Fifty years ago, as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin bounced on the moon’s surface below, Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins briefly disappeared behind the lunar disk, becoming the first person to experience space entirely alone. As we set our sights on the stars, space travelers will need to cope with ever longer stretches—months, years, and beyond—in the lonely environs of the cosmos. What will that take? What will that be like? How will it affect who we are? Join Michael Collins and fellow astronauts for a whirlwind journey boldly going where only a handful of humans have gone before.
PARTICIPANTS: Michael Collins, Leland Melvin, Scott Kelly, and Ariane Cornell
MODERATOR: Miles O’Brien
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This program is part of the BIG IDEAS SERIES, made possible with support from the JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION.
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0:00 – Introduction
1:40 – Michael Collins introduction
3:49 – Remembering Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11
6:23 – Lunar module descent to the Moon and return
9:22 – Implications of equipment failure/getting stuck on the Moon
10:20 – Changing diversity of NASA astronaut class
12:58 – Astronaut survival training
14:25 – Gemini 10 spacewalk
16:34 – Apollo 11 simulations/preparation
20:08 – Looking back at Earth from the Moon
24:04 – Putting humans on Mars
25:55 – Apollo 8 trans-lunar injection announcement
29:04 – Shuttle era film
29:52 – Additional participant introductions
31:33 – Living and working in space
33:11 – The vaiue of setting a destination in space
34:15 – Michael Collins’ relationship with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
35:21 – The future of commercial of space travel
37:17 – Should everyone be able to go to space?
38:49 – Leland Melvin’s “aha” moment in space
41:40 – Mission profiles for civilian space flight
42:30 – Effects of long-duration space travel
48:48 – The value of inspiring young people
51:21 – Blue Origin test launch footage
53:40 – Blue Moon lunar lander
55:35 – Pros and cons of private contractors
59:50 – How would space travel affect the public’s worldview?
1:01:23 – The overview effect
1:06:14 – Michael Collins’ concerns about world population growth
1:09:17 – How important is space exploration?
1:15:50 – Where will we be in space 50 years from now?
– Produced by Jonathan Schienberg
– Associate Produced by Matt Carlstrom
– Music provided by APM
– Additional images and footage provided by NASA and Blue Origin
– Recorded at NYU Skirball Center