Students to Debate U.S. Space Policy in 2011-12

Students across the country will be debating the future of United States space policy in 2011-12. The topic is, “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its exploration and/or development of space beyond the earth’s mesosphere,” and it promises to introduce students to a broad range of issues confronting the United States federal government as it plans its future in space.

In general, debates will focus on different ways that the U.S. federal government can increase its presence in space, either through the Department of Defense or through NASA. One large theme that will present itself in many debates in the upcoming year is the question of whether or not exploring space produces enough benefit to justify the high cost to the federal government.

In order to help new students acclimate to the topic, the CDC has produced the 2011-12 Core Files, a compendium of arguments tailored to introduce new debaters to the format and structure of policy debate, and to act as a starting point to research this year’s topic for more advanced students. There is a middle school (CMSDL) version, as well.

This year, the Core Files features a variety of arguments that span a broad range of space-related issues. Affirmative teams have the option of arguing one of four policy prescriptions, including a Lunar Mining affirmative, which aims to incent private companies to establish permanent mining colonies on the Moon; a Space-Based Missile Defense affirmative, which advocates that the Department of Defense invest in building satellites capable of shooting down ballistic missiles; a U.S.-China Cooperation affirmative, which advocates that the U.S. should remove current space technology export barriers and cooperate with China over navigation satellite development; and a Colonization affirmative, which argues that the U.S. federal government should invest in developing long-term space colonization.