For those of you who think “an entire planet of actively engaging scientist” is impossible, it wasn’t long ago that the idea of an education for EVERY citizen was a pipe dream, today in developed countries everybody has the opportunity to have an education.
For those of you that think Science outside the lab isn’t real science, I remind you of the Wright Brother story. These uneducated amateurs built the first airplane, competing against Langley’s group who were, at least on paper, vastly more qualified to tackle the scientific problem of flight. As history shows the Wright Brothers were not amateurs and were highly educated (self-educated), but before their success they didn’t have any credentials that even came close to comparing to others in the flight competition.
What the Wright Brothers had was initiative, access to information, and experience building machines through their business in bicycles. They had the right background and resources to do the science necessary to build the first airplane; even-though, they didn’t have the right credentials for it. With all the open source resources, and all the open access to information out there citizens already have access to the resources to do science in developed countries. Citizen Science isn’t a far out dream, it is a reality for anyone with the initiative to do it. It is really exciting times!
Any way, I loved my copy of Citizen Science Quarterly. I recommend if you are interested in learning more, or getting your own copy to go to www.citizensciencequarterly.com , and if you are a Citizen Scientist and want to contribute to one of the next issues I am sure the editor will be glad to receive your contributions.
As for NASA, I think Citizen Science is a pathway for NASA to engage the community in its endeavors. Citizen Science as well as other initiatives/groups such as Hackerspaces/Makers/Crafters is source of lots of valuable lessons in being resourceful, sometimes with little to no resources.
(Note: If I butchered the Wright Brother and Langley stories, I apologize. I am not an expert in their history.)
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