DEBATE: Is a U.S.-China Space Race Good for Humanity?
Broadcast: Nov. 22, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.
Nearly 70 years ago, the Space Race galvanized international support for scientific achievement and ushered in a new era of technological advancement. And since the historic Apollo 11 mission, the United States has maintained its status as the world's leading nation in space.
But now, China is ramping up its national space industry with huge investments in next-generation technologies that promise to transform military, economic, and political realities here on Earth.
Against this backdrop, we ask: Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity? Could a 21st-century great power competition drive innovation, rally public support for science and discovery, and launch humans into the next generation? Or would this competition catalyze an expensive global arms race, militarize space for decades to come, and destroy any hope of international peace and cohesion in the future.
FOR THE MOTION
Avi Loeb, Theoretical Physicist & Professor: "There are resources in space, and commercial opportunities for new technologies that would not be harnessed."
Bidushi Bhattacharya, Rocket Scientist & Space Entrepreneur: "A cooperative path to space will lead to incredible unimaginable innovations while at the same time protect vulnerable space assets not just for leading nations, including the United States in China, but also for many nascent spacefaring countries."
AGAINST THE MOTION
Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist & Bestselling Author: "I'm all for the peaceful exploration of outer space. But let's not be naive. The Russians, the Chinese, the United States, we're all working on hypersonic weapons."
Raji Rajagopalan, Nuclear Weapons & Space Policy Expert: "Any space race will very quickly move into military competition. And a U.S.-China space competition will be no different."
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