E610: Chris Impey on “Beyond: Our Future in Space” & the great entrepreneurial opportunities awaiting us there



about this episode

Space is the topic today, where out there exists incredible business opportunities. From mining asteroids to low-orbit internet satellites, the entrepreneurial space race is on! Jason’s guest is Chris Impey, astronomy professor and author of “Beyond: Our Future in Space,” and they dive into everything from our “exploration gene” to Mars colonization and the Mars tsars, the amazing range of opportunities for startups wanting to break into the outer limits, why we haven’t found evidence of intelligent life and, inevitably, sex in outer space. And much more! A fascinating, mind-expanding discussion about the frontier that is closer than you think. As Jason says: “You don’t have to watch science fiction anymore, you can watch startups.”

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25:47-27:54: Jason asks Chris why we haven’t gone back to the moon since the heyday of NASA. Chris calls the Apollo program a “historical anomaly.”

27:55-31:12: Jason and Chris discuss the “explorer gene,” a part of our DNA that explains migration, risk-taking, and even recklessness.

35:54-38:01: Jason and Chris debate the possibility of sending ships of frozen embryos into space to start new populations.

38:59-41:29: Jason asks Chris the Fermi question: why haven’t we found evidence of aliens?

41:32-45:15: Jason wants to know what next big achievement we’ll see in the “Elon Musk era of space.”

49:23-51:48: Jason and Chris discuss the business model of space, including tourism, satellites, and asteroid mining.

51:50-54:52: Jason and Chris talk sex in space. Is it possible and has it happened before?

56:18-57:09: Jason and Chris praise another sci-fi book with some real scientific concepts: The Martian.

57:12-1:01:14: Jason and Chris ponder what space exploration will look like within our lifetimes, by around 2050.

1:02:41-1:03:14: Chris explains how China is outperforming us with its space program.

1:05:53-1:09:38: Could Elon Musk get to space in the next couple years? Chris breaks down the possibility, and what could accelerate the process.

Chris introduces and explains the concept of a “space elevator.”

1:14:39-1:15:58: Jason asks Chris to list off the science fiction films that get closest to reality.

1:15:59-1:19:49: Jason and Chris wonder when we’ll finally make contact with an alien civilization.

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