Seven Modern-day 'Moon Shots'

The moon shots refers to big challenges facing us that will require new ways of thinking to handle

1. Artificial intelligence

"...the race to develop a machine with human-like intuition or consciousness, or artificial intelligence - meaning it can train, retrain and evaluate its results for better performance..."

Luke Housego et al 2019)

2. Flying cars (more than humans wanting transport as significant opportunities in goods transportation, military and defence application; regulation, infrastructure and budgetary concerns will be the major constraints)

3. Manned mission to Mars (objectives range from advancing scientific knowledge to possibilities for mining and living there)

4. Climate change (this has serious ramifications for global security; weather conditions like heat waves, flooding, etc; refugees fleeing from uninhabitable land; mass extinction of flora and fauna like insects and coral; conflicts over water and food, etc.

"...To limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees, carbon pollution would have to be cut by 45% by 2030..."

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2018 as quoted by Luke Housego et al 2019

To achieve this by 2030 will require large investments in reforestation, renewable energy, shift to electric transport systems, use of carbon capture technologies, etc)

5. Cancer cure (treatment is more effective but our life expectancy hinders a cure, ie as we get older, we are more susceptible; evolution is a problem, ie

"...Our cells' ability to change themselves, which is underlying causes of cancer, has been an evolutionary advantage to humans and other living things..."
Sanchai Aranda as quoted by
Luke Housego et al 2019)

We need therapies tailored to patients' individual genetics, ie precision medicine. Hopefully analysis of our genes will help us pre-empt cancer or even prevent it.)

6. Plastic pollution (the aim is to produce less plastics and to find ways to manage waste better; we need to invent biodegradable and compostable plastics rather than just relying on recycling and reusing.

"...the world generated at the least 3.5 million tonnes of plastic and other solid waste a day, 10 times the amount of a century ago..."

World Bank as quoted by Luke Housego et al 2019

"...another problem is micro plastics: worldwide about 60% of clothing is made from polyester, nylon, acrylic, another synthetic fibres. Hundreds of thousands of these plastic microfibres enter the water system every time we do a load of washing..."

Luke Housego et al 2019)

7. DNA of all living creatures (potential to revolutionise the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases

"...bold ambition: sequencing the genetic code of all plants, animals and other organisms defined as eukaryotes..."

Luke Housego et al 2019

Of the estimated 15 million species in a world, only a couple of million have been documented with less than 15,000 having their genomes sequenced by 2019

 

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