Friday, May 30, 2014

War of the Words at Cafe Scientifique

May 2014's Cafe Scientifique Dubai, held at Biorganic in TECOM, saw one of the biggest turnouts in the series' history. An audience spanning diverse age groups, genders and professions stood around, sat on chairs, or sat on the floor, to hear and talk about a topic that captivates most any inquiring mind: space exploration. In particular, planned Martian exploration through the Mars One mission.

The program commenced with opening addresses on Cafe Sci and the background of the mission by founders Rohan Roberts (left) and Raya Bidshahri (right) -- to the latter of whom we are bidding farewell, as she leaves for university abroad.

A bit of light entertainment with bits of philosophy and ethics was up next, provided by Adam Griffin (top) and Chris McDermott (bottom) locking oratorical horns in a debate on whether humans should go on a one-way trip to colonize Mars. With a show of hands, McDermott's argument against the motion seemed to have beat Griffin's argument for it -- much to my surprise.

Closing the event was Dubai resident Mikolaj Zielinski, who is on Mars One's shortlist for a future lifetime mission to land and stay on the red planet. He provided the audience with further information about the mission, including the challenges Mars explorers would face, and possible solutions. Clearly, he is not deterred at all by the outcome of the debate.

EDIT: The Cafe Sci team got Spectrum 7 TV on board to tape the event. Here's what they produced:

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