Ask A Spaceman!

by Paul Sutter
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  • This campaign successfully raised
    $775 with 10 backers
    on June 13, 2015
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    Flexible Funding
    Flexible Funding campaigns receive all donations regardless of whether the funding goal is reached.

Support my community-oriented astronomy podcast in which I answer your questions and interview today’s top young researchers.

  Outreach, Astronomy

The Problem Of Disconnected Audiences

How do you connect with today’s always-online culture? Podcasts and YouTube videos are extremely popular, but astronomy-focused shows – especially ones that are hosted by experts and dig down beyond the superficial – are severely lacking.

Traditional avenues for outreach, such as planetarium shows, simply don’t connect with the majority of today’s youth and adults, and there are precious few outlets for actual scientists to communicate their knowledge and passion to these audiences.

I’m going to change that.

What I’m Trying To Do

Enter #AskASpaceman: a community-oriented podcast and YouTube series where people like you post questions on social media, and I answer them in a lighthearted, conversational, accessible show.

The appetite for astronomy is greater than what is currently being provided, as evidenced by the countless questions I receive from both kids and adults whenever I do an outreach event or classroom visit. People are curious about space, and this show gives them the chance to learn more.

A significant online presence is essential to making the show work: by engaging the worldwide audience through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube comments, and the show website, I can generate a community to find new directions for discussion.

The show will also feature interviews with today’s top young researchers, chatting with them about not only their work and research, but also their lives, interests, ambitions, and struggles. This will show the audience that scientists – especially the ones doing the “grunt work” to deliver new results – are just normal people, breaking stereotypes and inspiring young adults to pursue careers in science.

Example Podcast

Check out this sample podcast, #9: How big is the Universe?

How You Can Help

I’ve already got the basics covered – a microphone, and my cell phone as a camera. And I’m currently paying for hosting and advertising out of my own pocket. But to expand, I need to do a lot more!

I plan to upgrade my audio equipment so that I can do interviews and to improve the quality of the recordings. I will also upgrade my video equipment (including lighting rigs and a better camera) to make higher-quality YouTube videos.

The show is community-oriented, so for it to work I need a community! I will need to advertise and build networks with other podcasts and YouTube shows.

You can make that happen!

Even a small contribution goes a long way, and it doesn’t take much to get this show off the ground. And you’ll get something in return: a personalized thank-you letter, acknowledgements in the show, and even cool #AskASpaceman swag! If you contribute at a higher level, you will have shows dedicated to your questions, and even have the chance for an on-air interview discussing your questions!

No matter what, you’ll be among the pioneers of a new generation of astronomy education and outreach.

  Budget Breakdown

With this campaign I will be able to ensure hosting for two years, giving the show a chance to grow. I will also reach new audiences, and be able to deliver high-quality YouTube videos. In two years, I want to deliver 100 full half-hour shows, as well as many more clips and features.

Here’s the breakdown:

$400: hosting for two years

$400: audio equipment to improve podcast quality: microphone stand, portable recorder, lapel microphones for interviews, sound dampening wall coverings

$600: video equipment to improve YouTube quality: dedicated camera, lighting rigs

$600: advertising

  Risks and Challenges


  • Project Leader: Paul Sutter (Individual)
  • Location: Columbus, OH, United States
  • Organizer:

    Paul Sutter

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Ask A Spaceman!

Support my community-oriented astronomy podcast in which I answer your questions and interview today’s top young researchers.