UK Happenings

Lewis Honors College to Host Deep Space Salon

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 31, 2022) — The University of Kentucky Lewis Honors College will welcome Kris Kimel, founder of Humanity in Deep Space and co-founder of the commercial space company Space Tango, and space anthropologist Savannah Mandel, on Wednesday, April 6 at 4 p.m., for a conversation about deep space exploration. The event will be in-person, in the Lewis Honors College Scholars Lounge and open to the entire UK community. Mandel will join the conversation virtually.

The mission of Humanity In Deep Space is to explore and pursue a planetary conversation surrounding the constellation of issues and challenges from science to food, health, design, economics, governance, ethics, art and much more, that must be addressed in order for our species to prepare for transition into deep space.

Mandel is currently a Ph.D. and M.S. candidate in Science, Technology and Society at Virginia Tech and holds a Master of Science in Social Anthropology from the University College London. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork at Spaceport America, worked for the Commercial Spaceflight Industry, and was named a “Rising Star” by Ozy Magazine in 2019. She is the Lead Human Space Advisor for Humanity in Deep Space, has consulted with the Interplanetary Agricultural Lab, and is a Project Advisor for The Golden Record (.org). Some of her published topics include a cultural addendum to the Drake Equation, lunar imperialism and the social implications of asteroid mining.

Lexington-based Kimel, co-founded Space Tango in 2014 alongside then graduate-student Twyman Clements, while Kimel was serving as CEO of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation. The pair’s intention was to simplify and increase access to space-based research and design, and product development. Space Tango manufactures health and technology products in space that have the potential to create cross-industry paradigm shifts here on Earth. Since 2017, made possible by a NASA Space Act Agreement, Space Tango has provided facilities on the International Space Station to support iterative research and design and manufacturing.

In late 2019, Kimel founded Humanity In Deep Space, a nonprofit initiative that involves a broad interdisciplinary group of creative thinkers, space professionals and organizations committed to a better understanding of how humans can maintain and extend our humanity by embracing deep space as part of our living experience.

In this conversation at the Lewis Honors College, Kimel hopes that students in particular will walk away ready to consider the many ideas and questions related to life in deep space.

“As we continue to accelerate our space exploration efforts…it’s imperative that this generation of students understand and be prepared to engage with the questions, hard problems and opportunities that confront a spacefaring civilization,” he said.

The Humanity in Deep Space event is a collaboration between Honors and the UK Chellgren Center. The Chellgren Center is a sponsor of the Humanity in Deep Space organization and Acting Chellgren Chair Luke Bradley looks forward to bringing these ideas to campus for an open conversation.

“We are excited to partner with Lewis Honors College to host the first Deep Space Salon. As the concept of deep space travel is becoming more of a reality, there are a number of important issues, beyond the technology, that should be addressed,” Bradley said. “The Chellgren Center wants to promote multidisciplinary discussions, collaborations, and partnerships to build an engaged environment for our students and community. In this context, this platform will be a great opportunity to bring together groups from different backgrounds to start these early discussions.”

Kimel also saw the value of a multidisciplinary perspective, stating, “The Lewis Honors College with its interdisciplinary focus is uniquely positioned to host and serve as a platform for this important conversation.”

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.