The US Consulate General in Johannesburg has announced the launch of The Earth We Share-Space Race programme for school learners. The other partners in this programme are the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence.
The programme will take place during February and March next year, and will be open to learners in Grade 9 to Grade 11 in Gauteng province. It will involve a series of day-long workshops.
“The programme aims to expose Gauteng public schools [sic] learners to the many career opportunities in space exploration industries while building critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to succeed in all jobs, but particularly the Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics [[often acronymed to] STEM) fields,” said the Consulate General in its statement. “The learners will work in teams to develop innovative solutions to challenges relating to space exploration and life here on Earth.”
During next year, after the conclusion of the workshops, 12 learners will have the opportunity to visit the US. There they will visit the US Space Camp at the Space Rocket Centre at Huntsville in the State of Alabama, and have a tour of Washington DC. Should the Covid-19 pandemic prevent international travel, they would instead tour space-associated sites across South Africa.
The intent of the programme is to stimulate awareness and excitement regarding space among both learners and communities. It will foster knowledge about the importance of space technologies to everyday life on Earth, by means of continuing public engagement.
“It will showcase the United States’ remarkable ongoing leadership in space capabilities and exploration, and South Africa’s significant contributions and bright future in space,” stated the Consulate General. “Learner participants’ knowledge about the many facets of space capabilities and applications will grow through hands-on experiences, discussions and design ideation with professional[s] and pioneers in aerospace, engineering, and space sciences.”