Would you send your kids to the far reaches of the Milky Way galaxy? Would you encourage them if they wanted to go to space? Mike Mongo, author of Mike Mongo’s Astronaut Instruction Manual for Pre-Teens, proposes these are precisely the questions we need to be asking at the beginning of the 21st century.
On Wednesday at the Starship Century symposium, a two-day event dedicated to the practical science of interstellar space travel, the author addressed the international convocation of future-minded scientists, fellow authors, researchers, artists and UCSD students and faculty.
To a standing-room only audience of nearly 300 attendees, Mongo summed up his position. “As scientists, physicists, engineers and researchers, it is our responsibility to ask every child we see, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?,’ and to follow-up with, ‘have you thought about working in space?’ Our job is to make sure kids know that careers in space are now reality.”
“With kids in mind, at [interstellar science group] Icarus Interstellar we have founded FarMaker,” Mongo continued. “FarMarker’s role is to encourage content creators and makers to foster interest in interstellar accomplishments through popular media such as video games, comic books, YouTube videos and GIFs. What we are explaining through current mediums is what the next generation’s job is going to be, and that is embodied in the slogan, ‘BUILD A STAR SHIP”.
Mongo, introduced at the symposium as “astronaut teacher and space blogger”, also holds the position of Creative Strategy Director at Icarus Interstellar for Starship Congress, the upcoming summit of interstellar science organizations and advocates in Dallas, TX, this August.
“‘BUILD A STAR SHIP’ is the message to this next generation what their role in the future is going to be, and that is the builders of starships. It is also a reminder one of what our job is. And that is to communicate to kids that they are going to be the first generation to be able to choose to live work and play in space,” said Mongo.
The author and space educator’s message was met with enthusiastic response by the auditorium’s audience of notable thinkers. “I like it. Success happens by surrounding yourself with people smarter than you, …and then giving them something to do,” said symposium attendee Jonathan Vos Post. “That’s what [Mr Mongo] is up to.” Vos Post—who holds a Ph.D in Molecular Cybernetics, a Master of Science in Computers & Information Science, and Bachelor of science in mathematics as well in literature—is popularly known to the science and science fiction community as “the Greatest Nerd of All Time” with over 820 papers, presentations, articles, novels, and novella to his credit.
John “Buck” Field, the exotic physics project manager who specializes in FTL (faster than light) research and who came to the UCSD event by way of Chile, simiarly agreed. “The key to moving humankind to the stars is to choose what path or method you think will best get us there, and then pursue it to the best of your abilities. Clearly, this applies kids and students as well.”
The Starship Century symposium was the culminating event inaugurating University of San Diego’s opening of the newly-created Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination. The symposium was hosted and organized by science-fiction authors and physicist brothers Gregory and James Benford, and is marked by the simultaneous release of the new hard science-fiction and interstellar science anthology, Starship Century.