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  • The Promotion of Space Science - Education, Politics and Popular Culture

    Paper number



    Ms. Jasmina Lijesevic, University of Wales, United Kingdom



    The "international relations of outer space" are communicated to the public through a variety of media, rooted in various epistemic communities, and motivated by a myriad of experiences and intentions. It is difficult to quantify how important the inspirational value of teaching about space exploration is, however, anecdotal evidence suggests that students of all ages are enthused by learning about various aspects of the industry, from the scientific to the political and artistic sides. 
    This paper examines what educational programmes currently exist that promote the exploration of outer space and also discusses examples of successful outreach programmes. These include programmes run by universities, space agencies and private initiatives, all covering a variety of aspects of outer space exploration but with the primary aim of inspiring students to further commit and contribute to the industry. Examples of good practice are highlighted with the aim of illustrating the importance of educational programmes at all levels and how they can be used to ensure that future generations take the importance of space exploration into the workplace. Particular focus is placed on programmes that aim to educate the political decision makers of the future on the importance of outer space and courses that show the interdisciplinary nature of the space industry.
    How space is communicated to the public is discussed, and the use of popular culture to promote space to the public is considered as a key aspect of the wider education on outer space exploration. Popular science fiction and entertainment, including that propagated by national space agencies, as well as higher profile media conglomerates, serves a role in conditioning wider understanding of what outer space is and what the wider interest of the populace in outer space may be. This paper also considers the political role of popular culture in building expectations and meaning of and for outer space, including NASA using movies as a tool for promotion and prestige.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document