From low-earth orbit, ‘envoys’ of humanity join UN space forum

UN News/Vibhu Mishra
Astronaut Ricky Arnold grabs the mic before it drifts too far away.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

Floating in near zero-gravity, 400 kilometres above the Pacific Ocean and flying at over 28,000 kilometres per hour, the six crew members onboard the International Space Station (ISS) joined the key United Nations forum on outer space affairs via video link on Wednesday, to discuss the importance of working together.

NASA astronauts Drew Feustel, Ricky Arnold and Serena Auñón-Chancellor; Russian cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev and Sergey Prokopyev; together with European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst, hovered in front of their national flags, as an ecstatic audience cheered and took “selfies” with them on screens in the main hall where the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space was meeting in Vienna, as part of the UNISPACE+50 forum.

Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev delivered a very simple yet powerful message to the UN forum.

“Peace for our planet,” he declared, as the audience erupted in applause.

Commander Feustel highlighted the importance of everyone having access to space:

“I hope that as we continue forward as an international group, that we will all put our common thoughts and rational thoughts” in how space is used, together, he said, recognizing “that the goal should not necessarily be to dominate space, but to help facilitate access so that we as a species – not just as individual nations or individual people – can continue on into the future.”

With their feet planted firmly on the ground in the Austrian capital, UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) Director Simonetta Di Pippo, together with UN Champion for Space, Scott Kelly (himself a former NASA astronaut), and NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green, led the discussion.

‘Don’t be afraid – ask questions’

Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor had some advice for young women and girls wishing to pursue careers in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineer and mathematics – who are feeling ambivalent about promoting themselves, and a career in space science.

“I tell them…bother people” she said. “Bother them if you are interested in their work and research, get them to tell you about it, ask questions … explore, discover and that is the best way for young girls and women to get interested in STEM fields.”

International cooperation in space

In response a question on the importance of international cooperation in space exploration, Commander Feustel, explained that such partnership not only helps keep costs down, but also helps develop technologies and innovations which are vital for space exploration.

“All of our partners have a great experience in space and they are all very different experiences. What we are doing right now requires all these different assets come together,” he said.

New equipment and technologies

Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev told the awe-struck audience – jaws dropping in disbelief – about some of the new technologies being used or tested in space.

He spoke about the urine processor onboard the ISS; a vital piece of equipment that turns urine and body fluids like sweat, into potable water.

The Russian Cosmonaut also highlighted the ICARUS initiative.

“This is a very interesting experiment and equipment … this will help people understand habitation patterns of wild animals,” he said.

ICARUS stands for International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space.

Preparing the ground-work for traveling into the Solar System

Answering a question on how the work onboard the ISS improves live back home on earth, Astronaut Ricky Arnold cited examples ranging from gaining a better understanding on how the planet functions, and developing new medicines, to preparing the ground work on how the human body reacts to conditions in space.

“Our bodies change and if we are going to go out into the Solar System and be a multiplanetary species … we have to understand how these changes occur and how we can protect the people we send out to explore the Solar System,” he said.

Future in space depends on partnerships

German astronaut Alexander Gerst took a question on how countries that are new to space, could engage in exploration that would benefit the world.

The “key” to answering that, he said, was to look at the International Space Station.

“We built the International Space Station with modules from different countries … more than 100,000 people built this.”

Future success in space depends on partnerships, he said, suggesting that new countries can partner with experienced ones to build new modules, for example, and continue to develop the International Space Station for more advanced undertakings

UNISPACE+50

The live video conference was a part of the high-level segment of UNISPACE+50, a forum commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the ground-breaking 1968 UN Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, or UNISPACE for short.

The call, routed through NASA’s Johnson Space Center, was the first time since 1995 that space travelers had been part of a UN event. That year, as part of the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations, then-Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, talked via video to the crew of the second Shuttle-Mir Docking mission.

In 1962, the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling on all Member States to regard astronauts as envoys of all humankind in outer space, and give them all the help and support that that entails.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How quantum computing could beat climate change

UN peacekeepers warn of increasing global challenges

Can medical students be prepared for Global Health ethical issues?

UN committed ‘to support the Libyan people’ as Guterres departs ‘with deep concern and a heavy heart’

Activist investors are more powerful than ever. Here’s what that means for the economy

3 reasons why we should vaccinate both boys and girls against HPV

We must stop turning a blind eye to the world’s health crises

On European immigration: Europe’s Missing Citizens

UN-based World Summit Award (WSA) presents its master list on digital innovation with impact on society from 24 countries

New York’s rooftop farms provide fresh local produce – and help stop a sewage problem

Greece bailout ends but with no substantial effect on citizens’ life

Antitrust: Commission fines Google €4.34 billion for illegal practices regarding Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of Google’s search engine

How to build a fairer gig economy in 4 steps

Rising landmine blast toll in Afghanistan highlights long-term care needs of survivors

Wars have rules: 5 things the UN humanitarian chief wants countries to tackle so human suffering in conflict can be minimized

World Migratory Bird Day highlights deadly risks of plastic pollution

EU and China in search of a win-win agreement through strategic cooperation ahead of the EU-China summit

General Elections in Spain: Twitter organises the first digital debate to empower young people.

Inspired by orange peel, this ‘plastic’ packaging is totally compostable

3 ways India can tackle its human-waste problem

EU Commission challenges Berlin by proposing breakthrough legislation on banks

Capital transaction tax on Ecofin table

Inflation down to 0.7%, unemployment up at 12.2%: Bad omens for Eurozone

Any doubt?

Banking on sunshine: world added far more solar than fossil fuel power generating capacity in 2017

Thursday’s Daily Brief: ambulance attack in Libya, #GlobalGoals defenders, human rights in Cambodia, Swine Fever

‘Critical’ window of opportunity closing fast in Iraq, Security Council hears

Taking fast road to ‘e-mobility’ central to a sustainable future: COP24

Listen to the future – how 26 youth-led organizations are supercharging the UN’s Global Goals

These artists created a huge open library – and their idea’s gone global

UN chemical weapons watchdog adds new powers to assign blame, following attacks

The digital building blocks of better communities

EU: Tax evasion and fraud flourish under political protection

Ten reasons to be optimistic in 2019

Cheap sea transport with low cost seafarers

Robots aren’t stealing all our jobs, says the World Bank’s chief economist

How does your immune system work?

Ambitions are affordable for Asia and the Pacific

DR Congo: Electoral process advancing despite threat of armed groups, UN envoy tells Security Council

Generation Z will outnumber Millennials by 2019

During the coronavirus pandemic, we must fight for LGBTQ rights more than ever

More billions needed to help Eurozone recover; ECB sidesteps German objections about QE

Are we at the edge of anti-vaccination health crisis?

The most unlikely innovators are changing ICT for development – it’s time we took notice

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

European Parliament the most trusted EU institution

Future Africa-Caribbean-Pacific States/EU Partnership: “Post-Cotonou” negotiations resume at ministerial level

From cheeseburgers to coral reefs, the science of decision-making can change the world

Shanghai has tough new recycling rules – and it will stop collecting trash from communities that don’t comply

Why the world is not as globalized as you think

Mankind’s first tool to fight malaria also kills

Charlie’s tragedy energized deeper feelings amongst Europeans; back to basics?

State aid: Commission approves €380 million German rescue aid to Condor

Nuclear non-proliferation treaty an ‘essential pillar’ of international peace, says UN chief

Combatting antisemitism requires ‘solidarity in the face of hatred’, says UN chief

5 ways to break down the barriers for women to access leadership roles

Trust in OECD governments back at pre-crisis levels as governments seek to be more open and engaged

UNIDO promotes post-harvest excellence for mangoes in the Mekong River Delta of Viet Nam

Mali not fulfilling its ‘sovereign role’ in protecting its people: UN human rights expert

The Impact of climates changes in health: a problem for all of us

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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