Uncovering mysteries, unfolding paths: SOE’24 gathers eight women who shed a light on Space, Ocean, and Earth’s secrets

The world’s largest space exploration summit – the Glex Summit – once again gathered in the Azores and hosted the SOE’24 event – Space, Ocean and Earth Insights – with the theme “Women in Exploration: Breaking Boundaries”. This year, the UT Austin Portugal Program teamed up again with GLEX as one of SOE’s Visionary Partners. Over the course of two hours, eight women shared their stories and shared their journeys towards discovering the best-kept secrets of Space, Ocean and Earth.   

Under the baton of Ana Pires, INESC TEC researcher and scientific coordinator of the event, Yvette Gonzalez, Nicole Mann, Beatriz Flamini, Tess Caswell, Sabrina Thompson, Kirstin Schulz — Research Associate Computational Research in Ice and Ocean Systems Group at UT Austin —and Fatma Kaplan also took to the stage. Despite the different areas of research – as distinct as marine biology or extreme sports – the inspiring stories were common to all the speakers.  

For instance, researchers revisited Kirstin Schulz’s Expedition to the North Pole and the Camões mission – Portugal’s first analog mission and led by INESC TEC. The role of women in exploiting the scientific potential of nations was one of the points highlighted by Ana Pires during her speech, with mentions also being made to the empowerment of women through and within science. 

“This event was an excellent opportunity to get to know people who have been continuously contributing to the search for knowledge, and to the creation of a future in which science and exploration – whether of the Earth, Space or the Ocean – know no borders”, concluded the researcher.   

Space-Earth Interactions is one of the core scientific areas of the UT Austin Portugal Program. Through an holistic approach to space technologies, sea, climate and clean energy, the Program supported in Phase 3 a research agenda involving transatlantic and north-south cooperation in complex engineering systems and science.  

The UT Austin Portugal Program has been involved in the SOE’s Initiative since its inception in 2022, supporting the discussion and the scientific advancements on Space, Ocean, and Earth. This event also promotes knowledge exchange between experts and researchers from Portugal and the United States of America.