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Press review: Space Economy enters the classroom, (c) Corriere Economia 10/6/2024
June 14, 2024

Press review – “The Space Economy enters the classroom”, Corriere della Sera, 10/6/2024

Corriere della Sera, on Moonshot! Novi Education Moonshot Program.

Moonshot! is the pilot project promoted by Space Center Houston with Novi Education in two Italian institutes: the first outside the USA. CEO William T. Harris: in Italy there are many opportunities to make a career in this field.

«It was 1962 when John F. Kennedy announced the “Moonshot” initiative: within a decade man would go to the Moon and return safely to Earth. Since then the expression “moonshot” has been synonymous with ambitious goals, with dreams that come true.
It is therefore a perfect name for the educational program we are bringing to Italy and Europe.” Speaking is William T. Harris, president and CEO of Space Center Houston, promoter of the pilot project Moonshot! for Italian schools together with Novi Education, a company that aims to become a reference in the world of global education and founded, among others, by Francesco De Ferrari, CEO of wealth management and CEO of the EMEA region of Credit Suisse.
«Today the space economy is worth around 478 billion dollars a year and is expected to reach one trillion by 2030. It is the fastest growing sector of the international economy», continues Harris, who then recalls how «just 60 years old ago only NASA and the Soviet Union’s Space Agency existed, which has now become Roscosmos in Russia. While there are now 74 government space agencies worldwide and an unprecedented number of international collaborations in the commercial space sector.
This represents a huge economic opportunity but serves the workforce. This is why we must educate our young people and involve them in this sector.”
Currently the Moonshot project! aimed at children and young people aged 7 to 18 – it involved 600 students from two private institutes where English is the main language, so as to test the contents, the reception of the teachers and the reception of the students.
But the objective of Novi Education is to spread it as much as possible also in public schools, with the satisfaction of having brought this model to Italy as the first country outside the USA (in Texas the Space Center Houston hosts around 250 thousand students every year).
«I don’t know if it’s clear to everyone how important space activities are – continues Harris -: they influence our life on Earth and we are the greatest beneficiaries of exploration thanks to the research carried out with the International Space Station, the result of collaboration between five nations and five agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, the Canadian and Japanese space agencies and the European ESA, with Italy being very active. In fact, she was one of the
first countries to sign the agreement for the Artemis program with which NASA is returning to the Moon.”
The CEO of Space Center Houston then warns that soon “it will not be unusual for an employer to say: ‘I need you to go into space for five days and do this experiment.’
Situations like this will become more common. Just think of how aviation worked a hundred years ago: exclusive and expensive. Today for many people it is almost like getting on a bus.
This is the trend in space exploration: at the beginning, sending something into orbit cost 95 thousand dollars per kilo, today 1,500 is enough.”
The method To train professionals, however, skills in STEM subjects are needed and here the dish cries. In fact, based on data from Novi Education, in Italy only 24% of students have a degree in a STEM discipline compared to 37% in Germany. It took nearly four years to develop the program for schools outside the United States between Novi Educational and Space Center Houston.
Time needed to package the contents, build the course, train the teachers and prepare all the materials.
Novi’s goal is to make the program scalable so it can have the broadest impact possible. Among the strengths, as Harris underlines, a very untraditional method stands out because «here it’s about experimenting together, learning to fail and then correcting the mistakes. Our approach aims to stimulate natural curiosity, the desire to know, critical thinking, problem solving: essential life skills. If we can strengthen them, young people will excel in any profession and in whatever they do.”
The head of the Space Center Houston then recalled Italy’s leading role in space exploration: «It is important to recognize that you have 12 astronauts, one of whom, Walter Villadei, recently
flown with Axiom private mission. There are many Italian companies that collaborate with space agencies around the world and are appreciated for the high quality of their work.
This is why, especially in your country, there are opportunities to have a very exciting career, also contributing to the growth of the economy.”

Credits: (c) Corriere della Sera, Economia, page 37, 10/6/2024

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