Space Exploration is time and again proving to be one of the key drivers in STEM and educational outreach. More so than pretty much any other branch of science, anything to do with space (or dinosaurs) will inspire young children through to old alike.
We just attended one of the largest science shows in the UK, with over 16,000 people attending the New Scientist Live event in London. Alongside the like of Al Worden from Apollo 15, through to more recent “closer to home” astronauts (in more ways than one) like Tim Peake, it was clear from the sheer number of people who not only came to our stand at the Space Collective (which we were happy to invite our friends from Aerolite Meteorites to share), that space really does inspire.
This week, NASA unveiled their latest results and data from the Jovian Moon Europa. Plumes!!
Then we have the end of the very successful Rosetta Mission, whose navigation and guidance teams have surpassed pretty much anything anyone could have expected, performing exemplary science (though sadly with ridiculous restrictions on image release, the one thing the public really wanted). Then we have Elon Musk and his plans for Mars exploration with a new engine in test, and Jezz Bezos showing the wind tunnel testing for his “New Glenn” spacecraft.
What we saw at the show in London though, was that science really does capture the imagination. All branches in fact, but space science more than most for younger people. We must have spoken to over 2000 people over the course of the show, about everything from Moon and Mars rocks, through to Gemini era checklists and how on earth we managed to come by pieces of the Apollo 13 spacecraft.
It never got tiring though, people were hungry to learn and we were hungry to inform and inspire.
Much like the aforementioned missions, there is of course a commercial side, but that truly does pale in to insignificance next to the feeling you get when you see the face of a young person light up, when they’re holding a slice of the Moon or Mars, or a grown up, carefully paging their way through said Gemini checklists.
We get as excited as everyone else too. That’s what makes it so much fun, but without you,, our friends reading this blog post, it would really mean nothing.
So this post goes out to all of you, who continue to dream of the impossible, and love science in all its forms.
Ad Astra as they say… one day we will.