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Space Exploration





HerbalTree
With the economic downturn how do you feel about space exploration and the billions of dollars needed to fund NASA.
gueda
I think is a good thing. Because with research for exploring spaces scientis discovered a lot of thing who can help us in our day a day.

Yes, is expensive, but the research is necessary. One war, for example, spend a lot more money than this. Guns industry etc Sad
MeddlingMonk
As much as I would like to see space exploration continue, I think it would be more appropriate to deal with the current global problems rather than spend millions on sending more probes into space. I acknowledge that useful information and practical applications can arise from space-related experiments and discoveries, but there are no doubt many existing practical uses for the funding that would be required for further space exploration.
ocalhoun
Well, the possible advances of an ambitious space program could be what keeps the US in a high-innovation mode, keeping the country competitive.

Besides, if we can afford to spend billions on vainly trying to save a dying bank, we can surely afford a few million for space exploration.
HamsterMan
We really need to set out priorities straight. NASA should be given way more funding then it already gets. Space travel is one of the most important fields of science and we shouldn't skimp on the budget. Just take a small part of the budget that goes to the military and we could hold space travel research alive and prosperous for decades to come.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
Besides, if we can afford to spend billions on vainly trying to save a dying bank, we can surely afford a few million for space exploration.

ABSOLUTELY .... Laughing Laughing Laughing Irony of course is that there is much less intelligence needed for bailing out a dead bank, so most likely if there would be a choice, people would rather cut space exploration programmes. I sincerely hope it will not happen as at least that will keep the world from moving forwards, whetheas bailing out dead banks to prop them up, has to be a number of steps backwards.
HerbalTree
I really am all for space exploration and I agree with this quote from ocalhoun
Quote:
Besides, if we can afford to spend billions on vainly trying to save a dying bank, we can surely afford a few million for space exploration.
especially with the chinese catching up with US we need to quit fattening the financiers pockets in this country and set our priorities straight.[/quote]
Solon_Poledourus
I think NASA should be left to die. Then some billionaire tycoon should buy it up, and independantly fund their own space program. Something as important as the exploration of space should not be left in the hands of government beaurocrats. Just look at what Sir Richard Branson did with the Virgin X-Prize, and he is gearing up for his own Space Program as we speak. And now we have the Google Lunar X-Prize. Both privately funded, and the results, to me, have been quite exciting so far.

I truly believe that private industry will take over the reigns of space exploration. It's really the only way that the human imagination and sense of wonder and curiosity will get involved again. Government space programs have just become so hum-drum... I guess lack of funding is one of many problems, along with outdated technology. More than anything, I think this industry needs fresh new minds who are willing to try new and exciting things, rather than just trying to get more g-man funding.
HerbalTree
Thats a great point. Solon_Poledourus
Quote:
I truly believe that private industry will take over the reigns of space exploration.

Commercializing space programs will probably be the way of the future but I wonder how they will figure out how to make money from this and if these ways will lead to the technological discoveries of the past.
Solon_Poledourus
HerbalTree wrote:
Commercializing space programs will probably be the way of the future but I wonder how they will figure out how to make money from this and if these ways will lead to the technological discoveries of the past.

Money would be made easily in many ways, here are a few:

Selling real estate on the Moon/Mars - these places could be mined for mineral resources, so the properties would be bought by giant corporations.
Putting farms in orbit or on the Moon - this is a promising new direction, as plants only need a small ammount of gravity to properly develop.
Selling tickets to an orbital theater - when major celestial events come along, like supernovae, comets slamming into planets, etc, people could go into orbit and watch it live through high def telescopic video.
These are all private industry endeavors, and I'm sure that a more capable businessman than myself can come up with many more and better ideas. If it's profitable, someone will do it. That's the biggest problem with our space exploration now, is that it's not making any money, only costing money.
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:

Putting farms in orbit or on the Moon[/u] - this is a promising new direction, as plants only need a small ammount of gravity to properly develop.

Especially considering that lunar soil has been found to actually be very good for growing plants in...

The problem is the high shipping costs though. Food will have to be extremely expensive on Earth before it gets cost-effective to ship some from the moon. The same goes for mineral resources: only the most valuable resources would be worth the huge expense of rocketing them back to Earth.

I'd think that to start with, the best reasons for starting colonies would be:
-Tourism
-Medical tourism: badly out of shape or sick people might benefit from low or no gravity, extending their lives.
-Zero G manufacturing: Perhaps some products can be made better or more easily without gravity.
-'Gold' rush: Supposing something extremely valuable was found, it could cause a rush of colonization (and probably a war, too).
HerbalTree
Quote:
'Gold' rush: Supposing something extremely valuable was found, it could cause a rush of colonization (and probably a war, too).


That would prophesize "the new frontier" that Kennedy was talking about except i dont think its what he meant. I would definately go to the new frontier and take some giant steps for humankind.
ocalhoun
HerbalTree wrote:
Quote:
'Gold' rush: Supposing something extremely valuable was found, it could cause a rush of colonization (and probably a war, too).


That would prophesize "the new frontier" that Kennedy was talking about except i dont think its what he meant. I would definately go to the new frontier and take some giant steps for humankind.

Even if it was ridiculously expensive and gave no tangible reward?
Xanatos
ocalhoun wrote:
HerbalTree wrote:
Quote:
'Gold' rush: Supposing something extremely valuable was found, it could cause a rush of colonization (and probably a war, too).


That would prophesize "the new frontier" that Kennedy was talking about except i dont think its what he meant. I would definately go to the new frontier and take some giant steps for humankind.

Even if it was ridiculously expensive and gave no tangible reward?


How do you define tangible reward?

I think that even if building a colony somewhere other than Earth had no immediate rewards it would still be very worth its cost. Exploration and the pursuit of knowledge are , in my opinion, are the two most important tasks of humanity. These two provide good feelings when great things are achieved, and allow humanity as a whole to set their sights on new, wonderful, and amazing things.

This is besides the fact that space travel has produced so many things we use in our everyday lives that it has long since paid for itself, and that further efforts in space will likely produce similar results.
ocalhoun
Xanatos wrote:
Exploration and the pursuit of knowledge are , in my opinion, are the two most important tasks of humanity.

Possibly, but they're hardly tangible.

By tangible, I mean something you could list in a corporation's balance sheet.
Unfortunately, you can't list knowledge as a financial asset (except for certain specialized knowledge, not the type you'd get by exploring).
Jinx
ocalhoun wrote:
Solon_Poledourus wrote:

Putting farms in orbit or on the Moon[/u] - this is a promising new direction, as plants only need a small ammount of gravity to properly develop.

Especially considering that lunar soil has been found to actually be very good for growing plants in...

The problem is the high shipping costs though. Food will have to be extremely expensive on Earth before it gets cost-effective to ship some from the moon. The same goes for mineral resources: only the most valuable resources would be worth the huge expense of rocketing them back to Earth.

I'd think that to start with, the best reasons for starting colonies would be:
-Tourism
-Medical tourism: badly out of shape or sick people might benefit from low or no gravity, extending their lives.
-Zero G manufacturing: Perhaps some products can be made better or more easily without gravity.
-'Gold' rush: Supposing something extremely valuable was found, it could cause a rush of colonization (and probably a war, too).


Actually, the cost of shipping back to Earth wouldn't be that much. You would be sending the freight from an area of little gravity into a gravity well. All you would need is a catapult and a parachute (ok, I'm over-simplifying a little here, but you get the point). Gravity would do the bulk of the work.

The big expense would be in the fuel used to get to the moon (or out to the asteroids) in the first place with all of the equipment and machinery you would need for farming or mining.

Of course, if you could get mining going out in the asteroid belt, farming going on the moon and Mars, figure out how to harvest hydrogen from Jupiter, water from the ice rings of Saturn, and get manufacturing facilities set up on an orbital platform or moon, it would take only a relatively small investment of resources from Earth (several tons of metals, some water, oxygen, and fossil fuels) to get the process started. It could eventually become a self -sufficient system entirely in low G (with the exception of the Jupiter thing, but if you are harvesting hydrogen you could afford the energy to get out of that gravity well), with the final products exported back to Earth.

We still have some problems to solve (low-G bone loss, radiation shielding, enclosed self-sustaining habitats, and terraforming), but once we lick those our solar system could become a bustling, busy place.
ocalhoun
Jinx wrote:
(with the exception of the Jupiter thing, but if you are harvesting hydrogen you could afford the energy to get out of that gravity well)

Only if you have oxygen to combine it with, or manage to use it as fusion fuel...

...Does Jupiter have any appreciable oxygen supply that could be distilled from its atmosphere?
(Yes, I'm to lazy to google it.)
Xanatos
ocalhoun wrote:
Jinx wrote:
(with the exception of the Jupiter thing, but if you are harvesting hydrogen you could afford the energy to get out of that gravity well)

Only if you have oxygen to combine it with, or manage to use it as fusion fuel...

...Does Jupiter have any appreciable oxygen supply that could be distilled from its atmosphere?
(Yes, I'm to lazy to google it.)


Well oxygen is the second most abundant element in the universe so I would assume that it wouldn't be too hard to find. As far as I know though Jupiter is almost entirely hydrogen.
Jinx
I found this proposal ( http://sbir.nasa.gov/SBIR/abstracts/06/sbir/phase1/SBIR-06-1-X4.02-9797.html?solicitationId=SBIR_06_P1 ) for a process designed to extract silicon from lunar regolith (lunar soil) for use making solar panels, with oxygen as a by-product of the process.
So there's where oxygen could come from - assuming it works and produces sufficent quantities.

I also found out that according to international treaty right now no one (individuals, countries, or corporations) can claim ownership over anything in space, which puts a damper on commercial development in space. Until this is changed there isn't really any incentive for commercial development - if you can't own the asteroid you are mining then you can't own the payload and you can't sell what you don't own.

I can understand why these treaties would be set up the way they are -- it keeps Japan from claiming the moon as it's own, and the US from claiming Mars as it's sovereign territory, etc... but I think the rules need to be amended to take private industry into account.
Solon_Poledourus
Jinx wrote:
I found this proposal ( http://sbir.nasa.gov/SBIR/abstracts/06/sbir/phase1/SBIR-06-1-X4.02-9797.html?solicitationId=SBIR_06_P1 ) for a process designed to extract silicon from lunar regolith (lunar soil) for use making solar panels, with oxygen as a by-product of the process.
So there's where oxygen could come from - assuming it works and produces sufficent quantities.

Super interesting. And solar panels on the moon would get sunlight non-stop.
Jinx wrote:
I can understand why these treaties would be set up the way they are -- it keeps Japan from claiming the moon as it's own, and the US from claiming Mars as it's sovereign territory, etc... but I think the rules need to be amended to take private industry into account.

Totally agreed. I think a better way would be an internationally recognized commercial group taking industry to space for the betterment of the entire planet, not just one nation. Share all the resources with everyone who signs on. Either that or I do it on my own and claim ownership of extraterrestrial resources for myself, by force. The Solon Federation.
Who's with me?
ocalhoun
Jinx wrote:

I can understand why these treaties would be set up the way they are -- it keeps Japan from claiming the moon as it's own, and the US from claiming Mars as it's sovereign territory, etc... but I think the rules need to be amended to take private industry into account.

Then what happens when company A claims an asteroid, but then company B starts operations there, ignoring the laws of Earth governments, because they are far out of their jurisdiction?
It may end up with corporations assuming a pseudo-nation status in space.
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
Then what happens when company A claims an asteroid, but then company B starts operations there, ignoring the laws of Earth governments, because they are far out of their jurisdiction?

Then company A hires private security forces to secure their asteroid from company B, it would create jobs. Then there would definately be a rush on developing cool space-weapons and fast little ships. Sweet...
ocalhoun wrote:
It may end up with corporations assuming a pseudo-nation status in space.

Which would further the space exploration/habitation boom, as they would have more assets in space to develop and protect.
ocalhoun
Solon_Poledourus wrote:

ocalhoun wrote:
It may end up with corporations assuming a pseudo-nation status in space.

Which would further the space exploration/habitation boom, as they would have more assets in space to develop and protect.

It would be nice to restrict war to being an Earth-only phenomenon, but that may be impossible.
Solon_Poledourus
ocalhoun wrote:
It would be nice to restrict war to being an Earth-only phenomenon, but that may be impossible.

Ideally, we would travel to space as a unified species, more or less. But this may not be likely. In which case I hope we at least get cool fighter ships out of the deal.
HerbalTree
And we would have ourselves a new frontier lol. maybe McCain and Palin could be Mavericks all over again. Until I show up.... in my better and improved space ship
8166UY
Europe is putting MORE money into it, because they want the Gallileo to be finished earlier. Big thing is that they labs get more knowledge, politicians get satisfied and people see that ESA can take it. Also China is putting a lot of effort into it. Their economy still relies on ours, so that won't be a real problem. Wink
tony
NASA provides a huge number of jobs to Americans, and enlightens and educates the people. However, is it not more a responsibility of a government to directly care for its people through services like free, public health care which America still does not have? Just my opinion...
wanshi
I think the space exploration is a kind of research ,finding the answer of problems is profitable
mafialive
It is worthwhile indeed. We have made so many advancements from space travel and most people don't even put that into consideration. We have cell phone communication, internet, maps of the world... and so so much more. Without space travel we would only be limited to the planet earth, but with it the possibilities are endless. Space travel has also created countless jobs thus strengthening our economy. I believe that space travel will farther the advancement of technology in the future and increase the amount of knowledge that the human race will know.
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