Redirecting Knowledge And Workforces Upward

Photography Jobs Online

Learn Digital Photography Now

Get Instant Access

It should be clear by now that opening up the space frontier demands re-thinking as to who and what we humans are, how we learn and disseminate information, and how we prepare future generations to live and work in orbit. Seventeen years ago, The Economist did a special survey on space (June 15, 1991), containing this astute conclusion:

"The harvesting of knowledge from space will be one of the greatest scientific endeavors of the next century ... An age is dawning in which evolution will no longer be a matter of blind adaptation to an environment, but a matter of conscious choice.''

Human development in space is not the sole province of aerospace industries, agencies, or career persons in the field. On Earth, we are in the process of creating a knowledge culture with knowledge management as a new tool [20]. Knowledge is a state of knowing from ideas, information, and understanding gained through experience, observation, study, and experimentation. As a result of our offworld experiences, both past and future, the sum of what humanity discovered, perceived, or learned, already exploding, will double and then triple in this century alone. Spacekind will develop new consciousness, concepts, and competencies that will lead to amplified powers, erudition, and wisdom. Only as we transition beyond this planet can humans fully develop our potential as knowledge workers within an interplanetary, knowledge economy and culture!

This challenge can be best perceived in terms of two emerging realities:

(1) Refocusing academic disciplines and professions upward. Advances in high and information technologies have already revealed the culture lag within traditional schools and universities, particularly with reference to studies in science, engineering, and computer programming. Discoveries or developments in space stimulate not only cross-disciplinary endeavors, but require professionals to redefine the very scope of their activities and the learning provided to candidates for their discipline or profession. Space requires a more holistic, multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving and learning. That is already happening in many

Exhibit 20. Vastness and beauty of space, as seen from photographs of the Hubble space telescope. Pictured are the stars which have fascinated humankind since the dawn of time. And to think that humanity has begun the long journey among these celestial points of light that beautify our nights, inspiring us to dream beyond our home planet. Ad Astra! Source: NASA/ JPL, Pasadena, CA.

Exhibit 20. Vastness and beauty of space, as seen from photographs of the Hubble space telescope. Pictured are the stars which have fascinated humankind since the dawn of time. And to think that humanity has begun the long journey among these celestial points of light that beautify our nights, inspiring us to dream beyond our home planet. Ad Astra! Source: NASA/ JPL, Pasadena, CA.

fields, such as in space medicine or psychology. For example, Dr. Stewart Johnson, a professional engineer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has begun such a re-examination with his wife, Mary Anis Johnson. The Johnsons have jointly prepared a paper, "The Civil Engineer and Space'', which they have permitted us to quote below. Their thesis, the effective use of Greater Earth resources (including the Moon and intervening space, particularly solar energy), is a subject of increasing importance to the nation, the world, and the engineer. Among trends cited by this professional couple are the following [21].

o The Civil Engineering Research Foundation will fund research related to space projects in robotic construction techniques, advanced material applications, computer-integrated manufacturing at construction sites. Space exploration and exploitation, especially at a lunar base, is dependent on such developments for habitats and facilities, resource and vehicle planning, and astronomical observatories. o This convergence of civil engineering expertise and space exploration will benefit both terrestrial and off-terrestrial construction through major technology transfer from the space program to commercial applications. But, it requires cooperative research and education that will alter both engineering and the construction industry. o The Mission to Planet Earth should be broadened to include electric power produced by solar energy transmitted from the Moon (see Appendix B). Similarly, other space/lunar resources have implications for their profession as confirmed in space volumes published by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

o The support of the civil engineering community for utilizing space resources can provide new energy sources, while mitigating environmental damage on Earth, as well as in space. But, it also offers strong motivation for education of more youth in science, mathematics, and engineering: all three are people-serving professions.

(2) Needs of the emerging space workforce. To succeed with space development, the workforce must be made up of competent, high-performing, and diverse personnel. The authoritative weekly, Space News (February 4-10, 2(3), 5-10), did a special report on the Space Work Force in the U.S.A. Here are some of its observations that underscore themes made so far in this book. o The aerospace industry faces two major workforce roadblocks: lack of qualified personnel, and lack of understanding between engineers and management. To correct these deficiencies and achieve an ambitious civil space program, an interdisciplinary curriculum has been designed which combines studies in engineering, policy, and management. Would that universities adopt such integrated programs in engineering, behavioral, and life sciences! o A NASA study highlighted the anticipated need for scientists, engineers, and technicians increasing 33% by the year 2000, while student interest in these fields is declining in the U.S.A. The Agency's educational affairs division, therefore, is funding more cooperative programs with universities in these fields where the need for qualified graduates has only increased in this 21st century! NASA's civil service personnel, as well as its contract workers has been diminishing. The Agency seeks to obtain and retain a higher quality workforce through changes in Civil Service provisions, and improved compensation/benefits. o According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 155,000 people were employed in the space industry in 1988. During the 1990s, labor analysts reported that workforce has lessened from corporate cut-backs and mergers, as well as a downturn in market conditions. The Aerospace Industries

Exhibit 21. Orbital repairs. Astronauts Steven Smith and John Grunsfeld use a robot arm to perform servicing tasks on the temporarily captured Hubble Space Telescope. Source: Photograph courtesy of NASA.

Association expects space spending in the U.S.A. to remain at present levels, with a consequent growth in space jobs from maintenance to technical to professional in the 21st century. o The Planetary Society's executive director maintains that for professional space jobs, an educational background in science, biology, chemistry, or mathematics is basic. Although a bachelor degree is necessary to be hired, a Master, Ph.D., or other specialized training will be necessary for advancement ... Furthermore, the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndale, Virginia, predicts a change in the tools such workers use (e.g., supercomputers, neural networks, robotics, and more powerful orbital telescopes). Exhibit 21 depicts the role of future "technauts" (orbital technicians working with robots both in orbit and on the Moon or Mars). o For further information consult for the NASA job profile regarding workplace culture, pay, and recruiting; or on 100 offworld space occupations.

In the transition under way to a new work culture, knowledge and service workers will predominate, especially within space career fields. To prepare a properly skilled global workforce demands synergy not only between and among disciplines, industries, and government entities—but among nations. Further, youth guidance programs worldwide should be providing students with occupational information about such careers (e.g., astrophysics, astromedicine, astrocommerce, space science, space law, etc.)

Outer space is more than a place for travel. Space satellites have already proven the interconnectedness of our planetary systems for our habitability on Earth. The high frontier presents the human organism with a profound need for a new homeo-stasis! Space habitation demands not only a systems approach, but multinational and multidisciplinary contributions [22]. If there are to be permanent settlements on the inexhaustible frontiers of space, then

(a) biological knowledge must be joined not only to physics and chemistry—but with the social sciences;

(b) engineering must be linked not only to all of these—but information sciences;

(c) robotic science and technology focus on human interactions, plus robots as an extension of human sensory and manipulative capabilities;

(d) new applications of law and political science not only to promote migration and commerce aloft—but to protect human rights and ethics in orbit.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Champion Flash Photography

Champion Flash Photography

Here Is How You Can Use Flash Wisely! A Hands-on Guide On Flash Photography For Camera Friendly People!. Learn Flash Photography Essentials By Following Simple Tips.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment