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Microgravity: living on the International Space Station
Microgravity: living on the International Space Station

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Week 7 Space exploration and science

Introduction

Do we need space exploration? And have your views on this changed since starting this course?

You are probably already aware that space exploration costs a lot of money. But how much does the ISS cost? And how much does research in space cost? There have to be justifications, with arguments for and against this cost, so that informed decisions can be made.

This week, you will consider the following questions about space exploration.

  • How do the costs compare with national budgets?
  • Can you trust a reliable estimate of how much it costs per person on Earth?
  • What does such research do for you personally?
  • Does space research help or hinder social issues and problems?

You will then consider whether science can be divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ science. Can the scientific method be compromised or manipulated for a hidden agenda?

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • compare the true cost of space research with other expenditure
  • understand why it is important to continue to ask moral questions about scientific research
  • ask questions that can be answered to support or refute a hypothesis and identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ science.