Shilling for Space

by guest blogger Ken

Now that this week’s Carnival of Space is up and running over at the Planetary Society website, it’s time to start work on my hosting of the Carnival next week at Out of the Cradle. I’m here today to encourage everyone to get something posted online, or point me to something that would be interesting.

The structure that I’ve adopted is as follows:

-Cislunar space
-Cis-Asteroid Belt (Cisasterian? Cis-Belt?)
-The promethean planets and planetoid cloud
-Interstellar galactic space
-Trans-galactic space

I’m hoping that the first section is the longest, but we’ll see how the submissions turn out.

This is just another facet of trying to get the word out to the public about space. Long time readers know that I do a lot of “shilling for space” in my community, and there are a lot of different ways of doing it. Let’s see, so far this year I’ve organized NSS space displays for the sneak previews of “Astronaut Farmer”, junior judged at the local the science fair (pdf), co-chaired a space conference (yes, that’s a picture of me and my co-chair, Carol Johnson, on p. 43 of the new adAstra), and talked to the local astronomy society about the New Moon (I should show up in the August newsletter). I’m going to try to arrange a Moon display for the opening of “In the Shadow of the Moon”, a speaking slot at the local FenCon, and maybe something for World Space Week. We’ve also got our Santa Space Toy drive coming up for the holidays. That’s one of my favorites, where the chapter collects a whole bunch of real-space-related toys and donates them en masse to the local Santa’s Helpers. I also help keep the North Texas Space Yahoo Group up to date. Throw the Lunar Library on top of that (coming up on it’s one year birthday!), and I think I can say I do my fair share to help create a grass-roots level groundswell of support for space activities, both current and potential future.

It’d be nice if more and more folks went out more often to do the same thing. There are of course countless individuals who do exactly that, but more often than not they are from inside the industry. Planetarium workers are a good example. They do a great job focusing school kids on the wonders of deep space, but often their knowledge base for near-Earth human activities is much weaker (as well as knowledge about the Moon). Members of NSS are often industry insiders, and are able to do things like corporate-sponsored space exploration merit badge activities. And then there are the freelancers. The wildcards in the mix. Sometimes dangerous to those with vested interests, because the message they convey is not tied to any agenda associated with cash flows. Sometimes dangerous to the public because they have crappy communications skills.

Luckily I seem to have developed strong training skills, so I can be effective at communicating space to listeners. One of the goals of ISU is to create a cadre of young space workers/future leaders who can speak and communicate across disciplines, so that experience helped, as did the NASA Academy, which applies the ISU model to potential future NASA leaders. Plus a lot of professional experience, like yesterday at work where I gave a 2.5 hour training session on the basics of reading a credit agreement to a bunch of fresh-out (of college) new hires. Monday is the basics of the security agreement. Fun stuff.

But I can’t do the Carnival of Space alone, so I encourage all readers to get something posted on the web and let me know. What would you want a bunch of home-schooled kids to know about space? Please make a contribution to increasing grass-roots level knowledge of and excitement in space.

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One Response to Shilling for Space

  1. murphydyne says:

    Well, it’s up on the web. It was quite an interesting experience weaving the different types of submissions together. The structure I noted in the post worked out well, and of course the cislunar section was the biggest, with only one submission for each of the other three sections. I did a fair amount of padding, sure, but I try to deliver quality product that exceeds expectations. I also caved and got put on standby for a November hosting. I’m not sure how I’m going to top this one.

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