Updated: Jul 24, 2021
Against all odds amidst a pandemic, 2020 has been a remarkable year for astronomy, astrophysics, and aerospace alike. As the first crewed launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, the Crew Dragon Demo-2 ushered in high spirits. Around the world, astronomers embarked on a quest to capture the magnificence of Comet NEOWISE. During the autumn, three phenomenal scientists earned the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research in black holes and cosmology. Time and time again, the space sciences prove their unique worth as a force for uniting humanity.
Simultaneously, I was inspired by the sheer diversity of space-related endeavors pursued by our young generation. As my exoplanet research group pored over online transit data, the essence of teamwork transcended boundaries of time zones or location. I saw sparks of joy whenever fellow Summer Science Program alumni discussed advice about imaging nebulas or shared their space-inspired arts. It was clear that students deserved a platform that showcased their efforts in space science while serving as a welcoming, nurturing community.
An initiative consisting of five projects, “Science Connect” was founded with the mission of amplifying multidisciplinary education through opportunities in hands-on problem-solving and communication. SkyShot became our flagship project as a stunning paragon of collaboration and fusion of disciplines.
After all, the universe is not based upon arbitrary divisions in academic fields - it simply exists, and we strive towards appreciation and understanding. Outer space presents an unparalleled juxtaposition of “science” and “art.” On one hand, the night skies inspire humility and awe at the vast expanse above. On the other, we are compelled to ask fundamental questions regarding astrophysical processes and embrace the final frontier through engineering advances. Above all, our innate curiosity and connection with outer space drive humankind to reach its full potential.
As you read SkyShot, immerse yourself in the multifaceted nature of the cosmos. Engaging with the wonders of outer space is for everyone, regardless of demographics, background, or academic interest. I hope you can find and reflect upon your unique avenues of doing so. Together, we will launch into a new era of unbridled intellectual growth and exploration.
- Priti Rangnekar