SLUSH is a worldwide renowned innovation event that has start-up companies and investors as its major targets. The 2019 edition attracted some 25000 curious minds, including over 3500 start-ups and 2000 investors.
In the last few years, in cooperation with the BICs (Business Incubation Centres), ESA Earth Observation has been present at SLUSH Helsinki with a stand. SLUSH is always an enthusiastic event, requiring a large team effort to prepare the stand, organise materials, experiences and demonstrations for the visitors. In 2019, the Φ-lab participated with its Virtual Reality tour, and also assisted visitors interactively, by presenting different ESA activities, results and answering questions.
It is always impressive to discover that the majority of participants (from all over the world) have little to no knowledge of ESA and its Earth Observation activities, so the stand also serves an important outreach and educational purpose. The collaboration with EAC allowed ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer to be present at the stand where he took the opportunity to go on a Virtual Reality Tour of the Moon. Some of the start-ups proposed ideas to be experimented by the astronaut in future missions (e.g. a glove interacting with a drone).