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Space: How Rockets, Satellites, and Telescopes Are Enhancing Our World and Helping to Understand the Universe
September 13, 2022 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pmFree
Space has captivated our imaginations since the dawn of humankind. Our gaze, enhanced by evolving technologies, has increased our understanding of the cosmos but also our world and our place in the Universe. Through increasingly capable telescopes and a better understanding of this data, we have greatly expanded human knowledge and appreciation of our world and universe, and our thirst for knowledge is continuously rewarded as new technologies help us see further and clearer. We have sent rockets beyond the Earth for decades, to sense probes throughout our Solar System and beyond, and to blanket our own world in satellites—and it’s in this latter area that we have dramatically expanded our understanding of Earth and our practical capabilities on it. Global broadcasting and communications enabled by rocket-launched satellites are so pervasive that we take them for granted. We use satellite-based mapping and GPS every day, and everyone can get to most anywhere now with only a smartphone in hand. Satellite-based imaging of the Earth has greatly aided weather forecasting and climate science, environment science, national and international security, education, and more. And most recently, the technologies of rockets, satellites, and telescopes have given us the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and provided us with breathtaking, inspiring views of the Universe—even as technologies like the Starlink satellite network enable far more people here on Earth to access information quickly (including those great JWST images!). In fact, the rate of annual rocket launches and the number of operational satellites have become amazing and transformative, for our planet and society, and the future is even more amazing. We have so many satellites in orbit now that the risks of congestion and collision are no longer insignificant.
Join us for this unique Austin Forum conversational event with three experts in space technologies and astronomy: Tom Markusic of Firefly Aerospace, Moriba Jah of Privateer, and Micaela Bagley of UT Austin’s Astronomy Department. They will discuss and show images and videos describing the current space industry prospects and challenges, the latest astronomy insights from JWST, and how these technologies and our continuous quests for knowledge about space and for transforming our society come together and unite us, inspire us, and drive human understanding.