2022.3.19 15th KIP Symposium “Connecting Science to Society and Making Space a Cultural Sphere: Artificial Shooting Stars, Atmospheric Data, and the Challenge of Preventing Debris Formation”

The 13th KIP Symposium was the 15th Anniversary KIP Symposium, celebrating 15 years since its establishment. The venue was decorated with photos looking back on 15 years of history and provided an opportunity to reflect on the many activities that have taken place, including forums, overseas training programs, and regional training programs. The first part of the symposium consisted of research presentations on 2021 projects, followed by a 15th anniversary commemorative lecture on the space industry by Ms. Rena Okajima, President of ALE Corporation, and a discussion on the theme of "Which should be prioritized, space exploration or correction of economic disparities in the Corona Disaster?

In the first part, the 2021 KIP project members presented a report titled "Anxiety of young people about the coronary crisis". 2 questionnaires were conducted, the first of which revealed that the second most common cause of anxiety among young people about the coronary crisis was fear of infecting or infecting others, followed by fear of forming relationships. It was found that. The second phase focused on online communication as a factor and solution to anxiety about maintaining and forming relationships, and found that those who felt they were making good use of online communication, including SNS, were less anxious about their relationships, while those who did not feel this way were more anxious.
And as an in-depth interview of the background of anxiety, it was shown that some respondents were of the opinion that they would use online communication if they were already in a state of relationship formation, but that it was difficult to use it to form relationships.
As a result of these studies, project members in FY2021 disseminated the results of a questionnaire as a measure to reduce anxiety among young people by communicating their current anxieties. As further results, actions were taken through the dissemination of the content of the roundtable discussion to reaffirm the significance of face-to-face communication and how to involve everyone in a hybrid face-to-face and online activity.

In the second part, Ms. Okajima, CEO of ALE CO. Ltd., a space start-up company, gave an overview of the current space industry, and then participants discussed the theme of “Which should be prioritized: space development in the Corona Disaster or correcting the economic disparity?”

Ms.Rena Okajima: Biography
CEO & Founder at ALE CO. Ltd.
Born in Tottori, Japan in 1979. After graduating from the Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Science, the University of Tokyo, received her doctorate in Astronomy from the Graduate School of Science at the same university. While a student, she founded a science and entertainment company as its president. After graduating from graduate school, she joined Goldman Sachs and in 2009 founded an emerging markets business consulting firm. In parallel, she started research on artificial shooting stars in 2009 and established ALE CO. Ltd. in September 2011.

【Speech and Q&A】
In her lecture, Ms. Okajima talked about her company ALE's business and the current state of the space industry. She talked about especially the world's first artificial shooting star entertainment, the utilization of atmospheric big data, and the prevention of space debris, in order to achieve the mission of “Connecting Science to Society and Making Space a Cultural Sphere” and to achieve sustainable development of science and humanity. It was also mentioned during the Q&A session that artificial shooting stars, in particular, are attracting worldwide attention as a new approach to providing entertainment in space, which is often associated with military and security, and also because of their environmental impact compared to things like fireworks. In addition, compared to other countries, it is difficult for start-up companies in the space industry to attract funding, and this is due to the fact that it is difficult for risk money to be invested in Japan, which was highlighted as a serious problem.

【Group discussion and grand discussion】
Based on the theme of "Which should be prioritized, space development or correction of economic disparities in the Corona Disaster?" discussions were first held in groups of about five members each, followed by a general discussion. Some groups say that the government should not stop investing money in space industry, and the others say that the government cannot ignore people who are suffering economically under this emergent situation. The discussion was mainly from the viewpoint of which of the two should be given priority in allocating the government's financial resources. One point of contention, which was common to some extent among all groups, was that in the corona disaster, space development is about medium- to long-term benefits and increasing national profits, while correcting economic disparities is about short-term benefits, such as subsidies for the economically impoverished, and how to distribute existing national profits. 

【What I thought through the Forum】
Although I had little prior knowledge of space, I found her talk and opinions on the project, which made full use of cutting-edge science, very stimulating and informative. While it is said that space has recently become a place where countries are fighting for supremacy, I had the impression that the topic of providing new entertainment from space in the form of artificial shooting stars was a very peaceful one. I was very much aware of the problem of the fact that the regulations have not progressed much since the laws were established in the past when there were not many activities in the space. I felt that space should not be a stage for fighting for supremacy, but a place that brings hope and improves human society through entertainment and disaster prevention.
As for the discussion, the in-depth debate on the timely issue of how to allocate the national budget for the Corona Disaster made me realize that issues close to myself can be reaffirmed in terms of their arguments and significance through the perspectives of a variety of people. The fact that we were able to exchange opinions as people living in Japan, and not as bureaucrats or politicians, and the fact that there continues to be a place where we can communicate and discuss our ideas as individuals, without being bound by our positions, made me think about KIP's 15th anniversary and the value of KIP, which we should continue to connect with in the future.

Shiho Ou, University of Tokyo, College of Arts and Sciences, 2nd year