In 2008 I attended the Launch Pad astronomy workshop. Applications are now open for this year’s workshop, which will be held July 14-21, 2013.
Launch Pad is a week-long crash course for modern astronomy held annually in Laramie, Wyoming, and combines traditional lecture, experiment, activities, discussion, and telescope visits. It’s basically a full semester of Astronomy 101 in a week, and it will melt your brain.
Attendance is limited to about a dozen participants, who are selected based on audience size and audience diversity. That’s a fancy way of saying they don’t just admit a dozen white male hard sf novelists who write for pretty much the same audience. They would love to see more applications from writers of all genres, non-fiction writers, screenwriters, playwrights, editors and anyone with the ability to put more and better quality astronomy in front of interested eyes, although they expect many participants to continue to be science fiction novelists as they have dominated the applicant pool. The workshop used to be free, but they’ve lost their NASA/NSF funding so it now costs $500 — this includes tuition, lodging, and meals except for dinner.
The application form, more information about the workshop, a history, and my write-up of the workshop at tor.com are available online. Applications will be open until April 15 and final decisions should be made by mid-May.
I had a blast when I went, and I encourage any SF writer with an interest in space to apply.