Exclusive: NASA must work with science centres to inspire the next generation of astronauts, says Clervoy
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Exclusive: NASA must work with science centres to inspire the next generation of astronauts, says Clervoy

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Jean-François Clervoy, one of the world’s most experienced astronauts, has said that the next generation of scientists and engineers are being inspired at science centres and planetariums through what is being learned in space, and through programming distributed on earth to promote space.

Speaking exclusively to Attractions Management, Clervoy – senior astronaut of the European Astronaut Centre and member of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) European Astronaut Corps – advocated the importance of space exploration for science centres and how that feeds back into the space programme with STEM education.

“The inspiration for young people to take up science is clearly demonstrated,” said Clervoy. “When you have an attractive programme and good promotion, it can get a lot of people invested in science.”

A veteran of three NASA Space Shuttle mISSions and 28 days in space, Clervoy used his time in space to inspire those thinking about following in his footsteps, something all astronauts onboard the ISS dedicate time to while orbiting the Earth. According to Clervoy, the budget of NASA correlates with the number of PHDs earned in STEM subjects, one reason why the ISS is keen on promoting education – to encourage interest and future investment in science.

“The International Space Station (ISS) airs live links to schools, science museums and planetariums on a regular basis,” said Clervoy. “Tim Peake is a recent example of this. Every astronaut does this within the course of a six-month mission.

“Because it is a space programme it motivates engineers and scientists to find solutions to problems that can be spun off on Earth. These lessons we are learning up there we’re then teaching at our science centres and planetariums down here for the next generation.”

For more from Jean-François Clervoy, see the latest issue of Attractions Management, available now.

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Jean-François Clervoy, one of the world’s most experienced astronauts, has said that the next generation of scientists and engineers are being inspired at science centres and planetariums through what is being learned in space, and through programming distributed on earth to promote space.
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