About 9 months ago I asked for your help because I wanted to start an outreach project in my school, and thanks to a lot of support from a lot of tweeps I managed to start a great project that I called Pictor Project. Pictor is all about STEM outreach, we aim to show teenagers that science is more than a class you take, that it can be fun, and that we can do science regardless of our age.

Last year’s Pictor can be considered a success: 13 students (15 and 16 year-olds, admittedly not the easiest group to target) consistently attended the sessions enthusiastically, and we designed a human colony on Europa. The project even got attention at a national level with an article in the one of the most important newspapers in the country (you can see the original article in Spanish here: http://bit.ly/t6wAQW). At a school level it was considered successful enough that we were promised funding, it’s the first time ever that a student-ran project gets this sort of recognition. You can read about each session in our blog: pictorproject.wordpress.com. Now I’m planning a 2012 version of it.

Our objective this year will be to learn about exobiology, Mars, and robotic exploration missions. For this purpose we will plan an unmanned mission to search for life on Mars, in order to accomplish this we will have to learn about the topics previously mentioned which we will do through our own research and videoconferences with experts on these fields. Now, I’m currently for these experts. I would greatly appreciate it if you would help me find them. Here’s a basic outline of what I have planned for this year:

  • During the year we will have 15 sessions with 8 different subjects, for most of these subjects we will have one session with a video conference and another one for our own research.*Subjects:
    1. What happened in space in 2011 (introductory session)
    2. -Mars throughout history / -Why is Mars so important in the search of life?
    3. -What does life need to exist? / -Why is it so hard to find? / -Water. Why does it matter?
    4. -What kinds of life could exists? (civilizations to bacteria) / – SETI / -Hunt for exoplanets
    5. -How about our Solar System? Where could we find life here?
    6. -How we look for signals of life from our planet?
    7. -Unmanned missions what do they do?
    8. -Robots in Mars / -Putting our own mission together

    *All of this is a rough plan: we are open to suggestions, and since we have to work around our school calendar there may be more or less sessions than planed, also last year’s project showed us that some subjects will need more time to be discussed and some less, so we will change parts of this program to fit our needs. However, these changes shouldn’t affect our conference schedule.

So if you think you, or someone you know could be able to help out with the project in any way, specially if it’s as a speaker, please contact me! You can comment here, find me on twitter as @Montsecor or email proyectopictor [at] gmail [dot] com! Please help me bring space to my peers and hopefully get some more future scientists!