Results 1 to 21 of 21

Thread: Space Exploration & Colonization -Will It Happen?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    14
    Will greater space exploration and colonization eventually take place - on a scale of the great sea explorations at the end of the middle ages - which eventually changed the world ?
    There are a number of reasons why this may not happen :

    1. There is very little profit from space. THe money required to drive such endevours must be balanced by the profits from spinoffs. Unless that happends we will have governments doling out miserly amounts for a huge queue of space projects - utlimtately with no concerted effort to colonizing space. The zeal is clearly not visible in todays industrial or political establishments for any such venture into space.

    2. Space Travel and colonization would demand an almost impossible changes to our body - probably genetic, physiological or otherwise - how much of our humanity ( only refering to physiology - not the emotional context of the word ) will we be prepared to lose ?

    3. Given almost impossiblly demanding environments and the huge time frames involved in making other places habitable - would not people of earth prefer to colonize more familiar climes - our huge oceans for instance.?

    4. The great costs and dangers of space travel have persisted over almost half a century now - without any major breakthrough. No radically different propulsion technolgies, no radical inventions to counter the hazards of space , no new methods for extremely fast travel

    5. WIll politics ever have focus on things like space exploration.. We see that even in the most advanced nations - it is human prejudices like race religion community that dominate politics. Politics being a mirror of human way of living - will it ever muster enough energy to look beyond these issues and into something as all-encompassing as a whole-hearted endevour aimed at the outer space.

    6. Would an increasingly wired world shrink into self - absorption.. We see so many ills of human society that comes with modernization ( no i do not wish to eulogize the past - i understand that the past is just as bad or good ). I woiuld like indicate my suspicions that this may be a sign of maladjustment to progress. So the question is - if we can ever make the really great leap in progress - a real space age .


    No I am a not a naysayer ( I would dearly love to see these things happen ) - but I just dont see them happening - and the way things are - nor do I have much hope that things will happen in future.

    Your opinions please ...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    2,405
    There is very little profit from space. THe money required to drive such endevours must be balanced by the profits from spinoffs.
    The real profit is the enhanced survival of the human race and selected other species that we take with us. Be patient, space transportation and exploration is a long hard slog. It's happening as we write although at subglacial speed.

    Perhaps this will provide consolation maybe even inspiration:

    The lone termite beholds its maturing mound incapable of awe.
    One built by the termite and its moundmates driven by biological law.
    Pursuing an unconscious urge within their genes constructed;
    Daring humans to do what human consciousness has instructed?
    These termites persist by the grace of the aardvark's claw,
    And humans thrive by that of the asteroids orbits' pitch and yaw.
    Ever looking askance anticipating the supernova's power raw,
    In anxious quandary about the skewed orbit of a black holes's maw
    And not unmindful of patient earth's restless crust's upheaval;
    Knowing each can place this single basket of humans beyond retrieval.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    14
    Hi

    I am still not convinced - what if it is simply too difficult to colonize space ...and if our assumption that things will happen are wrong...after all we have no way of predicting how mass psychology works...
    The points I made previously remain unanswered..could anyone make a point by point rebuttal..
    I am interested in a substantive debate on the same.

    Regards

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    1,427
    Well, I beg to differ about the impossibly large changes to our body. Our bodies are pretty adaptable, and people have lived in space (zero g space no less&#33 for months on end.

    I also beg to differ about the propulsion technology. Nuclear propulsion allows us to bridge the distances between planets in months or weeks. It allows us fuel efficiency undreampt of by chemical propulsion standards. People just haven't had the nerve to roll up their sleeves and use it yet. Still too afraid.

    I think we need to find something to lure us there. Some product that we can get there but not here on earth. Some method to profit from colonization. Perhaps if we start a moonbase or a modest space colony to explore the possibilities, we'll happen on something that makes it worthwhile. A gamble, yes. But we aren't going to discover anything by sitting here on Earth and scratching our heads.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7
    Gourdhead, I like that poem. I didn't see an author credited, though...did you write it? Very creative, whoever the author.

    Rajiv,

    Rather than taking your assertions point by point, all of my rebuttal comes down to the fact that we have not yet progressed far enough technologically, but I do think that it will happen eventually. Just think of the inventions during our own lifetime....personal computers, blow dryers, microwaves, cell phones, the list goes on and on. Half a century is only the blink of an eye. I dont think that space exploration will happen for at least a hundred years (on the very optimistic side), more likely two or three hundred years, but eventually the technology will exist in an advanced enough fashion that will allow us to manipulate environmental conditions on moons, planets, and huge inhabitable space stations. It's just a matter of time. ...unfortunately, not our lifetime. Our bodies will indeed eventually undergo physical changes just as we now walk upright and use our thumbs to manipulate tools, but those changes that will eventually occur wont happen for many, many hundreds or even thousands of years, if we haven't exterminated ourselves by then. (As a side note here, anyone wish to discuss Nostradamus' predictions for the human race that extend into the mid 3000's?) We wont have to "lose" any of ourselves because the changes will be so gradual. Politics will focus on space travel only after private industry has begun to exploit it, and then, like everything else, they will get involved (a day late and a dollar short) and muck it all up for us.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    2,405
    1. It's the saving of our scrawny hides, as a species, that is the measure of profit. Who wants to be the generation to learn that in a few days their dearest loved ones will be ground to dust or charred beyond recognition?

    2. Space travel can be accomplished while preserving humans and other members of the necessary ecosystem essentially unchanged.

    3. Preference is not a luxury avialable to us; our survival as a species is at stake. We will explore the oceans as well.

    4. The monetary costs and those of human energy are and will remain high, but manageable. A system of reaching greater than 0.5 light speed is within the reach of today's technology using collimated beams, photovoltaic receivers, and linear accelerator engines.

    5. Politics will reflect the will of the majority of people. Something like a near miss by an asteroid about twice the size of the one that is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs will make the appropriate adjustment to the will of the majority. Also, if the sun should swell in size for a few weeks such that it was hard to ignore and the additional heat was felt, attitudes would change in the space exploration direction. Then there's the problem of obtaining enough energy to run the earth like we wish which solar power stations will satisfy, but we have to develop the capability.

    6. We can and we must improve our skills and competence in our space faring abilities.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    1
    I believe that humans will one day travel into outer space for a few reasons.

    1. Technology is advancing at an ever increasing rate and we will be exploring space i would think in at least a few thousand years, possibly earlier.

    2. I believe that space is too attracting...i mean we're just on relatively small planet (compared to the gas giants) and there are billions of stars in our galaxy alone, some or even many of them having planets orbiting them. Our planet is only so big and the universe is believed to be infinite.

    It is quite possible that we will be able to travel great distances that at our present time would seem outrageous, possibly even to distant stars in our galaxy. Although at the moment that seems absolutely impossible, it may become quite possible.....millions of years into the future, possibly before. Considering the fact that our solar system is something like 100,000 light years accross, and we couldn't possibly travel at the speed of light, it would take millions of lifetimes just to reach the other side of our galaxy!!

    Well i think i might be getting a little off the topic here.

    Anyways, cya later every1.

    Gaz.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    616
    Originally posted by GOURDHEAD@Oct 26 2004, 02:15 PM
    There is very little profit from space. THe money required to drive such endevours must be balanced by the profits from spinoffs.
    The real profit is the enhanced survival of the human race and selected other species that we take with us. Be patient, space transportation and exploration is a long hard slog. It's happening as we write although at subglacial speed.
    I agree with you GOURDHEAD
    The profit gained from space explorations is long-termed and not easy to harvest as most people expect. The majority want a quick profit which is hard in this case; thus, they think such explorations are futile. In my opinion, governments should arouse the public awareness by tools of media to this conflict, and make the purpose of space explorations understandable to the majority.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    2,405
    It is quite possible that we will be able to travel great distances that at our present time would seem outrageous, possibly even to distant stars in our galaxy. Although at the moment that seems absolutely impossible, it may become quite possible.....millions of years into the future, possibly before. Considering the fact that our solar system is something like 100,000 light years accross, and we couldn't possibly travel at the speed of light, it would take millions of lifetimes just to reach the other side of our galaxy!!
    We already know how to travel at near light velocity and could be doing so within 200 years. You seem to have confused MW dimensions with those of the solar system which is contained within a sphere of under 3 light years diameter using the Oort cloud as the boundary. If we arbitrarily use 100 years as a lifetime, we could probably make it to the other side of the MW in 5 or 10 thousand of them; however, I doubt that will be a primary objective. We must creep at from 0.5 to 0.8 light speed along paths having stars within 5 or 10 light years from each other and spend some time at each preparing to proceed to the next. Within a million years we will be controlling the formation of stellar systems and designing planets to suit our fancy....maybe even our needs.

    Gourdhead, I like that poem. I didn't see an author credited, though...did you write it? Very creative, whoever the author.
    I wrote it as an effort to focus attention on (scare everyone about) our need to develop space transportation competence and to stress the urgency for starting it now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,746
    wonderful poem GOURDHEAD, very compelling

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    84

    1. There is very little profit from space
    Check out Space 2069 sometime (a continuation of Space 2001/2010). A huge diamond is discovered on one of Jupiter's moons which makes for a monetary incentive to travel there. Suppose pure gold asteroids, let alone pure iron asteroids of significant mass were discovered. All that needs to be done is engineer factories that can manufacture goods in the vacuum of space.

    2. Space Travel and colonization would demand an almost impossible changes to our body - probably genetic, physiological or otherwise - how much of our humanity
    Good observation -- what is the minimum/maximum amount of gravity one needs to remain healthy? If one could live on the surface of Jupiter you would only weigh 2-3X as much, 1/4 as much on the moon, not sure for mars. But on mars and the moon you would have to live underground to be protected from the radiation. Culturaly a problem for some, but wouldn't be that much different than living in an apartment today or taking the subway to work.

    3. Given almost impossiblly demanding environments and the huge time frames involved in making other places habitable - would not people of earth prefer to colonize more familiar climes - our huge oceans for instance.?
    Some people may want to do this, yet others may prefer to live elsewhere -- not on the planet earth.
    4. The great costs and dangers of space travel have persisted over almost half a century now - without any major breakthrough. No radically different propulsion technolgies, no radical inventions to counter the hazards of space , no new methods for extremely fast travel
    Check out http://www.countdowncreations.com/science_kits.htm Hydroponic growing of food in space is just in its infancy. Many new propulsion methods remain under development with some being risky at present, eventually the bugs will get ironed out

    5. WIll politics ever have focus on things like space exploration.. We see that even in the most advanced nations - it is human prejudices like race religion community that dominate politics. Politics being a mirror of human way of living - will it ever muster enough energy to look beyond these issues and into something as all-encompassing as a whole-hearted endevour aimed at the outer space.
    Isn't that what the ISS was all about?
    6. Would an increasingly wired world shrink into self - absorption.. We see so many ills of human society that comes with modernization ... this may be a sign of maladjustment to progress.
    Constructive ideas for the common good are spread faster in a wired world, wouldn't you say? It would be an impediment to progress to have everyone shut down their computers... no-one would be able to read these posts!

    Within a million years we will be controlling the formation of stellar systems and designing planets to suit our fancy....maybe even our needs
    GOURDHEAD --that's a bit far-fetched don't you think?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    2,405
    GOURDHEAD --that's a bit far-fetched don't you think?
    Nope

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,746
    I agree on principle with Gourdhead, in a million years we would be able to do wondrous things by today's standards, as we may do wondrous things compared to our ancestors a million years ago.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    84
    Well, if you put it that way, the key words being "in principle" , then I rest my case. There are certainly some interesting ideas on the bookshelves in academia ...

    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/.../D/Dysonsp.html

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    2,405
    There is very little profit from space. .....The zeal is clearly not visible in todays industrial or political establishments for any such venture into space.
    A comparison with our ancestors who left Africa some 1 or 2 hundred thousand years ago to settle Asia and Europe may be useful here. They were driven (assuming they were capable of getting along well with their neighbors) by curiosity and the search for a better diet. Profit is a many splendored thing. The feel of zeal is a real deal with appeal.

    Watch out universe!! Here we come!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    1,083
    We will explore space more. I think that in these days of heady capitalism, the profit driven private sector will be the way we achieve greater distances, than government directed programmes will. After all when a private enterprise discovers a necessity to get to the kuiper belt, you can be sure they will get there somehow!

    What we must remember is the laws of physics in all this. If ever it is possible to get to 0.5 light speed, remember that whoever has been doing the travelling will find that many years will have passed by the time he or she returns to Earth despit the fact that they won't have aged much (Anyone a bit more in the know who can provide the actual facts- feel free&#33, so that would be a huge stumbling block.

    On the other side of the coin we lost many people in accidents during the embyonic stage of aviation, so the fact that space travel is a dangerous proposition at the moment shouldn't hinder it one bit.

    Jake B)

  17. #17
    StarLab Guest
    To answer this question, unlike the proposition of colonizing Mars, we must think short-term, because the first step is short-term. Yesiree. We now have the ISS. This is the most Spartan example of space colonization. The next step, the moon, is more ambitious as the main profiteering is done not by a government agency, but by private business. Read on.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    14
    It is a great pleasure to see so many optimists although that puts me in a very small minority. I would have expected at least some support for my views - nevertheless I am undefeated ..here are my observations. I will summarise it in fewer number of points.

    1. We can say that space colonization will be a byproduct of the following
    - Easy ( less expensive) access to space & space technology
    - Means of survival in space ( means of sustenance , longevity , medical /genetic cures for space-based hazards )
    - Drive to colonize space ( industrial requirement, population pressures, natural disasters etc )
    - Will to colonize space ( political will & general mobilization)

    2. Let me explain my views on each of the above .
    - The only low cost technology for access to space seems to be the space elevator - and it does not look like a proposal which has been taken up very enthusiastically by the industry or government organizations. We will have to wait till it happens . This is personally my most optimistic bet in favour of space colonization.
    - As we are terrestrial animals our bodies have been modelled on an environment which has gravity - and also we have evolved over millions of years as such. Can our bodies really survive as it is in a zero gravity environment. Studies have shown that this is perhaps the greatest hazard for prolonged stay in space. So far no cures have been found for this. Also life on earth has flourished becuase of the ozone layer protecting us - what happens when we have to survive in space. Again there seems to be no immediate answer available. And of course there are many such issues. My feeling is that to counter these there will have to be certain changes to be made to mans genetic structure in order to ensure his survivability in such enviroments. Firstly such technologies seem to be extremely far off - and secondly will man have the will power to produce men who are 'more than human' ( err that phrase is borrowed ). So in my view this point fizzles out.
    - What kind of drive would slingshot the human species into space forever ? A milliion dollar question that. How long does one think it would take for all of earths resources to end. Would industries ever turn towards space for mining. To me it looks more expensive chasing asteroids than to recycle consumed resources on earth ? The only thing industries are likely to invest on in space is for power generation and transmission. And how about population pressures - what kind of population would force humans off earth - will we ever reach that kind of a threshhold - i personally think it unlikely. Natural disasters - likely to be the most pressing reason to abandon earth....my next best vote....but all these would require
    a viable and less expensive access to space.
    - As far as will is concerned I think it will be generated by some collosal natural disaster ( like an asteroid impact ). Otherwise we will have to have some movement a la some of our major religions or the renessainse or the various revolutions. Why so ? because i believe space colonization will require the full fledged mobilization of people - ie the common man not just the academia. Unless that happens there will be no political will to commmit oneself to space exploration. Of course I am assuming that such mobilization will also have to be scientific and secular. But given the preoccupations of ordinary humans I just do not see that happening - not only in the near future but for an extremely long time to come. In short the very human nature has helped us colonize the planet will hinder space exploration.

    Do I have a point ?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    84
    It is a great pleasure to see so many optimists although that puts me in a very small minority. I would have expected at least some support for my views - nevertheless I am undefeated
    But given the preoccupations of ordinary humans I just do not see that happening - not only in the near future but for an extremely long time to come.
    @spacepunk Posted on Nov 13 2004, 02:21 AM
    QUOTE

    5. WIll politics ever have focus on things like space exploration.. We see that even in the most advanced nations - it is human prejudices like race religion community that dominate politics. Politics being a mirror of human way of living - will it ever muster enough energy to look beyond these issues and into something as all-encompassing as a whole-hearted endevour aimed at the outer space.


    Isn't that what the ISS was all about?
    Presently there is a stalemate between the optomists, the detractors, the visionairies, and the people that end up paying for all this Ivory Tower talk. Like I said before, isn't that what the ISS was all about?

  20. #20
    folkhemmet Guest
    There are a lot of ideas on the drawing board for extending what human beings can do in outer space. These ideas will remain on drawing boards and in the minds of their creators and fans of space (i.e. those participating in this forum) until decisions are made at the highest levels of power to implement them.

    Unfortunately, those in the highest levels of power are more interested in maintaining the welfare state for the rich and building more weapons systems --including more weapons of mass destruction. This is quite disturbing because
    unless we develop a permenant presence off earth the human race will become extinct just as species confined to a single island are likely to go extinct much sooner than species distributed on many islands. Perhaps this is a strong justification for removing those at the highest levels of power to create a true democracy-- and a spacefaring democracy at that.

    The Star Trek civilization realized that unless the current (21st century) global socioeconomic system changes from one of relentless competition and unsustainable consumption to one of cooperation and conservation, then humanity's prospects would be grim. The connection seems instructive: an advanced spacefaring civilization is likely to have more of our strengths and less of our weaknesses.

    --Capitalism and communism are both incompatible with democracy and it is an insult to human creativity to think that we cannot come up with something better than either.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Posts
    14
    .

    Like I said before, isn't that what the ISS was all about?
    Dont you think that ISS has been a more of an overhyped phenomena which has never quite achieved ( and seems even less likely to achieve in future ) what it set out to do.

    Of course it may in the long run turn out to be a one of tentative first steps but at present dont you think it is more symptomatic of the troubles and problems of our current dispensation towards space exploration - rather than a shining example for all and sundry to emulate ?

    Just curious what do you think has been the most successful human endevour in space so far ?

    Personally I prefer the voyager series ..

    If only there were more such ( and more participants too ) - to generate and sustain human interest in space exploration

Similar Threads

  1. Deeper Space Exploration reusing space exploration vehicle.
    By alabanana in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 2012-May-19, 07:12 AM
  2. Motives for colonization of space
    By Noclevername in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 270
    Last Post: 2012-Jan-20, 03:44 AM
  3. on Colonization of Space
    By Bris Vatne in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 78
    Last Post: 2009-Jul-31, 12:18 AM
  4. Embryo Space Colonization - What if?
    By Anthrage in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 2008-Feb-26, 11:01 PM
  5. colonization and space hotels
    By g99 in forum Space Exploration
    Replies: 42
    Last Post: 2002-Nov-03, 10:59 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •