'MIMA', 'Oh my Venus' and other quirky space mission proposals in PhilSA's space science camp

Scientists were impressed by the level of environmental and social awareness showcased by senior high school students in their space mission proposals on top of their creativity in naming them during the recently-concluded Space Science Camp organized by the Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA).

Touchdown Earth: Space Mission Proposal emcees Dr. Refran ( top from left) of the Earth Sciences Space Mission Studies Division (ESSMSD) and Mr. Lester Janz Dela Cruz of the Public Relations and Information Division (PRID) seek the comments of judges Dr. Hilario, (bottom from left) Ms. Pangasinan and Mr. Felix on the presented mission ideas. (Photo courtesy of PhilSA)

In a statement sent on Wednesday, July 27, PhilSA said that scientists who evaluated the space mission proposals presented by participants were also dazzled by the catchy mission names like “Sun: AOL'' or “Oh my Venus” during the last day of LIFT OFF: PhilSA Space Science Camp 2022.

“The mission objectives showed the students’ eagerness on solving present challenges and threats confronting our environment. It was heartening to see that. I hope they stay passionate about helping the people and the planet as they pursue their interest in space science and technology,” Jamaica Pangasinan, Senior Science Research Specialist at the Space Mission Control and Operations Division (SMCOD) of PhilSA said.

Touch Down Earth: Space Mission Proposals is one of the culminating activities of the three-day hybrid camp held from July 19 to 21 and organized by PhilSA in partnership with the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Science and Technology Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), Moon Village Association (MVA), and the University of the Philippines National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (UP NISMED).

The activity was designed to see whether the participants could learn the concepts from Day 1’s lectures on space missions and satellite payloads. On Day 1, Pangasinan conducted the lecture on space missions, while Dr. Paul Leonard Atchong Hilario, Space Science, and Technology Applications (SSTA) Researcher II at PhilSA Spacecraft Payload and Communications Systems Development Division (SPCSDD), facilitated the discussion on satellite payloads.

“The ideas presented showed that the students researched their proposals well. They used not only what they learned in the camp, which is apparent in their presentations, but also, concepts and technologies they figured out themselves,” Hilario said.

Fourteen science high schools from the 16 divisions of Metro Manila selected by DepEd to join the camp presented their space missions. Each team was given five minutes to describe the mission of their satellite, its key technical features, and why it is essential.

PhilSA Earth Sciences Space Mission Studies Division Senior Science Research Specialist Mark Jayson Felix noted the variety of missions the students came up with ranging from Earth Observation to space debris monitoring to planetary probes.

“I am surprised with the diversity and high level of the technical accuracy of space missions presented. This tells me that we won’t be short of space missions to pursue in the future,” he said.


Two missions bested the rest of the proposals. These are “MIMA” or the Monitoring Illegal Mining Activities in Remote Areas by Bianca Louise B. Cruz and Oscar A. Araja II of the City of Mandaluyong Science High School, and “V-SAMS” or the Venus Seismic Activity Monitoring Satellite by Peter James Lyon and Ysabela Juliana Bernardo of Caloocan City Science High School.

The students behind MIMA explained that their satellite mission aims to protect the environment and strengthen the implementation of mining laws and regulations in the country. Based on their proposal, MIMA would be a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite that could see through the cloud cover to detect changes in areas where mining activities could be present. It would use optical imagers to capture images.

The objective of V-SAMS, on the other hand, would be to learn more about the Earth’s twin planet, Venus, particularly, its seismic activities. To be able to achieve this, V-SAMS would use infrared imaging to monitor the surface temperature of Venus’ volcanoes, identify which ones will erupt, and discover other active volcanoes on the planet. It would also have an interferometric SAR (InSAR) to detect deformations and signs of seismic activity on Venus’ surface. In addition, V-SAMS would be equipped with an optical payload to take high-resolution images.