demonstration of pESApod, by the Italian team involved in the ESA Lunar Robotics Challenge, from Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa
The team prepared its lovely six legged wonder on the sandy soil we provided and it's been amazing to see it move and perform in front of an audience staring in a feeling of awe. Shy comments and seldom enthusiastic exclamations broke the silence as we marvelled at what a team of smart people had been able to accomplish in just 5 months.
But it wasn't over!
Just after Paolo finished answering questions, with the power of the Internet we "took" him for a walk to see the rover from up close. Paolo and Calogero even had the opportunity to exchange a few words regarding the technicalities of the rovers..Face to face!. Unbelievable.
An amazing day, we wish the pESApod and its team all the best for the future of the rover, and look forward to see them again...maybe on the Moon!
Forumastronautico.it - Italian Space and Astronautics Association.