Chapter in book

Keeping the Torch Burning for ‘Good Science’ in Popular Culture: Video Games, Space, and Education

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Publication Details

Author list: Siebrits A

Editor list: Froehlich A

Publisher: Springer Nature

Place: Switzerland AG

Publication year: 2020

Title of series: Southern Space Studies

Number in series: 1

Volume number: 1

Start page: 91

End page: 106

Total number of pages: 16

ISBN: 9783030226558



Exploring ways in which space has become embedded in popular culture and consciousness is an essential endeavour since billions of people around the world rely on space systems in their daily lives. One of the challenges faced by the space community is raising awareness of this fact among the public and political decision makers, at a time when the more glamorous aspects of space are commonplace in modern culture such as the visual and performing arts. The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate and argue that popular culture, including video games, can also be a potent and valuable tool to educate the public and evoke their interest in space. I argue by way of six examples that video games as popular culture artefacts are (at least to some extent) enablers of the next wave of space exploration, and their educational value is worthy of more serious scholarly attention. The six examples are analysed in the context of a triangular model of popular culture, outer space, and video games, and illustrate the interest of the public in engaging with more challenging, technical, and practical aspects of space via a highly relevant and contemporary medium. This chapter is thus dedicated to a discussion of the six video games and highlights the part they are playing in a broader historical trend, especially in keeping the torch burning for ‘good science’ in popular culture, reflecting public interest in ‘unglamorous’ space, and in turn in promoting such interest and education around space.


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Last updated on 2021-18-06 at 13:42