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Science & Tech

Mapping the Final Frontier

BU prof on the future of 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.

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, later this week, when top scholars from astronomy and related fields gather at Boston University for a conference on the next 50 years of space exploration, some pretty wild ideas will be up for discussion. The panelists, who include astronomers, physicists, former astronauts, and representatives of national and private space agencies, will debate 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? is 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. The conference will take place in the Executive Leadership Center of the School of Management from April 12 to 14. Registration remains open ($400 for general and $350 for students) and limited discounts for admission are available.  

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