October 10th marked the seventh and final Future Forum celebrating NASA’s 50th anniversary at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. Before I provide a brief rundown on the Chicago Future Forum, I would like to take a moment to thank the NASA team for their efforts.
Special thanks go to NASA’s Office of Communications Planning, who coordinated and managed all the Forums, along with the great support of the Office of Public Affairs, the Office of Education, the NASA Mission Directorates, and the NASA Centers.
We achieved the goal of reaching out to communities that do not have direct connections to NASA to engage them on the importance of space exploration to their daily lives. We touched over 1,500 business leaders, museum attendees, students, and civic leaders around the country this year alone. The tremendous amount of hard work and effort put into these events cannot be overstated and I commend the entire NASA team for taking the Future Forum concept into reality. Without you, these events would not have been such a success.
Chicago Future Forum
I would like to thank Dr. Paul Knappenberger, Director of the Adler Planetarium, for being such a wonderful host and master of ceremony. I also would like to thank our sponsors and key partners for helping to make the Chicago Future Forum possible.
NASA has an interesting connection to the Adler. NASA Astronaut John Grunsfeld’s grandfather, Ernest Grunsfeld, was the lead architect in its design in the 1920s. I have said in previous blogs that Future Forums are a series of one-day events that highlight the benefits of space exploration through the themes of inspiration, innovation and discovery and connect those themes to a local, regional and state perspective. They also provide a venue to educate the public about the future of space exploration.
An impressive group of individuals from academia and industry volunteered their time to participate on the panels. I would like to thank the NASA speakers for their contributions at the Chicago Future Forum: Woodrow Whitlow, Director, NASA Glenn Research Center; Bernice Alston, Deputy Associate Administrator for Education; Astronauts Bobby Satcher and Ken Ham; and Astronaut Carl Walz, Director of the Advanced Capabilities Division in ESMD. I would also like to thank Kristen Erickson, Mike Green, Jim Hull, and Roselee Roberts from NASA Headquarters for their efforts in all of the Future Forums held across the country celebrating NASA’s 50 years of exploration. Finally, thanks to Bob Hopkins for coming up with the Future Forum idea and all the work he did before departing the Agency to be the Senior Vice President and Marketing Director of Washington Operations at Phillips & Co., a business consulting firm.