Why yes, actually it is rocket science

While it may not be simple or easy, these fascinating talks make aerospace engineering a little more accessible to the average person.

  1. 17:47
    Fred Jansen How to land on a comet

    As manager of the Rosetta mission, Fred Jansen was responsible for the successful 2014 landing of a probe on the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In this fascinating and funny talk, Jansen reveals some of the intricate calculations that went into landing the Philae probe on a comet 500 million kilometers from Earth — and shares some incredible photographs taken along the way.

  2. 10:15
    Natalie Panek Let's clean up the space junk orbiting Earth

    Our lives depend on a world we can't see: the satellite infrastructure we use every day for information, entertainment, communication and so much more. But Earth orbit isn't a limitless resource, and the problem of space debris will get worse without a significant change to our behavior. Natalie Panek challenges us to consider the environmental impact of the satellites we rely on. Our orbital environment is breathtakingly beautiful and our gateway to exploration, she says. It's up to us to keep it that way.

  3. 17:14
    Stephen Petranek Your kids might live on Mars. Here's how they'll survive

    It sounds like science fiction, but journalist Stephen Petranek considers it fact: within 20 years, humans will live on Mars. In this provocative talk, Petranek makes the case that humans will become a spacefaring species and describes in fascinating detail how we'll make Mars our next home. "Humans will survive no matter what happens on Earth," Petranek says. "We will never be the last of our kind."

  4. 19:37
    Burt Rutan The real future of space exploration

    In this passionate talk, legendary spacecraft designer Burt Rutan lambasts the US government-funded space program for stagnating and asks entrepreneurs to pick up where NASA has left off.

  5. 8:38
    George Dyson The story of Project Orion

    Author George Dyson spins the story of Project Orion, a massive, nuclear-powered spacecraft that could have taken us to Saturn in five years. His insider’s perspective and a secret cache of documents bring an Atomic Age dream to life.

  6. 3:22
    Steve Jurvetson Model rocketry

    Moneyman Steve Jurvetson takes TEDsters inside his awesome hobby — launching model rockets –- by sharing some gorgeous photos, his infectious glee and just a whiff of danger.

  7. 3:50
    David Hoffman Sputnik mania

    Filmmaker David Hoffman shares footage from his feature-length documentary Sputnik Mania, which shows how the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to both the space race and the arms race — and jump-started science and math education around the world.