A non-profit that wants to create a mixed-reality space experience for children is seeking 2.5 million in funding. SPACEBUZZ has launched an international fundraiser to help secure the funding needs to create its project. The initiative is backed by ESA astronaut Andre Kuipers.
The organization says their ambition is to give thousands of children or young earth ambassadors the chance to experience the planet earth from the perspective of outer space.
Many astronauts have described the ‘overview effect’ change in perspective that occurs when viewing the earth from space. SPACEBUZZ says that providing a similar experience to children will help protect the planet in the years to come.
"From space, I saw how beautiful and special the earth is. We, humans, are all Astronauts of a Spaceship called Earth. We need to take incredible care of our planet," said Kuipers.
Funding will help the program go global
The funding will be used to share a conceptual educational program that aims to mimic a real astronaut’s experience of going into space. The program has been developed in conjunction with Tilburg University in the Netherlands. It is made up of three parts that combine hands-on learning with digital elements.
The finale of the program is a rocket flight. Participants strap into a custom engineered rocket that ‘launches’ using the power of Virtual Reality (VR) into space. Once in low earth orbit, the crew are given a guided VR tour by ‘Flight Commander’ and ESA Astronaut Andre Kuipers.
Children inspired to become earth warriors
Kuipers shows the children important sites on earth in the hopes they will be moved to embrace the protection of earth as a priority. The entire program and rocket fabrication took only 8 months to complete.
SPACEBUZZ hopes that the program will have its international launch from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, USA as part of the yearly conference of the Association of Space Explorers ASE.
US children will be first to experience space magic
The funds from the current fundraising effort will be used towards transporting the rocket from Europe to the US as well as go some way towards rolling out the program across the US and then eventually across the world.
Its first stop after Houston is in Washington where the rocket and program will be introduced as part of the International Astronautical Conference IAC in the Washington Convention Centre. SPACEBUZZ is one of only a few non-profit organizations present at the convention themed ‘The Power of the Past, the Promise of the Future’. Spacebuzz launched its fundraiser at The Next Web Conference earlier this month in Amsterdam.
Andre Kuipers is a Dutch doctor and ESA astronaut. Kuipers spent 11 days in space as part of the Delta mission. He returned to space and spent roughly six months on board the ISS.