Have you ever wondered how pizza was invented?
Legend has it that the most famous pizza was created by the stroke of genius of the pizza maker Raffaele Esposito in 1889. King Umberto I and Queen Margherita of the Italian Reign during that time were visiting the Capodimonte Royal Palace in Naples. Raffaele was known as the best pizza maker in Italy, and thanks to his fame, he was invited to the Royal Palace by the Queen herself to make pizza for the Royals. Raffaele’s recipe was simple: tomato, mozzarella, and basil were the only ingredients used. However, it carried an enormous meaning: it was the Italian flag on a pizza. And guess what this masterpiece was called? Yes, exactly… “Pizza Margherita”, in honour of the Queen, and is now the most renowned pizza all over the world.
Pizza always leads to great ideas…
Have you ever noticed that sometimes while eating a pizza with your friends, the best ideas are brought to life? You are chatting, discussing, talking, gossiping, laughing, and… from one silly joke, the most brilliant projects are made. I don’t know how it is possible: maybe the pizza has some superhuman powers coming from Raffaele’s genius that inspires everyone who’s eating it.
Believe it or not, it was during a pizza dinner that the MEEVA project came to life.
PoliSpace association was looking for a project to pursue a collaboration with Asclepios, a student association that creates analogue space missions and tests multiple projects. And during that pizza dinner held at the end of September, MEEVA was born. And it was the perfect project to keep the collaboration with PoliSpace and Asclepios alive.
About MEEVA: a Space Medicine project
MEEVA stands for Medical Equipment for Extra Vehicular Activities and aims to produce new and innovative bodysuits for astronauts to place underneath the regular space suits. Extravehicular activities are gaining more importance and sometimes are even fundamental and irreplaceable to performing maintenance of the ISS (International Space Station) itself.
This innovative space suit accounts for the overall well-being of the astronaut. The bodysuit integrates different sensors that can detect physiological parameters such as heart rate, range of motion, and average skin and core temperature. All these data will be processed thanks to micro-controllers and sent to a newly written algorithm that will estimate the psychophysical stress level of the astronaut.
Meanwhile, these parameters will also be transmitted in real-time through a telecommunication system to the MCC (Mission Control Centre) to increase the situational awareness of the overall well-being of the astronaut, improving decision-making.
There’s more: the cooling system
This project also wants to bring a more functioning cooling system to life. The main part is represented by a well-fitted bodysuit covered in small pipes where a coolant runs. The coolant fluid will be stored in a tank in a backpack with a phase-changing material or a small active cooling cycle. In this way, the coolant can release the heat collected from the astronaut’s body and keep working correctly.
Even though the MEEVA project started only a year ago, it is concretizing day by day into a more solid reality, thanks also to the multiple external collaborations it is involved in.
Good luck, MEEVA!
Pizza has become an icon of Italian cuisine. The tradition of pizza making has been passed on from century to century, refining the recipe every time. Its technique carries the history and traditions of a whole country: this has been confirmed by the proclamation of Napolean pizza making under the Superintendence of UNESCO in 2017.
And who knows if the MEEVA project is destined for the same successful fate?
The best has yet to come but remember: everything always begins with an idea.