The Instigator
Con (against)
0 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
7 Points

Be it resolved that space exploration be stopped in the USA

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 998 times Debate No: 49402
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (2)




I believe that space exploration should not be canceled. If you want to debate choose pro


I did not intentionally enter this debate, but I'll give it a shot rather than forfeit.

A resolution like this clearly requires a lot of definition, none of which has been provided by Con.

SPACE EXPLORATION- the investigation of physical conditions in space and on stars, planets, and other celestial bodies through the use of artificial satellites (spacecraft that orbit the earth), space probes (spacecraft that pass through the solar system and that may or may not orbit another celestial body), and spacecraft with human crews. [1]

IN THE UNITED STATES- Con fails to identify whether he is talking all space programs, public and private. Since the question appears to be formatted as a discussion of public policy, let's assume that we are only talking about US Govt. funded space exploration, specifically NASA.

BE STOPPED- Again, this predicate could have a number of meanings. Because we are talking about public policy, let's assume that we are discussing the priorities of the current (Obama) administration. I'll assume that if Con wanted to discuss de-funding ongoing programs like Mars Rovers or the Space Station, he would have said as much. So we're limiting this debate to whether NASA should fund new projects during the remainder of the Obama administration.

As the instigator, Con has the burden of proving that space exploration must not be stopped. I will argue that there are some good reasons for temporary halting new space exploration projects.

Under these definitions, I'll offer the following thesis:

THESIS: In the short term, the disadvantages of funding new NASA projects such as human trips to Mars or the Moon outweigh the advantages. Funding new NASA projects should be placed on hold for the duration of the Obama administration while a number of logistical problems are addressed or perhaps even solved.


At present, the US is a signatory to 4 treaties governing extraterrestrial conduct in space, but has not signed the big one, the Moon Treaty. The Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, known as the "Moon Treaty" that extends the United Nation's international jurisdiction to every celestial body explored by mankind in the future. I'm not saying that the US should necessarily ratify this UN treaty, but the US is obviously past due the time when the territorial and governing rights accorded to exploration must be resolved. Otherwise, we run the risk of absorbing all the expense and danger of exploration only to have those discoveries exploited by aggressive national claims at home. Without a treaty, US discoveries (such as asteroids with large pure water deposits or mineral deposits like gold) would not necessarily be the property of the US, nor would those discoveries be governed by any body of law. What's to stop an aggressive nation from laying claim to these discoveries? Nothing at present. Until the US has achieved some concrete understanding about extraterrestrial territoriality, all space exploration is internationally provocative and potentially counter-productive.


At present, the US has no sense of how much of the task of space exploration can be absorbed by the private sector. Again, the absence of international agreement regarding territoriality and custody of explored regions makes exploration by private interests unnecessarily risky. Nations who wish to encourage capitalist expansion into space have a responsibility to establish a relatively safe, non-violent framework in which private interests may launch. But then those same nations have a responsibility to get out of the way of those projects. If, for example, the Mars One project manages to raise the necessary billions to launch the first human mission to Mars, should the US deprive that project of its primary motivation with competing human missions to Mars? I don't think so. In those places where private interests are pursuing profit or prominence, good govts should hold back and let those ventures take their shot. Many private projects are already in development: RSC Energia and SpaceX are already taking on some of the launch burden of commercial packages. Golden Spike is working towards Moon Tourism in the next decade.


Private space exploration could save the US taxpayer billions, but considerable money can also be saved by investing in robotics and energy in the short term, with an eye towards more efficient space exploration in the long term. The world is on the verge of revolutionary evolution in the fields of robotics and energy production, where Moore's law equivalencies are starting to become apparent. That is, the cost of robot today will be roughly twice the cost of the same robot 2 years from now, 4 times the cost 4 years from now, 8 times the cost 6 years from now, etc. [4] The same is true for energy technologies essential to space flight, particularly solar energy. The US could realize substantial cost savings simply by focusing on paying down the principle on our substantial debt for a few years, while allowing essential technologies to become much, much more affordable.


Of all the potential problems present in current space exploration, the most daunting and catastrophic is the problem of space junk.
In 1978, NASA scientist Donald Kessler pointed out that the as the density of objects in low Earth orbit increases, there is an increased danger of a collision triggering a cascade of collisions that could quickly destroy most satellites in low Earth orbit and fill the skies with so much jagged, small, fast moving debris that humans would unable to launch new satellites or any kind of space mission for generations. Some scientists argue that we are already well past a safe density for low Earth objects and that such a cascade is less a matter of if then when. [5] Obviously, in light of such a potentially catastrophic event, the US Govt. has an obligation to slow down space exploration and indeed all space launches until a solution is derived. In the short term, we might consider cleaning up space debris with satellites designed to catch larger objects and force them into a rapidly decaying orbit. We might consider "laser brooms" to force objects into re-entry. In the long term, we need to consider the advantages of an international space elevator for transporting objects into orbit while also requiring that all satellites are launched with the capacity to terminate their orbits at will.

Until these solutions can be developed, blithely continuing to launch exploratory vehicles creates a tremendous amount vehicle debris, discarded shields, discarded rockets, etc in an already over-polluted environment. The US. Govt. has a responsibility to ensure a sustainable launch program before continuing space exploration.


Debate Round No. 1


kingkd forfeited this round.


My opponent forfeits, so continue my arguments from round 1
Debate Round No. 2


kingkd forfeited this round.


Pro forfeits. Continue arguments from round 1 and please VOTE CON.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by kingkd 2 years ago
Sorry Oromagi, it's started but I'l ldo what I can.
Posted by Oromagi 2 years ago

my apologies. I was looking @ this debate earlier today on my phone, but I did not intend to accept the debate and am surprised to see myself in this debate now. Would you cancel this debate? Thanks in advance.
Posted by kingkd 2 years ago
Posted by philochristos 2 years ago
I don't think there should be space exploration in the USA. I think space exploration should be done in space.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by etherealvoyager 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.
Vote Placed by Ameliamk1 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.