AE 103

The Great Space Debate – Discussion and Vote

What Should Be the Strategic Goal for Astronautics over the Next 25 Years?

Debate at the BIS, 1 May 2014

Yours truly speaking at the BIS on 1 May 2014

Yours truly speaking at the BIS on 1 May 2014

Professor Ian Crawford opened the evening with a scientist’s take on the question. But his view extended well beyond science alone to include economic, geopolitical and cultural aspects of “leaving the cradle” to create a spacefaring civilisation.

Jerry Stone is leader of the current BIS study project to update Gerard O’Neill’s space colony designs from the 1970s, as described in his classic book, The High Frontier. He proposed that the situation would be resolved by prioritising the overarching goal of the settlement of the inner Solar System with a permanent human presence in space.

The voting options, together with a video of the evening, should be available soon on the BIS website, accessible to BIS members after logging in. The video by itself has now been posted on YouTube by DeltaVee media – thanks to Alan Marlow.

Read the full post on the Astronautical Evolution website.

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AE 102

The Great Space Debate: What Should Be the Strategic Goal for Astronautics over the Next 25 Years?

Talk presented at the British Interplanetary Society, London, 1 May 2014

Mars: the "ultimate goal" of the Global Exploration Strategy (credit: NASA)

Mars: the “ultimate goal” of the Global Exploration Strategy
(credit: NASA)

The eleven years since the Columbia disaster have seen increasing confusion and controversy over the future direction of human spaceflight. At different times and places the goals of a manned return to the Moon, the exploration of Mars or of a near-Earth asteroid have been prioritised, with other voices calling for an end to manned space missions altogether and robotic exploration to take centre stage. Meanwhile the prospects for companies seeking to commercialise human spaceflight have been highly controversial, as has the role of public subsidies in getting their vehicles ready for flight.

Is it possible to identify a key strategic priority for astronautics in the near term that will resolve the confusion? And does there exist general agreement within the BIS as to the way forward, or is the BIS as divided as opinion more generally?

Read the full post on the Astronautical Evolution website.