Space Policy and History Forum #12, June 23, 2014

Dear Colleagues:

If you are in Washington, D.C., on June 23, 2014,  please consider attending the next Space Policy and History Forum. This quarterly gathering considers various issues in space history and policy. This time, we will feature David Grinspoon of the Library of Congress. The event will be held at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. Details are below.

Astrobiology and the Anthropocene Epoch

Space Policy and History Forum #12

by David Grinspoon

John W. Kluge Center of the United States Library of Congress

Informed by comparative planetology and a survey of the major episodes in Earth history, this talk will offer a taxonomy of planetary catastrophes meant to illuminate the unusual nature of the “Anthropocene,” the current era of human-driven planetary scale changes, and reframe our current environmental and technological predicaments as part of a larger narrative of planetary evolution. This saga has now reached the pivotal moment when humans have become a dominant force of planetary change, and geological and human history are becoming irreversibly conjoined. Is this a likely or even inevitable challenge facing other complex life in the universe?  Possible implications for exoplanet characterization and SETI will be considered, as well as the choices our civilization faces in attempting to create a wisely managed Earth.


David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist who studies the possible conditions for life on other planets. In November 2012, he became the inaugural Baruch S. Blumberg/NASA Chair in Astrobiology at the John W. Kluge Center of the United States Library of Congress, where he is currently a visiting scholar, researching and writing a book about the human influence on Earth, seen in cosmic perspective. He is also Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute, and Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado. He is a frequent advisor to NASA on space exploration strategy, and is Co-Investigator on the RAD instrument (Radiation Assessment Detector) on the Mars Curiosity Rover. He serves as Interdisciplinary Scientist on the European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft, which is currently in orbit around Venus. Grinspoon was awarded the 2006 Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science by the American Astronomical Society. His first book, Venus Revealed, was a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist.  His 2004 book, Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life won the PEN Center USA Literary Award for Research Nonfiction.

Date and Time

June 23 (Monday), 4:00-5:00 P.M.

Location, Parking, and Access

The lecture will be held at the National Air and Space Museum, 600 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C., 4:00-5:30 p.m. Space is limited to 50 attendees, so please RSVP to Roger Launius,, and Nathan Bridges,, to get your name on the list.  You may check in and obtain a badge for access to the building at the guard desk just to the right as you enter the Independence Ave. doors. If you have any questions regarding access, please contact Roger. Parking is not available in NASM, and is limited elsewhere; we recommend using the Metro system for travel to the National Air and Space Museum—the Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza stops are close by.

This entry was posted in Space and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Space Policy and History Forum #12, June 23, 2014

  1. Pingback: Library: A Round-up of Reading | Res Communis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s