From Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage to the first mission to Mars:
Bruce Dorminey is a science journalist and author who primarily covers aerospace, astronomy and astrophysics. He is a regular contributor to Astronomy magazine and since 2012, he has written a regular tech column for Forbes magazine. He is also a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Writer of “Distant Wanderers: The Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System”, he was a 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA) as well as a founding team member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Science Communication Focus Group.

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01:21 – Magellan’s journey to the indies; first circumnavigation of the earth – Risk: today vs previous centuries.
02:15 – On route to the Spice Islands – Moluccas – Treaty of Tordesillas.
03:07 – Spain and Portugal on top of the world.
03:41 – Reaching philippines and the wrong side of things.
05:20 – Killed in the Philippines.
06:08 – The reasons behind the expedition: trade and religion.
07:23 – Casualties – Magellan’s expedition vs today.
07:58 – Early astronauts, challenging missions – minimal computing power.
08:40 – Mission to Mars and tolerance to risk today.
10:03 – First Mars mission attempt – the odds.
10:37 – Watching the Apollo launches live.
11:23 – The uniqueness of the moment – Apollo 8.
12:12 – Putting risk in perspective: astronauts of the Apollo program vs today.
13:05 – Psychological risks of space missions – Harrison Hagan “Jack” Schmitt (last person that walked on the moon) – the impact of being on the moon.
15:54 – Psychological factors on a trip to Mars – can we predict them? – Experiences on the International Space Station.
17:03 – Shortening the trip to Mars.
19:02 – The drive to do these missions today vs the Apollo times.
20:00 – The lost time in the moon – natural resources, astronomy, practicing for future missions to mars.
20:37 – Terraforming Mars.
22:33 – Second homes, platforms in space (example: at Lagrange points).
23:43 – Exoplanets – detecting signs of life.
26:18 – Methods of detection & verification vs going there (detecting microbial life through analysis of color, surface reflectivity and other means).
27:50 – Enceladus: plumes of gas and liquid – potential insitu analysis by probes.
28:43 – microfossils on Mars.
29:00 – Impact of finding life in another planet of our solar system, even if microbial.
29:54 – Intelligent life – David Kipping, Columbia University – 3:2 odds that intelligence is rare.
30:31 – Probability of finding life – 400 billion stars in our galaxy.
33:24 – Facing the discovery of new forms of intelligent life.
35:50 – People’s resilience and attention spans / Inter-species communication.
38:26 – Could we miss new kinds of lifeforms due to them having different structures, chemical arrangements, etc?.
40:30 – What is life – lack of agreement.
41:48 – Scratching the surface on any topic – a neverending search for an ultimate truth.
43:50 – ALH 84001 Allan Hills meteorite – the microfossils issue.
47:26 – Asteroid mining – natural resources – Planetary Resources startup (acquired by ConsenSys).
48:52 – Commercializing space travel – trips to go around the moon – translunar flights.
51:22 – Progress since the Apollo era and next steps.
52:55 – Spending a weekend on the moon.
54:00 – Next decade in Space – putting a crew on mars, robotic sample return missions, permanent or semi-permanet settlements on the lunar surface, optical and radio-based astronomy on the far side of the moon, space tourism, space based interferometers, etc
56:22 – will other intelligent life forms want to communicate? gregarious vs non-gregarious civilizations.
57:35 – Consequences of the pandemic.
59:06 – conclusion – “Distant Wanderers – search for planets beyond the solar system” book by Bruce.

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Explorations Beyond
Explorations Beyond
Bruce Dorminey