In our technologically-driven society, the number of people who believe that the Moon landings took place in the Nevada Desert and that the 9-11 attacks either never happened or were controlled demolitions, is ever increasing, even though many of these views have little acceptance within the academic community. Why is this the case?
Are scientists part of the global conspiracy or are things not quite as they appear? Who cares what people choose to believe? What are the ramifications for modern democracy in an increasingly media-driven “fake news” society? And why is the role of science so important in empowering people in a world increasingly influenced by distortion, spin and disinformation?
Professor Anu Ojha OBE is Director of the UK’s National Space Academy programme and a Director of the UK National Space Centre (the UK’s largest visitor centre for space science and astronomy). In 2018 he was appointed to STFC Council and also ESA’s Human Spaceflight and Exploration Science Advisory Committee (HESAC) – the senior advisory body to ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Robotic Exploration on all matters concerning scientific exploitation of human spaceflight, microgravity and exploration programmes.
He is one of the leaders of the UK’s programme of strategic collaboration with China in space science and technology and is a co-investigator on the University of Leicester’s SPLIT planetary geotechnics tool being developed for future solar system exploration missions. A current skydiver with over 1300 jumps, he was involved as an independent science analyst for Felix Baumgartner’s Red Bull Stratos stratospheric jump programme and also has extensive experience in scuba- and free-diving.
Image credit: NASA