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100 yss kathleen toerpe - from the moon to the stars -track 3


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My presentation at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston, September 2012. To create public support for interstellar travel, I outline a strategy of 1) capitalizing on commemorations of past …

My presentation at the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Houston, September 2012. To create public support for interstellar travel, I outline a strategy of 1) capitalizing on commemorations of past space exploration - especially the Apollo 11 moon landing; 2) refreshing the genre of science fiction to spark a new generation's interest in space travel; 3)

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  • “ Where were you when?” As human beings, we have a basic and deep need to place ourselves within the flow of events that shape and change our world. Each generation poses the question differently [CLICK] . “Where were you when Pearl Harbor was attacked?” “Where were you when John Kennedy was assassinated?” “Where were you when we reached a new millennium?” “Where were you when the Twin Towers fell?” These watershed events become cultural homing beacons, drawing us to others who share these memories and binding us to a common history. [CLICK]
  • It is the power of shared experiences and the cultural narratives they create that can provide one starting point for Americans and for people around the world to understand and embrace the goals of the 100 Year Starship Initiative . [CLICK]
  • Where were you when man first walked on the moon? For those who were old enough to realize the momentous nature of July 20, 1969, there will be a ready answer to that question: at home, at work, on vacation, with friends. I watched at home with my sister, who had just had her tonsils removed. [CLICK]
  • For the 125 million Americans who watched Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon – 62% of the US population back then – and for another 500 to 600 million who turned in worldwide, the Apollo 11 moon landing created a shared cultural narrative that, combined with other things, can be used as a springboard to launch public momentum for interstellar travel. For the millions since 1969 who seen the landing replayed or witnessed it used as a plot device in popular film, television and literature, the story of the moon landing provides the prequel for the soon-to-be written narrative of humanity’s reach for the stars. [CLICK]
  • The basic unfolding of the events of July 1969 are etched in our history books, in our popular culture and in our personal memories. There are the familiar photos of the launch count-down sequence and liftoff; the formal crew portrait of astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin; and the curious waving of an American flag – aided by unseen support bars. [CLICK]
  • There is the almost eerie image of a solitary boot print in the gray lunar dust and, of course, Neil Armstrong’s iconic proclamation upon setting foot on the lunar surface. [CLICK] These iconic images and words are needed cultural shortcuts to trigger communal memory and national pride. In these days after Neil Armstrong’s recent passing, they honor not just a hero, but also the country who gave him the opportunity to be heroic. But the memory of the moon landing is more than one person’s story, more than one nation’s story. It is a worldwide human narrative, beyond the ownership of any one country or political ideology and beyond the mere 600 million people or so who personally witnessed it. [CLICK]
  • Armstrong and Aldrin placed on the moon the “goodwill greetings” of 73 of the Earth’s nations. Hundreds of thousands embraced the Apollo 11 crew in tickertape parades and heroes’ welcomes in 23 countries during the crew’s post-mission Giant Leap world-wide tour as seen here in Mexico City. Currently, Russia, China, Japan, India and the European Space Agency have sent probes to the moon with upcoming missions planned in the next decade. [CLICK]
  • The story of the Apollo 11 moon landing and the five successful landings that followed is a human narrative. It inspired further space exploration and the eventual creation of permanent manned space stations. It has reached far, deep and wide into the human imagination with popular culture outlets in literature, in film, in television and in consumer goods. [CLICK]
  • As you can see here: books, lunchboxes, stamps, toys, mugs, costumes and even Snoopy all made it to the moon. All of these consumer goods have reinforced the moon landing narrative in the minds of a generation. [CLICK]
  • In the depth of its technical achievements and in its grip on our collective imaginations, the moon landing is THE truly unique historical event uniting all humanity in one vicarious and extraordinary legacy of spirit, courage and humility. For the post-Apollo 11 generation for whom space exploration may seem to be the routine launching of probes, satellites and shuttles, recreating this cultural adrenaline is necessary to making our new journey to the stars the sequel to this unique legacy. [CLICK]
  • Let’ s get back down to Earth for a minute. Longstanding narratives need to be nourished in order to survive our physical deaths and fading communal memories. The power of a story lies in its constant retelling and making it relevant to new audiences. Even an event as fantastic as the moon landing can be forgotten if not actively reinforced. A 1999 Gallup poll on the eve of the 30 th anniversary of Apollo 11 found that of the more than 1000 people randomly surveyed, only 50% could identify Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the moon. Recognition was highest among the YOUNGEST of people surveyed, those who were not even alive in 1969 and know of Armstrong only through history books and the popular culture. With the sad news of Armstrong ’ s recent death, there will likely be an immediate resurgence of interest in the moon landing, but unless it is capitalized on and reinforced, it will likely quickly fade. Even in 1969, just days after the successful moon landing, only 39% of Americans were ready to pay for a trip to Mars. How then, is a narrative to be sustained over the four to five generations that we need to make interstellar travel a reality? How do we commit to, to adopt President Kennedy ’ s words, a NEW act of faith and vision and back it up with our time and money? [CLICK]
  • WHERE DO WE START? 1) Tie star travel back to the basic human longing to explore. It is tempting to cast it in the debate over budgets, policy and defense, spin-off technologies and scientific breakthroughs. But economics and bureaucracy rarely incite passion. And the voting public may not realize the spin-off benefits for decades. The narrative of human exploration has gripped our collective imaginations since the ancient Arabs, Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks first looked up at the stars and named the constellations. We need to tap back into this sense of wonder. [CLICK] 2) Revisit the same sources of inspiration that helped us get to the moon in the first place; reintroduce them to modern audiences and refresh the genre new generations. The story of the moon landing did not start with President Kennedy. The seeds were planted and nourished by over 100 years of science fiction stories, comics, serials, radio shows, films, television shows and consumer goods. It’s time to put those same cultural forces to work again for us.. [CLICK] 3) To borrow a marketing idea here, co-brand the moon landing with star travel. By dovetailing future Apollo anniversaries with 100 YSS public outreach and announcements, we can create a tangible connection that star travel is the next step, the sequel to the moon story. [CLICK] And, 4) Engage people of all ages – of all walks of life – where THEY live. Let us go to them through their communities and schools to encourage them to look up, wonder at the possibilities and join in the adventure. [CLICK]
  • The world will undoubtedly be different one hundred years from now – in ways we can hardly now imagine. How, then, are we to sustain a narrative over four to five generations. In some ways, it is an easy feat. Religious narratives and the institutions they have inspired have been sustained for millennia, in part because they tap into humanity’s core longing to understand and to be part of something greater than themselves. They address some of the quintessential questions of human existence – the BIG questions – Why are we here? Where did the universe come from? Are we alone? John Kennedy, speaking in the heat of the Cold War, knew that Cold War passions alone would not sustain public support for a moon landing. So he tied it to humanity’s greater need, in his words, to conquer the unknown, the unanswered and the unfinished. That is a message and a passion that can be passed from parent to child. In all our public releases and outreach, wherever and whenever we talk about traveling to the stars, we need to make sure we tie it to this basic human longing. [CLICK]
  • Jules Verne’s 1865 novel, FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, created the genre of science fiction. This and Verne’s other adventure novels, the Buck Rogers serials, H.G. Wells’ fantastic stories of time travel and alien invasions and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars’ adventures, inspired the first generations of scientists, mathematicians and engineers to turn science fiction into science fact. This was a global phenomenon; Jules Verne’s novels alone have been translated into over 140 languages, making him one of the most translated authors in history. Just as many of us were later inspired by the writings of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, or by the adventures of Captain Kirk, Dr. Who, and Luke Skywalker. We need to retell the old stories and to write the new ones. [CLICK] To do this, we need to consciously mentor our youth to become – not only scientists, engineers and mathematicians – but also novelists, playwrights, poets, artists and, yes… cultural historians We can do this through local essay or video competitions, scholarship awards, and so on. Even if the award is nominal – one hundred dollars – it creates awareness at the grassroots level, gets our name and our mission out, and keeps the narrative of star travel fresh and vibrant. [CLICK] And the first thing any good writer will tell you when writing a story is to give your main character a strong identity, that is, our starship needs a name. Even though it hasn’t been built, even though we have no idea on what it will look like or how it will be powered, IT NEEDS A NAME. Names have the power to label and define; a single name can tell a thousand stories. [CLICK]
  • Witness the emotional power of the name Titanic in this hundredth year of its sinking. One hundred years – that’s our time framework. A name can instantaneously excite the imagination. Who among us – especially among US – fails to recognize the name USS Enterprise ? As parents choose a name for their child while still in the womb and unborn – in anticipation of its future life and identity - our starship needs a name to give it reality in the public’s imagination. The name Apollo – borrowed from the Greco-Roman god of light and truth – will be forever synonymous with the American moon landing. We can build upon that success and foreshadow our own with a name. We can make this a national or international competition; perhaps looking to the children whose own imaginations will be so vital to our success. Let’s kick start the public’s fancies, put a name to the idea and start them wondering about the possibilities. [CLICK]
  • Apollo 11’s 50 th anniversary in 2019 will be commemorated by NASA, by the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum, in public speeches, in television documentaries and by thousands of schools across the country. It is the perfect opportunity for 100YSS to partner with these groups and to dovetail our public outreach with these commemorations. We should strive to make the co-branding so seamless that when people hear or read about the moon landing on TV, online, in books or in classrooms, their next thought becomes, “Now, onto the stars!” [CLICK] Practically, since many of these anniversary events will have their own funding streams, it is a high impact return with minimal financial investment. [CLICK]
  • And there are more anniversaries than just Apollo 11: the anniversary of the first man in space, the first woman, the first spacewalk, and so on. Future announcements in star travel should be tied to all of humanity’s anniversaries in past space exploration. These anniversaries will celebrate inspiration and courage, scientific knowledge and technological success - by Americans and by others. These are all themes that we want to communicate, too. And these are valuable piggy-back opportunities that we should not ignore. We need not wait for milestone anniversaries, but simply pay attention to the dating of our releases, and reinforce the message that star travel is the culmination of the bravery of our earliest astronauts and cosmonauts. [CLICK]
  • We need to engage people at a personal level where THEY live, beyond impersonal press releases and anniversary events. One way is to create a Star City, Earth program – modeled on the popular Tree City, USA program. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree City USA promotes local forestry planning and management, environmental education and community pride. Equally important, the Tree City USA sign placed at the town’s threshold, marks public support and commitment to forestry. In a similar way, a Star City, Earth program can help create a grassroots commitment to star travel through public education and partnerships with local schools, observatories, astronomical societies, and community or technical colleges. Program requirements might include the town symbolically “adopting” a star, providing a publicly accessible telescope and a viewing area free of light pollution, hosting one educational event a year, and, of course, advertising its inclusion with a public sign. The larger goal here is three-fold: to create public awareness and familiarity at the local level, to engage people personally in the adventure and encourage them to participate in one of the many citizen science projects available from exoplanet identification to interpreting SETI radio transmissions, and finally, to provide an established local conduit both for our public outreach efforts and for the essential feedback communication loop. We need to know what we are doing right to inform and educate the public about star travel – and what we can do better. While this can start out as an American-based initiative, I would love to see this expanded internationally with Star City, Earth communities around the world. [CLICK]
  • Engaging everyone in the process requires reaching an intergenerational and multigenerational audience. This goes beyond just training our youth, whether in STEM disciplines or in the humanities. We need to train our adults, too. We need to focus our outreach on those who sit on school boards and boards of directors; those who work in our factories and restaurants; those who vote and those who choose not to. Through providing course offerings on YouTube or through the emerging open online course movement, through a vibrant local speakers program, and through tapping into Adult Continuing Education and Learning in Retirement programs at the community and technical college level, we can increase adult STEM awareness, appreciation and skills. This education has its own intrinsic benefits, of course, but can also bear fruit at election time and as parents and grandparents advise the young people they love about career choices. You know, the lives of Baby Boomers have been defined by space exploration. From the toys we played with to the books we read, the TV shows we watched, to the courses we took in high school and college, we have been molded as a generation to seek out new frontiers and to use the influence that our numbers have given us to challenge and change society. Let us use the energy of this generation one more time - to help launch humanity to the stars. [CLICK]
  • We can do this through a focused cultural strategy of tying interstellar travel to the deepest of human questions about our existence and our universe. By hearkening back to the sources of inspiration – specifically science fiction - that fueled enthusiasm and public support for space exploration in the past. By adding to the narrative of Apollo 11 – and other missions – with our own breakthrough stepping stones in star travel. And by bringing all of this to people where they live, creating grassroots and viral energy. This can be the final legacy of America’s Baby Boomers, who will always remember where they were that night in July 1969. And now we lay the groundwork for the next generations’ question, “Where were you when humanity first reached the stars?” [CLICK]
  • Almost 400 years after Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the New World, Verne’s 1865 sci-fi classic dared to send men into outer space in the ship he envisioned, the Columbiad . In a nod to Jules Verne, the crew of Apollo 11 named their command module, the Columbia , perpetuating the circular relationship between cultural narrative and historical reality, between science fiction and science fact. 100 Year Starship is the next chapter in that narrative. It is the sequel to the story. From the Earth to the Moon…From the Moon to the Stars….Let us begin! [CLICK]
  • Transcript

    • 1. From the Moon to the StarsTapping into Shared Culture to CreatePublic Momentum for Interstellar Travel Kathleen Toerpe, PhD Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
    • 2. Where were you when?
    • 3. Shared experiences createcultural narratives
    • 4. Where were you. . .when man first walked on the moon?
    • 5. July 20, 1969Who saw it?•125 MMAmericans•500-600 MMworldwide
    • 6. Apollo 11 Cultural Narrative• Familiar Photos
    • 7. • Iconic proclamation “One small step . . .”
    • 8. Worldwide Human Narrative• 73 countries sent “greetings” to moon• 23 countries welcomed crew on August 1969 Giant Leap tour • Russia, China, Japan, India and ESA have lunar probes
    • 9. • Inspired further space exploration and manned space stations• Reached far, deep and wide into the popular culture • Literature • Television • Film • Consumer goods
    • 10. The truly unique historical event unitingall humanity in one vicarious andextraordinary legacy. . .Our journey to the stars is thesequel to this legacy
    • 11. Narratives need to be nourished• Only 50% of Americans surveyed in 1999 could identify Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the moon• Only 39% of Americans surveyed in August 1969 were willing to finance a mission to Marsto commit to a new act of faith & vision
    • 12. Where do we start?• Tie star travel to basic human longing to explore• Revisit sources of inspiration for moon landing• Co-brand the moon landing with star travel• Engage people of all ages where they live
    • 13. To understand,Tie Star perhaps to answer, the BIG questionsTravel to •Why are we here?Basic •Where did the universe come from?Human •Are we alone?Longing to To conquer theExplore unknown unanswered unfinished
    • 14. Revisit • 100 years of science fiction Sources • Mentor children of in literature, history, film, visual artsInspiration • Starship needs a namefor Moon to see ourselvesLanding among the stars
    • 15. Dovetail 100 YSS announcements to Apollo 11 anniversary datesCo-brand • Partneringmoon opportunitieslanding with • Low investmentstar travel • Large returns On to the stars!
    • 16. Anniversary Announcements Exploration 100 YSS Anniversary Breakthrough• 1st man in space • ?• 1st American in • ? space• 1st woman in space • ?• 1st space walk • ?• 1st men on moon • ?
    • 17. • Star City, Earth Create local partnershipsEngage Encourage citizen scientistsPeople of All Establish conduit forAges Where public outreach and feedbackThey Live Star City, Earth
    • 18. • Adult STEM Provide educational outreach Inform votersEngage Encourage futurePeople of All scientists • Baby BoomerAges Where LegacyThey Live Space Age generation Launch humanity to the stars
    • 19. 100 YSS Culture Strategy• Deepest questions• Sources of inspiration• Apollo 11 narrative• Grassroots energy• Final legacyWhere were YOU?
    • 20. From the Earth to the Moon . . . From the Moon to the Stars. . . Let us begin!
    • 21. Kathleen D. Toerpe PhD - Loyola University Chicago (1994) - US History - 20th Century Cultural History (major field) MA - Loyola University Chicago (1990) - Public History - Community Education and Outreach BA - Marquette University (1984) - History and PhilosophyNortheast Wisconsin Technical College –
    • 22. NOTES/PHOTO CREDITSSlide 2Rescuing Pearl Harbor survivor near USS West Virginia and Mrs. Kennedy, Dallas 11-22-1963 celebrations at Epcot Center Tower attack 09-11-2001 4Children watching Apollo 11 liftoff 5A Remote That Broke All Records, Broadcasting Magazine – Broadcasting & Cable, 7/17/2009, reprint of July 28, 1969issue at Armstrong debarking from Eagle Lunar Module 6Apollo 11 launch 11 crew portrait Aldrin “waving” American flag on lunar surface 7Boot print on lunar surface Armstrong’s first words on moon
    • 23. Slide 8Apollo 11 Goodwill Messages, July 13, 1969, NASA Release 69-83 F Astronauts Goodwill Round-the-World Flight Tour 11 crew tickertape parade in Mexico City 9GI Joe Space Capsule toy landing lunch box costume on the Moon book on moon cartoon landing stamp on moon mug 11100 Year Starship 2011 Symposium cover (cropped) 12Newport, Frank. Landing a Man on the Moon: The Publics View, Gallup News Service, July 20, 1999 at
    • 24. Slide 14Kennedy, John F. Address at Rice University, September 12, 1962, video transcript 15From the Earth to the Moon Direct in Ninety-seven Hours and Twenty Minutes, and a Trip around it. Trans. by LouisMercier and Eleanor King , Scribner, Armstrong: New York , 1874 at Who’s TARDIS 16HMS Titanic leaving Southampton port, April 1912’s current resting ground Enterprise 22Earth, Moon, Stars 11 Technical Air-to-Ground Voice Transcription, NASA Data Logistics Office, July 1969, Tape 114/2, p. 588