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Press Release 93-17
Linda S. Ellis
(Bus: 216/433-2900)

March Symposium to Preview the Era of Cyberspace

Cleveland, OH -- Stimulating unique insights and new ideas to keep NASA technology on the cutting edge well into the 21st century is the focus for a March 30-31 symposium.

Cyberspace, a metaphorical universe that people enter when they use computers, is the centerpiece for the symposium, entitled "The Vision 21 Symposium on Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering in the Era of Cyberspace." The symposium will feature some remarkable visions of the future.

Sponsored by the NASA Lewis Research Center's Vision 21 group and the Ohio Aerospace Institute, the symposium will be held at the Holiday Inn, 1100 Crocker Road, Westlake, Ohio.

"In keeping with the Vision 21 mission to foster speculative concepts and advanced thinking in science and technology, this event will provide a panoramic view of the research and technology that will aid humans in exploration," explains Dr. Sheila G. Bailey, general chairperson and research physicist in the Power Technology Division. "This includes not only the Earth's environment and the Martian terrain, but also the artificial reality of cyberspace."

Each of the five speakers scheduled for the event is an interdisciplinary scientist with a unique view of the future. They share a common vision of cyberspace as a world where computers, robots, and the human mind will be more closely linked.

The speakers include Hans Moravec of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Lab. He believes that "robots with human intelligence will be common within fifty years."

Linking the mind and the computer is also a fascination for Vernor Vinge, San Diego State University mathematician and science fiction writer. His novels raise profound questions about the potential for good and evil in science and technology.

Carol Stoker, a research scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, will address science and robotics in Antarctica. She and her colleagues recently spent time in Antarctica, where they mapped an ice-covered lake using telepresence.

For John Dalton, entering cyberspace is a way to better understand the Earth's environment. He is project manager for NASA's Earth Observation System Ground System and Operations Project at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. Dalton will discuss information systems to support research in global change.

How humans will experience and interact with cyberspace is Dr. Myron Krueger's focus. Dr. Krueger invented the term "artificial reality" to describe human interaction with computer-generated worlds. Krueger is now the head of Artificial Reality Corporation.

Rob Fisher, a research fellow with the Studio for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, will conduct a workshop focusing on propelling a spacecraft by means of the force of sunlight pressure.

Attendees at the two-day conference will have an opportunity to tour the Ohio Aerospace Institute and the Graphics Visualization Laboratory at the NASA Lewis Research Center.

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