The Instigator
Courage
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Vigour
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Moonbase or Asteroid?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/12/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 704 times Debate No: 37660
Debate Rounds (3)
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Courage

Pro

First of all, let me state my position.
I support a return to the moon.

Why?
Returning to the moon would grant us massive amounts of new knowledge about the celestial body and would provide many clues on the origin of the moon and the Earth, and solve many scientific questions that have puzzled us for decades. You must also understand, that the Apollo astronauts explored a section of the moon is smaller than the National Mall. Returning to the moon would let us perform new activities in lunar exploration in preparation for future settlement by human colonists. Knowledge and epertise gained from an return to the moon and the establishment of an lunar outpost will greatly determine between sucess and failure if we are to ever move to the moon.

Also, the moon could provide a vital testing ground for extended interplanetary missions to Mars. Unlike the planned Asteriod mission, which would last only a week, the moonbase would test out deep-space habitation systems for years, and the research would prove crucial to the Mars missions. The moon would provide a much better testing ground for a Mars landing than an asteriod, as astronauts could stay in the moonbase for months (Instead of a planned week), and can return to Earth in mere days if there is danger. The moon, in truth, will be much more better in testing new technologies than Mars.
And it is where our international partners want us to go. Europe and Russia all have plans to go to the moon, but they need the support of the United States to completely fulfill their programs. However, the asteroid mission would prove an disaster to international cooperation in space, as there is litle interest, and it does not involve international partners at all.

With this, I close my argument. Best of luck to my opponent.
Vigour

Con

I"d like to start off by thanking my opponent for an interesting premise.

I"d like to clarify that my position as Con is that a first visit to an asteroid, or minor planet, would be more desirable than revisiting the moon.

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There are two main benefits to society from space travel that are commonly recognized: progression of theoretical knowledge and development of derivative technology. I plan on addressing both components to show that a visit to a minor planet would do more to advance both categories than would a revisit to the moon.

1) Progression of theoretical knowledge.

Space travel by its nature is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. This is not news to many, and as such it is desirous to get the most "bang for your buck" out of the deal. In the 1940"s and early 1950"s our knowledge of the Moon and its composition was largely ignorant beyond superficial observations. However through a series of missions in the 1950"s and 1960"s funded by NASA " and future missions as well, our knowledge of the moon has grown immensely. We are now aware of a great deal of physical characteristics that describe the Moon, including the composition of a sample of its surface rocks (1), the interior geology (2), the pressure and composition of its atmosphere (3), its surface topology (4), as well as many other physical details. This is by no means suggesting that we have a complete understanding of the Moon or its particular workings; however, we do have an admirable start. In contrast, our theoretical knowledge of minor planets is largely absent, and any knowledge we do possess is largely speculation and cannot be advanced or improved upon without first gathering empirical evidence. Therefore, I contend that a mission to a minor planet would do more to advance the general body of astrophysical knowledge than would a revisit to the Moon: We have a great deal to learn about both bodies; however, minor planets and asteroids are currently a blank box. As such, missions to explore their surface and environment would provide the greatest "bang for our buck" in terms of increasing overall knowledge.

2) Derivative Technology.

Most people are aware of the technological advances that are either a direct or indirect result of the Apollo missions: kidney dialysis machines, CAT scanners, water purification technologies, and most importantly, the integrated circuit (5). The engineers at NASA were able to reach the Moon using the forerunners of these technologies largely developed in the 1960"s. If we were to return to the Moon, it is reasonable to assume that many of the same technologies, albeit rehashed and improved, would simply be reused. One doesn"t need to reinvent the wheel. In contrast, there are no available systems or technology that can be wholly adapted or recycled in order to visit a minor planetary body. The entire mission would need to be engineered from a proprietary level, and as such, the volume of derivative technology would be expected to be much larger as a result of new engineering challenges unique to an "asteroid" mission. I contend that this increased volume in derived technology from visiting a minor planetary body would vastly outweigh the expected improvements upon existing technology that a Moon mission would provide.

As such, I believe I have shown that a visit to a minor planetary body, or asteroid, would do more to improve both the theoretical knowledge and the development of derivative technology than would a revisit to the moon.

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A quick rebuttal for my opponent!

"Returning to the moon would grant us massive amounts of new knowledge about the celestial body and would provide many clues on the origin of the moon and the Earth, and solve many scientific questions that have puzzled us for decades."

-It would help this debate move forward if you could describe, specifically, which scientific question(s) can only be answered by a manned mission to the moon.

"Returning to the moon would let us perform new activities in lunar exploration in preparation for future settlement by human colonists. Knowledge and epertise gained from an return to the moon and the establishment of an lunar outpost will greatly determine between sucess and failure if we are to ever move to the moon."

-I believe your argument here is that a manned mission to the moon is necessary to prepare for a future lunar colony. I would challenge you to provide a reasoned argument why those engineer challenges cannot be simulated and addressed on Earth without devouring the limited resources of the space exploration program.

"Unlike the planned Asteriod mission, which would last only a week, the moonbase would test out deep-space habitation systems for years, and the research would prove crucial to the Mars missions."

-Which mission in particular are you referencing? Furthermore, if we were able to manage to land on an asteroid and then survive on it for a week, that would do infinitely more to prepare us for the challenges of habituating ourselves to the Martian environment. The Lunar environment and the Martian environment are not especially similar: preparing for one is not necessarily preparing for the other beyond basic survival strategies.

"The moon, in truth, will be much more better in testing new technologies than Mars."

-And the ISS would be better, and more cost effective, for testing new technologies than. But this is also irrelevant to the point. You seem to be arguing that the only value in returning to the Moon is in preparing to visit Mars, which I think is an obviously unsubstantiated claim.

(1) http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu...
(2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
(3) http://rimg.geoscienceworld.org...
(4) http://www.lpi.usra.edu...
(5) http://spinoff.nasa.gov...
Debate Round No. 1
Courage

Pro

Courage forfeited this round.
Vigour

Con

Vigour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Courage

Pro

Courage forfeited this round.
Vigour

Con

Vigour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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