Gen Y Involvement in Space Exploration

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NASA EDGE is interested in producing a “round table” style vodcast focusing on Gen Y’s interest in space exploration.  One question that needs to be addressed is “How can NASA inspire the next generation of explorers primarily in the 18-25 age group?”

Is it by developing in school or after school programs emphasizing math and science?
Do we need additional funding for more space related internships and camps? College recruitment?
Nationwide publicity through a widely accepted media outlet? Or maybe even global publicity?
Use the Gen Y crowd already involved to reach out to impressionable youth?
Place the Gen Y crowd in decision making positions?
Make engineering and aeronautical career goals more attainable and appealing?
Implore Generation Y to understand that all kinds of educational backgrounds are needed for exploration success?
Further online social networking?
Door to door solicitation of space food?

Let us know what you think, because Chris and Blair are Gen Xers and they don’t remember their early twenties!

Maggie and Tomeka
NASA EDGE Summer Interns

17 thoughts on “Gen Y Involvement in Space Exploration

  1. Jennifer Post author

    If I wasn’t into math and science in high school and didn’t have math and science programs I would have no clue about anything space science. I think math and science are the way to go. Also space camp!!!

  2. Mr. Hazen Post author

    Marketing!
    Get them excited when they are 8 or 9 (3rd or 4th grade)and keep pouring fuel on the fire. The highly successful missions to Mars and the gorgeous photos of eclipses are great examples of items that will catch the interest of middle schoolers.

  3. Zara Post author

    I think all of the above are very good ideas. I particularly like #2 the “Do we need additional funding for…etc.” The Door to door solicitation is funny, but it may work! You never know how food appeals the intrest of people. But I agree with Jennifer, math and science programs in school should be further expanded and should be much more appealing. In today’s world, those two subjects are vital in higher education, especially for areospace and astronomical education. We know those people that are in the Math and Science clubs as the “geeks” in my school. So they should not only be for the smart ones, but should be appealing to everyone. Yes, Space Camp is a fantastic idea and very appealing!!! ^_^

  4. Zara Post author

    #2 is a great way to get them involved. The door to door solicitation of space food is funny, but you never know how what food can do to people! Though, I agree with Jennifer, math and science programs are extremely important.

  5. Francisco Post author

    I agree with Mr. Hazen it would be great for any young kid, and for not so young kids too if there would be any video game where you have to train yourself to be an astronaut or to explore different aspects..like i dont know for example if you do not train your self to be an astronaut sit down in mission control and play different rols. Like a nasa flight simulator i think.

  6. WILIAM E PEREZ Post author

    IN MY EARLY 20’s I WENT TO MIAMI DADE JR. COLLAGE FOR ELECTRONICS ENGINEERING INSTRUMENTATION AND ASSMBLE . THIS PERIOD IN MY LIFE AND ALL OTHERS ARE REMEMBERED VERY WELL ONWARD IN FULL FORCE.BECAUSE I MY FARTHER AND SISTERS AND BROTHERS SET THE GROUND WORK IN OUTDOOR ROCETS ASTRONOMY, LIBRARY .FRIENDS IN GROUPS OF THE BOY SCOTTS OF AMERICA , DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS OF MIAMI , ALL THIS AND MORE MUST BE AN ACTIVE FAIR ATTITUDE TO STAY THE COURSE OF HIGHER DISAPLINE INTELLAGENTS . TO MOVE WITH YOUR GOALS NOT YOUR OBSTICALS THAT SHORT CHANGE US AND OTHERS TO TOTAL MOVE AT THIS PRESENT EXSPENCE WE HAVE TO SHARE IN AT THIS HIGH SIGHT TO PLACE WILL IN ORDER WHERE IT GOES AT THE TIME OF CHANCE OR STRUCTURE. SO REALLY THE QUESTION ANSWERS IT’S SELF STRONG STRUCTURING . I COULD ANSWER THE QUESTIONS FOR YOU BUT IT IS BETTER TO ADD IN AS IT GOES .

  7. guest Post author

    I HAVE A QUESTION FOR ANYONE AT NASA. DO U HAVE ENOUGH FUNDING TO TEST THE TELSA IDEA THAT HAS SCIENTISTS SO SKEPTICAL?

  8. Daedalus Post author

    As a parent, I know that after school programs don’t work well. There are too many conflicts with other after school activities.

    Maybe a better tool would be to leverage NASA TV. Our satellite service provides NASA TV as part of the basic package; *interesting* programs could be used to inspire the next generation scientists and engineers.
    NASA Inside and Out is a good start.

    Another program that seems to be working well are science outreach programs for boy scout merit badge development, girl scout advancement, and in some cases the general public. These programs, provide live demonstrations, hands-on activities, as well as tours of current research. Having an opportunity to meet the people who do the science, as well as see what they do makes a big impression.

  9. Lena Post author

    I’m currently 18 years of age and from the first time I ever heard about outer space, my heart was captured. I find this field so amazing and mysterious! I am not the best at math, but I love it and I know how important it is. As part of “Gen Y” I am very interested in NASA and astronomy, but often times discouraged by how, almost impossible, it is to become part of NASA and by the fact that there are no facilities in my home town of Portland, Oregon. I just wish I didn’t have to leave my state to go to space camp.

  10. KM Post author

    Frankly, since I was a child, a career in space exploration seemed to be a grand fantasy shelved just between time machine inventor and independent artist (a slight alteration of which I now find myself pursuing). It seems as though space exploration–or being involved with it at some level at least–was a far reaching foreign thought, perhaps due to the incredible lack of exposure to anything involving such topics. My school’s science department never mentioned anything remotely related to space beyond the levels of chemicals in certain regions. Therefore, finding myself with the potential to be part of such exploratory pursuits seemed to be for “other people” that were “somewhere”, but especially not in my school for myself.
    Despite the phrase, “I would love to see space, to be encompassed by the universe on an enormous scale, and floating about experiencing the fanciful sensation of weightlessness.” I never felt like it was probable, so it became more like a dream–an impossible one at that.
    Now, my greatest hope is that one day, NASA manages to discover great populations of life on some distant planetary mass, and that, for some odd reason beyond probability, they express an urge to involve the illustrators of their nation in an attempt to present a naturalist revival of sorts and provide a familiar, personal appeal to their discoveries. But, to be perfectly honest, I would be more than happy to just draw a rock or the many compartments of the shuttle if it meant having an opportunity to breach the Earth’s atmosphere.

  11. N.J. SLABBERT Post author

    The best way to explain the benefits of space exploration to this demographic is surely via theatrically released feature films and documentaries as well as television products that capitalize on the massive existing receptivity to science fiction. NASA has not so far sold its mission adequately through these means. There is vast potential here for invaluable mass communication. — Nicholas J. Slabbert

  12. Karen Miles Post author

    Two of your ideas are wonderful and definately the direction to go in: “additional funding for more space related internships and camps” and “using the Gen Y crowd already involved to reach out to impressionable youth” (though, as a former teacher, I would
    suggest also having handouts ready to distribute which would have step-by-step scenarios of how to go from high school into an aeronautical/space-related job, these being complete with details ranging from topics to choose for research papers in school to getting references from teachers/professors for various applications to how many interviews to expect). Without the real-world involvement of either a camp or intern experience or at least an actual person talking with them, it is far too easy to daydream about such a possibility but never actually consider that they, too, could realistically be someone who could achieve that goal (as well as not understand how to connect the dots on how to plan and achieve it but be too intimidated to ask someone).

    A major salute and Yea! to you for considering such questions!!!
    Keep it going, all of you in the field of aerospace.

    I missed out on my chance to be invovled personally –
    although you’re talking to someone that did show Mae Jemison’s appearance on Star Trek to her fourth and sixth graders –
    your endevours are an inspiration to many of us, on many different levels. Thank you and keep up the good work.
    Now, if we could just figure out a way to get more funding from Congress…

  13. Prof. A. C. Vandiver, Jr. Post author

    You do the same thing that was done in the 60s, and don’t reinvent the wheel.

    First, you need a mission that is inspiring, dangerous, trail-blazing, and meaningful that promotes space travel for the human race. Mars may have that TV-Q if it is packaged correctly. After that, it is a matter of Marketing, PR, and Media management at every step along the way. Setbacks do not require spin necessarily; they require explanation and redemption. But first start with the mission that we can sink our teeth into and the publicity will follow. Remember the mantra of the Mercury astronauts? “No bucks, no Buck Rogers”.

    My recommendation? Put George Lucas and ILM in charge of marketing and PR for the mission. Ensure that it looks good every step of the way. Let’s face it: Lucas does space very well indeed.

  14. guest Post author

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