On Thursday 16 January the proclamation ceremony of the ODISSEA prize for best master thesis in connection with space was held in Brussels. Tom Shokaert came second with his thesis entitled "Possible scenarios to cultivate cyanobacteria on the Moon for life support".
His research fits in with the MELISSA project of the ESA European Space Agency, of which SCK•CEN was one of the founding members. For long space missions, such as a Mars mission, it is impossible to take sufficient water and food and store all the waste. MELISSA (Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative) is a circuit of linked biological reactors to recycle waste water, carbon dioxide and organic material into drinking water, food and oxygen.
Tom Shokaert has a Master in geography and last year followed an advanced master's programme in the Space Studies programme (KU Leuven/UGent). Under Natalie Leys and Sarah Baatout's supervision, he did his thesis research at SCK•CEN. Thanks to the ODISSEA prize he received € 2,000 for his work.
Philippe Courard, State Secretary for Science Policy, awarded the prizes in the salons of the Senate in Brussels in the presence of viscount Dirk Frimout, chairman of the jury, Sabine de Bethune, chairman of the Senate, and the senators of the Espace work group.
On the initiative of the Federal Minister of Science Policy and the Belgian Senate, an annual ODISSEA prize is awarded to one or several final-year students at a European university or college of higher education. The name refers to Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne's ODISSEA mission of November 2002 on board the international space station, ISS.
In November 2002 the Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne conducted an important science and technology programme aboard the International Space Station during the ODISSEA mission. The Federal Minister of Science Policy and the Belgian Senate have created an annual ODISSEA prize that is awarded to one or more graduate students of a European university or university college.
SCK•CEN congratulates Tom Shokaert with his excellent achievement and wishes him the best of luck in his further career.
From left to right: Tom Shokaert, Sarah Baatout, head of Radiobiology, Natalie Leys, head of Microbiology
Pictures: copyright Guy Goossens