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Guest: Dr James Schwartz; Topics: Myth-free space series by our guest, STEM, scientific literacy, astrobiology issues, planetary protection, the need for exploration and more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com. 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. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.
We welcomed Dr. Schwartz back to the program for this 2 segment 96 minute discussion regarding his work known as the myth-free space series. . During the first segment, our guest introduced us to his myth-free series regarding space and then we jumped right in on the discussion that space budgets and projects increase STEM activity and education as well as scientific literacy. As you will hear, the research presented by our guest does not support these beliefs commonly held throughout the space industry, government, advocacy groups, education, etc. Pay attention to the studies and the facts referenced by our guest in support of his arguments. I realize many listeners will not agree with what they hear so do post your analysis of what our guest has presented to us. In addition, keep in mind the old saying: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. Should you post your comments on the blog, let us know if it is your opinion or better yet, if you have actual facts to refute what Dr. Schwartz has presented in this discussion plus his papers and published articles, by all means share your research facts with us. Most of the first segment focused on the myths regarding STEM and scientific literacy increases as a result of space projects and spending. He suggested that the root of this thinking came from the Apollo era which he described in detail.
Our guest fielded many email questions from listeners so be sure to listen carefully to the listener comment/question and the response by our guest. Other topics that came up during this segment that grew out of this discussion included grant and other funding to organizations in support of their claim that their work would increase STEM education in the country and would promote scientific literacy. I asked Dr. Schwartz about this funding and the entire process because if this is a myth and the players know it’s a myth, than the claims being made for money would be fraudulent. If the people making the claims or spending the money don't know that these claims are a myth, than possibly they should do a better job of due diligence. Certainly one can disagree with our guests but in doing so, let's see the research to back it all up. Remember the other old saying, "In God we trust, in everything else bring numbers." Before the segment ended, our guest was asked about space settlement. While he did not elaborate on his space settlement perspective, he did say there was no rush to undertake space settlement. He said a Futures paper would be coming out on this subject with multiple authors doing a pro and con study of space settlement, probably by late summer or early fall. I will bring Dr. Schwartz back on for that discussion, possibly with one of the authors of an opposing view. That said, don't miss what our guest said about space settlement before the break but do note the subject came up again in the second segment.
The last topic for discussion for the first segment was planetary protection. In a nut shell, our guest did not think the current planetary protection rules and guidelines were sufficient to avoid the possibility of harmful contamination someplace in the solar system. Make sure you carefully listen to Dr. Schwartz on this subject. He indicated orbital habitats would be better but not perfect. He suggested all areas, even interstellar flight, should be protected until we know from the scientific community that the item or location has been fully scientifically explored. This brought up questions around the unique value of scientific research and how it might drive inspiration, STEM, and academic study. I cited the popularity of the New Horizons mission as an example.
In the second segment, we talked about the myth that humans have to explore or are hard wired for exploring, especially for space exploration. This was an involved discussion that covered most of our second segment so do pay attention to it. Dr. Schwartz cited research that did not support the idea that we have to explore or parish as is commonly talked about in the space community. Among the many subtopics brought to our attention by our guest, one focused the survival value of our behavior, i.e. exploration. He said there might be some survival value for human exploration but it was not an imperative and it was on far out long term time line. Don't miss how he described the survival instinct for exploration. Paul then asked about the need to explore for development and existence of the human soul. Also the issue of exploring space as our destiny was brought up for discussion. Eventually, this discussion led to space advocacy issues and what our guest termed the "standard advocacy package." Don't miss what our guest said on this topic.
Listener Joe in Las Vegas asked about space journalists who are not well informed that helped spread the myths our guest was talking about. Again, don't miss what Dr. Schwartz had to say on this important topic.
Next, we addressed the latest part of the myth-free series which was really Part 4 with a focus on the societal support for astrobiology. For the most part, this boiled down to the search for life off Earth, in the solar system, or beyond the solar system. Our guest suggested that there was not a lot of tax payer support for funding these areas of study and research though the topics were interesting. Don't miss our complete astrobiology discussion. We will cover this more fully in a future Space Show program.
Mark from Petaluma called to inquire if our guest had a time line for lunar and Mars settlement. After all was said on the topic, it boiled down to a slow but steady approach and again, no need to rush about it. This triggered a mild rant from me about disappointment, having been misled, having bought into a false narrative supported by industry, academia, and government, plus being supported by our own unrealistic expectations, all with lots of frustration and at times, anger. Also during today's discussion, I asked our guest about pushback he has received regarding his research and conclusions since they go against the grain of orthodoxy in the space community. Dr. Schwartz commented on the pushback from time to time so don't miss what he had to say about it.
Our guest offered concluding comments and I suggested we will bring him back later in the year regarding the upcoming space settlement project he talked about early in our program. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach our guest through me or his Wichita State University faculty website page.