The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

As a Country, the US Needs to Focus on Off World Endeavors

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/13/2017 Category: Science
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 312 times Debate No: 100905
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (3)
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I will be taking pro on this argument, and the opponent will be delegated as con.


Extraterrestrial - (Adj) Of or from outside the earth or its atmosphere.

Endeavor - (Verb) Try hard to do or achieve something.

In this sense, I mean colonies and exploration.


Rules are as follows:

1 - No trolling or obscenities
2 - Evidence and logical basis
3 - Fair and polite conduct

Danke Schoen, and good luck.


I accept this debate
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you, Con, for a hasty acceptance. That is always good to see.

Human development has always been directly correlated to resource availability and consumption. The question here is a matter of sustainability. As population grows, so does our need for raw materials. We have reached a tipping point as a species. A recent study concluded that the world population, which is nearing the mark of eight billion, is three times the sustainable level, and given calculation and statistics, if the entire populous was to live at the average European standard of living, the Earth could only adequately provide for two billion, roughly 28% of our current number. We cannot provide enough, food, water, or materials to generate even a moderate standard of living. Global aquifers are being pumped 3.5 times faster than natural processes can recharge them, and topsoil is being lost nearly 40 times quicker than it is replaced, and as a result arable land is being lost. We have over fished our oceans, a primary protein source for nearly 2 billion people. Furthermore studies report that 795 million people live without proper nourishment, and predictions based on the rapidly changing climate warn that our expected crop yields will drop steadily in years to come. And these stats neglect non renewable resources, such as metal ore, minerals, and fossil fuels. In total, average resource extraction in estimated weight has jumped 45% from 40 billion tonnes to 58 billion tonnes, and the increase is not represented equally across all sectors. One of the biggest growths, at 65%, is the extraction of metal ore to feed the industrial world. Regions such as Europe and North America have had little to no local growth in extraction, instead turning to foreign sources, which are becoming scarce. North America alone accounted for 85% of regional net metal imports. And if history is to be looked back upon, the need for resources is only a flash point for conflict. A prime example is the Gulf War, where our troops moved in to secure oil reserves in Kuwait (And liberate it from Iraqi occupation), or Saudi Arabia and their annexation of oil fields from Yemen. All indicators point to the fact that our current rate of consumption is not sustainable.


Now that I am done with my contextualization, I can move into the core of my argument. The purpose of the above section is to illustrate how our current practices here on Earth cannot and will not save us from imploding into chaos and discord.


1 - Resources.

The vast amount of resources in space make it a prime target for exploration and use. There is so much adrift within our own solar system, and all we need to do is grasp for the skies and go after it. Water, precious metals, minerals, and most of all land, all at our fingertips. Just to illustrate my point, a single asteroid can be made of up to 80% iron and a mixture of nickel, iridium, gold, magnesium, silver, and platinum to cover the remaining 20%. And these asteroids can range from a meager 20 feet across to a monolith like Ceres, a massive 940 kilometers across. The prospect of mining one out of the millions within the 93 million mile thick band encircling our sun is the prospect of jump starting a new industry and in turn, our economy. Additionally, comets contain thousands of tonnes of water, and there are millions of these out abroad within our system. And that doesn't even account for bodies such as Mars, or our own moon. The moon alone is expected to hold vast deposits of minerals and metals, as well as the potential for new energy solutions. Multiple studies and even our own rover missions have deemed it highly probable for vast mineral and ore reserves on Mars, as well as the necessary chemical components to engineer water and other materials. Even the inhospitable environment of Mars can offer solutions. It has been proposed to harness the violent and harsh winds of Mars as an energy source. The same has been said for our neighboring gas giants, Saturn and Jupiter. Even the smaller moons of other worlds hold a good deal of resources that can be used. Simply put. By expanding into space, our appetite is only limited by the distances we can travel.


2 - Something to Rally Behind

One needs look no farther than the space age of the 1960s and 1970's to see the captivation space held not only over the American people, but the world. Nearly 600 million people watched the moon landing, more than the entire US population at the time. There is something about space that holds the imagination of humanity. Our greatest achievements took place in its obsidian depths, and I believe that there are more still lingering up there. If there was one thing that united us during the cold war as a country, it was our conviction as pioneers to do the unthinkable. The rally cry of JFK in his moon shot speech was heard across the nation, and resounded with our people. I believe that the prospect of a new frontier can motivate Americans to work together, and give us a common anchor to work around. Simply put, the exploration of space has historically founded stronger national identities.


3 - Net Worth

This argument ties into the figures for resources. One only needs the use of logic to see the material worth in money that space has the potential for. Exploiting that can considerably improve the economy and the world sitting. Just to put it into perspective, one asteroid, known as 16 Psyche could be worth 10k quadrillion dollars. Even falling somewhat short of this could pay off the US debt times over, and fund more missions into the next frontier. NASA isn't the only organization planning to mine these objects. Space X, DSI, and Boeing have expressed their desire to harness the potential of these rocks. This amount of currency and resources could start a new era for humankind in technology, and in turn, bettering ourselves.


4 - Extinction Event

I don't need any sources for this, but its common sense. By spreading the species out, it mitigates our chances of experiencing and extinction event, or even something near that.

5 - Technology

Space exploration is responsible for many of the modern innovations that make our quality of life considerably better. NASA alone has over 6.3k patents in its name. While not all of what I am about to list was invented by NASA, it was heavily researched and pioneered.
- Artificial limbs
- Anti icing systems
- Numerous automotive improvements, ranging from tires to engineering.
- Chemical detection
- Fire resistant materials
- Temper foam
- Nutrient rich foods and substances used in hospitals and nurseries.
- Solar cells
- Water purification
- Software improvements

This was salvaged from a basic list, but it fits my point well. Not only this, but major advancements in the fields of microbiology and pathology have been made as well through missions into space, specifically orbit within the ISS.


To summarize my arguments:

1 - Resource potential justifies exploration

2 - Promotes cohesive national identity

3 - Economic worth justifies exploration

4 - Mitigates risk of human extinction event

5 - Promotes technological innovation and scientific advancements

Danke Schoen and good luck.


The argument I will be making is practically summed up by this John Steinback quote,
"While the lifeless rubbled surface of the inconstant moon becomes increasingly littered with the burnt-out bones of vehicles, the bathyscaphe has visited the deep and unknown places of the earth only a few times."
The ocean covers more than 70% of the earth's surface, yet 95% of it remains unexplored.[1] This, to me, is ridiculous and our efforts of space should be targeted downwards. This debate will explain why.
A lot of my arguments will be disproving Pro's points, turning them to my arguments (explaining why doing exactly what pro advocates for but with the ocean is better,) or both!
Let's get started:

Contextualization arguments:

It seems that most of Pro's arguments are based upon the idea that we are in a resource crisis, that the earth has too many people! This is simply not true, let's get our debunking hats on and start working.
First off, most of this argument comes from this article. [2] Which uses numerous studies, books, statistics, speeches, etc. to explain the points.
Pro has become prone to the misunderstanding that just because we have an insatiable lust for overusing resources we are overpopulated. Well, if everyone demanded their own private island it would also seem that we would be overpopulated while only having a couple million inhabitants. The point of this argument is to show that just because we are not sustainable in our current use of materials doesn't mean we use too much because there are too many people, but simply because we just use too much!
a. Food
For example, we produce enough food to feed 10 BILLION people. The reason there are still hungry people in the world is explained by Oxfam, an international humanitarian organization, in response to the Somali famine, "Famines are not natural phenomena, they are catastrophic political failures." This 10 billion people's worth of food has to be going somewhere right? Well, most of it is going into the mouths of first world countries, they usually eat more than their fair share. The rest are not distributed well, even the charities to Africa or the likes, because of political failures. The World Education Service stated that, "world agriculture produces 17% more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago...This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day."
b. Water
It is quite unreasonable to claim that we are running out of water, the earth is literally covered in it. Science will develop the necessary means of utilizing this vast resource, and the water we have now is more than enough already. The problem lies in how we use it, not only do first world countries use more than they need, by bathing, recreation, negligence, etc. but also how we don't protect it. The water cycle is fairly simple and explains how you can't use up or destroy water it's infinitely renewable, but pollution and mistreatment is causing a problem. People living in dry areas aren't thirsty because of overpopulation, but due to lack of distribution.

The best catch all statistic to explain this is that plankton make up more biomass than all of the humans combined, yet are we seeing plankton everywhere? No, because plankton doesn't overuse and abuse the resources.
Even in Pro's own words "if the entire populous was to live at the average European standard of living, the Earth could only adequately provide for two billion," this is simply because we abuse resources, either we need to reform or we need to use them more efficiently.

c. Non renewables

This article explains it very well for metal non renewables. [3] The author uses the example of tellurium to show how we are not running out. It is one of the rarest metals, only 0.001 parts per million are tellurium (Te.) The earth's crust is 2% of the earth's weight and with the statistic I just mentioned it means we only have 120,000,000 tonnes of tellurium to mess around with. But we only use 125 tonnes a year! That's just short of a MILLION years of Te.
Yes, this doesn't necessarily ring true for every metal but it does! "what we really want to know is whether we will be able to get metals at the price we want to pay for them. To which the answer is a very differently reasoned 'Of course, yes!'. For this brings us to economics, not metallurgy or geology. If we want to use more metals than we can cheaply extract from the ores then the price will rise. A high enough price will mean that we don't want to use that metal anymore (we'll, for example, go and make our solar cells from silicon). So be definition we'll always have a supply of metals at the price we want to pay for them. They only become unavailable when the prices rises to where we don't want to use them."
If such supply becomes too low then we either move on to another supply or find a new way to get that supply.

For fossil fuels, this article is well written. [4] This explains how we are not running out of fossil fuels and why that is the true problem. For example, the US has the biggest deposits of Oil Shale in the world. This can be used to make about 4 trillion barrels of oil shale! Why are we not using this? That would destroy the oil market! No, we just can't do so economically. It isn't feasible when traditional oil is so much cheaper. But, as the article suggests, as time goes on, tech improves, and the oil prices spike, it will become more attractive.

Okay, what these arguments prove in this debate is that Pro has no harms in the status quo that they are solving. Most of Pros arguments are rooted in this. Such as 1. Yes there are resources out in space, but why not use what we have on earth? Technology is vastly farther away from efficiently mining the cosmos than using the resources we have under our own feet! Therefore, it is economically and financially more secure. Having any handful of countries flood the market of any resource, especially precious and valuable ones, is harmful for the economy of the earth. This is because those people then develop a monopoly, if people are underselling them they can simply cut prices due to the mass amounts of the resource they have. This kills of all competition then we only have those few providers, effectively, and unnecessarily, shifting our dependence from earth to outer space. This is logically bad because we will always have the earth as a steady resource in the foreseeable future (millions of years.)
I'll mention 2 a little later. On to 3. I've already explained how this will play out, but lets say that these resources are magically distributed evenly throughout the world to the countries. Well, then there would be no economical increase overall because we would all have access to such vast amounts of wealth. But as I explained that is not how it would happen, sure some countries would benefit economically but at the expense of others; and disproportionately so. If we utilize the earth, everyone has some sort of resource they can provide to the global market.
4. Extinction event
This argument doesn't have any proof, and yes pro does need proof because it is such a specific set of circumstances that would bring about our end (reasonably at least) that spreading out does little to nothing. Humans can survive every environment available to them currently just with stone age technology, from the Kalahari desert to the arctic. [5] What would need to happen is a giant meteorite impact at the level of the dinosaur extinction. But as astronomer and space scientist Robert Walker says, "If you ask someone what could make us extinct, they might well say, an asteroid impact. It tends to be top on everyone's list. But if you look into the topic closely, it's not possible." This is because the last time this happened is about 3 BILLION years ago and that was when the solar system was still settling down. There aren't any impacts that big on any of our observable planets and moons. He goes into more explanation of why it is impossible as well.
5. Technology
This argument is nonsensical and illogical. Space exploration did not directly cause all of NASA's patents/inventions and even if it did, the need for them would have brought about those technologies anyways.
Now back to point 2. Something to rally against. Instead of space I suggest the ocean! This is because of all the disadvantages and lack of reason for going into space on Pro's part.
The biggest reason to go into the ocean instead is simply because the ocean does it better.
a. Climate
'it is already clear that the oceans offer a plethora of viable solutions to the Earth's most pressing troubles. For example, scientists have already demonstrated that the oceans serve as a "carbon sink."'[6] The potential is also nearly limitless, as the article explains.
b. Food and water
Moon cheese is not real cheese!
But really, the ocean is much more feasible into solving the topsoil, food, and water problems that Pro claims, if they even exist in the first place.
c. Health
Modest ocean research has yielded higher results in medicine than the vast exploration of space by NASA. [6] Simply because medicine comes from earthly means.
If we need something to rally behind, or simply that it would be beneficial, the ocean is CLEARLY better than space. "In short, there is further research into which could yield important insights about Earth's geological history and the evolution of humans and society. Addressing these questions surpasses the importance of another Mars rover or a space observatory designed to answer highly specific questions of importance mainly to a few dedicated astrophysicists, planetary scientists, and select colleagues.
Debate Round No. 2


Thank you, Con for a quick and eloquent response.

Con has assumed the stance that the ocean is a more viable proposition for all the points I have addressed [1].

It also seems con has entirely misunderstood the purpose of the contextualization argument. So prepare to have your debunking hat slapped off your head.

Con makes the assertion that, quote, "It seems that most of Pro's arguments are based upon the idea that we are in a resource crisis, that the earth has too many people! This is simply not true..." My intent was not to assert that we are currently in a resource crisis, but one is inevitable if we continue our current rate of consumption. Is it not logical to assume that with growing population (estimated to reach 9 Billion by 2050) our resource consumption will grow with it? While our current problem may be the fact that we are not efficient with our use of materials, eventually that will not be the case. As humanity grows, so will our need for basic resources, and this consumption rate will become a necessity. My point is, that while we are not currently in a resource crisis, we are not sustainable [2].


Sustainable - (Adj) Able to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

So by the objective use of the word, we cannot maintain our current habits. Con also raises the notion of our ability to provide for 10 billion people in food and water at our current production rate. While this is true, the fact stands the we are destined to reach the maker of 10 billion in population before the turn of the century according to multiple studies. So when Con sates "The point of this argument is to show that just because we are not sustainable in our current use of materials doesn't mean we use too much because there are too many people, but simply because we just use too much!" My reply is simply that while this is the case as of now, it will not be in less than 90 years. Even with attempts to control this growth, with the inertia that this trend has, these efforts will do little to nothing. The problem of consumption is likely to only get worse, as again, we destroy topsoil 40 times faster than it is produced, and topsoil is essential to farming. In turn, our food production is doomed to fall, draining from the production that will be rendered obsolete by the increasing population before the 22nd century.


This is where the argument arises, which is a better solution, space, or the ocean? I argue space, and con argues the ocean, which clearly is lacking in a couple ways the space is quite proficient in. Unfortunately, con has used the majority of round one to make and argument for a point I do not dispute: We are not in a resource crisis as of now [3]. Like stated before, what I do dispute is the proposed solution.

So just to repeat, I did not state nor assert we are currently in a resource crisis, and made it quite clear about such. My point is that we are nearing one, and we are at a tipping point. I really encourage the viewers to look at contextualization from Round 1 with a critical eye, and you will see that I do not believe what Pro insists I am advocating for.

Back to more relevant discourse, I begin my rebuttals.

While Con did linger on an relevant but undisputed idea for much of the last round, he did offer counterpoints to all of my arguments from round, which are the following.

1 - Resources
2 - Something to Rally Behind
3 - Net Worth (Economics)
4 - Extinction Event
5 - Technology

First off, we have the prospect of resources. Con begins by simply asserting "Yes there are resources out in space, but why not use what we have on earth? Technology is vastly farther away from efficiently mining the cosmos than using the resources we have under our own feet!"

So we begin. Lets answer this question first. How do we mine an asteroid? We can already get to and from one fairly easily on a small scale, as highlighted by the Rosetta mission in 2014, which landed a probe onto the comet 67P. Following in her footsteps, we have probes such as New Horizons and AIDA. So while con will inevitably point out that this is far away from the realm of asteroid mining, this is exactly why we need to focus research here, so this becomes a reality, and we can harness the vast and undisputed potential of the frontier space provides. Con only advocates that we focus on what we have here, since it can sustain humanity for the "foreseeable future (millions of years.)" which was disproved in the segment above, responding to Con and his allegations regarding resources here on earth. Quite frankly, we have less than 60 years until we struggle to produce enough food for the population, and this is only one resource for instance.

As for the resource potential of space vs the ocean, here we go. The ocean contains 1.35 billion cubic meters of mostly salt water (not drinkable), which I will touch upon later. In comparison, one comet is made up of a majority water ice, the composition of which is much easier to treat than our own oceans water. Again, the problem is getting there. And there are billions of them out there, in the ort cloud and kuiper belt, many of which routinely stray into the orbital paths of planets.

And this does not account for the Moon or Mars. NASA is already working on the Orion Project, a manned vehicle that is designed to account for longer journeys in space to places such as the above locations. This fails to account for private ventures from companies such as Elon Musk's Space X, DSI, and Boeing, who are actively pioneering new forms of technology. Clearly these companies do not see it as "economically and financially insecure".

So clearly, space has vast potential for prosperity in comparison to the ocean, based on material from Round 1 and this one. The problem here, and the topic of the debate, is focusing resources to make it a reality. While exploiting resources on terrestrial locations is easier, it offers less output than that above us.

As for you arguments pertaining to economics, this is exactly why the US needs to get there first. It is inevitable that we begin to harness these resources as a species, so to make sure that we are not at the mercy of another monopoly from foreign powers. From there, we can equally distribute this power accordingly in order to avoid catastrophe.

Also, at that point, the structure of the world economy would need to completely change in a radical sense to compensate for the expansion into the private sector.


Moving on to your counter for an extinction event.

No, I don't. All I need is a brain and some logic to do the math. If I own two houses, and spread my possessions evenly between them, the chance of everything being burnt up in a massive fireball drops significantly no matter how unlikely it is for my houses to catch fire. So for this intent and purpose, my possessions are humanity, and my houses are planets. This is a pretty candid matter, and I think the audience would agree. And there are observable impacts that would have destroyed life here as we know it. All I need to cite is the Comet Shoemaker and its impact on Jupiter.


What I do agree with you about is this: It is very unlikely for us to go extinct, and it is not a major motivation to move into space [4].

AS to your remaining arguments, they are pretty easy to counter.

Technology - Again, I never insinuated that all NASA research comes directly from space exploration, although the modern computer and other technology was pioneered on the Mercury and Apollo programs, which were improved as a result. So this is not a nonsensical and illogical argument to maintain that the investment into research for space exploration yields new technologies. History counters you there.

Health and Research - Yes, the ocean can yield scientific insights, but not nearly as many as space. While we have explored only 5% of the ocean, we have barely scratched the surface in space, which has contributed valuable insights into our own creation here on Earth, and the one and most important question: Are we alone?

Strictly speaking, there is a lot more scientific worth in space than our own oceans.

Danke Schoen


I have not misunderstood the contextualization argument. All my arguments in that section talk about Pro's notion that we are steadily and quickly headed towards unsustainability. I would define that as a resource crisis, while Pro would define it as a resource crisis being imminent. Whichever one you agree with, my arguments still stand.
a. Food
In the same article I use to for this section, it explains that we provide 10 billion people's worth of food and that will only be increased by adding more people, logically. [2] In fact, the ocean provides nearly infinite more potential for food solutions than space. Not only because space agriculture is just simply not a thing but because, "mariculture must close the production cycle to abandon its current dependence on fisheries catches; enhance the production of edible macroalgae and filter-feeder organisms; minimize environmental impacts; and increase integration with food production on land...Accommodating these changes will enable the oceans to become a major source of food, which we believe will constitute the next food revolution in human history."[7]
The next food revolution! In order for Pro to win this argument they have to prove that food is a problem and that space will solve it, and nothing pro has provided even suggests that space has the answer to any food problems whether real or not.
b. Water
It is quite logical that the extensive research of the ocean would produce more water than space exploration, to conclude otherwise is ludicrous. But let's suppose it's an actual opposition. Solar desalination plants could be the key to the future. Billy Nye states, "We could have all the clean water we wanted for everybody all over the world and we would power the pumps with solar power." [8] The main, and really only, issue with solar desalination is that it is simply ineffective and expensive to be employed at a large scale.[8] This would undoubtedly change with the research of the ocean. Not only could this solve any problems we may have or will have with water, this will also revolutionize ocean research as well. The current ways of being self sustainable out at sea are limited to nearly zero options, other than being a fish. With this technology being researched it will become more efficient production wise and space wise. Thus being able to be implemented on large ships.
c. Nonrenewables
This is the main argument that many people believe space is needed. However, as my sources show, we have made the tendency to solve these fears on our own. Either we have vast amounts more than enough, as in the case of tellurium, or we simply find a solution. These solutions manifest in two ways, for the most part. The first, we just simply move on to another material. The article stated that if we ran out of the metal used to make solar cells we would simply move to making them from silicon. [3]
Pro can not make an argument that space has the answer for fossil fuels because space has not shown any indication of an energy resource that is able to be harvested and used like fossil fuels. I have also proven that fossil fuels are not a problem. [4]

We can as a species maintain our current rate of consumption, what needs to change are the huge missteps in distribution. This was stated in my previous round of arguments. Using this article. [2]

"We are not in a resource crisis as of now [3]. Like stated before, what I do dispute is the proposed solution." Pro stated this in their last speech which validates all of my arguments in the contextualization part as well, we are talking about solutions to "the nearing resource crisis." My solution is the ocean and the part of the contextualization arguments were me explaining why it isn't a problem in the first place.

Pro claims that me pointing out that we are farther away from mining the cosmos than we are mining right beneath us is illogical because the extensive research he is proposing solves that. Whether or not it does, my argument still stands. There is a larger technological gap to harvest space than there is the ocean. Not only does this mean that we would be able to solve the resource crisis faster with the ocean, but also that space is an unrealistic resource provider. If we are to rely on comets and/or asteroids what happens when those extremely precious space objects stop showing up or stop possessing exactly what we need. We are royally screwed! So the resource argument goes in favor of Con because I have proven that it isn't a problem and even if it were the oceans would solve for it better.

Pro tries to combat my sustainability argument by saying "we have less than 60 years until we struggle to produce enough food for the population." Whether or not this statement is true, space has literally no means of solving this problem, while the ocean does. I won't go over all those arguments again but you can read through my previous arguments.

To argue my resource potential of ocean v. space Pro states that "The ocean contains 1.35 billion cubic meters of mostly salt water (not drinkable.)" But as I stated in my previous argument it is impossible to use or destroy water due to the water cycle, the only way water becomes unusable is if it is contaminated, which is what Pro is trying to claim. My solar desalination argument disproves this, please reference those for more details.

Pro then states that space contains billions of entities out there that are harvest-able for water. While this is true, the Oort cloud and Kuiper belt, the places where these entities are found, are literally astronomically far away from us in terms of distance and technology. They are outside of the solar system, and the farthest we as humans have gone is the moon. That gap is utterly huge. Even if these resource missions were to be done by automated machines, which are vastly more technologically intensive than the voyager 1, we've only been close enough to the outer planets to observe them by the voyager 1. While I'm sure these endeavors will be possible EVENTUALLY, it is simply not logical to work towards them exclusively, especially when the oceans is ripe for utilization. The following paragraph by Pro still falls underneath this argument, focus that effort towards the ocean and we are good to go.

These past two paragraphs have clearly shown that space is just not a reasonable adventure at this point. I do agree that the potential for space is limitless, but if pro is going to claim there is an impending resource collapse, we need that done sooner rather than later, and the ocean does what the status quo cannot do.

He takes my arguments on economics and uses that as justification as to why the US needs to get there first, but that is too far off into the future. He says it's inevitable, which I agree, so we must do it NOW. Doesn't make logical sense. With that argumentation we should be doing the same with oceans and our oil shale deposits in the US. If we get vastly farther ahead in ocean development, other countries will be on their knees to try to keep up with our food, water, and medical research advancements and capabilities. These arguments have gone largely unanswered thus far.

Pro claims he doesn't need evidence because "some logic" does it for him. I've shown that the only extinction threat we face that would not also destroy any civilizations on other planets is a Jurassic level meteor. I then went to explain why that is nearly impossible for many reasons, I'll let pro have the virtually impossible chance that a giant meteor wipes us and ONLY the earth out because that means I claim much more and realistic advantages, while he would also have to bear the disadvantages I've shown.

If this argument can be used on space, the same can be used on the ocean, and with more proof. Ocean desalination, mariculture, deep sea exploration, military might, and more are all accessible in the foreseeable future while space would need ridiculously more time to provide the same advantages.

Health and research
So Pro tries to explain that space is better in this regard because it has given insights into our own creation, which has nothing to do with Health and medical sciences, and whether we are alone or not, which is also not relevant in this discussion either. Medical practices simply cannot benefit from the exploration of space, scientific studies may but that's a different field that ocean provides more in anyways.

Pro ends the speech with, "Strictly speaking, there is a lot more scientific worth in space than our own oceans." Of course there is, there may even be infinitely more, but my argument is that the ocean should be the first priority because it provides more in a shorter amount of time and can solve the problems Pro put into question.

This has been one of the most interesting and stimulating debates I've had on this website. Thank you!

Debate Round No. 3


Thank you again, to Con, who provided another quick response.

I would again like to point out that we are already past the level of sustainability in our resource consumption. As con has said, and I agree with, this usage is not distributed equally, but it should be, and refined to be made more efficient. The problem here, is that despite having enough to supply a world population of 10 billion, we are nearing that number, and are predicted to surpass it in less than 60 years. If topsoil erosion continues at the current rate, paired with climate change, farming industries are looking at lower and lower yields. This paired with the population growth, the current rate of consumption (which is excessive for 7 billion people) will be necessary and even obsolete for a nearly 12 billion strong population at the end of the century. Con also states " that we provide 10 billion people's worth of food and that will only be increased by adding more people, logically". Brainpower is not the only factor and constraint working to limit productivity, there are also, as stated before, climate and soil conditions. Given we destroy soil at a much faster rate than it is naturally produced, which is a multi thousand year process for soil to accumulate the needed nutrients and raw ingredients to make it productive, and artificially making soil is a resource intensive process that is both expensive and difficult, rendering it inefficient until further notice. Con has tried to assert that more people will only result in higher food production, completely ignoring other constraints. This has been disproved.

My opponent then turns to aquaponics (I assume) when he mentions the near infinite food source the ocean provides. He has completely neglected to show that one, our oceans our being over fished, and aquaponics is just as questionable as what I am about to propose.

Fisheries reported a peak in 1989, when about 90 million tonnes of food was removed from the ocean, and ever since then yields have dropped and stagnated. This has clearly been going on for some time. Con proposes that we turn to the ocean for food solutions, but we already have, and have strained that ecological system as well. Apex predators continue to disappear, and species are pushed to the verge of extinction. If our population is to rise, and we turn to the ocean (which already figures into the food estimated to be able to feed 10 billion) as con suggests, then over fishing is likely only to be exacerbated, due to its heavier use. With less and less yields, we will not be able to feed our population will subsidies from the ocean by the end of the century. Now we turn to aquaponics. While it is a promising solution, it can only grow certain crops, excluding things such as roots, and, it is heavily dependent upon wildlife, which would be found naturally, or grown, which has been proven to be inefficient.

Just to support the above statement, using the basic principles of ecology, if we are to raise healthy stock in fisheries, these animals require more calories to grow than they can be consumed for. How do we provide this extra intake you may ask? Well it used to be provided from grains, insects, and other fish. But as stated before, more nutrients were put into the fish than were received, due to most of it being used for internal functions, with only around 10% being stored. So in turn, humans who consume the fish are only getting roughly 10% of what food resources they put into raising the livestock. For all intents and purposes, pairing aquaponics with fisheries is resource intensive and not efficient.

The alternative is natural acquiring fish. The problem with this is logically it deducts from the already decreasing output of the fishing industry. However, if fishing industries continue to over fish, and will be forced to in order to feed the growing population within this century, then they will be negatively impacting aquaponics. Since there is an inverse relationship between the two, you can only use one or the other on large scales, which I have to assume Con is alluding to in the "infinite potential" for food the ocean provides. Even then, aquaponics is flawed, as it is difficult to perform on mass scale, and if not performed properly can harm the environment in a variety of ways. Con has stated that the ocean provides a better solution for food. This has been disproved.

Now if we turn to eating these filter feeders and micro organisms, they are not an infinite resource as con suggests. They are just as vulnerable to over consumption as any other organism on this planet is.

As to water. To conclude that our oceans offer more drinkable water than space it what is simply ludicrous. From Mars, to moons, to comets, to even asteroids, there is an abundance of easily treatable water out there. You have already conceded that water desalinization is difficult and intensive, and in turn out of our reach at the moment for large scale production. I find it hypocritical then, to claim harvesting water from space is not a viable solution, because it is out of reach, when your own solution has yet to be proven. On top of this, we can both agree that our fresh water reserves are being used 3 times faster than they can replenish, and again, will not provide enough clean water for the population increase to come. Con tried to assert that the ocean is a better solution for potable water. This has been disproved.

From what I can gather, your entire disclaimer against my argument is based on the fact that I promote research towards this, thus proving that it is not currently a viable solution, while in turn, much of what you claim has the same limits. Both of our proposed solutions need research, but space is by FAR more profitable. For instance, I cite Europa, one of the many moons orbiting Jupiter. You called out the kuiper belt and ort cloud for having extreme distance from our planet. Europa is much closer. Scientists estimate that if all its liquid water was to be formed into a sphere, it would be 1090 miles in diameter, compared to the Earth, with one 860 miles in diameter. This also fails to take in the amount of ice on the moon. So in one instance, you have more water than the Earth has in, all compiled in one location. That in and of itself should illustrate the potentials of space. Con has these same "flaws" in his own argument, thus making it invalid against mine.

As to the solutions for energy space has to offer, orbital solar arrays positioned around the sun would be nearly unlimited in their production of clean, usable power. These stations are not confined by weather, nor position. They have nearly optimal efficiency, and are proven to be adequate to power entire complexes, such as the ISS. Earth only receives about one part in 2.3 billion of the suns total output, but these orbital facilities are being looked into, and thought to be the key to our energy problems here. I think that alone warrants heavy investment into space. Con has tried to assert that space has no energy solutions. That has been disproved.

As for food production in space, organisms have been shown to grow faster and stronger in recent studies aboard the ISS, given they no longer have environmental constraints. Greenhouses in orbit are completely feasible, as they do not limit the crops that can be grown as aquaponics does. Given we could colonize and establish such facilities on the Moon and Mars, it is entirely possible for agriculture to be expanded into orbit, without some for the rather pressing concerns of mass aquaponics. Con has stated that space offers little to no potential in the food sector. That has been disproved.

Your only response to the perfectly good logic behind avoiding an extinction event is simply the likelihood of getting hit by an asteroid, which is not the only extinction level event that could effect the species, and that it is equally as likely to hit any other world we colonize. I was beating my head on the table for this one. All I have to say is this. If we expand, what is the likelihood both planets we could colonize in theory get hit, within the same period of time? Despite the low odds of an extinction event, spreading out makes it increasingly less likely. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Con tried to assert that colonization does nothing to alleviate the likelihood of an extinction event. This has been disproved.

Technology. I laughed here. We have already started to exploit space more than we ever had the ocean in this sense. Satellites, both military and civilian, as well as research that has been directly funneled down to everyday life goes to show the potential of space. Con tries to assert the ocean has more technological potential than space. This has been disproved.

Research was directed at you notion about how little of the ocean is known, to which I replied even less is known about space.

I would certainly agree that this has been one of the more cerebral and challenging debates I have has as well.

Thank you to you too!



Con states yet again that we are past the point of sustainability, saying the problem is the resources are not distributed equally. That applies to the arguments of food and water but not to things like renewable resources. Because people are not dying of renewable resource dehydration, they are dying of starvation and dehydration. Neither of which space can solve for better than the ocean. Space can't even solve for food because there is no food in space, Pro has not shown that there is either. Space can't solve for food because the time it would take to get the water in the Oort and Kuiper Belt, even with all of our available resources, is too large for Pro's predictions. Pro gives us 60 years. Humans haven't even made it past the moon and yet Pro thinks it's possible that we would be able to exit the solar system, land on these entities containing ice, harvest it, transport ENOUGH of it back to earth, AND distribute it in this time period. Even if all of the former points were possible, Pro's plan does not solve for the lack of distribution of natural resources. We would be at the same place we are now.
The ocean is proven to solve for everything Pro claims is happening while doing so within the 60 year time period, less expensively, and also provides more extra advantages than Pro. I have proven that solar desalination is on the verge of being huge, there just isn't enough resources being put into the research.

I have also proven to solve for food. My opponent wrongly assumes I am speaking on aquaponics, which is entirely different than mariculture.
a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.

the cultivation of fish or other marine life for food.

Essentially, these two things are entirely different. Aquaponics strives to use fish to create plants in the ocean while mariculture strives to enhance the way we farm fish. Overfishing is a problem, and research can and will help. This is yet another reason why the ocean is a better choice.
Pro then explains why overfishing is a problem and how it was unsustainable from the start, which doesn't apply because my plan solves for this, as I have shown with evidence and logic.
This also keys into the food argument. Pro argues that my logic of increased population means increased food production is flawed. Pro would be right if that was all my argument was. I am arguing that
1. Food isn't a problem as explained by my article
2. Space doesn't solve for any supposed food problems
3. The ocean is the perfect answer for any food problems, we just need to put more scientific resources into researching it.

All Pro has argued is that food is a problem, which doesn't mean he wins the argument EVEN IF he wins that point. Because then my second and third point mean that I win the argument.

"Now if we turn to eating these filter feeders and micro organisms, they are not an infinite resource as con suggests." I don't recall arguing this, I am arguing for the development of fish farming techniques and technology so that it is sustainable at a massive scale, which I've shown is possible with research.

"To conclude that our oceans offer more drinkable water than space it what is simply ludicrous." I agree and I conceded this. My argument is:
1. Pro's argument must solve within 60 years because Pro stated that that was the deadline
2. There is no feasible way for (1) even with Pro's plan.
3. The ocean solves better, quicker, more efficiently, and solves other problems as well as creating many new advantages.

Pro claims that he disproved my argument by saying desalination is difficult and intensive. This is what can be solved by research. It also meets the 60 year deadline when Pro's own argument doesn't.
Furthermore, I did not claim that the ocean was better because the water in space is currently out of reach. I argued:
1. It's farther and, with a strict deadline of 60 years, we should opt for the faster solution for any problems there may be.
2. See point (3) in my last paragraph.

Pro keeps going on about me being a hypocrite for saying his is out of reach when mine is as well. Please go back over my last two paragraphs to understand why this is not what I was arguing.

Pro's only argument that is debatable at this point is whether space is more profitable than the ocean. Whether or not this is true, I should win the debate because Pro's own arguments say we need to solve for:
Non renewable resources
Space CANNOT solve for food, thus Pro has lost the debate. Furthermore, I have shown that it is better to focus on the ocean CURRENTLY instead, all of those arguments go uncontested.

"Con has these same "flaws" in his own argument, thus making it invalid against mine." No.
Look over my arguments in this round and previous rounds again, I make it clear that is not the point.

"orbital solar arrays positioned around the sun would be nearly unlimited in their production of clean, usable power."
I had thought this part of the argument was gone, there is no energy crisis. As my source has shown, the U.S. alone has vast amount of Oil Shale deposits and the only reason for it not being used is because oil is much cheaper and more readily available as of now. The source also shows that once we start running out of oil, the appeal for oil shale will increase and research will go towards it; thus making it profitable and economically reasonable.

"As for food production in space, organisms have been shown to grow faster and stronger in recent studies aboard the ISS, given they no longer have environmental constraints." This argument has just come up in the second to last round of the debate which is... Shady, to say the least considering I brought up the argument in the first speech I answered Pro.
To address it specifically:
Pro states that we would have to colonize the moon and Mars for this to solve. This means that all of my arguments apply to this as well:
1. Pro's argument must solve within 60 years because Pro stated that that was the deadline
2. There is no feasible way for (1) even with Pro's plan.
3. The ocean solves better, quicker, more efficiently, and solves other problems as well as creating many new advantages.

"Your only response to the perfectly good logic behind avoiding an extinction event is simply the likelihood of getting hit by an asteroid, which is not the only extinction level event that could effect the species, and that it is equally as likely to hit any other world we colonize." No, that was indeed not my argument. I've argued that the only extinction event that could wipe us out IS the meteor. I have cited an astronomer and space scientist that explains this in depth. He says it's not possible mainly for the fact that the last supposed meteor happened when the solar system was still volatile. I stated that he also provides more information as to why it is impossible. I didn't go into it because this debate isn't on the meteor and I couldn't explain full scientific ideas with the space and time I had. Please go back and read that article if you want a more detailed explanation.
He further explained his logic of how it is less likely that both planets would get hit. This stands up to logic, but not to the science I have provided. The extinction level event that earth would have to experience would obliterate and/or destabilize the rest of the solar system. This is mostly due to how the meteor would have to either ignore the suns gravity and hit us, or it would have to go through Jupiter and still be able to wipe us out. This is outlined in the evidence I provided, I implore Pro to read it as I suggested when I first brought up the evidence. I have vastly simplified the scientist's arguments just now so excuse me for that.

"We have already started to exploit space more than we ever had the ocean in this sense." This is true, I concede this fact and the following sentences explaining it in his argumentation. However, I still win the debate because I solve for the supposed resource crisis that Pro claimed in the first place while Pro does not.

"Research was directed at you notion about how little of the ocean is known, to which I replied even less is known about space." Yes and I have already conceded that space has more potential but in my last argument I said, IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. That is the key phrase that flips the argument to my side, because.
1. Pro's argument must solve within 60 years because Pro stated that that was the deadline
2. There is no feasible way for (1) even with Pro's plan.
3. The ocean solves better, quicker, more efficiently, and solves other problems as well as creating many new advantages.

In conclusion:
1. Contextualization arguments
a. Food, water, and non renewables aren't a problem as explained by my article.
b. Space doesn't solve for any supposed food problems in the 60 year time frame Pro provided.
c. The ocean is the perfect answer for any food and water problems, we just need to put more scientific resources into researching it.

2. Resources
Pro can't claim he solves because I have shown that he can't do so in the parameters he provides. (60 year time limit)

3. Something to rally behind
Either space or the ocean can be something to rally behind.

4. Net worth
a. Net worth doesn't matter since Pro don't solve for the supposed crisis Pro has claimed.

5. Extinction event
a. Not possible
b. The only scenario that Pro's argument stands is (1) impossible and (2) would obliterate any other civilization by initial meteor impact and debris or the simple destability of the solar system afterwards.

6. Technology
a. Tech doesn't matter since Pro don't solve for the supposed crisis Pro has claimed.

Thank you!
Debate Round No. 4


So given that I never established any guidelines for the debate, and never intended for round 5 to be a conclusion only round, and as a result Con and I are permitted to make use of it in the form of another argument with a brief conclusion.

Con has brought up the idea of using mariculture as the viable solution to the already proven imminent (At our current rate) food crisis. I will use this round to contend [1] that mariculture is not the solution that we should pursue, and in turn the ocean. Point [2] will be that the solutions that I have proposed, which I have proven are objectively viable excluding the technological limitations, are not nearly as far out as Con makes them out to be. In particular, basic mining principles for bodies within our solar system will be a usable and efficient option within the next 25 - 50 years. In addition, I just want to address [3] Cons continuing argument against the extinction event proposal introduced in round one, which he concedes stands up to logic, but not to science, which I will disprove.

On a side note, neither the ocean nor space will solve the problem of distribution. This is the problem of human society and society alone.

[1] Mariculture

Con makes the argument that the practice of mariculture is the foremost and best option that the ocean provides, therefore negating space as a viable alternative. What he has failed to mention is the fact that mariculture has a variety of negative and destructive effects on the ocean ecosystem.

Eutrophication - This is the direct result of the release of nitrogen and phosphorus into the water from such facilities, which in turn generate massive algal blooms. These communities of algae leech the water of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in a high mortality rate in effected areas. While this condition stays within 50 - 100 meters of the source, if we are to use it on the scale necessary to solve the imminent food crisis as Con asserts, this will become a massive problem.

Chemical Pollution - Chemicals such as disinfectants and pesticides make it into both the water within the fishery, and into wild areas, resulting in hypoxia and mortality of local populations.

Disease - It is widely acknowledged that disease is a major problem in these fisheries, as it is easily transmitted within and beyond the compound. These parasites and illnesses move outside the domestic areas via organic waste diposal, such as post - larvae shrimp.

Escape - It has been observed that specimens that escape mariculture are often fit to out compete wild populations and variations, resulting in less bio diversity.

Broodstock - Fisheries are often forced to bring in wild specimens to promote genetic diversity among live stock. This practice can and will be degrading to wild ecosystems if performed on the scale Con suggests.

Degradation - Fisheries established with other ecosystems nearby are often negatively impacted by the artificially induced conditions of the fisheries.


While many solutions have been posed to the above problems, many of them are being RESEARCHED to be made viable and effective by the NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration). In this sense, they are on the same level of probability as my solutions. However, Con does not address this, and instead focuses this criticism on my proposed solutions.

[2] Viable Within 25 - 50 years.

Con uses the assertion "They are outside of the solar system, and the farthest we as humans have gone is the moon. That gap is utterly huge." (They refers to comets, asteroids, and other bodies). My only question is this. Who said humans have to do it? A company called Planetary Resources (One of many looking to space as the solution I might add) has recently launched its first space craft from the ISS, and now is releasing the first prototypes of a cheap but effective automated robot that can be launched in swarms to mine asteroids that stray into our solar system. Given we already have basic, and I admit, untested solutions, it is not unreasonable to say we are looking at realistic mining of asteroids in the next couple decades.

When interviewed, Chris Lewicki, the owner of Planetary Resources, said this. Quote, "We have every expectation that delivering water from asteroids and creating an in-space refueling economy is something that we'll see in the next 10 years " even in the first half of the 2020s."

Even DSI (Deep Space Industries). has the same fundamental idea, and is working to make prototypes. Space X is among this list as well, as are many others.

So as to your point about harvesting resources being unrealistic in my time frame, the private space industry has a lot to say against that.


I also want to expand this argument into food.

I again, never argued that food is currently a problem, I simply said it will be with our current rate of progression in population and other factors. Con has completely ignored that brain power is not the only constraint working against food production, I might point out. And I have already shown that mariculture, Cons solution of choice, has its own milestones to overcome. Con also asserts that he has proven that mariculture can be perfected, yet he has only provided broad categories it needs to be refined IN, not HOW.

In the upcoming argument, I will show how farming in space is a viable and beneficial practice.

NASA has already been studying space grown crops for decades, and has come to some surprising conclusions. Plants do not need gravity to grow. This is thought to stem from the ability of plants to self orient themselves. They are also likely to grow larger, and faster, given they exist without natural environmental constraints like drought and temperature fluctuations. While this could be achieved on Earth, the problem is we lack the space and soil necessary. Space, however, offers bodies such as the moon, mars, and orbital greenhouses as solutions. We can already pretty easily get in and out of orbit, I think we can all agree. Even with large payloads. And with research being invested into reusable rockets and space elevators, access will only become easier. And given my argument about automated asteroid mining, and perhaps even the moon, these supplies can be mines and transported to these facilities relatively easily. Space X is already testing a self landing rocket, one that to the best of my knowledge is functional. So for all intents and purposes, orbital farming at the very least is not that far away, closer than the 25 - 50 year span needed to mine asteroids effectively. This is partially due to the fact that we are already doing it on small scale on board the ISS! And with the already proven clean and highly effective idea of orbital solar relays, they would be fairly easy and cheap to power.

Just on a side note, given global warming and pollution, we should be vying for cleaner and more effective power sources. And I never said there was an energy crisis either!


[3] Extinction.

No. No. No. Yes the solar system was volatile at the time of the last MAJOR impact. We have still had large ones to date. And we frequently have asteroids that stray into our orbital zone. They escape Jupiter and the Suns gravity due to velocity and position. So its not impossible, its just statistically unlikely. Also, NASA makes a habit out of tracking near by asteroids and comets. The fact that they show even mild concern makes my point valid. You also conceded to the fact that branching out lowers the liklihood of an extinction level event happening, no matter how unlikely in the first place. So in essence you have conceded the argument is valid.

In conclusion I have proven:

[1] Mariculture has numerous flaws that Con has no means to fix.
[2] Space agriculture is perfectly viable and even beneficial in comparison, despite Con saying otherwise.
[3] We are within the realm of beginning to harvest space in at least 25 years.
[4] Given [3], the profitability of space compared to the ocean, which Con has conceded is much larger, is now a valid argument by Cons own standards.
[5] Technology has become a valid argument.
[6] Spreading out negates an extinction event, no matter how unlikely it is in the first place.

On these grounds, I believe I have won this debate.

Danke Schoen.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 5
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by RC-9282 10 months ago
No problem. I enjoyed it as well.
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
Oh no! Crap came up and I couldn't complete this great debate :(
Posted by RC-9282 10 months ago
I just want to come out and apologize for the many typos in some of my arguments. I often get carried away in the typing that I overlook things.
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