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 also 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 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education in Canada. STEM jobs are growing at a rate almost twice as fast as any other profession, but less than a quarter of the degrees awarded are in STEM specializations. Western Space will help address these needs by using Space as a vehicle to engage youth in STEM disciplines. By promoting and communicating the research done through our Research based Goals and training students to communicate the research they and others conduct, Western Space will also address a major goal of NSERC in increasing science literacy, the appreciation of science in Canadian society, and the role of science in evidence-based decision making. We thus recognize the following outreach goal:
Goal: Inspire the next generation of Canadians to develop their space science literacy and to pursue careers in STEM fields.