View Poll Results: What's next for the United States?

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  • More rigorous and extensive manned exploration of moon.

    20 52.63%
  • Permanent lunar colonies

    17 44.74%
  • Construction of "O'Neill" habitats.

    6 15.79%
  • Mars exploration with goal of colonization.

    21 55.26%
  • Asteroidal/comet exploitation?

    11 28.95%
  • Other

    10 26.32%
  • Nothing. Abandon space to the robots.

    7 18.42%
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Thread: Space Goals For America: What Next?

  1. #101
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    Well, it's similar to what you say.

    We shouldn't cross the Atlantic until we have the technology to build the QE2.

    But why would anyone develop the technology to build the QE2 unless they're planning to cross the ocean?

    Some developments are application-specific. There's no earthly analogy to sending men to another planet, no offshoot of some other project, so you have to tackle that specific problem to develop the technology to get it done. To do it, you have to want it. Or it won't get done.
    I was referring more to the base level of technology that would make such a journey economically feasible (or at least, not prohibitively expensive). Landing a man on Mars will be much easier once we have nanotechnology...but developing nanotechnology is not dependent on a trip to Mars.
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  2. #102
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    Nice try, but not the same thing at all. The question is far more deeply philosophical than you seem to be grasping. I'm not worried about putting people out of work. It's about having a purpose in life, about moving forward.
    All the goals I listed will move humanity forward in a real, tangible way.

    Having a purpose in life? Now you're treading very close to some sort of bizarre religious argument, and I'm not touching that with a ten foot pole...and don't want the government to do so either.
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  3. #103
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    I was referring more to the base level of technology that would make such a journey economically feasible (or at least, not prohibitively expensive). Landing a man on Mars will be much easier once we have nanotechnology...but developing nanotechnology is not dependent on a trip to Mars.
    It's another perpetually-renewing argument. There will never be a time when there's not some new promising technology not quite yet developed which could make it easier, less expensive, etc. Again, always a reason to wait longer.
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  4. #104
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    It's another perpetually-renewing argument. There will never be a time when there's not some new promising technology not quite yet developed which could make it easier, less expensive, etc. Again, always a reason to wait longer.
    Then that's just the way it is. We aren't in any hurry.
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  5. #105
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    All the goals I listed will move humanity forward in a real, tangible way.

    Having a purpose in life? Now you're treading very close to some sort of bizarre religious argument, and I'm not touching that with a ten foot pole...and don't want the government to do so either.


    "Bizarre religious argument"? So anyone who says "stay hungry" is a religious nut? Setting a tangible, palpable, technological goal is a government endorsement of religion?

    Oh, wow. How weak is your argument if you have to resort to THAT?
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  6. #106
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Then that's just the way it is. We aren't in any hurry.
    And you wonder why I think you'll always argue that now (whenever that NOW is) is not the time.
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  7. #107
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    It's another perpetually-renewing argument. There will never be a time when there's not some new promising technology not quite yet developed which could make it easier, less expensive, etc. Again, always a reason to wait longer.
    This, I have to agree with.

    No matter what we develop, or where we travel, there will always be somewhere that is "too hard to get too without that new tech on the horizon, which we will have in a few years."

    For others, there will always be that place they want to travel too, for which they have ideas, for which others have objections, such as the above.

    In the case of mars, it may actually be too difficult at this point in time. But starting research into figuring out how, if it has not already been done, is only reasonable.

    If we have the systems to travel to the surface of mars, and travel around on that surface, who knows what we will discover? What new possiblities will such exploration open.

    Admitedly, such is possible with robots... But perhaps there is something a robot will not notice, even with humans watching through it's eyes. Who knows? No one, and no one will ever know unless someone travels there.
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  8. #108
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    Re: Space Goals For America: What Next?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark View Post
    This, I have to agree with.

    No matter what we develop, or where we travel, there will always be somewhere that is "too hard to get too without that new tech on the horizon, which we will have in a few years."
    So? That's no reason to rush into things before we have the technology to make it possible at a reasonable price. If we just wait only a few decades, the price tag will probably drop from upwards of a trillion dollars to maybe 50-100 billion...a much more manageable sum.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark
    For others, there will always be that place they want to travel too, for which they have ideas, for which others have objections, such as the above.

    In the case of mars, it may actually be too difficult at this point in time. But starting research into figuring out how, if it has not already been done, is only reasonable.
    This I agree with. But we can do all the R&D without actually going to Mars...and even so, R&D into areas of astronomy unrelated to human exploration are much more important at the present time.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark
    If we have the systems to travel to the surface of mars, and travel around on that surface, who knows what we will discover? What new possiblities will such exploration open.

    Admitedly, such is possible with robots... But perhaps there is something a robot will not notice, even with humans watching through it's eyes. Who knows? No one, and no one will ever know unless someone travels there.
    Is it possible that a human watching through a robot's eyes will miss something? Yes. Is it just as possible that human astronaut watching through his own eyes will miss something? Yes. But the view from the robot's eyes can be played back later.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 07-27-09 at 09:57 PM.
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