How Kids See Space

NASA asks children "to explore how today's technology is bringing tomorrow's dreams closer to reality."
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NASA/Collie Hudson, 2nd Grade

In 1977, a year after the U.S. Bicentennial, the oil company ARCO asked Americans of the time what they thought the U.S. would look like to the Americans 100 years later, at the nation's Tricentennial. Their answers were recorded in a document, The Tricentennial Report, that featured, among other things, children's imaginings of 2077. The kids depicted a future full of ... robots. And of, this being 1977, atomic bombs. And of (this being 1977) humans circling the circumference of the Earth in peaceful holdings of hands. 

I mention the 1977 drawings because NASA has just released a 2014 follow-up—a collection that asked children to share their depictions not of Earth, but of space. NASA's LaRC contest, Gizmodo's Matt Novak reportswas open to children of all school ages (K-12) in Hampton Roads, Virginia. It asked them "to explore how today's technology is bringing tomorrow's dreams closer to reality."

Some of the results, via NASA's Flickr page, are below. (You can see the full collection here.) And they suggest the changes that have taken place between 1977 and 2014: instead of atom bombs, there are melting polar ice caps. Space shuttles have been replaced by space colonies. The images, all in all, nicely represent the range of our current sense of the future: the wonder, the fear, the uncertainty, the potential.

Sophia O'Connor, Kindergarten

 

NASA/Logan McConnell, 5th Grade

 

NASA/Tyjah James, 1st Grade

 

NASA/Jamaica Carby, 9th Grade

 

NASA/Izarra Mitchell, 1st Grade

 

NASA/Ella Basak, 3rd Grade

 

NASA/Grace Eberhard, 8th Grade

 

NASA/Lauren Young, 5th Grade

 

NASA/Desirae Sievers, 6th Grade

 

Via Gizmodo/Paleofuture

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Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.

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