New podcast series explores the “Age of Discovery 2.0”

History on the Net debuts today a 6-episode podcast series titled Age of Discovery 2.0. It compares the transformative effects that the opening of the New World had on Western Civilization to the possible effects that opening space will have on Earth’s civilization.

How will the Age of Discovery 2.0 change our civilization the way the first one did five centuries ago?

To find the answer, History Unplugged is interviewing historians, scientists, and futurists who have spent decades researching this question by looking at the past to understand the future.

Here is the debut episode: Episode 1: Welcome to the Age of Discovery 2.0:

In this first episode of the series, historian and space enthusiast Scott Rank explains how the first Age of Discovery completely altered the global balance of power, elevating Europe from a poor backwater into the globe’s dominant military intellectual, and economic region. Today, with rocket launch costs dropping by orders of magnitude, we are on the verge of a second Age of Exploration equally — if not more — consequential than the one that the first. 

The Age of Discovery changed Western culture in numerous ways. It increased human freedom because it allowed Europeans to escape the Old World’s rigid social hierarchy, increased wealth by increasing trade and utilizing new resources, and increased human ingenuity by forcing it to innovate and create new technologies in a challenging frontier environment. In upcoming episodes, he will interview historians and science writers (including yours truly) who will explain how we can expect more of this in the Second Age of Discovery.

The guests in episodes 2-4 include:

Robert Zubrin: Robert Zubrin is an American aerospace engineer, author, and advocate for the human exploration of Mars. Disappointed with the lack of interest from government in Mars exploration and after the success of his book The Case for Mars (1996), as well as leadership experience at the National Space Society, Zubrin established the Mars Society in 1998, an international organization advocating a human mission to Mars as a goal, by private funding if possible.

Glenn Reynolds: Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law, and is known for his American politics blog, Instapundit. He has written numerous books and articles on space law and policy and has served as Executive Vice President of the National Space Society, and on a White House advisory committee on space policy.

Robert Zimmerman: Robert has written multiple histories about the first forty years of space exploration as well as more than a hundred magazine and newspaper articles about the adventure of science and astronomy. He says that future generations will look back at Earth and see it only as the Old World.

The fifth episode will feature Rand Simberg, aerospace engineer and author of Safe Is Not An Option: Overcoming The Futile Obsession With Getting Everyone Back Alive That Is Killing Our Expansion Into Space [Amazon commission link].

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The Case for Space:
How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up
a Future of Limitless Possibility

– Robert Zubrin


America’s New Destiny in Space
– Glenn Harlan Reynolds


Conscious Choice:
The Origins of Slavery in America and
Why it Matters Today and
for Our Future in Outer Space

– Robert Zimmerman


Safe Is Not an Option
– Rand Simberg