Mad Scientess Jane Expat
Earlier this month I was in Madrid for a meeting at ESAC, the European Space Astronomy Centre. It's actually about a half-hour drive from the centre of Madrid in the hilly countryside, since putting big satellite dishes in the middle of a city is generally neither wise nor effective.
ESAC is a much smaller site than ESTEC (in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, where I was at the end of May) and is less restrictive about on-site photography since little (or possibly no, I'm not sure) hardware development takes place there. Hence, pictures of dishes and spacecraft models!
One big dish and one small dish nestled amongst the trees at ESAC.
My Cluster boss inspects the Rosetta 1:4 scale model. Rosetta's solar panels span 32 metres. It's heading for a comet and is due to rendezvous with it in the middle of next year (2014).
Two big dishes poking their heads out above the trees.
Wildflowers grow everywhere on site.
The scale model of the Herschel space telescope, which ceased operations earlier this week. RIP Herschel.
A ruined castle sits on the hill above the site. It's on private land, so this is about as close as you can get. This explains why the dishes are non-ideally located on the slopes of the hill rather than at its apex.
One more dish shot, outlined against a deep blue sky.
The swish new conference centre in which our meeting was held.
Scientists having a coffee break.
My hotel room was on the seventh floor, so I had some rather nice views over the city from my window.
After the meeting, the correct course of action was to go out for tapas and beer.
Scientists and beer. They haven't had much beer yet and are still looking a bit serious.
Order with care from the English menu. ("Scranbled eggs with potatoes and hash, 9 euros". Difficult to work out if that's expensive or quite a good deal really...)
Delphine and Arnaud think Harri hasn't had enough beer yet.
Matt and Sinead are starting to have difficulty taking Harri seriously.
No really, Harri, apply yourself to your beer. Arnaud's glass is empty!
Things at the other end of the table are getting more relaxed with Tomas, Steve and Andrew.
OK, if you must, apply yourself to the meat, Harri.
Matt will help.
Onward to the bar, where Matt and Steve put the world to rights.
Bedtimes for nanilas.
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