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Christdude
2004-Mar-03, 08:26 PM
Hi all! I'm a newbie dooby to this board so I expect a warm welcome from y'all! :D

Actually, I was directed here by a dear friend from another forum You can check here if you like (http://www.worthyboards.com/forums/)

Anyway here's the dare:

I double dog dare you to post that comment on the astronomy bulletin board I visit (badastronomy.com).

So here's the post for your comments:

Even if they found little green men there, who cares.

Well, obviously someone does. Why does the government spend billions of dollars to send people and probes into space? There has to be an angle, some reason for it all. Why the race to space? Why put men on Mars? What strategic advantage is there to having a presence in space? Plenty I think! Finding water would be a boon towards colonising Mars. Water is extremely heavy to transport. I think if the Lord does not come back soon, we will most likely see the weaponisation of space and the exploitation of other planets resources. Sorry this post isn't funny, but hopefully it will give you something to chew on!

Ok, let the fun begin, whattaya think?

LawBeefaroni
2004-Mar-03, 08:36 PM
Satellites in space are already integral to military operations on Earth. Global positioning satellites guide cruise missiles, track troops, and basically coordinate entire operations. Surveylance satellites locate targets and gather intelligence. The next step will be taking out those satellites. After that, it will be defending them. Then thwarting the defenses. And so on.

It's already begun.

It won't be as far flung as Mars for a while, if we even last that long. But in "space," most certainly.

EDIT: To address your implied topic. Cutting edge technology has always been driven by two things (well, 3 if you count porn :lol: ): scientific exploration and military oneupsmanship. The fact that those two often converge on the bleeding edge of what we're capable of isn't suprising. However, I think exploring Mars right now is pure science. If we one day colonize Mars, exploit its resources and set up some all powerful military base there it doesn't change the fact that today we are led there by scientific curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Not by the urge to find better ways to kill.

Glom
2004-Mar-03, 08:37 PM
Welcome.

I don't think weaponisation of space will occur beyond the use of military satellites. There's no advantage to it. An ICBM is much easier to use. Weaponisation of space is often used as scare tactics by those who would oppose space exploration or the certain aspects of space exploration (nuclear opponents used this hysteria campaign to conjure up opposition to Prometheus).

Drakheim
2004-Mar-03, 08:39 PM
Hi all! I'm a newbie dooby to this board so I expect a warm welcome from y'all! :D BAD NEWBIE!! http://www.boomspeed.com/zarflat/hit.gif hehe, Welcome aboard!


I double dog dare you to post that comment on the astronomy bulletin board I visit (badastronomy.com). Them there sounds like fightin words http://www.boomspeed.com/zarflat/paranoid.gifhttp://www.boomspeed.com/zarflat/lol.gif


Even if they found little green men there, who cares.

Well, obviously someone does. Why does the government spend billions of dollars to send people and probes into space? There has to be an angle, some reason for it all. Why the race to space? Why put men on Mars? What strategic advantage is there to having a presence in space? Plenty I think! Finding water would be a boon towards colonising Mars. Water is extremely heavy to transport. I think if the Lord does not come back soon, we will most likely see the weaponisation of space and the exploitation of other planets resources. Sorry this post isn't funny, but hopefully it will give you something to chew on!

Ok, let the fun begin, whattaya think?

The weaponazation of space is already in essence here. Over earth at least. There are thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at various parts of the world and a few of them (something like 1/5th) are programmed to detonate in the upper atmosphere to create EMPs that would more or less render all electronics useless.

As for the exploitation of other planets for resources, well that is going to happen no matter what anyone's opinion here is. Money is much too great of a driving force to prevent that from happening.

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-03, 08:39 PM
No. If space gets weaponized, it will be as a result of politics not exploration. :)

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-03, 08:47 PM
Welcome to the Board Christdude. :)

Why does the government spend billions of dollars to send people and probes into space? There has to be an angle, some reason for it all. Why the race to space? Why put men on Mars?
People misunderstand what happens when a government spends money, they seem to think it just vanishes into thin air to never be seen again. In fact such expenditures play an important role in the economy. The billions of dollars used to fund space projects is spent on all sorts of things: wages for the many people working directly or indirectly on a project, specialized parts from manufacturers, computers and IT staff, even companies supplying paper and office supplies benefit. From this all of the people & companies have revenue that is then taxed. So the gov't spends billions of dollars and from it:

-- supports the economy
-- ensures jobs for numerous workers
-- gets a lot of the money back in taxes
-- can benefit from the engineering improvements developed in the course of those projects
-- oh, and we all get benefits from expanded knowledge of space and the universe around us.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why a government will spend money on such research.

SciFi Chick
2004-Mar-03, 08:50 PM
Welcome to the Board Christdude. :)

Why does the government spend billions of dollars to send people and probes into space? There has to be an angle, some reason for it all. Why the race to space? Why put men on Mars?
People misunderstand what happens when a government spends money, they seem to think it just vanishes into thin air to never be seen again. In fact such expenditures play an important role in the economy. The billions of dollars used to fund space projects is spent on all sorts of things: wages for the many people working directly or indirectly on a project, specialized parts from manufacturers, computers and IT staff, even companies supplying paper and office supplies benefit. From this all of the people & companies have revenue that is then taxed. So the gov't spends billions of dollars and from it:

-- supports the economy
-- ensures jobs for numerous workers
-- gets a lot of the money back in taxes
-- can benefit from the engineering improvements developed in the course of those projects
-- oh, and we all get benefits from expanded knowledge of space and the universe around us.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why a government will spend money on such research.

In other words, Christdude is right. There is an angle, and a pretty darn good one, and it doesn't surprise me that TriangleMan could easily see the angle. =D>

LawBeefaroni
2004-Mar-03, 08:51 PM
I don't think weaponisation of space will occur beyond the use of military satellites. There's no advantage to it. An ICBM is much easier to use. Weaponisation of space is often used as scare tactics by those who would oppose space exploration or the certain aspects of space exploration (nuclear opponents used this hysteria campaign to conjure up opposition to Prometheus).

An ICBM is useless with out satellite guidance. What is more an impetus to weaponise something than to take out your enemies' ICBMs? Planes can't even find targets anymore without GPS.

And probably the only reason there isn't a race to dominate space with orbiting nukes is the confidence in nuclear subs. I'm not entirely up on the details but it's my impression that US nuclear subs are far inferior to Chinese (nee Russian) subs. Whether that's true or not, whatever side believes it has the disadvantage will look to the skies.

JohnOwens
2004-Mar-03, 09:03 PM
By the way, what on Earth (so to speak) does this have to do with Mars? :-k [-X

Kaptain K
2004-Mar-03, 09:11 PM
An ICBM is useless with out satellite guidance.
HUH! There were ICBM's long before there were guidance satellites. Ever hear of inertial guidance? Long before there were guidance satellites, ICBM's had the capability of hitting within 10 meters of anyplace on Earth! Yes, GPS satellites have their military uses. In fact they are military satellites with civilian uses, but ballistic missile guidance is not one of them.

LawBeefaroni
2004-Mar-03, 09:24 PM
An ICBM is useless with out satellite guidance.
HUH! There were ICBM's long before there were guidance satellites. Ever hear of inertial guidance? Long before there were guidance satellites, ICBM's had the capability of hitting within 10 meters of anyplace on Earth! Yes, GPS satellites have their military uses. In fact they are military satellites with civilian uses, but ballistic missile guidance is not one of them.


Yes, I've heard of inertal guidance. But the maps used by these systems now, which include targets, are GPS generated maps. You're right that ICBMs could hit targets without satellites. But they had better launch within a year or so because strategic military (not political or civilian) targets can be moved. Anyway, very true taking out a satellite wouldn't stop an ICBM. I'll amend my statement to:

"An ICBM is of far less strategic value without satellite assistance. And it is certainly not "easier." Manually updating ICBM target information using a no-longer-used non-GPS grid system would be difficult."

What it all boils down to is that satellites are vital and are much coveted targets.

Excellent point though, Kaptain K. =D>

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-03, 09:30 PM
By the way, what on Earth (so to speak) does this have to do with Mars? :-k [-X
I believe the lastest missions to Mars, and the recent announcements that more are planned, prompted the discussion between Christdude and those other posters at that other thread. We've kind of taken it OT by addressing the general topic of space & weapons rather than specifically focusing on Mars.

Christdude
2004-Mar-03, 10:37 PM
By the way, what on Earth (so to speak) does this have to do with Mars? :-k [-X
I believe the lastest missions to Mars, and the recent announcements that more are planned, prompted the discussion between Christdude and those other posters at that other thread. We've kind of taken it OT by addressing the general topic of space & weapons rather than specifically focusing on Mars.

That's basically it. While the others on the other board may see the scientific side, they were ribbing me and others like me that we would probably see some kind of government conspiracy or alterior motives, saying we would probably blame the government for stealing or exploiting the water on Mars and that is why it has disappeared there. :D Hence, my suggestion that the government may be seriously considering the weaponisation of space. I mean, if history is any clue, any kind of colonisation of space would inevitably lead to disputes over territory don't you think? Also, it seems that if you can dominate space it would go a long way toward domination of the earth. Sorry my suppositions aren't too scientific, but I am thoroughly enjoying your technically saavy responses. Thanks!

TheGalaxyTrio
2004-Mar-03, 11:03 PM
Welcome.

I don't think weaponisation of space will occur beyond the use of military satellites. There's no advantage to it. An ICBM is much easier to use. Weaponisation of space is often used as scare tactics by those who would oppose space exploration or the certain aspects of space exploration (nuclear opponents used this hysteria campaign to conjure up opposition to Prometheus).

Straight from the source.

http://www.af.mil/library/posture/AF_TRANS_FLIGHT_PLAN-2003.pdf

Kinetic energy weapons, space based lasers and bears, oh my! :o

I've wanted to work on an orbital hypervelocity rod system since I read Niven and Pournelle's "Footfall". 8)

Sever
2004-Mar-04, 12:50 AM
Me too. :)

nebularain
2004-Mar-04, 01:06 AM
Why does the government spend billions of dollars to send people and probes into space? There has to be an angle, some reason for it all. Why the race to space? Why put men on Mars? What strategic advantage is there to having a presence in space? Plenty I think! Finding water would be a boon towards colonising Mars. Water is extremely heavy to transport. I think . . . . we will most likely see the weaponisation of space and the exploitation of other planets resources.

:-k Is the question: will weaponisation result from space exploration?

Or is the question: is weaponisation the purpose behind space exploration?

I'm confused. :-s

Christdude
2004-Mar-04, 07:42 AM
Why does the government spend billions of dollars to send people and probes into space? There has to be an angle, some reason for it all. Why the race to space? Why put men on Mars? What strategic advantage is there to having a presence in space? Plenty I think! Finding water would be a boon towards colonising Mars. Water is extremely heavy to transport. I think . . . . we will most likely see the weaponisation of space and the exploitation of other planets resources.

:-k Is the question: will weaponisation result from space exploration?

Or is the question: is weaponisation the purpose behind space exploration?

I'm confused. :-s

Hmm, well.... I guess both! I mean, I realise there is a lot of good research and all, but ..... What do you think???

HAVOC451
2004-Mar-04, 09:38 AM
Will we weaponise space? We already have.
http://www.ball.com/aerospace/bpebbles.html

Orbital railguns oh my.

TriangleMan
2004-Mar-04, 11:59 AM
I mean, if history is any clue, any kind of colonisation of space would inevitably lead to disputes over territory don't you think?

Yes, it is human nature to identify with a specific group. Were we to successfully colonize Mars the inhabitants would eventually (over one to four generations) see themselves as "Martians" as opposed to whatever terrestrial country they belonged to. Based on the huge distance between the two planets once the colonies became self-supporting there would be moves towards independence.

Also, it seems that if you can dominate space it would go a long way toward domination of the earth.
Humans already dominate the Earth, we do not need space colonies to do so. In fact I think it works the other way around - dominate Earth, then space.

Stuart
2004-Mar-04, 01:38 PM
An ICBM is useless with out satellite guidance. What is more an impetus to weaponise something than to take out your enemies' ICBMs? Planes can't even find targets anymore without GPS.

Whoaaaa, way, way wrong. GPS is a great tool but that's all it is. A tool that helps a job get done better. We didn't do too badly in Desert Storm and thatw as done largely without GPS (it was around but far from universal). ICBMs were without GPS throughtout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and most of the 1990s. They were very far from useless in that period

**EDIT after reading later post**


But the maps used by these systems now, which include targets, are GPS generated maps. You're right that ICBMs could hit targets without satellites. But they had better launch within a year or so because strategic military (not political or civilian) targets can be moved.

As it happens they aren't. Mostly not at any rate. I don't want to have to go into the nicetries of how we target nuclear weapons and why but your second comment here is unrealistic to put it mildly. The sort of targets that ICBMs are assigned to don't get moved - or if they do, they don't get moved very far or fast. Even if we did, it wouldn't matter much, we can retarget missiles very, very fast (just how fast is classified). Planning ICBM and SLBM strikes is a very complicated and very time-consuming process which is why its done in advance. We have whole series of alternatives that are calculated on the basis of different circumsatnces, different technical capabilities, different requirements and different objectives. Satellites are crucial to strategic warfare but not as GPS tools.

By the way, GPS isn't a magic wand that we wave and make everything work. Its simply a system that enables us to locate a position on earth with extreme accuracy. It means that if we know one position with extreme accuracy, GPS gives us the ability to determine the position of a GPS receiver with extreme accuracy. We can then calculate the flight time and course needed to get from the current position of the GPS receiver to the target. That's it. That's extremely valuable with aircraft and ground forces (and ships), but its value with ICBMs is actually quite limited. They follow largely ballistic arcs and the degree for manoeuvering them in flight is surprisingly limited (how limited is classified).


And probably the only reason there isn't a race to dominate space with orbiting nukes is the confidence in nuclear subs. I'm not entirely up on the details but it's my impression that US nuclear subs are far inferior to Chinese (nee Russian) subs. Whether that's true or not, whatever side believes it has the disadvantage will look to the skies.

That is so far wrong its unbelievable. In fact, US submarines have a massive and increasing technical advantage over any conceivable opponent. Trying to suggest that the Chinese have an advantage over the US in submarine technology is absurd to the point of being ludicrous. Chinese submarines are deafeningly noisy, have poor weapons, worse sensors and their reactor systems leak like crazy. Their nuclear submarines are technologically equivalent to the USS Nautilus in the 1950s and their diesel-electrics are versions of a submarine (Project 633) the Russians designed in the early 1950s.

TheGalaxyTrio
2004-Mar-04, 03:58 PM
And probably the only reason there isn't a race to dominate space with orbiting nukes is the confidence in nuclear subs. I'm not entirely up on the details but it's my impression that US nuclear subs are far inferior to Chinese (nee Russian) subs. Whether that's true or not, whatever side believes it has the disadvantage will look to the skies.

I have to ask: where exactly did you get this impression?

The nuclear subs operated by the US Navy are considered by some (and I don't mean just Tom Clancy fans) to be a pinnacle of human engineering and ingenuity. I don't think the Russians (in their former role as the Soviets) *ever* detected one. IMNSHO, they were (and are) *the* key component to MAD that allowed us to be alive and discussing this today.

China may have sheer numbers, but they have yet to field a truly quality military. The Japanese actually have better subs (and the pilots to drive them) than China. Anyway, this is away from astronomy so nuff said.

Drakheim
2004-Mar-04, 04:11 PM
I have to ask: where exactly did you get this impression?

The nuclear subs operated by the US Navy are considered by some (and I don't mean just Tom Clancy fans) to be a pinnacle of human engineering and ingenuity. I don't think the Russians (in their former role as the Soviets) *ever* detected one. IMNSHO, they were (and are) *the* key component to MAD that allowed us to be alive and discussing this today.

China may have sheer numbers, but they have yet to field a truly quality military. The Japanese actually have better subs (and the pilots to drive them) than China. Anyway, this is away from astronomy so nuff said.

You have a good point there. If US submarine technology was so inferior, then the Russians or Chinese would not need attack submarines out in the oceans all points in time searching for our subs. They would just locate them from surface ships or satellite and launch torpedoes at it from the air or from surface ships.

nebularain
2004-Mar-04, 05:30 PM
:-k Is the question: will weaponisation result from space exploration?

Or is the question: is weaponisation the purpose behind space exploration?

I'm confused. :-s

Hmm, well.... I guess both! I mean, I realise there is a lot of good research and all, but ..... What do you think???[/quote]

Do you mean: "What do you think I'm asking?"
Or: "What do I think to the questions?"

Christdude
2004-Mar-05, 02:43 AM
Do you mean: "What do you think I'm asking?"
Or: "What do I think to the questions?"


Just about this topic in general, the comments so far, and yes, the questions. What are your thoughts about the role of space exploration and military defense and where it is all going? Do you really believe it is all purely for science and exploration?

Maksutov
2004-Mar-05, 03:14 AM
Stuart,

Thanks for saving me a lot of typing re US subs. To discuss the differences between ours and theirs involves so much CRD that one really can't do it.

I will say that even after the Toshiba scandal the other guys still couldn't play catch up. 8)

Archer17
2004-Mar-05, 05:18 AM
...What are your thoughts about the role of space exploration and military defense and where it is all going? Do you really believe it is all purely for science and exploration?You're talking apples and oranges here CD. You talking missions of an astronomical nature? Exploration. This includes everything regarding the space program you heard about: Lunar landing, Mars exploration, probes to planets, comets, Hubble, etc, etc. You talking military? You haven't heard anything about the military's initiatives unless they publicized it. As far as this country goes, the military's interest in space is related to the defense of our homeland, not territorial hegemony. I actually support military initiatives in Earth orbit BTW .. deflection of PHOs come to mind and if something like Star Wars could work, lets do it. Are space initiatives just an excuse to exercise imperialism here on Earth or other planets? Not in my opinion. As has been pointed out, if you don't control the ground you walk on, you don't control anything and wars are won on terra firma, not from orbit. As far as space goes, why does it have to be a reflection of Earth-based territorial squabbles? We are a long way off from colonizing planets, let alone fighting over their turf. Your question is akin to asking if oceanic initiatives are "purely" for exploration. There's a camaraderie among seafarers that eclipses ideological/geographical boundaries and IMO, that's cause for optimism. I think that by the time this planet actually colonizes others, a lot of the ** "down here" will be addressed .. otherwise we will probably be too preoccupied to make the effort -- tanks, planes, ships, missiles, etc cost $$.

nebularain
2004-Mar-05, 11:00 AM
Just about this topic in general, the comments so far, and yes, the questions. What are your thoughts about the role of space exploration and military defense and where it is all going? Do you really believe it is all purely for science and exploration?

You are implying that there is a hidden military objective behind NASA et al? Do you have any evidence to support belief in this?

TheGalaxyTrio
2004-Mar-05, 03:27 PM
You are implying that there is a hidden military objective behind NASA et al? Do you have any evidence to support belief in this?

The Space Shuttle cargo bay was sized to accommodate classified payloads.

russ_watters
2004-Mar-05, 04:53 PM
Satellites in space are already integral to military operations on Earth. Global positioning satellites guide cruise missiles, track troops, and basically coordinate entire operations. Surveylance satellites locate targets and gather intelligence. The next step will be taking out those satellites. After that, it will be defending them. Then thwarting the defenses. And so on.

It's already begun. I voted "no" for this reason. The question isn't really explained and at face value, its already long obsolte.

Archer17
2004-Mar-05, 05:41 PM
You are implying that there is a hidden military objective behind NASA et al? Do you have any evidence to support belief in this?

The Space Shuttle cargo bay was sized to accommodate classified payloads.So? Do you consider the Space Shuttle program true "space exploration?" The Shuttle carries a lot of things into Earth orbit including payloads for foreign countries so why not "classified" military payloads (satellites)? It's not like military deployment was the only reason for the Shuttle program in any case.

Stuart
2004-Mar-05, 07:06 PM
The Space Shuttle cargo bay was sized to accommodate classified payloads.

So is the forward cargo hatch on a Boeing 747.

Madcat
2004-Mar-08, 03:25 AM
Actually, I think the trend is in the other direction. A lot of things were learned about ways to make compact, robust satellites during the cold war and those techniques are now used to make better probes.

eburacum45
2004-Mar-08, 10:07 AM
Weaponisation of space is unavoidable if we are going to fully exploit the solar system; it will happen as a byproduct of space technology.

Consider the NERVA, the fission steam rocket, the fusion pulse drive with its myriad hydrogen bomb pulses;
all these drives could disable or destroy another satellite, space craft or space station;

consider the moon-based mass-driver capable of dropping rocks on the Earth as per Heinlein;

consider the metal ore and volatiles shipping in bulk from the Asteroid belt towards the Earth and Moon- if aimed right a bulk freighter could take out a city.

Slingshots and tethers can easily be converted to weapons, so can microwave power beams.

Weaponisation will occur once high energy strategies are used in the colonisation of our system; so you can expect to be forever on guard when such techniques become available.

Sigma_Orionis
2004-Mar-08, 04:44 PM
You are implying that there is a hidden military objective behind NASA et al? Do you have any evidence to support belief in this?

The Space Shuttle cargo bay was sized to accommodate classified payloads.

There is nothing hidden about that, the US Air Force had their input in the specs of the Shuttle during its development because there was a mandate by the US gov't that the shuttle was going to be used for all satellite launches.