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Mr ChimChim: Hello and welcome to the Unnamed Show with me- Mr ChimChim. Today we will be debate the widely discussed topic of space exploration and are lucky enough to be joined by two amazing guests- Miss Lina Rose and Alexia Carvenero, space scientists at NASA. Hello to both of you.

Lina and Alexia: Hello

Mr ChimChim: Before we start talking about cost, I’ll start the discussion by asking this: do either of you have any examples of how beneficial space exploration has been?

Lina: Well first of all, space exploration has indeed been helpful to our every day lives. It has helped us by improving cancer treatment technology, supporting breast cancer detection and even supporting in the development of a water purification system that it used in many countries around the world, therefore improving the lives of many.

Mr ChimChim: Alexia, let’s come to you. You have argued that exploring space is worthless when compared to other more important world issues such as curing disease and providing everyone with clean drinking water. Can you expand on this?

Alexia: Thank you, Chim. I want to start by simply reiterating how dangerous space exploration is, without too many benefits to life on earth today. Spending any prolonged amount of time in space can be seriously detrimental to an astronaut’s health- muscle and bone loss for example due to a lack of gravity. And what is our most important muscle? The heart… which would be a critical issue if you wanted to explore the surface of mars, for instance. People need to be more aware of these possible issues before they start throwing around such ambitious ideas for the future of space exploration. They may simply not be possible!

Mr ChimChim: And the cost, Alexia? I know this is something you’ve spoken about a lot.

Alexia: Yes, Chim. $150 billion dollars so far on the ISS alone. That’s a lot of money, and for what? A bit of research here, a few photographs there… Too much money and not enough impact in my opinion.

Lina: I understand your concerns, Alexia, but the ISS has contributed in many ways, possible unbeknown to many others.

Mr ChimChim: Tell us more, Lina.

Lina: Well let me give two examples. Firstly: the improvements in clean, drinkable water. As I’m sure you are both aware, drinkable water is essential for human survival but unfortunately many people around the world lack access to clean water. Using technology developed for the space station, at-risk areas can gain access to water filtration and purification systems. A life saving difference, wouldn’t you admit?

Mr ChimChim: And the second example?

Lina: The way it is used to monitor natural disasters. Aboard the station there is an imaging system that has captured photographs of Earth from space for use in developing countries that are affected by natural disasters. These images can help with rapid response efforts to floods, fires, deforestation and other natural events, therefore allowing those back on Earth to provide appropriate support quickly and efficiently.

Mr ChimChim: Thank you for sharing that, Lina. Another topic that you talk a lot about, Alexia, is the possible dangers space exploration has for the Earth…

Alexia: This is something that is not very widely discussed amongst those involved in space exploration but it is something that I feel very passionate about. Infectious disease.

Mr ChimChim: You mean like the common cold?

Alexia: In a way, but I think it’s a little more serious than that. The ISS, for example, is packed full of bacteria and fungi that could harm astronauts. I am aware that astronauts heading into space take lots of precautions to reduce the risk of illness, but what would happen if we were to travel to another planet- Mars, for example? Nobody knows whether there is microbial life on Mars today but, if this is, it is likely to be tucked underground.

Mr ChimChim: Out of harm’s way, then…

Alexia: The complete opposite, in fact. If people want to tap into the planet’s resources, such as nutrients and energy, they are likely to dig underground, therefore being exposed to Martian microbes. Microbes that have may well have no treatment or cure. And if those microbes were to be brought back to Earth… well, who knows how bad that could be!

Mr ChimChim: Isn’t that all a little unlikely though, Alexia?

Alexia: Perhaps. But my question is: is it worth the risk?

Lina: You talk about the dangers, Alexia, but what about the opportunities? Our search in space could lead us to other Earth-like planets that might produce water and have the right atmosphere to support human life. The more we search, the more likely we are to find these planets. A future home, perhaps? Or simply to find others out there who are like us. Isn’t that exciting?!

Alexia: What’s exciting is the thoughts of a world free of disease… or a world where everyone has access to clean water… or a world where nobody has to go hungry… If even some of the money we spent on space exploration was invested here, these things could become a possibility at some point in the future.

Mr ChimChim: Thank you very much to both of you. Now it’s the audience’s turn. If you would like to share you thoughts or put your questions to either of these lovely ladies, the address and telephone number are up on the screen. But for now, goodnight to everyone.

For this news broadcast, we used the following BNC skills:

SCEPTICISM: We researched the facts and asked questions to find out what might influence the viewpoints of both our characters. We broke the arguments down into parts and thought about how we could use specific facts to back up each point.

REASONING: We tried to build detailed arguments for both our characters, thinking about what evidence was available to back up both points of view.

OPENMINDEDNESS: We took on roles of people with opinions that were different to ours and tried to think openly about why they might feel a particular way.

SPEAKING UP: When presenting our broadcast, we tried to speak confidently and and clearly to ensure everyone understood both sides of the argument.

Comments (11)

  • tom Tom @ the BNC
    28 Nov 2019

    A superb final piece which, as you have detailed, contains all four Burnet News Club skills. I was particularly impressed at the running theme of 'impact' - each of the areas you touched on focussed on consequences for humankind and from there you could work out if it was worth the cost and risk. Thank you for inviting questions at the end - I wonder if anyone reading has further questions they'd now like to ask the BNC?

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  • St Marys Whitstable logo outspoken_meteor | St Mary's Catholic Primary School B
    28 Nov 2019

    That was incredible that must have took you such a long time! This is one of the best final pieces I have seen. Well done.

    Reply to this comment
  • Braiswick Primary School succinct_leaves | Braiswick Primary School
    28 Nov 2019

    In my opinion, Alexia and Lina are both right. This is because immediately everyone thinks about how we need to stop diseases before space exploration, or, at least, I do. But there is no way other than space exploration and travel to stop overpopulation. What I mean by this is we can't stop the population growing bigger with a medicine or cure, it just has to rise. With space studying and exploration, however, we have found lots of other habitable planets to reduce the population on Earth. This, in turn, acts as a sort of medicine as if there are too many people on Earth it is dangerous but this is preventing the danger by sending humans to other planets. But we definitely need to focus more on our people's health and safety, not other people's fame and popularity. Even if we used a fraction of the amount spent on space exploration, then we could kill off deadly diseases such as maleria and cancer. So that is why I agree with both of them, but mostly Alexia as she wants to cut down on space exploration a bit, whereas Lina is all for it.

    Secondly, I don't know if this links to the question being asked, but why does Alexia work as a NASA scientists if she doesn't really agree with it. You should always do something you at least enjoy a bit, and not something you don't even agree with. I'm not saying that everyone should get there dream job, but at least have a job you remotely enjoy, or you wouldn't be motivated to get up in the morning to do your job well. She might enjoy it; I'm not sure. But if she doesn't even agree with it, she probably isn't motivated to work.

    succinct_leaves

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  • Braiswick Primary School spirited_insect | Braiswick Primary School
    28 Nov 2019

    Thanks for the post!

    I Think that Alexia's points are strong but I am not convinced. I agree with Lina because things that we are curious about could help in future discoveries. I believe this because as an example, (set in early human life) what if someone did not know how to use their hand. Then he started being curious and asks a question, then they can rule that out if it does not work. Then, let's say he figures this out.

    Then comes along another curious person who thinks about throwing using his hand. He then knows how to use his hand which is very helpful!

    I thinks this links to Space because Lina said that using Space would notify when disaster is likely to strike. Another example
    would be Trump's Space force. That would put countries at war in a bad position as there moves could be watched. Also, if we explore Space more and more, we could figure out how to save our planet Earth.

    On Lina's point of view, I don't think that the point of finding a new home is for excitement, it would definitely cause excitement. I think this because there has been recent hope for new inhabitable planet to live on other than Earth. The only reason I can think of for someone to worry would be if they are poor and our world is still in danger as the majority of people are in the 'middle'. I would like to hear your reasons. I have quoted middle as I do not think there is an exact middle.

    All in all, I would say nobody is wrong as those reasons ae hard to argue with but I would agree with Lina because we can use Space as a way to help our world. (Lina uses many examples)

    (Deforestation is not natural!)

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    1. Tiff-Avatar.jpg Tiff @ the BNC
      spirited_insect's comment 29 Nov 2019

      This is an interesting point to discuss. If we inhabited other planets, would only the rich be able to go? Is that fair?

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      1. Braiswick Primary School spirited_insect | Braiswick Primary School
        Tiff @ the BNC's comment 29 Nov 2019

        I do not think it is fair because if no nobody bothers to help defeat climate change and instead we evacuate, some people are not wealthy enough which is why I think we should try to save our planet. Even for the animals as we need to eat.

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    2. Noel-Park-logo-250x250.jpg fascinating_wasp | Noel Park Primary School
      spirited_insect's comment 29 Nov 2019

      Thanks for this comment, spirited_insected. Although human activity is one of the major causes of deforestation, Lina is talking about the natural causes of deforestation such as forest fires, droughts, exotic animals, floods and climate changes. It is not correct to say that deforestation is not natural, although I agree that it is the human side of it that is most frequently discussed.

      Reply to this comment
      1. Braiswick Primary School spirited_insect | Braiswick Primary School
        fascinating_wasp's comment 29 Nov 2019

        Thanks for the reply fascinating_wasp! I would say that it is true it is just that we have been learning about deforestation and Brazil and we have been looking how it is has been caused.

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  • Noel-Park-logo-250x250.jpg balanced_badger | Noel Park Primary School
    09 Dec 2019

    thank you for the support

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