Most of us have dreamed of being an astronaut at one time or another. The captivating images of our home planet and solar system, spacecraft landings on other worlds, and individual astronauts themselves have inspired many.
Being an astronaut, however, isn’t the only career possible in space science. At an event held at AAAS in May, 150 middle-schoolers got to learn about these opportunities from a panel of four space scientists. The panelists all work in space science, while not being astronauts themselves. (Watch an interview with each of the panelists here.)
The panelists included Susan Wolfinbarger, a geographer, who explained how she uses satellite imaging to identify human rights abuses at the AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project. David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist, discussed his interest in life on other planets, followed by Marco Midón, an electronics engineer, who talked about his work in communications technology for NASA. Finally, María José Viñas, a science writer, discussed her job covering earth science for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
The event was available to the public via live webcast, and audience participants were given the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists after their presentations.
Showing students the wealth of opportunities available in science at a young age is crucial to building their interest in the subject. Though the chances of becoming an astronaut are slim for anyone, this event showed that many, many other equally interesting opportunities are out there.
Watch a video of the full event here.
Image credit: Dione Rossiter, AAAS
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