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Space Exploration


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#1 locally pwned

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 06:17 PM

How important is space exploration? Is it worth spending vast sums of tax dollars? Perhaps it is indeed a worthy endeavor...but if so, are there more pressing issues at home we should focus our financial resources on?

Another question: when it comes to space exploration, should our focus be on development of human exploration or robotics?
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

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#2 ddeerrff

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:33 PM

Considering the picture in your sig, I think we probably agree on this one.

Just as those from the old world needed to explore the globe and eventually colonized the western hemisphere, we as humans must explore space and eventual begin to create colonies off the earth.

The human spirit, and ultimately our survival, demands it.
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#3 ussr1943

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 11:41 PM

i believe that sometime in our future out planet will deteriorate so rapidly that
a. we are no longer the dominant speciese
b. the planet will be uninhabitable.

so i believe we need to work on finding a new home, and figuring out all the logistics of moving and so on, before bad things happen.

Edited by ussr1943, 26 January 2007 - 11:42 PM.

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#4 yoopergirl

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 12:04 AM

Not very important, no, zero tax dollars should be spent on exploration. There's better, more important things on our planet to take care of first. Like, saving and making better use of the planet that we are ON. Let's also take care of homelessness, poverty, starvation, the elderly, universal health for Americans, making sure every child has a GOOD education, for free. I dunno, whats wrong with dealing with the problems that we face now before making 100 new problems somewhere else? IMHO

#5 locally pwned

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 12:04 AM

ddeerrff, I agree, humans will eventually expand outward. But for the moment, I lean toward robotic missions.

The main reason (now and in the near future) is the cost/benefit ratio. Take the idea of manned missions to Mars. It would require vast resources...and most of those resources would be geared around keeping the human astronauts alive. Robotics on the other hand can do a great deal for a fraction of the cost. There is so much to learn about the solar system, robots still have great usefulness.

Also, using probes, we can help foresee dangers that we would only have learned from the deaths of crews otherwise. The data sent back can be used to develop new technologies that will eventually make human expansion possible.

Getting a few guys on the moon was a huge task, especially in the 60's...but putting humans on Mars and returning them to Earth is a vastly greater undertaking...greater by far than anything humans have yet attempted. It sounds good in political speeches, but there's much more to it than "rocket science" alone. It makes the explorers of the past pale in comparison, even when taking their hardships into consideration.

But again, the more we learn before we go, the better chances we have of being successful.

ussr, I don't agree that the Earth is doomed. And I'd like to point out that there really aren't many options for alternate homes. The next-most hospitable planet, Mars, has almost no water, no magnetic field (to protect us from cosmic rays), freezing cold, and has a CO2 atmosphere that's so thin liquid water would boil.

As for options beyond our solar system: inter-stellar travel is so far removed from any technology we possess, even in the next century.

I agree that the earth is sickly due to our behavior, but at its worst it is more hospitable to life as we know it by many factors of ten. "Cleaning up our act" is really the only viable solution. There's just no where else to go.

Edited by locally pwned, 27 January 2007 - 12:05 AM.

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#6 locally pwned

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 12:13 AM

Not very important, no, zero tax dollars should be spent on exploration. There's better, more important things on our planet to take care of first. Like, saving and making better use of the planet that we are ON. Let's also take care of homelessness, poverty, starvation, the elderly, universal health for Americans, making sure every child has a GOOD education, for free. I dunno, whats wrong with dealing with the problems that we face now before making 100 new problems somewhere else? IMHO


I understand what you're getting at. Astronomy has been an interest of mine for a long time; but I do feel that we have responsibilities on Earth first. That's again why I think robotics is the way to go, for now...we can still get some exploration done, but at a much lower cost.

But let's not forget: there is a great deal of space science that directly effects life on Earth. Everything from studying the Earth from orbit, to learning about other planets' atmospheres help us understand and protect the environment. Also, many common items you use every day came from space research...everything from Velcro to medicine, computers to the lasers in your CD players and at the check-out stand.

Anyway, my point is (because believe it or not I actually have one :thumbsup: ) that there is always a balance, a compromise where we all benefit.

But as ddeerrff point out, that human spirit…I think there is inherent gain in expanding our understanding of the universe. We lived in a much smaller world before the Hubble Telescope was placed in orbit.

Edited by locally pwned, 27 January 2007 - 12:14 AM.

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#7 DSTM

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 08:08 AM

Not very important, no, zero tax dollars should be spent on exploration. There's better, more important things on our planet to take care of first. Like, saving and making better use of the planet that we are ON. Let's also take care of homelessness, poverty, starvation, the elderly, universal health for Americans, making sure every child has a GOOD education, for free. I dunno, whats wrong with dealing with the problems that we face now before making 100 new problems somewhere else? IMHO

IMHO,You are right,'yoopergirl'.
With our sheer genius and handy work,we have all but destroyed this planet.So instead of spending billions trying to fix some of the problems we have caused,instead billions of dollars is being spent trying to find another planet to stuff up.If the US had a credit surplus and nothing more important to spend the money on,then OK.in my opinion.But with the US National Debt running currently above 8.676 Trillion Dollars,sorry I can't see the sense or the need or the urgency.

Edited by DSTM, 27 January 2007 - 09:33 AM.















#8 MaraM

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 04:16 PM

You're right, discovering Space is exciting in many ways but I do think of earth as our 'cake' and space exploration as the 'icing'. Let's take care of earth so there is no need for it to become impossible for future generations to live here. Sadly, we have no control of what other countries do - even if it means they are polluting our part of the world too. (What can they be thinking!?!).

But that aside, read tons of Science Fiction and Fantasy when a kid and the thought of dwelling on another planet and adventuring through outer space - aah, still magic, in my mind!
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#9 locally pwned

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 08:47 PM

Yeah, we can't go wasting money on space exploration when there are nations to invade and occupy! :thumbsup:

Seriously though, yeah, as much as I love astronomy...you gotta pay the rent before you buy PC upgrades, right?

Though I do think there are elements of space exploration, such as satellites designed to monitor and learn about the Earth's climate that are worthwhile. Sending people back to the moon in a decade or two...not so much.

Here's what NASA has to say about why we should continue manned exploration.

I'm curious to see what Darthy's got to say about this thread, since he doesn't think we have left Earth orbit yet. :flowers:

Edited by locally pwned, 27 January 2007 - 09:04 PM.

"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#10 DSTM

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 09:45 PM

I think Satellites are brilliant,and have a million uses which aid us in our every day life.Too numerous to mention all the benefits they have.I'm not against all Space Exploration,that which we can recieve a benefit from now, I think is most worthwhile.Spending billions for manned trips to Mars is a complete waste of money,in my opinion,because really who is it going to benefit really in the short term?.Think there is too much money poured into these projects, which in my mind are futuristic.Dont agree with NASA,because I think the ridiculous costs far outweigh the benefits,but thats only my opinion.Tweaking the Satellites to help us more and more,to me is a far better option,as the results benefit millions of people daily.Satellites have unlimited uses and potential,and I see a bright future for such.
Must admit,as a child I used to gaze up at the stars,on a clear night, for hours and wonder whats really out there.Still do. :thumbsup:















#11 locally pwned

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:21 PM

Must admit,as a child I used to gaze up at the stars,on a clear night, for hours and wonder whats really out there.Still do. :thumbsup:


Me too. In fact I can hardly go outside at night without looking up... :flowers:
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#12 Constantine

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:16 PM

Locallypwned,

Although I generally agree with you about the need for space exploration, I would like to correct one thing you said.

You credit space exploration for many technological advances, including velcro. In fact, velcro was first invented in 1941 by Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, by observing certain seeds.

We often get carried away and credit space exploration for many things. This is just not true. Very, very few developments have come about because of the space program.
I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

#13 ddeerrff

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:43 PM

Very, very few developments have come about because of the space program.

Huh? Here's a short list:
http://www.thespaceplace.com/nasa/spinoffs.html
Derfram
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#14 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 04:51 PM

Tons of things have came from the space program. Trampoline and those comfy tempure pedic beds are a couple.

I too agree no tax dollars should be spent on space exploration. Only private invested dollars.

#15 locally pwned

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 05:21 PM

Locallypwned,

(1.)You credit space exploration for many technological advances, including velcro. In fact, velcro was first invented in 1941 by Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, by observing certain seeds.

(2.)We often get carried away and credit space exploration for many things. This is just not true. Very, very few developments have come about because of the space program.


1. I didn't know that; interesting. Thanks for pointing it out! Perhaps NASA was simply the first to develop the widespread practical use of Velcro. After all, it didn't show up on shoes and what not until the 80's (perhaps the late 70's, I can't really say, I was only around for a couple of those years and didn't get much out of them.. :thumbsup: ). It's interesting where the space program gets its inspiration to solve various problems. For example, in designing space suits, engineers looked back at the joints in European body armor from the middle ages (I will have to do some digging for a link, I just remember that tid bit from a science program at some point).

2. I must disagree with you here, but ddrreeff has this one covered.

I too agree no tax dollars should be spent on space exploration. Only private invested dollars.


You don't believe the government should divert any to the sciences? What about the arts?
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams




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