Space Solutions to Earths Global Challenges

Venue: International Space University

Location: Illkirch, France

Event Date/Time: Feb 20, 2008 End Date/Time: Feb 22, 2008
Early Registration Date: Jan 25, 2008
Abstract Submission Date: Oct 05, 2007
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Our 12th Annual Symposium in early 2008, proclaimed by the United Nations as The International Year of Planet Earth, will emphasize the benefits of the space program for society. This time we are asking the question ‘How can space address Earth’s global challenges in the 21st century?’. In this context ‘space’ can be interpreted in a wide sense encompassing observations of our home planet and more distant worlds by human and robotic missions as well as the technologies developed in support of these programs.

As for Earth’s global challenges, we think first of areas where knowledge and technology gained from space are most directly transferable in addressing issues such as climate change and environmental degradation, or impending energy crises and resource depletion. But there are many other potential problems facing our planet, even threatening the very survival of our civilization, if we look at the darker prophecies of scientists such as Lord Rees (‘Our Final Century’) or James Lovelock (‘The Revenge of Gaia’). On the other hand, a more positive view of our future prospects can be found in recent books by William Burroughs (‘The Survival Imperative:Using Space to Protect Earth’) and by Charles Cockell (‘Space on Earth: Saving our World by Seeking Others’). Professor Cockell, himself an alumnus of ISU’s Summer Session Program, makes the point that “Many environmentalists think going into space detracts from solving problems here on Earth. Many astrophysicists feel environmentalism hampers their exploration and settlement of space. Actually environmentalism and space exploration have one and the same objective: to ensure humanity has a home”. He calls for a fusion of the two movements as the only way forward – and it is that theme that we want to explore at our 12th Annual Symposium.

Our objective is to attract experts from the human spaceflight domain as well as from the Earth and space science communities which, though sometimes seen as being at cross purposes, may well offer different yet complementary solutions to global challenges that we all face.

Participants will include members of agencies, industry and academia, plus enthusiasts and studentswith interests in space activities, in global problems of Earth’s environment, energy and resources, and especially the links among them.


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