What ideas do you have to continue space exploration education & public outreach in these challenging economic times?

What ideas do you have to continue space exploration education & public outreach in these
challenging economic times?

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Graffiti - I spray painted the drake equation with numerous creatures & aliens on top of it. People get boggled when they see that it's an actual equation written on the wall instead of a cuss word, hopefully afterwards they go home and google it. Instead of making it crappy, I spend a lot of hard time and effort making it as good of a portrait as I can so when people see it, they think it's art instead of graffiti.

I did this the other day and found that kids had come back with chalk a week later and drew more aliens next to my aliens. Later a parent stopped me while I was walking home with a big bag of spray paint and asked me if I was the one who was doing all the paintings, I thought he was going to get mad at me but instead he said he really enjoyed it and shook my hand. It was a great feeling.

How many company ads do you ignore in a day?   /  Have you ever used a public restroom and not read the writing on the bathroom stall?

Spray paint is $1 - $4 a can

On top of this I was a volunteer public astronomy teacher for my school. They let me use their $2000 telescope to take it anywhere I pleased. I would show up to grocery store parking lots and just start teaching random crowds of shoppers who were interested (barely anyone passed up the opportunity).

It is refreshing to see that grocery stores used in that way--I am sure that certain grocery chain would not mind the publicity. Sounds like a very teachable moment for some individuals.

 

two thumbs up!

These little steps of communicating science to public are really very interesting and commendable! We must keep that spirit going!

@Jordan, yeah I agree that the arts have a strong future in communicating science to people, particularly to those who feel intimidated by "traditional" science communication endeavors. Art can definitely express concepts in so many more ways than words can!

@John, science on grocery bags? I've never seen this! What a great idea! Do you have any pictures to share? -cheers

Hey Sanjoy--

I can recall as a child  going to the grocery store with my parents--there would be a diversion for children who may become fidgety. Currently if a child is crying or does not want to accompany their parent to the grocery---they may get a balloon or a "sticker." It would be a very cool moment ( I think) if there could be a small portion of a parking lot sectioned away to view Sun Spots (?) from responsible members of the Astronomy community. That might be difficult to do in practice. In fact it sounds very difficult--

But, with the cuts to NASA's education budget (still looming)--it almost seems as if someone (somewhere) could start to fill the void--. . .

 

Just my meandering thoughts?

I think it requires a vision and a proactive approach for the most part. It is human resource in my view that can take this initiative to make things happen on the grass root level, without being solely depended on the monetary benefits, by developing a pure will and enough sensitivity for human ignorance of this beautiful treasure - our space. It’s not just in US but the federal funding for space exploration education and outreach is an issue of debate around the world due to the economic downturn. Specially, in some parts of the developing countries the condition is much worse in terms of economy, space education, and the cosmic consciousness. I have seen people living in slums, struggling to earn their livelihood, where kids are deprived even of the basic education. So, for me, the dissemination of scientific information, space education and awareness is a real challenge in such corners of the Earth. When enough funding is not available to promote space education and outreach programs, it is our very personal approach and communication that would work. Personally, I don’t want these physical constraints to prevent any kid from dreaming the stars, or anyone of us is ignorant of the majesty of this Universe. It is the passion of transmitting one’s own excitement about science to public can create awareness and make that shift in people’s perspectives.

Thanks for this worthwhile discussion!

1. I think communication through the internet is a must for obvious reasons these times.

2. Widen the language options or implement close captions for various languages. Engage distant cultures in this exciting endeavor.

3. Apply wise surveys frequently to have a sense of people's thinking.

4. Organize cultural events promoting astrobiological/space-exploration sciences with fellow partners all around the world. The international community is ready for it.

5. Create newsletters and bulletins, those always fall on conference and meeting front desks.

6. Keep space exploration going ! Mars is ultragreat, but we need to go to Europa, we must search for life there ! we need the general public on our side

7. SAGAN is great, keep it up !

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