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The future of space flight?

#1 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 04:47

How do you see the future of space exploration? Should we set as a goal to make a permanent base on the Moon, or just stick to the Earth orbit? How about a hotel in space?

Or do you think it's all a big waste of money?
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#2 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 05:14

I kinda liked the idea of the international space station. It's a nice symbolic way to celebrate the end of the cold war by exploring the space together with Russia, instead of in competition with them.

On the other hand, space flight (except for sending communication satelites into orbit), especially manned space flight, is probably relatively expensive in relation to it's results in terms of scientific progress. So it could certainly be argued that the money is better spent elsewhere.
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#3 User is offline   Blofeld 

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  Posted 2006-April-21, 05:48

I think that we should push for more spaceflight. Only by having more small-scale operations first will we ever get to the large-scale things that are likely to be genuinely useful. So even if in the short term things like a moon base are a waste of money (actually a moon base probably wouldn't be, if properly used for research), the experience gained will be worth it.
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#4 User is offline   the saint 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 05:53

IF we stopped fighting wars we would have more than enough cash for space flight.
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#5 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 13:32

Manned space flight seems like a horrible waste of money to me.
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#6 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 13:42

cherdano, on Apr 21 2006, 02:32 PM, said:

Manned space flight seems like a horrible waste of money to me.

Gasoline burning engines are a horrible waste of resources (=money).

20 Billion dollars to send a ship to Mars is money spent on developing cutting edge technology as well as paying the salaries of highly trained technical personnel. It is also an endeavor worthy of expanding the human spirit whereas taking your gas guzzling SUV to the corner store to buy potato chips is no effort but worthy of an expanding waistline.
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#7 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 14:46

cherdano, on Apr 21 2006, 02:32 PM, said:

Manned space flight seems like a horrible waste of money to me.

To me too.
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#8 User is offline   the saint 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 17:17

Hannie, on Apr 21 2006, 08:46 PM, said:

cherdano, on Apr 21 2006, 02:32 PM, said:

Manned space flight seems like a horrible waste of money to me.

To me too.

Where is your sense of endeavour and wonder?

Sending a man to Mars is something that could unite humanity in wonder, rather than all this fractious divison we seem to have at the moment. 20 Billion dollars is absolute peanuts compared to the US defence budget...
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#9 User is offline   Rain 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 19:20

You know what's funny?

Apparently singapore wants to compete to be the world's launching pad for tourist space flights.

Maybe it'll be located in Sentosa, conveniently beside the brand new casinos.
Maybe we'll build a brand new island called "Space Island" just for the space flights.
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#10 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 20:18

Hannie, on Apr 21 2006, 03:46 PM, said:

cherdano, on Apr 21 2006, 02:32 PM, said:

Manned space flight seems like a horrible waste of money to me.

To me too.

we can't know if this is so or not... we have to actually make the attempt before we can say whether or not it was wasted... i doubt the effort can be held in check for long, even if it should be, because man seems to be bitten with the wanderlust bug
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#11 User is offline   sceptic 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 21:29

Quote

Manned space flight seems like a horrible waste of money to me.


I can't see that it is a waste of money, we would still be living in a world that is flat and living in mud huts if we never explorded the unknown, whatever the cost in money or life, it is a basic desire we all have to go where no man has gone before (quoted from the great man himself "Captain Slog")

why should we not want to colonise other planets, there has to be something out there worth having, lets get to it, lets claim it, lets start an empire, after all you can't just sit and accept this is all there is, other wise we have no progress and the rate we are using our resources and screwing up our planet, we may need to do it
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#12 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2006-April-21, 22:13

Arend didn't say that space research or research in general was a waste of money, just that manned space flight is. Give us 20 billion dollars and we'll find other research projects that will be far more interesting.

Of course, what a researcher finds interesting may not agree with what the general public finds interesting.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#13 User is offline   sceptic 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 05:03

Quote

Arend didn't say that space research or research in general was a waste of money, just that manned space flight is.
yes and I disagree, wtp ;)

my idea of a waste of money

1/. Cherie Blair £7,000 bill for having her hair done in an election campaign

2/. Tax rebates, why take it in the first place

3/. My divorce settlement when it happens :P (hm, perhaps this is in the wrong column)
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#14 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 06:15

Anyway the USA spent $420,700,000,000 on military in 2005, more than the GDP of all but 16 countries (17th Belgium - 18th Switzerland) and more than $1000 per capita. This must be the world's largest money pit!

Anyway I think the future of space flight should be focussed on getting resources out from nearby Solar System bodies like the moon and asteroids. Many asteroids would be a miner's dream. They are not differentiated which means that the metals are not mostly stuck in the core as in the Earth but they are everywhere.
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#15 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 08:25

I see, we should have manned space flight, because there are other, much more wasteful things going on? That's quite an argument. "We should send humans to mars because a politician is spending $7000 on her hair"

I agree that a lot of money is wasted. But there is a lot of serious useful research out there that has trouble finding sufficient funds.

The other argument is "let's do something silly that's really really hard". We'll get a lot of smart people to work on it and pay those, and surely there will be scientific innovations when we do this.

There are lots of hard problems out there in any field of science, including astronomy. Putting people on mars has little to do with science, more with public relations. Let's spend the money on serious science.
Please note: I am interested in boring, bog standard, 2/1.

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#16 User is offline   sceptic 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 09:38

Quote

see, we should have manned space flight, because there are other, much more wasteful things going on?


now you are putting words in my mouth, that is not what I said, you have drawn a conclusion, I think we should have manned space flights, I think that money is wasted elsewhere, I also agree some research is not funded properly

the later two do not have any bearing on my opinion about the first

I just think exploration is something that will take us forward in the long run, no idea how or what we will find, but there must be something out there and why should we not look for it and bugger the cost, is the cost of ignorance more expensive.


I do not think manned space flight is a horrible waste of money, but that is just my opinion, it is different from yours, who is correct, I doubt we will ever find out, just because someone can put up a better debate does not mean they are right :)

I am curious about what you consider serious science
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#17 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 10:51

Hannie, on Apr 22 2006, 09:25 AM, said:

I agree that a lot of money is wasted. But there is a lot of serious useful research out there that has trouble finding sufficient funds.

this might be (probably is) true, but it doesn't follow that by not attempting manned space flight we will spend more on "useful research" ... so i don't think it's a particularly good argument to say that we should forego manned space flight until we allocate "sufficient funds" to research needed here, since we can't know when (or if) that allocation will occur

Quote

The other argument is "let's do something silly that's really really hard". We'll get a lot of smart people to work on it and pay those, and surely there will be scientific innovations when we do this.

who made that other argument? and, in your opinion, is the word "silly" somewhat subjective?

Quote

There are lots of hard problems out there in any field of science, including astronomy. Putting people on mars has little to do with science, more with public relations. Let's spend the money on serious science.

perhaps you're right that the motives of such an endeavor would favor public relations over scientific research/exploration... but there are probably people who would argue with you about the relative merits of one "serious science" over another

i agree with you that such things as health care, research into how to cure the diseases that plaque us, etc, seem to be a more useful allocation of funds... unfortunately, the ones with the money (and decision making power) don't always agree with one another, much less with those of us who have neither
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#18 User is offline   pclayton 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 10:51

I don't want to see my tax dollars going toward this.

If its worthwhile to explore Mars or other planets, or galaxies, corporate America (or India, or Europe, or China, or whatever...) will write the check.

And for those that want to plunk down down $20 MM to catch a ride, I think thats just plain silly.
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#19 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 11:29

I want to see my tax dollars go towards this.

1) I think the combination of some worthwhile basic research coming out of it and inspiring dreams is worth the money spent.
2) There is some basic science that says the more dispersed a species is the greater chance for survival.
3) Corporate and oversees monies are flowing into space research.
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#20 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2006-April-22, 11:41

Couple comments that folks need to recognize:

1. Gravity wells are for kids. I'm strongly in favor of space flight and exploration. With this said and done, the moon / mars don't offer all that much compared to the asteroid belts and LaGrange points.

2. Privatizing space flight is highly problematic for a number of reasons. The most significant is also one of the most basic. If you drop something, it falls down. If you drop something from a very high place, it hits VERY hard. Any organization capable of moving things arround up there immediate gets weapons of mass destruction capability that puts our current nuclear stockpiles to shame.
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