Space: The Final Frontier That We Ignore

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by VegasJustin, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. VegasJustin

    VegasJustin New Member

    Sep 26, 2011
    So Neil Degrasse Tyson has a new book out called Space Chronicles. In the book, I have not read it yet, he argues for doubling the NASA budget. He argues that not only does Space exploration create jobs, but it improves our culture as kids want to be the next astronaut to explore something. What are your views on Space? Should we ignore it or go all out?

    As you can tell by the title of this thread, I think we should go all out. Right now the NASA budget is $19bn. That's right, the budget is 30 times less than our military budget. It's one half a penny on the dollar as Tyson would say. Even if we tripled it, it wouldn't be much compared to what we spend. The question that needs to be asked is this, is trying to police the world more important than the Universe?

    There was a time when we dreamed big and achieved those dreams. We wanted to go to the Moon and we went to the damn Moon. We did that in a race with the Soviet Union. Why should innovation be tied to trying to one up another country? I never understood why we stop caring unless we are in competition. Exploring our Solar System, and hopefully further in time, should be an exciting challenge that we should embrace.

    And we should embrace this for the obvious reason of being on one planet means our entire civilization could be wiped out and it was entirely preventable. We don't know if there is intelligent life out there which means that Humans are important. We should try at all costs to increase our chances of living in this chaotic Universe. Some day there will be something that we can't prevent hurting our home planet and we will have nobody to blame, but ourselves, for going extinct and possibly ending the only civilization in the galaxy.

    Combine that with all the benefits to our culture and jobs and I believe that Space exploration should be a top priority along with things like health research and education.
  2. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Jul 29, 2005
    I'm all for space exploration, but not necessarily for it being completely funded on the taxpayers dime for bureaucratic institution like NASA (where each budget and their programs are at the mercy of politicians). There quite a few private companies that are willing to put in the resources for space tourism and exploration, that would be a better option in my opinion.
  3. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Maybe if NASA concentrated on ummm.. you know.. Space stuff, instead of feel good propaganda ... -outreach/
    to indirectly support their duplicative {v. NOAA} and duplicitous {James Hansen twiddling GISS data} effort to support bogus science on the
    way to an all pervasive tax on energy..
    .. well then, who knows!

    Evidently a LOT of former NASA know: ... 18017.html

    Notice.. you didnt hear about that on any 'mainstream media'. Even Huffpo had to put a disclaimer on it and close reader response, because while they imply the 'liberal citizenry' is outraged about former NASA heroes saying that, the opposite is true. They didnt like the results.
    Weasel effing words. To LEAD you to believe 98% believe the effects are catastrophic. Thus cleverly worded LIE! All 100% of climate scientists and skeptics who have common sense like me, ARE concerned with the effect of CO2 on global climate.
    Climate change IS real, always has been since the world got oceans of water. CO2 IS a greenhouse gas, It IS rising rapidly.. but guess what: It's only having an effect in models, quite of few which you can input random numbers and the outcome is the same.. it's getting warmer.
    In the real world, not so much effect.
    Maybe because it's like 4 parts out of 10,000 in the air's makeup.

    And though you wont know it, the REAL science is debated on a skeptic site. With input from both the middle ground and near fringe scientists and skeptics.

    Miss Me still?
  4. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    I agree, I would much rather see money spent on space exploration over the military. Also considering how the military is using more and more robotics and remote control missions, I imagine there is a lot of room for overlap of the two programs. Most people have no idea what the space program has done for this country both in terms of jobs, education, and spin off technologies that impact our lives every day.

    The issues I see though are that you need a focus, like the moon mission, that will inspire kids to go into science and engineering. Also, I question whether as a society we emphasize science and engineering the way we used to so I'm not sure if things can go back to days when kids dreamed of being an astronaut. It seems as if science/engineering is only okay if it's to cure sick people, save the environment, feed the starving, or get rich and famous. The first three are all well and good, but they dont include space exploration. Parents used to encourage their kids, well boys anyway, to go into engineering because it was a way to contribute to society; it was important. These days people are much more skeptical about the value of technology and it's contribution to society's progress; and this has been very true with a lot of peoples' assessment of the space program's value. I sure wish there were more people that think the way Justin does.

    Another issue is manned space exploration versus unmanned space exploration. I agree with Tyson in that I would like kids dreaming of being astronauts and space explorers again. But there is a very strong case to be made that unmanned space exploration is the way to go because the enormous extra cost of manned space missions cannot be justified by what is learned or accomplished, compared to an unmanned mission. Personally, I think that depends upon what you are trying to accomplish, but regardless you will have to have a compelling argument in terms of justifying manned space exploration. The politics pendulum will always catch up with you.

    In terms of NASA's bureaucracy, it certainly isnt the organization it used to be which really makes me sad but is reality in that red tape only seems to be added and never taken away. Back in the 60's if Houston needed a piece of equipment that was out in California, an astronaut would get in a T-38, fly out to California, and be back with the equipment by dinner time. Today, you need a PO, a packing slip, department chair approval for payment, and god knows what else. If you're lucky, work is only held up for a week before you get the equipment. Also, NASA does so much today that shouldnt be a part of their mission. They have to use some of their budget to award grants to small and minority owned business. So you have engineers spending time writing grant RFPs, reveiwing grants, and then believe it or not, many times they have to end up teaching these business how to do the work that NASA gave them money to do.

    And then you have Obama telling his top NASA appointee that his top three missions are:

    These things are all fine, but they should not be NASA's job. They are the job of teachers, society, or other parts of the government. NASA is about space exploration and flight. If you are going to do things that have never been done before you have to be focused, and our politicians have required NASA to veer so far away from any focus that it's become ridiculous.

    As far as the involvement of private companies I dont think you can rely on that. It needs to be spear headed by NASA for focus and consistency of effort. Private companies have always been involved but you cant rely on them alone. The minute there's no profit or there's a major problem they're often done. Yes, there are serious issues with NASA's budget and political influence, but maybe there's a better way to address that.
  5. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Good one, Mo.. note I decided NOT to include that, but I GOTTA say, in the vernacular of our most favorite scientist:
    which is geekspeak for bullshit!

    Any of you concerned with cultural diversity want to do a timeline on exactly WHEN it was that the Arabian region ceased being the leader in the world of science and math?

    Like awarding the Vatican for advances in astronomy
  6. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Justin I'd be interested in hearing more about the author's reasoning after you read the book. And to get back more on your topic, I'm closer to the "go all out camp" than the ignore it camp. But I feel you cant double NASA's budget without changing some things within that organization.

    And Petty, yes, I still miss you. But tell us what you think about space exploration. We know what you think of Hansen.
  7. VegasJustin

    VegasJustin New Member

    Sep 26, 2011
    I don't think I have ever agreed with everything Mo has said before, but that post was brilliant. I couldn't agree more.

    Should NASA be more like DARPA? If I understand that organization right, they have almost no red tape and do whatever they please which is why they work on futuristic stuff. I only read what's in popular magazines so that observation could be wildly off base. It seems to me that if they were hamstrung like NASA is then they wouldn't be working on cloaking and and stuff like that.
  8. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Well, Mo. We posted our originals at the same time so I went one way, you went another but stepping back we see the same problems at a different angle.

    The space results have been amazing, showing what can be done on a crash program and how technology developed for that program incubated ideas that led to tremendous gains in other fields. And like Justin says about DARPA, whose predecessor gave us the internet, what's needed from NASA is pure research on applications for technology we already have.
    And then grants, prizes and contract awards for the private sector to build the entire mission vehicle.
    Sounds a lot like the old NASA but the difference is you let the techies decide what's best instead of selecting by political influence.

    The point is that any airframe company today could design and engineer a replacement for the shuttle that would be a lot cheaper to operate and maintain, orbital boosting aside.
    The problem with that, and I bet Burt Rutan agrees, is there's no target to aim for. So Virgin and Rutan are aiming for near-space tourism but that's really short term and short sighted unless their spaceframes are capable of shuttle like longevity and payloads.
    And with a little out of the box thinking.. ..EUREKA!!! We can use our brains .. or the ones we build.. to get back to earth without imitating meteorites!! So what if it takes 6 hours to a day to do it.

    The missions? IMO, a moon base is an extremely rewarding target to aim for. Midway through that, start planning for Mars base. Mars actually being easier once you get there, because you can build a self-sustaining station. Water would be a bigger problem on the moon, imo.

    But I'm not holding my breath for any of that to happen. Sorry, but our civilization is at a crossroads and soon we may be more worried about it surviving here than spreading it out.
  9. MisterF

    MisterF New Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    Agree with Justin's original post 110%. Growing up I thought for sure I'd see a mission to Mars but as the past decade has gone on, that possibility seems to be getting pushed back. With all the different industries it can effect, there needs to be more of a focus again.

    In my lifetime I am crossing my fingers that I can witness the following...

    1. Discovery of life outside of Earth. Even something as small as bacteria could change the course of human history.
    2. Manned mission to Mars. Doubt I'll see a full settlement but at least the initial mission.
    3. Humans returning to the moon. Unfortunately I missed the last one by 14 years.

    Here's a pretty great video of Carl Sagan explaining the importance of pushing the frontier of space exploration. Even 16 years after his death, it still boggles my mind just how much of a visionary scientist he was.

  10. nevzter

    nevzter Well-Known Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    A City by a Bay
    interesting points of view - i really can't bring anything new to the table, so thanks for the read.
  11. MisterF

    MisterF New Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    This thread inspired me to pick up Space Chronicles this weekend when I was at Barnes & Noble. Just reading a few pages it seems like it should be very interesting.
  12. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Heard on the news that the space program costs each American a penny a year. I for one am willing to send in another penny to double NASA's budget.
  13. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    We, the people, [as verified by voting patterns recently] do not want to live in a country where a government controlled space program exists. Judging by the rising success of the Tea Partiers and Faux Conservatives that dominate our Congress, it appears that our corporate ambition is to become a Third-world Country. Governments in third-world countries don't have ambitious projects like that.

    If you think I'm joking or being overly partisan, then please consider the attributes of a 3rd world country:

    1. Small, politically powerful elite that is super rich, while the vast majority of the population is at the subsistance level.
    2. Weak ineffectual government -- generally by design
    3. Absent or eroding manufacturing center
    4. Educational institutions where tuition is beyond the reach of a majority of citizens.
    5. No protection for labor unions.
    6. Little interest in civil rights.
    7. Almost no interest in women's rights.
    8. Widespread unpunished corruption [a factor of a weak ineffectual government]
    9. Raw materials shipped to other countries to produced finished products which are then imported.
    10. Degraded medical care.

    This is -- in part -- pretty much where we are now and -- in part -- pretty much where we are going. We embrace politicians who tell us that government is evil and needs to be starved of revenue; we shouldn't expect that government to finance space programs or major construction projects.

    If these folks had this much power in the 1950s and 60s, there'd not only been no space program -- there wouldn't be Interstates, flood control projects, clean air and water, pure food and drugs, the lot.

    I'm not saying that we should take to the streets. It's obvious that the majority of Americans want this sort of country, well, at least the majority of people who bother to go to the polls. What I AM saying is that as long as the majority of voters believe that it is the purpose of government to make rich people richer, we sholdn't expect anything in the way of government service -- unless we're rich, of course.

    Did you miss ME, fog?
  14. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Walnut, CA
    :violence-duel: We've all missed the Fog and HD 'crossfire' discussions.
  15. Clevelandmo

    Clevelandmo Active Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    Wow, if someone else doesnt, I will eventually take issue with the accuracy of 1 -10. When Hatter comes back he goes all in! :banana-guitar: :banana-guitar: :banana-guitar: :banana-guitar:
  16. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    heh... I'm amused.

    Don's back and I like that he has finally come out of the closet and admitted he is who I thought he was.

    Here's the guy who commented that someone calling himself an anarcho-marxist was a contradiction.
    Huh! Like history never existed.

    And commented that 'Alinsky and Obama never traded notes'.

    Which made my head hurt. Like what WAS Obama doing in the community organizing sessions but teaching Alinsky Rules.

    There's nothing above that shocks or dismays me. Don's still Don and he's like so many others now... still laying the blame for failure everywhere but the place it belongs. Political influence by big business, and payback by the pols.
    This is the core of the Tea Party platform and in rebuttal we see the same tired old themes : Republicans racist sexist fascist.. and the last really is ironic.
    or in two word phase I really like..
    "Because - Republican!"

    By the way... just like Sharpton, Jackson, and the new Black Panthers.. and MSNBC
    "I'm not advocating violence in the streets!" means you had better watch out. Don and I know what that's about. Maybe you guys dont. This is exactly what the left is working up to, but it's not nice to put up links to the actual promotions of it.
    It aint tea partiers folks.. you'll find that on the near fringe of #occupy.

    But if they can just get a few loony right-wingers to start something then it's on!

    Hope all is better with your health, chum.. but you need to chill. I always said we're jus observers here... we ALL elected Barack Obama, and we aint really gonna influence anything. Al we can do is observe and have fun with what we can make out of a bleak situation.

    "Who wants a hot dog? Driven in fresh just yesterday, on top of the family truckster!"


    I like the new banana!
  17. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Continue shooting at everything, 'fog. The odds are you'll hit something someday.

    I'm feeling fine, my friend. And I am chill. I'm resigned to the future of this country.

    And I'm also amused that you still do the Obama=Socialist thing. You wouldn't recognize a socialist if he sat next to you and massaged your thigh. Are you still denying that the majority of the Tea Partiers are looney birthers?

    There's nothing like sophisticated political debate, and what you mimic from the Tea Partiers and the Koch brothers is nothing like sophisticated political debate.

    Modern conservatism: where nothing is complicated and everything is 100% right or 100% wrong. Why not try it; it saves you from all that pesky analysis.
  18. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    My bad.. you're right. Other than what he wrote, who he associated with, who he appoints and what he has said in speeches to certain interest groups there's reason to believe that.
    Whereas what you just wrote is?
    Ah.. there we go.. it's the 'Koch Boyz'

    Seriously! "I'll see your Soros and raise you Koch"
    Sooner or later they WILL dig up something damaging.
    What makes my head explode is not the facts of what I say... Or what you say. It's the idea that I dont know for sure if you actually believe what you say on politics. Either way, it's nowhere near as moderate a viewpoint as you try to project. You're either lying to yourself or everyone else.
    I know from our long background how to triangulate your views but I just cant get there.

    I dont mind anyone's views if they are serious.. and I dont mind 'Progressives' as long as they are honest about what that MEANS.
    And this is why I really am pissed off we lost all the stuff on the old site. I was on record as to what I think is important and what isnt. And Don knows it. It's why he Elmer Fudds the Tea Party people, put his own idea of their agenda up for effect, never minding the real issues.

    It just aint worth it.
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