The Astronautical Discourse in an English Primary School during the Principia ESA Mission

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Carnegie Room (University of Glasgow)
Andrew Thomas , Department of Politics and Public Policy, Montfort University, Leicester
ESA and the UK Space Agency have gone to considerable efforts to promote the Principia mission of Astronaut Tim Peake to school children in the United Kingdom. This paper describes a “Space Day” at an English primary school where, with the consent of the Head teacher and Class Teachers,  children aged around 10 or 11 years old received a modified presentation of the standard Principia presentation, and responded with drawings and written personal statements addressing the question “I want/ do not want to be an Astronaut because…”. These statements have been subjected to a content analysis and the key groupings compared with established characteristic domains in space exploration (e.g. explorer, advocate etc).  This work is part of an ongoing project to examine popular participation in space exploration in China and will form part of the framing of the question during field research there.