Astronauts Are Reading Children’s Books in Space to Encourage a Love of STEM

If you’re a parent of a certain age, you probably remember the joy of watching the hosts of Reading Rainbow or Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood reading to you as a child. There was something soothing about listening to a story and using your imagination to follow along. Sometimes the story would even come to life as the show edited together narration with images from the book. Now a whole new generation can experience the thrill of story time. Only today’s kids are being read to…from space.

As reported by the Huffington Post, Story Time From Space is a project spearheaded by the Global Space Education Foundation (GSEF) in partnership with the International Space Station (ISS). The project was co-founded by Patricia Tribe (former director of education at the Space Center Houston) and astronaut Alvin Drew to engage children in STEM.

Once a story has been approved–it can be no longer than 15 minutes and must be scientifically accurate–the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) partners with NASA to get the books loaded onto payloads headed for the ISS. Once the books arrive, astronauts volunteer their time, recording themselves reading to the camera. The recordings are then edited and then uploaded to the Story Time From Space website, and you can watch a few of them on  YouTube.

The GSEF sometimes requests a specific astronaut for particular books. For example, in the above video, Kate Rubins reads the tale of Rosie Revere, Engineer, as the initiative considered it crucial that the story of a female engineer be read by a woman.

Of course, you don’t have to be a child to enjoy Story Time From Space. Everyone is welcome to follow along, to hear a tale of family-friendly STEM discovery and take a look around the International Space Station as it hurtles through the endless dark outside our small blue marble.

Images: Story Time From Space

More books and also space!

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