Re: space exploration is a good thing

Posted by Measurement on Jan 15, 2004 at 12:44

Re: space exploration is a good thing (Pasti)

P: 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?

I made the answer to that question clear as well.

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

I've addressed that. So far he has a pretty good batting average at getting done, or staying after, what he says he wants to get done.

P: The question is, do you have any reason to believe him?

As I've said, at least twice so far, YES.

P: 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?

I can think of several possible reasons. Perhaps he just decided on it. Perhaps he's always liked the idea but did not think he had the political legs for it. Perhaps other initiatives were of primary import. Perhaps he's just recently been convinced of it. Let's not forget the all important possibility, perhaps the timing - election timing, Mars probe timing, popularity timing, etc - is ripe. I'm not so nieve as to think that politics doesn't play a part in being, and remaining, president. But that doesn't make it a bad idea.

P: 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?

Yes. More than enough, in fact. The poor will be with us always -- if for no other reason than because we keep redefining the word poor (Clinton, for example, redefined it as being on the wrong side of the digital divide). If we wait for the poor to be rich before doing this then we'll never be able to do it. That doesn't mean I'm willing to dedicate ALL resources to the goal, but I'm certainly willing to dedicate some.

P: 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.

I don't understand your assertion, especially your last sentence.

P: Why exactly should politicians be the ones to judge the worthiness of such a project?

Because it is they that control the only available pursestrings capable of affording it.

P: This is a rather limited view of the problem.

It may be, but it's the only view available. If you have a better idea, submit it --- to your local representative. I politician, if I'm not mistaken.

P: And last time they did so, it ended with a landing on the Moon, and afterwards,zip, despite of the promises.

You're right. Someone dropped the ball. Bush is picking it back up. Why is that a bad thing?

P: Up to this moment, you are the one who supports his goals,with very little chance of retribution, I might say.

Huh? Retribution?

P: 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.

Which is it? Long term or short? You can't have it both ways. My understanding is that he is beginning a project that might, might, be completed by 2030, assuming it maintains political (read popular) support. If the goal is to be sought at all, it must be sought in the political context that is our reality. That reality yeilds at most eight years. Is it your contention that goals which take longer should not be undertaken? Should not be started lest the next guy [again] drops the ball?

P: On such premises no bank would offer you a loan for example, you realize that don't you?

Duh. Nor would 'a bank' have loaned money to Kennedy's original goal. If a bank WERE willing, the government would not be involved, except tangically.

P: 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?


P: So you are aware that it is a political manoeuver,and that it will become rather mute after he achievs his goal.

Of course it is a political manoeuver. Just as it was when Kennedy did it in '61. If I remember correctly, the 'manoeuver' was successful even though Kennedy was long dead.

P: So exactly why does he deserve your support?

Because many of his goals closely resemble my own. The moon thing being but one.

P: Because he just mentioned the problem?

Because he addressed the solution.

P: You could find better ones in the US to offer them your support on this criterion.

Name them and I'll support them.

P: That jorney had strated long time ago, more than 30 years ago.And the Mars probe is the result.

Lackluster result, IMO. We should, IMO, already have a base on the moon and should already be well on the way of setting foot on Mars, if not there already.

P: The problem is not starting it,it is developing the project to the necessary scale for it to become reality.

I agree. Yet how does one do that if one never begins?

P: And this means a lot of effort and resources.


P: 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.

Huh? What the fuck are you trying to say?

P: 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.

I think you would find that but I would not. It is very subjective; it depends on what you feel the resources are best spent. Clearly, our views differ. Still, a resource is a resource is a resource, regardless of the pool from which it is dipped. That makes your previous rant about a 10M prize all the more silly, IMO.

P: Huh?You think so?


P: At what price...

It It depends on the specific act to which you are referring. Overall, cheaper than waiting, more expensive than if we had done it years ago.

P: , and with what results?

Ditto the specific act but overall, outstanding results.

P: 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?

That's not the question I would ask. Rather, what can he do for the FUTURE program? That's the question.

P: 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.

As I said to danno might, "Well duh!" That's what politicians do. I don't see it as having anything to do with anything, other than to say, "Great job, guys! Now lets do something a little tougher!"

P: No,its not. There are others, even if they are just starting.

Well, when they become viable, let me know.

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