As a scientist, I want to go to Mars and back to asteroids and the Moon because I'm a scientist. But I can tell you, I'm not so naive a scientist to think that the nation might not have geopolitical reasons for going into space.
You've never seen me debate anybody. On anything. Ever. My investment of time, as an educator, in my judgment, is best served teaching people how to think about the world around them. Teach them how to pose a question. How to judge whether one thing is true versus another. What the laws of physics say.
Darwin's theory of evolution is a framework by which we understand the diversity of life on Earth. But there is no equation sitting there in Darwin's 'Origin of Species' that you apply and say, 'What is this species going to look like in 100 years or 1,000 years?' Biology isn't there yet with that kind of predictive precision.
I always try to get people a different outlook. When you do that, people take ownership of the information. They don't ever have to reference me because, I'd like to believe as an educator, I'm empowering them to have those thoughts themselves.
I don't know anybody who said, 'I love that teacher, he or she gave a really good homework set,' or 'Boy, that was the best class I ever took because those exams were awesome.' That's not what people want to talk about. It's not what influences people in one profession or another.
The universe is large and old, and the ingredients for life as we know it are everywhere, so there's no reason to think that Earth would be unique in that regard. Whether of not the life became intelligent is a different question, and we'll see if we find that.
Private enterprise in the history of civilization has never led large, expensive, dangerous projects with unknown risks. That has never happened because when you combine all these factors, you cannot create a capital market valuation of that activity.
Scientists in different disciplines don't speak the same language. They publish in different journals. It's like the United Nations: You come together, but no one speaks the same language, so you need some translators