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Futureportal… an ezine on the future, September 2011

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Welcome to Futureportal, an ezine of the Institute for the Future at Anne Arundel Community College (IF @ AACC), September 2011, volume 7, issue 8...We study the future to help build a better tomorrow.   

Inside this issue...

  • futures thinking... looking ahead
  • applied foresight... using the perspective
  • on the horizon... learning opportunities & events - local, regional and global
  • applied foresight... using the perspective

Have you ever made a prediction about the future? Hypothesized who will be the next President of the United States, or what the price of gasoline per gallon will be in a week? Researchers across the country are currently working on a project to develop more accurate forecasts by integrating forecasts from many contributors. The project is funded by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (USA). You can contribute valuable forecasting data for this project at this site managed by Applied Research Associates, Inc. 

  • futures thinking... looking ahead
Currently, NASA/JPL's Dawn spacecraft has just entered orbit around the asteroid Vesta to begin its science mission, with a planned 2015 visit to the uniquely intriguing asteroid-planetoid-dwarf planet Ceres.

However, with the end of the Space Shuttle Era, there are many open questions about the U.S.'s future in manned space exploration. The current administration has issued a call to industry for orbital transfer vehicles, to which SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, Boeing and others have responded. NASA's vehicle is the Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MCPV). During all of this, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic company, teamed with aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan, has independently built and flown a family of tourist ferry spacecraft, won the Ansari X-Prize for commercial spacecraft, and is constructing a Spaceport in New Mexico. 

Just at the time the U.S. is scaling back its space program, moves by other nations into space make the arena more crowded. Some western European countries are furthering plans for manned initiatives independent from U.S. partnership, much of it in joint work with Russia. The Peoples' Republic of China is making strides in its own space program. Recently China sent two Chang'e probes to the moon, and plans to follow with rovers and a sample return mission. There is strong speculation that China intends to land its own "Taikonauts" on the moon by 2025.

Organizations such as the Mars Society, the National Space Society, the Planetary Society, and the Coalition for Space Exploration are strong advocates for robust, manned space exploration. With interweaving strategic, political, economic, and research agendas on the part of many stakeholders, the future of space exploration requires sound, dynamic, and thorough futures-thinking, scanning and planning.

  • on the horizon... learning opportunities & events - local, regional and global

The Brown Bag Lunch Series sponsored by IF @ AACC for September:

"The Future of Aging"
by Carolyn Rodis
Adjunct Professor,  AACC
Monday, September 12 
1-1:50 p.m. 
Cade Bldg, Room 219
AACC, Arnold, MD (map)
This event is free and open to the public. 

Interested in a course on the future for college credit?
Check our Exploring the Future (FTR /BPA /SOC /PSY 105) course listing. This is a 3 credit-hour General Education course which also satisfies the diversity requirement. Registration for the 2nd 8 week term is open for online and face-to-face classes.

Create the future... today at the blog of the international futures ezine, Futuretakes. The blog is now operational with 90 initial posts (exploratory questions) to get started. The blog can be a learning resource, or just a great mind-expander. Many of the questions are cross-cutting and trans-disciplinary. They are organized into categories readers' convenience.

Registration will open soon for the WorldFuture 2012 Conference, July 27-29, in Toronto, Canada. This is the annual conference of the World Future Society.

The Futureportal supports the spirit of community among colleagues and the synergy of working together.