There's More to Space than Science

by Sujay Natson '16 and Tomoya Mori '16
June 29, 2015

Sujay and Tomoya are Social Innovation Fellows and the co-founders of MetaPlaneta. They believe that everyone, regardless of academic background, should have the opportunity to be involved in space development.

In the summer of 2013, Tomoya met a 15 year-old schoolgirl who was passionate about outer space. They had been talking for a good hour when Tomoya asked how she planned on working for a space company. She replied “I don’t think I will. I’m not good at math or science.” 

Later, we conducted a survey in Japan and Singapore and we found that she wasn’t the only one feeling that way. Many students essentially believed that “Space = Rocket Science."

The reality that more and more young students were abandoning their dreams to pursue their passion for space set us in motion to do something about it. This was the beginning of Metaplaneta.

Metaplaneta is a think tank that investigates a multidisciplinary approach to space. Its main overall aim is to make students feel and be more connected to space, no matter what academic background they come from. Why? Because we believe that false societal beliefs shouldn’t discourage students from following their passions.

We've carried out research with professionals from various space agencies to verify our ideas and yes, jobs in non-STEM fields do exist in the space industry but there’s a problem: students do not know of the many opportunities available to them. Yet, these opportunities are only expected to increase as more companies join the space race.

We challenged ourselves to connect our passion for space with our interests in non-STEM fields. Tomoya, for example, now knows there are ways for him to pursue his interest in media communications in the space industry and also use that as a way to expose students to the non-STEM opportunities.With a better understanding of the space industry following our research, we felt we could help other students make such connections as well.

Not only does Metaplaneta want to be a platform that connects students’ passion for space to their studies and provide more information to them but we also want to use space as a tool to challenge established norms. This summer, we will organize workshops, where students will discuss topics through which they can rethink current approaches to space and explore new perspectives by interacting with professionals from non-STEM backgrounds. For now, we’re focusing on students in Japan and Singapore, where we’re from.

So yes, your passion can indeed resonate with your studies... you just need to find the connection. 

If you’re interested in joining us on our journey, please contact us at either tomoya_mori@brown.edu or sujay_natson@brown.edu.