Dunbar said it is challenging to pick a favorite among her five space shuttle flights, but one of the most memorable moments was seeing the Aurora Australis from above while traveling over Antarctica.
Despite the many unanswered questions that are still being researched about the mental and physical effects of space travel, Dunbar said exploration has its own rewards in the acquisition of knowledge, adding that the farther out people explore, the more that mankind can learn about the Earth. She said that much of today’s modern technology was made possible thanks to massive efforts to get to the moon.
“For me, exploration is a metaphor for learning and for inspiration — a physical metaphor — and it’s exciting,” Dunbar said.
A&M Interim President John Junkins, A&M distinguished professor of aerospace engineering, was part of a panel that streamed Thursday night and focused on who governs space. Junkins was alongside Caryn Schenewerk, Relativity Space vice president of regulatory and government affairs, and Michelle Hanlon, founder of For All Moonkind and associate director of the Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law.
Beth Daley, editor of The Conversation, moderated the discussion and asked the participants to break down current regulations in regards to space exploration. The experts said that world leaders still have much to decide in the realm of who can do what in space, leaving many questions about what will happen when people eventually begin mining and conducting other similar activities in places aside from Earth.
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