Press Release

LSU to Host International Symposium on Risk and Exploration

By SpaceRef Editor
May 22, 2007
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LSU to Host International Symposium on Risk and Exploration

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana State University announced today that it will serve as the host for a symposium devoted to examining how risk factors into the exploration of – and beyond – our home planet.

Titled “Risk and Exploration: Earth As A Classroom,” this event will be held on the LSU campus from Oct. 28-30 with the financial sponsorship of the Northrop Grumman Corp. Campus locations include the state-of-the-art auditoriums in the Energy, Coast, and Environment Building and the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student Athletes.

This three-day event is modeled after a previous symposium, “Risk and Exploration: Earth, Sea, and the Stars,” held in Monterey, Calif., in September 2004.

As was the case with the first symposium, this upcoming event will be targeted toward space, oceanic and terrestrial explorers, as well as others who encounter risk in their daily lives, including entrepreneurs, firefighters and police.

The conference will provide a forum for the discussion of various risk-taking philosophies, with the hope that such groups will gain a greater appreciation for the similarities and differences of their respective activities. Senior NASA managers and scientists have expressed their intent to participate, as have a number of other prominent explorers, media representatives and scientists.

All events will be open to the public, with special efforts taken to allow presentations to be disseminated in a wide variety of Internet and media formats.

The event will also be supported by three organizations devoted to exploration: The Explorers Club, the Association of Space Explorers and the Space Generation Advisory Council. Co-chairs for the event will be Astronaut Leroy Chiao, who is the Smiley and Bernice Romero Raborn Distinguished Chair and Max Faget Professor in Mechanical Engineering at LSU, and Keith Cowing, president of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. – one of the organizers of the first Risk and Exploration Symposium in 2004.

“LSU is grateful to Northrop Grumman for agreeing to sponsor this event,” LSU Chancellor Sean O’Keefe said. “As you may recall the entire population of Louisiana was suddenly faced with a real time crash course in handling risk several years ago. As such, the experiences of those who endured Katrina and Rita, and how they handled risk, will also be an integral part of this event. In addition, many people risked their lives and made immense personal sacrifices to keep the Michoud Assembly Facility – and thus America’s Space Shuttle fleet – operational. LSU will play a prominent role in the discussion of how we manage risk and exploration, learning from our rich past and experiences in today’s vibrant world, while eagerly and confidently anticipating an unknown future.”

“Northrop Grumman embraces the spirit of this conference because it reflects our own experience of the role that risk-taking plays in every significant discovery,” said Douglas Young, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s space exploration systems organization. “By exploring the boundaries of our knowledge about the commercial, civil, government and international markets we serve, we’ve been able to identify and manage the risks associated with helping our customers reach their destinations. We look to this conference to create momentum for collaborations between industry and academia that will lead to the most significant technological achievements of our time.”

Information on this symposium can be found online at

Kristine Calongne
LSU Media Relations

SpaceRef staff editor.