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Why are people not interested in space, or dont even care?

Posted by: Stefan Sigwarth - Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:59 pm
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Why are people not interested in space, or dont even care? 
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Post Why are people not interested in space, or dont even care?   Posted on: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:59 pm
I got today some remarks at work upon reading these forums and space.com. I was, how ironic, reading the following article: http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_cool_050324.html

That article writes it down so perfect. What's cooler? Maybe racing in fast cars, but that's just short lived fun. But space is endless, vaster then anyone can even begin to comprehend, but still a major share of the people dont even care a bit. And i just don't get it. Any person on this planet, should have looked up at night (coming back from a pub or something) and looking up to the sky and seeing all those dots above. That view is simply breathtaking. Any person has to wonder if there's somebody out there, things like that. But they simple move on without thinking of it any further, or more deeply.

Apart from this ongoing question of why people aren't interested in space, what can we do about it? Is there some sort of organization for advancement of interest in space? Or something like that? We've got the weirdest organizations so why not for this subject?


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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:24 pm
"organization for advancement of interest in space"

Already planned, Nextgen (next version of this site)!

Not going to give more details, to be announced soon (but not too soon, months/years...).

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Last edited by Sigurd on Tue Sep 16, 2008 3:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.



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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:52 pm
Sounds good.

We really need a worshippy smily ;)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:56 pm
Stefan wrote:
Is there some sort of organization for advancement of interest in space?

There are several space support and lobbying groups, such as NSS and the Planetary Society (I am a member of both).

I grew up in the 1960’s and that was an exciting time. We were really going to the Moon, not just talking about it. And even though it was an expensive and impractical scheme that most people couldn’t directly participate in, everyone could watch it live on TV. But after Apollo 11 interest dropped dramatically and by Apollo 17 there was hardly any live coverage, at least not that I remember. It was just another news story. The attitude was, been there, done that and I can’t go anyway. Around that same time Mariner dashed all hopes and fantasies about a habitable Mars or Venus. Serious people once speculated that Mars and Venus could have liquid water, breathable air and life. All that is gone now. Suddenly there is no place interesting to go in this solar system. And the stars are too far away to even consider. We are almost back to the situation of ancient Egypt. We can see the stars but there is no hope of reaching them, so who cares. Yes, we could reach the Moon and maybe some nearby planets, but is that really more interesting than the south pole or the top of the highest mountains? Yes, but only because it is harder to get there and fewer people have done it, not because the places are intrinsically more interesting.

So in the end I have to agree with the quoted article. The reason to fly in space is because it is, in the words of Al Gore (who we all know is SO exciting), “awesomely cool”. That is why millionaires are spending their money on it. And I hope that technological advances will bring the cost down enough so that people like me can go too. But, just like Apollo 17 was less exciting than Apollo 11 (for most people, not me!), that level of accessibility will itself take away much of the novelty that makes it so cool now. So I don’t see space tourism progressing beyond the status of the current adventure trips to the south pole. At least not without interstellar capability.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Mar 26, 2005 8:49 pm
Well at the moment people cannot do anything, the stars, the moon and planets are just too out of reach for anyone to seriously consider going in the near term...

After promises upon promises of all the fantastic ideas about space tourism, moon colonization that were supposed to have happened some years ago, people just lost interest and to them its liike " well its not going to happen in my life time anyway! "

A lot of people still have that mentallity about space. Thats what we have to change, we have to make it known that we are going to go to space and this time its really happening, theres no going back. People need to understand that, space is probably our future now.

The xprize got some attention, but still.. people think that the only people that will go is the RICH. So whats the point in getting all excited? What the news and media dont tell them is, its going to get cheaper so me and you can go.

NASA has their own little corner and they pretty much keep a low profile on things now, NASA isnt really cool anymore, they just exist. The way they handled things is really bad, especially with the public.

I do believe things will start picking up over the next 5 years and more people will be interested. Within 10 years... I think Space talk will be common among young and old people :D


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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 27, 2005 2:55 pm
To get and then keep the interest of the people it is very important what the XPRIZE Foundation is doing... - but the vehicles only cannot do the job: The places to go by them have to be moved into the interets of the people too.

The XPRIZE Foundation is stimulating the growth of the private vehicles and their use as well as the travles by them and would be too much to expect the Foundation to direct the peopl's attention to the goals too.

There are a lot of Non-Government Organizations/Non-Profit Organizations who are considering and working on the places to go to: The Planetary Society, The Artemis Society, The Lunar Reclamation Sciety, The Mars Society and much more. Some of them - like The Artemis Society and the Lunar Reclamation Society - are working on exploration and pionering concepts and approaches as if they were doing a project in the travel and vacations market or industry on Earth.

By photos got by vehicles like Smart 1 or the AMSAT-probe to the Mars detailed tourist travels should be worked out - as a perspective for the future (regardless of near-by, middle-by or far off.

Ideas have o be found and worked out - this would pull a lot of additional finances and interest including that of the common people.



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Post    Posted on: Sun Mar 27, 2005 6:07 pm
We don't necessairely have to go to mars or to moon allthough we have the technology right now, just not the guts or the will to spend money and time on it. Besides, i don't think its wise to jump to the moon before even having some sort of decent space station. ISS sucks up so much money, i bet every o2 molecule breathen by its occupants must cost € 1 or so.

The interest is there in every person (that's actually what the article also means), it's just not realistic for them. Not yet. The point is that people has to start thinking that we can do better then NASA and ESA (forget about ESA...). Like Burt Rutan said in the Discovery documentary Black Space "if other people start to think, if Burt can do it, so can i", that's when it's gonna get on the fasttrack. If people finally seeing that space is not far-fetched at all, the interest will go skyhigh (literally).

Hopefully SpaceX will be taken seriously some time soon, so that the other ventures in that bussines will have to drop their prizes. If some genius, by that time, has designed a cheap-to-construct huge space station, we can build ourselves an orbiting space statino around earth, the moon and mars to start with. If lifting techniques and capabilities are also up to speed by that time, you dont need a space elevator, just a huge crane in space lifting cargo from geostationary orbit.


Anyway, i think children in elementary school should get a lot of space-topics, and also some astronomy. But i'm afraid every country is cutting cost on the education system.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:08 am
Hello, Stefan,

what you say is alright. What I said myself didn't mena that we need to go to Mars or moon - I menat that by working out projects about vacations on Mars or moon using photos and images as if a travel agency has worked out avacations project in Peru... - that by working out that it could be made looking very realistic to them, to their minds.

This could be done best by using the photos got by Spiirit and Opportunity first because the landscapes photographed are looking very familiar as if they were earthian landscapes. The description of the flight from Earth to Mars could make use of Bigelow's inflatables as if they were used as cycling hotels. And so on.

Such vacations and journeys could worked out like they were real offers at the market - but with the bright remark that it is no real offer but a possible offer in a future that is decades away.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 9:19 am
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Such vacations and journeys could worked out like they were real offers at the market - but with the bright remark that it is no real offer but a possible offer in a future that is decades away.


You would raise people's expectations to high and get a backlash when it wasnt realised in a short time frame. No matter if you put clearly that this would happen in the future, people would either ignore the cautiom and think it would happen much faster or would decide that the future is to distant to include them. If you want to give a promise of something make it realistic and applicable to those reading it otherwise you will generate apathy or even hosility against the thing you are trying to promote.

Orbital hotels around the earth is just about believable in the next 30 years, Mars or Moon vacations are not.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 10:24 am
I considered the remark to be required only because that what I had in mind could cause the people to think that someone is offereing vacations on Mars or moon really. This cause anger and especially lawsuits against travel agencies or authors - in Germany at least.

I had in mind papers like those you get in the bureaus of travel agencies as result of the working out. Then it would lokk quite realistic to the minds. And these papers would have to have that remakr. A normal book woudn't have the desired impact on the minds of the people.

What I had in mind was to cinvince the people that it is realistic - their interest is an additional and connected other aspect.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 12:33 pm
I think Andy is right. People that aren't really into the subject will think it's for real, even if it says it isn't. I don't think showing what it could be like is a good idea to burst the peoples interest in this field. It's tough to change peoples interest for something queit radical once their settled. Having more documentaries on general tv should be a good start.

Another problem is that there is not a variety of jobs in space. Sure, the different engineering jobs and the management jobs, but the vast majority don't have an interest in engineering, it's either 'to difficult' or for them plain boring. So to get the interest of the young people who are gonna make a study-choice, there has to come some more space-oriented studies. Heck, and on more universities and the level below university (bachelor). I have to go accros this country to even get to an university where you can study areospaceengineering.

Anyhow, even the xprize flights weren't 'big' news here. There was a written article here and there, but nothing fancy. And that for journalism, who really have the power to get people curious about space.

Unless there is nothing built in space to go to, people don't want to go.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:34 pm
Creating interest in space has to be incremental especially in Europe where we dont have manned vehicles launching at regular intervals. To break down the detatchment that people feel about space in Europe will require much more government involvement. I think that most people see space as something that the US and Russsia does that has very little to do with Europe. The few Europeans that have gone into space have all been passengers so this is not seen as a European achievement.

We need to take care when advertising space, even people like virgin who have a stake in it are only talking about sub-orbital flights even though their long term plans probably include orbital flights and commercial space stations. Only advertise that which you are going to in the short term or you end up with bad publicity (DaVinchi is a point in case) which would then have to be overcome. Long term plans can be advertised only once a track record of achievement has been created, the space industry already has plenty of companies making wild claims there is no need to add to them. Any disclaimer printed would almost certainly be ignored by a large percentage of those reading an article.

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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:54 pm
Concerning the varitey of jobs in space I cannot agree - tourism in space requires much more than engineering. There will be jobs for doctors, hotel services, guides and so on.

With regard to my other idea I might have been misunderstanding a little bit - it would show the people that it is realistic - that it could be done. What I have in mind doesn't mean that it is real already - that would be against the laws. Please keep in mind that it is designed to convince the people that something is realistic that we here know or seem to know to be realistic in fact - but not more. It can be done using the photographs sent by Spirit, Opportunity concerning Mars and the photos sent by Smart 1 concerning the moon. All these photos are available to the genral publicalready. This is valid for some private vehilces too - and one of them is capable to go to orbit unmanned and to accelerate a payload to escape velocity. Allthis only needs to be arranged in a convincing manner. And AMSAT's probe can be included. Nothing should be added that isn't available yet.

The boards of the already possible would be respected. Once a new additionaly progress is achieved - the ASP won perhaps in some years - the arrangement could be updated or a little bit more completed.

In such a paper market researcf formulars could be included explicitly asking the people if they are interested in such vacations and journeys. This way the people could do their own to let it become real. Then the misunderstanding that it would be real already would be prevented a posiitve way that gets the people involved.



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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 5:00 pm
Ekkehard Augustin wrote:
Concerning the varitey of jobs in space I cannot agree - tourism in space requires much more than engineering. There will be jobs for doctors, hotel services, guides and so on.


True, but by the time you not doctors up there, you allready gonna have a huge ass space station, or a colony on the moon. Before that doctor is even needed, we need an army of engineers.

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With regard to my other idea I might have been misunderstanding a little bit - it would show the people that it is realistic - that it could be done.

Well, that is not really the problem is it? Allthough you might be right. We know that technology is not the problem. It's just expensive and it doesnt pay back.

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In such a paper market researcf formulars could be included explicitly asking the people if they are interested in such vacations and journeys. This way the people could do their own to let it become real. Then the misunderstanding that it would be real already would be prevented a posiitve way that gets the people involved.

Mmm true, but thats nothing more then voting ;) Anyway, i doubt there will be anyone saying to a vacation to mars, the moon, or even orbit earth. Like i meant, what's cooler? :D

If there would be regular spacenews on tv, it would become a subject wiithout this kind of taboo. I mean, if you watch the news (or 'Heute' for Ekkehard ;) ) i find reports on wars in a place i never knew existed before as far-from-your-bed as is space news. I think it's really some kind of taboo and somehow we have to get rid of that.


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Post    Posted on: Mon Mar 28, 2005 7:01 pm
Reasonable people already know that lunar hotels are possible. The trouble is that we are no closer to building real lunar hotels than we were in 1970. No new rendering, no matter how realistic, will change that. That boy has cried wolf too often already.


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