After a successful presentation to 125 international astronauts in Houston at the Johnson Space Center during the 32nd Convention of Space Explorers, SpaceBuzz has now arrived in Washington D.C. This week, our revolutionary VR-education program will be introduced to the global space community at the 70th International Astronautical Congress in Washington D.C. We hope to find new, international partners that will help us to bring the SpaceBuzz program to their home countries, in order to inspire millions of children worldwide with the astronaut’s view of our planet. “Coming to Washington D.C. is a huge opportunity for SpaceBuzz,” said Zoran van Gessel, chairman of the Overview Effect Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the program, which is financed entirely through private funding and donations. “With the combination of the global audience, strong astronautical industry, and funding opportunities, we seek to further our ambitions. We look forward to connecting with founders, entrepreneurs, and angels that can help us drive this project forward to create the next generation of ambassadors of planet Earth.”
From 14-18 October 2019, SpaceBuzz was presented to over 125 astronauts and cosmonauts from across the world at the annual meeting of the Association of Space Explorers in Houston. The overwhelmingly positive response SpaceBuzz received from astronauts was humbling and further strengthens our mission to bring this experience to millions of children worldwide. The immersive VR experience was perceived as very realistic by the astronauts. In the words of British astronaut Helen Sherman: “This Spacebuzz experience actually made me feel quite like I was back in space”. The value of experiencing the Overview Effect – a cognitive shift in awareness often experienced by astronauts while viewing the Earth in the immeasurable vastness of space – was widely recognized by the astronauts. “When I was in space, being able to look down at the earth and realize that I’m looking down at 7 billion people. Our job is to take care of each other and take care of our environment at the same time” said American astronaut Guy Gardener. It was even indicated by some astronauts that we should move beyond school children. “I think we should take it to the UN and make all the world leaders do the same” commented Iranian-American astronaut Anousheh Ansari.
Virtual Reality allows us to develop new and effective ways of teaching children about Space, Earth and Technology (STEM). In order to validate and optimize our educational program, SpaceBuzz collaborates with leading scientists, i.e Prof. Dr. Max Louwerse Tilburg University, and kickstarted an international scientific research program on the effectiveness of VR-enabled learning and the role that virtual humans can play in personalizing learning.