10 February 2011. At an evening event during the session of the Scientific Technical Subcommittee of UNCOPUOS, ESPI presented its innovative approach to “Humans in Outer Space” to a global audience.
A large number of guests, representing many nationalities, gathered at ESPI to experience the inter-disciplinary approach of the Institute to the issue of “Humans in Outer Space” (programme download here). Held during the session of the Scientific Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), the event aimed at disseminating the results of recent joint investigations of the European Science Foundation (ESF) and ESPI, which are characterized by a unique multi- and inter-disciplinary approach. Products from this cooperation have been two books in the series “Studies in Space Policy” edited by ESPI and published by SpringerWienNewYork (see related webnews’ here and here) and in addition a memorandum by an international group of astronauts on cultural aspects of human spaceflight.
The event was opened by ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl and the Chairman of UNCOPUOS-STSC Ulrich Huth, who pointed out the importance of the issue for the work of the Committee. Jean-Claude Worms (ESF) then introduced to the inter-disciplinary approach to “Humans in Outer Space”, which was followed by a panel discussion where two astronauts, Dumitru Dorin Prunariu (current Chairman of UNCOPUOS) and Gerhard Thiele (ESPI Resident Fellow) joined Ulrich Huth, Jean-Claude Worms and Kai-Uwe Schrogl, who acted as the moderator.
Panel with (from left): Jean-Claude Worms (ESF), Gerhard Thiele (ESPI), Dumitru Dorin Prunariu (Chairman UNCOPUOS), Ulrich Huth (Chairman UNCOPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee), Kai-Uwe Schrogl
The presentations and discussions developed the idea of looking at “Humans in Outer Space” not only from a technological or a political point of view but also to employ the social sciences, the arts and the humanities to bring forward the case for this quest of humankind. As one core element of the approach, the transgression of the borders of the closer space community is aiming at providing decision-makers with arguments why human spaceflight holds a particularly broad set of benefits and inspirations.
The event also included the exhibit of “The Simonaut”. This installation was conceived for the Architecture Biennale in Venice 2010. The work was created by Austrian space architects Barbara Imhof and Waltraut Hoheneder (LIQUIFER Systems Group). The background of the installation lies in the doctoral research work by Susmita Mohanty. The dissertation is part of the emerging field of SPACE ARCHITECTURE and discusses “Space Mission SIMULATORS and SIMULATIONS for Human Exploration of Moon, Mars, and near-Earth Asteroids”. The SIMULATION proves to be a powerful tool in space research for scenario-based design approaches. The SIMONAUT, the primary actor in any given SIMULATION, plays a prominent role concerning user-oriented aspects. Similar to space exploration, architects and designers are challenged to create scenarios with highly adaptive capacities, which live up to the rapidly changing environment on Earth.
„The Simonaut“ with its creators Waltraut Hoheneder (left) and Barbara Imhof (centre) and the speakers
Ulrich Huth (Chairman UNCOPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee)
Related webnews: - 17 November 2010. Publication of the book "Humans in Outer Space - Interdisciplinary Perspectives" - 4 October 2010. Statement "Humans Space Exploration - A Quest of Cultures around the World" online - 28 October 2008. ESPI and ESF launch the book "Humans in Outer Space - Interdisciplinary Odysseys"