TARA will stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in thousands of students in Ireland and California by giving them access to a live robotic telescope in California.
The need to inspire students when they are young was explicitly supported recently by President Barack Obama in his 2013 State of the Union Address:
“Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more
than seven dollars later on”.
This underlines the economic imperative of providing a challenging and stimulating environment for kids and the robotic telescope project will excel at doing just that.
TARA will give students in both Cork and California a unique opportunity to control the telescopes in real-time and take photographs of objects they wish to see in detail. This experience is set apart from other web-telescope projects available as it is facilitated by experts, is used in real time and will be targeted at the country, state and locality the children using it are in, making it an exciting and personal experience.
A look into the background…
• TARA stems from a 2009/10 pilot between CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory and the Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland, CA called Web of Stars which took advantage of the time difference between California and Ireland.
• TARA was officially launched on March 17, 2013 by San Francisco Mayor, Edwin Lee, on his first official trip outside the USA.
• TARA builds on global citizenship projects that utilise astronomy and space science such as EarthDay (Cork and California elementary students explored climate change with lead NASA scientist Dr Claire Parker through a Digital Learning Network) and Capture the Cosmos (Cork primary schools learnt about astronomy and created beautiful works of astronomical art, which were exhibited and auctioned by NASA astronaut Dan Tani to raise funds for telescopes for the Universe Awareness programme in Tanzania).
• TARA is a 2 way mutually beneficial exchange allowing shared access to resources.
• TARA will create a communication network of SpacePals, utilising technology to bring penpals into the 21st century.
Read the story of TARA here: