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

Cosmic Queries – The New Space Race

Photo Credit: SpaceX
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About This Episode

Without the fear and clashing political ideologies of the Cold War to fuel a space race, what will fuel the “new” space race? On this episode of StarTalk Radio, Neil deGrasse Tyson sits down with comic co-host Ray Ellin to explore what will push human space exploration further out into the solar system. 

You’ll learn why the United States’ history as space “pioneers” needs adjusting. We investigate why we haven’t gone back to the Moon in decades. Find out if the Moon would be a good launching and refueling station for missions going further out. You’ll hear why human endeavors on Mars will require survival based on Martian resources. We also explore why traveling to another star, like Alpha Centauri, will take more rocket power than we have currently, possibly even requiring a development like warp drives. 

Explore why the Space Force is not necessarily a crazy idea, and why it partially exists already. We talk about the possible activities of the Space Force, and whether or not they might include cleaning up space junk. Brush up on the International Space Treaty of 1967 as we ponder what would happen if another country destroyed the flag planted by the United States on the Moon. We also address the question, “Can you own space?”

Get details on NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection and how it protects the Earth and other celestial bodies from contaminating each other. Discover more about which countries might be involved in a “new” space race and whether there’s any merit to the idea of sending world leaders into space. We also discuss if this new space race should even be framed as a “race.” All that, plus, Neil shares his thoughts on why exploring space should eventually be like exploring your own backyard. 

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries – The New Space Race.

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