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Author Topic: New Missions to Moon, Mars
DrConway
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posted 08 January 2004 09:50 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Woot.

quote:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- American astronauts will return to the moon early in the next decade in preparation for sending crews to explore Mars and nearby asteroids, President Bush is expected to propose next week as part of a sweeping reform of the U.S. space program.

From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 08 January 2004 10:18 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As the Daily Show said:
"To boldly go where 8 men have gone before"

2 million jobs lost.
Largest deficit in US history.
40 million without healthcare.
Arrest and detention without charges.
World's largest prison population.

And Whitey's on the moon.
(apologies to Maya Angelou)


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 08 January 2004 10:20 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
At least it means there'll be half a chance to get off the planet before Dubya blows it up.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jimmy Brogan
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posted 08 January 2004 10:20 PM      Profile for Jimmy Brogan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I guess we can thank Yang Liwei.
From: The right choice - Iggy Thumbscrews for Liberal leader | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 08 January 2004 10:20 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't fret, Jingles. It's not that bad.

Undoubtedly they'll be careful to find at least one black person to go, this time.

quote:
At least it means there'll be half a chance to get off the planet before Dubya blows it up.

One one-billionth of a chance, more like -- assuming another 8 or so people go.

Shrub's daddy scrubbed the Mars mission ca. 1990 when it was pointed out to him that it would cost at least $400 billion.

[ 08 January 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 08 January 2004 10:48 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe this isn't such a bad idea after all. Think of it:

Make it a Faith-Based Initiative. Get Halliburton to build gigantic spaceships and sell the spaces to Real Christians®. Then tell them they can be missionaries to those poor heathen savage moon creatures who haven't heard the Good News yet.

Since Halliburton built the things, you can be sure that they'll cut corners on things like, oh, oxygen. Or fuel. Georgey can personally make a heroic blast-off in a too-tight fitting space suit (they haven't sent a monkey into space in years).

4...3...2...1... sayanora, Pat Robertson.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 08 January 2004 10:49 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I'd rather see American missions to the moon and Mars than to to Syria and North Korea.

DrC: Don't celebrate too soon. (1) This is election-year posturing by Bush; and (2) NASA's budget is subject to congressional hearings and endless back-and-forth among the president and various factions in congress. Most importantly for scientsts, (3) Beware of that sentence near the bottom of the UPI piece: "Sources said Bush will direct NASA to scale back or scrap all existing programs that do not support the new effort." In other words, some the most productive missions in NASA's history would never have happened under such a policy: the Voyager and Pioneer missions, Hubble and Chandra, Galileo, Cassini, SOHO and countless others. And forget about looking for life under the ice of Europa, or anything to further astronomy, cosmology or any other real science. All effort must instead be directed towards Bush trying to out-do Kennedy.


From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 08 January 2004 11:07 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by albireo:
All effort must instead be directed towards Bush trying to out-do Kennedy.

Unfortunately, I am forced to agree with your tempering of my enthusiasm for a new era in space exploration, and am reminded that Dubya has managed to do a very poor job of out-Kennedying Kennedy.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 08 January 2004 11:39 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that Jingles' post leads to the larger question of why we should explore space when All Earth Problems Have Not Been Fixed. To me it seems that this argument will mean so space exploration ever.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
hibachi
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posted 09 January 2004 12:06 AM      Profile for hibachi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have found this series of Internet Astronomy lectures. They are arranged as the first year Astronomy undergraduate course. I learned many things I did not know about the Universe around us.

The first semester is about the solar system, and the second is about Stars, including the Sun.

The Solar System

Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology

Some of the units on the second one are missing, but by the time you get to them you will be up on astronomical lingo well enough to find out about that material from more advanced sources.

Seems to me that if Bush stops funding interplanetary research other countries will take up the slack. The Beagle I is mapping Mars, although the II didn't take. There is going to be more than enough data about this stuff coming in from existing sources to keep people busy for many years.

Url Edit

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: hibachi ]


From: Toronto, Ont. | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 09 January 2004 01:16 AM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I agree that Bush is posturing. If it conforms to pattern, he will be quietly cutting all meaningful funding to NASA shortly, while trumpeting bold new ventures.

As for space exploration in general, I think Heinlein (or was it Asimov?) had it right when he said "Earth is WAY too fragile a basket to keep all of our eggs in."

I also am inclined to think that real space exploration will come out of left field, and suddenly. Someone will discover something, and within a generation we'll be mining the Asteroid belt and colonizing Alpha Centauri as if it is perfectly normal behaviour.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 03:02 AM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just what exactly is the point of all this? All our space exploration is ultimately worthless. What did the world get from the first moon landings? Tang? What bloody difference does it make whether there was life on Mars or not? It's trivial. It is, to us forever earthbound, irrelevant.

I tired of the crap about dreaming impossible dream and other such junk. It's not about exploration. It's about corporate welfare, weapons development, academic masturbation, and jingoistic propaganda. While people cheer the Mars landers, remember that the same people who sent them up are the same people who brought us ICBMs, Stealth Bombers, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and depleted uranium ammunition.

quote:
Someone will discover something, and within a generation we'll be mining the Asteroid belt and colonizing Alpha Centauri as if it is perfectly normal behaviour.

That's the problem. Are we not satisfied enough with fucking up this planet? Can we finish depleting every available resource and destroying every environment here before we take our show on the road?

As Hank said, we'll never get out of this world alive.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Jingles ]


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jimmy Brogan
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posted 09 January 2004 03:12 AM      Profile for Jimmy Brogan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
High Hopes
(Gilmour,Samson)

Beyond the horizon of the place we lived when we were young
In a world of magnets and miracles
Our thoughts strayed constantly and without boundary
The ringing of the division bell had begun

Along the Long Road and on down the Causeway
Do they still meet there by the Cut

There was a ragged band that followed in our footsteps
Running before times took our dreams away
Leaving the myriad small creatures trying to tie us to the ground
To a life consumed by slow decay

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
When friends surrounded
The nights of wonder

Looking beyond the embers of bridges glowing behind us
To a glimpse of how green it was on the other side
Steps taken forwards but sleepwalking back again
Dragged by the force of some sleeping tide
At a higher altitude with flag unfurled
We reached the dizzy heights of that dreamed of world

Encumbered forever by desire and ambition
There's a hunger still unsatisfied
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon
Though down this road we've been so many times

The grass was greener
The light was brighter
The taste was sweeter
The nights of wonder
With friends surrounded
The dawn mist glowing
The water flowing
The endless river

Forever and ever


From: The right choice - Iggy Thumbscrews for Liberal leader | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 09 January 2004 03:18 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mandos:
I think that Jingles' post leads to the larger question of why we should explore space when All Earth Problems Have Not Been Fixed. To me it seems that this argument will mean so space exploration ever.


As Carl Sagan called it, the "argument of the excluded middle", or as it's more properly known, the false dichotomy. Quite fallacious.

"Og, why are you making those stupid triangle marks in clay when we haven't figured out the rack and pinnion steering for the chariot yet?"

We have to go to space, because we don't know what's there. We find the handiest things in the vaccums of our knowledge.

As for space never doin' nuthin' for nobody, satelite technology alone has save millions of lives by giving us better weather forcasting.

Tang.

Jebus.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 09 January 2004 03:23 AM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jingles:
That's the problem. Are we not satisfied enough with fucking up this planet? Can we finish depleting every available resource and destroying every environment here before we take our show on the road?

Defeatist thinking.

Would you rather have humanity commit collective suicide than contribute to our overall understanding of the universe we live in?

Holy cow. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 04:06 AM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Would you rather have humanity commit collective suicide than contribute to our overall understanding of the universe we live in?

And Terrorists hate our freedom.

I don't buy either one. We'll commit collective suicide all right, and the space programs are a big part of the reason why. All those warheads sit on those big rockets designed by NASA. To say the space program is for our understanding of the universe is like the Japanese saying they kill mink whales strictly for research.

quote:
As Carl Sagan called it, the "argument of the excluded middle", or as it's more properly known, the false dichotomy. Quite fallacious.

I disagree. It clearly is an either/or choice. Do you fund universal health care and high quality education, or do you fund weapons programs disguised as "scientific exploration". It's pretty clear what has priority.

quote:
As for space never doin' nuthin' for nobody, satelite technology alone has save millions of lives by giving us better weather forcasting.

That is a little too close for comfort to the "Thousands of Iraqi lives were saved by ousting Saddam" argument. And satellite technology has allowed cruise missiles to be launched from thousands of miles away and disperse cluster bombs at several different locations to within centimeters of their intended targets. We could go back and forth all night with this one.

It raises interesting questions about the philosophy of science, though. The idea seems to be that science is value-neutral, that is serves some Higher Purpose than other, more petty, human endeavors. Is it like the GDP, where there are no losses, just gains? Why do those who do science ask only "can it be done?", and not "should we really be splitting this atom, man?"

I'm getting deja vue.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 09 January 2004 04:33 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
These technologies are always a sword that cuts two ways. Because we can't uninvent them, the battle ground is democratizing science, including space exploration.

The reason there are people going to bed tonight hungry, and waking up hungry, and people in bed sick not because there isn't treatment for their ailment, but because there is no access to the treatment lies in politics, not food production or lack of available funds for health care due to space exploration.

Cancelling all scientific endeavors will not solve our political problems. In fact, if one were to give ones head a real good shake, one might discover that such a move would exacerbate the worlds problems, not solve them.

Oy, and certainly, vay.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Agent 204
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posted 09 January 2004 04:47 AM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DrConway:

Unfortunately, I am forced to agree with your tempering of my enthusiasm for a new era in space exploration, and am reminded that Dubya has managed to do a very poor job of out-Kennedying Kennedy.


And the one way that we'd really like to see him emulate Kennedy is probably impossible given the present high levels of security. Oops... am I on some Secret Service list for saying that?

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Mike Keenan ]


From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 09 January 2004 04:59 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"While your idea is most interesting Mr. Leeuwenhoek, I don't see how we can very well afford to invest money in this device of yours-- what's it called again?---"

"The microscope."

"---micro scope, very good, as I was saying, we can't very well invest in this micro scope of yours while people are mysteriously getting sick all around us all the time, now can we?"


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Agent 204
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posted 09 January 2004 05:12 AM      Profile for Agent 204   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jingles:

That is a little too close for comfort to the "Thousands of Iraqi lives were saved by ousting Saddam" argument. And satellite technology has allowed cruise missiles to be launched from thousands of miles away and disperse cluster bombs at several different locations to within centimeters of their intended targets. We could go back and forth all night with this one.

It raises interesting questions about the philosophy of science, though. The idea seems to be that science is value-neutral, that is serves some Higher Purpose than other, more petty, human endeavors. Is it like the GDP, where there are no losses, just gains? Why do those who do science ask only "can it be done?", and not "should we really be splitting this atom, man?"

I'm getting deja vue.


The idea is not that science necessarily does serve some "higher purpose" (that would not be value-neutral, would it?) but merely that it can. What's more, curiosity, for better or for worse, seems to be an intrinsic property of humanity. We don't have much chance of getting rid of it, so we'd better work on building a society that can direct it in a benign direction.

As to the question of space exploration, I'm basically in favour of it, though I recognize the importance of tackling Earthly problems right now. Besides, if the US is doing a lot of really bad things right now, perhaps it's nice that they can work on something that distracts them from the bad things they're doing.

I do agree with the Heinlein quote above (and yes, I'm pretty sure it is Heinlein, not Asimov). However, I do recognize your concern about us just looking for more resources to exploit. Not that I think resources shouldn't be used, but they shouldn't be used mindlessly. And some notions discussed by futurists pose ethical problems that are ignored or glossed over. For example, I think that the construction of a Dyson sphere in our solar system, or in any system containing life-bearing planets, would be unethical, because the climatic effects on those planets that weren't dismantled to build the sphere would be destructive for many lifeforms. On the other hand, if one came across a system with no life (which seems likely in some cases, such as red dwarf systems) there should be no objection to building such a sphere and making a system habitable when it previously was not. Similarly, terraforming a planet would be unethical if the planet already had life, but if it did not then it would be a net gain for life in the universe.

In short, it's a complicated issue, and assuming our civilization survives (which all of us presumably hope will happen) the issue is not going to go away. We'd best be thinking about how we're going to expand into the universe, not if we're going to do that.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Mike Keenan ]


From: home of the Guess Who | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
cynic
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posted 09 January 2004 06:34 AM      Profile for cynic     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The problem with NASA, as with all bloated gov't make-work projects, is that all decisions have to filter through dozens or hundreds of managers, all with different agendas. The result is inevitably a system that does nothing for nobody. Take the Space Station, for instance. It flies too low to do any meaningful space science, the experiments they do were done better by the Soviets 20 years ago, and the transport system to and from it has a nasty habit of blowing up and killing everyone on board.

These (relatively) little projects always do well because there are fewer cooks to spoil the broth. A 200 million dollar project tends to be ignored by senators looking to get a cut for their state, but the trillion dollar station probably has grommets from all 50, each a different size.

What space exploration needs is a way to get the economy of scale working for it. The best way to get back on track is to go back to the boring soviet model of cramped capsules and basic science, and screw the chrome-plated Buck Rogers crap that plays well on CNN, but keeps getting people killed. Not to say that the soviets didn't burn a lot of people alive, but if they go with what works and have the backing to ignore the naysayers (who never complain about the much more massive spending on insane military projects, 'cause they're hidden) then maybe real knowledge can be gained from space.


From: Calgary, unfortunately | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Milo_Hayes
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posted 09 January 2004 11:44 AM      Profile for Milo_Hayes        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"Earth is WAY too fragile a basket to keep all of our eggs in."

I don't know who it's from either, but fragility is the point, it's very expensive, and dangerous, taking our environment into space.

Somehow I don't see Bush riding out among the peasants, cracking the whip, shouting "Harder, Harder, We must pay for the mars missions."
Schools roads and hospitals may not be sexy, but the worker/taxpayer/consumer has more immediate interest in them.

Encapsulating Jingles and orbiting him closer to the sun might warm his cold misanthropic heart, maybe not.

I think the unmanned robotics are the way to go, at least for now. Star Trek is just fantasy.

JimmyBrogan, thanks for posting the poem.
Sometimes, when life just seems not worth it at all, it helps to remember who and what we were, when we were young.


From: Blueberry hill | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 09 January 2004 12:05 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
All those warheads sit on those big rockets designed by NASA.
Proof, please.

Maybe this version is closer to the mark: Some of the components and technologies used in the space program are designed and built by some of the same contractors who also build weapons.

I agree with Tommy above, about technology cutting both ways. Nuclear science can be used to treat cancer patients, or generate electricity or wipe out life on the planet. Technology can be used for good or ill purposes, and if you get rid of the good, you will be left only with the bad.

Reverting to a worldwide non-technological agrarian society is not going to happen. The task of decent people is to oppose the harmful use of technology, and support its good uses.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: albireo ]


From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 12:25 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Cancelling all scientific endeavors will not solve our political problems.

Tommy, Tommy, there you go again with the strawman. I never said anything about "all scientific endeavors", now did I? I said that the space program is a cover for weapons research, a sugar coating to gain the support of those who would balk at the thought of engineering say, a space based missile launch system that orbits overhead of any nation on earth like a cocked gun to the head.

"This new missile...er I mean rocket we're developing has intercontinental..I mean interplanetary range and is capable of penetrating hardened bunkers...I mean landing a cute little happy robot on Mars to look for life. Isn't that great! Uhhh...Look at the pretty Mars pictures!"

Why was Kennedy so gung-ho to go to the moon? It wasn't to get a couple of rocks. It was to direct full resources to the development of ICBMs, but to dress it up all pretty-like for the viewing public.

Imagine if instead of saying "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.", he said "I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a nuclear warhead anywhere on the face of the earth, from the comfort of my living room, obliterating millions and millions of people, and destroying the earth many times over."?

If the ultimate goal of space exploration is the betterment of humankind, then why not direct this effort and resources directly to the very immediate problems of terra firma, like finding alternate energy sources, safe, secure food supplies? Are y'all saying that only space exploration can advance knowledge and discovery? That's a pretty dismal view, along with the view that space exploration is somehow vital to the survival of the species; an admission that this planet is beyond repair and our only hope is to discard it like a used rubber.

Misanthopic? Although that's what is says on my business card, I can think of nothing more misanthopic than directing all those resouces towards the whims and fancies of the privileged academic and military/industrial sectors of the weathiest nation on earth. We can't even successfully send a bag of wheat to a starving village, and yet we're supposed to cheer sending a robot to Mars? What the hell?


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 09 January 2004 12:28 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How directly connected is that we can't send a bag of wheat to a starving village to that we sent a robot to Mars? I rather think that the wheat is caused by other machinations.

Yes, the space program has undeniable military connections and applications. And yet, some of us do think that human beings ought to also occasionally indulge in fantasies. There'll never be an optimal time to do it.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 09 January 2004 12:32 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I agree that a lot of NASA seems to have at least a partial military purpose. However, NASA isn't the only game in town anymore. The Europeans may pull ahead as the US economy starts buckling under massive debt and perpetual war.

Again, I have a feeling that real space exploration won't be with rockets or anything else we are doing right now. (Though of course much of what we learn will be used). I suspect a discovery will come out of left field that changes the entire context of the discussion. Nuclear weapons are one example, airplanes, vaccices, Relativity, DNA, radio, telescopes etc. are many others.

This is the norm for scientific discovery, not the exception (i.e. Thomas Kuhn). That's why 'pure' research is a good idea (as opposed to commercial research). Test the limits of our current theories, find new theories.

Large, cataclysmic meteorites are not an unimaginable possibility either. There has been a history of them. It would be the ultimate Greek tragedy if we finally build a safe, just and equitable society here on earth, and then a big rock comes and kills everything.

Overall, though it's a mug's game to make such generalizations, I think that scientific exploration and discovery has benefited humanity. However, like all knowledge, as stated above, it cuts both ways. The solution is not to close off all opportunity for future exploration, but rather to ensure that the process is democratic and under control.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
josh
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posted 09 January 2004 12:33 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is just a total crock of shit. Aside from the obvious political posturing, it's a financial reward for Bush's supportes in the military industrial complex. That's how he, and the family, operate. And which states would benefit the most" Why Texas and Florida of course. No Bush connection there.

As for the merits, in light of the global warming report released earlier in the week, how about using the money for a commitment to cut greenhouse emissions by 2050, in line with Kyoto? Why don't we go about trying to save this planet before exploring other planets.


From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 09 January 2004 12:36 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sadly, I think we will always be trying to save insert something here before exploring insert something here. Carl Sagan is right about either/or. The reason why we don't have the wherewithal for both projects is political.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 09 January 2004 12:43 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm torn. I mostly agree with Jingles and josh on this one. And yet, a small part of me loves the idea of exploration for the sake of exploration.

I think for the most part that this is a bad time. I know, Mandos, maybe it will always be a bad time. But so be it. I don't want the same assholes who are fucking up our planet here to be the ones giving the thumbs up to space exploration.

I like the idea of space exploration. But there's enough to focus on here.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 12:47 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I rather think that the wheat is caused by other machinations.

Why were the causes of the Irish Famine? The Ukrainian Famines that killed ~10 million? The same processes that concentrate wealth into the fewest hands, with the use of superior firepower to back that up. The space/weapons programs are related to that big military stick used to keep those poor countries poor so we can take what we want from them.

quote:
Reverting to a worldwide non-technological agrarian society is not going to happen.

But it will, eventually, whether we choose it or not. There is just no way this planet can support our consumption patterns. Do you think people will still be driving to the 7-11 for a pack of smokes 2000 years from now? Civilizations come and go, and the sooner this sick one goes, the better. The difference between us and the Carthaginians is that when ours goes, we'll take the planet with us if we insist on our idiodic.. what's the term?.. faith in "progress".

quote:
Proof, please.

You said it better. I just used NASA as shorthand, since the contractors and NASA exist as one hideous creature with different heads.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 January 2004 12:56 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey, I’m new, It’s my first post here! And I must say that not doing space exploration because Earth should come first and we should solve our problems before going out etc. is, I think, somewhat bizarre... Do you really think the little money that is presently spent on space will solve anything? NASA’s annual budget is presently around 13 Billion US dollars...

You wanna solve Earth’s problems? Cut defence spending and redirect it into something useful. Then there will be money not only to end poverty (and to do many other important things, like end our dependency on fossil fuels), but to explore space.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Surferosad ]

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Surferosad ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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posted 09 January 2004 01:03 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Is space exploration a noble cause? I think it is. Don't you want to know what's out there?

Are you rejecting the whole idea because you don't like technology? I think that exploring space is a much better use of technology than, say, building weapons...


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 09 January 2004 01:28 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In what spirit will "we" be colonizing Mars?
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mighty brutus
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posted 09 January 2004 01:52 PM      Profile for mighty brutus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now that we've solved all of the problems here on Earth, it seems only natural that we send a man (or woman) to Mars.
From: Beautiful Burnaby, British Columbia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 09 January 2004 02:08 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Of those who believe we should quit funding space exploration until we've solved more immediate concerns like hunger and poverty: how many of you would also advocate that we quit funding other ventures that do nothing to solve these problems, such as funding for the arts?

After all, "Voice of Fire" ain't feeding the hungry either.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 09 January 2004 02:13 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
That's right: the arts, sports, reading, writing, movies, music, most people's jobs ... it's all crap because it doesn't directly contribute to solving the world's problems.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: albireo ]


From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
mighty brutus
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posted 09 January 2004 02:26 PM      Profile for mighty brutus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There's crap and then there's CRAP! Let private corporations fund Space Travel if they choose.
From: Beautiful Burnaby, British Columbia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 09 January 2004 02:40 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
But you agree that all these things are some variety of "crap", right?

I just don't have as pessimistic a view of humanity and its future as Jingles. I think that thinking like that leads to self-fulfilling prophecies. There are horrible things and there are good things too. Humanity needs a Big Project, and not just some useful, temporary one like feeding the hungry or something like that. Excellent and important idea, but not enough. I agree that I don't want Bush running a space program, but Bush or even this present situation is not going to be around forever, and it's not likely they'll get very far the way things are going.

But you gotta start somewhere.


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 09 January 2004 02:40 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
... or let the government fund space travel, and let corporations buy "Voice of Fire" and fund the National Ballet if they so choose.

Space travel, paintings, pirouettes... can't eat any of 'em!


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
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posted 09 January 2004 02:53 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First, Jingles: it's Gil Scott Heron.
quote:
A rat done bit my sister Nell with Whitey on the moon.
Her face and arms began to swell and Whitey's on the moon.
I can't pay no doctor bills but Whitey's on the moon.
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still while Whitey's on the moon.

The man just upped my rent last night cuz Whitey's on the moon.
No hot water, no toilets, no lights but Whitey's on the moon.
I wonder why he's uppin me. Cuz Whitey's on the moon?
I was already givin' him fifty a week but now Whitey's on the moon.

Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
The junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
And as if all that shit wasn't enough:

A rat done bit my sister Nell with Whitey on the moon.
Her face and arms began to swell but Whitey's on the moon.
Was all that money I made last year for Whitey on the moon?
How come there ain't no money here? Hmm! Whitey's on the moon.

Ya know, I just about had my fill of Whitey on the moon.
I think I'll send these doctor bills
airmail special....
to Whitey on the moon.


Other than that, I'm with Jingles on this one. Exploration has ever been driven, not by romantic notions of discovery, but by basic greed (hello, Mr. Columbus!)

quote:
Of those who believe we should quit funding space exploration until we've solved more immediate concerns like hunger and poverty: how many of you would also advocate that we quit funding other ventures that do nothing to solve these problems, such as funding for the arts?
After all, "Voice of Fire" ain't feeding the hungry either.

Apples and oranges.
Once the techonlogy used to paint a red strip down a canvas is then turned to a means of wiping out humanity, then I'll complain. Space programs benefit folks like Lockheed Martin Boeing, yadda yadda yadda.

And while there are no doubt ample examples of mis-spent arts or cultural funding, I guarantee it's a drop in the bucket compared to the amount put into space weaponiz...er exploration.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 02:57 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you for the correction BD. My apologies.

It's telling that the only thing that perhaps should be left to the private sector is one of the only things that is a fully-funded government program. Like drug companies, these weapons manufactures have no problem with government, as long as the taxpayer pays for their research (subsequently patented by the companies anyway).

It's also telling the conservatives (except Mighty Brutus, it would seem) fully support publicly funded space/weapons programs, but see the Red Menace whenever you mention the word "Amtrak".

If you want to transport people to the moon, money flows like spring runoff. If you want to transport people from coast to coast, or across town, on a publicly funded mass transit, money flows like the Colorado River where it meets the Pacific.

See it for what it is: A scam. Just another funnel of public money to private hands wrapped in the heart-tugging, misty eyed rhetoric of heroic men (and they are overwhelmingly men) dashing of to meet the unknown and conquer it. Just like the mysteries of Deepest, Darkest Africa spurred many an idealist soul on to rape and pillage, the mysteries of Deepest, Darkest Space are simply a new twist on an old game of conquest, domination, and the nauseating desire to "advance civilisation", whatever the cost (as long as someone else bears that cost).


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 09 January 2004 03:07 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To me, the biggest thing wrong with Columbus going to North America is that there were people already there.

It's hard for me to feel sorry about exploiting bare rocks. I have nothing myself inherently against expansion. I think you can choke yourself not only with too much but too little expansion.

Why is the sight of heroic men dashing off so intrinsically horrible? Yes indeed, it is/was men. But that is/was in a time when it is/was men for everything.

To me it is a self-fulfilling prophecy to claim that we will revert to an agrarian society, and I think our lack of frontiers will surely bring it about. Romanticism is not an entirely useless instinct.

I think we can have Amtrak and have space exploration. I think we can have nuclear technology without dropping an nuclear bomb. If we can't have these things, then we may as well go extinct right here and now.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 09 January 2004 03:08 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Once the techonlogy used to paint a red strip down a canvas is then turned to a means of wiping out humanity, then I'll complain.

We already have the means to "wipe out humanity", and I'm sorry but you can't un-fry that particular egg. Further space research isn't going to give us any evil powers that we don't already have.

quote:
Space programs benefit folks like Lockheed Martin Boeing, yadda yadda yadda.

And searching for a cure for AIDS benefits drug companies. And trying to feed the world will, undoubtedly, benefit some large food concern. I don't think resentment of this is sufficient reason to halt funding.

quote:
If you want to transport people from coast to coast, or across town, on a publicly funded mass transit, money flows like the Colorado River where it meets the Pacific.

Hahaha. What do you propose we might learn from watching someone take the train out west to see their aunt? Not exactly a scientific frontier, now is it?

quote:
Just like the mysteries of Deepest, Darkest Africa spurred many an idealist soul on to rape and pillage, the mysteries of Deepest, Darkest Space are simply a new twist on an old game of conquest, domination, and the nauseating desire to "advance civilisation", whatever the cost (as long as someone else bears that cost).

Ya. It's all about raping and pillaging those martians and making off with all of their grey rocks. Just like when we put all those sweatshops on the moon.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 09 January 2004 03:14 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I do tire of an Earthling winning the Miss Universe pageant every single fucking year.
From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 09 January 2004 03:15 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 09 January 2004 03:17 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If I may point out a few things?

There is no requirement that NASA's technology be for military use. While it is true that components of NASA's funding are for military purposes, no law says that it has to be that way.

There is also no guns-or-butter choice that has to be made here. You're all forgetting something: The US Government wastes $400 billion a year on military spending. A fraction of that, we are told, would cure many world ills many times over. There is no Earthly (But Mars-ly? ) reason why a portion of that military spending could not easily be redirected to a much more peaceful and world-community-building project such as an all-nation project of space exploration.

Why not? Even in the Cold War days, the US and the USSR had spaceships dock together and had a meet-and-greet between astronauts and cosmonauts.

Quite frankly, I'm driven to the point of near-angry inarticulacy at the fundamentally reactionary, anti-science attitudes I see on both the left and the right.

Jingles rejects any attempt at space exploration, justifying this stance with near-paranoid rantings about how NASA will use the technology for evil missiles.

Others on the right reject the same, piling scorn on it, as they are wont to do with any really new idea, as an "impossible dream", unfit for a "practical nuts and bolts" society. Keep in mind that those same conservatives usually deny the value of art in any form except if it makes a profit before you rejoice in the fact that you have a bedfellow in condemning space exploration.

I'm sorry if some of you will feel offended, but I have a for a fair number of you.

TPaine makes a salient point. People have often poured scorn on cutting-edge research because they assume it will never have a real-world application.

See that solar calculator you have? Turn it on. Punch a few numbers. Do a few calculations.

The science that explains why the solar calculator's photoelectric cells work the way they do happens to be called quantum mechanics.

People like you, back in the 1920s, pooh-poohed these new theories of quantum mechanics, believing them to have no practical use whatsoever.

Guess what, folks? Reality bit those folks in the ass when it turned out that there was no way to come up with a good non-quantum explanation for things like why your photovoltaic cell in your solar calculator needs a certain wavelength of light that has the minimum energy required to power it.

I have long since learned never to so quickly dismiss what appears to be whacked-out theoretical research.

Here's another example.

Let's talk about that monitor of yours you're using to read what I say.

An electron beam is shot at the phosphor, which glows the right color (hopefully) so the text is discernible and displayable the way your video card thinks it should be displayed.

You may not even stop to think about it, but the whole reason why we have monitors and the electricity that powers them has been due to a guy named James Clerk Maxwell fiddling around with abstract equations that gave us a new understanding of electromagnetism.

Oh, but Maxwell's equations are just abstract theoretical scribbles that some damn government would have used to kill us all, right?

Wake up and smell the coffee, people!!!


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 09 January 2004 03:21 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Jingles rejection is much deeper than what you characterize. He rejects technological progress itself. It's a position that comes from some visceral place that I lack. I cannot fathom self-abnegation.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 03:28 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
What do you propose we might learn from watching someone take the train out west to see their aunt?

That is the second stupidest thing I've seen today. Maybe we'll find intelligent life out west someday.

Why the hell do we have to "learn" anything from a basic thing that people in smart countries take for granted, like a well-funded, safe, and environmentally clean transportation system?

quote:
Ya. It's all about raping and pillaging those martians and making off with all of their grey rocks. Just like when we put all those sweatshops on the moon.

And that's the first.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
HeywoodFloyd
token right-wing mascot
Babbler # 4226

posted 09 January 2004 03:28 PM      Profile for HeywoodFloyd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
All those warheads sit on those big rockets designed by NASA.

Wrong. Nasa initially converted ICBMs into launch vehicles for the Mercury and Gemini programs. The Saturn series were custom built for the space program. The SST SRBs are custom built thrusters.

Space exploration expands the human mind and the human spirit. It should be endeavored for the same reason that we climb mountains, swim the channel, race, or study arcane subjects. It shows and reminds us that we are greater than the sum of our environment.


From: Edmonton: This place sucks | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 09 January 2004 03:30 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Oh, but Maxwell's equations are just abstract theoretical scribbles that some damn government would have used to kill us all, right?

Not only that, Maxwell also figured out that you could represent any visible colour using some-or-other mix of Red, Green and Blue light. Take a very, very, very close look at your monitor or your television to see the practical implications of a discovery that in its time did nothing to cure smallpox.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Black Dog
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posted 09 January 2004 03:49 PM      Profile for Black Dog   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
We already have the means to "wipe out humanity", and I'm sorry but you can't un-fry that particular egg. Further space research isn't going to give us any evil powers that we don't already have.

No but it can give us new and more effective ways of doing it.

quote:
Jingles rejection is much deeper than what you characterize. He rejects technological progress itself. It's a position that comes from some visceral place that I lack. I cannot fathom self-abnegation.

I think he hates freedom, too.

quote:
Space exploration expands the human mind and the human spirit. It should be endeavored for the same reason that we climb mountains, swim the channel, race, or study arcane subjects. It shows and reminds us that we are greater than the sum of our environment.

Sorry Jingles, but this takes the prize. We should continue to hurl billions upon billionsof dollars into projects that simply remind us how awesome we are. As for the misty-eyed twaddle about "expanding the mind and human spirit", d'ya think a dirt-poor sub-Saharan tribesman gives two shits about the new, high-res pictures of the Martian landscape? The space program is a western vanity project with limited scientific value and an alomst infinite capacity for waste and abuse.


From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 09 January 2004 04:06 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I do tire of an Earthling winning the Miss Universe pageant every single fucking year.

Quite. Such an unreasoning prejudice against humanoids with purple skin, tentacles and multiple eyes, don't you think?

(psst... black_dog... yer actually quoting Dr. "2001" Floyd there...)

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 09 January 2004 04:08 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
No but it can give us new and more effective ways of doing it.

Uh, we can currently do it with the push of a button. What, pray tell, do you suppose we're going to discover that's going to make it any more effective or efficient?? Killing with a thought?

quote:
We should continue to hurl billions upon billionsof dollars into projects that simply remind us how awesome we are. As for the misty-eyed twaddle about "expanding the mind and human spirit", d'ya think a dirt-poor sub-Saharan tribesman gives two shits about the new, high-res pictures of the Martian landscape?

Again: all art has ever done is remind us of how awesome we are. Statues feed nobody. And I doubt if this dirt-poor tribesman gives a crap about any of the paintings in the National gallery, or whether our best figure skater can land a triple, or whether Hemingway was being autobiographical when he wrote The Old Man and the Sea. So again, should we scrap those too?

Here's another question: if we could demonstrate to you that the computer you're sitting at right now was in any way made with knowledge gleaned from earlier space missions, would you — out of principle — turn yours off?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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posted 09 January 2004 04:08 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
He rejects technological progress itself.

No, I reject the idea of technological progress. It is an assumption that anything we develop will be inherently better than that which came before.

quote:
Space exploration expands the human mind and the human spirit.

If you want to expand your mind and spirit, smoke a joint. It's cheaper that way, and leads to the discovery of good music.

quote:
It shows and reminds us that we are greater than the sum of our environment.

I don't know what that's supposed to mean.

You know, humans have been around for millenia. They managed to do just fine without the doo-dads and what-nots and cell phones. To think that just because we've lived the last 100 years in an orgy of technological fetishism that the party will last forever is pretty short-sighted. We will run out of room and out of resources, and no moon base will change that. The oil will run out, and with it our entire culture (like our labor laws) will revert back to the 19th century. Our icecaps are melting, and climate is becoming more severe. We are in the midst of an extinction event rivaling that seen 65 million years ago. Putting a robot on mars isn't going to change that. At our current rates of consumption, thanks to technological innovation, and given the finite resouces to fill those demands, our civilisation will "progress" itself right back to the iron age, if we're lucky.


From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 09 January 2004 04:15 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am astonished that attempting to learn about the universe around us (of which we are but a tiny, insignificant speck even at our most delusionary) can be categorized as a waste of time or scientifically worthless.

Do any of you have any grasp of the size of our solar system? Our galaxy? There are over 100 Billion stars on our galaxy, and over 100 Billion Galaxies that we know of. That's big, and likely just the tip of the iceberg. Wishing to learn more is a waste of time?

I have no doubt that most animals and plants have little interest in what goes on outside their little ranges. Few squirrels wonder what prairie life is like, and few deer consider flying. None of them are particularly prepared when something comes out of left field and changes their world (like a new subdivision or a clearcut).

I'd like humans to know as much as humanly possible about the UNIVERSE we live in, because it is gigantic and we know almost NOTHING, comparatively speaking.

Analogies like the squirrel (or the dodo) seem silly, but I think they are pretty valid. It strikes me that those who deny any use in space exploration are clinging to the mathematically silly but delightfully delusional concept that we are alone in the Universe (and somewhere close to its center, theologically if not physically). Wake up and think about it a little.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 09 January 2004 04:21 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 



There's plenty to explore right here! Don't need your newfangled ideas upsetting the cart, English!

From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 09 January 2004 04:26 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow...subtle point there, Magoo.

...must...not...use...rolly-eyes... ...darn!


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
josh
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2938

posted 09 January 2004 04:29 PM      Profile for josh     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Maybe Magoo can answer the question: How many strawmen can dance on the head of a pin?

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: josh ]


From: the twilight zone between the U.S. and Canada | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 09 January 2004 04:38 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, I doubt that anyone would recognize a Luddite in an image. (Besides, the Luddites had a point, in their own way.)

Anyway, I suspect that behind the red herring of the evil death ray we're certain to discover (and use!) if we explore space, or the insistence that we either have to explore space or feed the hungry (but not both!), I think there's a certain palpable amount of good old fashioned fear/mistrust/cynicism of technology, and who better to poster-child for that?


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
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posted 09 January 2004 04:47 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jingles:

Our icecaps are melting, and climate is becoming more severe. We are in the midst of an extinction event rivaling that seen 65 million years ago. Putting a robot on mars isn't going to change that.


Mars, research seems to show, once had a thick atmosphere, water on the surface, and (perhaps) life. Through a process of global climate change, the Martian atmosphere dissipated to only a small fraction of its former self, and the water evaporated and escaped, or froze. I for one think that a study of this, and planetary science in general, is very useful for understanding climate change on Earth.

We are at the mercy of the sun and its cycles, which are also at the heart of climate change, and may be linked to the cycles of ice ages and temperate times on Earth. I for one want to know about that, and I'm glad that we have spacecraft like SOHO to help us do that.

You mention the huge extinction of 65,000,000 years ago. Well, science has almost conclusively shown that this occured because of a small asteroid or similar object that slammed into Earth (in what is now Mexico), causing a sudden and devastating climate change due to debris in the atmosphere, fires, etc. I think we should know more about that. I also think that it is a disgrace that the number of people now looking full-time for objects that could kill us off like the dinosaurs is less than the number of people who staff an average McDonalds. We have the potential to detect these things decades before they hit, and then create the technology to nudge them out of the way. That is not far-fetched science fiction; that is quite plausible.

Astronomy and Space Science could actually save the whole Earth and all of us and our descendants. Do you need a better reason for it?


From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Albireo
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3052

posted 09 January 2004 05:41 PM      Profile for Albireo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Meanwhile, back on Mars: the Rover, with one off-ramp blocked, will be turned around to use another: New Exit Route Planned for Spirit Rover. And temperature readings on Mars are better than in most of Canada right now: "On the ground, the warmest temperature is around five degrees Celsius and the coldest is -15 degrees Celsius".
From: --> . <-- | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4791

posted 09 January 2004 05:43 PM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gee, so much bitterness... Look, I was a bright eyed kid who dreamt of space, and setting foot on distant lands. I dreamt of adventure, of going out and coming back with some amazing tales...

Think about the psychological impact of having “whitey” on the moon! Seeing an Earth rise! Seeing how small and insignificant humankind is!

The fact that good things are done for the wrong reasons shouldn’t deter us from exploring! Maybe, just maybe, space exploration is one of those things that will contribute to the perception that were all interconnected, and that we share a common destiny.


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Jimmy Brogan
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Babbler # 3290

posted 09 January 2004 06:34 PM      Profile for Jimmy Brogan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Great thread and very interesting that traditional alliances here on babble breakdown on this and other science related subjects.

It is a very dangerous universe out there and while we may develop and use technologies that will cause our extinction, it is a certainty that the universe will eventually do it for us if we just hang out here on our spec of dirt and stick our heads in the sand. Our planet is doomed, either in the short term or the long term no matter what we do.

From the first bone club, technology has cut both ways. In 2001: A Space Odyssey our ancestors discover that they can use the bone club to bring down the docile tapers in their neighbourhood and thereby eat much better. After they fatten up they take their new technology and beat the crap out of the next tribe over. In the ecstacy of victory the ape-man tosses his club in the air and the club morphs into an orbiting weapons platform. It's just the bone club 2 million years on.

It's our human nature we have to come to grips with.

U.S. space stocks take off on Bush lunar, Mars plan


From: The right choice - Iggy Thumbscrews for Liberal leader | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3322

posted 09 January 2004 08:27 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm gonna pour myself a pre-industrial whiskey. I think this thread jumped the shark at Magoo's picture.
From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 888

posted 09 January 2004 08:35 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hmm. Perhaps. I rather thing the fundamental issue is the idea of progress. I happen to think progress exists. I don't think that these 100 years are an anomaly except in that they happened now--I think they follow from what happened before quite well and fit a pattern. Part of this pattern is occasional (and sometimes awful) backsliding. I think backsliding now would be a very bad idea.

But this is a matter of crystal-ball-gazing and we might never resolve it.

[ 09 January 2004: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jingles
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Babbler # 3322

posted 09 January 2004 10:38 PM      Profile for Jingles     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Anyone care to continue on this thread?
From: At the Delta of the Alpha and the Omega | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged

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