The Space Science Institute is shaping our future by enabling scientists to advance our understanding of Earth and the Universe; increasing science and technology literacy for people of all ages and backgrounds; and inspiring youth to pursue science-technology education and career opportunities.
SSI harnesses the power of discovery to engage the public in science.
As humans, we are driven to exploration. We are fascinated by perennial questions such as: Are we alone? Might we someday live on other planets? There are few things that capture our imaginations more than the mysteries of space and the wonders of our own planet. The excitement of space science offers a compelling hook for engaging the public in science and inspiring a new generation of innovators.
Founded in 1992, the Space Science Institute (SSI) is a research and education nonprofit with a vision to expand humankind's understanding and appreciation of planet Earth, our Solar System, and the universe beyond. Society benefits from the pursuit of new knowledge - the more we understand planetary systems and star forming regions, the more we understand our own planet.
SSI is responding to a crisis in research, public science literacy and STEM education.
Discovery and invention are the keys to a healthy and prosperous future and space science has a critical role to play. The future of space science in the United States depends heavily on:
• A strong research infrastructure.
• A scientifically literate populace that supports investment in research.
• A pipeline of future research scientists.
All of these critical factors are at risk. Consider that 70% of the engineering workforce will retire in the next 10 years, yet our universities are graduating more visual arts and performing arts majors than engineers. Traditional research institutions are struggling under the pressures of a poor economy and an expensive, inflexible infrastructure that is hard to maintain. Nearly half of American adults do not know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun. In 2009, our kids ranked 31st out of 56 developed countries in mathematics. In short, we are falling behind.
SSI is bringing science to the public in innovative, relevant ways to ensure that space research and education will thrive for decades.
SSI is on the leading edge of creating new, affordable, efficient, and far-reaching models for earth and space science research, public science literacy and STEM education. In the coming years, our potential to make science accessible to large numbers of people, including underserved communities, is enormous. The key to our approach is that we offer the full continuum of discovery and education - we conduct world-class science research and we use the wonder of that discovery to inspire a broad population.
Our work is what the future of discovery and learning looks like:
We are implementing an entrepreneurial approach to earth and space science research that is yielding important discoveries that will change the way we live our lives.
We are connecting the public to the wonder of science and building their understanding of the importance of new discoveries.
We are building on a national momentum in support of science and technology education, including President Obama's "Educate to Innovate" campaign, to harness the power of discovery to inspire and educate the next generation of innovators.
Our patrons LOVED the exhibit while it was here, and have been very enthusiastically attending related STEM programs that we have planned since then.
- STAR_Net librarian
We're getting more families here than we normally would. I've noticed that we're getting a lot of dads coming in with their kids that we don't see very often. We'll see them engaging and playing and having a lot of fun.
~STAR_Net Library staff member
Having hands-on things in the library is the way things are moving and needs to move, and will happen more and more. Having that opportunity to interact and play with something new, really gives the books more meaning.
~STAR_Net Library staff member