Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center

Credit: NASA/Langley Research Center

Under the space radar screen is “Homesteading in Space – Inspiring the Nation through Science Fiction.”

Today at the California NanoSystems Institute/ UCLA in Los Angeles, California, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) co-sponsored a look at humanity’s space future.


Roughly 70 space scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, along with story-tellers, artists, directors, and producers met to show their interest in science fiction and space exploration with a view toward future “homesteading” in space.

Other co-sponsors were the National Academy of Sciences, Science & Entertainment Exchange, and the Museum of Science Fiction.

The California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) is an integrated research facility with locations at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. Its mission is to encourage university collaboration with industry and to enable the rapid commercialization of discoveries in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Heady gathering

The intent of the heady gathering was to gather stories that will energize the public, inspire children to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) careers.

But a key add-on: help make science fiction become science fact.

Interactive discussions were held, each focused on specific areas of future science and technology related to how we can travel to and live on Mars and ultimately beyond.

Also on tap is how to include the future technologies needed to “homestead” in space.

What's the view into the future? Credit: NASA

What’s the view into the future?
Credit: NASA

Technology topics

Technical experts were divided between the following five future technology topics:

Exploring Space: How will we leave the earth and travel to other planets?

Prospecting:  How will we find and collect chemicals and minerals from asteroids and other planets?

Manufacturing:  How will we make the materials and manufacture the things we need to build a community on another planet?

Bioengineering:  How will we use biotechnology, including synthetic biology, to create food, fuel, and useful chemicals using engineered bacteria and plant life?

World Building:  How will we not only survive but thrive in space, creating communities and maintaining our physical and mental health?

White House role

Making use of all media — novels, short stories, design fiction, new media, video, film, TV, VR, gaming, etc. – the gathering was focused on using science fiction to express positive, entertaining views of a future “homesteading” in space.

Credit: OSTP

Credit: OSTP

The White House OSTP role was to ascertain what steps the government and the private sector can take to:

— further inform the creative community about a positive vision of a future in space; and

— encourage people to incorporate this vision into entertaining stories that will excite the public, energize entrepreneurs, and motivate inspire children.

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