31
   

Should NASA go to Mars or back to the Moon?

 
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  0  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 10:14 am
@Thomas,
I couldn't disagree more with your position.

I would note that nobody has addressed the fact that only an independent colony provides the ultimate fail-safe solution against humanity (or some outside force) destroying ourselves, or knocking ourselves back into the stone age. There is a gigantic benefit to spreading our genetic base out to a new area, and that benefit cannot be replicated with any of the lesser solutions proposed here, including robotic exploration of outer space.

Cycloptichorn
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 10:28 am
@littlek,
Take moon water add energy from solar panels and or small nuclear power plant and you have rocket fuel.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 10:34 am
@Thomas,
LOL and they would still be cutting the hearts out of their neighbors young women and enslaving the men.
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 01:45 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

There is a gigantic benefit to spreading our genetic base out to a new area, and that benefit cannot be replicated with any of the lesser solutions proposed here, including robotic exploration of outer space.

So tell me again what the gigantic benefit is? If you conceed that we can't do everything, then this space colony will cost us significantly in other areas. If the Earth is destroyed, then 99.9999% of humanity is gone (assuming you get 5,000-10,000 people on your colony which is a very generous assumption). That 99.9999% receive no benefit from your colony surviving since they are dead and you didn't bother to make medical advances that could have saved them or that meteor shield you were so dismissive of. Of course the most likely scenario is that the colony is wiped out, not Earth. Colonies in the New World were lost and they could eat the food and breathe the air. Lose control of the atmosphere and everyone dies of too much O2, too much CO2, not enough O2, excessive H2 buildup (from power generation and storage), low atmospheric pressure, etc. Lose too much atmosphere from leaks or just routine trips to the surface to conduct mining operations and everyone dies. Get a really good meteorite strike (see earlier post), everyone dies. Major equipment malfunction or fire, everyone dies. Loss of your artifical gravity, everyone gets progressively weaker over time and the colony fails. Lose heating and everyone freezes, lose cooling and everyone roasts. Of course we have to prevent all of this, so we will spend a fortune on failsafes, etc. and still the meteorite strike kills them. And in all of this, the vast, vast majority of humans see no advantage. As you lay dying of cancer, it may be of some comfort to know that humans somewhere will continue on for a few years, but I'd just assume not die of cancer. Let's help the 99.9999% today.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 01:54 pm
@engineer,
Quote:
As you lay dying of cancer, it may be of some comfort to know that humans somewhere will continue on for a few years, but I'd just assume not die of cancer. Let's help the 99.9999%
this fantasy of having the ability to survive even if the earth dies does seem to keep a good many people from focusing upon the problems that we have. This includes both ecological and psychological, for as bad as the treats to the earth's carrying capacity are our poor spiritual health is an even more immediate problem. Life is devoid of meaning for far too many people, and these people almost universally don't have the drive required to help fix the problems of humanity. They are dead weight.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 01:59 pm
@engineer,
So the so call engineer it is your position that most of us do not care about the future of the human race unless we get some direct benefit?

Strange is it not that all during our history men had die for their group welfare and that seem to be build into us but yet your position that we had no such feelings for the race as a race.

No wonder few if any other person on this thread seem to back your postings or even understand you on an emotion level.

Sorry even if you are lacking on caring about the human race take my word most of us are not so lacking.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:07 pm
@BillRM,
the problem for your position Bill is that a society that lacks the will and or ability to prevent the disintegration of communal live, and to fix Washington, is not going to organize and sustain an expedition like you want to do. Even if you could convince people that it is a good idea we no longer have the ability to carry it out. You should be focusing on more fundamental and immediate problems.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:10 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
I would note that nobody has addressed the fact that only an independent colony provides the ultimate fail-safe solution against humanity (or some outside force) destroying ourselves, or knocking ourselves back into the stone age.

How about humanity not destroying ourselves in the first place? To me, that seems like the ultimate failsafe solution.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:13 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
LOL and they would still be cutting the hearts out of their neighbors young women and enslaving the men.

... but at least those neighbors would exist---which is more than can be said about the actual post-Columbus America.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:21 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
Loss of your artifical gravity

You don't want to get me started about "artificial gravity". (Unless you count centrifugal force, too.) It immediately takes the "science" out of every science fiction book that mentions it. You might as well use a magic wand. (Must. Not. Continue. Getting Started. Must. Not. Continue. Getting. Started. Must ... Not ......)
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:29 pm
@BillRM,
Rolling Eyes As stated several times before, caring about the 99.9999% of the human race makes a lot more sense to me than caring about the ability of an insignificant amount of the population to live on after the rest of us die off. I don't see this as a difficult concept nor do I see this as reflecting a particular lack of empathy. Help all of humanity instead of pursuing a pipe dream in space - yep, that still works for me. If you think otherwise, I respect that (wild concept there), but I disagree.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 02:34 pm
@Thomas,
I was assuming we would use centrifugal force in a spinning moon habitat rather than a magic gravity machine. You'd have to tilt the "floor" 9.6 degrees from vertical to account for the moon's gravity, but otherwise that works out ok.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:17 pm
@engineer,
Quote:

So tell me again what the gigantic benefit is?


Must I repeat the obvious once again? It allows humanity itself to continue to exist despite major biosphere-destroying events here on the Earth, or nuclear Armageddon, or biological/viral Armageddon.

Quote:
That 99.9999% receive no benefit from your colony surviving since they are dead and you didn't bother to make medical advances that could have saved them or that meteor shield you were so dismissive of.


So what? The species survives. They could then go on to have trillions or quadrillions of descendants - the number of potential humans in the future dwarfs our current population as to be statistically insignificant. But only if we first do all that we can to ensure that they will be here!

Quote:
(Lots of useless stuff about the difficulties of colonies snipped here) And in all of this, the vast, vast majority of humans see no advantage.


No, only the vast majority of humans alive today see no advantage. Take a longer viewpoint. If we can successfully spread outside of Earth, as I said earlier, then our numbers will multiply without end.

Quote:
As you lay dying of cancer, it may be of some comfort to know that humans somewhere will continue on for a few years, but I'd just assume not die of cancer. Let's help the 99.9999% today.


Nope. I am not interested in helping people today live slightly longer. It is a waste of humanity's effort to ensure that people are comfortable rather then to ensure the species survives.

Spreading out the genetic base ensures that we will be able to continue to work on these problems. None of your solutions ensures that we will be able to continue working on these problems, or even surviving at all!

Your position seems to be that it's more important to have comfy chairs then it is a disaster plan for your house. This makes no sense at all. Prioritizing short-term comforts over long-term survival is a great way to ensure that we don't survive in the long-term.

Cycloptichorn
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:19 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
I would note that nobody has addressed the fact that only an independent colony provides the ultimate fail-safe solution against humanity (or some outside force) destroying ourselves, or knocking ourselves back into the stone age.

How about humanity not destroying ourselves in the first place? To me, that seems like the ultimate failsafe solution.


It is not, for it does not protect against external events which are outside of our control. My solution does that.

Once again, this is elementary logic...

Of course, the best solution would be to have several colonies in different star systems and one or two that are WAY far away. But that will take time. However, we can get started right now by focusing on getting started.

Cycloptichorn
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:20 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

engineer wrote:
Loss of your artifical gravity

You don't want to get me started about "artificial gravity". (Unless you count centrifugal force, too.) It immediately takes the "science" out of every science fiction book that mentions it. You might as well use a magic wand. (Must. Not. Continue. Getting Started. Must. Not. Continue. Getting. Started. Must ... Not ......)


Why would you have to worry about your space station stop spinning, again?

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:36 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
It is not, for it does not protect against external events which are outside of our control. My solution does that.

In this case, I think we have an implicit disagreement about the amount of risk to our survival that is in our control, in relation to the amount that isn't.

On top of that, we probably disagree about the value of having humanity survive, as contrasted to the value of having individual human beings survive. From a global perspective, the species homo sapiens isn't particularly beneficial to the world. Remove ants from our planet, and most of our planet's ecosystems perish. Remove humans, by contrast, and most of them will thrive. Granted, my source for this the new book of E.O. Wilson, a sociobiologist specializing in ants. Nevertheless, I don't see the gigantic benefit of having just 99.999% of humanity killed rather than 100%.

Cycloptichorn wrote:
Why would you have to worry about your space station stop spinning, again?

You wouldn't. But that's not how "artificial gravity" in most science fiction movies works. The way it works, it's "just there", because a magic gravity machine takes care of it all. (Thanks for the expression, engineer!) Those are the ones I'm allergic to.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 03:41 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
It is not, for it does not protect against external events which are outside of our control. My solution does that.


In this case, I think we have an implicit disagreement about the amount of risk to our survival that is in our control, in relation to the amount that isn't.

On top of that, we probably disagree about the value of having humanity survive, as contrasted to the value of having individual human beings survive. From a global perspective, the species homo sapiens isn't particularly beneficial to the world. Remove ants from our planet, and most of our planet's ecosystems perish. Remove humans, by contrast, and most of them will thrive. Granted, my source for this the new book of E.O. Wilson, a sociobiologist specializing in ants. Nevertheless, I don't see the gigantic benefit of having just 99.999% of humanity killed rather than 100%.


There is no inherent value in worrying about what is most beneficial to the world. The world itself, and the life which is on it, cannot be said to be inherently valuable to anyone other then to those who have the cognitive capacity to even understand the concept of value, ie, humans.

The great part about other colonies are the massive advantages that they confer over time in ADDITION to protecting us from unforeseen disasters either within or without our control.

- They spread our genetic base out to new areas we can evolve in; this is a key goal of all life.
- They exist in areas (space or other planets) which have access to different fundamental conditions which can allow for the creation of new technologies, products, new experiments etc.
- Over time these colonies develop into trade partners, vastly increasing the wealth for all involved.

Quote:
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Why would you have to worry about your space station stop spinning, again?

You wouldn't. But that's not how "artificial gravity" in most science fiction movies works. The way it works, it's "just there", because a magic gravity machine takes care of it all. (Thanks for the expression, engineer!) Those are the ones I'm allergic to.
[/quote]

Well, me too. But this in no way invalidates my argument.

What is the value of individual human beings surviving, as compared to the entire species? I don't understand this line of argument at all. I have very little interest in spending money to ensure that others - or even myself! - survive a few years longer, which is what the fight against Cancer does. How can this be measured up against ensuring that billions or trillions of new humans have the chance to evolve and live their lives?

The ironic part of this conversation is that ensuring the survival of individuals at the expense of the organism is essentially what cancer does. And this inevitably leads to the death of the whole organism - including those selfish cells.

Cycloptichorn
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 04:58 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I see the argument more in terms of quality vs quantity. You argue for many humans; I argue for higher quality of life. I understand where you are coming from, but I'm good with my quality argument.
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 05:16 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

I see the argument more in terms of quality vs quantity. You argue for many humans; I argue for higher quality of life. I understand where you are coming from, but I'm good with my quality argument.


Without ensuring the survival of the race, there really can't be much improvement in individual quality. Comfortable chairs in burning houses.

I would also add that there is no reason - at all - that we cannot focus on all these ideas simultaneously. The amount of time it takes to set up free-standing bases and colonies ensures that we will have many years without much to do about it here on the surface; why not get our expansion started, and then spend our time working on improving quality for everyone?

Cycloptichorn
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2010 05:23 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Because our government doesn't have the money to do either, much less both. We aren't paying the bills as it is. Maybe China, Germany or Korea will do one or the other, but the US won't. Some might find that offensive, but that doesn't change the reality that the US public likes to dream big but is not willing to sacrifice even a little for it.
 

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