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  • "Space Solutions to Earth's Global Challenges". A Summary of ISU's 2008 Symposium Emphasizing Public Engagement Regarding the Benefits from Space.

    Paper ID



    • John Farrow







    Each year, the International Space University (ISU) organizes a three day symposium addressing a timely topic from an interdisciplinary, international perspective. These symposia draw approximately 150-200 leading members of the space sector from agencies, industry and academia worldwide and ISU students also participate as part of their Masters program. ISU’s 12th Annual Symposium in late February 2008, proclaimed by the United Nations as The International Year of Planet Earth, emphasized the benefits of the space program for society. We reviewed areas where knowledge and technology gained from space are applied to major issues such as climate change and environmental degradation, improved communications and security, impending energy crises and resource depletion. Observations of both our home planet and more distant worlds, and their associated technological developments, are not all that space offers. Social and political aspects of space activities, as well as the management experience from large complex programs, play a part in changing people’s minds and stimulating shifts in government priorities to address the world’s problems. We aimed to attract members of both the environmental and the space communities which, though sometimes seen as being at cross purposes, may well offer different yet complementary solutions to the global challenges that we all face. Participants included members of agencies, industry and academia, plus enthusiasts and students with interests in space activities, in global problems of Earth’s environment, energy and resources, and links among them. Six half-day sessions, listed below, addressed the potential of the space program to contribute further to solving current and projected future problems. 1: Where Are We Now? 2: Looking Earthward 3: Moving Outward 4: Using Space Technology ‘Back Home’ on our Toughest Challenges 5: Cleaning Up Our Own Act - ‘Green Space’ 6: Where Do We Go from Here? The IAC contribution proposed here will summarize key points from the presentations and discussions with particular emphasis given to the last session which addressed broad policy issues including education and public outreach.