View Full Version here: : The Death of Human Spaceflight
22-07-2011, 10:27 AM
Here's an article from a site I go to every now and then to read and make comment at, OpEd News. It's about human spaceflight and the costs, risks and viability involved in putting humans into space. The guy who wrote it, Gregory Paul, has some good points to make. However, I have never read anything more pessimistic and depressing about space travel in all my life. I'm somewhat pessimistic about the US getting back into space anytime soon, given the situation they find themselves in (all of their own making). But this guy....if it was upto him, we'd go hide under our little rocks and never set foot outside our own homes!!. We'd be stuck here, forever, and the only exploration would be done by our proxies....little beeping tin cans with the brains of lobotomised ants. Or maybe, in the far future, they may have the brains the equivalent of lobotomised mice.
Not only pessimistic and depressing, but also insular and defeatist.
All I can say is, thank the stars this guy has little to do with government policy or the space program (what's left of it).
22-07-2011, 11:29 AM
What a negative atitude this guy has got:(
If it was upto him we would still be riding around in stage coaches or walking:rolleyes:
Thanks for posting that Carl:thanx:
22-07-2011, 11:50 AM
Certainly thought provoking. On an intellectual level I kind of agree. But on an emotional level I love the curiosity of human nature to attempt the impossible.
Think of all the inventions related to space research that have impacted out lives... Where would we be now without Velcro.;)
22-07-2011, 11:56 AM
Even on an intellectual level, I can't agree with him. Despite the facts of the motivations behind and the history of the space program, his rationale smacks of insular defeatism. It's a malaise all too common these days.
22-07-2011, 12:58 PM
The initialisation of major programs always requires widespread impetus.
The common-man has to see a reason for undertaking resource intensive programs. If there is no acceptance of the reasons .. there will be no further exploration programs.
Simply, there has to be a clear, short-term compelling reason for humans to undertake space exploration. At the moment, there isn't any such compelling reason. As long as space exploration appears as a luxury item for affluent cultures, 'watered-down' versions, like robotic exploration, are the best we can hope for.
Visions of expanding human intellect through space exploration are simply insufficient, and merely appear as an attempt by scientists to step outside the real world in which the bulk of the common-man spends his/her entire lives.
As soon as the compelling reason becomes apparent, this will all change.
These reasons might be entirely unexpected and may come from several programs already underway (LHC, gravity probes, neutrino detection, etc, etc). They may also appear through chance-alignments with future unknown political agendas. Theoretical developments often perform this bridging role in society and are unlikely to ever cease, for any reason.
The interim hiatus might also allow for the gradual maturation of current technologies, or the development of missing technologies, any of which may then outweigh the reasons against it, (eg: human health/safety, life sustaining technologies matched to alien environments, propulsion systems capable of realistic travel times, etc).
Overall, I don't find what this guy has said, necessarily pessimistic, depressing or defeatist. More like … merely opinionated. Actually all he's done for me, is make the negative case against manned space exploration a little clearer.
How can the case for manned space exploration be strengthened ?
He is incorrect with regard to China, in my opinion.
22-07-2011, 02:05 PM
Yes, it is an interesting article. It's quite obvious to anyone interested in the space program that the initial impetus towards getting people into space was purely political and militaristic. I can think of plenty of reasons for undertaking manned (and unmanned) spaceflight and get people to accept it. It's the lack of political will and the mismanagement of the government and economy which is stopping it. I can give you one clear economic reason straight away....mineral resources. It will cost a lot to undertake mineral extraction from asteroids etc, but the payback is even greater....much greater. Then you can factor in environmental reasons, for instance.
That's the big problem with society and politics....it can't see beyond short term greed and wants. Going into space will put pressure on society to start thinking more about medium and long term goals and that's going to be hard for a culture that expects everything to be handed to it on a platter, yesterday or last week. But it's going to have to be done. It's also going to force the cooperation of disparate societies on the planet, where in order to get the job done, this ridiculous, jingoistic, chest beating notion of who's the biggest and baddest in town will have to be consigned to where it belongs...history. We're going to have to grow up, for once.
For a long while yet, it will only be the affluent and/or technologically capable who are going to be able to undertake this kind of endeavour. Despite of all the effort over many decades, much of this planet is still a basket case....Africa being a case in point. Things will have to change both there and in the affluent world before they and others like them can actively join in on space exploration.
I agree with that....just going into space to further what you know is not sufficient enough to drive a space program. But it should be one of its priorities. However, it's been in the spirit of exploration and pushing the boundaries of what we know that's allowed us to advance as fast as we have...and given today's society nearly everything it takes for granted. Without it, and the spending in other areas (including, unfortunately, military research), we'd still be languishing in the 19th Century.
The reasons for going into space probably won't come from those programs you mentioned, but they may influence further technical developments. Unfortunately, political agendas, both present and future, are going to be a major factor behind the capacity for space exploration. If we really want to become the spacefaring civilisation of our dreams...ala "Star Trek" etc, we will have to totally reform our present sociopolitical paradigm and regime. What we have now will only be a hindrance and a millstone around our necks. But, until we do, we're going to have to work with what we have. And make the best of it.
The interim hiatus will not necessarily mean an improvement in anything technological or anything else. Given the state of play as it is, it will most probably mean a going backwards as money and talent gets siphoned off into areas concerning furthering military-industrial and party political agendas. The present farce in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere) is a case in point.
I did...the heading of his article say it all and the tone/direction of his writing clearly points in which direction he's heading and what he believes should be the case. He most certainly was opinionated. His mode of thinking is clearly insular...it's a characteristic of the US which raises its ugly head every now and then. It did before WW1 and WW2 and the times have been ripe for it to become popular in the public conscience again. This time, unless something dramatic happens, it appears to have set in for the long haul.
22-07-2011, 02:59 PM
The final reality is we need space exploration type research...lets hope the debate when it manifests in budget planing etc is only where the money is spent not do we need to spend any money at all.
I know I am crazy to suggest we build battle stars but really if we are to survive long term:shrug:..really long term:D as a species that or a similar approach would seem inevitable ... where would we go if planet "x" drops out of its unobservable possition behind the Sun and was on a collision course:eyepop:;):D...extreme examples but we are the first species to be able to possibly analyse events that in the past has been responsible presumably for mass extintions.
We need to learnt to drive to be able to escape.
I think the debate could be subtly changed to how many humans per year should we be sending on space missions in proportion to unmanned craft...:)
The need for battle stars should be presented in the same manner as the horrors of climate change...mmm...even that ending means we need to be able to leave:eyepop:...happily folk trying to get hotels on the Moon and offer space flights to the average billionaire offer real hope. I remember a mobphone costing $5000 and look how those prices became throwaway...
Anyways part of the carbon tax needs to be set aside for the ultimate Ark:D...
Now there is a happy exercise...designing the ultimate Ark...by the time it is finished there would be maybe 30 billion humans to transport...maybe that T..lsd.>Leary was on the money...hollow out a convienient pile of rock out there and at least we could wait out the planet x collision:rolleyes:.
I bet there is a site out there somewhere where there are folk doing that as I type...the net has taught me that.
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