Science Update – The Changing Nature of Space Exploration

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International Space Station - After Undocking
International Space Station - After Undocking

DALLAS, July 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — In the summer edition ofIssues in Science and Technology is the changing landscape of space policy. Bhavya Lal, a researcher at Washington, DC’s Science and Technology Policy Institute, explores how more countries and private companies are becoming active in space. The US government must reshape its space agencies and policies if it wants to keep up. According to Lal, cooperation and synergistic partnerships among commercial and governmental entities will be key to this effort.

In light of the current presidential campaign, this issue analyzes the rise ofDonald Trump through the lens of science and technology policy. TheMassachusetts Institute of Technology’s William B. Bonvillian argues that innovation policy in the United States has ignored the manufacturing sector in favor of outsourcing, technological productivity gains, and free trade. The workers who suffered through the resulting decimation of US manufacturing now comprise the core of Trump’s support. If policymakers continue to ignore the manufacturing sector and its workers, the consequences will be dire both for the innovation system and for the nation’s democracy.

Nor is this merely an issue for innovation policy. According to science policy journalist Colin Macilwain, scientists have taken public funds while failing to build bridges with the public; they have often ignored messy societal problems (which require political engagement) in favor of technical problems; and they have unthinkingly supported the free-market interests of political and economic elites. Scientists who have prospered under these circumstances must confront their role in the political crisis of which Trump is a symptom.

Other pieces in the Summer issue include:

  • Jay Walker, the chairman of TEDMED, illuminates civil society’s central role in preparing for and responding to the next pandemic.
  • Tufts University School of Medicine assistant professor Beth Rosenbergoffers a scorching appraisal of the dysfunction of the Chemical Safety Board, where she served as a presidential appointee.
  • Environmental Protection Agency economist R. David Simpson dissects the flawed effort to quantify ecosystem services in order to create an economic rationale for conservation.

 

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