We couldn’t let World Space Week (4-10 October) go by without asking our self-confessed space buff, Graham Bowes the question: “What inspires people to reach for the stars?”
Strap yourselves in, here comes Graham’s response: “For me, I was driven by a creative curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Looking up at the night sky and imagining what’s out there has fascinated me for as long as I can remember.
“I was always a big fan of the late Sir Patrick Moore and his TV programme, ‘The Sky at Night’. It was the one thing I was glued to every month. I was utterly amazed by it. Who’d have thought, years later, that I’d eventually meet Sir Patrick and have the privilege of visiting him at his home and observatory in Selsey.
“I know it’s hard to believe, but I was actually around in the early 60s as the Space Race ignited and the first human finally set foot on the Moon. Obviously, I was very young at the time! The Apollo 11 mission was an incredible example of human creativity and a great example of what can be achieved when we set our minds to something. Over 400,000 people were involved in achieving the mission’s goals, incredibly the lead mission team had an average age of only 27. In any area of creativity, the youth and their positive ‘can-do’ energy is vital, imagining what can be done, rather than focusing on reasons why it can’t or shouldn’t.
“In my time, I’ve enjoyed being highly active in the formative years of a citizens’ science outreach programme called ‘Galaxy Zoo’. In addition, I was a moderator for the project that looked to classifying the galaxies in our Universe – a project that became ‘The Zooniverse’, involving nearly 2m registered volunteers. You should check it out: zooniverse.org
“The other big passion in my life is photography. I do a fair amount of astrophotography – some deep space, some Earth orbital objects, and of course the Moon. I love the fact that it’s always there, always changing and that its presence has intrigued the human race for so long, inspiring us all to think beyond it and dream.
“Through my passion for space, I’ve met and become friends with many great people involved in science, astronomy, space and even a few astronauts! These people are very similar to designers, applying their creativity to tasks that inspires them and drive them on.
“Do I still dream big? Of course. Whilst I might not actually visit space any time soon, working with organisations such as ESA (European Space Agency) is still high on my wish-list. What do you reckon ESA? Have you got a project we could work on together? I hope so!
“As it’s Space Week, perhaps take a moment to look up at the Moon and dream about what lies beyond it.”
If you’re from the European Space Agency, or any other scientific, space-related organisation, we know a man who’d love to work with you; contact us.