Space-y Charity: Some Ideas To Respond To Astronaut Hadfield’s Challenge

While the world was enchanted with Chris Hadfield’s social media posts last year, a new video has the retired astronaut talking about loftier things. Say, for example, how humanity landed a camera on the Saturn moon Titan back in 2005. Or to be more practical, the fact that smallpox was eradicated in its naturally occurring form.

In his talks and books, Hadfield describes himself as one who never focuses on complaining. He was almost yanked from his command of the International Space Station due to a medical issue, but he pressed on and convinced the doctors to let him fly. And in this new video, he focuses on what humans do generally to make the world better — imperfect as it is.

“There are problems with everything, and nothing’s perfect, but that shouldn’t be cause to moan. That should be cause to achieve. Our world is a better place than we often claim it to be,” Hadfield said. “We live the way we do,” he added, “because people chose to tackle their problems, head on.”

The video appears to have a heavy emphasis on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a gigantic philanthropic network that works to improve lives in the developing world and also for the disadvantaged in the United States. But there are many ways to give back to your community, even through gestures as simple as volunteering.

Here are some examples in the space world (note that these aren’t necessarily endorsements for the organizations, but just ideas for making contributions in space and astronomy):

  • Cosmoquest, which runs online astronomy courses and also allows citizens to map extraterrestrial bodies right alongside astronomers.
  • Astronomers Without Borders brings astronomy education across the world, particularly to developing countries.
  • Uwingu says that half of its donations goes to grants to support learning in astronomy.

Other examples of space-y charity could include volunteering or donating to a local school or university, joining one of the numerous volunteer organizations in astronomy, or getting involved in a space advocacy group.

Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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