"When I First Saw Earth"

Anoushesh Ansari is the world's first female private space explorer, as well as the first astronaut of Iranian descent. Today, in a Big Think interview (conducted in partnership with the DLD conference in Munich), she shares a poetic recollection of her most exciting moment in orbit: looking out and seeing "life emanating against the deep background of space."

When asked about her most frightening moment, however, Ansari demurs, explaining that years of intense preparation made her cool as a cucumber. Sound like an experience you'd want to share? She has good news for you: as a member of the family that sponsors the Ansari X Prize for private spacecraft launches, she reports that we will likely see commercial space flights as soon as 2012, with costs dropping and "an industry being created" thereafter.


As a boundary-breaking explorer, Ansari also describes the message she hopes her space flight sends to women—and men—in the Middle East, and voices her support for the ongoing anti-establishment protests in Iran.

Russia sends its first android to space

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
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Human extinction! Don't panic; think about it like a philosopher.

Most people think human extinction would be bad. These people aren't philosophers.

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Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new opinion piece in The New York Times argues that humanity is so horrible to other forms of life that our extinction wouldn't be all that bad, morally speaking.
  • The author, Dr. Todd May, is a philosopher who is known for advising the writers of The Good Place.
  • The idea of human extinction is a big one, with lots of disagreement on its moral value.
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this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
  • "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"



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