NASA Astrobiology Debates

2016 — DC/US

The NASA Astrobiology Debates


National Debate Championship


High School Division


The George Washington University


February 27 & 28, 2016


The NASA Astrobiology Debates National Debate Championship (High School Division) challenges high school students from across the nation to research and debate the political and ethical implications of the discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life. The NAD National Debate Championship will be held at The George Washington University on February 26-27, 2016. 


The discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life would change the nature and meaning of life itself.  Sponsored by the NASA Astrobiology Program, the NASA Astrobiology Debates challenge students of all ages to research and debate the complex ethical and political questions raised by the 2015-16 NASA Astrobiology Debates topic, "Resolved: An overriding ethical obligation to protect and preserve extraterrestrial microbial life and ecosystems should be incorporated into international law."


During the NAD National Debate Championship, elite high school teams composed of two debaters each will compete in four preliminary rounds of competition on Saturday, February 26, and an appropriate number of teams will advance to elimination rounds on Sunday, February 27.  The debates will employ a cross examination “civic debate” format.  Elimination rounds will be judged by panels possessing topic and/or advocacy expertise including astrobiologists, philosophers, and environmental ethicists and judges in preliminary rounds will be asked to employ a judging philosophy that prepares students to debate in front of such panels.



Registration will open and complete tournament information will be available on December 1, 2015, on the NAD website



We hope to see you in DC this Spring!