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In July of 2004, a much younger me watched from a distance as Cassini entered Saturn’s orbit. At about that time, I had begun to develop a fascination with space and as Cassini charted a course around Saturn, I began working towards becoming a spacecraft engineer. About two weeks ago, Cassini’s journey came to a spectacular close it plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn. Now I am here, standing proud among giants of the space industry and the first leg of my journey has reached its end

Cassini Grand Finale
♪♪Goodbyyyyyyyyyyyyye Moon Men♪♪ (image courtesy of NASA)

With all of the excitement we have had over the last 3 days, (read all about yesterday’s adventures here), today started slowly for me. I decided to take it easy, getting ready for the big event and didn’t arrive until two hours before our session. Still, I managed to get my long awaited selfie with the curiosity rover and launched into many conversations with the people we had met over the course of the week. It was great to see that we had become part of the group, integrating ourselves within the assembly of students, startups and established names.

Curiosity Selfie at IAC2017
He was very rude about it. He seemed nicer on TV

I arrived early to guarantee I was there on time. Slowly the crowd shuffled in behind me, including members of my team and the friends we had made. Show time!

First up was the NASA Glenn Research Center with their talk about NASA’s progress in producing In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). From there the presentations became more and more incredible. We saw swarms of jumping robots for asteroid study, Martian zeppelins and computer chips built for Venus. There where four legged robots to explore the moon, a lunar rover becoming a superstar in Japan in order to raise money for launch and integrated navigation systems using star trackers and proximity sensors. We were the last presentation of the day, so I had plenty of time to talk myself into a nervous sweat. Of course I did

GreenSat at IAC2017
Dont screw it up dont screw it up dont screw it up

By the time I got up on stage, many people had seen what they had came for and left. However, even more had shuffled in to watch us. Our presentation was a smashing success: we explained the importance in agriculture throughout history and its role in making human kind a space faring race. We showed off our first prototype and our plan to breed bacteria better suited to the space environment. Question time gave us the exact questions we where looking for: talking about things we couldn’t fit into the presentation such as our plan to simulate gravity and the steps we plan to take to achieve that. We were followed out into the corridor by a mob of people curious about our work and where asked many more questions about the specifics of our project

This trip has been an amazing experience, made possible by the tremendous work done by our incredible team. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, the Greensat team itself, those within BLUEsat who helped organise this trip and our amazing faculty who helped guide us to where we are now. With one more day left, this trip is not over yet and I look forward to another day of amazing presentations and incredible new ideas