February 21, 2019 9:00 pm

Friday, Neil deGrasse Tyson Explores the New Space Race

It’s no secret that the main factor fueling the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union was not the glory of pure exploration. Political motives and fear of war drove each country to try and one-up the other at every turn. However, it did produce the Earthrise photo, multiple Moon landings, our first glimpses at the cosmic perspective, and much more. But, without those factors to push us forward, would we ever go back to that type of exploration?

On this week’s episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with comic co-host Ray Ellin to answer fan-submitted questions on the “new” space race. You’ll find out why the narrative of the United States being “pioneers” of space exploration needs some adjusting. Learn why it might be better not to frame this new space race as a “race” in the first place.

Screen capture of 2 Falcon Heavy Boosters landing at the same time, taken from SpaceX coverage of the event 2-6-18.

Credit: SpaceX.

Join us as we discuss if going back to the Moon would be helpful for further exploration. Investigate why we haven’t gone back to the Moon in decades. Discover more about the merits of using the Moon as a refueling and launching station. We ponder what would happen if another country tampered with the flag the United States planted on the Moon.

Find out why the Space Force might not be such a crazy idea. We also investigate if the Space Force could be responsible for things like cleaning up space junk and not necessarily focus on “space war.” Get details on NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection and how it keeps Earth and other celestial bodies safe from each other. Brush up on the International Space Treaty from 1967 and what it says about exploring space responsibly. You’ll hear about sending humans to Mars and why our survival depends on Martian resources. Lastly, we discuss which countries are most likely to be involved in a new space race and we discuss why we should send our world leaders into space. All that, plus, Neil shares why he wants the new space race to make space something we can explore like our own backyard.

Please join us tomorrow night for Cosmic Queries – The New Space Race at 7pm ET right here on our website, as well as on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free at 7pm, too.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
-Ian Mullen