How do we get the public involved with space travel?

How do we get the public involved with space travel?

How do we get the public involved with space travel?

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Sept. 11 2007 8:23 PM

How do we get the public involved with space travel?

Bob Mahoney, in his article in Space Review, understands that it's easy to promote space to the public. But how do we get them actively engaged in it?

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

We can't rely on the media to do it for us, he says, and he's right. We can do some great stoking of fires that way, but it's still not going to get people engaged. And the media screw it up a lot (or else I wouldn't even have this website). As he points out:

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Expecting the news media to get a particular message out is not unlike asking a beloved dog to bring a package of meat to a neighbor—some semblance of the wrappings may arrive, but don’t expect the contents to have their original weight or texture.

He also points out the fact -- the cold, hard fact -- that NASA TV sucks. I have complained about it for years, and I've tried to talk to people at NASA about it, but no one listens (at least no one who has any authority in this area). NASA TV should be NASA! Rockets! Fantastic images! Daring-do and space travel! Yet watching it is like watching fingernails grow, only more tedious.

If only there were some media-savvy person who loves being on camera, is good at making complex topics accessible, and clearly is having fun and is able to infect others with that same enthusiasm! But where are we ever to find such a person?

I have a book to finish right now, but I will think on this. I have plans to do a lot more media stuff to promote astronomy and space travel, including more videos and maybe more mainstream media. But this blog is interactive, so if you've got ideas, post 'em. Let's get some brainpower behind this, and see what we can do.