Each of the three panels focused on one of three words NASA is using to describe their organizational mission: Innovation, Discovery, and Inspiration. The innovation panel, subtitled “Unleashing the power of technology and creativity”, featured Lisa Roe (Director of NASA’s Langley Research Center), Helen Greiner (Chairman of the Board and founder of iRobot Corporation), Dr. Dava Newman (MIT aerospace engineering professor and designer of the BioSuit spacesuit), and Darryl Sargent (Vice President of Programs at Draper Laboratory). Representing NASA, industry, academic research, and the non-profit laboratory, this panel brought a wide variety of perspectives to the question of how we encourage creativity and all work together to bring out the best in each of us.
The Inspiration panel, subtitled “Building idea factories for the future”, featured Jeff Hoffman (Massachusetts Space Grant Consortium), Ioannis Miaoulis (President and Director of the Museum of Science), Joseph Sciulli (Program Director at the National Science Teachers Association), Lee Silvestre (Vice President of Mission Innovation, Raytheon Corporation), Joyce Winterton (NASA Assistant Administrator for Education), and Isa Zimmerman (Senior Fellow, STEM Initiative, University of Massachusetts President’s Office). The main topic of this panel was the state of current science and engineering education, with a focus on how engineering and technology are ignored throughout much of the education process today.
In addition to the talks and panels, NASA organized a small space exhibit featuring a scale model of the Ares I rocket, the BioSuit spacesuit designed by Dr. Dava Newman at MIT, a scale model of the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, a station touting NASA’s new eClips program providing free educational videos on a variety of science, engineering, and space topics, and other space-related information and models.