July 29, 2020 452 PM
FAR WEST TEXAS — For kids stuck at home and bored during the coronavirus pandemic, space exploration company Blue Origin is offering them a novel form of entertainment: sending their postcards into space.
The initiative, organized by Blue Origin’s nonprofit arm Club for the Future, is entitled “Earth Needs Space.” The group sent out a news release about the project this week and has also set up a glossy website at www.clubforfuture.org.
In a statement to The Big Bend Sentinel, Josef Reinke, director of Club for the Future, said that both the nonprofit and the “Earth Needs Space” initiative were launched last year. The group’s mission is to “inspire K-12 youth and educators to pursue careers in STEM” and to “help visualize the future of life in space to benefit Earth.” In a news release on Monday, the club also said it hoped it would give families and teachers “a meaningful way to engage in STEM activities while at home during a pandemic.”
To that end, the group isn’t just launching postcards beyond the atmosphere: it’s also creating space-oriented and standards-aligned curriculums to get kids dreaming about the stars.
Among those lesson plans are the “Space Constitution” project, which aims to have school kids imagine how to “govern a human population living and working in space” and the “Space Marketing” project, which has children “create an advertisement for a space-related business to attract new space customers.” Interested teachers can find those lesson plans at www.clubforfuture.org/educators/.
“What I’m laying out here today is obviously a multi-generational vision,” Jeff Bezos said in a promotional video last year, announcing the project. “It’s this generation’s job to build that road to space.”
The video shows Bezos laughing with kids and inspecting their space postcards at a school. (“That’s really poetic,” he tells one kid, “that’s really cool.”) It also shows the logistics behind the “Earth Needs Space” project, which involves putting the letters into “payload lockers,” then loading those lockers onto a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket destined for the great beyond.
For kids or parents who want to get involved, here’s how the project works: get a blank four-by-six-inch postcard, or download a template from the club’s website. On the frontside, kids are instructed to “color or write about your idea for what the future holds for earth and humans when we’re living and working in space.” For inspiration, possible prompts include: “What would your future moon colony look like?” and “How would you govern and design a new society?”
On the backside, kids should include their return address. Put in an envelope, add a stamp and another return address and mail it to:
Club for the Future
PO Box 5759
Kent, WA 98064
After that, the group says, “We’ll take it from there.” Better yet, the postcards come back home with a “Flown to Space” stamp.