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Why Space in general

Posted by: Sigurd - Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:22 pm
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Why Space in general 
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Post Why Space in general   Posted on: Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:22 pm
I'm trying to create a long accurate and detailed list of reasons why space exploration is important and what it will provide to us all. This will be used to advertise the upcoming large expansion of the space fellowship.

I hope to hear a lot of information from all of you, (including for medical etc use).


NOTE: this is not a topic to discuss IF we need space at all, it's only to collect information WHY we need it. Other discussions will be removed or split into seperate topics.

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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:36 am
Vast amounts of clean energy.

Vastly increased resources.

Once launch costs come down all dirty industries can be moved off Earth.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:08 am
I want to be able to fly in space and I can't, but the plain fact is that right now manned space flight is an optional luxury. In the future that will almost certainly change, but I cannot think of a single good reason why it should be considered a necessity right now. Of course there are definite benefits from weather and communication satellites right now, but everyone knows that already.


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:31 am
Hello, Sigurd,

TJ already listed good reasons that at least partially are economical ones.

I this only only want to mention what Prof. Collins says in at least one of his documents: Space, space fairing, space exploratiopn, personal space travel is one of the greatest chances and sources to handle employment problems, to significantly reduce unemployment and to get new prosperity for the whole world here on Earth.



Dipl.-Volkswirt (bdvb) Augustin (Political Economist)


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Post    Posted on: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:57 am
Padron the pun, but we need the space. A civilization based on infinite growth (or at least, thats what the economy is) needs infinite resources.


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Post why space   Posted on: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:02 pm
- Move dangerous industries off of Earth (self-replicating machines...need I say more?)

- Earlier warning on Earth threatening events (e.g. nearby supernova, Near Earth Objects)

- too many crazy people with increasing power on the Earth

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:05 pm
oh yeah, almost forgot...

- to (eventually) prove that we're not alone in the universe, and thus God(s) (or lack thereof, your choice) and/or the universe isn't just about humans, and that the fights over religion (and race, etc.) here on Earth, really don't matter in the larger scheme.

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Post    Posted on: Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:46 pm
im with Alistair

Bigger Picture scenario!

Also though... hmmm
See the earth in all its glory
Exploration
Economics
Save us from doom here (Hawkins interview this week)
And the need i have to do it after playing Gradius3 and Elite as a kid, it just got ingrained! the mystery is just amazing! All the TV and video games had a big effect as i grew up,

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Post The Space Imperative   Posted on: Thu Jan 18, 2007 4:23 am
You were probably looking for something shorter, and I tried, but this is what you get instead. :) I tried to at least provide some sentences you can extract without losing the supporting logic.

The Space Imperative

To Fulfill our Destiny
I believe we are the generation of mankind destined to leave the cradle and that we are therefore obligated as individuals to contribute to the general cause of getting it done. That is my belief, but it is not a matter of faith. It is a matter of observation and logical development of certain ideas, some of which follow.

For Earth's Climate
Quote:
Mark Twain: "Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it"


Our species is facing a challenging century and will need to become a space-faring species to meet that challenge.

Our ability to monitor Earth's changing climate from space will not advance rapidly enough to evolve into methods to effectively deal with the challenge unless we develop our space prowess well beyond current capability.

Our current Earth Observation Satellites are very expensive instruments and so we can only afford to put them up occasionally. Many of the satellites that scientists depend on to make the wide variety of observations they need are old. Some are newer, but they are all expensive so they are limited in number and they all operate in a hostile environment.

We are going to need a lot more earth observation capability to get a handle on climate change to the point that we can try to ward off the worst of the turmoil and monitor the effectiveness of any measures we take to improve things.

With current launch costs, even modest budget increases will not allow us to put up as many observers as we really need. Also, building more satellites will not bring launch costs down simply because they will remain too expensive as long as launching is expensive.

The best prospect for bringing launch costs down is so-called space tourism.

Many positive effects for Earth Science can be gained by capitalizing on the capability space tourism will provide.

A reliable, frequent and less expensive delivery service can open the door to a new wave of inexpensive earth observation satellites. Space Tourism companies and their suppliers will be looking for high flight rates, and even if they are not set up to deploy satellites, they will have shown others the way.

Universities will be able to have their own eyes in the sky, High Schoolers can even get in on the act. The "tourism" label is misleading: call it alt.space or new space or space 2.0 or make up some new term to describe this synergy between visiting the void and monitoring Mother Earth.

Nearly every space tourist will be a person advocating positive action to deal with global warming. By the time space hotels are in place in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), the number of eyeballs on the planet, looking to solve global problems, will become very significant. These will be wealthy eyeballs, belonging to people accustomed to solving problems.

Even before space tourism reaches the moon, it can become a vast Earth observation platform. The lunar surface is a very stable observation platform with the opportunity to create large-scale observational systems.

The best prospect for our species in facing the challenge of a century of global warming is to become a space-faring species and to do that in time to make a real difference we need to immediately embrace space flight and space development in all its forms, especially these early stages of what is called space tourism, which represents a cost breakthrough of much larger importance than just thrill rides.

For Earth's Human Population
Mankind is not only facing challenges in resources but also faces the challenge of simply no longer having a large unexplored area of the Earth as a frontier to explore. It is unfortunate that the phrase "Final Frontier" already has a solid place in the cultural lexicon, because that truly characterizes what "space" is for our age, and that very important fact of life needs to take root in our new century's thinking.

Mankind needs a safety valve, and we need to start relieving pressure now. Every little bit helps.

We need to at least make a good start at providing new frontiers for this century's children (later, we'll worry about having millions of people living off-planet). They are going to need the nearly universally experienced psychological benefit of joy and wonder at the ability of mankind to move into space. They are going to need it desperately and we need to get started.

The sense of being a part of the generation which makes it clear that a future in space for everyone's children and grandchildren, could do wonders for the world's population. The thing called hope is a very real, important and tangible property of existence and people are thirsty for it. What can slake that thirst other than space exploration and development? Video games? Reality shows?

Many of those who rarely think about space flight make the mistake of thinking that when we talk about millions of people living off Earth, that we are talking about abandoning the home planet, that we want to leave the Earth behind us as a spent shell, because all is doomed. Seriously, they think things like that. It is important that they hear we mean just the opposite.

They never saw the scene in Star Trek TNG where Deanna Troi escorts Samuel Clemens on the decks of the Enterprise and informs him that things worked out well after all. We all saw that, it is part of our mythos, us space geeks, even those who think it's tripe have processed the proposition of a healthy green Earth hand in hand with space flight.

The general public, those who think of these things rarely, needs to associate space activities with a healthy planet earth. That branding campaign needs to occur.

For Earth's Economy
Growth is a fundamental precept of business: a business that does not grow is not thought to be healthy. At the same time, if basic resources are limited and/or become ever more difficult to extract, and the extraction of resources correlates with ecological disaster, then we have two concepts on a collision course: growth versus sustainability.

Most growth is predicated on the maintenance of an ever-higher standard of living, yet it can be demonstrated that the world cannot support a universal "western standard" of living.

There is only one way to turn this collision between growth and sustainability to our advantage: fuel the economic growth with expansion of profitable activities in space.

Not only is a new economic growth engine required to generate the wealth needed to deal with this century's challenges, but we need it simply to allow the economy the flexibility, the freedom of action, to make the transitions in infrastructure and attitude needed to meet this century's challenges.

Space development will fuel the growth needed to get us through the tough task ahead of transitioning to resource bases and technologies that represent long-term solutions.

The notion that money is 'spent' on space is silly. All space activity means money changing hands right here on Earth.

The world economy is going to need another economic engine as powerful as the initial dotcom boom, and space is where that engine is going to exert its power. This coming boom will not be a bubble, because it is developing along an unforced timeline.

Every proposed future space activity you read about these days represents a potential future economic success story, and increases the odds that we will sooner assemble a critical mass of economic success stories sufficient to explode into an unprecedented economic boom.

For Mankind's Legacy: Now or Never?
If one assumes that every generation of a society has an obligation to previous and future generations, then the pressure is on our generation to do our part, which is to transition from a resource extraction economy to something more sustainable than that. Space can make that transition less painful.

Eventually, we need to get to a sustainable economy and many would say the sooner the better and that makes sense. Yet the momentum of the current thinking, the vested interests of the status quo, is not something easily steered, let alone reversed. An all-out blitz to immediately replace current tech with sustainable technologies risks near certain resistance, leading to delays, so strategically a fruitful transition period may be the best plan.

Strategy is everything when the stakes are high. Accelerating space flight development is the best bet on the table for mankind and especially the USA.

If we do not accelerate space development, we are looking at 20 years before we achieve regular access to the moon, and in the absence of private efforts there, even then the access will be limited to government folks. Allot perhaps another 10 years to get to a point where we can call ourselves "space-faring" and we are at 2037 before many of the benefits of space flight really start to make a positive difference in people's lives. That's a long time for climate change to wreak havoc and influence big-project priorities. The people will not wait that long, nor should they have to.

If we take that much time to bring the benefits of space to the lives of Earthlings, that essentially means that space will be in *competition* with efforts to deal with climate change that entire time.

Now do you see where the "now or never" question comes from?

Here's the polemic, US Senate Floor, 2018: "While the space guys are fooling around trying to get something started up on the moon, the rest of us back here on Earth are trying to help people with their feet on the ground deal with the severe weather conditions they face. I say we cancel this moon base and spend the money right here on disaster relief."

Ouch, huh? We die-hard space advocates need to be ahead of the curve in answering this question before it is asked. we need to be up there helping out on things down here in new and meaningful ways, and we need to get that in place before the brunt of climate change is upon us.

In other words, it very well may be now or never.

These lines of reasoning may or may not resonate with the public (or this forum), and I've left out my personal favorite: the imperative to insure the advance of civilization. The curious thing about this imperative is the apparently widespread doubt among the general public that perhaps neither the civilization nor the species is worth saving, thoughts which I find preposterous. Sometimes the general public needs leadership on these things. :D

These are core reasons for going into space: to fulfill our destiny as a species by attending to Earth's climate as only a space-faring species can, for the sake of offering hope to the people of the world and for the maintenance of a high standard of living, while enabling no less an accomplishment than preservation of the human species itself. I cannot conceive of a higher imperative.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:00 am
I didn't see anything about understanding God in there. Its what pushed Kepler and Galileo.

The true nature of God is revealed by His creation. The idea that God is rational and that the universe is also rational is what underpins our ability to trust science as a tool.

A bit more information about God would go a long way down here.

Quote:
They rounded the foot of the Quentulus Quazgar Mountains, and
there was the Message written in blazing letters along the crest
of the Mountain.

"We apologise for the inconvenience"

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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:22 pm
So you're suggesting we should explore space to hunt for easter eggs? :)


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Post    Posted on: Fri Nov 16, 2007 10:48 pm
Science can be seen as forensic theology, but the easiest way to avoid making assumptions about 'God' is to discard the assumption that there is one.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:04 am
Why space?

I think we're past that. You might just as well ask
"Why Europe?"
or
"Why McDonalds?"

There comes a point where things gather enough momentum that events will continue to happen and develop reguardless of the rationalle and trying to justify this process to the skeptics is just a waste of breath.

There are still people out there who think
"If god had meant us to fly he would never have given us the railways."
Ignore them. They con't count. Indeed some of them probably can't count.

I don't know exactly at what point historians will say the progress to space became inevitable, but whenever it was we passed it some time ago. There are at least 6 counties that now have the capability to put rockets into space. Several programs have little to do with national prestige and more to do with making money. Even if NASA folded its tents and quietly slipped into the pages of history its done its job. The momentum is there.

The space age has begun.

Admittedly it hasn't got heaps of momentum yet. But the rocket has cleared the tower.

Relax, sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Post Re: Why Space in general   Posted on: Sat Nov 17, 2007 9:56 am
Sigurd wrote:
I'm trying to create a long accurate and detailed list of reasons why space exploration is important and what it will provide to us all. This will be used to advertise the upcoming large expansion of the space fellowship.

I hope to hear a lot of information from all of you, (including for medical etc use).


NOTE: this is not a topic to discuss IF we need space at all, it's only to collect information WHY we need it. Other discussions will be removed or split into seperate topics.


Might wanna be a bit more nuance about 'space exploration', Sigurd.

There are different levels of support, ranging from outright disdain to rabid enthusiasm depending on the context. The recent comments from Steven Weinberg still rings strongly in my ears.

He's all for space exploration but rabidly against manned exploration presumely due to his experience with the cancellation of the Beyond Einstein program / SSC.


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Post    Posted on: Sat Nov 17, 2007 4:59 pm
Frediiiie wrote:
There are still people out there who think
"If god had meant us to fly he would never have given us the railways."
Ignore them. They con't count. Indeed some of them probably can't count.


Ah, humour. It is a difficult concept.

Frediiiie wrote:
There are at least 6 counties that now have the capability to put rockets into space.


Hopefully, someday soon, that won't be a typo. :)

Apart from the basic biological functions, human activity is either passing time or killing time. I saw somewhere - on a calendar, paperweight, I dunno - "Kill time and you injure eternity". People have to be doing something, and if they are not doing something harmless but pointless, they are doing something destructive.

We look at the pyramids of Egypt today and go "Wow!" Not so many of us say "What a monumental waste of effort. Them ancient Egyptians must have been dumber than a hammer." I wonder how orderly their society would have been if they hadn't been so focussed on harmlessly wasting all that human effort.

Any bullet-point about the reasons for space either seems weak or alienates somebody, whether it is "we get cool stuff like non-stick frying pans and Velcro" or "to find God".

So the most robust treatment of the question "why space?" is to ask whether things we do in space are passing time or killing it. Any argument that it will help fulfill basic biological needs will seem phony and remote to skeptics, but the stuff we do in space is very definitely passing time rather than killing it, imho.


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