US ambassador Randy Evans poses with students from the Scienteens Lab programme and staff from the University of Luxembourg at the embassy’s new space annex.
U.S. Ambassador Randy Evans announced that he is working on getting iconic Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin to come to Luxembourg.
Some 20 students from the Scienteens Lab programme greeted news that the second man to walk on the moon might visit Luxembourg with a loud whoop. U.S. Ambassador Randy Evans had just been on the phone with Buzz Aldrin. “I think he may be coming to visit us, which is very exciting, I was just sitting there with goosebumps thinking, ‘I’m on the phone with cottonpickin’ Buzz Aldrin',” Evans said with a nod to his southern roots.
The students were gathered at the US embassy’s brand new “space annex” on boulevard Royal to hear about the embassy’s funding cooperation with the University of Luxembourg for its Scienteens Lab programme. More specifically, the programme will now hold an English-language academy during one week of the school summer holidays, from 8 to 12 July. The academy, open to high school students over the age of 15, will be an interdisciplinary workshop combining biology, mathematics and computer science, studying the growth behaviour and activity of the Escherichia coli (e-coli) bacteria.
The funding was welcomed by Dr. Philippe Lamesch, head of the office for fundraising at the University of Luxembourg. He explained that funding for scientists is becoming more and more competitive, and that currently projects only stand a 30% chance of being funded. “This donation will serve to inspire the next generation of leaders in science that will benefit us all,” Lamesch said.
The new embassy facility, specifically dedicated to space programmes and events, is equipped with a virtual reality set up that allows the user to travel to the moon with Neil Armstrong and even take steps on the lunar surface. It also houses artifacts from past NASA missions, images from the Hubble telescope, and live video feeds from the International Space Station and the NASA channel.
Evans is a keen promoter of Luxembourg’s space sector and once again reiterated his excitement at the fact that the USA, NASA and Luxembourg were working “very hard” on a memorandum of understanding. “When you look to the stars, no matter who you are with, you are looking away from contentiousness and adversity, and all of those things that tend to divide us and look towards something that should unite us."