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Sticks
2005-Aug-11, 10:29 AM
When Bush announced his vision for the Moon / Mars ventures. The BBC solicited the thoughts on if it was worth it

Here are the results (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/3397937.stm)

A lot of the antis go on about costs, poverty, fixing our planet first and other Bread and Butter issues.

The Pros go on about need to explore, survival of humanity etc.

I tend to see the Antis winning this one as pictures of starving children tend to solicit a lot of public sympathy.

I did not have the time, but what someone could do is see what the ratio of antis to pros there are and how it breaks down on a US / Non-US split. :-k

jt-3d
2005-Aug-11, 11:08 AM
Well yeah, but they said the same thing back during apollo. How long would they have us wait? That argument really bugs me. Besides, to hear most of the world tell it, they don't want the US's help so screw it, we'll just shoot it off into space. bah

Jens
2005-Aug-11, 11:12 AM
Actually, though I'm not totally unsympathetic to the anti position, the flaw within that position is the assumption that you can solve a problem by throwing money at it. The idea that "we should solve problems at home before. . ." assumes that we can solve problems at home, given enough time. But unfortunately, there's no guarantee of that. We have spend billions of dollars over the years in the "War on Cancer," and look where we are. So though I don't think it's a good idea to spend 50% of our budget on space exploration, it's actually not all that much of a burden in the big view of things.

MG1962A
2005-Aug-11, 11:54 AM
I think the idea of comparing cancer with starving children a pretty sick observation. Most of those starving children are there because of various elements of human nature.

There is more than enough money and resources in the world to help most of those starving children and have a vibrant space program at the same time.

The fact we choose to spend that money on other things says a lot more about humanity than it does about humans

MG

gopher65
2005-Aug-11, 01:09 PM
Actually the countries with those starving children have more than enough money to buy food (as well as free food aid). Strangely a huge portion of their budget is instead spent on their military. I have absolutely no sympathy for the governments of Sudan, Nigeria, or Zimbabwe. But it is not the people's fault that they have a government who literally steals the bread from their mouths in order to fund their own little private wars (many of them religious and ethnic wars).

Money isn't the issue.

If a way could be found to get basic necessities to everyone in the world I would be all for it. But the current system doesn’t work. Therefore instead of saying “cancel the space program and give more money to the corrupt Sudanese government!” we should be saying “how can we do more with the (almost) ample amounts we already spend?”

Doodler
2005-Aug-11, 01:35 PM
Bleh, go for liftoff.

Spend a billion dollars to feed the hungry today, and they'll starve tomorrow. The idiots that spout that tripe seem to think there's no problem that can't be solved by throwing money at it. Half the world's problems with overpopulation stem from the fact that we're pumping the international equivalent of welfare in an unsustainable system of explosive population growth and minimal economic development run by people who have zero sympathy for the populations they make suffer.

Sorry to be the cold one, but my sympathy level for them is zero. Cut off the welfare tap, let Darwinism go to work, and reduce the population to a sustainable level. We fail completely to realize that the very aid we're sending now is doing nothing but allowing people to be born and survive to adulthood, who would othewise not have done so, who are in turn having children that should never have been born. The culture's we're assisting have not acheived the level of development to adapt to what we're giving them into their societal fabric, and the imbalance is going to cause more suffering as their population continues to explode.

Argos
2005-Aug-11, 01:37 PM
A lot of the antis go on about costs, poverty, fixing our planet first and other Bread and Butter issues.

What the people don´t know is that there´s money to fix all those things AND going to space. Wealth can be created.

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-11, 01:44 PM
Sending humans to mars is the most ridiculous thing ever realistically considered. Except for the war currently raging in Iraq. Count me in, if we are going to do stupid stuff like blow 200 billion dollars on the Iraq conflict (I bet its closer to a trillion when its all said and done) then lets spend the money on a Mars mission. That might have the possibility of a positive outcome.

Donnie B.
2005-Aug-11, 01:50 PM
Sending humans to mars is the most ridiculous thing ever realistically considered. Except for the war currently raging in Iraq. Count me in, if we are going to do stupid stuff like blow 200 billion dollars on the Iraq conflict (I bet its closer to a trillion when its all said and done) then lets spend the money on a Mars mission. That might have the possibility of a positive outcome.
So you think a Mars mission is stupid, but we should do it anyway because we're also doing other stupid things?

Why do I find this perspective darkly humorous? #-o

Glom
2005-Aug-11, 02:53 PM
Feed the poor is slogan not a suggestion. I made a facetious post a while back on this subject.

Glom
2005-Aug-11, 02:55 PM
Here (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=15999) it is.

Archer17
2005-Aug-11, 03:29 PM
I agree with those than point out that world hunger etc can be addressed without this country forgoing space exploration. It's actually a poor argument if one examines the issue objectively and some good points have already been raised.

The thing is, space exploration is necessary for our long-term survival. We will have to get off this rock eventually and considering that it's been decades since manned missions have even left the Earth's atmosphere, I think it's about time we get off our behinds.

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-11, 04:15 PM
Glom,

For me its not about the cost, its about the return on investment. At this point in time, we can accomplish everything we want to do with robotic explorers, without the massive expense of human space explorers. Additionally, I dont see the benefit of developing human space travel, without having a legitimate destination. I dont think Mars or the Moon are that destination.

Humans have evolved to live on this planet, and this planet alone. Given the uniqueness of every object we have explored to date, I dont think we will ever find, even among the stars, a planet in which humans are capable of living on, that is not Earth.

That is not to say, it is not possible. I have no doubt about human abilities to engineer a structure on the surface of Mars where people could live. However with current technology, they would be living underground. Why not do that on Earth?

In the coming centuries, I have no doubt that humans will begin to live this way, as the natural ecology of the earth dies. Then say, 500 years from now, living in space and on Mars will be as natural as living on Earth. I see no reason to speed that process along. Lets let our children, and grandchildren enjoy their last generations in the cradel.

papageno
2005-Aug-11, 04:55 PM
For me its not about the cost, its about the return on investment. At this point in time, we can accomplish everything we want to do with robotic explorers, without the massive expense of human space explorers.
I want human colonies throughout the Solar System.



Additionally, I dont see the benefit of developing human space travel, without having a legitimate destination. I dont think Mars or the Moon are that destination.
What about deserts on Earth?



Humans have evolved to live on this planet, and this planet alone. Given the uniqueness of every object we have explored to date, I dont think we will ever find, even among the stars, a planet in which humans are capable of living on, that is not Earth.
We can adapt to new environments, or try to adapt them to us.
The evolution of humans is not over.



That is not to say, it is not possible. I have no doubt about human abilities to engineer a structure on the surface of Mars where people could live. However with current technology, they would be living underground. Why not do that on Earth?
They would live underground on Mars, because the surface is not suitable.
This is not the case for the Earth.



In the coming centuries, I have no doubt that humans will begin to live this way, as the natural ecology of the earth dies. Then say, 500 years from now, living in space and on Mars will be as natural as living on Earth. I see no reason to speed that process along. Lets let our children, and grandchildren enjoy their last generations in the cradel.
The Apollo missions took place before I was born.
Since then, no human has left Earth: why stop completely?
I should have been able to go to the Moon by now.

Sigma_Orionis
2005-Aug-11, 05:12 PM
I feel that in any case, manned space exploration will come sooner or later,despite the risks and the cost it would be better it it were sooner. Why? simple: the sooner we understand what techniques ought to be developed, the sooner we will develop them. I would like to use the Apollo Program as an example: everybody remembers Armstrong and Aldrin walking on the moon right? and the giant three-stage Saturn V. However the techniques needed to get them to the moon were developed years before the Apollo I When Apollo started, there was a simple silly question about whether it was better to have a single giant rocket (much larger than the Saturn V, it was to be called "NOVA") or assembling the lunar lander from smaller vehicles. One of the key questions was whether it was possible to have vehicles manouvering close to each other in space. Proyect Gemini was developed exactly to solve that question and what was learned from it was very useful to Apollo. Another example: during the polar exploration efforts during the late 19th Century/early 20th Century a lot of expeditions were done just to learn how to live in the poles considering the extreme temperatures there.

The "starving millions" argument has been around ever since the announcement of the Apollo Program. However in those days it was easier for PolicyMakers to support it, why? It happened also during the darkest days of the Cold War. A great deal of what was developed for the Apollo Program could be used in Military Aerospace technology, the program itself could be used to show the military prowess of the US (because the soviets themselves where doing it). Nowadays there is no such incentive.

in any case that's my US$ .002

publiusr
2005-Aug-11, 06:14 PM
According to Jay Barbree of NBC NEWS--each dollar spent on Apollo turned into seven bucks.

If you were to get NASA's budget for one year--you might buy everyone on the planet a MacDonalds happy meal. The world would be fed--for a day.

Then the people are hungry again--you're broke--and you have billions of dollars of dung on the ground.

Nothing has changed--except now people are still starving and you have wrecked your space infrastructure--which is about the only thing the Russians have been able to privatize well--by building rockets bigger than 'needed' with human spaceflight being a driver for larger rockets like R-7--the HLLV of its time--without which--the robotic probe to Venus would not be possible.

No human spaceflight--no robotics.

R.A.F.
2005-Aug-11, 06:20 PM
In the coming centuries, I have no doubt that humans will begin to live this way, as the natural ecology of the earth dies. Then say, 500 years from now, living in space and on Mars will be as natural as living on Earth. I see no reason to speed that process along. Lets let our children, and grandchildren enjoy their last generations in the cradel.

I picture our grandchildren saying the same thing about their grandchildren.

I've said this before and I'll say it again...if anyone had told me in 1972 that we would not even have returned to the Moon by 2005, I would have told them that they were crazy.

So there is no "rush" involved. Fact is we are too slow. As long as all of our "eggs" are in this one basket, ie. as long as we are "Earthbound", we run the risk (for example) of being hit by an asteroid capable of killing all life on Earth...

It would be the ultimate irony that we could have the means of saving humanity, yet wait too long to "move" with the result being the extinction of all of humanity.

publiusr
2005-Aug-11, 06:22 PM
Well said. It is always tempting to say "well maybe later...when we balance this, solve that..."

But that way holds decay...and death.

Swift
2005-Aug-11, 06:32 PM
<snip>
For me its not about the cost, its about the return on investment. At this point in time, we can accomplish everything we want to do with robotic explorers, without the massive expense of human space explorers. Additionally, I dont see the benefit of developing human space travel, without having a legitimate destination. I dont think Mars or the Moon are that destination.

Beyond the reasons others have stated along the lines of "not all our eggs in one basket", that sounds like an answer from the accounting department from the company I work for. Why do all discussion about the cost of space travel center around job creation and spin-offs?

Beyond everything else, I feel there is a joy of the human spirit to explore our universe. Even if robots have a better ROI, we as humans need to dig our (gloved) fingers into the Martian ground and to look at the Martian sky with our own eyes.

By the accounting reasoning we should also do away with music, art, sports, and many other human activities (and there seems to be many who would be willing to do that to). That seems to be a joyless way to look at life.

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-11, 07:13 PM
<snip>
For me its not about the cost, its about the return on investment. At this point in time, we can accomplish everything we want to do with robotic explorers, without the massive expense of human space explorers. Additionally, I dont see the benefit of developing human space travel, without having a legitimate destination. I dont think Mars or the Moon are that destination.

Beyond the reasons others have stated along the lines of "not all our eggs in one basket", that sounds like an answer from the accounting department from the company I work for. Why do all discussion about the cost of space travel center around job creation and spin-offs?

Beyond everything else, I feel there is a joy of the human spirit to explore our universe. Even if robots have a better ROI, we as humans need to dig our (gloved) fingers into the Martian ground and to look at the Martian sky with our own eyes.

By the accounting reasoning we should also do away with music, art, sports, and many other human activities (and there seems to be many who would be willing to do that to). That seems to be a joyless way to look at life.

Show me a credible way for someone to live off planet for more than a year, that doesn’t cost about a trillion dollars and I will concede the point. Until then, There is only one basket. Earth.

Like I said, by all means, keep developing the technology. Rockets and all that, but humans have no credible role in space exploration at this time. They are involved for ego and pride reasons only. That sets an upper limit of what I am willing to spend.

It sounds like the accountants at your work know what they are doing. Analyzing possible investments, and from a financial standpoint determining what investments and growth are responsible and don’t bankrupt the mother company.

R.A.F.
2005-Aug-11, 08:26 PM
...humans have no credible role in space exploration at this time.

At this time?? Don't you mean never (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=300511#300511)? Or have you changed your mind since last year.

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-11, 08:41 PM
...humans have no credible role in space exploration at this time.

At this time?? Don't you mean never (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?p=300511#300511)? Or have you changed your mind since last year.

Actually, I read over that thread, and I am making about the exact same point as I did a year ago...

Human space exploration is about pride and ego, little else. A year ago I used the word Bravado...

Since then I have repeatedly lauded the Hubble servicing missions...

Read over some of those old threads and see what I said about the shuttle program. Am I prophetic or just insightful?

MG1962A
2005-Aug-11, 09:30 PM
One thing man's journey into space does that has not been discussed yet is raise moral.

It is easy to wake up every morning, and just be bombarded with the negativity that shrouds the world. Humans by their very nature need to test themselves, and their ability. Sometimes we need to do things, just cause we can.

Sometimes we dont know what the advantages of an undertaking can be till long after the event. In 1768 Capt Cook sailed on a scientific expedition to the south Pacific to study the transit of Venus. On the way he was instructed to sniff around for a possible unmapped continent.

That continent is now Australia. While he was sailing along the coast he noticed and island that seemed to be forested with trees ideal for use as masts on ships.

This along with other factors lead to colonisation.

It took nearly a 100 years, but Australia became one of the engine rooms for the British Empire. The raw materials produced helped to drive the British economy generations.

Later - during two world wars, Britian gained benefit from this scientific expedition, through our contribution in manpower and raw materials to their war effort.

So for a very small initital outlay Britian got a fantastic return for its money.

On a different tangent I strongly believe the US should not have to carry the can for manned exploration. The world benefits from this expense, so I believe we should all look to contributing financially. The ESA is an interesting blueprint for how such a cooperative could work.

If nothing else it is an excellent excuse for a lot of countries to get together and do something worthwhile - and who knows where the friendships forged during such an exercise could lead us

MG

Sigma_Orionis
2005-Aug-11, 11:52 PM
.....On a different tangent I strongly believe the US should not have to carry the can for manned exploration. The world benefits from this expense, so I believe we should all look to contributing financially. The ESA is an interesting blueprint for how such a cooperative could work.

If nothing else it is an excellent excuse for a lot of countries to get together and do something worthwhile - and who knows where the friendships forged during such an exercise could lead us

MG

Good point, but if you ask me I would bet good money that most people in the rest of the world feel the same way as in the US. I think that the likeliest way manned space flight will happen in the short term is through to the private industry.....

Sticks
2005-Aug-12, 05:20 AM
So what is the situation in the US?

How unpopular is the space programme

Do you get the antis over there saying how immoral it is to spend millions of tax dollars on joy rides for astronauts instead of spending it on <Insert worthy cause here>

After GW goes, will the Democratic party be cancelling everything in site, assuming they get elected in 2008?

Van Rijn
2005-Aug-12, 05:42 AM
So what is the situation in the US?

How unpopular is the space programme

Do you get the antis over there saying how immoral it is to spend millions of tax dollars on joy rides for astronauts instead of spending it on <Insert worthy cause here>


Sticks, I think you are projecting your own feelings here. There have always been antis, there have always have been pros. You probably have more indifference than anything. Anyway, as a fraction of the budget, it just isn't that big a deal.



After GW goes, will the Democratic party be cancelling everything in site, assuming they get elected in 2008?

Depending on which party gets in, priorities might change somewhat, but there are the lobbyists to think about. Also, the U.S. absolutely will not give up manned capability when there are other countries that have it. It isn't exactly like we are going all out right now, I don't see it changing that much for the better or worse until private space launch starts picking up.

papageno
2005-Aug-12, 10:12 AM
Show me a credible way for someone to live off planet for more than a year, that doesn’t cost about a trillion dollars and I will concede the point.
Show me a credible way to start any enterprise which does not have relatively high costs at the beginning.

If we don't go out there and invest in it, the costs will never go down.

JohnD
2005-Aug-12, 11:26 AM
I can't remember what the UK/Fraance spent on Concorde, but was it worth it? YES!!!!!!!!!!! Just for the aircraft itself, a beautiful object, a work of art.

Any worthwhile culture, and I include all the 'western world' will have enough money to go to the Mars AND deal with problems at home and abroad. We have, let's do it.

John

Glom
2005-Aug-12, 03:09 PM
There's nothing like a huge astronautical project to encourage more people to enter science and engineering fields, something that is desperately needed.

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-12, 03:38 PM
Show me a credible way for someone to live off planet for more than a year, that doesn’t cost about a trillion dollars and I will concede the point.
Show me a credible way to start any enterprise which does not have relatively high costs at the beginning.

If we don't go out there and invest in it, the costs will never go down.

Sending a person and all they need to survive into space is a fixed cost. That cost is propellant plus a rocket to contain and burn the propellant. Unless a technology like a space bridge or (dare i say) anti-gravity is developed, rocket launches are the only way to get there. That cost is never going down.

Currently that price is... say 20 million dollars for a few days stay at the ISS. As the average American earns maybe 2 or 3 million dollars in their entire lifetime, it is fair to say, the day people will be living off planet is a long way off, more than a 100 years easily, if ever.

My position remains the same, humans are still mostly an un-necessary component of space exploration. We can do it cheaper and better without humans. Our space program should be the best we can get for the money. Everything good, is coming from the robotic missions. Only high costs and adverse risk are coming from the human programs. With the notable exception of the Hubble servicing missions, human space flight has been about pride, ego and little science.

In the last two weeks, we spent about one billion dollars on a shuttle mission, which had significant problems, and accomplished little if no science. Then today an Atlas rocket plus robot, at about 720 million in cost launched for mars. Which mission had better results?

papageno
2005-Aug-12, 04:32 PM
Show me a credible way for someone to live off planet for more than a year, that doesn’t cost about a trillion dollars and I will concede the point.
Show me a credible way to start any enterprise which does not have relatively high costs at the beginning.

If we don't go out there and invest in it, the costs will never go down.

Sending a person and all they need to survive into space is a fixed cost.
Sending a person and all they need to survive across the Atlantic is a fixed cost.
Sending a person and all they need to survive across the Channel is a fixed cost.
Sending a person and all they need to survive across the city is a fixed cost.



That cost is propellant plus a rocket to contain and burn the propellant.
That cost is fuel and an airplane to contain and burn that fuel.
That cost is the fuel and a ship to contain and burn that fuel.
That cost is the fuel and a car to contain and burn that fuel.



Unless a technology like a space bridge or (dare i say) anti-gravity is developed, rocket launches are the only way to get there. That cost is never going down.
The prices for transatlantic flights went down over the decades.
Why couldn't that happen with space travel?

Maybe you prefer the example of computers. Or TV sets, or refrigerators.
Who could afford any of those things at the beginning?




Currently that price is... say 20 million dollars for a few days stay at the ISS. As the average American earns maybe 2 or 3 million dollars in their entire lifetime, it is fair to say, the day people will be living off planet is a long way off, more than a 100 years easily, if ever.
And if we follow your attitude, we will never start doing it. It will always be more than 100 years in the future, even in a thousands years time.
Why wait if we can start now?



My position remains the same, humans are still mostly an un-necessary component of space exploration. We can do it cheaper and better without humans.
The Apollo missions disprove you.



Our space program should be the best we can get for the money. Everything good, is coming from the robotic missions. Only high costs and adverse risk are coming from the human programs. With the notable exception of the Hubble servicing missions, human space flight has been about pride, ego and little science.
Check the Apollo record.
If we had astronauts on Mars, they would do plenty of scientific research, much better than the robots.



In the last two weeks, we spent about one billion dollars on a shuttle mission, which had significant problems, and accomplished little if no science. Then today an Atlas rocket plus robot, at about 720 million in cost launched for mars. Which mission had better results?
I do not support the Shuttle as the best way to space exploration.
And it was not build to take astronauts to other planets, or even the Moon.

Sticks
2005-Aug-12, 05:01 PM
I can't remember what the UK/Fraance spent on Concorde, but was it worth it? YES!!!!!!!!!!! Just for the aircraft itself, a beautiful object, a work of art.


Bad example

If Concorde were so great, we would have got a second or third generation of supersonic passenger travel. Concorde proved to be a white elephant. Although it was shown as a pinacle of technology and many bigwigs said they supported it, only a privalleged few got to fly in it, time showed it was a dead end that withered on the vine until it was killed off.

Hmm :-k what does that sound like a parallel of...

JohnD
2005-Aug-12, 05:19 PM
[/quote]Bad example
If Concorde were so great, we would have got a second or third generation of supersonic passenger travel. Concorde proved to be a white elephant. Although it was shown as a pinacle of technology and many bigwigs said they supported it, only a privalleged few got to fly in it, time showed it was a dead end that withered on the vine until it was killed off.

Hmm :-k what does that sound like a parallel of...[/quote]

Hmmmm, hmmmm. So bad?
What really stopped Concorde? 1/ Fuel crisis, 2/ Woowoo agitation about sonic booms - I lived in Bristol at the time, I've HEARD a sonic boom, 3/ Priviledged few - how many astronauts have flown the Shuttle? Or Apollo? Spaceships are never going to be for the masses, and neither was Concorde.

John

PS I was working next to Filton where Concorde was made when the last one left the field. Small celebration, display by Red Arrows (RAF formation team) then the last Concorde takes off. THEN, unscheduled, it beats up the runway at zero feet with the afterburners on, doing a wing waggle. Okay, not a Saturn V but that's the spirit. J.

DoktorGreg
2005-Aug-12, 05:31 PM
papageno,

What was the science accomplished during apollo? Out of how many missions, how many geologists flew? I venture a guess, that had NASA built robotic landers for the moon, they would have done better science than the astronauts.

Was the data collected greater or less than the data currently being collected by the Spirit and Opportunity robots roving around Mars, almost two years after they arrived?

For that matter, how does the data compare to the Viking Landers? Or Voyager probes?

Finally, on the fixed costs, there is someting to do if you fly accross the Atlantic, Europe is on the other side of the atlantic. Yes it is a fixed cost. A cost that can be justified, and is attainable by normal people. Maybe $1500 to fly from New York to London.

On the other hand, unless there is a radical rethinking of physics it will always cost tens of thousands of gallons of propellant to just go to low earth orbit. The airplane on the other hand, gets most of its propellant from the atmosphere. A 747 flying accross the Atlantic uses maybe 30 gallons of fuel per passenger.

It is not my fault, blame physics. The fuel cost alone makes human space flight prohibitively expensive, and unless there is a fuel breakthrough, it will NEVER get cheaper than the Russians do it now. Twenty million dollars for a few days stay in space.

GDwarf
2005-Aug-12, 06:35 PM
papageno,

What was the science accomplished during apollo? Out of how many missions, how many geologists flew? I venture a guess, that had NASA built robotic landers for the moon, they would have done better science than the astronauts.

The soviets sent unmanned landers to the Moon... And got several very small samples. Astronauts were able to find interesting looking rock formations/colours and take samples of them. Astronauts could also operate more machinery then the probes, and problem solve much better. The end result being that the astronauts brought back many samples, all of them much larger then the Soviet unmanned ones. And, as NASA gave both the astronauts and any unmanned probes their instructions I fail to see how any better work would be done by a probe, after all, it's not like studies of the rocks were done there on the Moon, and even if they were why would a probe be better at it then a person with the same tools?

publiusr
2005-Aug-12, 07:24 PM
[quote="DoktorGreg
Human space exploration is about pride and ego, little else. A year ago I used the word Bravado...[/quote]

Actually there is nothing more humbling. Without Vostok--you don't get the unmanned Zenit satellites.

I dare say money spent on HLLV won't cost anything like this war in Iraq.

Now THAT is stupid. We spent more on that than on NASA in the past two decades. Evey dollar spent on Apollo turned into seven here.

Van Rijn
2005-Aug-12, 07:36 PM
papageno,

What was the science accomplished during apollo? Out of how many missions, how many geologists flew? I venture a guess, that had NASA built robotic landers for the moon, they would have done better science than the astronauts.

Was the data collected greater or less than the data currently being collected by the Spirit and Opportunity robots roving around Mars, almost two years after they arrived?

For that matter, how does the data compare to the Viking Landers? Or Voyager probes?


Which completely misses the point: Getting people into space isn't just about science. It is about a process that will ultimately get people living there. If we stay on earth, we might as well nuke ourselves now and get it over with. Stopping manned flight is a way of giving up on the future.

At a more near term level, if you killed manned flight, science missions would also drop heavily. I'd be impressed if a pure robot mission NASA would manage to do 10% of the science it does currently. Outside of scientists and geeks, there just isn't that much interest in robot missions.



Finally, on the fixed costs, there is someting to do if you fly accross the Atlantic, Europe is on the other side of the atlantic. Yes it is a fixed cost. A cost that can be justified, and is attainable by normal people. Maybe $1500 to fly from New York to London.

On the other hand, unless there is a radical rethinking of physics it will always cost tens of thousands of gallons of propellant to just go to low earth orbit. The airplane on the other hand, gets most of its propellant from the atmosphere. A 747 flying accross the Atlantic uses maybe 30 gallons of fuel per passenger.

It is not my fault, blame physics. The fuel cost alone makes human space flight prohibitively expensive, and unless there is a fuel breakthrough, it will NEVER get cheaper than the Russians do it now. Twenty million dollars for a few days stay in space.

Fuel use to get to Australia is about the same as needed to get to orbit. More to the point, fuel cost is minor item compared to operational costs. Shuttle costs so much to run because they replace/repair so much each flight, there is a small army dedicated to keep it flying, and the flight rate is so low. Build a reusable, reliable design, fly it often and your costs will go down by orders of magnitude. It will probably still cost more than an airline flight, but nothing like it does now.

R.A.F.
2005-Aug-12, 07:51 PM
We understand that you are against manned space missions...but when you say things like this...


I venture a guess, that had NASA built robotic landers for the moon, they would have done better science than the astronauts.

...you "expose" the fact that you don't know what you are talking about...

You should stick to opinions that you can back up with facts, and forget about "venturing guesses"...

publiusr
2005-Aug-12, 08:17 PM
we wouldn't have robotics if it wasn't for human spaceflight acting as a driver for bigger rockets. The R-7 to launch the Venus probe for example.

Our military hated manned spaceflight as well. Our Air Farce and the anti-Korolov folks wanted compact ICBMs no bigger than they had to be.

I am very glad the Russians didn't know how to shrink nukes early on--and that we didn't perfect solids too soon.

Otherwise, our largest missiles would be Minuteman III and Topol M or UR-100.

And you would have no Cassini--no Pathfinder, no GOES or MRO, etc.

Without the push for human spaceflight--the robotics people have no ride.

PatKelley
2005-Aug-12, 09:08 PM
we wouldn't have robotics if it wasn't for human spaceflight acting as a driver for bigger rockets. The R-7 to launch the Venus probe for example.

Our military hated manned spaceflight as well. Our Air Farce and the anti-Korolov folks wanted compact ICBMs no bigger than they had to be.

I am very glad the Russians didn't know how to shrink nukes early on--and that we didn't perfect solids too soon.

Otherwise, our largest missiles would be Minuteman III and Topol M or UR-100.

And you would have no Cassini--no Pathfinder, no GOES or MRO, etc.

Without the push for human spaceflight--the robotics people have no ride.

Umm, no. The Air Force is, was, and has been about flight jockeys. Most of the early astronauts were - surprise - pilots. Buzz Aldrin was an Air Force test pilot. Why would a service so keen against human spaceflight send one of their own on the first Lunar Lander mission? Test pilots are not a dime a dozen, and Buzz already had a lot of investment attached to him from the USAF. Actually, all the services - Navy, Army, Air Force, and USMC (Sorry, no Coast Guard test pilots) including the "civilian" Neil Armstrong (formerly of NACA) fielded astronauts. I counted twelve USAF Colonels and Lt. Colonels in the A-C listing of astronauts...

Arneb
2005-Aug-12, 09:29 PM
I can see why why tempers flare in this thread - spaceflight is close to my own heart as well -

But wasn't this thread called "public attitude to space exploration".

I think that's a wonderful topic How about sticking with it instead of parading one's own views on spaceflight?

Sticks
2006-Jan-20, 08:58 PM
I thought I would bringthis thread back, based on what i read in a free newspaper this morning.

I looked for the story of the NH launch and it was only just one paragraph of text. It also mentioned the cost of the probe, which even I failed to see the relevance of when dealing with a once in a lifetime chance to go to Pluto. :eh:

Graham2001
2006-Jan-21, 12:35 AM
I saw the same sort of thing in a TV report on the return of Stardust, they gave a lot of prominence to one Amitai Etzioni, who'd published a book called The Moon Doggle (http://tinyurl.com/bfpcc), in the early 1960's about how Apollo was a waste of money. He went on about how the 'dirt' collected by Stardust would not change anyones lives and how the money spent of the probe should have been spent on something else.

Sticks
2006-Jan-21, 06:52 AM
I believe I have used this example before, but when the Mars rovers started their fascinating work, a letter appeared in our local rag condemning it as a waste of money that should have been spent on schools, hospitals etc..

As if the British government was responsible for the NASA budget :rolleyes:

From what has been said on the board, space travel is by and large popular in the US and a rightful source of national pride, but outside of America the view is rather negative. The mentioning of the price of NH I see as an unconscious criticism of the mission.

When Joe and Josephine Public, (who are pensioners), are freezing in their damp homes, in pain because their hip operation has been cancelled because the hospital has told its surgeons to go off and play golf for several months until the start of the next financial year, (yes in one place that did happen!!), also worrying how their grandson is going to cope in his school where they still have outside toilets, they might consider that the money spent on the space programme is a waste. That money would be better spent elsewhere etc.

They look at the wonderful pictures from Titan and from Cassini and then the news goes on about yet another famine, in their minds they wonder about the morality of spending all that money on a few snaps of somewhere no one will go when there are children starving to death on their TV screen.

BTW their grandaughter has gone off with one of those enviromental groups maintains that we should fix the Earth first.

Get the picture?

J&J Public do not realise the actual cause of the famine, the poor health service and the education service, but they are prolific letter writers to their member of parliament. (Who groans everytime he receives yet another sack ful from them).

Our problem is how we get through to them and show how the space industry has enriched their lives, like the sattelite that carried the pictures of the starving children.

What can we do to show such people the value of the deep space missions, which are so cool.

Bobunf
2006-Jan-21, 10:11 AM
The “feed the starving children first” people remind me of the fellow who, when he first observed emaciated inmates from Auschwitz, decried the terrible effects British and American bombings had on German food production.

Daily calories per capita for the world have increased from 2300 in 1980 to about 2900 in 2000, which is enough calories to make most people overweight. Increasing German food production would have done nothing for the inmates at Auschwitz.

Not going to Pluto won’t do anything for children, or anybody else, starving today. You have to convince other humans to let them eat.

Bob

Glom
2006-Jan-21, 11:48 AM
Nothing will help society more than an educated population. Education comes from experience. If we don't do any of this guff, how will we get scientific and technical experience?

Spherical
2006-Jan-21, 01:25 PM
Sauce for the geese:

http://www.space-frontier.org/Projects/SpaceSettlement/krukinrtmvspeech.html

Spherical
2006-Jan-22, 12:13 PM
Here is some additional food for thought, boys and girls:

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0KAA/is_6_31/ai_97908571

The total cost of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier over its operating lifetime is currently estimated at $28 billion. That's right 28, billion with a "b" dollars.

Bobunf
2006-Jan-22, 05:52 PM
The total cost of a Nimitz class aircraft carrier over its operating lifetime is currently estimated at $28 billion. That's right 28, billion with a "b" dollars.

What is that supposed to suggest? The US currently spends about $2 trillion (with a "t") on health care each year, and it's going up every year.

So?

Bob

Selenite
2006-Jan-22, 07:31 PM
Found this anti-New Horizons probe rant on another forum. I think it sums up some of the ignorant public attitudes out there rather well.....

"I believe NASA is a huge waste of money...WHO CARES WHAT IS IN OUTER SPACE!!!! the U.S. should use that money for better schools, or to feed the poor, pay off the national debt, cure for AIDS, something worthwhile to our country.

and it will take 10 years to get there, but my theory is China or germany or some other country will launch a rocket in 5 years that can get there is 3 or so years so buy the time the U.S. gets there the other country will have been there, collected data and be heading home!

P.S. sorry for the yelling, but that is how a feel."

Stuff like this always depresses me. Not even counting the basic mis-understanding of physics.

Spherical
2006-Jan-22, 07:34 PM
What is that supposed to suggest? The US currently spends about $2 trillion (with a "t") on health care each year, and it's going up every year.

So?

Bob
Sort of puts things in perspective, doesn't it? We currently have twelve Nimitz class carriers in operation. This does not include the support vessels and escorts of each carrier battle group. It costs a lot more money to threaten people than it does to go out into space and thereby offer hope of improving things.

Doodler
2006-Jan-23, 02:23 PM
What is that supposed to suggest? The US currently spends about $2 trillion (with a "t") on health care each year, and it's going up every year.

So?

Bob

Screwed up priorities. People still get hung up over the fact that we eventually die. Interesting cost analysis. Looking back, part of the reason we spend so much on health care is because we're capable of treating, if not curing, a lot of conditions that would, in the past, kill the patient. Now, spending scads of money every month, you can really live as long as you can afford to. The government dutifully doing its part to make said costs "manageable".

The real question American society isn't cynical enough to ask yet, but I see the day coming, is when does the cost of staying alive exceed the value of being alive? That's going to be the key one as the rather large generation known as the Baby Boomers reaches into its golden years and the American budget moves from 50% annual expenditure in social entitlement programs to 70% as the peak of the Baby Boom starts drawing social security pensions.

Think space programs are hard to secure government financing for now? Try again in 15 years. Bring Maalox and tranquilizers.

Nicolas
2006-Jan-23, 03:13 PM
Sure we must assess the cost of space missions. I believe however that (certainly under the current budget problems) the cost/return is not out of proportion. Indeed the cost of a telecomsat never is smeared over the newspapers.

(btw, In Belgium the launch of NH was seen as positive, it was even on Children's news. I don't remember whether the papers mentioned the cost).

I don't really get the picking on the space program considering cost. Money is spent on all fronts, most of it not directly feeding starving children. Why is it always the space program that gets beaten? Because of the nice "problems here on earth" one-liner?

Last week I came to the following calculation: the most popular DJ turntable in the world is the Technics SL-1200 MkII. It has had an average (2006 level) cost price of 600€ (now it is between 500 and 600€; it used to be higher in the past, all measured on a 2006 level) over it's commercial llifetime. There have been 3 million units (!!) sold already. That's a turnover of 1.8 billion €. 1.8 billion €, 3 million people, each spending 600 € on a DJ turntable. I have never, ever seen a review that questioned the morality of buying that turntable. What's the difference between creating nice snapshots of the planets in the solar system or playing some vinyl records related to feeding the starving children? None, both are on a completely different level. But both are creating a lot of jobs thus feeding a lot of people. Both increase knowledge of individuals, where space travel even increases knowledge of mankind as a whole.

All sorts of things aren't directly related to aid, but indirectly cerainly help in sustaining people, even though they seem luxury on the surface. And to put it blunt, not everything HAS to feed starving children, directly or indirectly. When there's a problem we need to try to solve it. But not EVERY effort should go into that. In my opinion. And I believe that space travel does indirectly and directly help mankind. Monitoring satellites are a good example of direct help, also to the poor.