The Baker Institute Space Policy Program, with the Rice Space Institute and Rice University Scientia, will host a conference exploring the impact of space exploration on humanity's self-perception.
Arguably, one of the most culturally impactful scientific endeavors of the last century has been the conquest of space. Space exploration has led to the rapid rise of interest in science and science fiction, as well as their stimulation of the imagination, including the social and cultural aspects of life on Earth. The prospect of extending humanity to other worlds, combined with the scientific discovery of planets around other stars and the possibility that life may exist elsewhere in the universe, have profoundly impacted how humanity perceives its place in the cosmos and how society has adapted to a human presence in space.
This conference focuses on the influence that space exploration has had on humans and human imagination, how it has changed our worldview, how it affects modern society and what it holds for humanity's view of itself in the future. Discussions will generate a broader awareness of the influence of space exploration on human creative thought; demonstrate the inter-relatedness between the fields of science, humanities, social science, business and policy; stimulate discussion about what the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe means for life on Earth; and bring together diverse points of view and expertise to consider the human ramifications of exploring the universe.