CosmoQuestScience & Astronomy
22. October 2015

This blog post comes a little late, although I had shared the news on the social media channels before: CosmoQuest has been saved! After the citizen science project had lost its primary NASA funding in October 2014 after having been hit with the sequestration before, it was held alive by donations, among them the very successful Hangoutathon from this spring, but even the most generous donations only go so far. Because of this, CosmoQuest director Pamela Gay has been tirelessly writing proposals to replace the lost NASA grant and on September 25, she got the news everbody involved in CosmoQuest had been waiting for: WE GOT FUNDING.

This is the good news – CosmoQuest will receive NASA funding for at least five years, but it is not exactly clear how much yet. On September 25, NASA had announced that 27 organisations, among them CosmoQuest, have been selected as Science Education Partners for STEM Agreements – altogether, a sum of $42 Million will be given out, but how this is going to be distributed is still in the future. If it would be divided equally, each grant applicant would get about $1.5 Million, which does not seem much over five years, but it would certainly be a windfall for CosmoQuest, which has been surviving on a few ten thousands for more than a year. The bottom line is that this is not about simply spending money but about giving scientists a chance to do research and support education – and scientists are humans like everyone else who need to be paid for their work. Other bills have to be paid too, of course – but this is all about the people doing the science.

While everyone waits for more details to come out, there is always more citizen science to do on CosmoQuest – there are still other worlds to map, especially Mars! And Pamela Gay has also hinted that there may be another CosmoQuest Hangoutathon sometime – but with less begging and more science. Let’s see what the future brings… it already looks pretty good now and I think CosmoQuest can really celebrate its fourth Birthday on January 1, 2016!

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