The Space Messengers project features a series of recorded presentations by our interdisciplinary speakers that share their knowledge with students. These videos are part of the Space Messengers curriculum. The Activity Guides provide the lessons for integrating the videos and topics into the classroom or can be enjoyed as a stand alone activity.

Frank Tavares

Affiliated Researcher, Space Enabled Research Group at the MIT Media Lab

Re-Writing the Future: Building an Anti-Colonial Policy Framework for Space Exploration

Summary: Within the coming decades, humanity will return to the Moon and go onto Mars with orbiters, rovers and robotics, and humans. There are real ethical stakes in how those interactions between Earth and extraterrestrial environments occur -- and the space community is need of an anti-colonial policy framework that prioritizes ethical considerations. Exploration on Earth has been tied to violent colonial practices -- including genocide, land appropriation, resource extraction, environmental devasation, and more. By understanding the structures of past and present colonial systems, we can seek to pave a different path forward in how we engage in space exploration. This presentation will discuss how colonial structures past and present impact space exploration, delve into some of the ethical questions of space exploration, and the role of planetary protection in addressing these questions.

Dr. Nicole Lloyd-Ronning

Los Alamos Laboratory Astrophysicist

Wrinkles in Spacetime: Opening up New Windows to the Universe.

Summary: With the recent detection of gravitational waves - ripples in the fabric of spacetime - we now have a new window through which to observe our universe. This presentation will discuss the ways we collect the information space provides us, and how we use this information to infer what exactly is out there and how the objects in our universe work. I will describe the advent of multi-messenger astronomy, the nature of spacetime and how we detect gravitational waves, and, finally, how we’ve use this burgeoning field to observe colliding black holes, neutron stars, and ultimately uncover the origin of the very elements from which we’re made.

Michelle Hanlon

Co-Director of the Air & Space Law Program at the University of Mississippi School of Law

The Next Frontier: An Introduction to Space Law

Summary: Those who dream about traveling to space often imagine a lawless frontier: a new domain where individuals can do whatever they want without silly laws or regulations to curb or restrict their efforts. But not so fast! In 1957, an astounding thing happened. Humans sent an object that not just reached orbit, but actually circled our globe. That first satellite, Sputnik was a catalyst. Despite the fact -- or perhaps because -- humans were mired in a Cold War, we were able to resoundingly agree that our terrestrial squabbles should remain terrestrial and that space should be free for peaceful exploration and use by all. And thus space law was born in the shape of four treaties that were negotiated and entered into force in the 1960s and 1970s. This presentation critically analyzes this body of treaties which form the backbone of space law with particular emphasis on the Outer Space Treaty, the magna carta of space law. In addition to understanding what the law says, this presentation will highlight the gaps in existing law, using anecdotal evidence, as well as the efforts that are being made to fill those gaps.

Dr. Steven Goldfarb

CERN Physicist

Understanding the universe through particle physics

Summary: The discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 was a historic landmark not only for scientific research, but for all of humanity. The advancement of our understanding of the universe lies at the very core of human instinct, as it is our means to provide the tools future generations will need to survive. For this reason, thousands of scientists from around the globe joined forces to build the impossibly complex experiments of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Since then, millions of gigabytes of data have been analyzed each year on a quest to resolve some of the most difficult questions known to humankind. I present a sampling of the accomplishments made up to now in our efforts to find answers.

Dr. Catarina Pombo Nabais

Science and Art Curator

The magnificent adventure of Philosophy, Science and Art

Summary: Science is the quest for knowing the universe and all its beings. Science asks “how questions” as “how does gravity works?”. In its search for knowledge, science finds laws and equations that explain the world’s phenomena. It reaches fantastic achievements that improve people’s lives. Contrary to Science, Philosophy is not a matter of knowledge but a thought activity. Philosophy asks “why questions” as “why is there a universe instead of nothing?”. Facing these kinds of huge questions, Philosophy offers a deep comprehension of the meaning of life and world. Finally, there is Art whose specificity is the production of unique entities: the artworks. Art puts forward original ways of perceiving the world and creates new categories of beings. In this seminar, I will present some examples showing how Science, Art and Philosophy are different, specific ways of relating to the same universe. With an interdisciplinary, inclusive approach to Science, Art and Philosophy, I hope we will grasp the meaning of our lives as parts of the Universe.

Steve Tamayo

Lakota Cultural Specialist

Living in Balance

Summary: The Indigenous tribes of the Western Hemisphere have always understood our connection to the stars. The stories of our existence have been interwoven into our creation stories and have been passed down for the next generation to abide by.  As our relatives descended from the skies, the shape of a turtle was the first image embedded into their minds; this was the information gifted to the elders. We have specific obligations for protecting the land, water, and plants on Grandmother Earth. There was an agreement made long ago with all the living beings in the Great Race. This is one of the Lakota Creation stories still told today. Indigenous Nations have had a simple, yet, powerful understanding of land acknowledgement. A unique relationship exists with our traditional territories across Turtle Island. Tribes have been diligently working with historical trauma and intergenerational trauma to untangle the historical knots of Colonialism, all the while, still standing up for our relatives on Turtle Island.

Space Messengers is made possible in part by the Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund for U.S. Alumni; an opportunity sponsored by the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government and administered by Partners of the Americas. This project is supported in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and by the National Endowment for the Arts

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