In advance of the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing on July 20, IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, announced results of a recent survey which found more than half (53 percent) of respondents are interested in traveling to space aboard a spacecraft. In addition, a majority (79 percent) of respondents said they would feel safe if a human-looking robot were piloting that spacecraft. The survey looks at the influence of early Apollo mission technologies on society today and in the future. To learn more about the impact of space travel on technology and our lives, visit Transmitter.ieee.org/Natural-Capital-2019.
Robot Pilots? I Feel Safe so Let’s Blast Off!
An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (79 percent) indicated that they would feel safe aboard a spacecraft piloted by a robot that looks and communicates like a human; only 21 percent said they would feel unsafe.
Innovations Traced to Apollo Missions
Of the many innovations used today that the Apollo missions generated, when asked which items can trace their roots back to early space travel technology developments, the top three identified most frequently by those surveyed were the solar panel (65 percent), athletic shoe (40 percent) and heart defibrillator (32 percent). Other respondents identified the cordless vacuum (28 percent), mattress (19 percent) and home security system (18 percent).
Today’s Space Travel and Tomorrow’s Day-to-Day
Survey respondents indicated they believe that the next decade of space travel will have the greatest impact on:
- Medicine (26 percent)
- Transportation (23 percent)
- Computer technology (21 percent)
- Environmental resources (20 percent)
The Apollo 11 mission relied on four computers considered to be decades ahead of their time. Interestingly, though, today’s smartphone is many more times powerful than computers NASA used for the mission. When asked who they would video call from the moon with their smartphone if they ever had the opportunity, more than half (56 percent) of those surveyed said they would video call their spouse or partner. Their next choices would be their mom (14 percent), friend (9 percent), then dad (8 percent).