Broadcast 1171 (Special Edition)

09 Jun 2009 Dr. Jim Dator
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Guest: Dr. Jim Dator. Topics: Mars, U.S. Constitution, space governance systems, religion, space entrepreneurs. Dr. Jim Dator was our guest for this Space Show program. We started our discussion with a glance to the future for the human space program. As you will hear, the human spaceflight program has some formidable challenges ahead for it and the future may appear murky at this time in terms of near term potential. Listen to what Dr. Dator had to say about this and see what you think. He suggested that the private sector and emerging entrepreneurs might well be the hope for the human spaceflight program. He also mentioned the interest in human spaceflight from religious groups and he mentioned several different religions. One group that he specifically addressed was in Japan, Tenrikyo, which holds space conferences and demonstrates a space awareness and interest. In response to a question about the potential impact of a U.S. without a human space program should that happen in the future, Dr. Dator stressed that human spaceflight was now a global activity and he said if the United States faltered, nations such as China, India and others would certainly pick up the slack. Another area of discussion was the U.S. Constitution which he suggested was not suited for forward thinking and future governance. He talked about our constitution needing changes or modifications for the modern period and we later talked about a governance structure for Mars possibly leading the way to structural changes not just in the United States but in other nations as well. I'm sure many of you will find this discussion controversial and in fact Andrew from Tucson did write in to challenge the comments about modification of the U.S. Constitution. This discussion provided an opportunity for Dr. Dator to clarify and elaborate more about what he was saying and recommending so make sure you don't miss this very important discussion. From my perspective, its clear that many of our structural systems no longer work and in fact cause the very problems we are asking these systems to correct and that seems foolish to me. As to changing the U.S. Constitution, as I said, were we to hold a Constitutional Convention, I'm not sure any of us would like the results. Another important part of this discussion addressed how we market and talk about space. What Dr. Dator had to say was very important because we need to stop making space special and different. Listen to his example of a kid starting to grow up, explore the neighborhood and extend out further with Mom's permission. He wants to see the corner drug store, what is on the other side of the street, etc. Its a natural extension of our development. Space should be described the same way rather than trying to make it special. Thus we see that the very space enthusiasts and advocates carry with them the potentially damaging perceptions by holding space out to be unique, special, hard, costly, etc. See what you think of this discussion and the suggestions offered by Dr. Dator. We also talked about the role of futurists, policy makers, and planners. The futurist looks at longer range issues but listen to the entire discussion. When listener Ben asked Dr. Dator for an action plan for what the space advocate community could do, Dr. Dator said we needed to support and focus on the space entrepreneurs over NASA. We need to start putting our awareness on the space governance issues discussed earlier. If you have comments or questions for Dr. Dator, you can email him at dator@hawaii.edu.

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