Kent Spencer

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Should space travel be the worlds top priority

It seems like our purpose on this world is to go forward. The way I see it, our school students don't learn enough about space. Their knowlege is the key to improving our progress. But not enough students are introduced to such oppurtunities. Looking back on grades K-12, with more learning about space, I would've probably changed my college major, or came close to doing so. Bottom line we need to increase their intrest levels. We're missing out on tapping into brilliant minds that can take the world to new hights.

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    Sep 29 2011: You are totally right that the educational system needs a drastic makeover!
    Hopefully that will happen any day now!

    Still your idea is worth exploring in two aspects:
    1. We shall know more about outer space.
    2. Hence we shall know better for ourselves
    (I haven't seen an astronaut polluting ... though I've never met one yet ... at least I would've heard of such stuff).

    Here are a few suggestions from me for talks you can participate with your ideas in:
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/5732/knowledge_management_in_educat.html
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/5906/what_place_does_creativity_hav.html
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/5318/how_do_we_reform_education.html
  • Aug 30 2011: I don't think we need to have space travel as the world top priority.

    Rather, I think we need to change education systems around the world so that space travel will eventually become one of the top priorities. We need to start using better learning tools (like Khan Academy), having them experiment more, work in teams to compete locally and nationally so we encourage them to be creative, imaginative and eager to try new things.

    I also think students need to learn much more about society, ethics, human rights, history, politics and psychology so that we can solve world's most pressing issues like lack of freedom in some areas, inequality, damage to the environment etc.
  • Aug 30 2011: Yes, maybe not right now (+-5 or 10 years) but it will sooner or later become. But you don't really need to travel much to explore - launching a telescope may be enough. You can do most of research on the ground preforming experiments. Also before we do any major travelling, we need to reduce the cost of transferring matter into orbit dramatically - which may be achieved by building launch loop or space elevator:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launch_loop
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_elevator

    Problem is chemical powered rockets are composed mainly of fuel (around 90%). That's because you need certain ammount of fuel to move matter into orbit, and even more then you need certain ammount of fuel to move that fuel and material into orbit, etc.

    @Tim blackburn

    I guess so, if you goal is survival. No civilisation can exist for indefinite ammount of time, you can only lengthen the "survival time". Also making full induction of your logic (assuming you are leaning in "why should we" direction) we should go back to living in caves.

    @Chris Pavlis

    I agree on first post.

    2nd one:

    Untill we find intelligent alien life, you mean?

    Logically that train of reasoning is correct (if something is not observable it is logically correct it does not exist).

    But according to anthropological principle (take a look of the concept of Drake equation - it may be overestimating, but could with some refining give more realistic predictions) it would be a bit a bit too "self-centered" to presume we are the only intelligent beings in the universe. I certainly don't believe it to be the issue.
    • Aug 30 2011: thanks for that yes I was referring to intelligent life, however I think just finding life, factored with the "self-centred" odds you suggest (and I agree with, but is still arguable) would be enough to start the debate on if humanity is good for the universe or not
      • Aug 30 2011: I'm not sure what exactly you mean, universe judging from observational evidence, seems to be generally a pretty dead structure. So I don't think there's anything wrong if we or any other intelligent species exploit it/manipulate it. I'm more of anthropological principle fan :P And leaning on Drake's side on this issue :)
  • Aug 30 2011: yes, and my reasoning is that if we only ever stay on this rock humanity will cease to exist, no other problem poses so great a consequence.
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    Sep 9 2011: Yessss jacque fresco anyone?
  • Sep 6 2011: Because space travel is unnecessary. It's main purpose is for knowledge, and even though that is certainly important, I think the incredible amounts of money put into NASA and the space program is too much, and even though astronomy is fascinating and interesting, it definetly shouldn't be the world's top priority. And in terms of education, kids already aren't interested in school, and reform of the system as a whole is already an issue, without focusing in one area like space travel.
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    Sep 5 2011: In my opinion space travel shouldn't be at the top10 list. In fact :

    Reducing carbon releases
    Curing Cancer
    Erasing drug addiction
    Wiping of the landmines
    Transforming nuclear plants into sustainable energy powerhouses
    Increasing rice/corn productivity
    Inventing storm typhoon earthquake warning systems
    Curing Alzheimer
    Curing obesity
    Building safer cars
    Reducing silicon wastes

    should be our top priorities.
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    Sep 4 2011: Nope. Time travel should be.
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    Sep 2 2011: No buddy ! The development of that particular country must be the first priority ! and after that whatever time and wealth remains from that they should do the work of space explorations ..
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    Aug 30 2011: Some of these subjects that you guys believe should be worked on first such as ethics, is something that can and should be learned on your own time. Reform in society is something that will always be needed as humans have adapted to this point in 2011. This debate isn't about trying to get ALL people to be putting on space suits, but covering space travel education to tap into brilliant minds that can take the world to new heights. The more we introduce space travel to people, the more minds we get to address these issues with actually reaching space. All of this can be solved with introducing space travel to students education. No need to start 5-10 years later becuae you feel physcology?....should be coverd before we think about the matter. And yes, of course some countries have to focuss on reform of their society before they can make any advances, but not all countries have major fixes that need to addressed. Countries such as the U.S is ready for this. Worrying about ethics and history is something you don't need a teacher to help you with....those types of subject are broad and can be learned within your own time, honestly