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Space Education

Wissenschaftliche Studie 2014 92 Seiten

Pädagogik - Sonstiges

Leseprobe

Table of Content

Introduction

1. Future Society
1.1 Dystopia
1.2 Utopia

2. Scientific Visions
2.1 Homo Spaciens Initiative
2.2 International Space Programs

3. Space Education
3.1 All you need is Space
3.2 Space-related Issues in Education

Outlook

Bibliography

About the Author

Introduction

"Homo Spaciens" comes from the Latin words homo, in the sense of "human being", and spatium "space" which combined form the meaning of "human being originated in space". Homo Spaciens is a forthcoming species of the genus Homo, being evolved from Homo Sapiens, born from the cradle of Earth to live in outer space and spread to inhabit other planets.

The Russian scientist Konstantin TSIOLKOVSKY (1857-1935), considered as the father of cosmonautics and human space flight, already envisioned a forthcoming new species of man, who would explore the entire solar system and then would expand into the depth of the cosmos to create cosmic civilizations. He believed that human exploration of space was inevitable and would enhance human evolution. Almost every author in the field of space exploration today cites him as a primary influence. TSIOLKOVSKY clearly understood that the primary issue in the future of space exploration was one of human evolution, and he saw it so early. Today, it is becoming increasingly clear to us that the universe is an infinite environment, the exploration of which will almost inevitably generate fundamental changes in human beings. Perhaps, Homo Sapiens may well evolve into a new species, Homo Spaciens, which will be more suited to life on the outer space than on Earth.

Human evolution over the last three million years is often portrayed as a linear succession of three species: Homo habilis to Homo erectus to ourselves, Homo sapiens. But if we see human existence from the perspective of the Cosmic Calendar —a scale in which the 13 billion years of the Universe's existence is mapped onto one calendar year— we will find that the entire span of human evolution only represents the last two hours of December 31st. Within the scheme of this calendar, all of our recorded history occupies the last ten seconds of the last minute of the last day of the year, the pyramids were built nine seconds ago, the Roman Empire fell three seconds ago, COLUMBUS discovered America one second ago, and only within the next second we humans will travel beyond our solar system to settle new habitable extrasolar planets.

The benefit from the integration of Outer Space Affairs in the classroom is specifically assessed. The impact of this on employment, participation, benefits, memory, learning progress, motivation and student behaviour are clearly determined. In the higher classes, the effect of space-related issues at the choice of physics as a learning and study is systematically to investigate. In future the effect assessment for the space-related issues and also to the mapping of science, technology, engineering and mathematics have to be applied. Teachers is to offer the use of the space-related issues on the teaching and on the education. This applies to the objectives of the Science and Innovation Framework Programme and the treatment of Space Issues in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and in addition, and in adventure and environmental projects.

According to Maria MONTESSORI Cosmic Education introduces the possibility that humanity might have a “cosmic” task. on years is often portrayed as a linear succession of three species: Homo habilis to Homo erectus to ourselves, Homo

HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS EVOLUTION

1. Future Society

Time

has fallen asleep

in the

afternoon sunshine.

Alexander SMITH

1.1 Dystopia

The utopia and its opposite, the dystopia, are genres of literature that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal society. Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society that is generally headed to an irreversible oblivion, or dystopia. Many novels combine both, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity can take in its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures (See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedy).

Dystopia is defined as a society characterized by a focus on mass poverty, squalor, suffering, or oppression that society has most often brought upon itself. Most authors of dystopian fiction explore at least one reason why things are that way, often as an analogy for similar issues in the real world.

Dystopias usually extrapolate elements of contemporary society and are read by many as political warnings. Many purported utopias reveal a dystopian character by suppressing justice, freedom and happiness. Samuel BUTLER's Erewhon can be seen as a dystopia because of the way sick people are punished as criminals while thieves are cured in hospitals, which the inhabitants of Erewhon see as natural and right. The 1921 novel We by Yevgeny ZAMYATIN predicts a post-apocalyptic future in which society is entirely based on logic and modelled after mechanical systems; also, George ORWELL cited it as an influence on his Nineteen Eighty-Four.

George ORWELL ( 1949 ):

1984

This negative utopia by George ORWELL has been first published in 1949, when the year 1984 A.D seemed far away in the future. This novel imagines a totalitarian society. “Big Brother”, like a big open eye, watches you and everyone else. The Thought Police can read your minds. The goal of the government is the destruction of the individual identity.

In 1984 the Earth has been divided into three Super-States, called Eastasia, Eurasia and Oceania. And war is ongoing, no peace at all. England has become Airstrip One with London as capital. The English language has been transformed in “New-Speak”. This new speak contains a lot of bureaucratic jargon. The new speak is limited to vocabulary that expresses concepts of political correctness. The world’s literary heritage is translated into this new language to control minds. Elite Party members are forbidden to love or engage in sexual relations.

Winston Smith is a minor Party member. He is working at the Ministry of Truth. Winston has been born into this grey, depressing world without freedom. His life never has been his own choice. As he falls in love, he becomes a rebellious hero. But soon his protest and his love are discovered. Winston and his girlfriend are arrested and brutally brainwashed.

This bitterly book by George ORWELL delivers a horrifying vision of a totalitarian Utopia. Privacy has been sacrificed on the altar of new world order. A lot of British and American editions were censored. And this book was banned in the former Soviet Union.

HUXLEY, Aldous (1932):

Brave New World

This classic science fiction novel is set in London after World War III in the year 2540 A.D... In a frightening vision of a new world order, this Dystopia is ruled by hedonism in a bad sense, populated by genetically engineered humans. These new humans indulge in so called SOMA, a kind of LSD/DRUG cocktail. So these humans conform to a rigidly defined social class system. Their motto is different from the ideals of French Revolution. Instead of “Liberty, Equality, Solidarity” the new motto is “Community – Identity – Stability.” The protagonist Bernhard Marx refuses to obey and to be conform. He does not want to be a happy, stable Alpha member of this brave new world order. Bernhard introduces a young man called The Savage into this suppressed society. The Savage starts a battle with the Controller of the World. The Savage seems as if he is channelling the complete works of William SHAKESPEARE.

It is hard to imagine how this prophetic fantasy could have been written so early, before STALIN's rise to power. HUXLEY has written this negative utopia long before psychotropic’s drugs became standard treatment for disorderly conduct, for example ADHS, Attention Disorder Hyperactivity Syndrome. It is hard to fathom how this dystopia could have been written before embryos could be nurtured in Petri dishes, and long before the technique of cell cloning have been available. Aldous HUXLEY was a social critic as well as an author. HUXLEY died exactly on the same day, John F. KENNEDY was assassinated. HUXLEY’s philosophy can be summed up as: “The world can be made better, but only if we make ourselves better.” (Nicholas MURRAY, HUXLEY’s biographer). In his book “Amusing Ourselves to Death”, Neill POSTMAN compared ORWELL and HUXLEY: What George ORWELL feared, was a banning of books. What Aldous HUXLEY feared, was that there would be no one anymore who wanted to read a book.

Ray BRADBURY (1953):

Fahrenheit 451

Mr. Montag is a fireman in a future negative society. His job is not to fight against fire, no; his job is to burn books and the houses of the book loving owners. According to the POWERS- THAT- BE books are useless, false, only making the readers unhappy. The punishment for people caught reading a book is incarceration in a hospital for mental ill. The normal and obedient people love television and drugs.

One day, Mr. Montag meets Clarissa McClelland , who is a liberated idealist. She makes him question his action and beliefs about books. Tragically Clarissa is killed in a car accident. But Clarisse gets Guy Montag thinking. Soon after Carissa’s dead he is ransacking a house filled with literature. Here he suddenly reads a line in a book: “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine.” part of a poem by poet Alexander SMITH. Montag steals the book and reads it. In the future, Montag steals more and more books. Instead of burning books Montag starts to burn televisions, trying to stop the mindlessness.

Soon, they are really out to get him.

The title of this book by BRADBURY refers to the temperature at which books burn.

Risks to civilization, humans,

and planet Earth

Various types of events pose a risk to destroy or cripple human civilization; could cause extinction of Homo sapiens; or even cause the end of our Earth. Severe events could cause the extinction of all life on the planet Earth, the destruction of the planet Earth, the annihilation of the whole Solar System, to the annihilation of our galaxy or even of the entire universe. Some risks threaten only temporary damage and might eventually be recovered from, perhaps by a successor civilization, while more severe existential risks pose a threat to the continued existence of humanity (See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) .

Natural disasters, such as super volcanoes and asteroids, pose risks if sufficiently powerful. Human-caused, or "anthropogenic", events could also threaten the survival of intelligent life on Earth. These anthropogenic events could include catastrophic global warming, nuclear war, or bioterrorism.

BOSTROM's classifications of risk

The philosopher and transhumanist Nick BOSTROM (See BOSTROM 2002) classifies risks according to their scope and intensity. He considers risks that are at least global in scope and "endurable" in intensity to be global catastrophic risks. Those that are at least pan-generational (affecting all future generations) in scope and "crushing" in intensity are classified as existential risks. While a global catastrophic risk may kill the vast majority of life on earth, humanity could still potentially recover. An existential risk, on the other hand, is one that either destroys humanity entirely or prevents any chance of civilization recovering. BOSTROM considers existential risks to be far more significant.

BOSTROM identifies four types of existential risk:

1. "Bangs" are sudden catastrophes, which may be accidental or deliberate. He thinks the most likely sources of bangs are malicious use of nanotechnology or nuclear war.
2. "Crunches" are scenarios in which humanity survives but civilization is irreversibly destroyed. The most likely causes of this, he believes, are exhaustion of natural resources, a stable totalitarian global government that prevents technological progress, or dysgenic pressures that lower average intelligence.
3. "Shrieks" are undesirable futures. For example, if a single mind enhances its powers by merging with a computer, it could dominate human civilization, which could be bad. BOSTROM believes that this scenario is most likely, followed by flawed super intelligence and a repressive totalitarian regime.
4. "Whimpers" are the gradual decline of human civilization or current values. He thinks the most likely cause would be evolution changing moral preference, followed by extraterrestrial invasion.

Probability of an existential catastrophe

The following are examples of individuals and institutions that have made probability predictions about existential events. Some risks, such as that from asteroid impact, with a one-in-a-million chance of causing humanity's extinction in the next century, have had their probabilities predicted with considerable precision (though some scholars claim the actual rate of large impacts could be much higher than originally calculated). Similarly, the frequency of volcanic eruptions of sufficient magnitude to cause catastrophic climate change, similar to the Toba Eruption, which may have almost caused the extinction of the human race, has been estimated at about 1 in every 50,000 years. The relative danger posed by other threats is much more difficult to calculate. The probabilities estimated for various causes are summarized below.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Table source: Future of Humanity Institute, 2008.

Great Filter

Given the frequency of extra-solar planets, the speed with which the Earth spawned life, and the size of the observable universe, it may seem likely that life would have independently arisen on other planets. However, our planet has not been colonized by aliens, and we cannot see any large-scale astro-engineering projects anywhere in the known Universe. One proposed explanation for this Fermi Paradox is that perhaps few civilizations survive to colonize space. Robin HANSON proposes that a Great Filter exists: an evolutionary step between the emergence of life on an Earth-like planet and the colonization of space that is incredibly hard to take. If this filter exists, and is ahead of us – for example, if most civilizations destroy themselves in nuclear wars – then humanity is unlikely to survive to colonize space.

Colonizing Space

Some scholars have strongly favored reducing existential risk on the grounds that it greatly benefits future generations. Derek PARFIT (See PARFIT 1984) argues that extinction would be a great loss because our descendants could potentially survive for a billion years before the expansion of the Sun makes the Earth uninhabitable. BOSTROM (2002) argues that there is even greater potential in colonizing space. If future humans colonize space, they may be able to support a very large number of people on other planets, potentially lasting for trillions of years. Therefore, reducing existential risk by even a small amount would have a very significant impact on the expected number of people that will exist in the future.

Potential sources of risk

Existential risks, and other risks to civilization, may come from natural or man-made sources. It has been argued that many existential risks are currently unknown.

Anthropogenic

Some potential existential risks are consequences of manmade technologies.

The Cambridge Project claims artificial intelligence, climate change; nuclear war and rogue biotechnology are the "four greatest threats" to the human species.

Artificial intelligence

It has been suggested that computers that rapidly become super-intelligent may take unforeseen actions, or that robots would out-compete humanity. This is one technological singularity scenario. Vernon VINGE (See VINGE 1993) has suggested that a moment may come when computers and robots are smarter than humans. He calls this Singularity (See KURZWEILL 2005) He suggests that it may be somewhat or possibly very dangerous for humans. This is discussed by a philosophy called Singularitarianism.

In 2009, experts attended a conference about the issue, that the robots might be able to acquire any sort of autonomy, and how much these abilities might pose a threat or hazard. They noted that some robots have acquired various forms of semi-autonomy, including being able to find power sources on their own and being able to independently choose targets to attack with weapons. They also noted that some computer viruses can evade elimination and have achieved "cockroach intelligence."

They noted that self-awareness as depicted in science-fiction is probably unlikely, but that there were other potential hazards and pitfalls. Various media sources and scientific groups have noted separate trends in differing areas which might together result in greater robotic functionalities and autonomy, and which pose some inherent concerns. Elierzer YUDKOWSKY (See YUDKOWSKY 2008) believes that risks from artificial intelligence are harder to predict than any other known risks. He also argues that research into artificial intelligence is biased by anthropomorphism. Since people base their judgments of artificial intelligence on their own experience, he claims that they underestimate the potential power of Artificial Intelligence.

Some experts and academics have questioned the use of robots for military combat, especially when such robots are given some degree of autonomous functions. There are also concerns about technology which might allow some armed robots to be controlled mainly by other robots. The US Navy has funded a report which indicates that as military robots become more complex, there should be greater attention to implications of their ability to make autonomous decisions. One researcher states that autonomous robots might be more humane, as they could make decisions more effectively. However, other experts question this.

On the other hand, a "friendly" Artificial Intelligence could help reduce existential risk by developing technological solutions to threats.

Warfare and mass destruction

The scenarios that have been explored most frequently are nuclear warfare (See KAHN 1960) and doomsday devices. There is difficulty in predicting whether such would exterminate humanity; however a nuclear winter would cause significant upheaval in advanced civilizations. While it might be possible for someone to intentionally cause a global catastrophe, Elizier YUDKOWSKY argues that it is more likely for a scenario like this to happen by accident (See YUDKOWSKY 2008; See RICHTER 1984, 1996).

Doomsday Clock

The Doomsday Clock is a symbolic clock face, representing an ominous oscillating countdown, maintained since 1947 by the Science and Security Board of the “Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists” at the University of Chicago. The closer they set the Clock to midnight, the closer the Science and Security Board believes the world to be to global disaster. The most recent officially announced setting—five minutes to midnight (11:55pm)—was made on January 14, 2012, due to lack of global political action to address nuclear weapons stockpiles, the potential for regional nuclear conflicts, nuclear power safety, and global climate change ( See "Doomsday Clock moves to five minutes to midnight". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Retrieved 2013-06-29. ) .

Originally, the Clock analogy represented the threat of global nuclear war. However, since 2007 it has also reflected climate change and new developments in the life sciences that could inflict irrevocable harm.

In 1947, during the so – called Cold War, the Clock was started at seven minutes to midnight and was subsequently advanced or rewound per the state of the world and nuclear war prospects.

The Clock's setting is decided by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and is an adjunct to the essays in the Bulletin on global affairs. The Clock is not set and reset in real time as events occur; rather than respond to each and every crisis as it happens, the Science and Security Board meets twice annually to discuss global events in a deliberative manner. The closest nuclear war threat, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, reached crisis, climax, and resolution before the Clock could be set to reflect that possible doomsday.

Man-made global warming

This refers to the warming caused by human technology since the 19th century. Global warming reflects abnormal variations to the expected climate within the Earth's atmosphere and subsequent effects on other parts of the Earth. Projections of future climate change suggest further global warming, sea level rise and an increase in the frequency and severity of some extreme weather events and weather-related disasters. Effects of global warming include loss of biodiversity, stresses to existing food-producing systems, and increased spread of infectious diseases such as malaria.

It has been suggested that runaway global warming might cause Earth to become searing hot like Venus. In less extreme scenarios it could cause the end of civilization, as we know it.

Using scenario analysis, the Global Scenario Group (GSG), a coalition of international scientists convened by Paul RASKIN, developed a series of possible futures for the world as it enters a Planetary Phase of Civilization. One scenario involves the complete breakdown of civilization as the effects of global climate change become more pronounced, competition for scarce resources increases, and the rift between the poor and the wealthy widens (See DYER 2010).

The GSG’s other scenarios, such as Policy Reform, Eco-Communalism, and Great Transition (See WILBER 1996, 2001) avoid this societal collapse and eventually result in environmental and social sustainability. They claim the outcome is dependent on human choice and the possible formation of a global citizen’s movement which could influence the trajectory of global development.

Ecological disaster

An ecological disaster, such as world crop failure and collapse of ecosystem services, could be induced by the present trends of overpopulation, economic development, and non-sustainable agriculture. Most of these scenarios involve one or more of the following: Holocene extinction events, scarcity of water that could lead to approximately one half of the Earth's population being without safe drinking water, pollinator decline, overfishing, massive deforestation, desertification, climate change or massive water pollution episodes. A very recent threat in this direction is colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that might foreshadow the imminent extinction of the Western honeybee. As the bee plays a vital role in pollination, its extinction would severely disrupt the food chain (See EVANS-PRITCHARD 2011; see GEUS 1996).

World population and agricultural crisis

The 20th century saw a rapid increase in human population due to medical developments and massive increase in agricultural productivity made by the Green Revolution. Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%. The Green Revolution in agriculture helped food production to keep pace with worldwide population growth or actually enabled population growth. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas), pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.

Geologist Dale Allen PFEIFFER claims that coming decades could see spiraling food prices without relief and massive starvation on a global level such as never experienced before.

Wheat is humanity's 3rd most produced cereal. Extant fungal infections such as Ug99 can cause 100% crop losses in most modern varieties. Little or no treatment is possible and infection spreads on the wind. Should the world's large grain producing areas become infected then there would be a crisis in wheat availability leading to price spikes and shortages in other food products.

Experimental accident

Nick BOSTROM suggested that in the pursuit of knowledge humanity might inadvertently create a device that could destroy Earth and our solar system. Investigations in nuclear and high energy physics could create unusual conditions with catastrophic consequences. For example, scientists worried that the first nuclear test might ignite the atmosphere. More recently, others worried that the RHIC or the Large Hadrons’ Collider might start a chain-reaction global disaster involving black holes or false vacuum states. These particular concerns have been refuted, but the general concern remains (See BOSTROM 2002; see FUTURE of HUMANITY INSTITUTE 2008)

Other technologies

Biotechnology could lead to the creation of a pandemic. Chemical warfare could be taken to an extreme. Nanotechnology could lead to grey goo in which out-of-control self-replicating robots consume all living matter on earth while building more of themselves - in both cases, either deliberately or by accident.

Global pandemic

The death toll for a pandemic is equal to the virulence, the deadliness of the pathogen or pathogens, multiplied by the number of people eventually infected. It has been hypothesized that there is an upper limit to the virulence of naturally evolved pathogens. This is because a pathogen that quickly kills its hosts might not have enough time to spread to new ones, while one that kills its hosts more slowly or not at all will allow carriers more time to spread the infection, and thus likely out-compete a more lethal species or strain. This simple model predicts that if virulence and transmission are not linked in any way, pathogens will evolve towards low virulence and rapid transmission. However, this assumption is not always valid and in more complex models, where the level of virulence and the rate of transmission are related, high levels of virulence can evolve. The level of virulence that is possible is instead limited by the existence of complex populations of hosts, with different susceptibilities to infection, or by some hosts being geographically isolated. The size of the host population and competition between different strains of pathogens can also alter virulence. There are numerous historical examples of pandemics that have had a devastating effect on a large number of people, which makes the possibility of global pandemic a realistic threat to human civilization.

Natural climate change

The Earth's climate has changed greatly in the past. For most of the Earth's history, the planet was much warmer than today. There was also a period called “Snowball Earth” when all the oceans were covered in a layer of ice.

Ice age

In the history of the Earth, twelve ice ages are known to have occurred. More ice ages will be possible at an interval of 40,000–100,000 years. An ice age would have a serious impact on civilization because vast areas of land mainly in North America, Europe, and Asia could become uninhabitable. It would still be possible to live in the tropical regions, but with possible loss of humidity and water. Currently, the world is existing in an interglacial period within a much older glacial event. The last glacial expansion ended about 10,000 years ago, and all civilizations evolved later than this.

Super-Volcanism

A geological event such as massive flood basalt, volcanism, or the eruption of a super volcano leading to the so-called Volcanic Winter, similar to a Nuclear Winter. One such event, the Toba Eruption, occurred in Indonesia about 71,500 years ago. According to the Toba catastrophe theory, the event may have reduced human populations to only a few tens of thousands of individuals. Yellowstone Caldera is another such super volcano, having undergone 142 or more caldera-forming eruptions in the past 17 million years. A massive volcano eruption would produce extraordinary intake of volcanic dust, toxic and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with serious effects on global climate towards extreme global cooling. This is called Volcanic Winter when in short term and Ice Age when in long term. If greenhouse gases prevail it could occur a Global Warming.

When the super volcano at Yellowstone last erupted 640,000 years ago, the magma and ash ejected from the caldera covered most of the United States west of the Mississippi river and part of northeastern Mexico. Another such eruption could threaten civilization.

Such an eruption could also release large amounts of gases that could alter the balance of the planet's carbon dioxide and cause a strong greenhouse effect, or enough pyroclastic debris and other material might be thrown into the atmosphere to partially block out the sun and cause a Volcanic Winter, as happened in 1816 following the eruption of Mount Tambora, the so-called Year Without a Summer. Such an eruption might cause the immediate deaths of millions of people several hundred miles from the eruption, and perhaps billions of deaths worldwide, due to the failure of the monsoon, resulting in major crop failures causing starvation on a massive scale.

Mega-Tsunami

Another possibility is a mega-tsunami. A mega-tsunami could, for example, destroy the entire East Coast of the United States. The coastal areas of the entire world could also be flooded in case of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. While none of these scenarios are likely to destroy humanity completely, they could regionally threaten civilization. There have been two recent high-fatality tsunamis—after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, although they were not large enough to be considered mega-tsunamis. A mega-tsunami could have astronomical origins as well, such as an asteroid impact in an ocean.

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Titel: Space Education