European Space Agency Topical Team Arts & Science (ETTAS)

The European Space Agency Topical Team Arts & Science (ETTAS) has been established to develop cooperation between the arts, sciences and ESA. Its aim is to foster and expand the human and cultural aspects of space exploration, and at the same time, offer a means of communication with a reach beyond traditional space-related channels.

The arts offer alternative insights into reality — which is explored by science in general, and broadened by the activities conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA) and other space agencies. Similar to the way the members of ESA are ambassadors for spaceflight and science, artists and cultural professionals are ambassadors for human expression, experimentation, and exploration. In June 2011, the ESA Topical Team Arts & Sciences (ETTAS), held a three-day workshop at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. During this workshop, topics and ideas were discussed to develop a cooperation between the arts, sciences and ESA to foster and expand the human and cultural aspects of space exploration, and at the same time offer a means of communication which would aim to reach audiences beyond the scope of traditional space-related channels. The preliminary findings and consensus of the team was that establishing and sustaining a transdisciplinary professional community consisting of ESA representatives, scientists and artists would fuel knowledge transfer, and mutual inspiration. Potential ways to provide a sustainable cooperation within and between the various groups were discussed and will be presented. A number of measures and mechanisms in order to initiate and conduct such an initiative and a more in-depth view regarding organizational measures, procedures and consequences, as well as a proposition on how to proceed are included in the preliminary findings. Overall, the involvement and cooperation between the Arts, Space Science Research and ESA will enhance in the citizens of the ESA member states the sense of public ownership of ESA results, and participation in ESA’s research.

• left: ESA Topical Team Arts & Science Facebook cover photo.


• ETTAS Symposium in the Netherlands, November 2012.


• Image used for ESA Space for Educators: a project that provides resources for for teachers and kids.