How Big Science Gets Funded—An Introduction for Students to the Politics of Space Science Funding
A collaborative group project for non-science majors is described, which introduces students to the processes and politics involved in securing funding for big ticket space science missions. In this project, student groups represent research teams that have to make pleas for funding before a “congressional committee” composed of non-science faculty. Students are assigned actual projects (such as the Terrestrial Planet Finder or the Mission to Pluto) and are placed in direct competition for funds with other projects of similar goals. An additional student group plays the role of congressional staffers with responsibility for briefing their faculty congressperson on all of the competing projects that will be presented. The project will be discussed in terms of its benefits for student learning and the areas that tended to limit the overall success of the project.
Thompson, R. 2003, Astronomy Education Review, 2(1), p.144–149