To the stars, with Vis Viva

“To unite, to teach and learn, to explore,” is the motto of Vis Viva, a society that aims to be an international platform for bringing together space professionals. Founded in late 2012, the society wants to inspire people and promote the exploration of space through the sharing of knowledge.

In 2012, a number of enthusiastic students took the initiative to organize a sponsored group trip to the Glex (Global Space Exploration) conference in early 2012. Unable to raise enough funds, however, they were not abl e to go. Instead, the four TU Delft aerospace engineering students, and one ESA Young Graduate Trainee formed a tight group with a common interest, namely space exploration. “Together, we always had exciting discussions about space events, and we wanted to continue on a more professional level” says one of the group founders Roy Bijster.

Eventually, the five founding members, Bijster, Ingo Gerth, Jacco Geul, Clemens Rumpf, and Weijie Wu, came up with the idea of the society that would be a platform for meeting space professionals and discussing current events in space.

“Vis viva” is Latin for “the living force”, a fundamental concept of energy in space exploration, introduced by Gottfried Leibniz through the vis viva equation. The name stands for what the founders want their society to be, namely a living, energetic force to promote space exploration. It’s why they envision Vis Viva as a member-centric society.

“Instead of a traditional structure where the board organizes all of the events, in our society we want the members to take initiative. That’s why in order to become a member; you would have to organize an event for the society. That may seem like a steep hurdle, but it’s the way we will keep our society professional, exclusive for people who are truly passionate about space exploration and devoted to the cause,” says Bijster.

The society plans to have biweekly meetings where guest-speakers will give presentations on new and exciting subjects in the space world, followed by an informal discussion over beer. Other ideas for events include symposiums, conferences, and even a workshop on space mission design.

In February 2013, the society had its official kick-off event that opened the society to prospective member applicants. They followed with their first plenary meeting as a society in March 2013. The inaugural event was the Frontier Mars symposium, where two European scientists and one Nasa engineer presented on the latest Mars exploration efforts.

So who can join the society? Founder Ingo Gerth says, “We welcome applications from professionals in the space world and space master students. However, part of our goal is to create an international, interdisciplinary society, so people in Alpha-studies who are somehow affiliated with the space community, are also welcome. And we most definitely encourage international students in the Netherlands to apply. A common passion for space exploration and a willingness to contribute to its development is what we look for in members.”

Editor Redactie

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.