European Space Agency day: space research in Debrecen is in focus


At the ESA day held at ATOMKI on Thursday, European Space Agency (ESA) staff were able to get to know the investigations related to space research and the available instrument park of the University of Debrecen and the Nuclear Research Institute of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network. Orsolya Ferencz, the ministerial commissioner responsible for space research, also participated in the event.

Space research is an area of great importance for the University of Debrecen, as part of the Topic Excellence Program, space science research is carried out at the institution within the framework of the DE-Space program – explained László Csernoch, the scientific vice-chancellor of the University of Debrecen, at the press conference prior to Thursday’s meeting.

In the Space Research Program of the University of Debrecen, six research groups are currently working on the radiation physics, physiology, nutrition, medical and diagnostic studies of space travel, as well as isotopes and their applications, as well as in the field of climate change. They examine, among other things, cosmic radiation, the effect of microgravity on astronauts, as well as the conditions of long-term stay and its consequences, as well as the possibilities of using the mass of data from space. The integrated knowledge of nearly fifty years of research work at the institution and the latest test results can help the technical feasibility of space travel

– listed László Csernoch.

The vice-chancellor emphasized: in September, innovative nutrition and space health specialist training will start at the university within the framework of the UniSpace program, to which 17 Hungarian higher education institutions have joined, including the one in Debrecen. In the specialized continuing education course, experts in nutrition and health sciences are trained who are able to deal with the problems associated with long space travel and staying on exoplanets.

Director of the Eötvös Loránd Research Network Nuclear Research Institute, Zsolt Dombrádi, presented the role of ATOMKI, which operates as a background institution for space research.

ATOMKI is a European and national laboratory of particle accelerator-based sciences, where research in space physics, space chemistry, and space biology takes place. The institute provides particle accelerator infrastructure services related to space research to its European partners in the field of exploring the formation of chemical elements and the energy production processes of stars, as well as for the investigation of chemical and biological processes taking place on the surface of space objects within the framework of the European planetary research network

– explained the director of ATOMKI.

Zsolt Dombrádi added: that within the framework of the national space strategy, ATOMKI’s task is to provide radiation technology knowledge and infrastructural background. The institute’s low-energy accelerators are ideal for modeling the most important radiations of the solar wind and interplanetary space, for checking the radiation tolerance of devices to be sent into space, and for exploring the behavior of structural materials, food, and biological materials important for long-term space travel and the construction of a lunar base.

Hungary has been a full member of the European Space Agency since 2015, and the future directions of Hungarian space research, which looks back on 75 years of history, are determined by the space strategy adopted in 2021.

The space sector is an economic, industrial, and security policy area that forms the basis of civilization. Therefore, within the framework of Hungary’s space strategy, we have designated the directions in which we wish to develop the Hungarian space sector in priority flagship projects. As one of the largest knowledge centers in the country, Debrecen plays a major role thanks to its university and industrial background, as well as its wide-ranging experience in space research

– declared Orsolya Ferencz, Ministerial Commissioner responsible for space research.

Orsolya Ferencz pointed out that the researchers from Debrecen are participating, among other things, in the HUNOR (Hungarian to Orbit) program, which delegates a Hungarian research astronaut to the International Space Station in 2024. The goal is for Debrecen to further increase its role in the scientific and technical background of research.

In the cooperation between ESA, the University of Debrecen, ATOMKI, and the city of Debrecen, it is important to find the points of connection with which we can further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our research. ESA thinks 10-20 years ahead during technological preparatory activities, in order to ensure that the research yields real practical results over time. For this, it is necessary to know the possibilities of our partners, the university and the research institute, because through our joint work we can achieve decisive results for humanity,

– said Marcos Bavdaz, on behalf of the delegation of the European Space Agency (ESA).

The European specialists got an insight into the investigations and researches of the University of Debrecen and ATOMKI related to space research, they were able to view the available instrument park, and they also discussed further involvement in international programs and cooperation opportunities between European and Debrecen space research on the ESA day.

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