# Why we abandoned space exploration in favor of dwelling in dark ages?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Plazma Inferno!, Dec 4, 2015.

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Perhaps you need to put more thought into what you so boringly continually claim. Perhaps we should not have built the LHC, or the RHIC, or the HST, or the ISS, or LIGO.
Science has progressively helped the hungry and needy and the problems we face on Earth, that have always been with us.
Ever heard of Satellites?
Think how much they have advanced other sciences such as meteorology, agriculture etc, and how that has benefitted human kind.
Science and particularly space travel and missions are not going to stop for anyone, and nor should they.
Also we do have orginisations like World Vision and "Child fund Australia" that ordinary citizens can contribute to, to help those less fortunate.
I have sponsored a child through that and have for the last 6 years:

3. ### SarkusHippomonstrosesquippedalo phobeValued Senior Member

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As others have said, it is possible and practical do both.
The US government collects c.$3,100 billion per year in taxes. That's$3.1 trillion. A mission to mars would likely cost \$10bn or so, so 0.3% of the annual receipts.
So peanuts, to be honest. Yet the tech benefits of having such a goal to strive for would be felt for decades afterward, as is the case of the Apollo missions, that helped push various techs significantly forward. Not least of which is the renewables tech, air-purification, nutrition etc - all of which aid survival on an ever-increasingly populated planet, and will become more important as we start to suffer from global warming etc.

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5. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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So while we debate about what is the way to go millions of people die daily due to lack of clean water. Where is all of this help you say is out there? I do not see much being done to help out poorer countries but only countries that can give us back something like minerals or oil. To me I do not see that going to Mars is going to "advance" science for all that is needed is the same basic technology that is being used today in the space programs. More technology has been developed by regular means that with the space research. Look at the Ebola virus it was conquered by normal ways of seeking a cure by means that were developed decades ago. Again I'm not against space travel but I think robotic types of missions would be much more prudent that human space travel at this time. Research is ongoing as you know with traveling to Mars so eventually humans will go but at a safer route.

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Speaking for my own country, that is rubbish and a cop out.
And as I have suggested, if anyone believes wealthy countries are not doing enough [and probably a valid claim] there are other ways that one can show some compassion and help.

How many would have realised the great benefits of that first beachball size Satellite that they called Sputnik was going to have on mankind!

No one as far as I know, has ever suggested sending humans to Mars in any unsafe manner.
And robotic explorations are of course totally necessary, but in most cases always a forerunner to a manned exploratory attempt.
And yes, it does seem that you appear for some unknowable reason, to be against manned space travel.
We were not born to stagnate on this fart arse little blue orb.

8. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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That is an article of faith, not fact and not universally held. I grant brief visits to Mars will occur, and possibly even a more permanent base on the moon,* but not even there will there be a self-sustaining "life boat" for humanity as insurance against extinction on Earth - that is my equally unproven article of faith. Thus we had better get to much less release of CO2, etc. instead of annually increasing releases.
Focus on that, not on going to Mars.

* Mostly under ground as the surface temperature in the 14 day long night gets extremely cold -200 F or lower - much easier to live thru an Antarctic winter as can get supplies and no where does it ever get lower than -135F.

Last edited: Feb 13, 2016

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Perhaps pre 1400's or even further back, the same similar optimistic European person may have said, "we were not born to stagnate on this continent bounded by water" and the more pessimistic may have remarked, "but if we venture out there, we'll fall off the edge of the Ëarth"
Advances in technological achievements, cosmological knowledge and data, the never ending urge for mankind to continue to go where no bastard has ever gone before, and the advent of time, makes your scenario highly unlikely.
Oh, and I totally agree with your mention of lowering release of CO2, but just as in cosmictraveller's scenario, you are able to make a difference in that yourself, albeit tiny, just as I do and as I do in the case of cosmictraveller's problematic cop out.
Progress, will not stop for anyone.

10. ### SarkusHippomonstrosesquippedalo phobeValued Senior Member

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I'm assuming, then, that you give every spare penny you have (after taking care of your necessities) to charity? Or do you do things that interest you, that help keep you mentally healthy, that stimulate you, so that you are able to earn in the future as well?

11. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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They do come with any trying to break boundaries, and there are many of them still. For example, making a self sustaining colony on the sea floor or finding a cure for cancer, less polluting energy sources that are sustainable, etc. not to mention a thousands of lesser advances, like digital cameras, faster sail boats, race cars and trains, virtual reality devices, music distribution and storage systems etc.

Most of man's advances in technology such as transisters and fast computers, medical knowledge made (and still will make) very important and useful advances in technology with modest government support as they have clear economic gains.

So I agree: "Progress will not stop" - even if there were no planet called Mars.

Last edited: Feb 13, 2016

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I have never claimed NASA to be the "be all or the end all" of scientific knowledge and advancement.
But the basic premise imo of NASA is space exploration and discovering life off this Earth.
NASA of course though is probably at the forefront, space being the last frontier and all that.
And yes, again, in time a self sustaining colony on the Ocean floor is an admirable concept, as is the self contained colony on the Moon and Mars.

13. ### cosmictravelerBe kind to yourself always.Valued Senior Member

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I never have trusted charities for many of them use the donations for their own greedy selves

I live frugally and am just trying to maintain a positive state of mind and avoiding doctors office.

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Each has there own situations, and each do what they believe is best.
Your comment on charities though is highly misleading: Yes, there have been problems, but how much worse off and how many more troubled families and such would exist if we had no charities.
Like just about everything, nothing is perfect, including the scientific method and peer review.
As far as visiting the doctor's is concerned or Hospital, everyone in my country, rich, poor or on the streets, has access to health care professionals whenever needed, and in most cases, at no cost.
I advise then to vote for whoever is trying to fix this horrible situation in the US.

15. ### OysteinRegistered Senior Member

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There are easy ways (websites) to check out charities and see how much each spends and what percentage goes to the cause, but I guess you aren't smart enough to do an internet search to find them. You'd rather just bitch and whine.

So, you don't give to charities and you don't seem like the type to do volunteer work. Nice guy you are.

You need to attend to your mental health too.

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16. ### billvonValued Senior Member

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12,712
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slingshot_(water_vapor_distillation_system)
Total foreign aid to Africa: 46 billion dollars in 2013

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17. ### BaldeeeValued Senior Member

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1,017
First, millions of people do not die daily due to lack of clean water.
It is estimated (according to the great oracle of wiki) that 1.8 million die annually from waterborne diseases.
This is thus c.5,000 a day.

Second, it takes just one impact of earth with a sizeable asteroid to delete our entry from of "The Little Book of Things That Exist".
We are in a relatively precarious position, tucked away on this isolated rock, unable to defend ourselves from what has happened in the past and will likely happen again in the future.
We, as a species, can protect ourselves to an extent by spreading, by taking hold on as many non-earth chunks of matter we possibly can.
And until we do we are at the mercy of a large chunk of rock.

So here's an idea: why not spend some of the tax-payers money, and heck, even let some private companies join in the fun, and start developing technology, in small steps, that will ultimately reduce the risk of our species dying out completely.
Let's set ourselves small technological milestones that, as a journey, will take us from sub-orbital, to orbital, to the moon, to a space habitat, and from there to Mars, to a lunar habitat, and who knows where beyond that.
Escaping our basket, in which all us eggs are currently placed, should be not just a a long-term priority but a long-term necessity, otherwise our species will die out on this very rock that we have always inhabited.
Is it appalling that millions do die seemingly needlessly each year?
Yes, of course, and I can see it only getting worse with climate change.
But we should not take our eye off the big picture.
Do what we can for our fellow human at the moment, of course, but not at the expense of restricting us to a single planet and the risk of a single event wiping us out, especially when the cost of trying to mitigate that risk, long term, is but a drop in the ocean compared to the efforts already focused on aiding our fellows in one way or another.

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That deserves a 100 likes!
Sorry we are only allowed one!
Great post!

19. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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A "life boat" for human survival is technically possible on the moon. It would need support from Earth for decades, before it could be self-sustaining. I doubt if it is politically feasible as it would be a huge tax burden, both intitially and to a lesser degree for those deades. To cut the co st by at least 60% no men go, only young fertile, highly skilled women and a crogenic jug of sperm leave earth for the moon, after much work has been done by AI robots, with supervision / monitoring from Earth (not feasible due to transit time delay if done on Mars, which at times has about a 32 minute delay for mgs and reply). For genetic diversity sperm from more than 1000 carefully screened men, and several dozen women are needed as the first colonists.

some brief details about it here: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/ea...s-and-back-to-moon.155217/page-8#post-3360458 and more in this old post:
http://www.sciforums.com/threads/will-machines-become-conscious-someday.118431/page-11#post-3114152 which refers to a still older one, I'm to lazy to track down.
With slight effort I did see I said, more than 5 years ago, That even going to Mars was "silly." in the first sentence of post 91 here: http://www.sciforums.com/threads/after-moon-where-should-nasa-go.94921/page-5
And the last sentence of post 91 was:
"PS people supporting man's desitiny is to go to the stars etc need to be more realistic about the cost and how it could be done."

one primary ray hitting a nucleus of atom in the sheild makes many high energy duaghters - each killing many cells as the pass thru body.

Last edited: Feb 17, 2016

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21. ### brucepValued Senior Member

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4,098
It's a common complaint that money spent on doing science would be better used to directly solve problems such as world hunger. Even my mentor Bob Marley spoke of it in song. It's just not true. Sounds good but not much logic went into that analysis. Jimmy Buffett put it in song also. I love Jimmy but not much logic went into formulating that opinion.

22. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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"doing science" is a big field. The ultimate value of basic research is known usually only years later and often is zero except for training graduate students doing it.* Not all knowledge has applications to solving the world's serious human problems, but as an example of one case with tremendous pay back was the basic research on how the Fermi level shifts in semiconductors with minor specific impurities added in tiny fraction. That knowledge made it possible for the transistor to be developed at Bell Labs.

Applied research science knowledge is often discarded when it does not improver the process or the product, it is being developed for, often by corporations, not universities. When the government supports research directed towards achieving a particular task, it is often the result of Congress members, "horse trading votes" to get jobs created in their district with low or no returns for human problems. (I'll support your university's study of the diet and sex habits of the wild mountain goat, if you support my bill to study the changing in fish populations in our state's largest river and lakes.)

Some of the major, even international studies, develop a life of their own, even after decades of little progress and in my opinion are now a waste of the tax payers money as they ignore the costs of using them even if they do in the end solve the technical problems.

High on my list** of examples of this is controlled fusion. - There is no way large machines needing high vacuum and super strong complex magnetic fields can ever produce economically competitive electric power. They must compete with that great natural fusion reactor, the sun, as a source of heat for subsequent conversion into electric power by conventional thermal engines that drive generators. Not only is solar thermal power always going to be more economical (Capital cost is at least 85% of your electric bill and thus free fuel would not lower it much.) but PV cells directly produce very competitive electric power.

* My Ph. D. research (learning how high electron density in relatively cool, but 100% ionized Argon Plasma changes the shape and location of Argon ion lines) was surely a good example of this. Hans Greem at University of Md. had just worked out the theory for this when the lines came from an ion, not a neutral. He was probably the only person who though my work useful.

** Second on my list is sending men to Mars. If one wants and can fund a "life boat" for insuring human survival, and create a self-sustaining colony in it, it should be on the moon, for reason I have posted several times.

Last edited: Feb 19, 2016