Six years of GalileoMobile expeditions – memories from the Altiplano to the Amazon Basin

By Patrícia Spinelli

On a day like today six years ago GalileoMobile started its first project: a journey across South America to bring Astronomy closer to young children residing in rural villages of the Andes. We spent two months travelling in Chile, Bolivia and Peru, meeting students and sharing the sky with the most incredible people. Back then, we didn’t know that this initiative would only be the first of many others! Since 2009, we have also been to India, Uganda, back again to Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and now in 2015, we are virtually connected to students and teachers of 6 countries of South America that soon will be visited by our team. In total, more than 12,400 students, 1307 teachers took part of GalileoMobile activities and over 1,700 people participated in GalileoMobile public events.

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Opening Talk in Isla del Sol, Bolivia, 2009

Last year, a project very similar to the 2009 initiative was accomplished: GalileoMobile Brazil-Bolivia (BraBo) 2014, an unique expedition to the Amazon. This project lasted 5 weeks but took nearly two years of preparation and one year and a half of post-production. Today, in our 6th anniversary of the Andes project we are ready to share with you the results of the twin project to the Amazon!

From July 21st to August 25th 2014, seven GalileoMobile members and collaborators travelled 4,210 km visiting 22 institutions and schools of the Bolivian Department of Pando and the neighbouring Brazilian states of Acre and Rondônia. In total 3,081 students took part of our activities, 427 teachers and 156 undergraduates from the field of Natural and Earth Sciences followed our workshops. Taking into account the general public that also participated in our night-sky observation events 4,045 people were reached. GalileoMobile BraBo also worked with visually impaired students and educators, reaching out 68 persons with needs for special education. To chronicle the stories of this remarkable voyage, GalileoMobile members wrote over 25 five entries for the blog

More than 235 people were involved in the project organisation. The project was sponsored by 20 institutions and 69 individuals who contributed through the crowdfunding campaign promoted by the team members to raise funds. All the expedition details can be found in our report

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Playing with telescopes in Cruzeiro do Sul, Brazil, 2014

Another aspect of BraBo in common with the 2009 expedition is the production of a documentary movie. In 2009 we have produced Bajo un Mismo Cielo, which told the story of our road trip to Chile, Bolivia and Peru during the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) and the different interpretations of the sky by the Andean people.

BraBo’s final product is a documentary movie aimed to portray the encounter of the different views of the people of the Amazon as well as to celebrate the presence of light through its beautiful manifestation. We named our documentary Ano-Luz (Light Year), which we are very happy to share with you today!

Ano-Luz’s producers, Felipe Carrelli and Fernanda Ligabue, wanted the movie to be a tribute to light, and so we are the here today, celebrating our 6-year anniversary as well as the International Year of Light and Light-based technologies (IYL2015) and our memories from the road! We hope you enjoy it!

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