Success of 'New Space' era hinges on public's interest

November 15, 2013

Capturing the public’s interest is a key component for “New Space,” where commercial companies are filling in some of the roles that had been traditionally played by NASA, and education has an important role to play, said Ariel Anbar, a professor in Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.

This new role for academia is “a deeper, more authentic relationship than providing training and science majors” to industry, he said. Educating non-science majors is also important. Artist's conception of the Dragon capsule under development by Space X Download Full Image

“Investors in space companies primarily are not going to be science majors,” Anbar said. “They are business majors, philosophy majors, history majors. These are the people who need to have a good understanding of what is done out there and how it affects us down here.”

Anbar was speaking at a Nov. 15 forum on the future of space exploration at the National Press Club. The forum featured a panel of space industry experts discussing the future of space exploration in a time of curtailed NASA funding and a need of more collaboration between industry, academia and the government.

The panel included Lori Garver, former Deputy Administrator, NASA; Alex Saltman, executive director, Commercial Space Flight Federation; Steve Isakowitz, president, Virgin Galactic; Jon Morse, CEO, Boldly Go Institute; and Laurie Leshin, dean, School of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Anbar said a key to success in this New Space era is seeking to garner public interest and support.

“We need to think of public interest as a market,” he said. “We have to figure out ways to tap that market.”

One way Anbar proposed is for a university and space company to work together and set up a MOOC (massively open on-line course) that would provide a portal into the work and missions of the space company.

“Missions can go for several years in development and execution,” Anbar said. “The MOOC could provide an educational experience that could last a student’s career and provide insight and experience” unparalleled today.

If they added in a nominal cost of taking part in the MOOC, of say $100, then it in turn could provide funding to the company for future missions.

“The goal is to match a public interest with a commercial interest,” Anbar said.

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is an academic unit in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


Weinstein speaks at NYU

November 15, 2013

James Weinstein, Amelia D. Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law, recently spoke about the First Amendment at the 25th Annual Conference of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at the New York University School of Law.

The subject of the conference was “Colleges and Universities: Legal Issues in the Halls of Ivy,” and Weinstein delivered a paper on academic freedom and how it relates to the First Amendment. Download Full Image

Professor Robert O’Neil of the University of Virginia School of Law, former president of the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin, provided commentary to Weinstein’s presentation.

Weinstein’s areas of academic interest are constitutional law, especially free speech, as well as jurisprudence and legal history. He has written numerous articles in law review symposia on a variety of free speech topics, including: free speech theory, obscenity doctrine, institutional review boards, commercial speech, database protection, campaign finance reform, the relationship between free speech and constitutional rights, hate crimes and campus speech codes.