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Friday 19 December 2014, Rob Lyons

Podcast: To boldly go - what is the point of space exploration?

Listen to the Battle of Ideas 2014 debate.

When Neil Armstrong made his first steps on the moon on 21 July 1969, he was watched by over 500 million people. Today, the Chinese Chang’e 3 lander is seen as the start of a push to place taikonauts on the moon within a decade. India has followed suit, and the Americans are discussing a lunar comeback. Should we be excited or sceptical about a ‘space race’ aimed at projecting the power of rising countries? Do the missions have enough scientific merit as opposed to propaganda value, and should we celebrate them even if the benefits are slight?

SPEAKERS

Professor Ian Crawford
professor of planetary science and astrobiology, Birkbeck College, University of London

Ashley Dove-Jay
PhD researcher, University of Bristol; programme member on NASA/ESA-related projects

David Perks
principal, East London Science School; author, What is science education for?; co-author, Sir Richard Sykes Review of school examinations and A defence of subject-based education

Dr Jill Stuart
visiting fellow, London School of Economics; editor-in-chief, Space Policy

Will Whitehorn
chairman, Transport Systems Catapult and Speed Communications; former president, Virgin Galactic

Listen to the debate:


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