An essential part of opening new frontiers is getting people interested and involved in
the incremental steps of the planning process. Although there is historic precedent,
we cannot just round people up and ship them off to new worlds. A period of education,
preparation, and planning, as well as the desire to go, is an essential prerequisite.
But a harsh evaluation, expressed by students ages 5-18, is that they do not feel they
have a part in the planning process for the opening of the space frontier.
They assume that exploring and accessing space is the exclusive prerogative of an elite
few. To lay the groundwork and make the space frontier a tangible reality for future
generations of space travelers, those who may be tomorrow’s space pioneers should
already be involved in contributing their visions so that they will understand and believe
in pursuing the goals. If they become aware that there will be opportunities and that not
everyone involved will be a rocket scientist, when the time comes to establish space
communities, a broad spectrum of the populace, representing all trades and professions,
will already be educated and prepared to participate.
Younger children’s imaginative and futuristic visions of space are more inspired by Star
Trek, Star Wars, Space Jam, the Jetsons, Phil of the Future, Daul’s Charlie and the
Great Glass Elevator, Scholastic’s Magic School Bus, Battlestar Galactica, and a wide
selection of other-worldly video games than by the daring accomplishments of the
Gemini and Apollo missions that took place long before they were born. Space, for
elementary school students, is an innovative, sci-fi, warp speed fantasy, filled with
aliens, galactic wars, laser beams, and interstellar, intergalactic travel via teleportation
and faster-than-speed-of-light starships.