Slooh, the pioneer in offering live online telescope feeds of major celestial events along with expert commentary and instructional lessons to individuals and school communities worldwide, is partnering with space domain awareness, orbital logistics, and space mining leader TransAstra to add to Slooh’s student-controlled network of telescopes. TransAstra’s ground-based telescopes, as well as its future space-based telescopes, will be added to Slooh’s network.
Through this partnership, middle school through college-level educators can engage students in discovery-based science using Slooh’s Online Telescope and TransAstra’s breakthrough Sutter Telescope Technology. Students can direct the view of the telescopes to detect, track, and potentially get credit for the discovery of comets, asteroids, and other moving bodies in space. Using Slooh’s education platform, educators and students can additionally collect data and images to analyze what is taking place beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
“Commercial space opportunities and missions like Artemis continue to inspire and engage learners of all ages. Learning about space and astronomy has the capacity to equip today’s students with the problem-solving skills of tomorrow – not only to get us to Mars, but to address the problems we face each day. We need creative minds in all aspects of STEM, from artists to engineers, to reach those goals,” said Christine Hirst Bernhardt, an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow in 2021-2022 and head of Slooh’s Teacher Advisory Board. “We need students from all backgrounds and with a diversity of experience, especially girls and those underrepresented in STEM fields. There has never been a more prescient time to challenge the narrative of what engineers and scientists look like, and to change the playing field. The experience of controlling telescopes to explore the space environment is just that tool, at the perfect time. Student-guided explorations with these telescopes foster endless opportunities for engagement with STEM careers, explorer mindsets, and 21st century skills of scientific discovery.”
Under the partnership agreement, TransAstra and Slooh will work together to build and install a series of Sutter telescopes across the U.S. and abroad leveraging both Slooh’s and TransAstra’s existing and planned network of observation sites. Slooh now has telescopes at the world-class Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and at the observatory at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile near Santiago. It is also planning to add telescope sites in the United Arab Emirates and India.
Once the terrestrial network of Sutter telescopes is launched, the partners plan to deploy the first space-based Sutter Telescope within two years. This will be the first telescope of its kind to be available on the Slooh network so students can control a spaceborne astronomical instrument for finding moving bodies in space.
“We envision thousands of students and educators discovering hundreds of asteroids daily, monitoring orbital debris, and gathering data using a global network of telescopes and even a space-based telescope,” said TransAstra Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Nicole Shumaker. “TransAstra’s Sutter Telescope Technology makes this possible, and Slooh’s unique program puts these telescopes into the curious hands of student-scientists.”