22 September 2008. The “ESPI Perspective” entitled “Moon, planets, orbits and charity – think egregiously!” explores a so far neglected terrain. It makes the case for using spaceflight with its connotations of marvel and fascination as a tool for charity activities and at the same time benefit from a connection with this field of highest social acceptance.
Competitions for the best ideas and innovations in the area of space science and technology are common throughout the space-fairing countries in Europe. Yet despite these and other forceful PR instruments to promote space in general, a great part of the public still lacks interest in, and support of, space endeavours. Especially human space flight and planetary missions demand high budgets which are not always deemed appropriate by a considerable proportion of the voters in space-faring countries.
Thus, in spite of the ample funds directed to the space sector, space activities in Europe still struggle with an image problem. Quite the opposite is true for the European charity sector, whose image is superb but which suffers from a lack of advertence and donations. The proposal put forward in this paper is hence to involve European charity organisations in public space activities, thereby combining funds with image and creating a win-win-situation where space technologies and charitable concerns are promoted at the same time. Although such a partnership may at first glance appear unusual, those who are concerned with space should be ready to step aside of well known paths, enter unknown terrain and think the unthinkable.
This “ESPI Perspective” has been written by Irena Bido from the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) Space Agency, Programme and Policy unit. In spring this year, she has completed a three-month stay at ESPI as a Visiting Researcher.