Press Release

United Nations Holds Workshop On Basic Space Science in Beijing

By SpaceRef Editor
May 21, 2004
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United Nations Holds Workshop On Basic Space Science in Beijing

Workshop Participants to Link to NASA Laboratory in Pasadena On Space Mission Concept

VIENNA, 21 May (UN Information Service) — The Twelfth United
Nations/European Space Agency Workshop on Basic Space Science will be held
in Beijing, China, from 24 to 28 May 2004. The Workshop, which is being
co-organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA)
within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications,
the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Government of China, will be hosted
by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The participants will be
scientists, particularly from developing countries.

In recognition of the role that space science and technology plays in
the scientific, economic and social progress of all countries, the United
Nations emphasized the importance of international cooperation. In
accordance with a specific action plan identified by the Third United
Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
(UNISPACE III), and as part of its strategy for promoting international
cooperation in space-related activities with a focus on increased knowledge
and capacity-building in developing countries, UNISPACE III called for the
continuation of the successful series of the annual UN/ESA workshops on
basic space science, which began in 1991.

The twelfth workshop in that series will aim at strengthening basic
space science worldwide by providing a forum to highlight recent scientific
breakthroughs made in space science; fostering scientific collaboration and
co-operation among countries; exploring the avenues of education and
research in basic space science for the benefit of developing countries;
identifying ways and means through which countries can develop facilities
and capacities to participate in basic space science research and

China, through CNSA, is cooperating closely with OOSA to provide support
to other Member States in the uses of outer space for peaceful purposes and
for the betterment of all humankind. The current Workshop will further the
cooperation between CNSA and OOSA in regional and international education
and research in space science and technology.

An interactive demonstration of the early design stages of an
international planetary mission will be held as part of the Workshop. The
demonstration will establish a remote video conferencing and data link
between Team X located at National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s
(NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena in the United States and the
Workshop participants in Beijing. The demonstration will show the
participants how a space mission concept is developed.

Sessions of the Workshop will also explore the Virtual Observatory
concept and the ADS and their worldwide availability, as well as the role
of small telescopes in this emergent way of applying astronomy in the 21st
century. This is owing to the fact that the universe is being digitally
recorded by ground-based and space-borne astronomical observatories at an
unprecedented rate, which presents opportunities and challenges in
seemingly equal measure. The advent of the Virtual Observatory concept and
the Astrophysical Data Systems (ADS) signals a paradigm shift in the way
astronomy will be applied worldwide in the era of information abundance and
networking. A virtual observatory is a graphical user interface that
provides free access to ground-based and space-borne astronomical data. The
ADS project, which is funded by NASA is a digital library consisting of
four bibliographies on the topics of astronomy and astrophysics, physics
and geophysics, instrumentation and preprints in Astronomy.

Small telescopes, including those in developing countries, will play an
essential role in this new research and education environment, as they
provide a substantial portion of all astronomical data, both as surveying
instruments and as follow-up facilities. Through the UN/ESA Workshops on
Basic Space Science, a concept was devised to promote basic space science
in developing countries. This concept has come to be known as the TRIPOD.

Participants from the following countries are expected to attend the
Workshop: Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, Ethiopia, France,
Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands,
Paraguay, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation,
Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Syria, United Arab Emirates, United
Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Viet Nam and Yemen.

* *** *

The United Nations Programme on Space Applications is implemented by the
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and works to improve the use
of space science and technology for the economic and social development of
all nations, in particular developing countries. Under the Programme, the
Office conducts training courses, workshops, seminars and other activities
on applications and capacity building in subjects such as remote sensing,
communications, satellite meteorology, search and rescue, basic space
science, satellite navigation and space law.

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the
decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses
of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for
promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,
and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology.
Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at

United Nations Information Service Vienna (UNIS)
P.O.Box 500, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: (+43-1) 26060 4666, FAX: (+43-1) 26060 5899

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SpaceRef staff editor.