Resolved: The International Community should ban nuclear powered spacecraft.
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OBSV 1- Nuclear powered Spacecrafts will ONLY be used as a fuel for Spacecrafts, not as ANY weapon or nuclear stockpile, we want to be able to have nuclear power as an option
Intl"l community=The United Nations, as it is the only committee of every country in the world
Nuclear Power: Scientific fuel
Ban: We are banning everyone in the world, including the United states
Notes- We are banning the united states as well. (this will leave us vulnerable, and there may be countries who break the rules)
Standard (or weighing mechanism): Advancement of Human Civilization
Spacecraft pertains to scientific exploration that can possibly be used to benefit society, thus, the team benefitting society most from continuing space exploration or discontinuing it should win today"s debate.
1. More space exploration creates jobs
Univ. of Florida Professor Randy Fillmore states that only a nuclear fueled space craft would be able to make a manned mission to Mars possible
Charles Choi of the Astrobiology Magazine contributor states that landing humans on Mars would motivate millions of students to pursue careers in science and technology, providing companies in America with a pool of talented scientists and tech-savvy workers.
Judge, the result is clear: such a project would create 500,000 jobs over next 10 yrs. This is especially important as 20% of our current tech workforce is eligible for retirement in the next three years.
This is clearly needed to fill in the job positions of American baby boomer workers, benefiting society and helping our economy as a whole
2. Space exploration increases scientific innovation
For example, without nuclear fuel, curiosity would not be able to dig through rocks and add on to our scientific innovation
With this law, curiosity would have been banned
Rudy Schild of the Harvard-Smithsonian Astrophysics center: that a mission to mars would launch a tech & scientific revolution, thus leading to much growth of manufacturing, aerospace industry, and inspire children across the US to become scientists and engineers.
These workers benefit not only our companies, but also the US as a whole: According to Richard Stephens, the Senior VP at Boeing, a strong science and technological workforce strongly strengthens our national security, the competitiveness of our economy, and our defense industrial base.
In addition, a scientific revolution would cause more inventions in society today. Inventions such as: cell phones, GPSs, and satellite TVs were invented from the space age of the 1960s for example: with the apollo, we spawned many new technologies.
Judge, imagine how much more inventions would be created if we can possibly send man to mars, or learn more about the universe around us. Life would be much more efficient and productive.
3. Nuclear fueled spacecrafts can prevent extra-terrestrial disasters
According to the Univ. of Wisconsin, an asteroid hitting the Earth could possibly make all life on Earth extinct.
Peter N of the Christian Science Monitor states: An asteroid named Apophis has the potential to hit our planet"s surface by 2035. However, using the aerospace technology we have today, it is not possible for our spacecraft to shift the asteroid away from the earth. Only a spacecraft with the right system,-NUCLEAR ELECTRIC MOTORS-would be able to have enough velocity to close in on a hazardous asteroid and gravitationally shift it off course, away from Earth.
Other articles detail the threat of asteroids to life on Earth. According to astronauts Russell Schweickart and Edward Lu (4/16/04), there is a 10% chance that during our lifetimes, there will be a 60 meter asteroid that will hit Earth with energy of 700 simultaneous Hiroshima sized bombs. These two astronauts detailed that only spacecrafts with advanced propulsion systems and nuclear motors would be able to prevent the most Earth-threatening asteroids
Judge, clearly nuclear fueled spacecrafts are worth it if they can one day save millions and billions of lives, preventing possible extinction of the human race.
4. It is almost impossible to enforce the laws in the first place
How do we detect if someone cheats and breaks this law
Anyone can break the law at any time
Sum up: With nuclear fuel, not only are we sparking ingenuity, we are also helping to save the lives of our people and we are helping our economy
Secondly, I would like to define the term "Nuclear-powered spacecraft" as a vehicle capable of orbital or deep-space travel which is propelled by the use of a nuclear reactor. Generators which are used simply to provide electricity are exempted (as the size of a reactor for that purpose does not create a viable radioactive weapon as compared to a craft which uses a reactor capable of accelerating it into orbit)
Thirdly, I would like to cite Title 18 of the US Code, Chapter 113b, Section 2332a, Paragraph C, Clause 2 allows for definition of a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) as "any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life". Note that this is used to provide an appropriate definition for the way that I shall be using this term, I am not using it as evidence in this debate at this point as per the rules proposed by the initiator of this debate.
Moving onto the actual case at hand, I hold that the international community, namely the United Nations, should prohibit the use of nuclear-powered spacecraft for the following reasons:
1) Nuclear-powered spacecraft are not needed. Current spacecraft use chemical propulsion systems which are uniquely suitable for entering into Earth's orbit because of the high amount of thrust in a short time, and being easily disposed of afterwards. A nuclear propulsion system would have similar benefits from the aspect of thrust/time, but no significant advantage in that regard.
2) Nuclear-powered spacecraft are dangerous and risky. From the stance of safety, nuclear propulsion reactors would have at best the same rate of failure as chemical propulsion (as those failures are due to mechanical difficulties, which would impact both types of systems), but may be more risky because of inherent problems with nuclear reactors. While my comment may be taken by some as being sensationalist about nuclear energy (as many are wont to do by alluding to Chernobyl or other meltdowns), but the fact of the matter is that while a reactor may be totally stable when stationary, it can be subject to disastrous problems when subject to severe jarring (as in the case of the recent Fukushima disaster in Japan). Thus, nuclear systems will be at least as, if not more, dangerous than their chemical brethren.
Additionally, chemical propulsion systems pose little to no hazard when ejected (if that is the disposal method. Sometimes, the rockets are retrieved); when performed with the proper protocols, the waste simply disintegrates in orbit, completely harmless. However, a problem (or planned disposal) with a nuclear reactor in a space-faring vehicle which led to ejection of the reactor could lead to radiation contamination on Earth. Being rational, a disintegration of the reactor within the confines of a higher orbit would mean that the radiation would be dissipated in such a way that contamination would be minimal, but a launch disaster (such as the Columbia, or numerous Russian spacecraft) could act much like a nuclear device with an aerial detonation: possibly an electromagnetic pulse which would severely damage electronics in a significant radius, and definitely a spread of contaminants which would, in that altitude of disaster, be dangerous to the affected areas as the radiation would remain fairly concentrated. While the contamination would not remotely be on the same scale as Hiroshima, it could still have severe deleterious effects for the afflicted areas.
Finally, on this topic, a nuclear propulsion system involves projecting great volumes of gas (most likely hydrogen) through a nozzle by the heat of the reactor. A significant risk of this design is that one small flaw, one which might not endanger the craft itself, could easily contaminate the hydrogen or other propellant, leading to radioactive exhaust. Ergo, the spacecraft has the potential to literally spray nearby areas with radioactive isotopes in the form of gas.
3) Nuclear-powered spacecraft could be implemented as weapons. While a nuclear bomb being deployed in space may seem like a far-fetched reality, both of the countries to first develop nuclear weapons and space travel (namely, the United States and Russia) had already considered the possibility long before the technology to implement the tactic would arise, and precluded the other from using it in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Allowing nuclear-powered spacecraft would open Pandora's Box by giving space agencies a means by which to violate that treaty and principle. In fact, by simply retracting the carbon rods or similar measure to counterbalance criticality, the spacecraft device can act much like an atomic bomb, and can be easily used in such a way as to spread radiation over the Earth to count as a WMD.
4) Nuclear-powered spacecraft will deplete resources which can be put to better use in other projects. Uranium and plutonium, the primary elements utilized in nuclear reactors, are non-renewable and expensive resources. For example, plutonium-238 is an isotope commonly used by probes and satellites which are unable to use solar arrays for sufficient power and so utilize radioisotope thermoelectric generators (hereafter referred to as RTGs), which are small reactors that passively generate power (rather than agitating the atoms to create fission, the craft capture the energy of the natural radioactive decay). Due to the already-dwindling supplies of these resources, space programs need these resources to simply release these probes and a waste of the supplies on a project that can just as readily use another form of power is, quite simply, reckless, irrational, and irresponsible.
In summary, nuclear-powered spacecraft are not needed, but are risky, can be utilized to skirt international prohibitions on WMDs in space, and will deplete resources that could be put to more effective use in other venues.
WesternGuy2 forfeited this round.
Once Again, I am incredibly sorry for the forfeited round.
I had a conflicting event, and I hope it is all right.
So, First, I will refute my opponent's arguments
First, framework. They talk about how generaters providing electricity are exempted. I assume this means they are not nuclear powered spacecrafts
First they talk about how nuclear propulsion is not needed. However, my opponent seems to disregard ALL the benefits my case provides. Unfortunately, a chemical propulsion system is not viable in stopping an asteroid attack, and therefore, their first argument falls.
Second, they talk about how nuclear propulsion is dangerous. However, one nuclear reactor exploding is nothing compared to the magnitude of an asteroid attack which will create 700 Hiroshima bomb's damages. This is a net harm of the harms of 699 nuclear bombs. Obviously, the CON's harms outweigh the PRO's. Again, any harm my opponent presents HAS to be more harmful than an asteroid attack.
Their third argument is the possibility of a nuclear weapon being made.
However, People have made nuclear spacecrafts for a long time, yet North Korea nor any other potentially harmful country has not developed nuclear weapons by claiming that they are making nuclear spacecrafts. If my opponent cannot provide a case where nuclear powered spacecrafts have acted as a cover to build WMDs, then you have to vote CON.
Lastly, my opponents talk about how it depletes rescources. They talk about how Nuclear powered spacecrafts use plutonium which is used by probes. However, does this mean that these probes and satellites are ALSO nuclear powered spacecrafts as they are using nuclear fuel, as we stated in our definitions? Obviously, my opponent's argumentcan be turned to the CON side.
For all these reasons, please vote CON
Once again, sorry for the forfeit..
First, the Neg's Impact:
In the original impact points, my opponent stated that Prof. Randy Fillmore would allow for a manned trip to Mars. Firstly, the article in question, which I believe is "UF Researchers: Nuclear Power Will Make Mars Trip Shorter, Safer", is from 1997. The information presented in the article is vague and corroboration for facts is lacking. From the article, the most that can be deduced is that nuclear propulsion will allow for a shorter trip to Mars, but the fact of the matter is that without any corroborating evidence (as the article is necessarily biased in its own favor), this facet of an impact does not stand. I would also like my opponent to state his evidence from Charles Choi. Finally, it would not even be plausible for a Mars mission in the near future, in which time any number of other solutions could be raised, including the promising ion engine. As it stands, NASA is hoping to retain their rough budget of $17 billion, though the program is facing cuts amidst financial planning in Washington. Additionally, this budget has been planned for use already and a Mars landing would be prohibitively expensive. The Apollo program during its preparation years required over 10 billion in 1994 dollars. To put this in perspective, as well as adjusting for inflation in the decade since 1994, we would need to double the current NASA budget to accomplish the lunar landing (supposing the technology was not in order). Faced with a similar situation, how much more cost-prohibitive is a Mars landing? Estimates for such a feat have been optimistically $100 billion, but so many issues have not been resolved. Most of all, even with the extremely optimistic estimates of Fillmore on travel time, radiation doses would be so extreme for astronauts that the only known way to accomplish the task if keeping astronauts from being exposed to lethal radiation would be an even more horrendous fate: a one-way trip. While Chief Astronaut Robert Behnken has stated it is not being sought, it may be considered as a last ditch method.
Next, my opponent has cited craft such as Curiosity. I have addressed this impact in my arguments. Those craft use RTGs (already defined in my first round) which are not reactors for nuclear propulsion as fit the resolution I, the affirmative, am seeking to prove, but passive energy collectors which do not remotely fit as nuclear reactors. Effectively, it is the same principle as geothermal power of passively gaining energy from heat. As these RTGs do not fit the resolution, and that the first impact statement has been called severely into question, the remainder of the second impact is null and void.
Finally, the opponent's third impact statement about asteroids has no scientific founding as of yet. The mechanics necessary to successfully use the tug the article describes have not been tested at all. Neither the method of cohesion between asteroid and craft, nor the feasibility of the program in any firm have been tested, and the craft would only questionably fall under the resolution. The craft is propelled by an ion drive, not a reactor. A small reactor is used to provide energy for the ion engines, but it is not comparable to the devices this plan seeks to prohibit. Though estimates are wanting, a small reactor such as seems to be called for in the article might not be classified as a WMD, meaning it does not violate the OST of 1967.
As to the fourth impact statement, I compare it to the 2012 Aurora shooting. In that case, there was little the authorities could have done to prevent the shooting, but does that mean they should stop trying in the future? We cannot condone the possibility of crimes against humanity by saying that said crime is difficult to police.
Thus, all of the impacts of the opponent's case have been called into question.
Next, clarifying my points:
I reiterate that the plan solves for Nuclear-Propelled craft, which require a large enough reactor to operate as to be a potential WMD
Additionally, the opponent is turning to the argument of nuclear power. While the case of the asteroid tug is still in debate over whether it qualifies (due to the fact that the craft is completely hypothetical with no testing done), craft like Curiosity do not count under the resolution as the "nuclear power" is not a reactor, it is simply a mechanism to capture the energy of escaping neutrons to collect heat.
Next, attacking my opponents new arguments:
As the case of the asteroid prevention has no scientific grounding besides unproven hypotheses concerning the tug, it cannot be shown that this is definite evidence of outweighing harms, as the Neg's arguments cannot even prove an effect concerning the asteroids, meaning the status quo in that theater is identical on both sides, and thus Neg still has the harm of a giant asteroid as well as potential WMDs in space, meaning a greater harm is on Neg, as Aff has only the asteroids with the solving of this plan.
I do not have to prove that spacecraft have been used as potential WMDs, I do not even have to prove that they can be used as potential WMDs; all that doing that objective would do is solidify my arguments further.
Thus, only one of my opponent's arguments has any weight when considered under the plan Aff is arguing, and that one cannot be decided because the tug in question has not even been designed enough to discover whether it fits the plan. It has no scientific founding besides a hypothesis.
Onto my arguments:
First, I will address that a nuclear-propelled spacecraft equates to a WMD. Citing 18 USC S.2332a, a WMD can be defined as a weapon able to deal dangerous radiation. Any reactor capable of launching a spacecraft into orbit will have a powerful enough reactor to count under this definition, though the tug might not (as the plans call for a chemical booster rocket to launch into orbit. The reactor is far too small to count as a WMD, and is not covered under the plan).
On my contest that nuclear propulsion is not needed, my opponent cites the asteroid attack, and I have shone doubt upon this argument earlier.
My opponent has appeared to concede to my arguments on the inherent dangers of nuclear propulsion, as his only contest was the argument on the dangers of asteroids, which he has failed to link how his tug definitively account for that.
My opponent has attempted to shirk my argument that nuclear-propelled spacecraft pose a WMD threat by saying that none has occurred. However, he has failed to address the core argument, that it is possible. Just because a country is not currently able to implement that class of weapon does not preclude its use in the future as hostile powers such as North Korea seek avenues to gain influence and leverage. He has also failed to address that by the fact that the spacecraft in question could be classified as a WMD easily, that it would be infringing upon the OST of 1967, a severe offense.
On my final argument, concerning resources, my opponent has skirted the point by attempting to argue semantics via trying to count RTGs under the plan, which I have addressed. The other arguments are conceded.
In summary, the opponents arguments have no footing as all were brought into more than reasonable doubt, and the Judges should vote Affirmative as my core plan, to prohibit nuclear-propelled vessels in space, still holds on all of my points.
As a final note, there are no hard feelings from Aff about the forfeit. Aff approves of simply handling the forfeiture as an ignored round.
My opponent first says that the article i present is outdated and vague
However, my opponent has to prove that a non nuclear powered spacecraft HAS ALREADY taken us to Mars.
Here is the Charles Choi article ( http://www.space.com...;)
My opponent says that a nuclear spacecraft launch will be expensive. However, we are not talking specifically about NASA, or the price. We are talking about whether we should ban it or not as an International Community.
My opponent says that Curiosity was not run by nuclear power. Unfortunately, Curiosity is run by nuclear fuel, which by my definition is a nuclear powered spacecraft.
My opponent says that there is no evidence about asteroids.
However, I have provided evidence, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.
My opponent gets it wrong.
Breaking national soverignty is a HUGE issue, unlike my opponent's analogy. I agree the shootings were horrid, however, we are talking about countries not people. Countries have more protection than people. This is a completely different issue.
My opponent says they do not have to prove that WMD have been made under the cover of a NPS.
However, they do and they give no reason why not. If they cannot prove even the effect of a possible WMD, there is no impact on the PRO side.
Thank you and please vote CON
Sorry that was really short, didn't have much time.
http://www.thebulletin.org..., it is possible for the same facilities that make fuel for nuclear power plants to create fuel for nuclear devices, and the only difference between and power-generating reactor and a nuclear bomb lie in the control mechanisms. By substituting the highly-enriched uranium, the only measure needed to make a nuclear-propelled spacecraft into a WMD is to retract the control mechanisms in the reactor soon enough to allow for detonation, a simple task. Thus, a WMD can be made quite easily from a nuclear-propelled spacecraft.
Next, I will refute the summary points of my opponent, and will conclude by summing my own.
I would like to point out the issue of Burden of Proof. In theory, as my opponent instigated this debate, it stands to reason that he should hold said burden, but I will not hold him to that particular standard. However, assuming the burden, as I am forced to do, entails that said person can frame the confines of the debate, and extraneous issues hold their own BoPs for admission.
For instance, Neg's issue of an asteroid tug must be accompanied by evidence to prove that a propulsion system powered by a nuclear reactor, that said project is feasible, and that the engine would fit within the confines of the plan which I have outlined. The opponent has done none of these things except by stating one article which was purely theoretical and about which no further steps have been taken. If evidence like this is allowed into the debate, then I may cite numerous articles by scientists who would propose numerous systems, but like the authors of the article which the Neg describes, have no experimental grounding. There is no proof of the issue at hand being resolved by the evidence, as not even lab-testing has been tried, as corroborated by the article at hand.
On the opponent's article by Charles Choi: firstly, the link does not lead to an actual article as cited in the last argument, but the impact does not stand because the opponent has not refuted the danger posed by the exposure to radiation in flight, which would pose lethal risks to any prospective astronauts (I would cite the scientific article "Measurements of Energetic Particle Radiation in Transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory", in which 17 qualified scientists evaluated data from the Curiosity travel concerning radiation exposure and its potential lethality to astronauts). Cary Zeitlin of the Southwest Research Institute stated that, in reference to a Mars flight, "In terms of accumulated dose, it's like getting a whole-body CT scan once every five or six days." (http://www.theguardian.com...). Without being able to account for these discrepancies, the economic impact of job growth in response to a Martian landing cannot occur. Thus, that point does not stand. As to the contention that I must prove that a conventional rocket can take us to Mars, I do not have to at all. By introducing an extraneous case, my opponent assumes the BoP for that contention, and fails. I cite Curiosity, however, as to whether it is possible for conventional rockets to take humans to Mars. Finally, my arguments on the expense of said flight to Mars reflect to the infeasibility of said project in the current world economy, however if Con wishes to express that view (that nation specifics should be ignored), then his nonexistent Choi article has yet another reason for failing to be evidence.
I have already defeated my opponent's arguments on Curiosity (see numerous earlier statements of the exclusion of the passive RTGs by my plan) and as he has not provided sufficient evidence to prove the asteroid tug is viable (one article biased in its own favor and not verified by scientific testing is hardly reliable evidence), thus not reaching the BoP for that contention.
On the next contention, concerning enforcement of the international law, my opponent has stated that countries deserve more rights than people do. I am not sure how to respond to this, as it is a very strange ethics-based appeal which is not shared in many civilized countries. I would argue that as government is an extension of the will of the people (or at least is supposed to be), it deserves the same right as a human being. If I understand my opponent's contention, we should also allow countries such as Iran and North Korea to develop WMDs of all kinds and use them to exert their will, as acting as an international body to prevent the use of said weapons would violate their sovereignty. I do not agree with this statement, and my analogy holds: though a law be difficult to uphold, it should still be enforced.
Finally, my opponent argues that I have not proved how the possibility of a nuclear-propelled spacecraft has been made as a WMD. I have corrected this at the beginning of this argument. The danger of a WMD should not have to be stated, but I will cite a scholarly article (http://academic.mu.edu...) which includes estimates of the damage from two of the earliest atomic bombs, including 126,000 deaths as a result of the Hiroshima bomb within two weeks, and not accounting for deaths by radiation exposure in the long term. We have refined the nuclear device since then (such as the experimental Starfish Prime, which was one hundred times more powerful than the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs, http://www.npr.org...) and a blast, even a high-altitude blast, could have serious ramifications for Earth. The first thermonuclear device, the "Sausage", was able to destroy an entire island and make a crater 6,240 feet across(http://nuclearweaponarchive.org...), and modern devices are even more powerful. Further, with the state of intercontinental ballistic missiles, it is difficult enough to apprehend a nuclear strike, which becomes next to impossible within four minutes of launch (http://www.aps.org...). This is why the Outer-Space Treaty of 1967 was signed, to prevent possible WMDs from entering the atmosphere and endangering the world in ways that cannot be protected against, but nuclear-propelled spacecraft void that measure. I have already defined a WMD for this debate, and the OST states that, "States Parties to the Treaty undertake not to place in orbit around the earth any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction, install such weapons on celestial bodies, or station such weapons in outer space in any other manner." (http://www.unoosa.org...). As a nuclear-propelled device, as defined by the Affirmative's plan, can act as a weapon of mass destruction in both the definition of potential destruction and in lethal radiation exposure, it then falls under the treaty. Thus, this resolution is not a new international law, it is amending a vacancy left by an internationally ratified treaty. It is akin to an amendment to the US Constitution: as not all conditions could be seen by the framers of the treaty, it is being corrected by the Affirmative's plan. This is the only BoP that Pro must hold, because if a device breaks this treaty, it is an international and malicious crime, and the Affirmative has proved through legal definitions that such a spacecraft as described by the plan is defined as a WMD, and thus not tolerated under the treaty.
In very brief summary, my opponent's arguments do not stand, as no credible sources exist for the debate at hand that are not biased or have been tested. Additionally, my opponent's analytical arguments hinge on the reliability of said evidence, and are discredited. I have not only proved that nuclear-propelled devices as defined by the Affirmative's plan violate the OST of 1967 (the only necessary BoP), but also have shown through evidence the ability for a regular reactor to be outfitted as a WMD without noticeable changes and the reason why such a device is next to impossible to resist under the status quo, as well as the disastrous results possible with a nuclear device. Thus, Affirmative has won the debate because the Negative's arguments were discredited, Aff provided reliable sources that are confirmable by outside agencies, and the Affirmative has fulfilled the Burden of Proof for what was necessary. G&S is a matter of personal opinion, and conduct has been highly respectful for both sides. I urge an Aff vote and thank my opponent for this stirring debate.
Apologies extended for any typos, this was created at 3 AM.
WesternGuy2 forfeited this round.
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