Growing up in Britain in the 1980s, I was ridiculously jealous of those living in America, because Back To The Future made it look so cool. Living in America today, I am now ridiculously jealous of those growing up in Britain. Why? Because the European Space Agency is inviting European university students to fly around in simulated zero-G as part of their education. If you people actually had time-traveling DeLoreans, it wouldn't hurt so much, you know.
The ESA's new program Fly Your Thesis! - Yes, the exclamation point is part of the name - has been set up as part of the collective European effort to hothouse today's youth into becoming superscientists who will enable EU domination of the world by 2015. Or, alternatively, just to get them interested in science as a career:
This exciting programme will enable university students to fly their experiments in microgravity by participating in a series of parabolic flights on an Airbus A300 Zero-G aircraft.
"Fly Your Thesis!" requires each team of students to design a scientific experiment to be performed in microgravity, as part of their Masters thesis, PhD thesis or research programme. Teams should register on ESA Education's Project Portal and upload their outline proposals using the Letter of Intent template, by the deadline of 31 August 2008.
And should you pass the entrance examination, it's not just the zero gravity experience that awaits you; it's also the collective brains of Europe:
[T]hree or four teams will be selected to further develop and perform their experiment on an ESA Microgravity Research Campaign that will take place in Bordeaux, France, during the autumn of 2009. There, the student teams will work in close contact with renowned European Scientists carrying out their own research.
It's like SpaceCamp but more gallic, isn't it?