SERVIR-Mekong Helps Connect Youth to Space at Science Fair

Group of children USG pavilion
Image credit: ADPC

From August 17 to 27, SERVIR-Mekong, a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), exhibited their work at Thailand’s National Science and Technology Fair 2017, an annual event hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Considered Asia’s largest science and technology fair, the event attracted children from across the country, inspiring them to understand the importance of science and technology as well as promoting new technologies.

The United States Government sponsored a pavilion at the fair where SERVIR-Mekong hosted a booth to engage students with geospatial information and technology. The booth featured interactive activities, which included connecting jigsaw puzzles of satellite images where students learned the important application of geospatial technologies to help identify different geographic features such as rivers, forests and urban areas. The booth also featured a demonstration of Google Earth where students could locate their towns, schools and homes and learn about mapping technologies.Google Earth Engine demonstration

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Peter Haymond joined the opening ceremony on August 18 and welcomed Thailand’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Atchaka Sibunruang, to the space-themed exhibits of the U.S. Pavilion. In addition to SERVIR-Mekong, the pavilion showcased exhibition of space shuttles, Mars exploration and video footages of the “Great American Eclipse," which was visible across the United States on August 21. The exhibit also showcased King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Thailand’s prediction of a solar eclipse in 1868.

Minister of Science and Technology with US Embassy

The event offered an opportunity for Thai students to learn about space exploration and how space-based information systems can be used to understand and prepare for natural disasters such as droughts, floods and forest lost. The intent is to inspire a new generation of Thai scientists.

Kids and families connecting GIS puzzle

SERVIR-Mekong harnesses publicly available satellite imagery and technologies to support government and other stakeholders in the Lower Mekong region in addressing development issues such disaster impact and environmental changes. The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, is the prime implementer for SERVIR-Mekong. Three other consortium partners, Spatial Informatics Group, Stockholm Environment Institute  and Deltares, assist in implementing the SERVIR-Mekong program.

Children having fun at USG Pavilion
Image Credit: USAID Asia