The Space Enabled Research Group at AIAA's ASCEND 2020




Monday — Wednesday
November 16, 2020 —
November 18, 2020

The Space Enabled research group members (Danielle Wood, Jack Reid and Minoo Rathnasabapathy) will be participating in a variety of sessions, panels, and presentations at this year's virtual ASCEND conference.  Launched by AIAA, ASCEND brings people together to discuss fundamental questions and deliver solutions that will advance the global space community. They combine technical and non-technical content in a highly engaging and intentional way so attendees can play an active role in contributing to the building of our off-world civilization.

ASCEND Opening Ceremony - Fireside Chat

Scheduled: November 16, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM Eastern Time

ASCEND opens their 2020 event by exploring the future in space with Barbara Barrett, 25th Secretary of the U.S. Air Force, and Marillyn Hewson, current chairman and former president and chief executive officer of Lockheed Martin, moderated by Dr. Danielle Wood from the MIT Media Lab. 

Workshop:  Space Sustainability Rating (SSR): Evaluating Sustainability in Space

Scheduled:  November 16 from 4:00 PM–6:00 PM Eastern Time

The ever-increasing amount of space debris continues to pose a threat to valuable space assets. The reliance on space assets coupled with an expected growth of large constellations of micro-satellites and nano-satellites emphasize the critical need to foster responsible behavior by all actors to ensure long-term sustainability of the space environment. Many countries and industries have introduced rating tools in order to improve the knowledge about the level of sustainability. The Space Sustainability Rating (SSR) was first conceptualized within the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Space Technologies, aimed at providing a standardized and flexible tool for measuring the degree of sustainability of a mission by creating a rating system to incentive the design of missions compatible with sustainable and responsible operations, as well as the in-orbit operations that reduce the potential harm to the orbital environment and the impact on other operators. Designed by an international and interdisciplinary consortia including the World Economic Forum, Space Enabled research group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, European Space Agency, University of Texas at Austin, and Bryce Space and Technology, the SSR provides a platform that measures and certifies sustainable achievement against defined metrics and celebrates those who achieve success. This session will include a panel of experts who will provide a background on the conceptualization of the SSR, as well discuss points related to the design, implementation, incentives, and future management of the rating system. Time will be allocated to take questions from the audience including live poll questions to engage the audience, collect valuable insights, and spark further discussion.

Session Lead(s):

Minoo Rathnasabapathy and Danielle Wood - MIT Media Lab - Space Enabled research group

Panel Session 31: Space-Enabled Solutions Towards Addressing Global Climate Change

Scheduled: November 17, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM Eastern Time

This session highlights examples of space-enabled technologies and space-based research towards mitigating addressing climate change, and how they are applied to improve resilience.

Hosted by Miki Sode; Panelists include Danielle Wood, Etop Esen and Krystal Azelton.

Panel Session 02: Sustainability on Planet Earth and in Outer Space – How can the Aerospace Community create an integrated approach to progress toward a sustainable future? 
Engagement Session: Discussion Panel

Scheduled: November 17, 2020 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Eastern Time

This panel explores the concept of Sustainability from the perspective of Planet Earth and Outer Space and argues that the Aerospace community is uniquely capable of creating an integrated definition of Sustainability that addresses challenges on land, in the ocean, in Earth’s atmosphere, in orbit around the Earth and in new domains where humans plan to operate beyond Earth. In each domain, there are parallel and urgent challenges of Sustainability. In all the locations in which humans have created sustained socio-economic activity, we have created unmanaged streams of waste that are now having dire consequences. In Earth’s oceans, long term pollution of chemicals such as mercury and solid waste such as plastics is causing damage to fragile ocean ecosystems. On land, we see impacts of soil degradation and desertification due to a combination of climate change and unsustainable agricultural practices. In Earth’s atmosphere, the long-term release of greenhouse gases has led to a global crises of climate change. In Earth’s orbit, the regions that are most popular for new satellite missions are also facing increasing risk of collisions between satellites or with objects of space debris. This creates risk that could inhibit future activities in space, including for nations that have little space experience. What principles can start to address the challenges of sustainability in all of these spheres – oceans, land, atmosphere, Earth Orbit? What new challenges of sustainability will be created when humans start to perform economic activity on the Moon, on Mars and on asteroids? Is it possible to find models of human behavior that create sustainable practices in these new locations? How can people concerned with sustainability combine an interest in the long-term viability of Planet Earth and Outer Space?

Hosted by Danielle Wood; Panelists Include: Minoo Rathnasabapathy, Irene Porro, Moriba Jah, Krystal Wilson, and Mariel Borowitz.

Technical Presentation: Model-Based Engineering: Technologies and Methodologies II

Scheduled: November 18, 2020 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time

Presentation Title: AIAA-2020-4181 -"Decision Support Model and Visualization for Assessing Environmental Phenomena, Ecosystem Services, Policy Consequences, and Satellite Design Using Earth Observation Data"

With the increasing availability of Earth Observation (EO) data has come a commensurate  rise in EO applications. To address the dual needs of processing data for applications
and designing missions with applications in mind, we present a multi-disciplinary, integrated modeling framework to advance environmental management, policymaking, and observation platform design. This core modeling framework is called Environment-Vulnerability-Decision-Technology (EVDT). EVDT is not the model itself, it is the framework that guides the creation of an integrated model customized to each application with a specific set of stakeholders in mind and designed using Systems Architecture. The EVDT framework can be customized to build integrated models specific to a certain application. Individual models in the framework include certain core models (Environment, Vulnerability, Decision, Technology) and optional models such as Public Health which are added when needed for a specific application. The Environment Model uses earth science methods to estimate the state of environmental phenomena; The Vulnerability Model captures societal impact of environmental changes including ecosystem services; the Decision Model captures human behavior and policy consequences; and the Technology Model provides tools to design earth observation systems or select among earth observation technologies such as satellites, airborne sensors, and in-situ sensors. The intent in developing this framework and its applications is to lead to the development of a standard to facilitate the re-use of models and the design of future remote observation systems. The presented prototype specifically focuses on two case studies. The first case study considers the dynamics of human and environmental behavior related to the mangrove forests in the Guaratiba area of Rio de Janeiro. The second case study considers the relevancy of this framework in approaching coronavirus-related public health decisions in Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and elsewhere.

Presentation by Jack Reid. Co-author: Danielle Wood

Panel Session: Technology to Enable Independence from Earth-Based Supply Lines 

Scheduled: November 18, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM Eastern Time

This panel will provide insight into the prioritization for technology development to enable life and operations in space to have minimal dependence on supply lines from Earth, and recommended means for its realization. Panelists will address the status of Earth-independent space operations sustainment and life support technologies as well as their expected evolution, identify gaps in Earth-independent supply line capabilities that need to be addressed and their prioritization and potential public/private, national and international partnerships and upcoming opportunities that can best address the prioritized Earth-independent supply line issues.

Danielle Wood, Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, MIT Media Lab
Barry Finger, Chief Engineer, Paragon Space Development Corporation
John Vickers, Principal Technologist, Space Technology Mission Directorate, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Session Lead:

Justin Kugler

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