8
   

SOMETHING WORTH DOING IN SPACE

 
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 09:59 am
@farmerman,
You're right, but I wouldn't be arguing about this if they weren't receiving Aid. No-one criticises America, Russia or Europe's space programmes because the poverty is no way near as extreme in those countries. (I know Europe's not a country.)
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 10:10 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Here's the parting of the ways. Colonization only makes sense when there is a threat to our planet or our star. Otherwise, it's a pipe dream that colonization would benefit us. There's six billion plus people on this planet. It would be absurd to suggest we could get a billion people off the planet and safely, but even if we could, one billion is considerably less than 20% of the population.

We've had Fermi paradox discussions here and i came to the conclusion long ago that its premises are naive and unrealistic.


I think it's fair to say that we may or may not be able to see threats in advance. So it does behoove us to start planning ahead for them before the threat is immanent; but this should be a side-effect of the booming space construction industry, not the focus of it.

Colonization will further the spread of the species, but it won't do anything for those who are on Earth already, you're correct.

Cycloptichorn
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 10:13 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
Colonization will further the spread of the species, but it won't do anything for those who are on Earth already, you're correct.


Yes, that's the point i wanted to make, with the inference that it's not going to be a basis upon which to sell space programs to taxpayers.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:04 pm
@Setanta,
Isn't there a greater risk of a rogue asteroid more than anything else?
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:31 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

The problem you face with something like a Mars mission is the enormous expense and a justification for such an expense. You're also not going to get corporate funding for something with no payoff in view in the near term. Going to the asteroid belt with bots is going to be much cheaper, and could quickly generate corporate interest.

You're right. We need to get out there and start making money. It will eventually lead to manned spaceflight to lots of places. And anyway, I favor giving the Moon a try before Mars, simply because a baby must learn to crawl before he can learn to run.

The government has abandoned the manned spaceflight business (other than hitching rides with Russia), ostensibly to allow private enterprise to take over. This would be a great thing if it happened in the relatively near future, but there are now no timetables for anything related to manned spaceflight, and my suspicion is that this is merely a device so that politicians can appear to support space travel without actually spending the money. They haven't cut NASA's budget, as far as I know, but they were clearly skittish about increasing it as much as would have been necessary for a program to put humans somewhere beyond Earth orbit. In the 60s, I thought that there would be at least a lunar base by now, but I am despairing of seeing anything happen within my lifetime.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:31 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

On a moral note, I think India should do something about the shocking levels of poverty in their own country before they think about going to Mars. India is a major recipient of UK aid, but they've got a space programme. It doesn't seem right to me.

Do you think that Spain should have waited unil poverty was eliminated before helping to finance Columbus?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:34 pm
@Brandon9000,
Spain, per se, did not extist at that time. As for Ferdinand and the blond bomshell Isabella, they didn't finance a damned thing. They simply seized an honest merchants ships and handed them over, with those portions of their crews who didn't get out in time, to Columbus. Columbus was on his own to provision the expedition.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:36 pm
@Setanta,
Yes, I had just alterred my post when I read yours. I know that he was financed by a consortium, but Spain did spend some money. The point I was trying to make, of course, was that his trip turned out to be worth spending money on, even though other needs existed in the world.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:39 pm
@izzythepush,
So what do you propose? Going to the taxpayer, hat in hand, to ask for billions to put a few dozen folks out there in a safe place (enourmous cost--in money, in energy and resources--i won't go into why just now), then pointing out (because if you don't, the loyal opposition surely will) that the rest of the human race is fucked?
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 12:57 pm
@Brandon9000,
That's a really silly question. What a citizen is entitled to expect from his country today, is totally different from when Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 01:00 pm
@Setanta,
The mission is to an asteroid isn't it? Wouldn't it be a good idea to check out the viability of diverting/destroying a rogue asteroid should the need occur? The last strike destroyed the dinosaurs.
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 03:26 pm
@izzythepush,
The point is that had Spain waited for poverty to subside, that voyage to discover the Americas wouldn't have taken place even yet. Clearly the trip was worthwhile.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 04:43 pm
@Brandon9000,
Brandon9000 wrote:

The point is that had Spain waited for poverty to subside, that voyage to discover the Americas wouldn't have taken place even yet. Clearly the trip was worthwhile.


Do you think that the UK should give aid to a country that has a space programme? Maybe if they didn't have a space programme we wouldn't need to send them aid, and we could send it somewhere else.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 05:28 pm
@Setanta,
Where does "space" begin for purposes of your thread? For example, would your idea of "space" include today's international space station, and the experiments it runs?
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 24 Jul, 2011 11:15 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

Brandon9000 wrote:

The point is that had Spain waited for poverty to subside, that voyage to discover the Americas wouldn't have taken place even yet. Clearly the trip was worthwhile.


Do you think that the UK should give aid to a country that has a space programme? Maybe if they didn't have a space programme we wouldn't need to send them aid, and we could send it somewhere else.

Your question seems to assume that the desire to understand our environment and colonize space is somehow frivilous, which is exactly the opposite of what I think. With so many programs in every national budget, why do you single this one out for attack?
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 01:41 am
@Brandon9000,
Because it came up on this thread.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 03:16 am
@izzythepush,
Let's backtrack here, a moment. Cyclo and i were talking about colonization (because someone else brought it up). I pointed out that it would do no good for relieving population pressures, and would only make sense if we knew our planet or our star were doomed. Then you brought up rogue asteroids, so in the context of colonizing space, i asked you how practical it would be, in political terms, to go hat in hand to the taxpayer, asking for billions and billions to save a handful of people--but not you, sucker ! ! !

Now you want to talk about dinosaurs? I don't think they pay taxes.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 03:21 am
@Thomas,
Outside (beyond) the L1 point. Even with the demise of the shuttle program, the space station has become a neighborhood object, even if it does reside out there in the junkyard of near-earth orbit.

I don't see any manned mission as worthwhile, unless you're talking about establishing a permanent base on the Moon--lotta lotta cash, but it would be worth it in the long run. Of course, i don't see an probable near term pay-off, so it would be hard to sell it to the taxpayer. I see no good reason to go to Mars (we're still talking manned missions here).

So that leaves us with automated missions, and this one has a real prospect of near term pay-off.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 03:58 am
@Setanta,
Colonisation is at the moment a pipe dream. Maybe a bit less of a pipe dream when we look at Mars, but a pipedream nonetheless with current technology. We're more likely to be hit by an asteroid than we are of colonising another solar system. The costs of protecting the Earth from being hit, must be significantly less than any colonisation project.

There's no need to start throwing insults around. I'm sorry if mentioning dinosaurs brought back some unhappy childhood memories Methuselah.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 Jul, 2011 07:42 am
@Setanta,
"Worth doing" doesn't necessarily mean "expected to return a direct cash profit". Basic research, whose profits are indirect, uncertain, and long in coming, can be nevertheless be worth doing.

By your definition of "space", I don't see any money-making opportunities for private enterprise there. Private enterprise could produce all kinds of cool stuff in zero gravity, but it can set up those in fairly low orbits.

What I am seeing in outer space is lots of interesting research exploring planets and moons to which we haven't sent probes yet. (The asteroid belt, Saturn and its moons). I'm sure those missions will produce interesting spinoffs, but the main benefit of exploring outer space will be the knowledge we gain, not the money we make.

Oh, and I agree that scientific progress will come from robo missions. Manned spacecraft are a waste of technology.
 

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