Phylis Makurunje recently attended the 57th session of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee held in Vienna from 3 – 14 February 2020. She presented a fascinating talk on the main points of the conference to Rotary Club members at their breakfast meeting on Thursday 12 February, which are outlined below.
The two main themes were “going further” and “getting closer”, encapsulating the goals of deep-space exploration and the application of space technology for the benefit of all mankind.
“Going Further”: Phylis summarised the plans of the main countries involved in deep-space exploration (USA, Japan, China, India and Russia) which ranged from the 5-year Russian plan to the 40-year program envisaged by Japan. There was much evidence of international co-operation between both space agencies and commercial contractors, in contrast to the highly competitive “space race” that characterised the 60s and 70s. Plans for lunar bases, Mars missions, plans for the International Space Station expansion, as well as space tourism are well advanced, and in some cases, well on the way to reality.
“Getting Closer”: This aspect encompasses commercial activities arising from the technological advancements made available from space research. Israel, for example, has a very successful advanced water-leakage detection system, which uses satellites and advanced imaging techniques. SpaceX intends the launch of 2400 satellites for internet services, and the EU’s Galileo programme is increasing aeronautical safety.
We look forward to more talks from Phylis in the future.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, this event has been cancelled.