Jackson School of Geosciences
Bureau of Economic Geology

Space: Fact vs. Fiction

Austin Earth Science Zoomerama
Age group: Middle/Junior High School, High School

As a part of the Austin Earth Science Zoomarama, this session entitled Space: Fact vs. Fiction, contrasts a number of common and not so common misconceptions about space by sharing the real facts concerning those issues. Outer space is a topic that easily captures the human imagination. But whether we are thinking about satellites circling the Earth or Star Trek, most people have at least a few misconceptions about space and space travel. This talk takes a close look at some of these misconceptions and myths. The misconceptions do not stand up if we apply physical and biological science to the problems or if we look at the economic realities of space exploration. For example: having spent our lives securely stuck to the Earth by gravity, it is difficult for us to comprehend the real reason a person would be “weightless” while in orbit.  A clear understanding of the exciting scientific and engineering challenges of outer space helps us gain new knowledge and improve our lives on Earth. Issue topics covered in the presentation include gravity, living in space, rockets, atmospheric entry, the costs and benefits of space exploration, the civilian space program, Star Trek, and extra-terrestrials.