spacetech ted talks

10 SpaceTech TED Talks To Experience Space Like Never Before

Humans are natural explorers, and the loneliest frontier is the last one that remains. Over the next few decades, humanity will push into the farthest reaches of our solar system, probe galaxies beyond our sun, and investigate some of the most perplexing mysteries that science has ever known. This exploration demands the ultimate in innovation, dedication, and imagination. Are we up to the task? These TED speakers think so! In their SpaceTech TED Talks, they present some of the newest technologies and boldest ideas in space exploration.

Our Top 10 SpaceTech TED Talks

1. How Radio Telescopes Show Us Unseen Galaxies — Natasha Hurley-Walker

Nothing inspires more awe than a photo of a far-away galaxy. However, redshift makes it difficult to view distant star systems and planets in detail.

In this talk, astronomer Natasha Hurley-Walker gives an illuminating glimpse into how she and her colleagues use radio telescopes to peer into the furthest reaches of the universe. Through stunning photographs collected during her time at the Murchison Radio Observatory in Perth, Australia, she showcases the progress made in radio imaging during the last few decades. In her images, we can see familiar galaxies, distant supernovas, and perhaps even clues about the birth of the universe.

2. The Real Future of Space Exploration — Burt Rutan

Space may be the “final frontier,” but recent decades have seen few major advances in the public sector.

However, Burt Rutan believes that fun can save the space exploration program. In this talk, he calls on entrepreneurs and regular citizens to support commercial space travel—which critics have lambasted as trivial or overambitious—and inspire the next generation of inventors, explorers, and engineers. Rutan also lays out his plan for the “new capitalist space race,” which depends on private innovation rather than governmental incentives, and profit rather than international competition.

3. I’m Going to The Moon. Who’s with Me? — Bill Stone

Bill Stone, an experienced cave explorer who has plumbed Earth’s deepest tunnels and caverns, explains his plans to mine lunar ice for propellants and study the moons of Jupiter with highly sophisticated robots.

His exciting talk paints a picture of an exploration-oriented society with orbital hotels, workshops, and even refuelling stations. How soon can this be a reality? Stone believes the answer depends entirely on our ambition.

4. The Flower-Shaped Starshade that Might Help Us Detect Earth-Like Planets — Jeremy Casdin

Astronomers know that there are planets orbiting nearly every star in our galaxy, but we haven’t been able to get a glimpse of most of them.

In many cases, diffracted light from the planet’s sun floods the telescope and makes it impossible to get a clear view of the surrounding planets. In this short yet enlightening talk, Kasdin describes an innovative new piece of astronomy equipment: a starshade shaped like a flower. Positioned far in front of a telescope, the starshade controls diffraction and makes brilliantly clear photographs of other planets possible for the first time.

5. Finding Planets Around Other Stars — Lucianna Walkowicz

It’s easy to observe the planets in our own galaxy, but how to find those that are farther away?

Lucianne Walkowicz is a member of NASA’s Kepler mission and studies starspots and solar flares, measures the light given off by stars to pinpoint when planets pass in front of them. In this talk, she describes the complex technologies involved in her work, and how honing these special processes might enable researchers to discover life in other planetary systems.

6. How to Go to Space, Without Having to Go to Space — Angelo Vermeulen

Whether in the next few decades or the next few centuries, human beings will build a new future on other planets.

Angelo Vermeulen, who holds down two jobs as a community artist and crew commander for a NASA-funded simulation of life on Mars, thinks he knows how. In this talk, he describes some of the ways that he and his team have combined ecology, psychology, and technology to design these new missions. From starships and packaged food to teambuilding and spacesuits, he gives a vivid and imaginative glimpse into our future as a species.

7. Life in Biosphere 2 — Jane Poynter

How will human beings survive in the harsh, unwelcoming environment of deep space? Will we be able to sustain life outside familiar organic settings? If we want to continue exploring the universe, this is a question we will need to answer within the next few years.

Jane Poynter, who spent two whole years growing her own food and building her own shelters in a completely self-contained ecosphere, has some suggestions. Here, she describes some of the challenges that she and her colleagues faced in Biosphere 2, some of the ingenious solutions they developed, and some of the lessons they learned that everyone can adopt.

8. Why We Need to Go Back to Mars — Joel Levine

In 1996, despite disinterest from the public and media, NASA sent two orbiters and two landing craft to the Red Planet to perform research and snap iconic photographs. Could history be made on Mars again?

Joel Levine, who studies the origin and evolution of Earth and Mars, wants to go back today. In this compelling address, he tells the story of dry rivers and gigantic ice caps, ancient rock formations and prehistoric life. Levine and his team believe that new hi-res photos, atmospheric measurements, and biological surveys could shed new light on a “dead” planet.

9. How to Take a Picture of a Black Hole — Katie Bouman

Astronomers have come to believe that at the centre of every known galaxy is a supermassive black hole, which pulls planets toward itself and holds millions of stars together. There’s just one problem: we have never been able to capture an image of these invisible behemoths.

While scientists have always estimated that a telescope the size of the Earth would be necessary to capture such an image, Bouman and her colleagues at MIT are working on another solution. By synchronizing telescopes from across the world, they hope to get a glimpse into our galaxy’s event horizon, behind a boundary that not even light can escape.

10. How We’ll Find Life on Other Planets — Aomawa Shields

Is it possible to find life on planets that we can’t even reach yet?

In this short, enlightening talk, climate researcher and astronomer Shields explains how she uses intricate yet artistic computer models to explore exoplanets that are trillions of miles removed from Earth. By mapping these distant planets’ ecosystems, climates, and terrain, we may be able to more effectively determine which solar systems could support life.

Conclusion On SpaceTech TED Talks

TED Talks are great to discover the challenges and opportunities of SpaceTech. You will find concise explanations and deep insights at the same time. Combined with online courses they will surely get you ahead in your quest to pursue a successful SpaceTech career.

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Theresa Kern

Business Development at beta|careers
Theresa is a management student and team member of the 2017 class at beta|careers.

Her responsibilities include growing and nurturing our platforms and, occasionally, taking care of bus tickets for the team. In her free time, she can be found on horseback out in the woods.
Theresa Kern

Ecosystem Basics, Education