This is the obligatory group photo, in which everyone tries to hide behind one another and smiles awkwardly for five straight minutes while their lips fuse to their teeth and some mad person with a camera dashes back and forth trying to get the best angle on the sight of a hundred scientists, which is clearly a hopeless task. Anyway, you can click to embiggen the image if you wish to play a fun game of "Spot the nanila".
Sadly, the chap from the Federal Space Agency couldn't give the talk himself because he couldn't get a flight from Moscow, thereby demonstrating that even in Mother Russia, ash cloud cancels you. However, he did get the Huygens* Mission Manager to present it for him, so he's not doing too badly for proxies.
* Huygens was the probe strapped to Cassini that landed on Saturn's moon Titan. Built by ROBOTS!! I mean, ESA.
Yours truly is listening attentively to the Russian lander talk. I don't think I've ever been to a meeting where I was obliged to sit in the front next to the podium for every single talk. I also don't think I've ever learned as much as I did at this meeting.
Isn't that a fantastic room? I especially liked the viewing galleries in the upper right quadrant of the image. They're translation booths for visitors, when the meeting is conducted in multiple languages. It reminded me of the UN, although I would be amazed if the UN has as good a canteen as ESTEC. It was seriously awesome. Here is what I had for lunch one day:
- mussel soup
- fresh bread
- grilled sardines with steamed vegetables and wild rice
- fresh orange juice
- little chocolates with whole hazelnuts inside
This cost me 4 euros and 20 cents. You could get wine with lunch as well. Somehow the prospect of returning to the giant overstuffed baguettes that our common room sells is losing its appeal.
This photo wasn't taken by the official photographer at ESTEC, so I couldn't possibly comment on its origins. As you can see, however, the ESTEC employees are as spoiled for facilities as they are for catering. There are tennis courts and pretty walkways by the ponds, too.
Once again, since I'm in this photo, I couldn't have taken it. I am not ashamed to say, however, that had this model been of a size to fit in my suitcase, I would've nicked it in a flash.
This is a terrible picture of me but a good one of my friend and ex-colleague Jan. I haven't seen him for two years so when he said he was in town for a Solar Orbiter meeting, I was most pleased. He worked on Cluster spacecraft calibration with me while he was at Imperial. He's a Matlab wizard and a scarily smart plasma physicist. He likes his beer and good conversation. I think it's safe to say he is made of win.
These ladies formed part of a crew at Leicester University that seem to be pretty closely knit even though none of them are at Leicester any more. Cat is one of my work colleagues. She looks at reconnection processes in Saturn's magnetosphere using Cassini data. Sarah is at the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). She favours using Cassini data to inspect Saturn's IR aurorae.
As you may be able to tell from the rather shiny-faced quality of the two preceding photos, we may have been drinking.
Me after Tuesday evening's entertainment, when doing an impromptu photo shoot on my balcony suddenly seemed like a good idea.