Development of a Center for Space Exploration Policy Research at SwRI, 15-R9548

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Principal Investigators
Mark Bullock
Clark Chapman

Inclusive Dates:  06/15/05 – 12/01/07

Background - The purpose of this IR&D project was to establish a space science policy center at SwRI that can broaden SwRI's impact on the U.S. space program. The project team staffs the Center for Space Exploration Policy Research (CSEPR) in the SwRI's Space Studies Department. This center seeks to stimulate renewed reflection on the ethical, cultural, and philosophic aspects of our nation's space policy. The investigations aims to provide a larger context for the science research being conducted in space, completing the cycle of knowledge by connecting scientific research to the concerns of the citizens that fund this work.

Approach - The Center for Space Exploration Policy Research planned to accomplish its goals by undertaking the following tasks:

  1. Establish CSEPR by creating a web site with space policy resources and original work.
  2. Convene a multidisciplinary workshop on space policy, ethics, history, and philosophy. The participants contribute scholarly chapters to a peer-reviewed book to be published in 2007.
  3. Organize a series of public events that convene expert panels to discuss the policy and ethics of space exploration.

Accomplishments - All four tasks either have been accomplished or are near completion:

  1. A comprehensive web site for CSEPR, with notices about recent developments in space policy and an extensive bibliography has been developed and is maintained by the project manager. It may be found at
  2. A three-day workshop, Space Science, Environmental Ethics, and Policy was convened at NASA Ames Research Center April 11-13, 2007. Twelve of 14 chapters for the proceedings have been received and reviewed. The book will be published by mid-2009. Details of the workshop and archived video of the presentations may be found at
  3. A public panel series, Beyond Earth: Ethical and Political Choices in Space, consisting of four evening events at the Denver of Museum of Nature and Science took place April to October 2007. Details of the series and streaming video of each event may be found at

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