From the chemistry of rocket fuel to the ethics of space exploration

Our exciting collaboration with Alma College (in Michigan, USA) and Omi Brotherhood High School (in Shiga, Japan) came to a wonderful finish today, with our four groups of students making their final presentations.

The project kicked off three weeks ago with a cross-border read-through of “Europa Report”. Since then, each group has been working on formulating a question related to the movie, and preparing a response. Today, the students came together on Skype for a final time to watch each other’s presentations.

As this splendid post on the Omi Brotherhood High School web site notes, the students had to overcome time differences, language barriers AND a typhoon that is currently lashing western Japan…

The questions that our four groups came up with were as follows. (Anyone who has watched “Europa Report” will understand the relevance of the first question…)

(A) Is there an alternative to using hydrazine as rocket fuel?

(B) Do you think that life exists somewhere other than Earth?

(C) Manned vs. unmanned space exploration: which is better?

(D) Do the scientific discoveries from space outweigh the need for humanitarian missions on Earth?

I would like to say a very, very big and sincere ‘thank you’ to all the students and teaching staff who made this project an outstanding success.

Published by Graham Jones

Astrophysicist and science communicator