Millenium People; When nanosats challenge scales and mitigate catastrophes

6th October, Nesta, London, UK

Millenium people in space; When nanosats challenge scales and mitigate catastrophes.

October 6th 2014 at Nesta, 1 Plough Place, EC4A 1DE, London

Book for the workshop here

See the full programme here

Nelly Ben Hayoun will be chairing and curating this event with Nesta

When JG Ballard depicts the revolt of the middle class in his book Millenium People, he also introduced us to the apocalyptic vision of pop culture’s potential. Ten years later, Millenium people are up for outer space and are reclaiming full access: It is the democratization of outer space! Smaller, cheaper, shinny and smarter, here they are, soon lifting off from Millenium people's gardens, the miniaturized satellites: The Cubesats! With their 2kg of technology, these Cubesats might well be the next landmark in our technological history.

Millenium people is a Nesta and Nelly Ben Hayoun experimental workshop exploring the future of open access space through new Cubesat technologies and possible applications for disaster resilience and personal use eg storage. Space exploration has historically been hugely expensive and difficult, but things are changing. Only a decade ago, the first private spaceflight carried three people to 100km above the earth's surface. Communication satellites have been privately developed since the 1960s. But only recently have they been a plausible option for anyone other than large corporations.

Much like the transition from room-sized computers to today’s miniature personal computers, the satellite industry may be seeing its own personalised revolution. Cubesat technology is making it easier for anyone to launch a small satellite into space and remotely access the information it collects. Cubesats are fostering a new spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship, but what is the future of open access space? Is this the beginning of a fully connected world? Is there any privacy from nanosatellite eyes? Could cubesats detect earthquakes before they happen? Will it rain cubesats?

This workshop looks at the cutting edge in accessible satellite technology, exploring new kinds of applications.  There will be a focus on the role of satellite information in predicting and responding to humanitarian and natural disasters. Larger numbers of small satellite systems could aid monitoring, modelling and real-time disaster response. But how will the shift from government to private satellites affect the frameworks in place such as the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters?

Chaired and curated by the Willy Wonka of Design and Science Nelly Ben Hayoun, Nesta is holding this workshop as part of a series of experiments in technology foresight to encourage responsible innovation and good technology governance. The event aims to be more interactive and provocative than others, in the previous workshop we created six imagined futures for health data sharing. Our aim is to create an event that supports the policy and technology communities to take anticipatory actions. If there is anything specific, you think this workshop should achieve, please email Harry leads this event for Nesta’s policy and research team.


09.30 - 10.00       Registration and breakfast in Nesta lobby

10:00 - 12:30      Quick fire presentations and panels:

  • Topology of the technology
  • The Earth is shaking
  • Plan B communication
  • Invincible Storage and laser gun
  • Millenium People; the pop Culture
  • Star Wars II
  • Homo Fabers and the Logistics
  • The Cube- Economy
  • The "formula of the now", teaching future space entrepreneur

12:30 to 13:15     (Lunch will be provided)

13:15 - 16.00       Workshop

16.00 - 17.00       Coffee and networking

This workshop will be chaired and curated by Nelly Ben Hayoun, Designer of Experiences at the SETI Institute, Director of the International Space Orchestra in NASA Ames Research Center, Wired Innovation fellow and award winning Director who has recently developed a new platform Disaster Playground looking at the design of emergency procedures in the space programme.