About the Search Question
What does it mean if we can no longer see the stars?
One of the first buildings built in 1962 on the new university campus was the ‘Sterrentoren’ (star tower) by Sjoerd Wouda which was intended to host an astronomical observatory. As soon as the construction was finished light pollution and city expansion made an observatory useless as it was impossible to see the stars. The demise of the Sterrentoren raises the question, what does it mean if we can no longer see the bigger picture? Watching the night sky is an activity that instinctively makes us ask: what is out there? How does that relate to me? Questions that lie at the basis of scientific curiosity. Without a functioning Sterrentoren, is the campus fully sustainable if we do not have a space to ask these basic questions?
Roel Roscam Abbing is working on the Utrecht Science Park in a so called Spacekeet. This Spacekeet will be an experimental method to answer these questions. A mobile DIY satellite ground station in a builder’s keet (‘shack’) built with the help of the Werkgroep Kunstmanen. Members of this hobby association have been building satellite receivers and decoding satellite transmissions since the 1970s. Their machines which consist of bike parts, chicken wire and self-built electronics, track satellites as they fly through our sky at altitudes of 800km.
Spacekeet will host workshops, meetings and and observation moments on the campus. Spacekeet invites you to join amateurs, hobbyists, students and professionals to try answering or at least start asking questions about where we are.