We are currently producing a 10-part web video series for ESA. In each episode of this series, we ask one knowledge question on the topic of outer space. In the two-minute films of the series we ask one question each. Then, we show different people stating their opinion. Afterwards, we answer the question correctly and explain it. It’s fun watching the people answering, because you are sure you wouldn’t know the answer either in front of a camera.
For ESA, we stopped pedestrians in Europe’s cities and asked them in front of the camera: How long does the journey from Earth to Mars take? Or: How many stars are there in our solar system? A woman laughed at us and explained that her answer would not be correct because she hadn’t studied. Our qualified camera operator remained silent.
Are there eight, 300 million or an indefinite number of stars in our solar system? When confronted with such questions, common sense is stretched to its limits, even though the answer is simple. Space scientists may smirk about how little a clue one can have. But after years of engaging with space they’re not the measure all people in a pedestrian precinct need to compete with.
As far as our series is concerned: luckily there are many more questions to be. Or do you already know why astronauts need good teeth?