Re: space exploration is a good thing

Posted by Pasti on Jan 15, 2004 at 11:38

Re: space exploration is a good thing (Measurement)

M:Or I just like the idea of going back to the moon and eventually to Mars. If he's going push that, I'm going to support him.

You made that rather clear in the previous message.To put it business-like:you come through for him by supporting him politically,but the question is will he come through for you?

M:I believe he says he does.

Huh?You do realize that this statement means nothing, don't you? He SAID he DID,whether you believe it or not

M:Whether he REALLY does remains to be seen. I have no reason to disbelieve him.

The question is, do you have any reason to believe him?
Look at the big picture before believing or disbelieving.He claims he has very strong convictions,and he fights for them, and yet nowhere in his platform did he ever mention anything about space exploration until now.Why do you think that is?
Look then at the economical picture of the US.Do you think (and by this I don't mean your personal belief,but some tangible analysis of resources, economical or otherwise)that there are any significant resources available for such a large scale project? In the current economical situation of the US, that is?
And remember, you don't actually want a man on Mars, and just that.You don't want this project to end like the Moon landing.You would like it to open a space travel age, you want it as a means to a different end than itself.

M:Still, just because he supports does not necessarily mean it will happen. A lot of [political] things have to first fall into place. The political waters surrounding this venture are far different than they were in the early sixties, even if the technology is far more advanced.

Why exactly should politicians be the ones to judge the worthiness of such a project?This is a rather limited view of the problem.And last time they did so, it ended with a landing on the Moon, and afterwards,zip, despite of the promises.

M:Possibly. Even partly probably. Whatever his motives, they support my goals, so as far as I'm concerned, I don't care why he wants to do it (within reason) so long as he does it.

Up to this moment, you are the one who supports his goals,with very little chance of retribution, I might say.
You offer him your support for his very short term goals,while he offers you promises on a very long term with very little chances of actually fulfilling them.
On such premises no bank would offer you a loan for example, you realize that don't you?

P:My question is,can you afford to do so?


Not you personally.What I meant was can the US risk another 4 years of Bush's "strategy" based on a catchy but rather empty promise? Nor has he indicated such. Mars is the goal and is, necessarily perhaps, far into the future, well past his rein.

So you are aware that it is a political manoeuver,and that it will become rather mute after he achievs his goal. So exactly why does he deserve your support? Because he just mentioned the problem?You could find better ones in the US to offer them your support on this criterion.

M:That pretty much goes for the moon as well. The question is, well he see to it, or attempt to see to it, that we began the political/technological journey necessary to get us there.

That jorney had strated long time ago, more than 30 years ago.And the Mars probe is the result.
The problem is not starting it,it is developing the project to the necessary scale for it to become reality.And this means a lot of effort and resources.And in order to have an order of magnitude, think that the prize for the private company that can develop a vehicle to put a man in orbit, bring him back and get him there again and bring him back is 10M dollars.For starters.
Talking about Mars is fun, but talk "is only words", not to mention cheap.
And if you do an analysis of the economical picture of the US, you might find out that there are not enough resources to start a project on this scale.

M:I don't have a crystal ball but so far Bush has a fairly good record of getting what he wants and putting in action that which he gets.

Huh?You think so?At what price, and with what results?And how much out of what he actually DID say he would do before he was elected?
Let's argue a different viewpoint.Assume that you are right, and that he gets what he wants.What exactly did he do for the current space program, especially after the last accident?I would say nothing, even in the short term.Whe went along with what was already there.And what does this tell you about his convictions regarding space exploration?You really think he will do something in the long run when he did nothing on short term regarding the space program at hand?

M:I'm not sure what you're trying to say. I really don't see what the current probe has to do with it except that had it failed, it would have been a shame in that it might well have robbed Bush of the political momentum needed to get the moon/Mars program going.

What I am trying to say is simple.The Mars program has been going on for quite some time,with the failures that are known.It just so happened that this probe was successful during his administration, but not because he had anything to do with it. And he grabbed the opportunity to enlarge his political capital.
Up to this moment nothing special,he did what any politician would have done.
The "spin" I am talking about can be very easily understood as follows.Curently,the Mars program is very small scale, compared to what it should be in order to develop a space travel program. Which means that one can promise anything,like putting a man on Mars sometime in an unspecified future.He doesn't need to actually do much to "start" this program as you say, any minimum minimorum he does,including cheap talk, is an improvement to the current state of the Mars program, and space program for that matter as much as space travel is concerned.
Hence, the spin is that you can promise anything, do the least possible in that matter and still claim that you started and supported an ambitious program.Which you have to admit means absolutely nothing in regard to the final goal which is space travel.

M:I understand what you're saying but that system is the only one currently in town. Private missions are a long way from being profitable and are therefore a long way from being a reality. IOW, if not the politicians, then who?

No,its not. There are others, even if they are just starting.And this system is not profitable either, it works at a very high rate of loss.
Moreover, it became "the only one in town" because of the political situation, when anything space-related could be done only by the government for national security reasons.
Private companies have a lot to catch up, I agree, but in the long run they might prove more efficient than the government programs.In any case, competition never hurt, even at home.

M:I remember the movie, sort of...and also that it was just a movie.

The Capricorn was reference about capitalizing on the Mars landing project.The Mars project was started shortly after the the Moon program,but at a much smaller scale,and which continued to remain small for over 30 years.

M:I also remember vividly the day Neil set foot on the moon. I was nine at the time but remember it like it was yesterday.

Far from me to deny the Moon landing as the achievement it was,but 30 years after,it remains only a memory. A beautiful one for that matter, but just a memory. Nothing related to the development of space travel (current space program excluded) came out of it. It was supposed to be a step in the development of a much more ambitious program,and yet it became just a purpose in itself.Which is rather pitty.
But Bottom line is that man landed on the Moon some 30 years ago, and then remained close to home.Moreover, even the "close to home" space program has stagnated since the 80's in terms of travel technology, and runs the risk to become obsolete in very few years, not to mention worn out (I mean the space shuttles)

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