Broadcast 1462 (Special Edition)

18 Nov 2010 Laura Delgado Lopez
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Guest: Laura Delgado. Topics: Science fiction movies and space commerce and the impact on the public's perception of space development. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. We welcomed Laura Delgado to the program regarding her AIAA Space 2010 paper and presentation, "The Commercialization of Space in Science Fiction Movies: The Key to Sustainability or the Road to a Capitalist Dystopia?" While her paper is only available through AIAA, you can read Laura's guest blog article on this subject in Space News at www.spacenews.com/commentaries/101019-blog-popcorn-perspective-space-com.... In our fist segment, Laura put forth her thesis referencing the science fiction movies that she used to illustrate her points that the genre of science fiction movies mentioned show corporations to have surpassed or taken over the role of the state and often the corporation is hostile, disapproving of the state, and basically ruining things in space as well as on Earth. As these movies have been around for decades and are seen by millions of people, the idea is that many people form their ideas about space and private business from the films. At the same time and as evidenced by the space policy debate underway now, commercial space is portrayed differently, as essential for improving our world, not hurting it. But the space message is lost on the public in comparison to the message of the science fiction movies. There were several callers that amplified and clarified from their perspective what Laura was talking about. Additional movies were brought up that were not included in her research including Avatar, Star Trek, Star Wars, and more. We talked about why the negative image was more powerful and influential than the positive image put forth by the actual space community. In our second segment, we talked about Hollywood, the likely future for science fiction movies, how some movies such as Star Trek actually show that social problems have been solved through the true multi-cultural and racial mix of the crew and more. These are very positive statements but they do not displace the negative evil corporation in the science fiction block busters from decades ago through today. More callers called in to help us understand why this particular image of corporations and commercial space are key to the science fiction genre as opposed to the realities of the commercial space industry today. Another issue that came up that got lots of attention was the development and settling of space as a frontier. As you will hear, this model does not appeal to Laura and I referenced the previous Thalia show where Thalia told us how disconnected the frontier model was from her peer group. I also brought in the responses to this disconnection from those that support the frontier model when its been a topic on The Space Show. We spent a considerable time talking about the frontier model and why it appeals to different segments of society more than others. Toward the end of the program, the subject of images came up for how better to sell space and commercial space development as opposed to selling it based on the frontier idea. The use of warm and glowing pictures of places or things in space used much in the way the travel industry uses pictures to sell a destination was put forth. I then mentioned the power and effectiveness of using a good image and referenced the famous Earth rise picture and what that has meant for groups not so supportive of space development and how its used by groups that are engaged in promoting commercial space. If you have questions or comments for Laura Delgado, please post them on the blog above. You can also email Ms. Delgado at ldelgado@gwmail.gwu.edu.

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