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View Poll Results: Is it really relevant to spend so much money on space research?

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Thread: Should we really invest in space research?

  1. #1 Should we really invest in space research? 
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    As most of us know, billions of dollars are spend every year on space research. NASA, for example, published their budget for the coming year just for a few months ago - they intend to spend $16, 7923 billions... ESA, which is the European equivalence to NASA confirmed to walk the same path when they declared that they will spend $3, 8 billion under the year of 2007. The Russian space agency "RFSA" intend to spend $1, 3 billion on space research this year which also are loads of money. This grotesque amount of money could prevent starvation of millions of people in, for example, Africa... The question is then: Is it really relevant, both morally and ethnically to spend such amount of money on research instead of saving millions of life? What have we actually found out during this many years of research? What is the most important discover made due to the research?
    This issue is to be discussed and examine in this thread where you can add both facts and you own personal opinion to the discussion. Thanks.


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  3. #2  
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    I don't mean to sound insensitive but if we want to survive as a species, continuing to make worse the overpopulation problem is not the answer. Figuring out a way to get some of our eggs out of our one basket will. I'm all for space funding.


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  4. #3 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik3l
    This grotesque amount of money could prevent starvation of millions of people in, for example, Africa...
    Why pick on space exploration? The same argument applies to any money spent on something non essential. When's the last time you spent some money that you didn't have a need to?


    What is the most important discover made due to the research?
    Not what you'd call a discovery as such, but the improvements in telecommunications brought about by satellites exist as a result of the technology developed for space exploration.
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  5. #4  
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    The best investment in space technology is investment in the education and technology infrastructure of a society. This can be done directly with government programs or through fostering an atmosphere where research and technology can flourish. The reason the USA whipped the Japanese in WW2 wasn't luck or being 'bigger' but because the government had a phenomenal technology base to draw from for new innovation and weapon' development and an equally phenomenal industrial base for production.

    In the 1960's NASA did a phenomenal job...spectacular. NASA's heart, however, was not self-generated but drawn frm the best of U.S. technology and education. Since the late 1980's NASA has become a bloated no-can-do money sink. That budget is not a one time shot but annual....hundreds and hundreds of billions since the Apollo 11 landing in 1969. In today's dollars if invested would be over a trilli0n dollars of investment since Armstrong walked on the Moon. The accomplishment is an unfinished ISS orbiting the Earth being seviced most of the time by Russian Soyuz spacecraft because the Space Shuttle is an unreliable money pit.

    Investment is technology and education...a resounding yes but investment in NASA....no.
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  6. #5  
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    spin-off products from space research have already repaid the original investment many times over
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  7. #6  
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    I think we should sort out our problems on this planet, if we cant deal with problems here (eg energy crisis, disease and global warming) I dont think its a great idea to go bring about a similar problem only on a different planet.

    Does that sound naieve?
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  8. #7  
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    I know this is going of topic, and i also know that Africa was only an example, but throwing billions of dollars to "prevent starvation" will not prevent starvation, it will only postpone it for a year and then we will need to do the same the next year and again and again...... Africa's problems (regardless of the original causes) are down to government corruption, mismanagement and in some cases having a huge chip on their shoulder with regards to European country's interference in their past. Its because of the billions of dollars we currently throw at those country's which is keeping their governments in power and keeping their people poor. The only way Africa (in general) will be able to get of its knees is when the people decide too and the people will never be able too all the while we are funding their corrupt governments with the money we throw at them. So what will those people aim for when they get to be as developed and well off as we are? Will they be content with simply paying the rent and making contributions to their pensions as some of us seem to be? Space exploration is probable the only chance we have had and will have of becoming greater then the sum of our parts. The figures you mentioned are just a piss in the ocean compared to how much money is generated in taxes by those country's/regions and i think its worth every penny in the long run.
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  9. #8  
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    I think spending money o space research is relevant depending on what we spend the money on. This comes down to the leadership of the various space agencies. After we last landed on the moon, what has happened during the next 35 years? Since then we have developed the space shuttle, which was great, and the ISS which I think has been pritty useless. Of course all the other technnologies that have been developed because of space research are very useful to us, as well as our probes to different planets and the knowledge they have brought us. But we dropped the ball on the continuation of manned exploration in space.

    I think some rational, doable plan for manned exploration of our solar system is not money wasted. We have always been a species with a sense of wonder and an in-born desire for new discovery. That's almost a spiritual trait, and without it we would still be living in caves.

    As has been said in previous replys, we can throw money at almost any problem and still the problem remains. If we didn't have a space program our governments would only use that saved money for other schemes that would probably not be as productive and enlightening.
    "Where are you going?" "I go where it is changeless." "How can you go where it is changeless?" "My going is no change."
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  10. #9  
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    every mission which has gone into space, has had hundreds of experiments relating to the human experience. those folks on the space station are not playing cards, but doing test and work to advance the thoughts and ideas of mankind. keep in mind all the space programs are primarily for security reasons. that is each to keep ahead of the other.

    Robbie; all the problems you perceive as such, are addressed by NASA and many scientific efforts. GW and energy are not in crisis mode, IMO.
    disease, cause and cures are primary issues with the above mentioned experiments.

    terraforming (making a local planet or moon habitable) or traveling to distant planets to colonize are really far off. NASA and many will speculate, but very little public money is being spent to achieve either.
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  11. #10  
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    I think we should sort out our problems on this planet, if we cant deal with problems here (eg energy crisis, disease and global warming) I dont think its a great idea to go bring about a similar problem only on a different planet.

    Couldn't agree more. I do see value in space exploration, and I think the urge to satisfy curiosity about the world around us is a valuable human trait. However, I get tired of hearing people promote space colonialism as a means to run away from our problems. Our biggest problem is not that resources on Earth are limited. Our problems are that we don't seem to be smart enough to get along with each other and to adhere to a sustainable way of life. The prospect to jump from planet to planet, exploiting and trashing each place, is less than attractive to me. I hope in time human beings will adopt an attitude that will finally distinguish us from parasites.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by M
    The prospect to jump from planet to planet, exploiting and trashing each place, is less than attractive to me. I hope in time human beings will adopt an attitude that will finally distinguish us from parasites.

    What's so bad about that? What's so wrong with taking a desolate rock, building it up so it can sustain life, and then leaving it to go somewhere else once we've trashed it back into being a desolate rock? The rocks aren't alive... they feel no pain.

    It's a lot easier to get us to be causing strife somewhere else than it is to get the entire human population—6.5+ billion—to change its behaviour.

    Some people want to fix all the problems here first, others want to get the Hell off this rock. Thing is, the problems here just aren't fixable, and attempting to fix them is the real waste of time, money, and vital resources. Why not get the Hell outa' Dodge while we can?



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  13. #12 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Hello Mik3l:

    Quote Originally Posted by mik3l
    This grotesque amount of money could prevent starvation of millions of people in, for example, Africa...
    Do you know why they starve? Overpopulation. Do you know what is the biggest problem that would be fixed if we sent half the Human species to live elsewhere? Overpopulation.

    Space exploration has the potential to be the fix of the greatest problems plaguing mankind.


    The question is then: Is it really relevant, both morally and ethnically to spend such amount of money on research instead of saving millions of life? What have we actually found out during this many years of research? What is the most important discover made due to the research?
    Hating space travel, are we? Turn off your computer. Throw away your TV and cable box. Got a nice car? Switch to a buggy. Go to a museum, buy some of their 17th Century world maps and throw out the ones you have now. How's your mattress? Soft? Better start sleeping on a board, my friend. The benefits/discoveries of space research are all around us.


    This issue is to be discussed and examine in this thread where you can add both facts and you own personal opinion to the discussion. Thanks.
    No, thank you. It's always nice when people set up their threads with purpose and direction . It makes it so much easier to keep it on-topic.



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    Rv. Jon
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  14. #13  
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    When's the last time you flew overseas? Like Over the Atlantic Ocean or Pacific ocean? Maybe you havn't latley or ever. Perhaps you havn't flown much, but many people have.

    In the 1950's the primary way of navigating across long distance was by using a long radio beam called Omega wave. These waves were produced by very tall Longwave towers (infact the tallest structure in Australia is one of these). The further away from a tower you got, the less accurate the navigation was. So by the time you got halfway between Sydney and Hawaii, well north of Fiji, you could be 40 miles off course and not know it. They way they got around this issue was by having aircraft spaced very far apart. Infact no aircraft was allowed to cross the same position within 40 minutes of the aircraft in front of it. As you can see this reduced the amount of aircraft crossing the ocean between 2 cities to roughly 25 per day, assuming people are ok with landing or taking off at 3am. With the noise abatement curfews in operation this could be reduced to 18 flights a day. Back then this was acceptable. 18 flights a day between New York and England, 18 flights a day out of Chigago for the same destination.

    Now days though, there are 18 AIRLINES per day flying the route. and there are multiple airports in close proximity. Something better was needed to keep planes hitting each other, and the best way to do that was to increase navigational accuracy from within 40 miles, to within 1 mile. This way aircraft would actually know where they were with more accuracy and the distance between them could be reduced. The first invention toward this idea came from the Gemini Rocket program. INS. A gyroscope and accelerometer, both products of the Space program. These devices could tell within 10 miles where an aircraft was. Later versions could reduce the error margin to 4 miles. However these systems tended to drift off course and required re-alignment every few hours. but Boeing 747's can fly for 16 hours without stopping.

    Nowadays we use GPS. Global Positioning Satellites. Literally objects in orbit around the earth send signals to pinpoint positions with an accuracy capable of determining the position of an object within feet and inches. The system doesnt drift off course compared to other vehcles because the system is universal. Everyone is recieving the same data from an external source, a group of satellites in space. Driftoff is no longer an issue with aircraft having different error parameters depending how long they have been airborne for.

    It is pretty obvious that without a space program, that GPS would not exist. you literally need to have objects in space for it to work. Objects with electronics on board sending signals.

    This is but one of the most obvious benifits of the space program. Passenger and Freight Aircraft navigating safely across large distances. A reduction in air crashes.
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  15. #14  
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    I voted "of course," and I personally think it's a no-brainer. In addition to some eloquently-stated reasons already posted for this option, our sun won't last forever. If we don't think outward it won't matter in the long run whether we kill ourselves off or not, it'll be decided for us.
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  16. #15 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik3l
    NASA, ...intend to spend $16, 7923 billions
    Is it really relevant, both morally and ethnically to spend such amount of money on research instead of saving millions of life?
    The 16 billions represents a fraction over 15 cents per day ($1.07/week) for each inhabitant of the US.
    This is a close order of magnitude to the spedning on cosmetics - $8 billion. Or consider the European spending of $17 billion on pet food.
    Is spending on cosmetics more important than spending on space research? Why not target that? Why pick on something that stretches the imagination of man, rather than something that covers up the stretches on women?
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  17. #16  
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    No both are wron but there are people in the world earning less than that a day.
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  18. #17 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Why pick on something that stretches the imagination of man, rather than something that covers up the stretches on women?
    Hold on for a second people... I think you all totally misunderstood me here... I'm not trying to spread some kind of propaganda against space research, in fact, I’m one of the people who support this space exploration in the world and brought this matter up to discussion in order to, backed up by fact, be able to take a justified position in the issue. Also because it’s always interesting to see what people has to say regarding questions which one desires to know and research. I also brought the subject up to get hold of more knowledge regarding things such as background information like, for example, the biggest discovers etc…
    Once again, I’m not picking on NASA or other space agencies; I’m simply bringing up a subject because it fractionates me and I desire to know more about it. So people please, do not misunderstand me here! Whit that clarified, I hope we can continue the discussion :P

    Some questions are still unrequited so if you have anything to add, please do!
    i.e. - What are really the biggest discoveries made so far?
    - Are there other ways of research what's outside earth except telescopes and binoculars?
    - What problems are caused by the research programs and what benefits are the benefits in the programs?
    This is really an interesting subject, planning to write something about it :P
    hehe, thanks!
    Sorry if the question was written in such way it easily could be misunderstood.
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  19. #18  
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    mik; its difficult to suggest one thing over another has been most beneficial. the process NASA uses to achieve something, includes industry.
    they say what is needed and business comes up with a product. NASA, then will choose which is best for there purpose, but the products not used are not abandoned. many find there way into the market place.

    as has been mentioned nearly everything has been improved. i have no idea how many satellites are out there, involved in every form of communication. radio, TV, directional devises, locator's of every thing and the often mentioned spy and detection equipment.

    ground based telescopes are subjected to local conditions and our atmosphere itself. i have not seen an actual figure, but space based instruments should be in total, much more efficient. as for the various and many experiments conducted, the usual desire are the results in a vacuum. none could be done on the planet. there may come in time when many medical procedures can be done in space which are not now available. i won't speculate, but a great deal can be in a weightless environment which cannot or with low efficiency in gravity.

    since NASA, is a government program and not subject to principles which private industry are, i do worry about waste or motivation to a result. the US, is not known to be efficient and to many people can influence the expected or released findings of a project. i do not question the benefits.
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  20. #19  
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    Quote Originally Posted by musicalaviator
    The first invention toward this idea came from the Gemini Rocket program. INS. A gyroscope and accelerometer, both products of the Space program.
    Inertial navigation was a product of the military research, not the space program. They were first used by Nazi Germany's V-2 missiles. Calling it a “product of the space program” is a major stretch.
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  21. #20 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mik3l
    As most of us know, billions of dollars are spend every year on space research. NASA, for example, published their budget for the coming year just for a few months ago - they intend to spend $16, 7923 billions... ESA, which is the European equivalence to NASA confirmed to walk the same path when they declared that they will spend $3, 8 billion under the year of 2007. The Russian space agency "RFSA" intend to spend $1, 3 billion on space research this year which also are loads of money. This grotesque amount of money could prevent starvation of millions of people in, for example, Africa... The question is then: Is it really relevant, both morally and ethnically to spend such amount of money on research instead of saving millions of life? What have we actually found out during this many years of research? What is the most important discover made due to the research?
    This issue is to be discussed and examine in this thread where you can add both facts and you own personal opinion to the discussion. Thanks.
    I swear, if I ever meet you in real life, I'm going to kick your ass.

    It makes all the sense in the word to colonize space. Look at our population issues. Land is quickly becoming a rare commodity, with the homeless population growing by the day, and if we could colonize other planets, such as Mars, land problems are solved for the next few thousand years.

    Space colonization could also solve our natural resources problems. There's no telling what resources are found beneath the visible surface of other worlds. If we find them, and there's no life on that planet that had the rights to them first, what's wrong with us taking them?

    And then there's the possibility of alien civilizations. If we discover intelligent life, that opens up a whole new can of worms for trade. Economy improves like no other time in the history of mankind, and we share technological secrets. There's no telling what those aliens know that we don't, and vise versa.

    What I think your problem is is you've just been infected with a serious case of Nixonitis. It was the Nixon administration that used the same excuses as you to cut Nasa's budget to a tenth of what it was in 1969. It was predicted before then that we'd walk on the Moon by 1970, Mars by 1980, and Saturn's moon Titan by 2000 (speaking of Titan, going back to my resources comment, it has more natural gas than Earth does), and once we landed on the Moon, Nixon ended the Space Race.

    You see? It makes every bit of sense to expand our regions beyond this hell-hole (literally, 'cuz it's getting about that hot). It's because Congress, the ones who set the budget, have to answer to uninformed imbisulls like you that we haven't walked on Titan yet.
    "The only two constants in the universe are the speed of light and human stupidity." - Albert Einstein.
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  22. #21 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    I swear, if I ever meet you in real life, I'm going to kick your ass.
    Whoa...Dude, did you even bother reading that, or any of this thread? 'Cause you kinda missed this guy's position on the topic.

    Not to mention there's no call for that kind of behavior. Here, or anywhere. :?


    Anyway, back to the topic
    ---------------------------------------------
    I don't think anyone should answer this question without having done a little research first. I have, because I've fought this argument several times in the past. Not only have I discussed this with various groups before (scientific and public), but I once wrote a college essay on this, and I have participated in the work of two satellites (four if you count interacting with others who have as well). I was also personal friends with a NASA astronaut (who sadly died in the recent shuttle disaster). Does this make me qualified for this topic? I don't know. That's up to your opinions.

    Let me just be as brief as possible:

    1. The space program is the most advanced, demanding, and potentially beneficial laboratory humanity has. Space provides ways of studying physics and biology that are either difficult, impossible, or impure on Earth, which makes such studies appealing and uniquely beneficial.

    2. The benefits of space-flight technology have had real and significant benefits to mankind. Anyone who believes otherwise lives in a house with dirt insulation, no smoke detector, no refrigerator or microwave, and still tunes their TV with a coat-hanger. From space flight we not only have seen advances in physics, but also biology, and we continue to do so.

    3. The difficulties of the program are directly proportional to the difficulties of the environment. Space is a challenging place, both for technology and biological life. It's not easy, and we're just learning. The difficulties may be great, but the potential rewards are greater.

    4. Mismanagement does not equal misdirected. Mistakes don't equate to failure in the endeavor. If money is wasted because someone didn't do their job, or people can't agree, that's tragic. If money is lost because of unpreventable setbacks and failures, that's called discovery. Please distinguish.

    5. Poverty in the world is NOT strictly or even significantly caused by the space program. This is utter nonsense, and statements claiming that the space program causes poverty only serve to show the ignorance of the parties making such claims. 20-Billion won't solve the poverty problem, either. Money is not the issue.


    I'm sure there's a lot of people who are angrily banging away at their keyboards right now, writing responses...but like I said, this is just my $0.02.
    Wolf
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  23. #22 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    ...I'm sure there's a lot of people who are angrily banging away at their keyboards right now, writing responses...but like I said, this is just my $0.02.
    I think don't you're giving your post enough credit here Wolf. There doesn't seem to be any backlash yet. :wink:

    Well put IMO. 8)

    Edited to add: "I think don't?" JD & posting has it's drawbacks.
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  24. #23 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins

    I swear, if I ever meet you in real life, I'm going to kick your ass.
    omg, such an immature way of answering... If u would have read the entire thread1, u would have seen that i'm NOT against space programs at all, I'M JUST BRINGING UP THE DISCUSSION..
    is that clear now everybody?

    Wolf: great comments, thank alot!

    (Thanks for all the answers so far)
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Inertial navigation was a product of the military research, not the space program. They were first used by Nazi Germany's V-2 missiles. Calling it a “product of the space program” is a major stretch.
    In fairness, Werner von Braun did say that the only problem with the V2 was that it landed on the wrong planet.
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  26. #25 Re: Should we really invest in space research? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    I swear, if I ever meet you in real life, I'm going to kick your ass.
    I swear, if I ever meet you in real life I shall do my best to educate you. I like tough challenges.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    It makes all the sense in the word to colonize space.
    Actually, I can agree with you there. It is your rationale for this stance that is fatally flawed.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    Look at our population issues. Land is quickly becoming a rare commodity, with the homeless population growing by the day, and if we could colonize other planets, such as Mars, land problems are solved for the next few thousand years.
    The issue is not one of land, but of resources and of the distribution of resources. There is, for example, enough food in the world to feed everyone. Our problem is distributing it.

    Unless you can produce some miraculous new form of getting people out of the Earth's gravity well then all the land in the rest of the Universe is irrelevant. You cannot afford to get sufficient numbers of people off the planet and to this brave new world.

    How many do you think we need to move david? I'll take a small stab at it. Considerably more than 30,000 people every day. 30,000 people every day to be moved off planet. How are you going to do that from an engineering standpoint? How are you going to do it from an economic standpoint? [And I've not even dealt with where you are going to send them.]

    If you understand population dynamics you understand that moving them to another planet - even one perfectly terraformed and awaiting settlement - gives you breathing space for less than a century. What do all populations do when faced with an abundance of resources? The buggers start breeding. Fast. Its a sigmoid curve. If your plan is to work you had better explain how you are going to beat the curve.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    There's no telling what resources are found beneath the visible surface of other worlds..
    Well, actually there is. Ask any halfways competent planetologist and they will be happy to tell you. Although most will say we would be better exploiting NEAs. It's the old gravity well problem again.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    And then there's the possibility of alien civilizations. If we discover intelligent life, that opens up a whole new can of worms for trade. Economy improves like no other time in the history of mankind, and we share technological secrets. There's no telling what those aliens know that we don't, and vise versa.
    I hope we can agree that the likelihood of intelligent life in the solar system is extremely remote. Therefore you are talking interstellar travel. Now as a young civilisation taking its first tentative steps outside the solar system's bow wave, what do you imagine are the odds that we meet a civilisation that will treat us anything other than an amusing primitive oddity. (If we are lucky. IT is far more likely to blast us out of existence on the basis that a the only good alien civilisation is a dead alien civilisation.)
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    What I think your problem is is you've just been infected with a serious case of Nixonitis. .......and once we landed on the Moon, Nixon ended the Space Race.
    The space race was a political act, embedded in the cold war and wholly disconnected from science or colonisation. The political goals had been achieved; there was no political reason to continue it.
    Quote Originally Posted by davidstebbins
    It's because Congress have to answer to uninformed imbisulls like you that we haven't walked on Titan yet.
    Just for clarification, is the difference between an imbecile and an imbisull the fact that while both are foolish, one can spell and the other can't?

    There are two reasons in favour of space exploration, and two only. You mentioned neither, yet they are sufficient.

    1. Exploration is a defining characteristic of homo sapiens. It's what we do. If we stop exploring, we eventually cease to be human.
    2. Never put all your eggs in one basket.
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  27. #26  
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    Sometimes I like to compare the endeavor of space-flight to Mans first attempts to sail the ocean. There's an incredible amount of technology and knowledge that needs to be acquired to build ships and successfully navigate and sail the oceans. People worked on it for centuries, and there were a lot of setbacks. In the end, the ocean was there, there were known benefits to exploring it, and despite the incredible costs of the day, people struggled through and triumphed.

    Today it's nothing to build a ship and sail around. In the past, people would sail off and no one could be sure if they'd ever come back.

    Space of course provides new challenges. If the sailing ship falls apart, the sailors can at least try to swim. If the space shuttle falls apart, the astronauts are toast. If the ship springs a leak, you plug it. If the space station springs a leak, yer toast.

    Space is more dangerous and far more challenging, but one would hope that as we advance as a race, our challenges advance, too.
    Wolf
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    The only way I think continued Nasa projects are going to really be worth it is if we start finding a way to make economic use of what's out there.

    If we can set up permanently on the moon, for example, and make a moon base that can sustain itself without help (or without much help), maybe we could start mining the titanium up there. Even better would be if we could set up shop on a few asteroids....

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    davidstebbins wrote:
    And then there's the possibility of alien civilizations. If we discover intelligent life, that opens up a whole new can of worms for trade. Economy improves like no other time in the history of mankind, and we share technological secrets. There's no telling what those aliens know that we don't, and vise versa.
    I hope we can agree that the likelihood of intelligent life in the solar system is extremely remote. Therefore you are talking interstellar travel. Now as a young civilisation taking its first tentative steps outside the solar system's bow wave, what do you imagine are the odds that we meet a civilisation that will treat us anything other than an amusing primitive oddity. (If we are lucky. IT is far more likely to blast us out of existence on the basis that a the only good alien civilisation is a dead alien civilisation.)
    I fully agree here. As Americans, I guess we're not used to being the underdeveloped nation, but it's highly likely we will be just that if we meet another civilization out there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    The only way I think continued Nasa projects are going to really be worth it is if we start finding a way to make economic use of what's out there.
    I think you underestimate the value of what's left to be learned by current efforts. Your statement makes it sound like all research projects currently being undertaken are completed with final conclusions. We're just tipping the iceberg, and there's a heck of a lot more work to be done.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    If we can set up permanently on the moon, for example, and make a moon base that can sustain itself without help (or without much help), maybe we could start mining the titanium up there. Even better would be if we could set up shop on a few asteroids....
    As for mining the Moon, the quantity of titanium is irrelevant at the moment. The cost of installing a base, mining the titanium, and getting it back to Earth, would far outweigh the cost of the titanium itself. Given today's abilities, Moon-mined titanium would likely be more costly than any other manufactured or mined object used today. The only real benefit to any space-borne resource at the moment, would be for purposes in space. For instance, getting the titanium back to Earth would be a waste of money, but it may be more feasible to use it on the Moon as a resource for more building materials. The problem with that idea, of course, is that you can't support a base on the Moon with metal alone. A vast supply of metals doesn't equate to a vast Moon base.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    I fully agree here. As Americans, I guess we're not used to being the underdeveloped nation, but it's highly likely we will be just that if we meet another civilization out there.
    That all depends on who's making contact. If aliens visited us tomorrow, it would be safe to assume that they're more advanced, because they just did something we currently can't do (visit other worlds). However, if we are the ones visiting, the tables are turned.

    Also, given that scenario, it's unlikely that any advanced civilization will be "discovered" by us in that fashion, because it's likely they'd see us coming and contact us first anyway. So it's all a matter of who contacts who.
    Wolf
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    "And then there's the possibility of alien civilizations. If we discover intelligent life.."

    True but that has little to do with Nasa or billions of dollars spent on the infrastructure and hardware for LEO, Moon missions, etc. Any potential contact involves peanuts in costs in comparison...projects like SETI, large radio telescopes and so on.

    Shuttle missions average out 1.2 billion in cost each... one Shuttle mission costs multiple more times than has been spent on a dedicated alien detection project such as SETI.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    Shuttle missions average out 1.2 billion in cost each... one Shuttle mission costs multiple more times than has been spent on a dedicated alien detection project such as SETI.
    True. Most of the costs associated with the search for life in the galaxy comes from paying the persons doing the research. The equipment often turns out to be normal astronomy equipment that's being used in off-hours for other research projects. It's pretty common for observatories to lend out their equipment during the hours they can't observe the subject they're observing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    Quote Originally Posted by Jellyologist
    Shuttle missions average out 1.2 billion in cost each... one Shuttle mission costs multiple more times than has been spent on a dedicated alien detection project such as SETI.
    True. Most of the costs associated with the search for life in the galaxy comes from paying the persons doing the research. The equipment often turns out to be normal astronomy equipment that's being used in off-hours for other research projects. It's pretty common for observatories to lend out their equipment during the hours they can't observe the subject they're observing.
    True and better still we can all get involved even at the home level by lending out out hard drive capacities. We have 4 computers in the home and two are used by Seti@home when dormant. Here's a lnk for anyone interested:

    http://setiathome.berkeley.edu/
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolf
    kojax wrote:
    The only way I think continued Nasa projects are going to really be worth it is if we start finding a way to make economic use of what's out there.
    I think you underestimate the value of what's left to be learned by current efforts. Your statement makes it sound like all research projects currently being undertaken are completed with final conclusions. We're just tipping the iceberg, and there's a heck of a lot more work to be done.
    Space gives us an impetus just like war gives us an impetus for research. (Though at a much smaller cost in human lives). As long this is our goal, however, Nasa will never command more than a very small fraction of the overall national budget. It's just too hit and miss, because most of the costs go to things other than research.

    kojax wrote:
    If we can set up permanently on the moon, for example, and make a moon base that can sustain itself without help (or without much help), maybe we could start mining the titanium up there. Even better would be if we could set up shop on a few asteroids....
    As for mining the Moon, the quantity of titanium is irrelevant at the moment. The cost of installing a base, mining the titanium, and getting it back to Earth, would far outweigh the cost of the titanium itself. Given today's abilities, Moon-mined titanium would likely be more costly than any other manufactured or mined object used today. The only real benefit to any space-borne resource at the moment, would be for purposes in space. For instance, getting the titanium back to Earth would be a waste of money, but it may be more feasible to use it on the Moon as a resource for more building materials. The problem with that idea, of course, is that you can't support a base on the Moon with metal alone. A vast supply of metals doesn't equate to a vast Moon base.
    This is totally a wager. Short term, certainly the first few stages of a moon base will be insanely expensive. After that, once we reach a certain threshold point, and the moon base is self sufficient enough, it could actually be somewhat inexpensive to expand it from that point onward into larger and larger scales of productivity.

    It could reach a point where the only meaningful cost involved in expanding it is getting more people there to work.

    kojax wrote:
    I fully agree here. As Americans, I guess we're not used to being the underdeveloped nation, but it's highly likely we will be just that if we meet another civilization out there.
    That all depends on who's making contact. If aliens visited us tomorrow, it would be safe to assume that they're more advanced, because they just did something we currently can't do (visit other worlds). However, if we are the ones visiting, the tables are turned.

    Also, given that scenario, it's unlikely that any advanced civilization will be "discovered" by us in that fashion, because it's likely they'd see us coming and contact us first anyway. So it's all a matter of who contacts who.
    True it can go either way. It's a total roll of the dice. Will they be in the midevil era? The pre-civilized era? The Renaissance? or....... a great deal further along than we are.

    But take this into account: If other civilizations that reach the point of intergalactic space travel are expansionistic like we are, then each advanced culture will be a multi-world culture, making it more likely for us to meet them because they inhabit more worlds, whereas an underdeveloped culture only inhabits one world.
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    True but 'contact' with in some form with an E.T. doesn't need equate with 'space travel'. Some physicists would nix the idea of any physical movement of mass between stars but definitely not nix the idea that a concentrated energy might be developed to send or receive information.
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