Balancing Exploration and Impact: Insights from UNIVERSEH’s Space Day in Toulouse

On May 27, 2024, UNIVERSEH European University and UNIVERSEH Students Toulouse hosted a crucial event at ISAE-SUPAERO to discuss the delicate balance between space exploration and its societal impact. This gathering, held in collaboration with the collective Pour un réveil écologique (PRÉ), emphasized the need for a critical evaluation of space activities and their broader implications.

Space activities have undeniably transformed our understanding of the universe and our planet. From Earth observation, which aids in comprehending climate change, to the exploration of the universe’s origins and the provision of global positioning systems, space technology offers immense benefits. However, not all space endeavors serve the common good. Applications like space tourism and mega-constellations, while technologically impressive, often lack substantial societal value. As the space sector continues to expand and liberalize, assessing the societal utility of each project becomes increasingly vital.

The January 2024 report by PRÉ is the first comprehensive public analysis of these issues, aimed at students and recent graduates who seek to align their career choices with their values. It highlights the current state and impacts of the space sector, urging a reassessment of its contributions to society.

In line with our commitment to fostering sustainable space activities, the event featured a presentation of the PRÉ report, followed by an engaging discussion with experts from the space industry. The focus was on the sector’s efforts to mitigate its impact and address remaining uncertainties. The panel included:

  • Marlène de Bank, Research Engineer at The Shift Project and President of AÉRO DÉCARBO,
  • Alexandre Tisserant, CEO of Kinéis,
  • Stéphanie Lizy-Destrez, Lecturer at ISAE-SUPAERO,
  • Sophie Vilarem, Environmental Expert at CNES.

Moderated by Prunelle Vogler and Julien Doche, co-authors of the PRÉ space report, the roundtable provided a platform for an in-depth dialogue on sustainable practices and the future of space exploration.

This event underscores UNIVERSEH’s dedication to integrating sustainability into space education and industry, ensuring that the exploration of space continues to benefit society as a whole.

Link to the conference video (in French) : Watch here