I have been a traveling madman for the last several months (Fiji, Florida, Texas) and haven't had time to post much lately, and likely won't for another couple of weeks. But in the meantime, here is the abstract of a presentation I will give at the 2012 PISCES (Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems) conference "Pioneering Planetary Surface Systems Technologies and Capabilities" that will meet on the Big Island of Hawaii next week.
International space S&T research as an innovation pathway for Earth sustainability
Pacific Science Association
The 21st Century will see the planet warm, human populations rise toward 10b, and escalating stresses on food, water, and energy resources. As governments rise to face a series of serious and interconnected environmental, demographic, and humanitarian threats, increasingly constrained public budgets may challenge current rationales for government space programs. This need not be the case. Only through major technological advances will an expanding human population that is able to enjoy modest levels of prosperity be consistent with economic systems that do not exceed so-called “planetary boundaries”. Given the unique problem set of space exploration as well as the inherently multidisciplinary, collaborative nature of such efforts, space S&T research is one of the critical innovation pathways that can significantly advance sustainability technologies. For example, the pursuit of new and more effective technologies to keep a crew safely housed with reliable food supplies and access to energy, telemedicine, sanitation, and communication on the ultimate resource-poor “island” of the moon will surely help drive innovations that facilitate sustainability solutions for not only the island states of the Pacific, but the world. In addition, the future of science and technology research increasingly lies in cross-disciplinary collaborations that link various research networks both within and among countries. International space-related research, of which PISCES and ILRP are exemplary examples, is an important endeavor worthy of greater public appreciation and support.
Image credit: PISCES