I was struck by two news items this week. The first was that Justin Bieber has signed up for a trip into space. He’d like to do a concert from there.
Whether or not you care for Bieber, you have to agree that a concert from space would be cool, and the guy has a lot of fans.
Which brings me to the second news item. It’s a piece from Scientific American arguing that scientists must really start promoting their work and their fields, because in the era of tightening budgets, those with fans among the public will do better than those that don’t.
Marrying these two ideas together, I think there’s a terrific opportunity to drum up more interest in space exploration (and my field of astronomy as a byproduct) by getting more celebrities into space. Probably sending Zachary Quinto into space dressed as Spock wouldn’t gain a lot of new support, although it would be fun. We need more Biebers. Celebrities with large fan bases that aren’t generally already associated with space or science fiction. The more mainstream and/or diverse, the better.
Here’s ten suggestions:
These are people that would draw a lot of attention from all segments of our society. There could be associated tv shows, concerts, and books about the experiences targeted for different audiences. It would be a way to engage a really broad swath of audiences. These audiences could pay for the trips many times over and build a new enthusiasm for space exploration.
I think the public mostly finds space a bore when it’s just astronauts doing astronaut things. There needs to be a story there, one that personally resonates and lets people share the experience, if only vicariously.
What do you think? Who would you send?
I just saw that Leonardo DiCaprio has plans to go into space, too, and that he auctioned off going with him for charity and raised $1.5 million. Ashton Kutchner is going, too. There are opportunities here. This will raise the interest level a lot and get commercial space activities off to a good start, and hopefully have corollary effects on support for space science.
The idea has merit: manned space exploration – or at least, the commercialization of near Earth research and industry – definitely needs more popular support, and having celebrities with large fan bases get behind this effort is A Good Idea. One question naturally arises from the title of this blog: “does Justin Bieber have to come back?”
In a way, this reminds me of one interchange on the old Vaughan Meader THE FIRST FAMILY Album (1962). In a press conference, one correspondent asked President Kennedy, “Sir, when will we be sending the first man to the moon?” And JFK’s (Meader) quick response was, “Whenever Senator Goldwater wants to go!”
More space exploration!