Image of astronaut claiming asteroid for StarTalk survey, Who Owns Space?
Image of astronaut claiming asteroid for StarTalk survey, Who Owns Space?

Politics and Privatization of Space, with Bill Nye

Photo Credit: Juan Darien/iStock.
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About This Episode

Who owns the moon? Should we have timeshares on the International Space Station? Can you buy property on Mars? Bill Nye the Science Guy is back alongside comic co-host Iliza Shlesinger as they investigate the politics and the future of the privatization of space. Throughout the episode, Bill and Iliza answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on a variety of topics from SpaceX to the “Space Force.” To start, Bill gives us some history about who “owns” the Moon and you’ll learn how space exploration shares similarities to early European explorers. You’ll also hear how private companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin work in unison with government space agencies like NASA and the ESA. You’ll find out how private companies will try and make space travel affordable. Ponder the thorny question of how we’re trying to deal with the build-up of space debris and space junk. Discover how going back to low Earth orbit is key to helping us travel to Mars and beyond. Bill reveals where he would buy real estate in the solar system (just for bragging rights, of course) and what it would mean to privatize the International Space Station. We also discuss whether asteroid mining is a real possibility or just science fiction, how we can use water from asteroids to create rocket fuel, and if bringing asteroids down to Earth would have any benefit to the human race. Bill tells us which he finds a more pressing matter: planetary exploration or extra solar system exploration. We investigate the merits of the proposed “Space Force,” Bill tells us about his time working on the Joint Strike Fighter program, and you’ll discover more about NASA’s “big rocket” – the Space Launch System. All that, plus, on the non-space-related front, find out more about Isaac Newton’s birthday, the San Francisco 49ers, and the origin of California’s state motto!

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Politics and the Privatization of Space, with Bill Nye.