Asteroid Cartoons: How To Make Learning Fun

Asteroid Cartoons: How To Make Learning Fun

Asteroid Cartoons: How To Make Learning Fun https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/06111930/cartoon-1-copy.png 465 296 Asteroid Day Asteroid Day https://asteroidday-uploads.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/06111930/cartoon-1-copy.png

You have probably come across funny cartoons and comics about asteroids, comets and dinosaurs. They are of course a great source of entertainment, but what if you could use them to educate the public about planetary defense?

Humour is a powerful tool for communicating about complex subjects. With a proper use it can spark interest and motivate people to learn more about the topic you’re presenting.

First, let’s break down the terminology. According to The Britannica Dictionary, a cartoon is a drawing in a newspaper or magazine intended as a humorous comment on something, and a comic strip is a series of drawings that tell a story.

Educational materials about asteroids and planetary defense are often full of complex scientific terminology, and it can be challenging to engage the general public. With the help of humourous content, you can inspire your audience, stimulate their creativity, and promote better interaction.

Let’s check out the characters most often portrayed in the cartoons that talk about asteroids and the importance of protecting our planet:

Dinosaurs 66 million years ago, an impact on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico wiped out a large number of species on the planet, including dinosaurs. These creatures fascinate audiences of all ages and are often portrayed in cartoons in various settings, from the moments just before the fatal impact to the discovery of the traces of their existence:

Cartoons on the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. (Left: Izzy Ehnes/GoComics. Right: Dave Coverly/GoComics)

Dinosaurs are sometimes portrayed with human features. It is done to address current issues such as planetary defense and stress that contrary to modern-day humans, the dinosaurs didn’t have the chance to think about how to protect our planet:

Cartoon mentioning the need for a planetary defense, with dinosaurs being depicted as humans (Frank Cotham /The New Yorker Cartoons)

Asteroids Space rocks are also frequent cartoon characters. Some depict them as villains, others as a source of learning:

Above, asteroids portrayed in two different ways: as rocks that threaten Earth and objects that stimulate curiosity (J.S. Pailly / Planet Pailly)

Space missions – planetary defence missions, like DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) find reflection in numerous cartoons:

Cartoons explaining the DART mission

Some cartoons have didactic functions and facilitate learning about asteroids, their characteristics and the consequences of their interaction with Earth.

Cartoon explaining the difference between an asteroid, a fireball and a meteorite.(Abel Grau/CSIC – in Spanish)

Asteroid Day – the United Nations-sanctioned day of public awareness of the risks of asteroid impacts has been a great inspiration for cartoonists around the world:

Cartoons about Asteroid Day – upper left: the first in history published in 2014, shortly after Asteroid Day was created (Banx/Financial Times). Upper right: published in the 2019 edition (Yasgar). Below, cartoons in sequence published in the 2021 edition (El Corresponsal Quintana Roo – in Spanish).

Cartoons are traditionally published in newspapers, magazines and other print media. However, nowadays you can find them online, especially on social networking sites.

Event Ideas

We have prepared some activity ideas that will turn your Asteroid Day event into a fun time:

Steps of cartoon producing published in videos ( Art Vlogs / Crafts A2Z)

You can find inspiration for your events with the videos showing step-by-step cartoon production Check out these videos by Art Vlogs and Crafts A2Z made for Asteroid Day 2022.

How about organising a cartoon contest dedicated to the exploration and study of asteroids? You can encourage your audience to unleash their imagination and draw a cartoon or a comic strip. Ask them to imagine what asteroid Bennu samples collected by the OSIRIS-REx probe look like. What would happen upon the arrival of the Lucy spacecraft on Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids? What will Hera Mission find out after analysing DART impact on the asteroid Dimorphos? It is a great opportunity to engage with the participants and encourage them to share their vision of what these and other future asteroid missions are going to unveil.

A cartoon exhibition is also a great idea. Choose a theme and encourage your community to participate. The best the works can be exhibited in a hallway, classroom, or a gallery. There are good free applications and software that you can use for cartoon production. Try exploring Canva, Blender and GIMP. Of course, nothing beats the good-old way of creating your cartoon on paper, which can be digitilised later. Very often simple analogue cartoons are funnier and convey a better message than the digitally produced ones. Always prioritise originality, creativity and good humour.

Consider organizing a workshop for young people and adults with the help of a professional or amateur cartoonist. This will allow your audience to learn all the tips and tricks of creating a great cartoon.

Whatever activity you choose, always value the work produced. It would be a good idea to contact your local newspapers, magazines and other media to promote the best works from your event. You might want to reach out to astronomy clubs, planetariums, observatories and institutes in your region and share your audience’s creations. They might use them in their newsletters and other periodical materials, which will increase the visibility of your organisation and events.

We look forward to seeing the cartoons produced at your event. Don’t forget to register it and report by submitting the best materials. We’ll be happy to share these fun creations with our social media following!