Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.
Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.
OCR for page 59
Summary and Concluding Remarks Charles F. Kennel, chair of the Space Studies Board, made summary or concluding remarks on three occasions during the workshop. On the first day, he explained the Climategate incident during Session 1. He also offered his observations on the discussions during Day 1 at the beginning of Day 2 and made extensive remarks at the close of the workshop on Day 3. The Day 2 and Day 3 comments are summarized below. COMMENTS AT THE OPENING OF DAY TWO In his opening comments on Day 2, Kennel summarized his impressions of the keynote address and panels on the first day. In brief, he said that the scientists had described a revolution over the past 50 years in our thoughts and perceptions of the universe, while the communicators elucidated the revolution that occurred in just 20 years in how people communicate. He believes the science revolution is “equivalent in scale and scope to any of the earlier revolutions in thought that have taken place in civilization.” In just 50 years, humanity moved from a point where “we couldn’t see above the atmosphere to where we can see back to the beginning of the universe, which is profound.” As for the communications revolution, Kennel thinks it “has the same degree of importance as the invention of printing.” He pointed out that “many of the tools and institutions we were using in 1990 have been replaced by new and more powerful means of communications between human beings and groups of human beings.” NASA must respond to this “crucial moment in the development of our civilization,” he asserted. “We don’t know . . . how it will work out,” and NASA and scientists may grope to find out how to use these new ways, but recognizing that old media organizations that adapted to the new ways continue to thrive and grow, he is confident that “If we [scientists] learn to adapt we . . . will be among the groups that . . . survive this change in the way we communicate.” COMMENTS AT THE CLOSE OF THE WORKSHOP Explaining that the workshop had sparked his thoughts about periods of revolution in scientific thought, Kennel expounded on what he called three decades of scientific revolution: the 1660s, the 1950s and the 2010s. The 1660s, he said, was when the scientific revolution that began with Copernicus “entered society.” It was a decade of extremes. In 1661, England and France each created the first scientific academies, the Royal Society in London and the Académie des Science de Paris. Just a few years later, however, it became a decade of plague and the Great Fire of London, but these catastrophes spawned scientific achievement, too. Sent back to his family home because of the plague, Sir Isaac Newton had the time to develop the theory of gravity. The government commissioned Christopher Wren and Robert Hook to rebuild London “along scientific lines,” Kennel said. In 1687, the first standard model was published—Newton’s theory of gravitation and motion. Eleven years later, in 1698, the Royal Society commissioned the first voyage of scientific exploration by Edmund Halley. The scientific revolution of 59
OCR for page 59
these decades “soon propagated into social thought” leading to the Enlightenment in the 1720s, Kennel explained. The 1950s is “when our present scientific age had its beginning,” according to Kennel. It started with the explosion of the first and largest hydrogen bomb test, Mike, in 1952, which demonstrated that humanity now had the capability “to destroy itself.” But the same machines at the Institute of Advanced Studies that did the computations for Mike also did the first weather computations initiating the current age of numerical simulation. Also in 1952, the first paper on the double helix was published. The Space Age began in 1957 with the International Geophysical Year (IGY) and the launch of the first satellite. As part of the IGY, Dave Keeling began his measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, that “began to document the global nature of the human impact on atmospheric chemistry.” Kennel then summarized what has been learned over the past 50 years of space research based on the presentations made by the various scientists at the workshop. • Cosmology became an observational science and was integrated into a standard model of cosmology that had two important features—a detailed scientific account of the origin, extent and fate of the universe that corresponds with data, and the revelation of how tiny the human presence is on the scale of the universe. At the same time, scientists were working on the standard model of particle physics, which “with some adjustments accounts for every single particle experiment ever made. The difficulty is that the standard model of cosmology and the standard model of particle physics are not in agreement. Very profound. . . . Resolving the conflict between these two models will, in fact, fructify 20th-century physics in the 21st century and will probably lead to unimaginable 22nd-century applications.” • The search for extraterrestrial life was turned into a science. The fundamental questions still are What is life? Where is it, or where could it possibly be? and then there’s Fermi’s question, Where are they? • The basic vocabulary for the structure of life based in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) was discovered, and the astrobiology question has, through synthetic biology, motivated the search for alternate vocabularies based on different size alphabets” and raises the question of whether there are non- carbon chemistries “that might . . . prevail in other environments.” • The basic picture of our solar system changed, undoing astrology, “the basis of decision- making by kings” that relied on the regular motions of the planets. It is now known that the solar system it is a much more changeable, dynamic place with many small bodies “that may . . . help us cope with our resource crisis.” • A multiplicity of worlds around common stars has been discovered, and there is a strategy for finding the worlds that might have life such as ours. • Humanity was able to look back at Earth from the vantage point of space and see “how tiny our Earth really is.” Meanwhile, Kennel continued, over the past 20 years, there has been a revolution in communications, which he believes “has the potential, combined with science, . . . to produce a second Enlightenment” in this century. The 2010s, then, is the beginning of this second Enlightenment featuring a partnership between science and communications that will be “critically needed in order to cope with the rather stark problems of climate change and sustainability,” he said. During the workshop, A constant theme was that in the climate area, the scientific community’s honest attempts to communicate have failed. The failure of communication in the other . . . inspirational areas of space science may have consequences in delaying funding . . . but the failure in the climate area threatens our entire civilization. 60
OCR for page 59
A sustainable human spaceflight program also requires a new form of communication, “one that connects us to all the cultures and all the peoples of the world and interconnects them, one with another as well as with the scientific community,” Kennel said, because a sustainable exploration program is only possible in the context of a sustainable planet. He cited the international partnership that built and is operating the International Space Station as a model of collaboration that can demonstrate in an “inspiring way” that countries can work together to overcome challenges. In closing, he voiced a clarion call to the National Academies to adjust to the revolution in communications. [The] final message . . . is for our own National Academy. It is the principal social tool by which the United States translates scientific knowledge into the public and policy arena and therefore it cannot neglect the revolution in communications. We have also heard of how venerable media institutions who did not react to this revolution have failed and we have heard how those who did have continued to prosper in the present world because of the importance . . . of their brand and what they do. I think it is essential for the Academy in the next couple of years—and that is the time scale on which things are occurring—it is necessary for the Academy to adjust to the revolution in communications and the new media. This doesn’t mean getting a few geeks into the back room and providing equipment to people, it means, like everything else, adjusting the social processes by which science is communicated and the people who work on it. I’m not sure I know how that will be done, but I think I can see the need. I am hoping that as we go forth with our study of the potential for human exploration beyond 2020 that we will be able to stimulate—this is an area where this kind of work is critical— and I hope we will be able to stimulate and help the Academy go through this transition. The one thing that is clear, it draws on the talents of many of the smartest people in the United States and it certainly can do it and I’m sure it will. 61
OCR for page 59