Planetary ReaCH

Empowering planetary experts (content heroes) to better engage Black & Latinx audiences.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute and its partners are developing a process, or engagement model, to prepare planetary science subject matter experts (SMEs) to engage audiences within the Science Activation portfolio, with an explicit focus on Black and Latinx communities. Planetary ReaCH (Resources and Content Heroes) will prepare these planetary “content heroes” to engage audiences through 3-day Planetary Engagement Workshops. Our innovative approach invites Science Activation teams and informal educators who serve minority communities to participate along with planetary SMEs. Participants will collaborate while learning to engage audiences in NASA planetary science.

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and its Planetary ReaCH partners bring years of experience and expertise in public engagement. A fundamental aspect of this work has been supporting planetary scientists in their efforts to engage audiences in the excitement of NASA’s exploration of the solar system. The ReaCH team is excited to work with the Science Activation teams to further these efforts and is grateful for the opportunity provided by the SciAct to develop and refine an evidence-based public engagement model.

Planetary ReaCH will increase planetary SMEs and the Science Activation community’s capacity to successfully engage Black and Latinx communities with an engagement model that reflects diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) principles. The ReaCH model will 1) increase the Science Activation portfolios’ capacity to access planetary SMEs and to engage audiences with planetary content, 2) increase the capacity of NASA planetary SMEs to engage audiences, and the frequency of public engagement, especially with Black and Latinx communities, and 3) increase audience interest and intent to engage with planetary science content.

The ReaCH team is led by the Universities Space Research Association, through the Lunar and Planetary Institute, which has been at the forefront of efforts to prepare SMEs to engage public audiences through its seminars and workshops. LPI team members have extensive experience in serving Latinx and Black communities, and a strong history of leading planetary science education teams and conducting professional development for informal educators. The ReaCH team includes experienced planetary scientists and STEM educators from research institutes, Minority-Serving Institutions, museums, and youth-serving organizations. With this shared expertise in planetary science, successful educational programs, mobile app and activities development, and serving audiences underrepresented in STEM, the ReaCH team is exceptionally prepared to develop, evaluate, and refine this model to engage SMEs and share planetary science with a broad array of learners.

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