PDA

View Full Version : $$$ going down the drain?



hubble
2006-Mar-25, 06:06 AM
I myself have raised this topic before and was most pleased with its responses. But with the new setup and new members i am interested to see different thoughts.

The point i am asking whether the money spent for alleged lost hopes for findings in space which can help us , here on earth should be spent on saving our earth with what our earth ca provide. A previous comment was that " ... if we fix our problems on earth then maybe our chances of finding something in space will increase when all of earth can put into a truly international space exploration agency"

Please put in your thoughts and it would be most appreciated.






14 and loving it!!!!

dvb
2006-Mar-25, 07:30 AM
If everyone focused their efforts on Earth, wouldn't that put some people out of a job, and raise the unemployment rate? There are people who're interested in making the world a better place, and there are people who just love to explore and find out new things. Knowledge seekers, like most of us on this board. Everyone holds different interests to varying degrees.

If we really want to make the world a better place, it will require a large international effort. This means other countries who don't respect human rights, will have to start respecting them. The people of many countries live with lost hopes, and don't care if they contract HIV through intercourse, such as the case with many African nations. Some of the leaders of these governments are much more corrupted than our own, and care little about the people they govern, or have little money to make life better if they actually do care.

A lot needs to change, but the people need to want change, and they don't always do. It's quite sad actually.

adjustedrace
2006-Mar-25, 11:57 AM
I disagree. I belive poverty can be wiped out easily if we decide as a race we must move off this planet to explore and discover the great mysteries of our endless Universe and even the Multiverse but we must explore as a race not a couple of people funded by Nasa, Esa or Russia or whatever other government space agencies are set up and I don't mean robotically either nor do I mean privately. If we include our whole race entirely whether rich or poor, we shall all live long and meaningful lives as exploration is a great part of the human spirit. Also I don't believe our current political systems can cope with my view nor can it cope with your hubble.
What have we got going for human race right now? I belive one day people decide they've had enough Earths problems and make such a decision. Right now though we are dealing with problematic political issues which most people don't believe in but that shouldn't prevent the human spirit from fufilling its lust for exploration in some form or another.

Cugel
2006-Mar-25, 12:55 PM
I disagree. I belive poverty can be wiped out easily if we decide as a race we must move off this planet to explore and discover the great mysteries of our endless Universe and even the Multiverse but we must explore as a race not a couple of people funded by Nasa, Esa or Russia or whatever other government space agencies are set up and I don't mean robotically either nor do I mean privately. If we include our whole race entirely whether rich or poor, we shall all live long and meaningful lives as exploration is a great part of the human spirit. Also I don't believe our current political systems can cope with my view nor can it cope with your hubble.
What have we got going for human race right now? I belive one day people decide they've had enough Earths problems and make such a decision. Right now though we are dealing with problematic political issues which most people don't believe in but that shouldn't prevent the human spirit from fufilling its lust for exploration in some form or another.

There is actually a name for your ideas:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism
Basically: you can run, but you can't hide. No problem ever got fixed by running away from it.

Eckelston
2006-Mar-25, 08:24 PM
Hubble I tend to agree with your main point. If we have to chose between exploration and getting things right here on Earth, as in eliminating poverty, giving an opportunity for a better life for all and protecting our enviroment, we should do the later first.

However I think we do not have that choice. Mostly becouse it's not just a matter of money or resources. As others have said there are corrupt governments or armed conflicts where there is very little we can do at the moment.

Then there's our own selfishness too of course. We aren't destroying the enviroment becouse of space exploration. We do it becouse we are unwilling to sacrifice some of our confort now for a better future or do not want to stand up to those who think like that.
It is quite likely if we stopped space exploration altogether we would be just as likely to use the money to make things worse.

So the question is is space exploration and astronomy a worthwile effort at all? The answer to that IMO must be yes. Exploration gives inspiration to people, a confidence in our abilities, makes engineers solve difficult problems and exposes us to enviroments we wouldn't see otherwise. It gives knowledge we could not hope to get in any other way. The case for astronomy is perhaps even clearer. Apart from the wonder of the night sky, it supports basic research and might even alert us of impeding doom, allowing us to avert it. There are some immediate benefits like SOHO's warnings of solar flares, which saved expensive equipement or much of NASA's Earth Science program.

Eckelston
2006-Mar-26, 12:59 AM
Basically: you can run, but you can't hide. No problem ever got fixed by running away from it.

How about overpopulation?

Cugel
2006-Mar-26, 01:29 AM
How about overpopulation?

I don't think so. By moving elsewhere you will take the problem with you and very soon you will have overpopulated the new place as well. On the other hand, birth control and general wellfare have proven to be simple and effective solutions for overpopulation. However, I do agree that running from over population has been a major motivation behind human migration. I just don't think it ever really solved the problem.

Chuck
2006-Mar-26, 04:46 AM
Our problems on earth are far beyond our ability to solve. I don't mean just difficult. I mean forget it. There's plenty of food for everyone now but people aren't getting it. What will things be like when there really isn't enough?

Our only chance to survive as a species is to establish self sustaining off world colonies before the end. I don't think we're going to make it. Some biological weapon will probably wipe us out before we can do it.

Romanus
2006-Mar-26, 06:43 AM
As I've said on other board, knowing the star formation rate of the Orion Nebula may not build a better light-bulb or feed the poor, but if it increases our sense of wonder about the universe, and makes us feel incrementally smaller--but more special--in this crazy cosmos, then I think it's worth it. I've always believed--and will continue to believe--that knowledge is a good, whether it has an applied use or not.

Re problems:
The thing is, there have been problems all throughout human history. They've differed through the ages, but problems have always been there. If it weren't overpopulation and poverty today, it might be cybercrime and government corruption tomorrow, or sea-level rise after that, or poor job markets, what have you. We live in a world with problems, and it might always be that way.

I also don't think exploring space and the universe precludes helping our fellow humans, especially when in the U.S. space exploration is but a tiny part of the budget. But I don't consider myself inflexible when it comes to space funding. If it could be shown that without a doubt, the ~$16 billion spent on NASA each year would definitely be spent on education, social programs, better roadways, medicine for developing countries, and things of that nature if NASA's funding were cut or eliminated, I would be less against a push to that end. Still against it, but less than I am now. It's the idea--bred in my cynicism--that the $16 billion spent on NASA would instead be spent on doing nothing about Social Security, building kinder, gentler flechette guns, and greasing campaigns for slick politicians that really sets me against cutting NASA's funding, however much I think the Shuttle and ISS are white elephants.

In short, if it's between possibly wasting money on space and definitely wasting money on Earth, I'll pick the former. NASA has its problems, but it is, IMO, the least of ours.