In the latest budget proposal for NASA, it appears as though one of NASA’s jewels — education and pubic outreach – is going to take a huge hit. The proposal seeks to slash NASA’s education budget by about a third, going from $137 million to $94 million. Also proposed is an initiative to combine (and in effect, water down) what NASA does by consolidating different educational efforts across the nation.
The American Astronomical Society issued a statement saying that the proposed cuts “would dismantle some of the nation’s most inspiring and successful STEM education assets.”
Dr. Pamela Gay, who heads up a big educational and citizen science effort with Cosmoquest, has written passionately about how these proposed cuts as well as the current sequestration of US governmental agencies will affect not only her work with education and citizen science, but educational programs for schools and universities across the US. Additionally, people who work in these areas face job losses.
So faced with funding cuts, the Cosmoquest team has decided to try an old-fashioned tele-thon (remember Jerry Lewis and his MDA telethons every year?) using new technology.
It starts at Noon EDT, 16:00 UTC on June 15, 2013 and will feature guests like Phil Plait (the Bad Astronomer), NASA scientists and educators, the cast of Beyond the Wall, Mat Kaplan from Planetary Radio, and our very own Fraser Cain. Yours truly might make an appearance as well, beaming in from the middle of nowhere in Minnesota.
A complete schedule of guests and events can be found here.
Facebook Event Page
If you aren’t able to donate money, Pamela has written a great post about all the different things you can do to help.
As the CosmoQuest team said, they want to make sure astronomy education survives and remains strong. “While one team, and one telethon can’t fix everything, they hope this event can raise awareness, while protected one small corner of astronomy research and education.”
Education and technology are so important for our world’s future; if you can support this effort in any way, it would be greatly appreciated.