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SPACE MATTERS

The Canadian Association of Science Centres is co-leading a new initiative with the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) at The University of Western Ontario to build a collaborative space outreach and education community across Canada. 

The first phase of the initiative was to develop and launch the website www.spacematters.ca, funded by a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) PromoScience grant awarded to the CPSX. CASC will release an education kit in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency exploring the topic of “a day without satellites” as part of the Space Matters initiative and in advance of the Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission launch in February, 2019.



Why Space Matters?

Although many people are fascinated by space, most are relatively unaware of how space technologies pervade their everyday life. From GPS and satellite communications to weather forecasting and monitoring the health of crops or the extent of sea ice, the standard of living we currently enjoy is fundamentally dependent on satellites and space technology. Space is becoming even more important in monitoring the changing climate, particularly in the Canadian North, and for connecting remote communities. Looking beyond Earth, the exploration of space is an innovation driver that not only provides inspiration for youth but generates cutting-edge technologies that are frequently then applied to improving the standard of living on Earth. In parallel, there is an acknowledged critical need for STEM education in Canada.

Unfortunately, as highlighted in a 2018 Ipsos poll “Canadians do not know much about what Canada is doing in space. This causes many to be unsure about what the concrete benefits of space are, despite great pride in past achievements.” Space Matters aims to address this lack of awareness and understanding.

What is Space Matters?

The goal of Space Matters is to use a connected-learning approach fostering dynamic collaborations among schools, out-of-school time programs, STEM expert institutions (e.g., museums, science centres, universities), the private sector, community-based organizations, youth and families, using Space as the connecting topic. Space exploration, perhaps like no other discipline, can ignite interest and motivate youth to appreciate science and technology in their daily lives and to pursue education and careers in the sciences, engineering and high-tech sectors. 

Targeting youth and educators across Canada, the objectives of the Space Matters initiative are to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of space to Canadians and how it touches on nearly every aspect of their daily lives;
  • Use space as a vehicle to inspire and empower all young people to be engaged with STEM disciplines, and to support those pursing careers in these fields;
  • Work with educators to increase their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm for teaching STEM topics to youth;
  • Create a community of practice for space educators, that enables resources and lessons learned to be shared, and connect school activities to out-of-school time programs and events.

Who is Space Matters?

Space Matters is driven by a group of organizations who together form the Space Matters Collective. The initativeis led by the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration (CPSX) at The University of Western Ontario (Western) and the Canadian Association of Science Centres.

The Space Matters Collective currently includes the following organizations:

  • Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at the University of Western Ontario. Website.
  • Canadian Association of Science Centres. Website.
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Website.
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum. Website.
  • Partners in Research Canada. Website.
  • Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Website.
  • Space Generation Advisory Council. Website.
  • Students for the Exploration and Development of Space. Website.

The CASC office is situated in Robinson Huron Treaty territory and the land on which we learn and live is the traditional territory of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.

©2017 Canadian Association of Science Centres