2014 Symposium: Is it time to re-think a space program?

Raleigh: Since the times of Cold War when the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. have engaged into fierce military and non-military competition, the development of space programs was crucial for both of these countries. Consequently, both countries (and later some other countries) have devoted significant financial and human resources to developing space programs. For the United States, the Apollo landing has proved to be a crowning moment and since then, the country has allocated a lot of money for its space program. For example, federal budget granted to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) totaled 526.18 billion dollars in the period from 1958 to 2011. Most recently, NASA has requested 17.5 billion dollars from the federal budget for its 2015 program which will be largely devoted to major astrophysics and planetary exploration programs. Continue reading

Is It Time to Colonize Another Planet?

From Thinking Outside the Boxe’s Sydney Correspondent

By now there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate climate change has the potential to wreak havoc on our planet, and irrevocably change the way we live our lives. Low lying pacific island nations are already seeing the effects first hand and are being confronted with the question of whether to move to another country. The potential consequences for other nations is not as clear but there are some signs emerging. The question of colonising other planets has been thrust into the public debate because of comments made by Stephen Hawking recently. However, there are many challenges surrounding the practical aspects of colonising other planets and this article will explore some of them. Continue reading