Danielle Wood leads the Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab. Early in her career, a Summer break in Kenya revolutionized her approach to research and technology. It is precisely in Kenya that by teaching English, science and mathematics to girls, she realized a very important concept for her and for humanity. There can be no progress without inclusiveness in space technologies. So she decides to start throwing blows towards those walls that separate populations from knowledge and science by working hard to include anyone, of any sex and social and economic position, in the knowledge of space technologies. And she does so in a TED indicating the six benefits deriving from this form of inclusiveness to aerospace knowledge and the use of related tools.
1. A life-saving technology
When Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, local communications networks had to be repaired and teams brought inflatable communications antennas that could connect to satellites. This was useful during the repair and recovery period. This shows how satellite space technologies could significantly facilitate environmental crisis situations.
2. Satellites against extinction
Scientists can use this technology to track endangered fauna. A turtle has been equipped with a system that allows to receive position information to scientists via communication satellites. Scientists can use this knowledge to then develop better policies and help determine how to keep these animals alive.
3. A privileged point of view
Satellites do not take photos, but take measurements and combine these measurements with complex computer models and create beautiful global visualizations that show ocean currents and ocean temperature globally. Or they allow to look at the salt, smoke and dust in the atmosphere or global precipitation and snowfall, as well as the annual cycle of vegetation on land and in the ocean. Scientists can now take this information about rainfall and vegetation and use it to understand which areas of the Earth are in danger of famine or drought and provide that information to aid organizations, so they can be prepared with food aid before starvation becomes serious.
4. Studying microgravity for health.
When astronauts are in the microgravity environment their bodies react as if they are aging rapidly. Their bones and muscles weaken and their cardiovascular and immune systems change. As scientists study how to keep astronauts healthy in space, it’s possible to take the exercises and techniques used for astronauts and transfer them to people on Earth to improve health.
5. The filtering of water.
Life in space for astronauts can really teach all humanity to filter water. The water filtering system, if used in areas where drinking water is practically non-existent, can significantly change the flow of events in many populations.
6. Virtuous circle that begins with education.
Elyka Abello from Venezuela is training as a satellite engineer as part of a national program. She has designed a software tool that allows his team to better design power systems for engineering. Like her, many other girls take part in aerospace education through scholarships and it is thanks to great women like Danielle Wood if this is possible and if the world will improve starting from the possibilities coming from the Universe.