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Art in orbit


Children’s drawings headed to space aboard Swiss-led satellite


Nearly 900 pictures drawn by children in Switzerland will travel into space aboard the European Space Agency’s CHEOPS satellite in 2017 as part of a Swiss university collaboration. 

The drawings will be among 3,000 pieces of artwork launched aboard the satellite made by children from countries who contributed to the space project. All of the pieces of art will be reduced in size and engraved on two metal plaques before being fixed to the outside of the satellite. The project is a collaboration among the University of Bern, the University of Geneva and the Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich (EPFL and ETHZ). 

The goal of the project, according to Pierre Bratschi of the University of Geneva Observatory, is to educate children and the Swiss population that Switzerland will launch its first satellite into space through the CHEOPS project. The mission of CHEOPS, which stands for “Characterizing exoplanet Satellite”, is to investigate so-called exoplanets outside Earth’s solar system. It is the first Swiss-led satellite project being launched in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA), and its main component will be a Swiss-made telescope.

Starting in 2017, CHEOPS will enter into an orbit 800 kilometres (500 miles) above the Earth. It will hover at the border between day and night in order to observe 500 especially bright stars during a three-year period with its telescope and watch the planets orbiting them. 

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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