We believe that missions to MDRS, such as the PRIMA expedition, can help inspire the younger generation to pursue STEAM education and realize that everyone can play a part in the exploration of space. We want to engage schools by connecting live through Google hangouts/Twitter and explain our mission progress: our 3D-printing of bricks to help prepare future human settlements on Mars, GreenHab activities involving growing food for astronauts, and the study of Martian geology to help us understand the history of Mars and the Earth. Moreover, we are considering organizing competitions for school children of different ages, to increase their interaction with the mission, which would involve the design of 3D printed bricks that we could manufacture on site. We are also planning on organising a competition for high school and university students in Slovakia to prepare a science project/experiment to be performed at MDRS. The Ministry of Education in Slovakia and a few large firms are very interested in organising and financing the competition (and all of the costs associated with getting the project to MDRS). The actual project/experiment would then be performed by the PRIMA team members at MDRS and the students would perform the follow-up analyses in Slovakia.
In addition, science and technology breakthroughs go unnoticed too frequently due to a lack of interest from the general public and the inability of scientists to engage broad audiences effectively. For this reason, we are developing an ambitious outreach and media strategy, aimed at communicating the benefits of missions to Mars to the public. We want to capture the public’s interest by telling the human story of the crew’s mission. First of all, we are planning on documenting the full experience of the crew (before, during and after the expedition), in order to capture each individual within the team and the human experience of isolation during a space mission. To do this, we will set up a series of GoPro cameras throughout the facility, seizing every moment of the mission, from every angle. In addition, we will set up a ‘diary room’ for the crew to share their personal thoughts and feelings in private. We plan on presenting all of this material in different formats, such as short videos, to be released regularly in social media (e.g. live Periscope sessions), and longer videos to be shown in presentations, talks, websites, interactive workshops for schools, as well as art and science festivals. Furthermore, we will be targeting audiences all around the world, as all of the team members have valuable contacts and working relations with journalists, schools, research councils and event organisers in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.