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INTERVIEW with ROBERTA PATERNESI from ITALY
Team & Task(s)
Roberta Paternesi was born in Rome, Italy and has been living in Noordwijk, The Netherlands for 3 years now. As leader of the “Science Data Officer” (SDO) team her task in the MARS2013 Mission is to take care of all the data that is generated by the experiments during the mission. She ensures all the data is made available for further reference and guarantees the exchange of data and information among the different teams in the Mission Support Center (MSC) and with PIs (Principal Investigator) all over the world.
Space & MARS2013
How did you first get in touch with the topic of space / astronomy / analog research?
I have always had a passion for astronomy. During my childhood, I spent the summer holidays with my family at my aunt’s countryside house in Tarquinia, North of Rome. In that house it was like living still in the 18th century: no electricity, water from a well, and fruits and vegetables from the fields just outside the house. Something magical to me. The nights were really dark and the stars above were so shiny and fascinating… I remember that every weekend my father was visiting us, as he remained in town for work during the summer, and it was a sort of ritual after dinner to take our chairs outside and point our noses up to see if there was any falling star! That fascination has never left me! In more recent years I had the luck in my life to end up doing my IT job in the Directorate of Science and Robotic Exploration of the European Space Agency, where I have the chance to contribute to the Astronomy and Solar System Missions of the Agency. What more could I ask?!? ☺
When did you first hear about the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF)
I heard about OeWF from my very good friend Alexander Soucek, well before he became more than just a friend! Through him I got close to the activities the OeWF was doing such as the PolAres programme and its analog missions. I got fascinated by the professionalism and enthusiasm with which the OeWF pursues its goals and tried (and eventually succeeded!) to join the team.
How did you learn about the “MARS2013” mission?
I first joined OeWF as Science Data Officer during the Dachstein field simulation in April 2012. As it always happens in the OeWF activities, we are constantly looking forward to the next challenge, to the next adventure. So, at the end of the Dachstein mission, we started already discussing the steps toward MARS2013 and of course all of us wanted to be there!
Why did you choose to participate?
Because I simply could not do otherwise! It is fantastic to contribute to such a project, where with low budget but a lot of passion, competence and enthusiasm we do serious and important research.
What was your first impression when you got involved with the OeWF team?
Passion and Enthusiasm. Sorry to repeat myself but these two words are what keeps me bound to this organization, for the energy I recharge during OeWF activities is always much more than the one spent, even in intense and long days!
What is your personal goal in this mission?
Explore different aspects of an activity that has lots of similarities to my own job and from which I can get lots of inspiration.
Work, Life & Family
What I do for a living:
I work at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands, as IT Engineer in the Science and Robotic Exploration Directorate. In a few words: I manage the informatics services that support the Astronomy and Planetary Missions and provide them with technical solutions to simplify and sustain their tasks in building and launching satellites.
A typical day in my life looks like this:
My day must start with my holy breakfast! No way. I could hurry up on anything else but I need my, at least 15 minutes, to eat my cereal and yoghurt and drink my green tea! Then to work; sometimes, when the temperature, good will and laziness allow, by bike. I am usually at work between 8:00 and 8:30 and I like to start the day with a coffee with my colleagues where we review the status of activities and make plans for things to come, or just have a good chat on life, universe and all the rest… At the end of the day I cook myself a nice meal and then… a little Star Trek episode… I love the TNG series. Before switching off the light I read a bit from one of the two/three/four books I read in parallel; choice depends normally on the specific mood of the day…
This is how I spend my spare time:
Mostly travelling, usually between Holland, Italy and Austria. Sometimes a bit further away. Since I am in Holland I also do biking, exploring the country and taking long walks on the immense North Sea beaches.
In a relationship
How my friends would describe me:
They often say that I am very colourful!
Me, Myself & I
These things are precious to me:
The people I love; the people I like; the people I meet; a giant sugar melon on a hot summer; the big magnificent trees; the wind at the North Sea; the sun in a Roman spring; the colours of autumn
What drives me crazy:
People permanently complaining.
Something I would never do:
Something I learned in life is “never say never”. I once said “I could NEVER fly with a glider!!” and two years later I was begging to do it (and I DID IT!) ☺
One important thing other people should know about me:
I have the tendency to be a bit too organized…
To relax I absolutely need:
For this I would do almost anything:
NUTELLA!!!! I have an addiction for it…
Something that once changed my life:
Entering a theatre group, a few years ago…
What is the most unusual / challenging / exciting / scary / funny thing you ever experienced?
Skiing! My God! Tried to learn 3 years ago and it was the most unbelievable experience. Now you may think: how beautiful… No, I mean really incredible: I cannot believe I was on skies! To tell the truth I did not move much, I was just standing on them… but it is a start, as they say, no?!?
Goal(s) & Motto
Something I would love to learn or to achieve:
Dutch! I live in this country since years and, I don’t know why but this language still eludes me ;) I have been able to learn English, French, Spanish and German, in my life, but I cannot get hold of this one… ;)
My Motto / A saying I can identify with:
In Italian it reads: “Meglio vivere di rimorsi che di rimpianti”, but it is untranslatable in English as both rimorsi and rimpianti are the same word: regrets… The closest meaning is: “Better be sorry for something done than thinking ‘if only I had done it’”.
This article is available in: German
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