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Since Outer space is such a hot topic here.


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#1 of 79 OFFLINE   Joe Tilley

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:04 AM

I was just wondering since Outer space seams to be such a hot topic here I thought I'd ask. First off I find myself very curious on the topic of space & what is or could be out there. But why is it that for the billions we spend on space exploration for things that we will most likeley never benefit from in our lifetimes, do they not look closer at the things that could make a difference? What I mean is there are so many things about our world we know nothing about or things we do know about but do nothing. Like for example if we can build a space shuttle to go to Mars & take pictures, than why cant we build something that can find the deepest parts of our ocean's & take pictures. instead of looking for life somewhere else that is so hard to reach, discover the life here that we still have not found.
At the same time I can somewhat understand why so many feel it's important to explore space, & why we do it. And it is something very interesting to me, but sometimes I think its just a big waste to spend millions to build something to take a few pictures of somewhere we will most likely neve go. Granted we will also probley never go to the deepest depths here on earth, but wouldn't it be just as cool to know just whats down there? I think of it kinda like space as well. Everyone hopes to find the answer to time like a warm hole in space, or another planet where there is life like us. But really think what if somewhere down below us is what we have been looking for all along. What if we found the center of the earth is a big worm hole? What if we found a definite answer to (why we are here) just below our feet. I guess it can be argued either way as the answer could be out there as well. But why not look closer at home.
All the time divers are going deeper & deeper & still finding life, & very interesting life at that. But what have we found in space so far other than more rocks? Sure space is a MUCH larger place to look around & there may just be something just one more step out. But why keep pushing so hard to find nothing (in terms of life) when we could dive deeper & see more life here?
I hope no one gets carried away with this because I know quite a few people here are into space exploration, & like I said I think it's really cool to. But I just cant help but wonder why we don't look closer to home a little more?

#2 of 79 OFFLINE   Mike Wladyka

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Posted March 17 2004 - 02:12 AM

Quote:
But why is it that for the billions we spend on space exploration for things that we will most likeley never benefit from in our lifetimes


do you think that Galileo, Archimedes, Da Vinci, etc, shouldn't have investigated their respected fields, just because they wouldn't see the unlimited benefits that we see from there work...how about the guys before them? i think you can see where i am going...

it is, and always will be important to look the future. who knows what the stuff we are finding out now, will be used for in the future...

edit: there is a lot people looking in matters here on earth
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#3 of 79 OFFLINE   Chris

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:51 AM

Quote:
But why is it that for the billions we spend on space exploration for things that we will most likeley never benefit from in our lifetimes

Oh, quite contraire.

Without the space program of the 1960s, you'd lose far more then "tang".. in fact, a lot of developments that came out of that make major changes in our industries..

You know, little things like:

Microprocessors (computers anyone?)
Solid-fill capacitors (circuit boards)
Compressed metals cars..
GPS
Cellular phones
digital TV


The list is enormous of things that were invented for, or by, the existence of a space program.

Right now, other countries are SERIOUSLY outspending us in the space field, with China leading the way with a planned moon-base by 2019, for full factory useage.

Sound goofy? Not really.. as the needs of R&D for microprocessor companies grows, the existance of a contaminate free, low gravity environment would play significant benefits in the development of future chip technologies, which help drive multiple industries.

The exploration of space is part about science, the expansion of our presence in the universe, but it is also about moving us forward here with scientific developments that help our industries.

Seriously, whoever manages to start using the moon first for actual R&D development in a full-scale way will have a fairly significant technological advantage in many economic sectors..
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#4 of 79 OFFLINE   Francois Caron

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Posted March 17 2004 - 04:14 AM

Space exploration doesn't even have to be all that expensive if you have the proper equipment. Look at the X-Prize contestants and the accomplishments they've made before they've even launched anyone into space. All this is being funded by individuals and private companies.

Another milestone in this planet's history is aviation. In 100 years, we went from a perilous 12 second flight a few feet of the ground to the ability to travel to any part of the world in a few hours. In fact, that ability was accomplished in under 60 years! Many people were alive throughout the entire event, some people still alive even today.

All these advances exist because we as a species simply can't stay still for a minute without getting restless. We must move around! We must travel! Even individuals who don't travel all that much can still enjoy the offerings of other nations just by watching one of the many travel channels on the air. So it's only natural that we would want to travel to an environment as hostile as deep space. We know we can accomplish it at reasonable cost. We just have to figure out how to do it.

Arthur C. Clarke wrote a story many decades ago called "The Fountains of Paradise" where he had the idea of a "space elevator", essentially a vehicle track that runs from the planet surface to a satellite in geostationary orbit around the earth. When asked when such an elevator would be designed and built, Clarke said "about ten years after everyone stops laughing."

We stopped laughing a few years ago. Designs are already being proposed on how to build it.

#5 of 79 OFFLINE   DanielKellmii

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Posted March 17 2004 - 04:14 AM

In the past, I have worked on the the Shuttle Turbopumps and some rocket stuff that ended up not going anywhere. I learned a few things about the "need" for these programs.
They create good jobs, lots of them.
Billions of dollars are not thrown into space. It is throw into Congressional Districts.
They show the world technical capabilities.
China doesn't care about the moon. What they care about is showing that they can make highly complicated equipment and that you should buy it from them. What company is going to buy an airplane from China? None. But after a few decades of development and some examples of their capabilities there might be a new competitor in the marketplace.
It keeps engineering technology current new ideas are transferable to the millitary.

It is just a huge governmental program that redistributes the wealth and occasionally creates a viable commercial product. Workfare for the educated is just one of the nicer names that has been attached to it. This can also be applied to most high-cost millitary projects. Comanche anyone????

#6 of 79 OFFLINE   Andrew Testa

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Posted March 17 2004 - 04:25 AM

Daniel,

Yeah, but it's paying for my midget porn collection. Thank you taxpayers!

Joe,

more seriously, think of any scientific endeavor. You need several data points to learn about whatever it is you study. Earth is but one data point in our understanding of how planetary geology and ecosystems work and evolve. By learning about how these systems work on other planets, we increase our understanding of how the Earth works. The more we know about more planets, the better our understanding of Earth and it's future. And if the extrasolar planet studies ever find anoth planet with an ecosystem, we'd have an enormous opportunity to understand Earth better by understanding a smimilar world under different conditions. Everything that is learned is applicable to knowledge of our own planet.

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#7 of 79 OFFLINE   DanielKellmii

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Posted March 17 2004 - 06:09 AM

Quote:
Yeah, but it's paying for my midget porn collection. Thank you taxpayers!


Thanks for the smile, that was pretty funny.

#8 of 79 OFFLINE   ChuckSolo

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Posted March 17 2004 - 06:22 AM

I for one support the space program because I for one want to know, in my lifetime hopfully, if we are indeed the only ones living in the universe. The mathematical probability of there being life on other planets is to huge to think that we are alone. Sooner or later, and maybe NOT in my lifetime, we are bound to make first contact.

#9 of 79 OFFLINE   Patrick Sun

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Posted March 17 2004 - 07:59 AM

VELCRO!!!!!
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#10 of 79 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted March 17 2004 - 08:29 AM

...and ballpoint pens that can write on butter.

Andrew: How goes it? Feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the proposed space-policy initiative? And how's the return-to-flight work looking at the moment? I'm betting next summer at the earliest.

#11 of 79 OFFLINE   Greg_R

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Posted March 17 2004 - 08:38 AM

Quote:
why cant we build something that can find the deepest parts of our ocean's & take pictures.
Ummm... this was done back in 1960 using the bathyscaphe Trieste.

#12 of 79 OFFLINE   DaveF

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Posted March 17 2004 - 08:44 AM

There are other practical benefits to the space program, but they can't be discussed in a public forum.

#13 of 79 OFFLINE   Joe Tilley

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Posted March 17 2004 - 10:50 AM

You all make some very good points. I understand that there are quite a few benfinates to space exploration, I guess just not knowing all of them makes me look at it differently. It's not that I think theres not a point to it, I'm not sure but I thought a couple people may have took it that way. But rather that Myself I find seeing new found life more interesting ( for the most part ) than learning that there may have been or is water on Mars. Really some of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen are of space, but they are from deep space not a big red rock. I think what I'm really getting at here is just that again myself I just don't understand some of it, & I supposed that why I started this thread. To me I would think ( just IMO ) we could learn more from what we have here.
Greg, I've never heard of the Bathyscaphe Trieste before but that is interesting. And 35,800 feet down! That is just amazing, but did it do anything other than dive to that depth? Sorry if I missed it somewhere if it did. But see that to me is a challenge. It seams to me that building a ship to go to space ( forgive me for the simple mind ) would be somewhat easy. But to build a ship that could go to the deepest depths, possibly with people & look what life or who knows what may be there would just be cool.
I think one of the biggest factors with space ( once again just IMO ) is the bragging rights of who done it first. Cause we all know if one person proves it can be done others will follow to say they've done it too.

#14 of 79 OFFLINE   Ashley Seymour

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Posted March 17 2004 - 10:58 AM

David err Joe, welcome to the site. May I show you some pets I keep in the basement? What loud roar? No, those aren't lions, that is my subwoofer. Yeah, that't it, my subwoofer. Go on down, I'll join you momentarily.
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#15 of 79 OFFLINE   Joe Tilley

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Posted March 17 2004 - 01:24 PM

Ashley, WTF?

#16 of 79 OFFLINE   Brad Porter

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Posted March 17 2004 - 02:06 PM

Quote:
It seams to me that building a ship to go to space ( forgive me for the simple mind) would be somewhat easy. But to build a ship that could go to the deepest depths, possibly with people & look what life or who knows what may be there would just be cool.

Sorry Joe, I can't support your assertion that building and flying space vehicles is "somewhat easy", although I will admit that most of us are just building incremental improvements on previous vehicles - making it an easier task today than it was in the recent past.

My main problem with your point is that you are arguing in favor of the "coolness" of the unknown with no evidence to support that the unknown is indeed "cool". I always cringed when people would argue against the deforestation of the rain forest by claiming that the biodiversity in the rain forest could provide the "cure for cancer". They seemed to ignore that their beloved biodiversity could potentially also contain a deadly virus. Both outcomes are equally likely in the absence of direct supporting evidence. Don't go promising us that there is something cool just around the corner from where we've looked so far, because you don't have any evidence to support that assertion.

You should be interested in scientific discovery in whichever field it may be gained. Newfound knowledge in cosmology doesn't cancel out existing knowledge of aquatic biology. Both fields add to our understanding of existence.

Quote:
But why keep pushing so hard to find nothing (in terms of life) when we could dive deeper & see more life here?

We aren't pushing hard to find "nothing". We are pushing hard to find "anything". If we end up finding "nothing", then that is still at least a data point in furthering our understanding. But you never know what's there until you look.

So if you want us to collectively spend more money on undersea exploration than we do now, then argue in favor of that. It doesn't have to be space exploration *OR* undersea exploration. It can be BOTH. Since you acknowledge that this forum is filled with space geeks, you would have a more compelling argument here if you appealed to our natural love of scientific discovery, rather than attacking the funding and effort spent on space exploration.

Would I like to see more deep sea exploration? Sure! Just don't cancel my program to fund it, please. I've got more midget porn to buy. Posted Image

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#17 of 79 OFFLINE   BrianW

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Posted March 17 2004 - 02:35 PM

I don't think we're doing one type of exploration to the exclusion of the other. There are efforts under way to roboticaly explore the full depth of the Mariana Trench. If you prefer the oceanic/biological/terrestrial flavors of exploration, then you're certainly in good company here. It will take all kinds of explorers to figure this place out, and I wouldn't do without oceanic exploration any sooner than I'd do without space exploration. Both are vital to our understanding of the world in which we live.
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#18 of 79 OFFLINE   Joe Tilley

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:08 PM

Quote:
We aren't pushing hard to find "nothing". We are pushing hard to find "anything". If we end up finding "nothing", then that is still at least a data point in furthering our understanding. But you never know what's there until you look.

Just my point with looking closer at the world beneath our feet.
Quote:
Since you acknowledge that this forum is filled with space geeks, you would have a more compelling argument here if you appealed to our natural love of scientific discovery, rather than attacking the funding and effort spent on space exploration.

Well if you took it that I was calling people space geeks you got me wrongPosted Image But however you take it I'm not trying to attack efforts on space exploration. I think what I'm trying to ( ask or say ) is just being taken wrong. I'm not the best for setting in front of a computer trying to type out what I'm thinking. Damn now you guys even have me confused on what I was trying to get across:b
Quote:
Would I like to see more deep sea exploration? Sure! Just don't cancel my program to fund it, please. I've got more midget porn to buy.

Really man, midget porn??? And I thought I was strangePosted Image

#19 of 79 OFFLINE   Andrew Testa

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Posted March 17 2004 - 03:12 PM

Hey Jack,

Quote:
Feeling optimistic or pessimistic about the proposed space-policy initiative?

I'd like to feel more optimistic, but we haven't heard a peep about it since the President's speech. It's like he threw a stinkbomb into the teacher's lounge and high-tailed it for the parking lot. If this is going to go anywhere the administration has to keep it in view and keep pushing it. Right now there's a vaccuum of information, and that breeds a lot of negative speculation. I still support the concepts completely, but I'm having doubts as to how serious anyone in Washington is. They need to give us SOMETHING.

Quote:
how's the return-to-flight work looking at the moment?

Officially we're looking at March 2005, but summer is pretty reasonable. The robotic portion of the requirements is really killing us. We just finished the critical design review for the arm extension boom and there's still doubt about whether it can structurally handle the loads of the shuttle arm. Which is what I'm busy trying to find out with broken simulators and outdated information. Ain't we got fun! Also, it's now a done deal that on STS-114 there's going to be a test of the emergency tile repair maneuver with the shuttle arm. For those who don't know, this involves the shuttle arm grabbing the station, undocking from the station, and flipping the orbiter around with it's own arm to present the underside to the station for access by EVA. They're going to test the undocking and moving the orbiter through a few motions, then either redock or release and separate. Now, for those who don't understand how pants-wetting scary this is, imagine driving a huge SUV where the only way you're allowed to touch the steering wheel is with a few strands of uncooked spaghetti. On the positive side we're doing a lot of impossible things if you compare with some of the feasibility studies from the 80's.

We's a little bit stressed out.

Andy

#20 of 79 OFFLINE   Ashley Seymour

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Posted March 17 2004 - 04:35 PM

Quote:
Ashley, WTF?


Joe, you remind me of the story of Daniel being thrown into the lions den.

You are are posing questions what will bring out a lot of replies from those of us who will strongly argue from many different points.

I support a vigorous space program - unmanned. The manned missions are basically pyramid building for NASA and the space community.

All of the claims about the terrestial benefits of manned space flight are very dubious. Silicon chips were used on the early space ships, but the consumer market was the primary driving force for research and growth of this technology.

Exploration of the deep is worth, but I would like to see more of the Bio Sphere research. For us to do any true manned exploration in space will require more than three, or five or 25 man teams. We need to learn about the ability to live together in small teams and about self sufficiency on Mars. Colonies of several hundred people will be necessary to sustain any meaningful research. One of the best ways to understand the complex interrelationship of all elements is to continue to experiment on earth with Bio Sphere type structures.
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