Astrobiology and Society. Public interaction activities in Greece.
Hector-Andreas Stavrakakis  1, *@  , Elias Chatzitheodoridis  1, *@  
1 : National Technical University of Athens, Athens, Greece
* : Corresponding author

The unknown and the out of reach have always captured the interest of the human mind since the antiquity. This interest gradually has been cultivated to form science and the unknown started to take form. The pursue of this endeavour still shapes all generations, creating innovators who brake the science barriers and thus, have strongly affected the evolution and the current state of the human societies. "Science events and activities", that are targeted the public, have been organised popularizing science and bridging the unknown in the minds of the public. Along the same lines, in the last years science and technology worldwide has many sympathizers while the booming of social media has attracted more diverse audience.

However, most information about the advancement in science and technology is not always properly conveyed by the mediators, therefore not properly understood by the public. For example, most people have a misconception of Astrobiology as a scientific topic and its wide aspect. Nowadays, a source of information is the internet where astrobiology is defined as a merge of Astronomy, Biology, Astrobiology, and Astrogeology/Planetology, of which already different degrees are provided [1]. Another definition of Astrobiology is the search for biomarkers, often related to geological samples, i.e., the Nakhla meteorite [2], or indirectly by the utilization of science and technologies collectively in the form of analytical instruments that fly to other planets.

Our team is extensively and deliberately involved in disseminating Astrobiology in Greece. Our team has participated in many public events and actions, such as school of all levels, organised talks in universities, also with invited speakers. A large number of public talks in diverse audience attracted a large number of attendees. Our team also took place in activities to popularize science with exhibits of experiments as well as meteorites. The response is impressive, especially from students of primary schools. An example is the collaboration of two primary schools, who under our guidance won the First Lego League Greek contest with their project about building a model of a Mars crater base using only recyclable materials. Our support was in different aspects but especially on incorporating our current research on water extraction from the Martian regolith by using electrokinetics [3]. This is an example demonstrating how the young generation can be influenced to love and follow science, and how future generations can be further cultivated into science.

[1] https://www.degreequery.com/degree-need-astrobiologist/

[2] Chatzitheodoridis et al. (2014) A Conspicuous Clay Ovoid in Nakhla: Evidence for Subsurface Hydrothermal Alteration on Mars with Implications for Astrobiology. Astrobiology 14(8): 651-693.

[3] Stavrakakis H-A, Chatzitheodoridis E (2017) An electrokinetic concept for remobilising water masses and creating essentials for the colonization of Mars. Poster at " EANA 2017 Conference, 14-17 August 2017, Aarhus, Denmark


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