Broadcast 1311 (Special Edition)

20 Feb 2010 Matt Allner
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Guest: Matthew Allner. Topics: space education, STEM, astronaut selection process. Matt Allner returned for this program to talk about space education and his teaching experiences, the NASA Explorer School program, how to become a NASA astronaut, and related items. This two hour program was in two segments. In our first segment, Matt got right into teaching issues including "teaching to the test." He got several questions wanting him to tell us all what is wrong with our educational system today, especially with science, fact, STEM, and space. Matt was asked to compare and contrast the three states he has taught in, California, Iowa, and Colorado. This is a very interesting comparison, make sure you hear it. Matt had much to say about tests in general and said too much emphasis is placed on them. For STEM education, he said NASA inspires students to pursue STEM courses but its hard work and hard to do. Listen to how he teaches STEM classes to his students. You also want to pay close attention to what he had to say about school boards and administrations and how they see and evaluate the NASA programs. As he said on air, its not fast food! We talked about iPhone and iPod apps for Mars and other STEM subjects and how to use these devices to interest and hold the kids with the subject. But as listeners said along with Matt, if one does not know the underlying rule or premise, being dependent on the electronic device is not a good thing. Matt had much to say about this using his search and rescue experience as a model. In our second segment, Matt told us about his astronaut application process and his interviews in 2008. Don't miss the story he tells about the NASA call coming in during the middle of his 8th grade class and how he incorporated his class into that call. Matt discussed Houston, the training program, and we talked about what might happen with the astronauts if the US does not do human spaceflight missions for many years given possible space policy changes. A listener asked about long term space travel issues and space detachment from Earth. Matt again used his search and rescue diving experiences as the model and the use of communications. Another listener asked if these human efforts might someday be replaced by a computerized HAL from 2001 but Matt made it clear he was far more comfortable with humans on the com than computer. I asked him about our economy and how he saw the impact on space policy with our increasing deficits, interest on the deficits, and our economic situation, both domestic and globally. He said we needed to make sure that we let Congress know just how important space is and this must be a constant reminder. We also talked about space travel and Matt separated a tourist from someone who might make a long duration or settlement type of spaceflight. See if you agree with him. If you have a question or comment for Matthew Allner, you can email him at



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