Astronave Earth: Legion of Small Cosmonauts is the most ambitious itinerant scientific project that the Institute of Astronomy has built, UNAM (IAUNAM). Multidisciplinary in character and aimed at children between 4 and 11 years old, the project was formed in the IAUNAM as one of the guiding principles of its Department of Science Communication. With the participation of more than a dozen professional communicators from different institutions, Children’s Day 2013 was the framework in which IAUNAM inaugurated an unpublished dissemination program with workshops, demonstrations, science talks, films, astronauts, juggling, Planetary projections and observation with telescopes.
Derived from the success of that occasion and with the intention of spectacularly recreate the feeling of travel through the Cosmos, we decided to compete in the Communication Projects of Science 2013 convened by CONACYT. With the approval of Astronave Earth: Legion of Small Cosmonauts – already on two occasions this interinstitutional and multidisciplinary project could grow to such a level that we have achieved the design and construction of Hyperion III, the large spacecraft (20 m by 20 m) that we take each time to the different venues where we present ourselves.
Completely set inside and out, Hyperion III manages to transport children to the world of science stimulating their interest, curiosity and awareness of the care of the planet, using the powerful and attractive window of science fiction.
All branches of current science have the ability to show experiments, images, videos, ideas, fantastic talks and all kinds of instruments that match the best science fiction novels from the point of view of the general public not used to see so close “hard science”
With the premise that everyone, in fact, travels through the Universe in a natural engineering spaceship called Earth, the disseminators of science through their workshops, audiovisual presentations, demonstrations and ad hoc explanations to the target audience, have succeeded in Small Cosmonauts move and enjoy the world of science with this innovative scientific show.
Astronave Earth: Legion of Small Cosmonauts is conformed by the crew of Hyperion III, more than 40 divulgators and students all of them volunteers that carry costumes and makeup designed specifically for the event. A welcome full of drama and virtual reality through multimedia projections are the preamble for children to start their space missions (workshops) and thus be able to ascend to the rank of Little Cosmonaut, now responsible for the care of the ship in which we all travel and “pilots “Of our planet. The space missions that children must cover are multidisciplinary. After the arrival to the ship and the simulation of the take-off, the children must perform tasks such as armed with stars of colors and stellar mobiles, travel to the Moon and Mars,
This scientific show has just 7 presentations 6 of them with the spacecraft Hyperion III and have been carried out in: the IAUNAM, the Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, the Tláhuac Forest, the Madrid School, the Universum Museum, the Cordoba City Hall, Veracruz and on the Night of the Stars in the esplanade of University City. Small Cosmonauts has been able to impact more than 6,000 children, and tangentially to another 6,000 parents, since it is a requirement that each child enters the ship with their parent or guardian.
The project has not only made an impact on children, it has also created a network of communication and work among disseminators who have been able to create and produce materials and didactic resources for missions within the ship such as workshops, scripts, multimedia presentations, demonstrations, among others.
Department of Communication of Science
Institute of Astronomy, UNAM
March / 2015