Funded by the National Science Foundation, Launch Pad, a week-long workshop in astronomy, is underway in Laramie, Wyoming.
Its mission is simple: educate writers and editors from a variety of disciplines about modern science, specifically astronomy, so that they in turn can reach a wider audience.
Dr. Mike Brotherton, professional astronomer and sf writer, is assisted by Dr. Jim D. Verley. Guest instructors include Jerry Oltion, Dr. H.G. Stratmann, and Dr. Stanley Schmidt, editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
Lectures, labs, and field trips cover the fundamentals of astronomy at the college level. Specific topics include spectroscopy, stars, galaxies, black holes, quasars, orbital mechanics, biological hazards and medical care in space, worldbuilding in science fiction, and much, much more. A visit to WIRO, a working observatory, supplements hands-on time with telescopes.
Applications for Launch Pad 2012 will open next March.