XPRIZE CEO Peter Diamandis: “XPRIZE’s Massively Transformative Purpose is to make the impossible, possible”

A Massively Transformative Purpose to positively impact the lives of 1 billion people in next 10 years?

Simple:
Encourage Kids to go to Space.

Which of these objectives better inspires students to succeed?

  1. Teaching kids global climate change implies global catastrophe.
  2. Teaching kids tomorrow’s jobs are in space.

A better question is: Of these two objectives, which will more likely produce all the solutions we need for the challenges our world faces today?

If ever any two specific options have so characterized the cost-reward nature of the “Carrot vs Stick” model, it is most certainly these two. One says, “Stop, humanity. Go no further.” The other says, “Go. Don’t stop, humanity. Go!

The one approach, the first, is our current direction. It can be expressed so: “Unless we change our ways, humanity is doomed. And we are changing but it is not happening fast enough. So, we may be doomed.”

The other approach, the second, amends our current direction. It says the same thing, while further adding this vital bit: “However, there is hope.”

Space, as our future, represents that extra distance which carries us well past the terminating gloom of “so, we may be doomed” to the salvation-like repose of “however, there is hope.”

Which is why I tell other teachers Space, as a teachable movement, is hope.

Future Jamaican Astronauts.

And in learning about the future, today’s young students must have hope to carry them well beyond the predicament we have found to be our present.

Space, as a bridge, gets us from one place to another — in the case of humanity, from one epoch to our next.

Future Cuban astronauts.

Tomorrow’s jobs are in space. By teaching this to today’s students — and explaining how nearly every job or career on Earth will have a counter-part in space (plus a whole lot of new opportunities, some as yet unimagined or unforeseen) — we give permission to young students to imagine themselves in a future that works.

Future American astronauts w/ astronaut permission slips.

That permission is all it takes to engage all the most fresh, most limber and most uninhibited minds on the planet to begin working on and solving for the real challenges and obstacles we face in moving to space.

And in doing so, by means of our encouragement and their solving for space, we will begin solving all the important problems today facing the population of Planet Earth.

This is no exaggeration. In order to move to space, we must solve for:

  • energy demands (and restrictions);
  • power requirements;
  • habitat necessities;
  • physical and mental health well-being;
  • vegetable and animal permacultures;
  • clean water, clean energy, clean resourcing;
  • affordability, accessibility, recyclability, manageability, and sustainability.
Elon Musk gets it. [From Montana Jobs Summit leverages by theDifference creative director, Matt Sullivan.]

Today alone, the so-called spin-offs from space science and space exploration range from technology which leads to life-saving inventions to unparalleled opportunity for cooperation and diplomacy — by the creation and continued success of the International Space Station.

Literally, without space exploration, we would not have smart phones. And having a smartphone is equal to having a life-saving, people-connecting, education-empowering, work-tooling super-computer at hand or in pocket.

Vintage NASA poster: Spin-off technologies from space exploration.

So, seeing how space exploration has got us this far, considering how fast breakthrough and discovery and invention positively impacts our planet now, take the spin-offs of space explorations some steps forward and suddenly we picture space exploration enabling humanity’s next big successes. Take this a couple steps further and we see the problems our planet’s population today being solved for and nullified — exclusively by pursuing exploration of space away from Earth.

In other words, by discovering how to successfully (inventively) migrate to space we also learn how to intelligently (sustainably) stay on Planet Earth.

Which begs the question: Why kids?

The answer: When it comes to the premise of space being our future, kids — that is, young students — don’t require convincing, just permission.

Future owners of our space future–with co-signed Astronaut Permission Slips

Tomorrow’s jobs are in space.

When a good teacher explains tomorrow’s jobs are in space, rather than look at possible challenges as problems that prohibit, young students see obstacles as puzzles to solve. All we have to do is give kids permission to live, work, and play to space as long as they can get there — and they will get there.

The US has a young student population of over 40 million people. This is a brilliantly scattered and non-directed educational capacity. Rather than remain non-directed, I propose coordinating that capacity — that is all of the vision and interest of 40 million students — with a directed educational and vocational focus, Space, then allow and enable them to go on and devise space answers.

With one important distinction from anything we have ever done.

This is not 1962 with US President Kennedy telling an obedient nation to go to the moon. This is the 21st century, and in order to get space we must give space up to our future.

We can do this by saying to our young students that space is theirs. Go get it. And by only giving them the freedom to use the benefit of their education to figure out how, today and tomorrow’s students will move us. There.

They will learn, they will invent, and they will discover what it takes to move themselves there — to their Space — and in the process they will solve for our world’s final period of scarcity, uncertainty, and powerlessness, dispelling all of it with the empowered resolution of getting out to all the resources of the universe currently dangling just beyond our reach.

The single holdup in implementation? Of course, it’s the price. Like so many other good ideas, this humanity-saving plan is absurdly unaffordable.

However, compared to other plans, it is the opposite kind of unaffordable:

The cost of this big idea, this Massively Transformative Purpose, is nothing.

For that reason alone, all the companies and governments and corporations and wealthy in the world will ignore it.

Ironically, when there is no immediate reward, our planet’s management cannot manage it.

Therefore, we must put the plan into the hands of true global masterminds who namelessly and facelessly have been determining the fate of the world for untold generations. The only ones who will do it for gain other than financial gain, personal privilege, or political influence.

The only ones who will put it into motion solely because it is a good idea and because they are the ones who remember what we are fighting for.

Teachers.

Mike Mongo, astronaut teacher, and a classroom of excited and enthusiastic architects of the future.

Teaching teachers to teach for space.

Salim Ismail, Global Ambassador for Singularity University, along with XPRIZE/SU’s Peter Diamandis, are idea evangelistos who have taken to challenging the citizens of the world to take up a Massively Transformative Purpose (MTP) ie an idea that is bigger than any one of us that can bring positive, beneficial change in a set period of time, 10 years.

The question is: How can we solve the world’s biggest problems, change the world, and positively impact 1 billion people in 10 years?

My answer: Positively impacting 1 billion people in 10 years is simple— by teaching to teachers to teach for space.

My Massively Transformative Purpose is teaching for space to students. That is, to be an astronaut teacher. To do so successfully is to model teaching for space to other teachers. This in turn creates astronaut teachers and by extension more astronauts.

Teaching teachers to teach for space works. “Each one, reach one.” One person, one student, one classroom, one teacher at a time.

The easy part is reaching and engaging students. Students already want to go to space. All we must do is empower teachers with this Massively Transformative Purpose to give students permission to reach for their stars. In turn, the students will do the rest themselves.

I know. As one STEM educator (astronaut teacher), I’ve been practicing this Massively Transformative Purpose for about 8 years. Since starting to teach it, I have pointed the way to the stars to thousands of young students. This year, the very first young student I first encouraged to look to space for the future entered his first year of university.

And his major is aerospace.

But remember, at the same I have been in front of thousands of students teaching for space, I have modeled astronaut teacher for hundreds of teachers. Many are now astronaut teachers themselves.

Doug Robertson, author, educator, astronaut teacher

Kids who are young students today will lead the world to a future unimaginable by most grown-ups: Infused with the purpose of space, by a nation of empowered teachers, today’s students will create a future worth living in.

We can positively impact 1 billion people in 10 years — by teaching today’s young students that space is theirs and giving them the permission to go and it get it.

All it takes is astronaut teachers.


Mike Mongo is an astronaut teacher. Also: author of The Astronaut Instruction Manual. He is co-founder of Starship Congress, vice-president of Icarus Interstellar, and At-Large Chair of Students for Exploration of Space (SEDS). And from the students he teaches around the world, Mr Mongo has learned we can solve every challenge we face on earth today–energy, health, sustainability, diversity, inclusion, even the illusion of scarcity–by solving for space.