The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
10 Points

Space Exploration

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/29/2011 Category: Technology
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,310 times Debate No: 19051
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)




We affirm that resolved: Private sector investment in human space exploration is

preferable to public sector investment. In this round, the Con has the burden of

proving that human space exploration is worthwhile for the government to fund,

and that this approach is superior to all other alternatives. To clarify, we would like

to define two terms. First, according to Princeton University, investment is "laying

out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit." This means

that when NASA contracts with private companies, it is considered a purchase, not

an investment. Second, Merriam Webster Dictionary defines exploration as "the

act of investigating, studying, or analyzing," so human space exploration is not

limited to long trips into deep space.

Contention 1: Human space exploration programs are not suitable for the

government to fund.

In decision making, the government must always be held to highest possible

standards. When a private individual makes an investment, he or she risks losing

their own money; however, when the government carelessly invests, any incurred

loss essentially affects millions of citizens. With its limited funds, the government

must ascertain that every expenditure is closely examined and completely justified,

so as to satisfy the numerous needs of its diverse citizens. Today, no country in the

world with an adequate space program can afford to allocate money to human

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space exploration. According to the Space Review on January 11th, 2010, even the

United States, an original pioneer in space exploration and the currently

outstanding leader in relevant technologies, has acknowledged a decreased interest

in pursuing long term projects in space. Despite its historic prestige, political

support has shifted elsewhere—to things like education, tax cuts, and

environmental programs. The recent retirement of the Space Shuttle Program only

further marks a shift in values to cutting spending. The rest of the world is in a

similar state—whether it is the EU, where members are constantly defaulting, or

Russia, who relies on a fragile oil market—deciding to spend their money in safer,

smarter ways. Additionally, even if the government insisted on continued

investment, robotic space exploration has proven to be much more efficient,

lacking human problems of radiation, pressure, time, age and much more. Kluwer

Academic Publishers even notes that the majority of the scientific community and

NASA have started to see human spaceflight as "an expensive ‘stunt'."

Considering the high standards of the government, it would seem reasonable to

invest in the most effective method of furthering scientific knowledge.

Contention 2: Private sector investment will produce better results.

Currently, private corporations have shown to be far more effective at improving

technology. For example, according to the Orlando Sentinel on Dec 28th, 2010,

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Space X, a private company, tested its Dragon capsule—an equivalent to NASA's

nearly $10 billion expenditure on the Ares I rocket and Orion capsule, plagued

with technical issues and worries—for a miniscule $300 million, including design,

manufacture, testing and launch. Even including costs for the Falcon 1and Falcon 9

rockets and building various launch sites, costs still total to less than $800 million.

In addition, MIT's Technology Review on April 22nd, 2011 even stated that, due

to the failure in public sector technology development, NASA would be paying

Russians to take American astronauts into space, at a deal of $63 million per

spacecraft seat, while SpaceX has the capability to do the same at a fraction of the

cost. The driving force of competition, to encourage research and development will

never appear in public sector investments. Private corporations have consistently

proven to have quicker, better results and advance every individual aspect of their

technologies. If the private sector had full responsibility for complete research,

new developments for rockets would additionally translate to, for example,

futuristic car engines. Furthermore, a full industry of scientific innovation and high

paying jobs would grow, perhaps helping multiple states out of harsh economic

times. Notably, the possibility of a high profit, upper atmospheric tourism industry

is showing heavy promise with private investment.

Contention 3: State space programs often stall and halt the progress of the

Madison Memorial CS

punctual and successful private industry.

Timeliness has been a constant problem in space programs. Originally, NASA's

Constellation program planned its first human space launch to the ISS in 2012;

however, Norman Augustine on September 29th, 2010, notes that, because of

ineffective allocation of funds and little external pressure, the task would not be

completed for another nine years, until 2021. Contrastingly. NewSpace Journal

on February 4th, 2011, indicates that five private companies, Blue Origin, Boeing,

Paragon Space Development Corporation, Sierra Nevada Corporation and United

Launch Alliance completed various tasks given by NASA in a very efficient

and timely manner. Private sector corporations face constant pressure from both

investors and competitors to improve already state of the art technology. Societies

everywhere can, without fail, rely on private industries to perform and improve.

For all the reasons stated above, my partner and I affirm the resolution.


I accept the debate and will treat this somewhat like a Public Forum round since my opponent seems to have copied and pasted his case. First round I'll share my contentions and wait for my opponent's responses.

For clarity I will define space exploration as the investigation, by means of manned and unmanned spacecraft, of the reaches of the universe beyond Earth’s atmosphere and the use of the information so gained to increase knowledge of the cosmos and benefit humanity.

Contention 1: Private companies are far less reliable than public agencies, and will often cut corners to make money. Private companies have one obligation, profit. Thus they will do anything to make profit. These drastically increased the chance of them trying to make cheaper products. For example, the Audi 5000 was redesigned in 1984 for an affordable price of $23,000. During 1985, there was an increase in consumer complaints of an unexpected sudden acceleration in the Audi 5000 car. Six people have died and 700 accidents have occurred because of this acceleration problem. The Audi Company cut corners to ma a cheaper car all for profit. This can happen with space exploration as well. Companies will not give out billions of dollars carelessly. There must be a monetary incentive thus venturing deep into space exploration is unlikely. However with public sectors,the intention is to gain knowledge for the good of the people. We also must consider the fact that if space exploration is private-based the guarantee of a safe flight isn't close to as high as a public flight. One example of a crash, as reported by "International Business Times" on August 24th 2011 was when the Amazon's unmanned rocket crashed dug a test flight. Also there was a terrible accident with Virgin Galactic which killed three people. The private sector launch success rate is 67%, while the private sector launch success rate is 97%. It is apparent that private companies are at an extreme deprivation when it comes to safety and reliability so we should not trust them with such an important task.
Contention 2: The is that all private sectors neglect and fail to address in depth due to inability to have fiscal comeback is space debris, which has provided a great danger to human space exploration, as well as space ventures in general. Space debris, an ongoing and gradually growing concern that has become real from what once seemed impossible must be addressed directly without neglect. The radar screens at NORAD in Colorado, a leading observatory in the astronomical field, have detected over 100,000 chunks of debris and junk that is orbiting in almost all levels, starting from low orbit to the outer reaches of our magnetic field at speeds exceeding 18,000 miles/per hour. This has started to grow to become a very tangible fact of reality that we must learn to come to terms with in our debate about space exploration. First off, this space debris is vital to concern if we are to debate further about space exploration, for it poses a concern all vessels venturing beyond low orbit, as well as satellites and outer space telescopes that form the foundation of the space exploration field. The public sector, however, has already felt the impact of this issue and has taken steps to form orbital sets, an ongoing process even now to track the trajectories of such debris. Howe, there is little incentive for a commercial entity to build its own space surveillance network. With the growth in the commercial space industry, telecommunications, and with the real prospect of affordable deep space exploration on the horizon, the control and monitoring of debris will become an increasingly important factor in the planning of future space activity.
Contention 3: There is no available fiscal comeback for the private sector, thus it is improbable to assume that any investments will be made by them. Some may argue that demand will be higher because the private sector will seek to go space as well, once a private firm is capable of providing a means for which they can take a person into orbit. This seems to be the logic behind the administration's plans. It hopes increased demand will lead to new suppliers, which promotes competition, which eventually lowers prices. Unfortunately, increased demand normally leads to greater, less expensive access to space for people, largely because no compelling private rationale has been offered to engage in human spaceflight. Since 2001, 7 private individuals have traveled to the ISS, paying between $40-$50 million per person to collectively spend time in space, approximating to around a little less than $350 million over the course of a decade. This obviously is not a valid means by which we can ensure capital investments by the private sector, due to flimsy comeback and risky incentive. Thus it is not only not guaranteed that the private will invest, but also on the contrary, there is no such motivation for them to do so, thus it will have a minimal impact. Thanks and I urge a CON vote.

Debate Round No. 1


jjx1 forfeited this round.


Even though my opponent forfeited I will still respond briefly to some of his contentions. If he decides to continue debating I will go into detail.

"Human space exploration programs are not suitable for the government to fund."
First off right on it's face the statement sounds ironic. A government is not capable of funding a space program but a private company is? Private companies do not have the fiscal comeback to invest into space. The government on the other side has a goal, which is to benefit humanity. He does not provide any companies that will invest in his first contention. Furthermore, he also makes the claim that the money will hurt millions of citizens. This is a common misconception. Every $1 the federal government spends on NASA, it spends $98 on social programs. If we were to cut social programs by one percent we would double NASA's budget. Increasing spending on social programs from $1.581 trillion to $1.597 trillion will have no difference. The same thing works if we were to stop funding NASA at all.

"Private sector investment will produce better results."
This claim is not at all supported by PRO. He justified how private sector investment is more efficient, not at all how it produces better results. Just because I can send a spaceship for 500 million lets say does not mean it is the better choice. If the spaceship fails and crashes, possibly causing damage to someone, then the investment is pointless. I stress RELIABILITY over efficiency. I have already justified in my case how public is more reliable and will move on.

" State space programs often stall and halt the progress of the Madison Memorial CS punctual and successful private industry."
Very unclear statement. I did not say any justification as to why it halts the progress. PRO just explained how there are a few companies who did some tasks in an efficient and timely manner. However my opponent does not realise that the government paid for these companies. This is still public sector investment, regardless of who did the work. Also PRO says that Constellation program failed because of lack of funding, however this is due to the fact that NASA does not receive enough money. This isn't a justifiable reason because all it takes is a one percent more of funding towards NASA and impeccable advances can be made.

I apologise for not going deep into responses, but my opponent forfeited and I don't see the need. Due to the fact that all of my contentions have gone unanswered and dominate over my opponent's contentions, I urge a CON vote.
Debate Round No. 2


jjx1 forfeited this round.


Unfortunately another forfeit from PRO so my arguments are extended. Have a nice day and remember to vote CON!
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by jjx1 4 years ago
Bozo, this was a case that I wrote on my own. If you keep voting against me because you just dislike me for some reason, I'm going to report you.
Posted by cameronl35 4 years ago
I've seen both contentions ran before by other teams. I can't really explain the refutations for those arguments here but I did successfully refute them when I had a tournament on this topic. If you would like to know message me.
Posted by GWindeknecht1 4 years ago
Con - You missed some big points regarding the Humanitarian and Economic benefit of government-based human space exploration.
Posted by larztheloser 4 years ago
"my partner and I affirm the resolution." - will your partner actually contribute to the debate in any way?
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by imabench 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: counter vote bomb even though i agree with the con
Vote Placed by bozotheclown 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: jjx1 really needs to come up with his own original ideas...
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: If jjx1 didn't copy and paste and didn't forfeit he would have won. Since his opening case was good I threw in conduct.