The Astrobiology Summer School/Workshop "Microsatellites in planetary and atmospheric research" will be hosted in Tartu, Estonia. The event will start on the morning of August 6th and finishes in August 11th in the evening.

The use of micro- and nanosatellites in space missions have been one of the hot topics in space research and space technology during the last years. As opposed to traditional spacecraft missions which can take decades to prepare and may cost up to billions of Euros, microsatellites (<100 kg) and nanosatellites (<10 kg) offer a quick, low-cost alternative for atmospheric and space research, which is ideal for early career people. Fleets of micro-and nanosatellites could also be used to perform multi-point measurements of targets (e.g. asteroids and comets). Possible applications of micro- and nanosatellites include

  • Comet and asteroid research
  • Investigations into the terrestrial atmosphere and ionosphere
  • Meteorite research and tracking
  • Planetary plasma and magnetospheric research
  • Remote sensing of other planets and satellites

However, in order to plan missions involving such small satellites successfully, intensive interaction and cooperation between scientists and space technologists are necessary, which is still lacking in some potential key applications.The early career scientist workshop/summer school aims to

  • Give participant an overview into the most pivotal research questions in planetary and atmospheric sciences
  • Highlight the possible potential of microsatellites in those areas
  • Explore novel applications of microsatellites in a multitude of different fields including astronomy, planetary and atmospheric sciences, geosciences and astrobiology
  • Foster the interaction between space researchers and technologists
  • Allow participants to start the design and planning of new space missions
  • Contribute to the training of a new generation of space researchers

The Stockholm University Astrobiology Centre, the University of Tartu, the European Astrobiology Campus, and the Nordic Network of Astrobiology will function as co-organisers of the course.

The course will consist of lectures by leading scientists, planning of a micro- or nanosatellite project in small groupps as well as open discusssions. Participants will also have the possibility to display their own research results in a poster session. Furthermore, a half-day excursion to interesting sites in the area (Ice Age Museum, Lake Peipus) and a walk in Tartu are included as a social programme.

The event is aimed for graduate (masters and Ph. D.) students and early career scientists (up to 8 years after their first Ph. D. in a related field) in fields relevant to astrochemistry and astrobiology. The event is open to applicants from all nationalities. Detailed information about the summer school and the application procedure (deadline 31 May 2018) can be found here. Please see the Application page for details about the application.

Course fees
The following course participation fees apply (prices in EUR):

Student or early career researcher selected by the Scientific Committee         FREE

Any other participant                                                                                                   200 euros

Participation fees cover

  • Lunches and coffee breaks from 6 August 2018 to 12 August 2018
  • Excursion with dinner and farewell dinner (Other dinners are NOT included)
  • Buffet breakfasts for people living at the Hotel Dorpat
  • People at Hector Hostel can make their own breakfasts and dinners (well-equipped kitchen available).
  • Exercises
  • Transfer between Tartu and Toravere Observatory
  • Course material

In addition, ALL participants (apart from invited speakers) have to find own funds for travel and accomodation. The following accommodations are available for special prices and can be booked upon registration (participants are free to sort out their own accommodation also independently):

Single room in Hector Hostel with private facilities                    250 euros

Shared double room in Hector Hostel with private facilities    175 euros

Shared double room in Hector Hostel with shared facilities    140 euros

Shared double room in Hotel Dorpat***                                     250 euros

Single room in Hotel Dorpat***                                                     400 euros

The quoted accommodation prices are for 7 nights from August 5th (arrival) to August 12th (departure) in the respective category. Extra nights before and after the event have to be booked and paid individually.


Lectures and poster sessions will take place in the Estonian Biocentre at Tartu University, Riia 26b, EE - 50411, Tartu. Please see the Venue & Access page for details. Exercises will be carried out at Tõravere Observatory (transfer will be provided)


The following people will give presentations at the summer course: 

Maria Gritsevitch, University of Helsinki, Finland
Erik Ilbis , University of Tartu, Estonia 
René Laufer , Baylor University, Texas, USA 
Joseph A. Nuth, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, USA
Wendy Okolo, NASA Ames Research Center, USA
Mihkel Pajusalu, MIT, USA and Tartu Observatory, Estonia
Jaan Praks, Aalto University, Finland
Andris Slavinskis, NASA Ames Research Center, USA and Tartu Observatory, Estonia
Colin Snodgrass, Open University, UK
Morio Toyoshima, NICT, Japan 

The event will be organised by the Nordic Network of Astrobiology, the University of Tartu and the European Astrobiology Campus. Dr. Wolf Geppert from Stockholm University will serve as the main contact person. The organisers are looking forward to welcoming you at the course. See you in Tartu in August 2018!

Deadline for application is the 31 May 2018.Please see the Application page for details about the application.


⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺    See you in Tartu in August!    ⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺⸺