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Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?

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MButts
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
MButts   7/2/2009 5:21:01 PM
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Robots in space! Not people. Look at how proud we all are and how involved we feel with Spirit and Opportunity on Mars, and how much they've done. The wealth in minerals and energy available in space is almost beyond imagining. Building better robots for space have immediate benefits to robots for us here on earth. Compare robotic and human spaceflight budgets, against the benefits gained by each. What a great boost to EEs and our industry if we put the funding for human spaceflight into robotic programs instead!

Tiger Joe
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
Tiger Joe   7/1/2009 7:02:34 PM
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Personally I think Human space exploration is a waste of money until we come up with a far more efficient means of propulsion. It's sickening, every time I see a space vehicle launch, that most of that weight is fuel, and how much of it is needed to lift something into orbit. I think we first need to stop using propulsion technology from the 50s that hasn't changed. If not, all we are doing is re-inventing the wheel. I would put the research money into nuclear fusion, which if harnessed, would be a far more efficient energy source. With respect to Earth, I do like the idea above, that is using Solar power as a sustainable energy source. So much of that energy goes untapped in our deserts, yet if we continue to rely on fossil fuels until it's all out of the ground, my fear is that we would have ruined the planet by then with all that extra CO2 in the atmosphere, then what would we do?

arclight_arclight
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
arclight_arclight   6/29/2009 1:54:07 PM
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1. Nuclear fusion for power--excellent choice as long as it results in useful power, not a lab toy. 2. Decoding human genome--good if it allows us to begin using the laws of physics to approach the practice of medicine. 3. Zero-point energy research--another source of power. 4. Workings of the mind--secondary value to me. 5. The SSTO that can put up 50 tons twice a week--good idea if it can get to geosync orbit. 6. Use it to pay the 535 members of Congress to send amendments to the states to (a) balance the budget (with real teeth in this one), (b) stop using the tax code as a toy, (c) properly maintain every capital investment, (d) guarantee funding for border protection and management, and (e) publicly fund elections and cut the election cycle to 12 weeks. If we could do these things, we'd eventually have money to do all the rest.

kinggazza
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
kinggazza   6/26/2009 7:06:10 PM
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id spend the money on saving our planet (I'd give Steve's project a go with a small 15 billion investment) but since most dont want to make sacrifices to safeguard generations to come, why not pop off to another planet and have a look around

kmoffat
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
kmoffat   6/26/2009 6:51:19 PM
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I'm in favor of continued investment in manned space travel for all the reasons mentioned above plus one other. Eventually, (could be tomorrow, could be thousands of years from now) the Earth will again experience the calamity of a large asteroid or comet impact that will likely eliminate all human life. We can't count on being able to prevent that impact (although some defenses would be prudent) and we need to begin the process of establishing a permanent colony at least on the moon for the human race to survive. Now is as good of time as any to get started.

dirk.bruere
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
dirk.bruere   6/26/2009 5:34:33 PM
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1 Decoding the human genome. Will be done with or without that extra cash. So, no. 2. Ditto (to some extent, although it needs more cash) 3. Nuclear fusion - yes, as long as it is not wasted on Tokamaks 4. Going to Mars - a big NO. Sticking with the space theme, the best thing to do with $100billion is to put it up as a giant X-Prize for the first SSTO to put 50 tonnes into LEO twice in one weeks. If not takers after 7 years, Fusion gets a shot at the X-Prize

Tigercat
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
Tigercat   6/26/2009 3:59:32 AM
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I have a hard time thinking that going to Mars might be worth it to the world's citizens right now. I do think it's a great human endeavour, and would be excellent for pushing a group of engineers to do their absolute best, but the price is a bit high. I was speaking to a colleague and if the government were to say "we're going to put an astronaut on Mars in three years…but we're going to be raising taxes by 3% on everything", I do not think that people would vote for that platform. I may sound philosophical in saying this, but I do believe it is our destiny to leave this planet and colonize other worlds. I just think it's still a bit away, and we'll need a little push from the economics side of things. Perhaps some sort of energy source will be found on Mars that will make it financially feasible to go there and harvest it, or at least a rich government might be willing to try (think Spain and Columbus). Something for the future... Until that time, my $100 billion is going straight into water desalination and solar power. There are many desert nations/regions that are relatively close to oceans and mucho salt water (Australia, California, North Africa, Middle East) and I can just picture solar powered desalination plants, miles of water pipes, and solar powered pumps completely transforming the desert into an oasis. Seems achievable. What do you (the audience) think of space travel, and what you would you do with $100 billion dollars? Steve Bitton Message was edited by: Tigercat

Tigercat
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re: Hey Red, is space exploration worth it?
Tigercat   6/26/2009 12:22:49 AM
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I have a hard time thinking that going to Mars might be worth it to the world's citizens right now. I do think it's a great human endeavour, and would be excellent for pushing a group of engineers to do their absolute best, but the price is a bit high. I was speaking to a colleague and if the government were to say "we're going to put an astronaut on Mars in three years?but we're going to be raising taxes by 3% on everything", I do not think that people would vote for that platform. I may sound philosophical in saying this, but I do believe it is our destiny to leave this planet and colonize other worlds. I just think it's still a bit away, and we'll need a little push from the economics side of things. Perhaps some sort of energy source will be found on Mars that will make it financially feasible to go there and harvest it, or at least a rich government might be willing to try (think Spain and Columbus). Something for the future? Until that time, my $100 billion is going straight into water desalination and solar power. There are many desert nations/regions that are relatively close to oceans and mucho salt water (Australia, California, North Africa, Middle East) and I can just picture solar powered desalination plants, miles of water pipes, and solar powered pumps completely transforming the desert into an oasis. Seems achievable. Anyhoo, there's my two cents. Steve Bitton

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