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Exploiting space experience to engage and inspire young people
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Physics, Particle and Astroparticle Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0406-0962
2013 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

In December 2006 I took part in the STS-116 mission, during the assembly of ISS. Being the first Scandinavian in space, it created a lot of interest in my home country Sweden. In various ways that were, and still are, exploited to inspire young people - from primary school pupils to university students - to become interested in STEM subjects, or even to go for a master education in aerospace engineering. A second shuttle flight in 2009 reinforced the interest and opened new outreach possibilities. To achieve optimal outreach during a space mission - in particular comparatively short ones such as shuttle missions - early and detailed planning is crucial. With favorable conditions the potential for post-flight exploitation of astronauts to inspire the young is huge, but smart selections are necessary. For example, there is no limit in how many schools could be visited, but that is probably not the best use of limited time. I have visited most Swedish universities and some schools, but now with the Swedish National Space Board a couple of dedicated school tours per year, of about a week each, targeting different geographical areas are being organized. On a higher level, I was appointed to a government committee that was tasked to propose actions to increase the number of students in STEM subject. Partly to increase the attractiveness of a master program in aerospace engineering, I've been asked to be in charge of it and I'm developing a dedicated course "Human Spaceflight" within the program. Another way to create interest among the youngest ones is through children’s books about space. I've written four books about two siblings that travel in space with their uncle Albert. The stories are meant to be entertaining and exciting and involve physics, mathematics, and other sciences. These books then act by themselves to stimulate children to think about space and science in various ways. Last year a campaign "talk-to-space" was introduced It encouraged children to formulate questions they would like to ask an extraterrestrial. Earlier we arranged a mathematics challenge.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Subatomic Physics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-138904ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84904696566OAI: diva2:681917
64th International Astronautical Congress; Beijing, China, 23-27 September 2013

NQC 2014

Available from: 2013-12-20 Created: 2013-12-20 Last updated: 2014-02-04Bibliographically approved

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Fuglesang, Christer
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Particle and Astroparticle Physics
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