Tyson Inspires, Challenges
Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, bestselling author and host of the upcoming show COSMOS, opened the 28th National Space Symposium with one of the most inspiring talks the audience has heard in years. It is impossible to capture Tyson's enthusiasm in a brief recap so we have posted his remarks here.
Tyson's key points included:
- Even though NASA represents only a small portion of the almost $300 billion global space economy, it is that small percentage that inspires dreams.
- Space is hard, space is dangerous, space is exciting... headlines about space accomplishments work their way down the educational pipeline to teach and inspire.
- Space has a "hidden" dimension that, if you do your job perfectly, goes unnoticed; a good example is GPS, which powers many services we all depend upon.
- Despite its ubiquitousness in everyday life, space is still perceived as a "special interest."
- But, funding space exploration is not a "hand-out" to special interests, it is an essential investment in cultures of innovation that drive the economy.
- The 1960s space program focused on the future and exploration, and helped us "discover" Earth; seeing the famed "Earth Rise" photograph taken by Apollo 8 caused people to think about Earth as a whole, and inspired actions for the benefit of Earth.
- If NASA's budget was just doubled (to approximately 1 percent of the federal budget), we could create a suite of launch vehicles without being limited to one destination.
- Ultimately the future of America depends on space-faring ambition.
Tyson was a force throughout the 28th National Space Symposium, speaking in muliple sessions, attending events and main stage programs and speaking with the media.