REACH: A Space Podcast for Kids will be broadcasting LIVE with the crew orbiting the Earth aboard the International Space Station. NASA Astronauts Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei will join hosts Brian Holden and Meredith Stepien from the ISS for a truly interstellar conversation. They'll discuss what it's like to live in space, work on the ISS, and answer questions from REACH’s middle-grade listeners. The broadcast is targeting Wednesday, September 1st, 2020 via NASA TV. Today, we talk to co-creators and producers Sandy Marshall and Nate DuFort.
Daddy's Digest (DD): Why is teaching young people about space important to you? Were you into space as kids?
Sandy: I was definitely into space as a kid. My family lived in the D.C. area when I was young in the late ‘70’s and early 80’s, and I can remember going to the Air & Space Museum every week to see the planes, rockets: especially the Skylab exhibit. Later on, I was lucky to attend the Comsophere’s space camp (and later work there as a camp counselor), and have always been passionate about space exploration. Nate and I had been talking for a while about producing a space podcast for kids, and the project has been a blast. Young audiences are able to ask big questions about space and science, and producing educational content for them in a fun and interactive way hopefully helps to ignite curiosity about what’s beyond our atmosphere.
Nate: I feel like growing up in the mid 80’s made everyone my age passionate about space – the Shuttle program was in full effect, Halley's Comet was making its appearance, and we all annoyed our parents putting glow-in-the-dark constellations on our bedroom ceilings. Space exploration is one of the first fields of science to grab kids' attention as almost all of us look up to the night’s sky filled with wonder. This makes for an amazing opportunity to discuss the importance of the scientific method by asking questions aloud, posing hypotheses and testing them to learn about our world and beyond.
DD: Nate, speaking as a father: what does connecting with kids mean to you?
Nate: Connecting with kids is the driving force behind so much of what I do with our children’s podcasts and beyond. It’s important as parents, caregivers, and media makers for us to pass on our knowledge and experiences while also acknowledging the ever-changing world for Gen Z and Gen Alpha children. These younger generations experience challenges unique to their age groups and our connection deepens when we listen, learn, and meet each other in the middle.
DD: What's the one episode that Dads and their kids HAVE to hear? Tell me one episode you are obsessed with.
Sandy: The show is built so folks can hop-in and start listening at any point, and every episode features a subject matter expert in a different area of space exploration. Every episode showcases a variety of topics and experts (scientists, engineers, astronauts, and industry leaders); Dads and their kids could pick an episode and start listening at any point. We’ve heard that parents enjoy the show when they’re traveling on road trips, driving around town, and even hanging around the house. And for the Dads out there: we hope REACH helps provide fun and accessible answers to some of the most common questions about outer space.
Nate: I will admit to being biased by the interests of my twelve year old, but the episode ”The WHY of Space! with Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz” is a great introduction to the ethical questions surrounding space exploration. The episode served as a catalyst for multiple conversations about responsible exploration and opened the door to discussing some of Dr. Walkowicz’s other works including their amazing TED talk “Let's not use Mars as a backup planet.”
DD: Why is the special event on September 1st so special?
Sandy: It’s an incredible honor to connect on a live downlink with NASA Astronauts Megan McArthur and Mark Vande Hei on the International Space Station. On September 1st, REACH’s incredible co-hosts Brian Holden and Meredith Stepien will ask space-related questions from our listener community while learning more about the current mission, what it’s like to spend a typical day on the ISS, and what’s ahead in the future of space exploration.
Nate: It’s also special because it’s our understanding that REACH will be the first children’s podcast afforded the opportunity to participate in a live downlink with the International Space Station. We are honored by being offered this amazing opportunity and hope that our listeners, your readers, and everyone invested in the next generation of space explorers will check it out live on NASA TV targeting 11:55 a.m Eastern on Wednesday, September 1st.