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Giant Leaps Symposium

Perspective is Everything: Learning from Apollo and Looking Forward

MIT's celebration of the moon landing will honor the Apollo Program's achievements and success — and it will be a challenge to our collective future. These engineers, astronauts, and managers led one of the most ambitious science and engineering experiments in human history to a successful conclusion. What can we learn from them to address the challenges facing our planet today?

The Giant Leaps Symposium will be a day-long interaction between Apollo Program luminaries and today’s visionary leaders in energy, environment, air transportation, space exploration, and education. On June 11, these groups will work together through a series of structured panel discussions and presentations to share their perspectives on history and to develop new perspectives on our future.

Symposium participants will discuss:

Inspiring the Next Giant Leaps

Apollo inspired a generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians, biologists, politicians, doctors, writers, artists, musicians, and others who have changed the world.

How do we inspire the next generation and enable it to take the next giant leaps?

Air Transportation, Energy, and Environment

Two-thirds of the world’s petroleum is consumed by transportation. In many regions, air transportation is the fastest growing means of transport — with unique impacts on climate and air quality.

In an increasingly flat and populous world, how do we reconcile the growing demand for moving people and goods by air, with the reality that if we don’t make dramatic technical and societal advances, we could irreparably change our planet?

Space Exploration

The space program has changed our lives — GPS navigation, cell phones, ultrasound for medical diagnosis, joysticks and video games, satellites that revealed the ozone hole and climate change, our understanding of the origins of the universe, and many other contributions.

What are the future opportunities in space exploration, and how do we preserve opportunities for critical advances that will be born from the space program in the face of increasing challenges on Earth?