How Can Space Technology Improve the Life of All People?
Tom Spendlove posted on February 12, 2018 |
Danielle Wood discusses how technology developed for space now benefits citizens all over the world.

Danielle Wood struggled with the barriers that prevented children from underdeveloped nations to have the opportunity to live full lives enhanced by technology. As an MIT student and NASA intern she spent summers in Kenya and didn’t see the connection between her studies in aerospace engineering and using technology for every world citizen. In her TED Talk 6 space technologies we can use to improve life on Earth, Wood outlines some of the technologies developed by the space industry and how they’re used worldwide today.

Danielle cites the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and its commitment to “all peoples, irrespective of their level of economic or scientific development.” She also points to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and shows how six space services help support some of these goals.

Communication satellites are the first technology discussed – phone and internet service can be provided to any location on Earth. This service is the most useful during disaster recovery and works directly with the focus of Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. Positioning satellites are used to track endangered wildlife, and a turtle with gps receiver attached is shown in the video. Earth observation satellites are used to take pictures and measurements. Data is generated to show farmland in Kansas or the temperature and currents of the world’s oceans.

Microgravity research is useful because when astronauts are in orbit for long periods of time their bodies can change. The studies done on astronaut health can be applied to the people of Earth. Wastewater filtration system technology from the space station has been used for terrestrial water filtration devices. The final technology discussed is inspiration, as countries around the world place more importance on learning about local engineering and science issues. Satellite engineers from Venezuela, the Philippines and Sudan are introduced as the next wave of technology users.

Danielle Wood is a great speaker with an incredible passion for engineering and technology coupled with a strong desire to make sure that everyone on the planet has equal access to that technology. Her research group Space Enabled was founded to “tear down the boundaries that limit the benefits of space” and she remains committed to that goal.

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