GOOD Ideas: Is Space the Next Frontier?

Posted by Hillary Newman



Welcome to GOOD Ideas, a web series where we talk with people who are doing cool things to make the world a better place. In the June 28 episode, journalist Maxwell Williams explored our fascination with space and its feasibility as the next frontier. Williams was joined by Buckminster Fuller Institute president David McConville and Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer of Planetary Resources.

Carrying on the conversation raised in GOOD Magazine's Exploration Issue (Summer 2013), our guests contemplated how, as mankind continues to ravage the planet, we find ourselves increasingly casting our gaze upwards in search of a solution—and, if need be, an escape. Take a look at some of this summer’s movie blockbusters: Elysium, After Earth, Oblivion. Outer space and what that vast expanse may or may not contain has become a recurring theme not only in pop culture, but among artists, social innovators, entrepreneurs, and futurists alike. Could space be the answer we’re looking for?
 
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Maxwell Williams is a writer based in Rampart Village, Los Angeles. He is currently the West Coast Editor of Wilder Quarterly, a gardening journal. From 2009 to 2012, Williams was the Executive Editor of Flaunt Magazine. He contributes to a variety of publications and websites, including AnOther, Art in America, Interview, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, and Whitewall. He has curated several art exhibitions, including Marilyn Manson: "The Path of Misery" at Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso in Mexico City. He lives with his calico cat, Sophie Catte.
 
David McConville is a media artist who designs immersive visualization environments to provide new perspectives on humanity’s home in the cosmos. He is co-founder of the Elumenati, a design and engineering firm that creates custom installations for clients that include art festivals and space agencies, and Creative Director of the Worldviews Network, a collaboration of artists, scientists, and educators using storytelling and visualization to facilitate dialogues about community resilience in science centers across the United States. David is also President of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, a nonprofit organization facilitating convergences across design, art, science, and technology to identify and cultivate whole systems strategies for addressing complex global challenges.

Chris Lewicki is the president and chief engineer of Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining company seeking to apply commercial, innovative techniques to explore space. He has been intimately involved with the lifecycle of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers and the Phoenix Mars Lander, performing system engineering development and participating in assembly, test and launch operations for both Mars missions. He was Flight Director for the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, and the Surface Mission Manager for Phoenix. The recipient of two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals, Lewicki has an asteroid named in his honor: 13609 Lewicki. Chris holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Arizona. At Planetary Resources, Mr. Lewicki leads day-to-day operations and is responsible for the strategic development of the company’s mission and vision, engagement with customers and the scientific community, and serving as technical compass.