Bill Nye: How NASA Can Get Humans to Mars by 2033

NASA could get a crew of astronauts to orbit Mars by 2033 without increasing its budget beyond the rate of inflation, says Bill Nye the Science Guy. That's exciting news.

Bill Nye: NASA could put humans in orbit around Mars in the year 2033 – 2033 is not arbitrary. It’s when there’s a pretty good orbit - there’s pretty good orbits happening often enough - but 2033 is a real good orbit of the Earth and Mars. So you could get humans in orbit around Mars without raising the NASA budget beyond letting it increase with inflation, which is an increase but not an extraordinary one.

 Furthermore, in order to pull this off without any increase in the NASA budget, everybody has to stick to these agreements that NASA will no longer be the lead funder or supporter of the International Space Station. They’re going to retire the space station or let commercial entities take it over.

But if you did that, really stuck to the agreements and you let the NASA budget increase with inflation you could have humans orbiting Mars in 2033. If the Mars 2020 rover is enabled to land in a place where there might be salty water - or ancient salty water - and were to discover evidence of life, perhaps we would accelerate that schedule.

And as we say if you really have a plan to really put humans orbiting Mars in 2033 which would enable them to land two, three or four years later to land on Mars. People would come out of everywhere to volunteer for that mission. We’d have astronauts. We’d have mission controllers. We’d have engineers. We’d have venture capitalists enabling new technologies to be sold to NASA or other space stations.

If you included other space agencies around the world – Roscosmos, the Russian space agency. Chinese space agency, even which is politically difficult but nevertheless possible. Any space research organization – JAXA, the Japanese aerospace exploration agency. If you included all those guys you could lower the price for NASA and then really enable humans to get there in new, cool ways.

The reason though, everybody, is not to go live on Mars. That’s just beyond – they just haven’t thought through how difficult that is. When there’s nothing to breathe, not just nothing to drink or eat but nothing to breathe it makes it complicated. But if you were to find evidence of life it would change the course of human history. Not overnight but over the course of months and years. Everybody would get to thinking about what it means to be a living thing in the cosmos and it would change us. 

 

NASA could get a crew of astronauts to orbit Mars by 2033 without increasing its budget beyond the rate of inflation, says Bill Nye the Science Guy. That's exciting news.

Why the presumption of good faith can make our lives civil again

Taking time for thoughtful consideration has fallen out of fashion, writes Emily Chamlee-Wright. How can we restore good faith and good judgement to our increasingly polarized conversations?

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies
  • The clamor of the crowd during a heated discussion can make it hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. Adam Smith wrote that the loudness of blame can stupefy our good judgment.
  • Equally, when we're talking with just one other person, our previous assumptions and knee-jerk reactions can cloud our good judgment.
  • If you want to find clarity in moments like that, Emily Chamlee-Wright recommends practicing the presumption of good faith. That means that we should presume, unless we have good evidence to the contrary, that the other person's intent is not to deceive or to offend us, but to learn our point of view.
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Toilet paper is a giant waste of resources

Americans consume the most toilet paper in the world but it's a very wasteful product to manufacture, according to the numbers.

Credit: Paul Hennessy / Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images.
Surprising Science
  • Toilet paper consumption is unsustainable and requires a tremendous amount of resources to produce.
  • Americans use the most toilet paper in the world and have been hoarding it due to coronavirus.
  • Alternatives to toilet paper are gaining more popularity with the public.
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'Gender Pay Scorecard' grades 50 major U.S. companies

What factors explain the gender pay gap?

Photo By Glen Martin/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Culture & Religion
  • The report was conducted by the investment firm Arjuna Capital, which has been publishing the Gender Pay Scorecard for the past three years.
  • Only three companies — Starbucks, Mastercard and Citigroup — received an "A", as defined by the report's methodology.
  • It's likely that discrimination explains part of the gender pay gap, but it's a complex issue that often gets oversimplified.

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