Michio Kaku forecasts the future of space travel
Mega-rich entrepreneurs are taking us where no human being has gone before.
MICHIO KAKU: During the first golden era of space exploration, we went to the Moon. Then we sort of dropped the ball. For 50 years, we've been basically spinning wheels around the planet Earth. However, now we have the infusion of funds from Silicon Valley billionaires. We have new energies, new strategies, new plans to go back into outer space. And things have changed; new parties have entered into the game. And so I say we're entering the second golden era of space exploration.
Some people are a little bit hesitant to pass the baton to private enterprise, because, of course, private enterprise is, well, for a profit, by definition. Not to mention the fact that there are egos involved. And some people would like to go back to the old days of NASA. The problem is space travel is potentially very expensive, especially the way governments do space travel. It costs $10,000 to put a pound of anything into orbit around the planet Earth; just $10,000 to put a book going around the planet Earth in outer space. That's why we need to have an infusion of public and private funds. And that's where Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Google billionaires come into the picture. And of course, let's be honest about it: They're not in it to just wave the American flag. They're in it for a profit. They're in it for ego. Also, they're in it for a vision. And that's what's different. You see, back in the 1960s, the vision was: Beat the Russians, beat the Russians. That was our vision. Well, we did it. We scored a touchdown, and we took our football and went home.
Now we have a new vision. First of all, Elon Musk read Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, as I did as a child, and was thrilled by the idea of creating a multi-planet civilization, a civilization that spans the galaxies. Because, of course, you have to realize that the dinosaurs did not have a space program. That's why there are no dinosaurs in this room right now. How come there are not any dinosaurs here? Because they didn't have a space program. And that's why Elon Musk wants to create a space-faring civilization. And then we have Jeff Bezos of Amazon. He has a vision too. He wants to make the earth into a garden; heavy industry goes into outer space. Pollution goes into outer space, while the earth is kept as a park, as a celestial garden, as a jewel in the heavens. So he has a vision.
Now, NASA, of course, today, unfortunately, has no vision. And of course, you can't expect any more, because, of course, they are publicly funded, they have tremendous amounts of bureaucracy to take care of, many regulations to obey. And that's why the SLS booster rocket is already way over budget, has so many cost overruns, that it may never fly at all.
- During the first golden era of space exploration, we went to the Moon. Then, says Dr. Michio Kaku, we sort of dropped the ball for 50 years.
- Space travel is very expensive, especially the way governments do space travel: It costs $10,000 to put a pound of anything into orbit around planet Earth.
- We need to have an infusion of public and private funds. That's where billionaires such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos come into the picture. With their help, we have new energies, new strategies and, most importantly, a new vision to go back into outer space.
How do you do justice to the truth in a headline-driven world?
- The internet is parasitic on traditional media sources, says Keith Whittington. Traditional news outlets do the hard reporting to generate the facts and notable opinions that other outlets respond to.
- The greatest challenge to truth in journalism is that social media presents news stories out of context; we no longer see news among other news articles, and we may only ever see the headline without the detail and nuance required.
- Media institutions are working to tackle these challenges, but until then it is our responsibility as citizens and consumers to get smarter about how we navigate news feeds and the hyper-partisan press.
The most valuable college majors will prepare students for a world right out a science fiction novel.
- The future of work is going to require a range of skills learned that take into account cutting edge advancements in technology and science.
- The most valuable college majors in the future will prepare students for new economies and areas of commerce.
- Mathematics, engineering and science related educational majors will become an ubiqitous feature of the new job market.
Beyond Beef sizzles and marbleizes just like real beef, Beyond Meat says.
- Shares of Beyond Meat opened at around $200 on Tuesday morning, falling to nearly $170 by the afternoon.
- Wall Street analysts remain wary of the stock, which has been on a massive hot streak since its IPO in May.
- Beyond Meat faces competition from Impossible Foods and, as of this week, Tyson.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.