Press Release

Mission X: train like an astronaut in 2012

By SpaceRef Editor
November 16, 2011
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Mission X: train like an astronaut in 2012

ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers is inviting thousands of schoolchildren to perform physical activities and to learn about healthy nutrition to compete with teams from around the world to become as fit as astronauts. Mission X kicks off again in February!

On Earth it is important to eat healthily and to exercise regularly whether you are an astronaut or not. For astronauts living and working in weightlessness, balanced diet and physical activity are vital – two hours’ exercise per day is needed to keep fit.

ESA is teaming up with NASA as well as other space agencies and using space explorers as models to promote regular exercise and healthy nutrition among young people worldwide.

The activities include ‘Let’s Climb a Martian Mountain’, ‘Do a Spacewalk’, ‘Agility Astro-Course’, ‘Get on your Space Cycle’ and ‘Space Roll-n-Roll’. Educational science modules include engaging lessons on bones, hydration and the importance of energy from food.

The World Health Organization has designated childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health challenges of the century. Diet, physical activity and health are the best answers to this largely preventable problem.

Mission X is therefore helping the next generation to boost its health and fitness.

Bigger and bolder Mission X

Last year’s pilot Mission X included 12 countries, 11 space agencies and more than 4000 children.

The countdown to Mission X 2012 has begun and ESA will mark the beginning with a live event connecting Andre Kuipers aboard the Space Station with four European countries. About 1000 children will have the chance to take part in a live video call to the space ambassador in early February.

Andre will show how the astronauts eat and train during their long missions. He will also answer questions about training like an astronaut and what it takes to be a fit explorer.

In the Netherlands the event well be held at Space Expo, Noordwijk, in Portugal at Ciencia Viva in Lisbon, in Italy at the Planetario de Torino and in Switzerland the location is Museum.BL close to Basel.

Once Mission X is in full swing, teams of students aged 8-12 around the world will learn the principles of healthy eating and exercise and compete for points by completing training modules.

Students will practise scientific reasoning and teamwork while participating in hands-on training missions targeting strength, endurance, coordination, balance, spatial awareness and more.

Many more countries will take part in Mission X 2012, including the USA, Japan and Mozambique. From Europe, participants are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

After the six-week challenge, the winning schools will be announced by ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers from space, where he will be living aboard the International Space Station.

How to participate

Do you want to participate in the 6 week long competition? Please contact to find out how to join the Mission X 2012 Challenge. More info at

SpaceRef staff editor.