Outer space has captured the human imagination for centuries. Since the 1950s, the marvels of space technology have included rockets, spaceships, and moon landings. More than that, space technology is key to addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time, as outlined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These seventeen goals are a blueprint for a better, more sustainable world, encompassing objectives like eradicating poverty, ensuring access to quality education, and preserving life on land and below water.
This connection between space technology and achieving the SDGs couldn’t be more timely, as we celebrate World Space Week, an international event observed from October 4 to 10 each year. World Space Week is a time when people around the globe come together to recognize the contributions of space science and technology to our planet and people.
Encourage your teachers to delve into the fascinating realm of space technology with their students and discover how it is helping us address the challenges facing our world today. Inspire your teachers and students to think critically about how to achieve a sustainable future as they learn together and develop the durable skills they need to be career-ready!
Bridging the digital divide (SDG 4, 9)
Satellites in space provide internet access to remote and underserved areas. Without this connectivity, many children would not be able to receive quality education (SDG 4) in their own communities. These satellites also make remote learning possible.
Space satellites also contribute to SDG 9 by providing infrastructure mapping and modeling in rural areas. This is important in determining where to build new infrastructure and improving existing structures.
Monitoring climate change (SDG 13)
Space technology and satellites play a crucial role in weather forecasting and monitoring climate change. Scientists use data from space to track environmental changes, which can lead to more informed policies and practices.
Disaster management and humanitarian aid (SDG 1, 11, 13)
Space technology aids in disaster preparedness and response through weather forecasting, communication systems, and satellite imagery. This contributes to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and SDG 13 (Climate Action) by reducing the effects of natural disasters on people and communities.
Space technology also helps reduce poverty (SDG 1) by mapping populated areas and access to basic services, helping to identify gaps in resources. This can also be used to get humanitarian aid to areas that need it most.
Sustainable agriculture (SDG 2)
Space technology is essential for sustainable agricultural practices, combating hunger through healthier crops. Remote sensing satellites offer key data for monitoring soil, snow cover, and crop development. Rainfall assessments help farmers know how much irrigation they need. Optimizing crop production through space technology is an important aspect of increasing food supply throughout the world.
Protecting biodiversity (SDG 14, 15)
Protecting both life on land and life below water is made easier through space technology. Identifying algal blooms, changes in water temperature, and monitoring illegal or unregulated fisheries are all possible through space technology. Biodiversity monitoring and identifying poaching also helps protect species that live on land.
Outer space technology is a powerful tool for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We hope you will support and encourage the exploration of this topic in your school and inspire students about the potential of science and technology to make a positive impact on our world. Let’s inspire a new generation of thinkers, innovators, and dreamers who are career-ready and excited to contribute to a sustainable future for our planet.
For more ideas about teaching the SDGs and space technology, see these resources:
- Educational resources from the World Space Week Association
- Space Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals
- UN Observances: World Space Week
Please share what your teachers and students learned about space technology and the SDGs! Tag us on social media and use the hashtag #UnitingOurWorld.