Space Missions, Wasted Money? - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-15-2004, 07:10 AM   #1
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Space Missions, Wasted Money?

I was just looking over the cuts to the NASA budget (again!) and wanted to know what people think about the long term goals of space exploration, and if the money is being spent properly. Seriously its bloody annoying to see so many billions squandered on overblown millitary projects that just get cancelled and dole bludgers who contribute nothing to anything while NASA gets the runaround from dodgy politicians who have no understanding of the science being done.

I myself think that space is the only option if mankind intends to succeed in the long time, of course we will almost certainly be limited to our own solar system considering the limitations placed upon us by GR (no Star Trek warp drives people, in all probability we will be stuck to slower than light travel which means, we cannot reach for the stars , unless of course faster than light travel was somehow possible in which case it would also encompass time travel backwards which could lead to causality violations and from there on it gets a bit iffy). I do question the allocation of the money though, the faster, cheaper, better motto that essentially excuses having less funds. I want to see more money being poured into alternative propulsion systems, more allocated towards nuclear power in space (prometheus / JIMO is a very promising start) and a lot more money dedicated to theoretical physics research, we really need a larger understanding of the universe so we can understand what is feesible (the only way we can ever exploit the universe is if we comprehend it from the base up). The other interesting project I have eyed over for quite a while is the "space elevator" now that is a brilliant concept, slashing the costs of launching payloads by simply lifting them into space, nowhere near as much wasted energy and the safety margin would increase dramatically. Manned missions would be really great, I could concieve a decade long mission to explore the solar system using a nuclear fusion space ship operating this century.

Exploring our solar system, and answering the fundamental questions of the universe are surely much nobler causes than religous fanaticism or aquisition of wealth, science and technology can bring humanity forward rather than perpetuate ignorance and war that way religion and nationalism have, why the hell is this lost on the people with the power to change it (I know the answer $$$, it just makes me mad to be reminded again and again).
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:38 AM   #2
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Also like to post that the buerocracy of NASA has a lot to do with this problem, the way that they allow projects to have massively overblown budgets, the cancellation of cheap programs to account for this and the spectacular failures in replacing the old space shuttles (they are beasts of the 1970's for crying out loud!). Quite good to see the Space Ship 1 make a move for the X-Prize, suborbital flights are a long way from launching payloads but its a step in the right direction for the commercialization of space.
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:19 AM   #3
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I think we have no business in space. We've fucked up the earth. Let's limit our damage eh.
Human ego.
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:30 AM   #4
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By that logic humans had no business on the water, or in the air - space is the next step in the journey of our species, its an obvious progression. The problem is of course monetary, until there is money to be made from space not much will happen. Of course now you have the prospect of sub-orbital space tourism it should create an industry, from there you shall see the innovation and boldness that you dont get from government funded organizations. I suspect that if it succeeds in the next decade, the prospects will rise exponentially.

Moving out into space offers so much potential, the breakthroughs required to do so are great but the benefits are unlimited. Cheap clean power - solve problems of pollution (would be thinking along the lines of nuclear fusion here, a fair way off but you dont do it by burning more coal). Genetically modified foods - solve world hunger. Nanotechnology - revolutionize material engineering, computers and medical technology. Space based planet finding telescopes - isolate terrestrial planets, increasing odds of discovering a "wow" signal, discovery of intelligent extraterrestrial life would certainly put things into perspective.

Unless you can look forward to the big goals you are only going to see obstacles. Only by putting our existence into a cosmic perspective can we get beyond our petty differences and focus on the big problems.

Human beings are natural explorers, right from the beginning; we have spread across the earth, using innovation to survive, stopping here because we dont like the look of where we are coming from is defeatist. The only way things get better is by striving forward, not by turning around and halting progress so you can wait for everything in the world to be perfect.
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Old 08-15-2004, 08:31 AM   #5
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i agree with anna
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:02 AM   #6
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Water is on earth. Where we've already spread out and destroyed such large portions of it. Why head out into such a vast, pristine space and willinly fuck that up too? You think we wont? We are aware of what we've destroyed here, but I dont see anyone really doing a great deal about it. So our logical step is to move somewhere else? If we survive as a species long enough, where will we go after that? Because I'm sure our egos will ensure we take up as much room out there as possible. Defeatist it might be, but alternatively moving on instead of rectifying here, is arrogance. We dont belong in space.
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:17 AM   #7
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I haven't been a big supporter of space explorations. I remember the Challenger disaster. That was devastating. Of course we had a more recent disaster, too. Back in the '60's putting a man on the moon was some sort of huge ideal. Looking back, I'm not sure what we accomplished besides gaining some bragging rights. It was partially political; the Russians put Sputnik in space in 1957 and immediately the U.S. wanted to keep up. So JFK started our space program.
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Old 08-15-2004, 10:24 AM   #8
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it is good to know what kind of mysteries and curiosities lies through the universe, personally i'm very interested in astronomy, but it is inevitable to ask ourselves if all the billions that are given away for these missions and for the building of war machines would be spend just one time for at least a few people living in the poorest places of the world who have nothing in their lives..........when i think to all the money that all the rich countries really throw away, especially for the construction of machines directed to destruction, i really become sad, fucked up and so pissed off
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:21 PM   #9
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There are far too many things going on here in on our planet that deserve money and attention, I can't with a good conscience say we need to focus more on space exploration. I do not believe that space is the next step for humankind. We were given a home and we've destroyed it, why continue our destructive path?
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:55 PM   #10
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this money could be better spent IMHO
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Old 08-15-2004, 02:57 PM   #11
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i'll volunteer to spend it
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Old 08-15-2004, 06:50 PM   #12
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the best thing is to sit in a hole and puke about mumbo-jumbo stuff.
space is a thing for the spirit , and yes it is a progress , cause any minute , a single boom and we're all gone , and the earth won't be there forever ,
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:06 PM   #13
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There will be a time when we can better afford it. Right now, we need to find a way to save the Hubble Space Telescope. Have you ever seen a photo taken by it that didn't leave you awestuck at the wonders of our universe? Allowing it to fail so we can throw money at an ill-conceived manned mission to Mars- unbelievable.
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Old 08-15-2004, 07:11 PM   #14
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While space exploration can achieve a lot of things, it's an awful lot of money to spend to extend our knowledge in ways that can't really help us. I mean, how does it benefit us to know what the surface of Mars looks like? Surely the money could be spent in much better ways, e.g. erasing Third World debt?
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Old 08-15-2004, 11:01 PM   #15
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I don't think we should limit our explorations to Earth alone. I do question the accounts management of the space programme, for eg. there are too many astronauts than there are opportunities to go into space. I think only a few get to leave the atmosphere but so much is spent on training so many. I also question space travel/research being tied up with the govt of a particular country, when really we should bring in everyone's agenda into it (utopian idea). However, things like finding out the composition of the stars, how the galaxy works, research into the logical fate of the universe - all that is fascinating and yes, might be useful for us in the future when our own Sun begins to die down. Who knows, right?

About solving practical money problems back home, I think there is always another way of raising money for such things. We don't need to point a finger at research, let's reach our fingers into the pockets of corrupt politicians and businessmen, for a start?

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