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Children: The Future of Space is Presently 8-12 years old

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Children: The Future of Space is Presently 8-12 years old
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  100 Year Starship Public Symposium, Houston, TX, USA. 2012. ©© Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported by Mike Mongo.  Children: The Future of Space is Presently 8-12 years old Mike MongoHUMANNAIRES.ORG, Key West, FL 33040, mm@humannaires.org  Abstract Children are the key to our success in space. Every student knows that an astronaut is someone who goes up to space and back down to earth. By promoting the idea of an evolution of astronautics as earth’s second-generation of astronauts who get to go up to space and stay there, around the world we can reignite and recapture the imaginations of students and school children. Presently, the idea of returning to space holds little in the way of imagination. By introducing children at grassroots, individual classroom level—particularly elementary and primary students, 8-12 years of age—to the idea that by the time they are young adults they will have the opportunity to be part of “earth’s next generation of astronaut”, ordinary school students can be transformed into the most formidable allies for the cause of space. By allowing children to “consider new careers in space” such as “asteroid miner” or “zero-grav athlete” or “space captain”, a reignited imagination will take students up paths of science and math towards careers as engineers and physicists (as well as well-educated space athletes). Children and students are not a secondary-concern of any plan for a commitment to space; children are the single-most important component to the success of this next foray into space. With more leisure time on their hands and arguably the greatest influence of any single group on the planet, empowering children to become space acolytes will be the single-greatest determining factor in the move towards a global policy of space.Keywords: astronautics, pre-adolescent, interstellar, education Section 1: The Opportunity of Space for the 21st Century. At the beginning of the 21st century, the industry kids want to work in is space. The US as led by President Barack Obama wants to re-invest in teaching science & math. These are two complementary premises which bring to mind another pivotal moment in US industrial and educational history. 100 years ago, back at the opening of the 20th century, the US (and the world) experienced a technological renaissance which revolutionized labor and job opportunities. What if at that time the US had invested in imparting an up-and-coming workforce with an interest in mechanical and engineering careers and skills? In fact, it can be argued that the US (and the world) used not one but two World Wars as de facto global vocational training. Having lived through a portion of that epoch, breakthrough scientist Buckminster Fuller went so far as to observe that even when ingenuity is used for destructive purposes that the fruits of Page 1 of 10  100 Year Starship Public Symposium, Houston, TX, USA. 2012. ©© Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported by Mike Mongo.  ingenuity inevitably will come to serve humankind benevolently. “Precession — not conscious  planning — provides a productive outcome for misguided political and military campaigns.” [1]  This specific process which Fuller calls precession is broadly defined as “the effect of bodies in motion on other bodies in motion.” [2]  The inference from our context is that destructive use of talent and ability can be a superfluous and reducible step in the “precession” of human progress, and most importantly reducible by intent. Consider the present and the now-burgeoning developments in space travel industry and career astronautics. We can say with a uncharacteristic degree of certainty that breakthroughs will continue to occur that enable and increase commercial space industry and that space-as-career-path is analogous to our present as air-as career-path and road-as-career-path were at the  beginning of the 20th century. Approximately 100 years ago, car travel and aero travel sprang into existence nearly simultaneously. At that time, because of the limitations of technology it took months to migrate  breakthroughs and report of inventions from one region to another. (The telephone system and radio were far-reaching innovations which seemingly sprang into existence at approximately this same time.) These innovations had so profound an effect on the course of history as to influence the unfolding of nearly every major event of the entire 20th century. Even were our world to face terrible global calamity (such as war) or unforeseen circumstance it is altogether unlikely that commercial space programming might be dislodged or dissuaded. What is more than likely now is that commercial space—like aeronautics and automotives before it—will become the driving economic force and cultural influence of the 21st century. Keeping in mind’ Fuller’s application of his concept of precession, rather than going the course of multiple Space Wars to foster humankind's move to space the opportunity at this present time is found in children and students for the reducing of war-as-advanced vocational training for space to (sans war) advanced vocational training for space. In terms of a modern space program it is widely conceded that the heyday of space program innovation is given to be the period of time between the launch of Sputnik and landing and return of Apollo 11—approximately 1957 to 1969. During this time, space was the topic of the day. Adults as parents, teachers, instructors, authorities, guardians and leaders instilled an enthusiasm for space into the young charges of their time on a daily basis. Children were willingly indoctrinated in ideologies of space.  Page 2 of 10  100 Year Starship Public Symposium, Houston, TX, USA. 2012. ©© Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported by Mike Mongo.  The consequence was children thinking breathing and dreaming space growing up to become adult scientists machinists engineers and space science professionals. Yet the effect of space as a topic of wonder and interest went on to perpetuate an interest in future and future-themed subjects, such as computers and science fiction-themed entertainment. How many steps is it from a child being “space crazy” over the space program of the late-1950's and 1960's to his or her becoming an adult parent taking his or her own children to Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the 1970’s? Or owning a TRS-80 home computer or Atari game system in the 1980’s? Or becoming a programmer or engineer? How many more steps  before the children of those parents became 21st century computer techs, video game designers, or even dot-com millionaires? From the time of Sputnik to now, everything from art to style to industry has been essentially re-imagined with a single vantage point in mind: Space.Here in the post-heyday-of-space future, inspired by reasons of curiosity, personal fulfilment and advancement, and the extension of humankind, the time is right for a newly unfolding future of space exploration. At the opening of the 21st century what is important is how that newly unfolding future begins: With pre-teen students 8-12 years old. Section 2: Science of Pre-Teen Decision-Making—How Pre-Teens Decide the Future While introducing science and space to children and students of all ages is invaluable, there is a  practical reason for strategizing the making a point of it to children who are 8-12 years of age. In terms of child development, ages 8-12 years is when we begin to consider future careers and occupations.At the risk of being pedantic, the science and study of the notability of this formative age with regard to career choice is well-established by premier researchers in the field of child development.One of the most widely regarded is Dr Linda Gottfredson’s popular work on occupational aspirations, Gottfredson’s theory of circumscription, compromise, and self-creation. Gottfredson describes a person-to-environment fit taking place in children of this age [which Gottfredson specifies ages 9-13] as a period of  social valuation* [3] , which proceeds in this manner:  Page 3 of 10  100 Year Starship Public Symposium, Houston, TX, USA. 2012. ©© Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported by Mike Mongo.  Stage 1 -Ages 3-5. Orientation to size & power   - Children perceive the differences in size and power between adults and themselves, and adjust behavior accordingly. Children  begin to grasp the concept of being an adult. Stages 2 -Ages 6-8. Orientation to gender roles - Children begin to develop gender identities and gender “boundaries”, and begin to conceive of particular jobs & occupations are some for girls, some for boys. *Stage 3 - Ages 9-13. Orientation to social valuation - Children as pre-adolescents  begin conceiving of which careers are acceptable occupations. Concepts of based on social class & ability level are determining factors as children begin ruling out careers considered to be "beneath" them, and accept those that will take effort and may be of some risk. [4]  (Beyond this, Gottfredson’s work on the subject of the influences on children’s developmental orientating to selecting a career path further evolved to where Gottfredson’s own work came to point to self-opinion and social identity—  as well as how specific career opportunities affect those views in the individual child   —as a primary influence of pre-adolescent career decision making.)In terms of inspiring children about space-as-a-career, the implication is that beyond the importance of the pre-teen years in terms of career decisions one must connect  space  to the fulfilment of the social, economic, class and and personal needs of each child in order for there to be real conceiving of and embracing of the possibility of specific fields as a career choice.For instance, astronautics and opportunities in the field of space may be seen as:-an affirmation for children with strong personalities;-potential avenues for expression amongst creative or internalized children;-a chance for escape or betterment in children looking to promote themselves or raise their social standing;-desirable unexplored territories and challenges for brave and curious children.(The influence of self-opinion and self-efficacy on childhood career choice is now a commonly and strongly noted variable in the determination of career opportunities by children. (Marini & Greenberger, 1978; MacKay & Miller, 1982; Lee & Rojewski, 2009, amongst others.) [5]  The acceptance of this single determining variable and the convergence of career developmental theories of children has led to the idea of macro-perspectives [6] in which a central tenet is the unanimous academic standardization of the acknowledgment that it is in their pre-teens when children make integral decisions about their lifetime career directions.) While the introduction of important STEM-concepts relative to the formation of space and astronautic career ideas, plans and aspirations are essential—ie space, space travel, planets, Page 4 of 10  100 Year Starship Public Symposium, Houston, TX, USA. 2012. ©© Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported by Mike Mongo.  galaxies—in earlier stages of child development in order to be able to conceive of the opportunity and availability of such roles, the natural choosing of career interests as well as collateral interests important to career goals takes place in the pre-adolescent or pre-teen years. Subsequently, these decisions lead to action, and action to actual manifestation of latent future into kinetic present.In this way, children imparted with dreams of getting to space, building rockets, seeing the moon (or even to living aboard a starship) become the impetus for these dreams becoming reality. Section III: Influencing the Influencers: Pre-Teens into Zealots for Space The extraordinary value of children becoming space zealots is that parents (and aunts and uncles and parental guardians and extended family and friends) then also become space zealots—in support of their own children. When children around adults are inspired, it inspires adults.People who are constantly around children give their lives to kids. In a way, dedication to children is like a marriage. To paraphrase a colloquial bit about one’s wife or partner, “when your children are happy, you are happy.” As everyone who lives or works with kids consistently knows: when our children are happy, we are satisfied. This holds true for one’s home, but extends further to schools, communities, and nations.Most people—as parents, guardians, teachers, leaders—enthuse over whatever our children love. What makes our children happy is what makes us happy. When our children loves space, we love space. Following this line of thought, the value of children to the advancement of a movement such as an interstellar space program becomes obvious. Space-loving children equals space-loving adults. Interstellar space program-zealous kids equals interstellar space program-zealous adults. It is that simple.Whatmore, this effect being described is increasing, particularly in the US. The reason for this is three-fold, and relevant to the suitability of children as proponents of an interstellar space  program. First, because families are having fewer children, kids’ influence on family decisions (interests) is increasing. Second, working couples can afford to have their children make decisions, while in single-parent households children are encouraged to be decision-makers. Lastly, and with the most bearing on the immediate future of promoting space exploration to children, exposure to media is now constant and ever increasing in its permeation; children are so much better informed about subject matters that parents are relying on kids to make value-calls. [7] With regards to space, this effect can transcend topics of primary education and of general childhood development. Page 5 of 10
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