Social Sciences, Policy and Management

Social Sciences, Policy & Management The relationship between technology and society is a subject of continuing public interest and scientific inquiry. NASA pursues a holistic systems approach to sustainable development, global issues, and their inter-relationships, relating human dimensions with natural and physical sciences (science and policy-making). The underlying objective is to realize the potential of NASA activities to benefit our peoples and to extend the horizons of commerce, science and exploration. As a result, NASA efforts cross into the social sciences, influence policy making, and influence project and mission management. The economic significance of technological change as well as the impact our changing environment are topics of study. Historians influence public enthusiasm for a healthy civilian space program; they also detail the evolution of innovations (i.e., rocketry, remote sensing, telemetry, guidance). The entrance into space imparts new perspectives and raises new questions in international law and relations. Issues addressed by sociology include astronaut survival, mission effectiveness and the presence of humans in space. Anthropologists and geographers help us understand cultural perceptions and the human dimensions of environmental change. Political scientists are working to comprehend the formulation of space policy. Psychology is an essential requirement to understand human needs and behaviors during space operations. Space has deeply affected philosophy as the study of the truths or principles underlying all knowledge and being (or reality). Space continually has animated the study of epistomology, logic, cosmology, metaphysics, and theology. And finally, the science of management is fundamental to the success of all NASA missions.

In Arizona there are a number of projects that address the intersection of NASA science and exploration and the social sciences, policy development and management. A Space Grant internship may provide an opportunity for you to get obtain experience in this area.

Can you imagine yourself working with a faculty mentor…

  • Assessing space flight policy in the past and future?
  • Developing program management for a student satellite program?
  • Identifying patterns of support for NASA under different U.S. administrations?
  • Evaluating international space law?
  • Analyzing “freedom of information” and congressional influence on discovery?
  • Comparing and contrasting western and indigenous astronomy?
  • Assessing the financial realities of green versus non-green approaches to economic development?
  • Correlating climate variables and influence occurrence patterns?
  • Researching human needs and behaviors in space operations?
  • Assessing public attitudes and policy ramifications of artificial recharge?
  • Understanding the interaction between insects and institutions?
  • Assessing trends in exurbanization and landscape change in rural areas?
  • Decoupling human and climate drivers of environmental change?
  • Managing a high altitude balloon payload project?
  • Surveying household water use and conservation?
  • Analyzing the analyze the international impact of space programs?
  • Appraising the value of exploring space with international partners?
  • Examining the commitment to global communities and sustainability
  • Understanding socio-economic and knowledge benefits of space-related assets?
  • Estimating the future impact of space activities upon the welfare of humanity?