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Intelligence Squared

Tuesday, November 17 at 2:00 pm

Is a U.S.-China Space Race Good for Humanity?

China is ramping up its national space industry with huge investments in next-generation technologies that promise to transform military, economic, and political realities. Against this backdrop, we ask: Would a new U.S.-China space race be good for humanity? Could it drive innovation, rally public support for science and discovery, and launch humans into the next generation? Or would this competition catalyze an expensive global arms race, militarize space for decades to come, and destroy any hope of international peace and cohesion in the future?

The Debaters:
Bidushi Bhattacharya
Rocket Scientist & Space Entrepreneur
Bidushi Bhattacharya is a rocket scientist and entrepreneur. After two decades with NASA working on projects including the Hubble Space Telescope and Galileo probe to Jupiter, Bhattacharya founded Astropreneurs HUB, Southeast Asia’s first space technology incubator. She currently serves on the Global Entrepreneurship Network Space Advisory Board and is the CEO of Bhattacharya Space Enterprises, a Singaporean startup dedicated to space-related education and training.

Avi Loeb
Theoretical Physicist & Professor
Abraham (Avi) Loeb is a theoretical physicist, author, and Harvard professor. He was the longest-serving chair of Harvard's astronomy department (for nine years) and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Physical Society, and the International Academy of Astronautics. Loeb is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology at the White House and, in 2012, TIME magazine selected Loeb as one of the 25 most influential people in space. 

Michio Kaku
Theoretical Physicist & Bestselling Author
Michio Kaku is one of the most widely recognized figures in science. He is a theoretical physicist, international bestselling author, and co-founder of String Field Theory. His most recent book, "Future of Humanity," projects the future of the space program centuries into the future. Kaku is a professor at the City University of New York.

Raji Rajagopalan
Nuclear Weapons & Space Policy Expert
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan is a distinguished fellow and head of the Nuclear and Space Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, one of India’s leading think tanks. Rajagopalan also recently served as a technical advisor to the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts on Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space. She is the author of “The Dragon's Fire: Chinese Military Strategy and Its Implications for Asia."

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