What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos


Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers


Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge


Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more

Is Exploring Mars Worth the Financial Investment?

August 1, 2012, 1:00 PM

What's the Latest Development?

Curiosity, NASA's latest Mars rover, is set to touch down on the Red Planet just under five days from now, on August 6th. The mission, in which the largest-ever vehicle sent to Mars will search for evidence of past life, will cost NASA $2.5 billion dollars. Past Mars missions have also been costly: "The Viking missions alone cost nearly $1 billion—in 1970s dollars. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity cost a total of about $1 billion to build and operate as well." Many would agree that the search for life beyond Earth satisfies a fundamental human urge to explore and gather knowledge, but critics say NASA's singular focus on Mars comes at the expense of other possible missions. 

What's the Big Idea?

Astronomers say that evidence of past life on Mars would make the chances of finding life elsewhere in the Universe much higher. But compounded by proposed budget cuts of $227 million to NASA's Mars exploration budget, some experts are questioning the wisdom of focusing so intently on a single planet: "Jupiter's moon Europa, which is covered with an ice-encrusted ocean, could have the potential to harbor life; Saturn's moon Titan, rich in organic chemistry, might as well." David Jewitt, a planetary scientist at UCLA who studies comets, likens a singular focus on Mars to the person who loses their keys but only looks for them under the streetlight. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com



Is Exploring Mars Worth the...

Newsletter: Share: