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Sustainable Space, Sustainable Earth: From Ideas to Action

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


Whether you are concerned about Earth sustainability or you are galvanized by the prospective technological and economic advancements from space exploration, you should care about space sustainability. Consider how we can maximize the effectiveness of using space for addressing global challenges!

At the end of the Moon Landing in Context’s 18-month exploration of the historical, social, cultural, political, and policy contexts of the Apollo era, this one day symposium brings together a multidisciplinary group of renowned scholars to illustrate the urgency to focus on space sustainability that is the secure, sustainable, and peaceful use of space for the benefit of planet Earth and all its peoples.

Registration is required. You may register or purchase a ticket here:*

*Please note: this event is free for members of the Framingham State University community. A $25 fee applies to members of other colleges, universities, and the general public.

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Keynote Presentation

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

Dr. Danielle Wood serves as an Assistant Professor in Media Arts & Sciences and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Aeronautics & Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Within the MIT Media Lab, Dr. Wood leads the Space Enabled Research Group which seeks to advance justice in Earth's complex systems using designs enabled by space. Dr. Wood 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, Dr. 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. Dr. Wood studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she earned a PhD 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 Symposium Speakers

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

Dr. David T. Burbach, U.S. Naval War College: Dr. David Burbach is an Associate Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. He teaches on African regional security, U.S. grand strategy, and defense planning and is a political scientist specializing in international relations and the politics of U.S. foreign policy.

Dr. David Kendall, Past Chair of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), 2016-2017: During his career, Dr. David Kendall has acted in various capacities on a number of national and international bodies, including the International Space University, the International Astronautical Federation, the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR), UN COPUOS, the European Space Agency, the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, the Group on Earth Observations, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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, Michael P. Walsh Professor of Bioethics 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: Vaughan-Lee works on integrating a humanistic lens with universal values into educational content, asking local to global questions about culture and the environment. She is a regular contributor to Education Week, PBS, Share My Lesson, and TED Ed.

Dr. Vandana Singh, 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.


Rebecca Hawk, Director of Community Education and English Language Programs at Framingham State University: Hawk has worked as an environmental policy analyst representing the interests of Native Americans on air and water quality issues. She is a doctoral candidate in law and public policy at Northeastern University. Her thesis is entitled As it is on Earth, so it has become in space: an evidentiary approach to understanding the philosophical basis of the problem of orbital debris.

Jennifer Brundage, National Outreach Manager in Smithsonian Affiliations: Brundage has been with the Smithsonian Institution for over 20 years in a variety of roles, serving first as an educator at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Since 2006, Brundage has been a National Outreach Manager in Smithsonian Affiliations, managing over 50 of the Institution’s strategic partnerships with museums and universities.