This marks the beginning of the final week of ISU’s Space Studies Program – SSP22 online program. The past 5 weeks have been filled with participants’ various emotions, and arduous work on their TP (Team Project): New Methodologies in the Search for Life.
Week 6 of the program is usually intense with participants working and putting a lot of effort into the TP report, executive summary, video, and presentation. It kicked off with participants getting feedback from the faculty experts on their written deliverables draft on Monday. A lot had to be discussed, obviously, because 48 hours is short to discuss the huge amount of received feedback even in the best circumstances. As soon as they received the comments, and their deadline being extended, they had a meeting with the Chairs and the TP Management team to discuss how to best tackle everything in time. They were already busy brainstorming and continuing writing their TP report and executive summary, and working on their other deliverables when the meeting started. Smoke was rising from their deadlines; the hour grew late and the whole team gathered seeking the wise counsel from the Chairs. In this emergency meeting, the fate of the whole project was about to be decided and a new breath was given to the already exhausted and puffed team. From this point on, the online participants continued to refine their deliverables until their deadline at the end of the day, on August 4th. During the last rush, the team had to face technical issues which resulted in huge waves of stress to meet their deadlines! In addition, the week ended on Friday, August 5th, 2022, with the TP online presentation.
During the class meeting session rehearsal, in the morning, the whole team came together as one to give everything they had been preparing for their presentation. They knew that it was going be difficult, but they just did not know how much it was going to be. Every question they received was incredibly challenging and it was possible to grasp how much preparation as well as the extreme tiredness they had. Sometimes, incomprehension facing puzzling question was striking the team. For them, it felt like walking through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but they feared no evil because a good team always prevails.
After the great trial, they finally triumphed as they would later hear it during their feedback sessions. Everyone seemed to agree on the fact that they succeeded. For the first feedback session with the participants, however, it is not possible to know what happened there since it was a closed session with none other than Pascale Ehrenfreud, the ISU (International Space University) President. For the second one, with the Chairs and ourselves, it was about telling them how great they performed even if they could have done better here and there. The SSP unofficially ended with a social event in which both the online Chairs were present to play a music trivia with them. Later on, an unformal discussion took place about what would happen for each participant and staff member in terms of jobs and other experiences. Although the SSP journey finally came to an end, a new journey is about to begin for the team: one of which would later lead a good part of the team to the gates of Paris for the International Astronautical Congress (IAC22) in September.
Thomas Chrétien, SSP22 Virtual Team Project-Teaching Associate
Sasiluck (Noon) Thammasit, SSP22 Online Academic Assistant