2nd Annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture

The OSI and MDA are proud to host the 2nd Annual John S. MacDonald Space Lecture on 18 September 2023. The talk will feature Jan Chodas, former Director for Planetary Science at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as speaker and will be moderated by Tanya Harrison.

You can find more information about the event, venue location and RSVP here: 2nd Annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture with Jan Chodas.

1st Annual John S. MacDonald Outer Space Lecture

Astronaut Dr. Serena Aunon-Chancellor

The OSI partnered with MDA (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler, and Associates) in hosting the 1st Annual John S. MacDonald Space Lecture on 25 May 2022. The talk featured speaker Johann-Dietrich "Jan" Wörner, former Director-General of the European Space Agency, and was moderated by Ellyne Kinney, Director, Technology Strategy, at MDA.

You can find a full recording of the lecture on YouTube.

Online Green College-OSI Lecture Series

  • Radiation and Space Travel: A conversation with Jeffery Chancellor, Assistant Professor of Physics and director of the SpaRTAN Physics Laboratory at LSU.
  • Space Archaeology: A conversation with Alice Gorman, associate professor of Archaeology at Flinders University.
  • Astronomy, Indigenous Peoples, and the Challenge of Light Pollution: A conversation with Jennifer Howse of Rothney Astrophysical Observatory,
      University of Calgary, and Maureen Luchsinger and Laura Griffen at the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area, Foothills, Alberta.
    • Onward to Mars: A conversation with Dr. Margarita Marinova, formerly with SpaceX, where she was a senior Mars development engineer
    • Space Cooperation: A conversation with Dr. Jan Wörner, Director General of the European Space Agency.
    • Space Environmentalism: A conversation with Prof. Moriba Jah, University of Texas at Austin.

    Public Forum on Space Mining: Promises and Consequences. March 11th, 2020

    Join us for an open forum on space resource extraction (space mining) featuring Sara Russell, an expert in astromaterials at the Natural History Museum. Russell will discuss the scientific and economic benefits of extracting resources from celestial bodies and the conditions under which their return to Earth is viable. She will be joined by a panel of experts from a range of disciplines that will further discuss the legal, industrial, and ethical complexities of space resource extraction. This event is co-sponsored by the Outer Space Institute, the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, and Green College.

    The lecture will be held at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC at 5 p.m.

    This event is free to attend, but please RSVP. Please click here for more information on the talk.

    Fit for Humans? The Health Challenges of Outer Space. February 5th, 2020

    In partnership with Green College, the Outer Space Institute welcomes Robert Thirsk and Robert Riddell. Robert Thirsk holds the record for the most time spent in space by a Canadian astronaut, working on both Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) missions. With a background in medicine and engineering, he has collaborated on many studies of the effects of the space environment on the human body. Robert Riddell is a Flight Surgeon for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and was the Deputy Crew Surgeon for Astronaut David Saint-Jacques’s ISS mission in 2018/2019. He is also the CSA’s Medical Mission Manager for Deep Space Exploration Health Initiatives.

    The lecture will be held at the Hennings Building, UBC at 5 p.m.

    This event is free to attend and does not require registration. Please click here for more information on the talk.

    The Chaotic Quest to Conquer Earth’s Space Junk Problem. January 8th, 2020

    It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dr Aaron J Rosengren, for our first event of 2020. Aaron will review the intriguing dynamical phenomena in the Earth orbiter problem and highlight their deeper connections with current aspects of dynamical astronomy. One particularly compelling ideology is based on the judicious use of the resulting instabilities to prescribe natural Earth re-entry itineraries to remedy the space debris problem or to navigate space. He will also discuss other seemingly chaotic approaches to conquering space junk, such as a recent exciting activity by the Space Environment Research Centre in Australia to use laser photo pressure to nudge inactive debris to safe orbits.

    The lecture will be held at the Coach House, Green College at 5 p.m.

    This event is free to attend and does not require registration. Please click here for more information on the talk.

    Why does NASA have lawyers? November 13th, 2019

    It is with great pleasure that we welcome former Senior Counsel (2004- 2014) and Associate General Counsel (2015-2018) for NASA, Robin J Frank, for the third lecture of this series. Frank played a lead role in drafting, negotiating and concluding international agreements with foreign governments and space agencies. Her work has addressed a wide range of issues concerning space use and coordination, including the International Space Station, exploration beyond low-Earth orbit, exploration and utilization of celestial bodies, and legal issues in planetary defence and planetary protection.

    The lecture will be held at the Coach House, Green College at 5 p.m.

    This event is free to attend and does not require registration. Please click here for more information on the talk.

    Territorial Rights in Unoccupied Places: November 8th, 2019

    Margaret Moore, Professor in the Political Studies department at Queen’s University, will examine questions arising from the literature justifying collective rights over territory and also the limits of such rights. Many of these justifications appeal to the idea of place-related interests, which work well in places that are occupied by individuals and groups. But what could justify such rights in unoccupied places? What kinds of rights ought there to be in places that are unoccupied? Is it a libertarian free-for-all? If some kind of entity is justified to regulate or enforce rules in such places, what kind of entity is it and on what basis is it justified? What are its limits, and how should it be related to the existing international order, which is largely comprised of territorial states?

    The seminar will be held at the Buchanan Seminar Room, Department of Political Science, UBC at 12 p.m.

    Click here for more information on the talk.

    Challenges to Future Space Governance: October 9th, 2019

    For the second lecture of this series, Clay Moltz, National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, California) will examine the development of existing rules in space and lay out emerging challenges to preventing conflict and the possible ruination of critical orbits.

    The lecture, followed by a reception at UBC will be held at the Coach House, Green College at 5 p.m.

    If you would like to attend the talk, please register here.

    The Opportunities and Challenges Facing the New Uses of Space – Perspectives from Governance, Science and Industry: September 11th, 2019

    For the first lecture of this series, Outer Space Institute (OSI) co-founders Michael Byers and Aaron Boley will outline key issues in space governance, science, and astro-environmentalism, while providing a glimpse into the exciting topics that the speakers will cover during the next six months. They will be joined by Ellyne Kinney, Principal Solutions Engineer at MDA, who will share her perspectives on industry’s role in addressing science, security, and governance challenges for space use. Considerable time will be set aside for questions from the audience.

    The lecture, followed by a reception at UBC will be held at the Coach House, Green College at 5 p.m.

    If you would like to attend the reception following the talk, please register here.

    Please RSVP here for the Human Habitation of Space discussion forum on March 13th, 2019 (to estimate attendance). Details below.

    Human Habitation of Space: March 13th and 15th, 2019

    Astronaut Dr. Serena Aunon-Chancellor
    Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor

    It is with great pleasure that we welcome NASA astronaut Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor (recently returned to Earth from the ISS) and radiation physicist Dr. Jeffrey Chancellor to take part in two free public events.

    At 7 p.m. on March 13th, we will have a moderated public forum at UBC to discuss the medical challenges of human habitation in space. On March 15th, a second public event will take place at the Salt Spring Forum.

    The discussion forum at UBC will be held in Earth Sciences Building room 1013 (follow the link for address and directions).

    The event is jointly sponsored by The OSI, The Salt Spring Forum, and The UBC Department of Physics and Astronomy. We thank the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies and the RASC-Vancouver for additional support.

    Space Debris Day: February 10th, 2019

    Thank you to everyone who participated and made the event a major success.

    On February 10th, 2009, the satellites Cosmos-2251 Iridium-33 collided, generating thousands of trackable pieces of debris. The event is a reminder of what could happen to our satellite population if we allow space junk to continue to accumulate.

    In observance of the 10-year anniversary of the collision, the H. R. MacMillan Space Science Centre and the Flandrau Space Center jointly held the first Space Debris Day. Both locations showed the movie Space Junk and engaged the public with discussion panels from academia and industry.

    The 2018 Conference

    NASA: Artist impression of the SLS Launch, bound for Mars (dhitt)
    NASA: Artist's impression of the SLS Launch, bound for Mars (dhitt)

    Thank you to everyone who participated and made the event a major success.

    How can we develop space without preventing future generations from continuing with their own development?

    We are pleased to introduce the The Outer Space Institute, a highly interdisciplinary and international institute dedicated to space studies. The institute is a hub for subject matter experts in space, spanning a wide range of fields and producing interdisciplinary research in ways that have not been possible within the limited sights of specializations. In particular, the institute brings together perspectives from planetary scientists, political scientists, technologists, sociologists, international law experts, medical researchers, and policy and business advocates.

    This November 16th, a team of international experts will convene to address two immediate near-term challenges in the sustainable development of space: space mining and orbital debris. The conference will include an open half-day discussion and Q&A on the topics of asteroid mining, space debris, space colonization, and Canadian space policy.

    Following the public event, there will be a closed-door meeting to help shape the initial direction of the institute.

    If you would like to attend the free public event, we kindly request that you RSVP here (no longer active link because the event has ended).

    Schedule, November 16th at East Sage

    • 11:00 AM - 12:15 AM. Space Debris
      David Kendall (former Chair of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space)
      Moriba K. Jah (University of Texas, Austin)
      James Clay Moltz (US Naval Postgraduate School)
      Jennifer Busler (MDA/Maxar)
    • 12:15 PM - 1:00 PM: Lunch
    • 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM: Space Mining
      Aaron Boley (UBC)
      Sara Russell (Natural History Museum, London, UK -- by Skype)
      Timiebi Aganaba-Jeanty (Arizona State University)
      Catherine Johnson (UBC)
    • 2:15 PM - 3:30 PM: Space Colonization
      Michael Byers (UBC)
      Tanya Harrison (Arizona State University)
      Jeffery C. Chancellor (Texas A&M University)
      David Beers (UBC)
    • 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM: Coffee/Tea
    • 3:45 PM - 5:00 PM: Canadian Space Policy
      Ryder McKeown (University of Toronto and the DND)
      Mac Evans (former President of the Canadian Space Agency)
      Marie Lucy Stojak (Chair of the Space Advisory Board -- by Skype)
      Paul Meyer (SFU, former Canadian ambassador for disarmament)