Lieden, NL - On 30 January, CSS President Wayne A. Ellis was pleased to have been able to attend the NVR/Space Nederland-sponsored event, GAIA Mini-Symposium that was held at the Leiden University. The event included a number of interesting and knowledgable scientists and engineers who presented on many of the aspects of the future GAIA mission, which is essentially a follow-on mission to Hipparcos of the late 1980's (which I remembered learning about in my undergrad days!). Anthony Brown lectured on the building of a 3D map of our Galaxy, with some really stunning renderings; Timo Prusti from ESA explained the GAIA mission concept, design and construction; and Rudolf le Poole 'dove deeper' into describing the space system's stablility tolerances and calibration equipment - very humbling for the undersigned to grasp!
After the event, the guests were treated to various beverages, and that allowed me some time to find out more of NVR's operations.One interesting thing that I did not know was that SpaceNed comprises of mainly space industry member organizations and thus it serves as the industry 'voice' to the Dutch government, whereas NVR is primarily concerned with bringing space enthusiasts together and putting on very interesting and informative events for its members. NVR claims to have nearly 800 members and over 60 years in operation - Bravo! Certainly, the CSS can learn a lot from this organization and we hope to have more interaction in the future! Many thanks to Lex Meijer, Gerard Blaauw and board members of the NVR!