University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Astrophysics Seminars > The Future of Astronomy: Will Applied Astronomy Save the Field?

The Future of Astronomy: Will Applied Astronomy Save the Field?

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  • UserMartin Elvis (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
  • ClockTuesday 06 May 2014, 14:30-15:30
  • HousePhysics West 117.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ilya Mandel.

Astronomy is in a Golden Age. But Golden Ages are short, or they wouldn’t be golden. Our Golden Age may end because our telescopes grow exponentially in cost and have reached the point where the next step is unaffordable. I discuss 3 responses to this looming crisis (other than giving up!). The third response is generational in timescale but offers open-ended growth: the harnessing of space resources. Astronomers can help this era come about by re-starting “Applied Astronomy”.

In the second half of this talk I give a worked example of applied astronomy by looking at how many asteroids it would be profitable to mine right now. This analysis uses the Drake Equation approach, and finds that the answer is “a few”, but the number could grow rapidly with modest technological advances. Some first programs in applied astronomy come from this analysis.

This talk is part of the Astrophysics Seminars series.

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