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Broadcast 1946 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on February 8th, 2013
Guest: Dr. William Bainbridge
Guest: Dr. William Bainbridge. Topics: The Space Futures Space Questionnaire about space exploration and the next fifty years. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. We welcomed Dr. William Bainbridge to the program to discuss the Space Futures project which is to help define the future of space our space program for the next fifty years. Perceptions of informed, interested, and space conscious individuals are sought for the Space Futures space questionnaire. The questionnaire is based on years of prior research conducted by Dr. Bainbridge as well as other more recent surveys. You can read about the Space Future Questionnaires (different platforms are available for it) at If you use the Droid platform, click on the links that allow you download a free Droid APP which enables you to instantly transmit your survey responses to the survey data base. For everyone else, you can download the survey as a Word document which you can complete online and email to Dr. Bainbridge. The Word document questionnaire with 300 questions is at Make sure you click on the DOWNLOAD tab in the upper left corner. There is a shorter 200 question Word document questionnaire on The Space Show blog. During our discussion, Dr. Bainbridge provided us with the history of this project, how the information has been and is now collected, processed, and used. We also talked about the importance of space aware people taking the time to complete the questionnaire. Lots of listeners asked Dr. Bainbridge questions about who should participate from Middle School students to those in the general population to people outside the U.S. All groups are welcome but as you will hear, it is very important to get the perceptions and opinions of those that have knowledge and expertise about space exploration and development. We talked about question groupings such as around topics including the Moon or Mars. We discussed changing trends overtime and current influences on our opinions such as today's economic problems. I brought up the decades old Syncon Process and how some attitudes and perceptions are even stronger today than they were decades ago with Syncon. For example, attitudes including space benefitting all of humanity and more. This topic took us toward the virtual world, gaming to help increase space awareness and expertise. I mentioned the recent discussion re the lunar space elevator program this past Monday regarding CCI Games in Iceland. This was our cliff hanger as we went to our break waiting for Dr. Bainbridge's comments about his being involved with CCI Games. In our second segment of this 1 hr. 45 minute program, Dr. Bainbridge talked about his research with the CCI gaming product, EVE Online as he plays the game. He had much to say about the space awareness of this game and the team in Iceland that created it. He also said that Sean Smith, one of those slain in the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya was a player of EVE Online. His game name was "Vile Rat" and there is a huge outpouring of support and comments about him on the internet. Google Vile Rat to see these comments & news stories. We talked about other scientific games and new technologies for developing a space consciousness and expertise about space exploration. We talked about space and innovation along with frontier development, pioneering & what it means to both continue it or stop it for the future of a nation. John called to talk with Dr. Bainbridge about his surprise in taking the survey in finding out he was potentially more pessimistic about the future than he had thought he was because like so many others, he had expectations for more advancement in space exploration, development, even settlement than what exists with our present day reality. Dr. Bainbridge helped put these thoughts and realizations into context with our actual space exploration and development over the past decades. Its a fascinating discussion and analysis, don't miss it. Near the end of the program, a listener asked how to realize space as an investment rather than just another government expense item. We talked about better story telling by everyone concerned. Dr. Bainbridge also linked the survey questionnaires to this question because the results will help pinpoint our space insights along with the value stream. While there is a March 1 questionnaire due date, this is not a hard date and Dr. Bainbridge encouraged people to participate, even if later than March 1. Also, if someone wants hard copies of the questionnaire to distribute at a space conference or other event, perhaps even a Meetup, you can contact him for copies or you can download the questionnaire from the links provided above. Another idea is to make a simple flyer with the basic information and the URLs for space or related event distribution. I did the 300 questionnaire Word document and can't wait to see the analysis. I certainly plan on bringing Dr. Bainbridge back to the program to discuss the project findings. Please post your comments/questions on the blog. If you do the questionnaire, share your thoughts with us on the blog. If you want to contact Dr. Bainbridge, you can do so through me at

About our guest...

Dr. William Bainbridge
William Sims Bainbridge is the author or co-author of 21 social scientific books and over 200 articles or book chapters. He earned his doctorate from Harvard University with a dissertation about the social history of space exploration, published as The Spaceflight Revolution. The starting point of his field research for that project was watching the last launch to the moon from a Florida beach, in December 1972. In 1986 he was visiting Jet Propulsion Laboratory to assess to possibility of a research project about JPL, and was there watching the televised feed from the Cape of the Challenger launch, when the vehicle exploded. The shock of the accident motivated him to carry out a complex multi-phase questionnaire project to chart the multiple values that space exploration may serve for humanity, resulting in the book, Goals in Space. In that period he was also writing software, which led to major textbooks on questionnaire surveys and statistical data analysis that included software packages. In 1992 he left academia to run the Sociology Program at the National Science Foundation, and in 2000 moved to NSF's computer science directorate where he currently directs the Human-Centered Computing Program. Among recent projects were writing the 2011 book, The Virtual Future, about online virtual worlds that depict extraterrestrial societies, and editing Leadership in Science and Technology, a reference work with 725,000 words in 100 chapters by 123 authors. Space Futures is part of a new project, to combine insights from conventional random-sample public opinion polls having questions about space exploration, with richer attitudinal data collected through the new information technologies following innovative methodological paradigms.

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