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Visit of Swiss science journalists

Nicolas Thomas, Principal Investigator of CaSSIS, presents a model of the Mars camera to Swiss science journalists. (Photos Thibaut Roger)

More than 30 Swiss science journalists visited PlanetS at the University of Bern and had a look at CHEOPS, CaSSIS and the vibration test laboratory.

Each year at its general assembly, the Swiss Association of Science Journalism (SASJ) visits a renowned research institution. After the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology EMPA and the Swiss bird sanctuary Schweizerische Vogelwarte Sempach, this year, the board of SASJ decided to look even further up in the sky and focus on the space telescope CHEOPS and the Mars camera CaSSIS.

On 15 June 2017, Nicolas Thomas, professor and director of the Physics Institute at the University of Bern, gave a short introduction about the 50-year-long history of space research in Bern and presented «Pictures from Mars – Swiss-Made». Christopher Broeg, project manager of CHEOPS, explained how the space telescope will observe exoplanets. Then, the organizers of the event sent the journalists on a one-hour lab tour showing what it takes to build a space instrument. In the vibration test lab, the visitors watched intently as test engineer Daniel Schaedeli demonstrated a rocket launch.

Impressed by the Swiss space research, many of the more as 30 journalists took advantage of the experts on site including PlanetS director Willy Benz and asked a lot of questions. The visit was intended to provide the journalists with background for future reporting, but also had immediate coverage in some newspapers as Berner Zeitung.

Founded in 1974, the Swiss Association of Science Journalism (SASJ) is a professional association uniting current and former science journalists in Switzerland. SASJ is a full member of the World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ). More information: www.science-journalism.ch

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