Help Bring Astronomy to Children in East Africa

The international astronomy outreach group Astronomers Without Borders has launched a major crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, and they need your help. They are looking to raise $38,000 to fund a science center and observatory in East Africa to bring quality science education to the children of the area.

“It will be a game-changer for the region and a big project demonstrating the importance of astronomy education, including new curricula for teaching astronomy, teacher training, and more,” Mike Simmons, President and founder of AWB told Universe Today.

AWB has been actively working in this region since 2011 with their Telescopes to Tanzania project.

Simmons said Tanzanian students are often without textbooks and many basic educational resources and teacher training in science is often lacking.

“Providing the opportunity for people to get involved in this important project in East Africa is a perfect fit for Astronomers Without Borders’ motto, ‘One People, One Sky,'” he said.

After three years of making a difference in Tanzania by providing telescopes and teacher resources for schools, this new campaign goes even further, helping to provide a sustainable vision for the future and a pathway to success for the country’s youth.

Graph via Astronomer Without Borders.
Graph via Astronomer Without Borders.

The Center for Science Education and Observatory will provide astronomical and science training for both teachers and students. AWB said in a press release that by integrating astronomy into the national teaching curriculum, the center will be able to develop and circulate hands-on science and astronomy teaching resources to schools around the country. The center will also house hands-on laboratories, and an astronomical observatory with a portable planetarium, and internet connectivity so that connections can be made with science centers worldwide.

“We’re excited to be taking the next step in making this unique and innovative project a sustainable reality,” said Simmons. “The need is great and a lot has already been accomplished.”

To learn more about supporting The Center for Science Education and Observatory and Telescopes to Tanzania visit the Indiegogo campaign page at

Golden Spike Still Needs Your Help to Get to the Moon


Last December the Golden Spike Company announced its plans to enable private-sector lunar exploration missions which would be feasible, profitable, and possible — even without government funding. Comprised of veteran space program executives, managers, and engineers, Golden Spike intends to stand on the shoulders of current space technology to develop lunar transportation systems that can be used by agencies and private interests worldwide to get humans back to the Moon… but they still need your help getting the word out.

“We’re running an Indiegogo campaign as an experiment in public outreach and interest in human lunar expeditions,” Golden Spike CEO and planetary scientist Alan Stern explained to Universe Today in an email.

Recently Golden Spike started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo with the goal of raising $240,000 for international outreach (that’s a dollar for every mile to the Moon!) but, with only 16 10 days left in the campaign, only $9,400 $12,134 has been contributed.* While dollar-for-mile that’s still farther than any humans have traveled into space since Apollo, it’s unfortunately quite short of their goal.

CEO and famed planetary scientist Alan Stern blames himself.

“Simply put, we didn’t put the right people and resources on this Indiegogo campaign,” Stern wrote in an announcement on the Indiegogo site on April 9.

But despite the small amount of time remaining, he’s not giving up.

“We’re going to take advantage of the press of time left — just 16 days — to reach out to the broader public about people they can be a part of a historic new era of human lunar exploration,” Stern writes.

“To do that, you’ll be seeing Golden Spike in the press quite a bit more the next two weeks.”

And he’s asking for your continued help to not just contribute, but also to get the word out.

“Speak to friends and colleagues. Message on sites like Twitter and Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. Send emails. Heck, put up signs and hand out flyers! We’re in the final phases of this campaign, ask people to join in. Let them know why you joined. Tell them their participation will make a huge difference… If we do this right, we can succeed.”

While contributions to the Golden Spike campaign won’t be used to launch rockets or build Moon bases, they will be used to reach out to potential international partners and show them that people are indeed interested in getting people back to the Moon… proven by the fact that they’ll even put some of their own money into the venture.

Small donations, large donations… each contribution no matter the size shows that people will invest in a future of lunar exploration. Put some “skin in the game,” if you will.

Click here to contribute to the Golden Spike campaign. And even if you can’t contribute financially, help get the word out. Share this article, tell people about the campaign, let them know that our future on the Moon doesn’t have to rely on fickle government funding or be subject to catastrophic budget cuts.

We got there before, we can get there again. The Moon awaits.

“Make the point that 40-plus years of waiting for governments to do this for us showed that the people who want humans to explore the Moon have to take personal action if we want it.”

– Alan Stern, planetary scientist and Golden Spike Company CEO

Read more about the Golden Spike Company mission here.

PS: Be sure to email [email protected] when you donate to the campaign and let them know your name, city, and state, and who referred you to donate (in this case, Universe Today.) They’re giving prizes for the top US state, top country, and top referrals!

(*Article updated on April 15.)

NASA Trailer Achieves Crowdfunding Goal to Run Before Star Trek: Into Darkness

Here’s one bit of NASA outreach that won’t be affected by suspensions or sequesters: an edited version of “We Are The Explorers,” a video highlighting the past successes and future goals of the space administration — created by NASA and featuring an inspiring narration by Peter “Optimus Prime” Cullen — will be screened in several major U.S. cities during the premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness thanks to an overwhelmingly successful crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo.com.

Now that the initial goal of $33,000 has been met and the 30-second ad spot can be purchased, the team responsible for the campaign (Aerospace Industries Association of America) will use any funds donated during the next 29 days to reach its next target: getting the ad in at least one theater in every state in America for two weeks. In order for that to happen, a grand total of $94,000 will need to be reached.

Want to help make it so? Find out more about how you can contribute:

According to the Indiegogo campaign page, “If we raise our funding total to $94,000, students, young people, and the general public will see this video from coast to coast. This new goal will expand our reach from 59 movie theater screens to 750 screens!”

That means a lot more chances that the spot will run at the theater where you go to see the new Star Trek film when it comes out on May 17. (Because you know you’re going to go see it, let’s be honest. It’s Star Trek.)

And because it’s Indiegogo you’ll get a “perk” depending on the amount you contribute, ranging from digital copies of the final spot to DVD copies of the excellent HBO series “From Earth to the Moon” (while supplies last.) Because the initial goal has been met, some perks are already sold out… but then, contributing to something as important as space exploration isn’t about the stuff you get, it’s about the message you can give.

“This is more than a fundraiser, it’s a demonstration of support for space exploration programs. By donating to this campaign, you’re making a very powerful statement about the widespread enthusiam that exists for space programs. A crowdfunding campaign is the best vehicle to deliver this message. By reaching our goal, we not only enable a first-of-its-kind ad campaign, we also demonstrate that countless people support a strong space program that’s in development.”

You can contribute here, and be sure to spread the word too. That way, when you’re looking at the video on the big screen, when you see them putting Al Shepard’s gloves on, when you see the fiery exhaust of the Saturn rocket and you hear Cullen’s voice rumble “we are the explorers,” you can know that you helped make it happen — and that somewhere in that same theater a young mind may very well be inspired to continue the exploration.

Maybe that mind might even be be your own.

“Our next destination awaits. We don’t know what new discoveries lie ahead, but this is the very reason we must go.

This crowdfunding campaign is the work of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) of America. This campaign is not endorsed by NASA nor is it conducted at their direction or request. Note: by donating you acknowledge that donations are not tax deductible.