I have a beautiful commute to work and spend a lot of time in the car being a “mom taxi.” My free trial of satellite radio ran out and I realized regular radio is very mundane. I have switched over to finding interesting Podcasts on very topics: money, relationships, mental health, and most recently discovered @startalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson @neiltyson AWESOME show!
If you are not familiar with the series Cosmos – first of all WATCH IT! Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist who brings the world of the unknown to us “common people.” He explains various discoveries or phenomena in terms that I can [mostly] understand or frames it into relatable everyday situations.
In one of the podcasts I just finished, he made the comment – and I don’t have the exact wording – “When I was young, we didn’t need programs (i.e. STEM) to get kids and the public excited about science or space, it was a central point in the daily media.” Think about that – he is 57, he was about 9 when the U.S. put a man on the moon. I wasn’t even born yet and I have been told that was on the news nightly leading up to the launch, during, and after…then the subsequent launches. What happened? We got bored with the news?
We have the mission New Horizons @newhorizons2015 which was an unmanned aircraft sent to explore Pluto. I learned from the podcast it too only about 9 hours to pass our moon at the beginning of the mission – this compares to 3 days it took to get a man to the moon. Then there is the mission Kepler @NASAKepler which is looking for Earth sized planets in a habitable zone within our Milky Way.
Maybe I have had my head in a hole, but I keep up on current events and these missions or the pictures from Hubble are NOT front and center in the media. You need to search for them. How do we encourage interest in STEM? Put it front and center DAILY in our local and national media. Have a 30 second segment of Hubble pictures – have a 3 minute interview, or publicize star gazing events. I don’t watch the news with my children around, I have a 7 and 9 year old. They don’t need to see beheadings or mass shootings or destruction – they will be afraid to grow up. I want them to see the possibilities of the universe and beyond. Let’s put Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math in the news show the positive affects – and give those stories the majority of air time, that is when we will start seeing change.