New roadshow to inspire students towards space industry careers

By Jessica Tyson

Otago Museum is to create a mobile exhibition, or roadshow, to inspire students towards careers in the space industry.

The museum has received funding of $350,000 from the Ministry of Business to develop the project.

Tūhura Tuarangi will not only showcase New Zealand space achievements but also their increasing relevance and how they apply to everyday life. It will also highlight the important and central role that mātauranga Māori have had in the understanding and discovery of space.

Science engagement coordinator Māori Toni Hoeta says the exhibition, "will teach students all of the STEM subjects such as science, engineering and mathematics. We’re looking to get kids interested in the STEM and in the space science projects and help create those careers in space."

Tūhura Tuarangi  will be created under the leadership of Dr Craig Grant, and in collaboration with partners, MOTAT and the Science Learning Hub, researchers from the universities of Auckland, Canterbury and Otago, and a range of stakeholders from across Aotearoa New Zealand’s space industry.

Museum director and astronomer Dr Ian Griffin says his team is honoured to lead the collaboration.

“Over the past eight years our science engagement efforts at the museum have created an amazing science centre and planetarium, which have inspired hundreds of thousands of visitors, so it is great to be able to help create a space exhibition that the whole country can enjoy.”

Tūhura Tuarangi (meaning to discover space) will contain a range of hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, demonstrations, and immersive experiences that span all aspects of the space endeavours from launch to landing.  It will also highlight the vast array of real-world applications and career opportunities the emerging ‘new space’ sector offers.

The team will tour the exhibition over 2022 and 2023, with a particular emphasis on taking it to hard-to-reach communities that otherwise might not have the opportunity to share such an experience.