Seattle hosting global ‘Space Summit’ this week

Space Summit image
Image: The Economist Events

The space fervor of the 1960’s was one of the most electric times in the world. The grand visions of the future were everywhere. From dreams of space colonies to daydreaming about traveling at the speed of light, the world was inspired. Now it seems that the dawn of a new space age is upon us.

On Thursday, ‘The Economist’ will be hosting its inaugural ‘Space Summit’ to discuss the future of space. Appropriately, the event is taking place at the Museum of Flight, an air and space museum just south of Seattle.

The event will consist of a wide variety of talks and presentations from a diverse group of industry leaders. The topics to be discussed range from the economic impact of the space industry to a three-way debate on what Elon Musk will see from his “deathbed” in 50 years. More generally, the event will cover pressing issues in areas such as commercial space travel, space colonization, the business of space, and how big data can be obtained and utilized through space technology.

Leading the presentations is an impressive list of key players in the future of space, including policymakers, space entrepreneurs, and executives of aerospace companies. The opening presentation on the newly emerging technology that will shape space exploration will feature Jim Bell, President of The Planetary Society, and Robyn Gatens, deputy director of the International Space Station Division at NASA. And that is just the first event of the day.

The final program of the day will be an interview with The Economist briefings editor, Oliver Morton, and the founder of DST Global, Youri Milner. DST Global is one of the leading technology investment firms in the world having a portfolio that includes tech giants Facebook, Snapchat, and Airbnb to name a few.

Milner is also on the board of the Breakthrough Initiatives, along with Stephen Hawking and Mark Zuckerberg. The Breakthrough Initiatives is a collaborative project that seeks to achieve some minor feats such as interstellar travel and finding life on other planets. While Milner has invested hundreds of millions of dollars into these initiatives, he is more than just a checkbook. He has an advanced degree in theoretical physics and has conducted research on quantum mechanics.

This conference is an exciting testament to a renewed global focus on the potential of space technology. Once again we are looking up in awe and wonder of what the future holds. The last time we were this invested in the cosmos we saw some of the greatest technological advances in history and even made it to the moon. It will be exciting to see if this new space age will take us even further. Maybe the next Space Summit will take place where it rightfully should…space.

Author: Skylar Knight

Skylar is currently in the MSc Science Communication program at Imperial College London. He has years of experience working in science museums, academic publishing, writing, filmmaking, and science education.