Space travel
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09-04-2012, 12:12 PM
Space travel
I wrote a post on my blog about this, but since it is still new and rarely visited, and I like to talk about this topic, I thought I'd start a thread here too Big Grin

C/p from the blog:
Quote:Why space travel matters

About forty years ago, humans took the first stroll through our closest neighborhood, the low Earth orbit. About thirty years ago, we set foot on our closest celestial neighbor, the Moon. Since then, we became ever-present in Earth's orbit, with space stations inhabited for years in a row, and countless man-made satellites circling around our pale blue dot. The International Space Station was not abandoned for one single day since Nov 2 2000! This is one of the greatest achievements of human intelligence, capability and technical prowess, and one we should all be extremely proud of. But, inspiring and mind-blowing as it is, we have to admit that it is also, in a way, outgrown. Think about it: we have been doing this - traveling to-and-fro the orbit - for the last forty years! I won't say we should stop doing it; on the contrary, the time has come to reach further out.

Why in the name of Darwin should we do this, you might ask. Well, my initial response would be - why the hell not? Now, of course, this answer is nowhere near satisfactory, but it's not supposed to be, since it is completely subjective (though I think it is also completely sane and reasonable). The more objective one would be something along the next lines: think of all the things we would learn from visiting other planets, let alone other stars! We don't have to go too far out in the beginning; we are not capable of doing it yet, anyhow. But we are capable of going to, say, Mars (I won't even mention the fact that we might practically at this exact moment go and build a base on the Moon, if not for the general greed and stupendous love for money of those who hold power). Even easier (and more logical, too) would be to send our fellow earthlings to some asteroid(s), perhaps Ceres or Vesta. There is much to think about when talking about something like this, for example, how to even get to an asteroid, or what to do when you get there? How to keep orbit around a body with such a small gravitational force? How to interact with the asteroid, if you don't even know its composition? I imagine breaking one in half while you're on it is not the best way to spend your holidays in space. But these are the questions we are able to answer and challenges we are able to tackle. And by visiting an asteroid we would learn so, so much: for example, how to eventually reach Mars (and further); or, how the solar system formed and what it looked like in its youth; or, how to deflect the evil asteroids that shoot for Earth. Who knows, we might even find out if the speculations about bacteria reaching Earth via some interstellar wanderer have any solid background.

And, of course, there is always Stephen Hawking's fear of human race destroying itself before it manages to leave this place. And we can all agree how bad that would be. Now, I don't think this is as likely to happen as some people claim, but we do have to consider it as a possibility. Don't keep all your eggs in the same basket, I say. Especially when so many people claim ownership over different eggs and even parts of the basket. Silly, silly people, but powerful and hard to ignore, too.

Well, anyway. I would like to hear some other opinions on why space travel matters, or matters not, so feel free to leave a comment below. Share your thoughts - it's fun and educational! Smile
Also if there is a topic like this already, I apologize.

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09-04-2012, 02:59 PM
RE: Space travel
woo Smile nice topic.

I feel I should point out that if we destroy ourselves *after* landing on Mars it will be equally tragic. But yeah, still worth it Tongue

40-50 years isn't a terribly long time - to have developed this far, that near-space travel is routine, is pretty amazing in and of itself. The main thing standing in the way of further missions is expense - once it becomes profitable there won't be any way to hold us back!
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09-04-2012, 03:10 PM
RE: Space travel
Yeah, but when you consider that the current NASA's budget is only 0.5% of overall US budget, you realize how much could be achieved if it was raised to even 1%. There's even a petition going on to raise it to that at http://www.penny4nasa.org/

edit: Also, yeah, I can agree with the fact that the destruction of human race on *any* planet is not a good thing Big Grin

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09-04-2012, 04:51 PM
RE: Space travel
The privatization of the space agency's main orbital projects will work in its favor in the long run though.

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09-04-2012, 05:31 PM
RE: Space travel
Hm, possibly. But I don't really like privatization, I'm afraid of mad scientists with too much money xD

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09-04-2012, 06:31 PM (This post was last modified: 09-04-2012 06:43 PM by Logica Humano.)
RE: Space travel
(09-04-2012 05:31 PM)le_procyon Wrote:  Hm, possibly. But I don't really like privatization, I'm afraid of mad scientists with too much money xD
The likelihood of that is minuscule. What will happen, however, is the capitalization and commercial competition that our space agencies need; as well as greater 3rd party involvement (company-built rockets and spaceships).

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09-04-2012, 06:39 PM
RE: Space travel
Can't disagree with that.

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09-04-2012, 06:44 PM
RE: Space travel
(09-04-2012 06:39 PM)le_procyon Wrote:  Can't disagree with that.
$_$ Chah-ching!

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09-04-2012, 09:27 PM
RE: Space travel
I can't help but look up at the stars and just stare....if commercial space travel becomes avalible in my life, yo ubet your ass im going to mars!
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09-04-2012, 10:05 PM
RE: Space travel
The sooner we get off this rock the better, if we dont we're over. Its that simple. We are maybe not that far from manned stations certainly on the moon, Mars also. But that its the faltering baby steps toward a colony. The technical challenges of setting up even a heavily supported colony are huge, but within our grasp. The real biggy is branching out beyond our solar system, thats beyond us now, but who can say for how long that will be. All I know is Im not going, Im to long in the tooth now, even if we get stuff up and running in my life time Im to old, to unfit to pass any selection. Im not sure why, but that really makes me sad, especially in light of the time wasting we've engaged in for the past four or five decades. There is literally nothing I can think of more important the broading the base of the ecosphere that we inhabit. Currently we are one event from extinction and its not a case of if, but when.

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