For providing the public -- particularly the youth -- with up-to-date information on astronomy and space exploration, we have created a novel, artistic science outreach program, the Travelling Astronomical Education Project, in 1995. We have been touring schools in British Columbia ever since, captivating young audiences with professionally produced audio-visual productions about the Solar System and Canada's involvement in space research. Having visited schools across the Province -- covering virtually the entire Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and the Okanagan region -- many tens of thousands students have attended the Program's presentations to date. (The actual school visit program is limited due to the fact that developing and maintaining [improving and keeping up-to-date] the multimedia shows requires an enormous amount of time of the Project Manager.) We are pleased to announce that the TAE Project keeps visiting school on behalf of the Mars Society of Canada -- and also, with a greatly enriched program -- in the School Year of 2005/06 as well.
Our project connects very well to school curriculum, and, with the active participation of the students, our entertaining yet highly informative presentation provides a high-quality learning opportunity in a unique way about space and astronomy.
For presenting the Project's main features -- three custom-made multimedia shows --, we are using an array of sophisticated equipment. We have combined science and art in the development of our unique audio-visual presentations: 'Journey in the Solar System', 'Canada in Space' and 'Expedition Mars - A 3D Adventure'. (Inspiring the viewer to read literary works about the Red Planet, our newest multimedia program, Expedition Mars features eye-catching stereo images of Martian landscapes.) Completed with recorded narration, music and sound effects, up to 320 astronomy and space art images are projected through a cluster of visual projectors onto two screens during each presentation. Of the two, a novel curved screen (an invention/Intellectual Property of the Project Manager) provides exciting, three-dimensional global views of the planets -- the Earth and Mars as highlights -- and some of their natural satellites. In addition to this innovative feature, the Project Manager has digitally converted authentic images -- taken by astronauts and spacecraft -- into more illustrative and informative, space-art like pictures. These unique, captivating close-up images and planetary sceneries are being projected on to a traditional flat screen during the shows. As an example, the same images have been used to illustrate this web-site that appear in the multimedia shows.
Furthermore, to enrich the presentations with hands-on activities, some of the rarest materials on earth are displayed after the shows: rocks from space - including fragments of Martian and Lunar meteorites. Students can even hold such a piece of space-rock in their hands! In addition to a display of spacecraft models [featuring a scale model of the International Space Station], time provided for individual questions make the shows even more interactive.
Our recently updated, revised and enriched science outreach program has been funded in part by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). We are devoted to keeping our much needed astronomy program offered to schools, and also, for a modest fee for an all-day school visit - which means up to five shows.
The robotic exploration of Mars and the other celestial bodies of the Solar System is in full gear, providing a wealth of knowledge and long-term benefits for humans. With its unique program emphasizing solar system astronomy and Canada’s space program, our Project provides an exciting addition to the learning outcomes outlined in the BC Ministry of Education's IRPs. In addition to promoting space exploration to the general public, the Travelling Astronomical Education Project is filling an important need in school education as a stimulating and always up-to-date learning resource, so please, do not hesitate to contact us for a booking.
Thank you very much, and I am looking forward to hearing from you.