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Space Exploration: The Next Step - Conference

  • McCarthy Center Forum 100 State Street Framingham, MA, 01702 United States (map)

Overview

The concluding event of the Moon Landing in Context series will be a one day conference, hosted at Framingham State University, where scholars from local universities will gather to propose alternative reasons to why humanity should engage in space exploration.

We will bring back together all major themes that emerged over the 15 months of presentations, panels discussions, conversations with the audience, exhibits, student projects, and more to reflect on how we will shape the future of our country, our world, and space exploration.

What themes emerged? What are critical questions and issues we need to approach? How are we going to channel the approach to do "something because it is hard, not because it is easy" to tackle the greatest challenges of our time?

Keynote Presentation

The conference will be anchored by a keynote presentation by Dr. Danielle Wood.

Dr. Danielle Wood is a faculty member from the MIT Media Arts & Sciences Program and the Director of the Space Enabled Research Group which seeks to advance justice in Earth's complex systems using designs enabled by space. She is a scholar of societal development with a background that includes satellite design, earth science applications, systems engineering, and technology policy. In her research, Dr. Wood applies these skills to design innovative systems that harness space technology to address development challenges around the world. Prior to serving as faculty at MIT, Professor Wood held positions at NASA Headquarters, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aerospace Corporation, Johns Hopkins University, and the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. She studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a Ph.D in engineering systems, SM in aeronautics and astronautics, SM in technology policy, and SB in aerospace engineering.

The Space Enabled Research Group identifies six types of space technology that are supporting societal needs, as defined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These six technologies include satellite earth observation, satellite communication, satellite positioning, microgravity research, technology transfer, and the inspiration we derive from space research and education. While much good work has been done, barriers still remain that limit the application of space technology as a tool for sustainable development. The Space Enabled Research Group works to increase the opportunities to apply space technology in support of the Sustainable Development Goals. Its research applies six methods, including design thinking, art, social science, complex systems, satellite engineering and data science. We pursue our work by collaborating with development leaders who represent multilateral organizations, national and local governments, non-profits and entrepreneurial firms to identify opportunities to apply space technology in their work. It strives to enable a more just future in which every community and country can easily and affordably apply space-enabled technology to improve public services and solve local challenges.

Invited Conference Speakers

Professor Matthew Hersch, Harvard History of Science: Matthew Hersch is a historian of technology whose research examines Cold War era aerospace, computer, and military technologies and their relationship to labor and popular culture. 

Alissa J. Haddaji, Harvard University:  Alissa Haddaji is Planetary Protection Project Officer at the International Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and a Senior Researcher at Harvard Business School, specializing in Space Economics.

Closing Panel Discussion

A closing panel discussion will focus on what we, as members of society, can do to influence the choices that are being made now for the future of space exploration. The panel will include Framingham State University faculty, as well as faculty from other Massachusetts universities. At the moment, invited panelists include:

Dr. Andrea Vicini, Associate Professor of Moral Theology at Boston College: Dr. Andrea Vicini is currently writing a book on the ethical issues concerning new biotechnologies that will examine: global health, regenerative medicine, neuroscience, synthetic biology, and nanotechnology.

Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Executive Director of Global Oneness Project: The Global Oneness Project aims to connect, through stories, the local human experience to global meta-level issues, such as climate change, water scarcity, food insecurity, poverty, endangered cultures, migration, and sustainability.

Dr. Vandana Singh, Associate Professor of Physics at Framingham State University and science fiction writer: Whether writing science fiction, teaching, or developing pedagogies to transform STEM education, Dr. Vandana Singh is motivated by the creative space at the intersection of multiple disciplines and modes of communication.

Framingham State University Student: To be confirmed.

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