IIAS is a matrixed organization that integrates subject-matter experts with younger professionals and students. Unlike more hierarchical academic organizations that often impose an unspoken but rigid ceiling as to who may publish or serve as lead investigators, IIAS encourages all of its members to take the initiative to contribute to or lead scientific studies.
IIAS is an immersive educational institution; every course offered by IIAS serves to develop the student to participate and contribute directly to its professional citizen-science activities. Our students have studied mesospheric clouds from aircraft in remote regions of Canada, tested prototype space suits in microgravity, tested egress procedures and space suits in contingency post-landing environments, developed new methods to educate young students and engage under-represented communities, and developed a variety of technologies and experiments for high altitude, microgravity, or suborbital flight.
Because many professional students have outside obligations, IIAS courses typically combine academic instruction provided through our virtual classroom with immersive educational components involving intensive field research.
Many people think of the citizen-scientist as an amateur science enthusiast volunteering to gather data for a government-funded scientist. Though such individuals provide a vital role in enabling and communicating science, PoSSUM and OTTER seek ways to create a broader model of citizen science – a model that can fund, conduct, and communicate professional, peer-reviewed science through a variety of means. By highlighting the value of science to society and producing enticing human stories of commercial value, we make science more democratic, more accessible, and less vulnerable to political agendas that drive governmental funding.
IIAS Students have traveled from 43 different countries to attend courses held at our facilities in Canada and the United States. We believe that astronautics is inherently international and we celebrate our similar vision for life on and off the Earth, as well as our differences. Will you be your countries first graduate of astronautical science?