BU Today

Science & Tech

BU and the Beyond: Mapping the Final Frontier

A five-part series on space exploration

Click the slide show above to hear Supriya Chakrabarti, director of BU's Center for Space Physics, talk about the future of space exploration.

In recent years, Boston University faculty and students have investigated the Martian atmosphere, discovered new planets, and advanced the research of space weather. BU’s extraterrestrial expertise — from the College of Arts and Sciences astronomy department, the College of Engineering department of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and the Center for Space Physics — has contributed to NASA missions from Hubble to the International Space Station.

This week’s series features BU space research stories and expert commentary on the future of space exploration that appeared on BU Today in 2006 and 2007. Click here to see “Getting the Hubble Out of Trouble,” “Forecasting Space Storms,” “Extracurriculars Get Extraterrestrial,” and “Looking for Life on Mars.”

Mapping the Final Frontier
BU prof on the future of space exploration

Half a century ago, when the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite, Dwight Eisenhower was president, Alaska was not yet a state, and doctors endorsed cigarettes on television. Few people at the time could have predicted the repeated landings on the moon, the International Space Station, or the ability to peer billions of light years into the past with space-based telescopes.

So, in April, when top scholars from astronomy and related fields gathered at Boston University for a conference on the next 50 years of space exploration, some pretty wild ideas were up for discussion. The panelists, who included astronomers, physicists, former astronauts, and representatives of national and private space agencies, debated mining the moon and asteroids for natural resources, the viability of space tourism, the costs and benefits of space colonization, and the philosophical implications of discovering extraterrestrial life.

The Future of Space Exploration: Solutions to Earthly Problems was sponsored by the Boston University Center for Space Physics, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, and the Secure World Foundation.

"Mapping the Final Frontier" originally appeared on BU Today in April 2007.

Chris Berdik can be reached at cberdik@bu.edu.