Reaching Communities, Inspiring Science
The Cosmos Mobile Science Centre is a mobile science facility which travels out to deprived and remote communities around the world. Our mission is to provide excellence in learning and training in skills to people who do not have the opportunity to engage with a traditional science centre, bringing a one-stop-science facility directly to them.
Since 2009 the Cosmos centre has visited a number of communities and engaged with over 120,000 people worldwide. This is our story on how we began and bringing practical solutions to deprived communities through the simple use of science and technology.
Reach for the Stars
The Cosmos Mobile Science Centre was founded in 2009 during a very special year. The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA 2009) was designated as a UN international year and put forward by Prof. Franco Pacini to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Telescope.
During 2009 a small group of science communicators came together to share their passion for engaging the public with science and astronomy as a tool for benefiting deprived communities and the Cosmos Mobile Science Centre was born.
Our primary aim was to bring practical solutions to people living in remote areas through the use of simple technology to improve their living standards and support people out of education gain knowledge and skills to survive. The International Year of Astronomy’s mission was to tie in with the UN Millennium Goals and reach out to thousands of people around the world. Through using IYA2009 as a springboard for rolling out our mission to change people’s lives in difficult circumstances gave our small group of enthusiastic, young scientists and engineers a difficult but worthy challenge ahead.
Bringing the Universe to You
Faced with the challenge of trying to change the world for the better we decided to take a grass roots approach. First we looked at similar organisations and how they were equipping and tooling their presenters to go out into the public arena and engage people of all ages in science and technology subject areas.
How would we get our equipment around and how will we reach people in remote villages where there is limited transport? Our solution was a large van which we had purchased second hand and equipped with small telescopes, an inflatable planetarium dome, and education kits which we had hacked together to demonstrate small technological endeavours such as making a water filter for areas where there was no clean running water we began our mission.
Science the Universal Language
You would think it would be extremely difficult to travel to different countries and encounter cultures where the language and people were not native English speakers. To our astoundment throughout our journey we found that everybody approached us and our science tricks and experiments which we presented in our shows in the same way. Wanting to grab hold of whatever we were using for the experiments and try it out for themselves was not only an ice breaker to enthuse communities who had no previous knowledge of scientific tools and technology but a game-changer for changing the public’s perception of science as something that was unapproachable.
To date, we have over 40 different shows and experiments which we have developed for various festivals and education projects and 10 different technology kits which we have developed to take out into deprived areas to help communities use simple tools to support themselves.
Throughout our time of existing as a mobile science museum and research facility we have found that its not just about performing an entertaining show which can create the wow factor and amuse the audience, its about leaving a lasting message after we leave which is educational, inspirational and benefits the people we engage with.
Our future plans include purchasing a large truck which can be developed into a mobile laboratory and educational facility so that we can reach more people and have a larger impact on society. While we work on this we continue to support the efforts of similar organisations in their goals to make our world a better place and provide equality for everyone.