CBC Quirks & Quarks Public Debate: Should we have humans in space?

Quirks & Quarks Public Debate
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm

Even though this event is sold out, you can still watch the live stream on Facebook, YouTube and on cbc.ca/quirks. It will also be broadcast on radio on Saturday, June 15.

Bob McDonald moderates a live debate with guests astronaut Chris Hadfield, cosmologist Renée Hložek, planetary scientist Marianne Mader and space flight historian Amy Shira Teitel.

Since Yuri Gagarin first rocketed into space in 1961, humans have explored low-Earth orbit, visited the Moon, and established space stations where astronauts have been able to live for as long as a year. It's been a marvelous adventure, but there has been a cost. Lives have been lost and vast fortunes have been spent on the extraordinarily difficult task of keeping fragile humans alive in the hostile environment of space. All of this has been in support of the human dream of colonizing a new frontier.

At the same time, we've explored far beyond the Earth and the Moon with robotic spacecraft that have visited every planet in the solar system. These missions have hugely increased our scientific understanding of space and other worlds. In the future, ever more sophisticated robots, perhaps equipped with artificial intelligence, will be able to do vastly more. At the same time, our constantly improving ground-based telescopes have given us a picture of the universe far beyond where we could ever hope to travel.

In a Quirks & Quarks public debate we ask, should we have humans in space?


Chris Hadfield is a retired astronaut and was the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station in 2013, his third flight in space. He's flown on the space shuttle, the Soyuz spacecraft, visited the Mir space station and spent more than five months on the ISS. He's been a test pilot, a writer, an advocate for children's literacy and a YouTube sensation with his famous cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity.

Renée Hložek is an assistant professor of astrophysics at the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics within the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on theoretical cosmology and statistical methods in cosmology; she answers questions about the structure of the universe, its initial conditions and its eventual fate. She uses data from telescopes around the world like the Simons Observatory that measures microwave light left over from the Big Bang; and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, which is currently under construction and will measure the night sky at optical wavelengths, scanning the whole sky once every three days. She is also working with artist Pamela Neil and social innovator and Melanie Goodchild on a performance piece which examines our relationship to space and our use of the colonial narrative to justify space colonisation.

Marianne Mader is a creative thinker, connector, and space scientist. A planetary scientist with over 13 years of research and field experience, Marianne has studied some of the oldest rocks on Earth in Greenland, collected meteorites in Antarctica, and has helped plan and execute simulated lunar and planetary exploration missions. Currently, she is the executive director for the Canadian Association of Science Centres and a visiting lecturer at the International Space University.

Amy Shira Teitel is a writer and space historian. She fell in love with space flight when she first read about the moon landings while researching for her second-grade project on Venus. Captivated, she needed to know how and why men walked on the Moon, and she still hasn't lost that childhood fascination. After earning her master's degree, she turned to freelance popular science writing. She now hosts her own YouTube channel, Vintage Space, maintains its companion blog at Discover Magazine, has written for more than two dozen online and print outlets, has appeared in a handful of documentaries, and has spoken about her research around the world. Her second book, Fighting For Space, will be coming out in January 2020.

Who can attend: Everyone
Fee: Free
Tickets: Eventbrite
Organized by: CBC Radio One - Quirks & Quarks
Location: Isabel Bader Theatre, Victoria College, 93 Charles Street W, Toronto, ON  (Museum Subway, East exit)