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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.

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Today's Big Idea: Crazy Ideas

The Big Idea for Sunday, August 05, 2012

The day before something is a radical breakthrough it is usually seen as a crazy idea. By the virtue of being raw and unproven, not to mention against the status quo, true innovations are seen as crazy, so their proponents must be excellent communicators if they wish for their ideas to take hold.

NASA's engineer Adam Steltzner has devised an ambitious and incredibly daring landing system for the Mars Curiosity rover which is scheduled to land in the early morning hours on Monday. One of the key features is a landing device designed to lower the rover to the surface of the Red Planet. It was initially derided as a "rover on a rope."

While the margin for error on this mission is zero, Steltzner's system might just work. Two out of every three missions to Mars end in failure. If Steltzner succeeds, he will deserve a lot of credit for bringing over 2,000 people together to take a seemingly crazy idea and make it a reality. 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Seven Minutes of Terror: Engineering the Mars Rover's Impossible Landing
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  2. 2 Astrobiology: The Search for Life Begins with Water
    Daniel Honan Think Tank
  3. 3 Richard Wiese on Exploration and Technology
    Richard Wiese
  4. 4 The Cheapest Way to Terraform Mars
    Michio Kaku
 

Today's Big Idea: Crazy Ideas

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