MIT Space Policy Compendium


NASA; customized by the MIT 2020 BIG Idea Team with imagery from Astrobotic

NASA; customized by the MIT 2020 BIG Idea Team with imagery from Astrobotic

Space exploration has been approaching an exciting apex point, sparked by NASA's leadership over the last decade in setting ambitious goals alongside the international community, the emergence of new and expanded space programs on every continent, as well as the development of a vibrant commercial space industry. 

In determining the US strategies for advancing space activity in the decades ahead, the Biden Administration has an opportunity to build upon the nation's leadership in space exploration, while ensuring a safe orbital environment and utilizing space technology to address critical issues here on Earth, such as climate change, connectivity, and access.

Toward that goal, MIT has created a Space Policy Compendium, led by incoming Media Lab Director Dava Newman. The Compendium is designed to help inform the new administration in the development of a space policy agenda, and includes contributions from MIT's Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT's Technology and Policy Program, and the Media Lab.

Participating groups from the Media Lab include the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) led by Dr. Ariel Ekblaw, and the Space Enabled research group, led by Assistant Professor Danielle Wood, who are both co-authors on the Compendium. 

From SEI, key contributions include recommendations for maintaining the growing momentum surrounding lunar exploration recently bolstered by the Artemis program. SEI's Lunar Open Architecture highlights the anticipated increase in activity on the lunar surface in the coming decade, which will include a range of public, private, and first-time actors. SEI's survey of industry experts underscores the near-term need for continued NASA leadership to unlock this potential for a new era of vibrant and sustainable lunar exploration.

Students from the Space Enabled research group, led by Danielle Wood, wrote reports recommending ways to embrace expanding international collaboration in future human space flight, curating earth science data for climate resilience, and outlining approaches to transfer the benefits of human space flight innovation for use on Earth.

Both the Space Enabled research group and SEI also call on NASA to address issues of diversity and inclusion in the space industry, and to further reduce barriers limiting access to space, and space research, in the execution of the administration's space priorities.

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