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The Future of Space Exploration: The Policy Perspective

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

Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony, Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum

Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony, from the Smithsonian Institution, will discuss key policy implications of space exploration through Project Apollo, Cold War diplomacy and the American framing of global interdependence. She will examine the distinctive and critical role that space exploration played in American foreign relations and national image making in the 1960s and argue that the geopolitical context was not simply a backdrop but instead the main theater of Project Apollo. By examining how U.S. government elites promoted and disseminated information about space exploration to support American foreign relations interests, this presentation offers a lens onto attempts to establish national power by fusing perceived values and strengths of science and technology - like rationality and progress - with the image of the nation's political system. These efforts were not only aimed at boosting American prestige, but were also strategic attempts to promote an idea of global unity and progress ushered in by American scientific and technological leadership.

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Dr. Teasel Muir-Harmony is a researcher at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum by serving on the exhibit committees for Destination Moon and One World Connected. Dr. Muir-Harmony’s research focuses on the history of science diplomacy, international scientific cooperation, and the politics of spaceflight. Most recently, she published “American Foreign Policy and the Space Race,” in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History (2017). Muir-Harmony’s current manuscript project, “For All Mankind”: A Global History of America’s Moonshot, will be the first book-length inquiry into the geopolitical history of Project Apollo. She was a member of MIT’s Space Policy & Society Research Group, an interdisciplinary collection of sixteen engineers, historians, and science policy scholars that produced the white paper, “The Future of Human Spaceflight” (2008). She received a Ph.D. from the History, Anthropology, Science, Technology, and Society program (HASTS) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.A. from the History and Philosophy of Science program (HPS) at the University of Notre Dame. She also co-organizes the Space Policy & History Forum and is an Adjunct Professor in Georgetown University’s Science, Technology & International Affairs program.