Lunar Mission One is a unique venture with the potential to inspire learners the world over. While the Lunar Missions Trust is at the very beginning of exploring the educational opportunities of the project, we are hugely excited at the potential this project has to inspire a new generation about space, science, engineering and technology. Our aim is to develop an international programme of engagement with schools and colleges, allowing students to contribute to the project.
Our Education Team, working with the Institute of Education and the Open University, is currently putting together an educational framework which will encourage children and young people to create their own content and share it with their contemporaries worldwide. Some piloting work has already taken place in a small number of schools in the United Kingdom and we are using their feedback to inform the programme we develop.
We want students to play a major role in leading the education programme, working with others (students and adults) both within and beyond schools and colleges.
We want the education programme to benefit schools and children worldwide and to facilitate advances in student knowledge and interest across a range of subjects, particularly in science and engineering but also in the arts and humanities through involvement in the development of the public archive. Our education programme will encourage new ways of thinking about issues and greater awareness by students of the value of rigorous, critical thinking. It will promote team project work, both within the classroom and remotely, for example through international links between schools and colleges.
Our education team have put together some provisional examples of questions and topics that students in secondary education (13 to 18 year olds) might explore. These include:
•How do you design a public archive capsule for space travel? The capsule will be exposed to a hostile environment – how can we ensure that the archive will survive for millions of years?
•Where is the best place on the Moon for the launcher to land?
•In the public archive, how should we represent the history of the World? How do we include the differences between societies, the differences in politics and conflicts, the differences in economic power?
•How should we represent biological life and its environment on Earth? What information should be stored? How can we show the dependencies between species? Can we prioritise what is recorded?
•What languages or codes should be used in the archive?
•What can we learn today, simply by creating the public archive?
•How stable is DNA? What factors help it to survive undamaged for as long as possible?
•What are the economics of the mission? Are space missions increasingly moving from the public to the private sphere and if so why?
•Do we have the right to use the Moon in this way? Should the Moon instead be preserved as a complete wilderness?
•How does the mission compare to historical examples of colonisation?
•Does the mission have any implications for religion?
•The programme is initially being developed with a select group of schools which will help pilot our ideas and provide feedback to the education team. Some of our pilot primary schools (5 to 12 year olds) have already used the project to engage younger children in learning about space, the solar system, the history of lunar exploration, space travel and rocket design.