What is the obsession going to the moon or mars?

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1 hour ago, Ken Fabian said:

Again, I am not opposed. But a realistic assessment of what is required must replace hype. I don't have to accept, let alone support overhyped expectations, nor should large expenditures of taxpayer money be undertaken on the basis of popular support built upon such hype.  And it is 2017, where we have a far greater understanding of what is possible and what is required - and expect to make investments on sound and detailed business plans.

You could have surprised me then: There have been countless realistic assessments given to you as to why space exploration[note I am interested in space exploration as opposed to space tourism] should not only take place but most certainly will take place, irrespective of the poor tax payer and his money which mostly anyway, speaking globally goes towards militaristic endeavours.

And of course you don't have to accept what you mistakenly claim as over-hyped expectations, just as those opposing your own unsupported rhetoric, do not need to accept your own hype.

I do though agree that being 2017 we do have a better understanding of not only what is possible, and what is required, but the benefits in the past and the future of space travel and exploration, as well as optimism.

1 hour ago, Ken Fabian said:

The other and perhaps more appropriate lesson from history is that speculative ventures like new world colonies that couldn't pay their own way within the existing greater economy ultimately failed.

??? Did they???  The three that I have in mind are examples shining examples of successes, although the treatment of indigenous cultures in achieving such success could be questioned.

The rest of your over-hyped, baseless expectations are best discarded at this time.

In fact, all I'm seeing is obstinence and an apparent resolute stubborness in countering the many reasons why space exploration, will always take place, that possibly reflects an agenda, whatever that agenda maybe. I have seen similar elsewhere.

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nor should large expenditures of taxpayer money be undertaken

I know its all been covered before, but since you continually raise it...

[1]How much per head is spent on space endeavours?

[2] How much do we spend per head on alcohol, tobacco or any other drug that some maybe dependent on?

[3] How much do we spend on military defence and attack systems, based on what we imagine our supposed enemies are spending?

Edited by beecee

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Another things that should be mentioned, and any military commander would know this, command of the high ground is of paramount importance. Space is the ultimate high ground, an iron nickel asteroid a 100 meters in diameter would be impossible to stop and destroy it's target with no radiation.  Nudging such a body into an intercept orbit with Earth, yes a particular spot on the Earth would not be difficult to do and impossible to prove who if anyone did it... I know somewhere in the pentagon this thought is better than viagra to some...

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I have just been over this thread rather quickly, and something has struck me. While I have claimed further space exploration is inevitable, it has been objected to and raised the hackles in some. I suppose technically that person maybe  right. How can anyone claim anything in the future is inevitable...I mean in effect the Earth itself may be obliterated. We, any of us may get hit by a bus tomorrow  morning. Some well supported theory like the BB, SR, GR, evolution maybe shown to be invalid.  But any of that negativity to be validated is, well a long shot...a real long shot! In fact for many reasons, extremely unlikely. We do have space watch scenario in action and no potential hit is imminent.....Most of us are taught to look to the left and right before crossing the road, to avoid getting hit by a bus......the well supported theories I mentioned are well accepted and in some cases damn well "near certain" and as we know while theories continue to make successful predictions and match observations, they do grow in certainty over time.

What are the chances that technological advancements will not continue? Will we stagnate? or go back to swinging in the trees? Again not certain [particularly with at least two ratbag leaders of nations at this time] but avoiding any MAD, continued technological advancements is near certain. As I have harped on from post one, all we need is the time.

I at this time want to bring to notice an early post as I believe it says it all......

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Ten oz

From memory foam to GPS both the middle class and upper middle class have a lot to be thankful for with regards to the space race. Smartphones to LEDs technologies created by our space race have pumped trillions of dollars into our economy. It is myopic vision to demand knowing where research and development, discovery, will lead in advance. Columbus sought out looking for a short cut and on that front was a failure that lost Spain money. Initially all the Spanish and Italians cared about with regards to the Americas was gold but eventually realized the termondous profit values of Coca, Tobacco, Tomatos, Corn, Peanuts, and etc, etc, etc. It is impossible to know where colonization technology will lead. History has already proved our space program to be an huge success responsible for trillions of dollars worth or new technological growth and innovation.

It absolutely makes no sense to claim that space exploration has not economically benefited us..it makes no sense to claim that it will not benefit us in the future...it makes no sense to say that there is any reasonable doubt that technological progress and advancement will not continue....it makes no sense to ignore the possibility nad importance  of life's big questions being answered by continued space exploration... It makes no sense to ignore human nature and the qualities of exploration, gathering knowledge, and going where no man has gone before...given the time of course!

Space exploration, both robotic and human is going to happen, it is only a question of when.

Edited by beecee

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ABSTRACT:

Utilisation of the material and energy resources of the Solar System will be essential for the development of a sustainable space economy and associated infrastructure. Science will be a major beneficiary of a space economy, even if its major elements (e.g. space tourism, resource extraction activities on the Moon or asteroids, and large-scale in-space construction capabilities) are not developed with science primarily in mind. Examples of scientific activities that would be facilitated by the development of space infrastructure include the construction of large space telescopes, ambitious space missions (including human missions) to the outer Solar System, and the establishment of scientific research stations on the Moon and Mars (and perhaps elsewhere). In the more distant future, an important scientific application of a well-developed space infrastructure may be the construction of interstellar space probes for the exploration of planets around nearby stars.

Conclusions

The solar system is rich in energy and material resources which could potentially support a vibrant future space economy. Although many aspects of this economic activity will probably be pursued for purely commercial reasons (e.g. space tourism, and the mining of the Moon and asteroids for economically valuable materials), science will nevertheless be a major beneficiary. Indeed, science will benefit from all stages in the ‘bootstrapping’ of a space economy, from initial prospecting activities on the Moon and asteroids, through to the utilisation of the resulting resources to expand space activities. In particular, science will benefit from the infrastructure developed to support a space economy, which will help facilitate the construction of large space telescopes, the establishment of scientific research stations on the Moon and Mars (and perhaps elsewhere), and the mounting of ambitious space missions (including human missions) to the outer Solar System. In the more distant future, an important scientific benefit of a well-developed space infrastructure may be the construction of interstellar space probes for the exploration of planets around nearby stars.

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8 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

Another misleading historical comparison - those railways made money from the very first sections completed and further construction was financed with near certainty of financial returns on each further section. Utilising space resources appears to require a whole system be built before anything except "corollary" benefits can be realised; those are inadequate by themselves. I think a greater level of real confidence that the result will be economically viable cannot be an afterthought.

You'll have to forgive me but i know very little about the economic history of the railroads. Maybe i shouldn't have brought it up but now i'm interested. The railroads started making money immediately? I couldn't find any information on this with a quick search - can you share your sources? My meagre understanding was the US government sold loads of bonds (a form of debt) to fund the project.

8 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

A whole lot of taxpayer funded R&D contributed economically - I see no reason to believe space exploration delivers more and better outcomes dollar for dollar than other major investments in R&D - sure the US space program was exceptional in scale and reach but from the start it was built on the popularity of exaggerated expectations as well as being an expression of national pride in the face of geopolitical implications of near space as a military objective. A lot of those advances could have been delivered by the parallel and overlapping military aerospace R&D programs where the same problems were begging solutions.

I am a strong supporter of R&D for many worthwhile goals - and I am not trying to exclude space goals - but extremely large financial commitments to specific sectors and goals should be based on realistic assessments, not hype.

I still don't see any substance to your reluctance. This report estimates that in 2014 the total space economy was worth $330 billion with$250.8 coming from commercial space industries presumably leaving $79.2 billion coming from governments mostly via NASA. Still less than we spent on hair products as a species that year. Couldn't find a direct comparison for 2014 for global government budgets but for 2016 the top 5 nations alone had budgets exceeding 10.2 trillion. I make that 0.007% of the average taxpayer's money going to space development (assuming those countries get all their revenues from tax). I think we should be spending more not less. You must have seen some figures to make you so resolute against the attempt: what figures/reports have you seen that make you fear space tech investment? Where is the hype in all these figures? What figures have you seen that make you think investment elsewhere would be more profitable? Do you think profit really should be the number one consideration for the human species? You also seem to confuse corollary for mere: these technologies are now multi billion dollar industries in themselves. The smartphone industry alone is worth$330 billion a year. But not enough for you apparently.

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Just recently scientists have developed a way to get around needing plant sugars to grow single cell organisms for protein.

We'll get there

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I hope its appropriate to post one of my all time favourite speech, uttered in such dulcet, meaningful tones and a knowledge and wisdom that imo makes him one of the greatest educators of the 20th century:

I'm in total agreement with one of  the comments thus                                                             "I miss Carl Sagan. His books and TV shows taught me so much awe inspiring stuff. World Leaders should be made to watch 'Pale Blue Dot', if only to make them see how utterly unimportant and insignificant they actually are in the great scheme of things. Everything Carl Sagan says in it is an absolute fact, which is what makes it so compelling, chilling, and ultimately, shattering. Children should be shown this in school, too. It would probably scare the bejesus out of them, but they'd never forget it".﻿

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Prometheus - earlier posts made clear that there is a lot of room for near Earth space activities to be commercially viable; it's the successful exploitation of space resources and space colonisation in the absence of profitability - one hopes preceding and leading to it - that I think present a much bigger challenge. Extraordinary claims of inevitable outcomes are made and I don't think they are inevitable. For one thing I don't think technological advancement follows an exponential curve - it will be an S - curve, with an upper boundary, mirroring in aggregate how individual technologies develop, with diminishing returns as the easy big gains are followed by smaller and harder ones.

On the railway comparison I will stand by my argument that it is a tenuous and misleading parallel. Arguments for supporting subsidised space activities based on it are disingenuous. And dis-ingenuousness in place of compelling arguments aren't going to win me over. Nor do I think the onus is on me to show that the outcomes aren't inevitable, rather the onus is on the proponents to show that they are.

Early railways were making a profit from very early; there was only 8 years between the first full scale working steam railway and the first commercially successful one (In UK). Their development was not subsidised. The US began building it's railway system after the commercial viability had been proven elsewhere. The first was financed by stock offerings in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company and it earned money for investors - not sure the extent of government assistance, likely expediting land acquisitions at the least was provided. It was a commercially viable enterprise from day one , arguably before the first track was laid or any freight was hauled - and it's commercial success made it possible to push the railways further. It serviced already existing communities and an already existing economic function, competing successfully with other forms of transport, that were, themselves, economically viable. That is very different to how space development has proceeded. So I find arguments like - "The first steam engine 1698, the American transcontinental railway was built 1863 - over 165 years later. Yet you think 70 years is enough time to say space technology has failed to overcome it's hurdles so let's give up?" - hard to simply allow to pass. Not that I've said "let's give up" - rather, I'm sceptical that the extraordinary outcomes hoped for are likely. Certainly I think the Manned Mars push is misguided, unnecessary and wasteful, whereas I see proving the feasibility of resource exploitation directly as essential to achieving that visionary, space resource rich future. State sponsored programs can help but ultimately it's for commercial projects to prove.

I do think the estimates of the value and benefits of those corollaries are overly generous in what they count - another kind of hype - including the implicit claim that many useful technologies could not exist at all except by that means. As an R&D hothouse the US space program not only added to overall R&D it overlapped with some as well as displaced some and I think there is good reason to think R&D would have continued elsewhere, delivering if not the precise same outcomes, still outcomes of great and potentially comparable value and some would have been for serving and advancing many of the same needs.

Government sponsored R&D hothouses - space focused ones included - do have my support, just not unconditional or unbounded support and not because I expect them to establish homo spaciens in their new habitat. Not that I have any real influence; I'm just saying what I think. Still, I don't think commercially successful patents and products or near space commercial activities can replace or induce successes at finding and proving the viability of utilising space resources that is the precursor to viable colonisation. Proving the commercial viability in practice should be done by commercial enterprises with business plans that win the financiers over - and I am not stopping them.

I'm not saying it's all impossible so don't even try but I think it's a long way from inevitable and made less inevitable when significant steps - giant leaps - along the way must be done in the face of uncertain commercial viability.

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53 minutes ago, Ken Fabian said:

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53 minutes ago, Ken Fabian said:

I'm not saying it's all impossible so don't even try but I think it's a long way from inevitable and made less inevitable when significant steps - giant leaps - along the way must be done in the face of uncertain commercial viability.

While nothing as I admit to is really inevitable, technological advancement and the continuation of space exploration will continue: A very near certain fact, just as some current scientific theories are as near certain as one could wish for.

Edited by beecee

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Ignoring Space Exploration Is “Embarrassingly Short-Sighted”

Let me say it again: While certainly as our friend Ken says, nothing is inevitable, unless we are going to progress backwards, unless Earth experiences some astronomic collision with a large Asteroid/Comet, technological advancements, progress, and continued and further space exploration is as close to certainty as the theory of evolution. All we need is the time.

During our brief stay on planet Earth, we owe ourselves and our descendants the opportunity to explore—in part because it's fun to do. But there's a far nobler reason. The day our knowledge of the cosmos ceases to expand, we risk regressing to the childish view that the universe figuratively and literally revolves around us. In that bleak world, arms-bearing, resource-hungry people and nations would be prone to act on their "low contracted prejudices." And that would be the last gasp of human enlightenment—until the rise of a visionary new culture that could once again embrace the cosmic perspective.

Edited by beecee

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I think I'll leave the discussion - not much to say that I haven't already.

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4 minutes ago, Ken Fabian said:

I think I'll leave the discussion - not much to say that I haven't already.

I'm happy to agree to disagree. I knew nothing of space economics before this thread, and what little i have learnt hasn't quenched my desire to see us reach for the stars. I think what rankles is that you sound a bit like those embittered people who say not to dream big because reality bites - you know the ones who say you are stupid for wanting to be an astronaut and it's better to focus on working a regular job in insurance or something - when i guess all you are trying to say is to live within our means.

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If we do not expand into space the extinction of the human race is inevitable. The Earth is going to die, the Sun will expand and kill everyone and everything, it cannot be avoided. Space colonies will allow us to exist for trillions of years, perhaps long enough to stop the heat death of the universe...

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2 hours ago, Ken Fabian said:

I've started a new topic related to this - How reliable are estimates of asteroid mineral content?

Asteroid mining of course is only one of the many valid and reasonable logical reasons why space exploration will continue as it indeed must.

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The exact same reason why you question it: Why?

Edited by DanTrentfield