The Instigator
warren42
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
missmozart
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points

THBT space exploration should be pursued by private companies rather than governments.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
missmozart
Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 8/27/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,794 times Debate No: 94931
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (50)
Votes (1)

 

warren42

Pro

This debate is part of the first round of The DDO Olympics Team Debate Tournament, sponsored by Bsh1. I will be working with my partner, TN05, against missmozart and her partner, Biodome. Therefore, neither Biodome nor TN05 are eligible to vote. The full text of the resolution is as follows:

"This house believes that space exploration should be pursued by private companies rather than governments."

Structure:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Constructive (No rebuttals)
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing Arguments

Definitions:

pursue- to attempt space exploration by self-funding (or by creditors, investors, etc.) and self-managed efforts (using own employees, facilities, etc.)

Notes:

No new arguments in the final round.

No kritiks of the resolution.

No trolling.

No semantics.

Once the debate is accepted by the contenders, they waive all rights to add definitions, change structure, or any other aspects of this debate. Should they attempt to do so, do not weigh these ideas when voting. If any changes are to be made, the contenders must PM myself and/or TN05 to do so.

BoP is shared, resolution must be looked at on balance.

Good luck to my opponents, may the best team win!
missmozart

Con

On behalf of myself and my wonderful partner for this debate, Biodome, I would like to thank bsh not only for organising this team tournament but the whole DDOlympics, a huge project that requires a lot of hard-work and time. I would also like to thank our esteemed opponents warren42 and TN05 for agreeing to debate this topic- I'm sure it will be a very interesting experience. I would like to apologise as well for the slight delay in commencing this debate. Over to PRO for their opening arguments.

Good luck :)
Debate Round No. 1
warren42

Pro

Thank you missmozart and Biodome.

I. Intro

The United States has the most successful and storied space program in history. Despite this, NASA is floundering. Though this debate is not exclusive to any country, we assume it will mostly be regarding the United States, as this is where the powerhouse of space travel is located, along with most of the private entities looking to make that transition into being major players in the next space race.

II. Obstacles to publicly funded ventures

A. Politics
NASA's funding is subject to congressional will. This is problematic, as it is almost universally agreed upon that NASA is underfunded. It is unable to fulfill everything it has been tasked with.

"There is widespread agreement that NASA does not have the resources to do all of the things it has been asked to do, but there is not much confidence that the political process within Washington will give NASA what it needs to succeed."
[1]

When politics play a role in the allocation of funding, NASA is subject to the whims of politicians, who may vote along party lines rather than in the best interest of the space program. In the private sector, money is spent and can be adjusted whenver the need arises; with the public-sector, allocation funding is required and cannot be adjusted without Congressional action. These actions can be lengthy and aren't even a guarantee of success. Because of this, the private sector has an advantage; it can do space exploration better and cheaper than NASA, and adjust spending whenever it needs to. More on that later, though.

B. Taxpayer Taste Aversion
Following disasters such as Columbia and Challenger, the taxpayers, those who ultimately fund NASA, have grown wary of manned exploration projects. It's no surprise that we have launched only 23 manned missions in the thirteen years since the Columbia disaster, while having launched 80 in the thirteen years prior. [2] When disaster strikes, taxpayers cringe, and the agency has to push back or cancel future manned missions. Privately funded agencies would not be subject to this form of scrutiny, as investors would be conscious of risks and be scrupulous in their spending. Moreover, being directly accountable to victims of accidents creates a clear chain of accountability; it also creates a more direct obligation to ensure travel is as safe as possible. And given the expense of space travel, private agencies have another key incentive to ensure safety. By nature, private exploration firms have to be careful and ensure near absolute certainty that the mission will be successful. This is a good thing - in the long run, it will not only lower risk, but also ensure a greater percentage of missions are successful.

III. Private firms are already an integral part of exploration

Companies such as SpaceX, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Boeing, and many others are joining in the next step in space travel. NASA is dishing out contracts to these companies to support current plans. As the NASA budget is cut, it is looking for a more cost-efficient way of providing supplies to the ISS, as well as finding more cost-efficient equipment and labor. When a government agency isn't effective enough, it turns to the private sector. SpaceX is currently working on converting its Dragon spacecraft to accomodate a crew.[3] A conference hosted by the Brookings Institution in 2014 discussed the merits of continuined pursuit of such partnerships. The VP of the Brookings Institution said that "This is no longer your grandfather's space program,"[3] implying that due to increased proliferation of technologiccal advances, a new era of increased private ventures must occur to ensure continued success of space exploration. As time progresses, these private firms will become more ingrained in the system. This is an area of bipartisan agreement - both Obama and the Republican-led Congress are pushing for expaned private ventures in the field of space exploration.[4] This should come as no surprise, as SpaceX is on track to be on Mars between 2020 and 2030, a decade before NASA's SLS craft is projected to be able to match the feat.[4] The fact government is increasingly reliant on these private organizations shows just how much more effective they are, and how they represent the future of our space program.

IV. NASA is ineffective

In an organization reliant upon technology, an organization where IT comprises about 11% of the budget,[5][6] you'd think that IT would be one of, if not the most efficient department in the agency. Not so much. In 2010, NASA alloted $1.6 billion to IT. It ended up spending $2 billion. [5] The IT branch is also a mess when it comes to governance. Lines intertwine, giving unclear pictures of who is in charge of what, creating an unproductive, money wasting mess. This is, to but it bluntly, a total disaster for an organization that requires a massive amount of organizational interaction and connectivity. One infamous example of the ineffectiveness of NASA was the failure of the Mars Climate Orbiter. This $125 million satellite failed because NASA failed at something basic - ensuring measurements used were either consistently metric or US customary units. Because they were mixed, the orbiter burned up in the Martian atmosphere.[7] This costly disaster demonstrated a major flaw within NASA that no private agency, putting up their own money, would tolerate.

V. Conclusion

NASA is ineffective. They need huge sums of money, more than their current budget of ~$20 billion, as well as more time, in order to accomplish tasks that private entities have already done or are on track to do soon. A vote for Pro is a vote toward continued exploration of space in a more efficient, timely, and cost-effective manner.

Over to Pro!

[1] http://www.space.com......
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org......
[3] http://www.informationweek.com......
[4] http://www.economist.com......
[5] http://www.law360.com......
[6] http://www.nasa.gov......
[7] http://www.wired.com......

missmozart

Con

Thank you warren42 and TN05 for your points.

There will be no rebuttals in this round as per the rules of this debate. We will now go straight in with our opening arguments.

Italicised: quoting our opponents
Underlined: directly quoting a named source
Italicised and underlined: directly quoting our opponents' source

___

Main arguments:

More suitable for space explorations

Government-funded space agencies such as NASA are more effective for improvement and development in comparison to private agencies who are not suited to for example, bigger long term ventures.

Let's take a look at an example. I'm sure you are all somewhat familiar with the 'James Webb Space Telescope' (JWST), a space observatory initiated in the 1990s and "scheduled to launch in October 2018." [1] Led by NASA, the JWST will be the first observatory, used by thousands of astronomers internationally with the ability "to study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System." [2]

Unfortunately, it was only after years and years of delay due to the immense research as well as cost overruns, that this phenomenal project was finalised and now almost finished [3]. If this had initially been funded by a private company rather than NASA, the project would have terminated much longer ago [4]. This is because private companies tend to pursue profit rather than to benefit the entire society, unlike government space agencies- "NASA continues to pursue this project not because they hope for a return on their investment, but because they see the social utility in such a project." [4]

Therefore, government funded explorations are more beneficial because despite their occasional lack of funding, their main and most important focus is still on how to improve our society and expand our knowledge about space.

Privacy

NASA's past and present research has caused vital discoveries in numerous technologies [5] including military, such as nuclear missiles [6]. Modern military developments will be directly linked to space technologies in the future and many countries such as China [7] are now competing in this area. If NASA is changed to private funding, many companies will as a result break their contract with NASA and could potentially leak valuable information in military technology to other countries and companies.

For the best interests of a country's privacy, NASA should continue to be government-funded.

Space agencies need government funds

Whether it is a public organisation such as NASA or a private one such as SpaceX or Boeing, every agency has needed and gotten government funds at some stage, whether it was for a project or other [10] [11]. Therefore, it's not that space exploration should be funded by the government but that it needs to be in order to ensure that better research can be produced as a result of the investment.

Feasibility for large organisations

This is our final point in this round. Some government-funded space agencies such as NASA are huge organisations. NASA alone employs over 18,000 people [8] compared to SpaceX, one of the biggest private space agencies who employ only 4,000 people [9]. NASA needs to be funded by the government due to not only its size but their bigger ambitions as a result of the size. Of course there may be things that need to be improved regarding funds etc but considering the feasibility of shifting NASA from public funding to private funding, we can only conclude that it would be much better for it to stay government-funded.

Conclusion

Space exploration should clearly be pursued by governments rather than private companies because government-funded agencies are more suitable for extensive research and long-term projects, it would protect potential leaks that could be damaging to the country and it is really not feasible for large organisations such as NASA.

Thank you for reading. Vote Con!

Citations:

[1] https://en.m.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://jwst.nasa.gov...
[3] http://www.digitaltrends.com...
[4] https://mic.com...
[5] http://www.nasa.gov...
[6] https://spinoff.nasa.gov...
[7] http://www.cnbc.com...
[8] http://www.nasa.gov...
[9] http://www.spacex.com...
[10] http://www.boeing.com...
[11] http://www.latimes.com...
Debate Round No. 2
warren42

Pro

I'd like to thank the opposing team for their opening round. Per the rules, I will be rebutting his argument - no new arguments will be given.

More suitable for space explorations?
The opposing team makes the bulk of their arguments here. They make multiple argument here, some of which are contradictory. They initially state that "Government-funded space agencies such as NASA are more effective ... in comparison to private agencies". However, the remainder of his argument does not focus on effectiveness - in fact, it opposes it. They argue that the JWST - something he presents as an almost utopian ideal of space discover - is an excellent example of NASA doing something the private sector won't, because the private sector "tend(s) to pursue profit rather than to benefit the entire society".

I have two major issues here. First, I don't think this sort of project falls under the debate resolution, which focuses on space <em>exploration</em> - I do not think a telescope, no matter how fancy, falls under that category. It is not exploring, but <em>examining</em>. While this is not the major complaint, I think it is worth noting.

Let's hypothetically assume it does qualify. The major complaint I have here is that I think the opposing team contracts itself. Why? Well, let's focus on the initial point - efficacy. They posit that government is simply more efficient at performing the task of space exploration. But in this example they give, even they admit it had "years and years of delay due to the immense research as well as cost overruns". How big a deal is this? Initial funding requested $1.6 billion.[1] That's a lot of money. The actual cost? $8 billion.[1] That's five times the original request. The opposing team is absolutely right when they say that a private company would have rejected this long ago. Why? Because they don't waste their own money.

For business to work, you have to set a realistic cost in order to draw investors. If a space telescope is so useful, private companies would jump on the opportunity. NASA, bargaining with taxpayer money, doesn't have to. By the time they've squandered $1.6 billion, they can say "look, we've already spent this much. We can't stop now!". This is a double-edged sword, however - NASA can never truly propose a great project in 100% honesty, because they lack a key advantage of private business: control of their own money. NASA can only spend what is allocated. Congress would never have approved an $8 billion telescope that takes 20 years to actually get off the ground. In this way, publicly-funded space exploration is inherently hamstrung by Congress; the project can never actually run under budget, because it is never sold honestly, and can never meet the lofty goals its creators set, because they have to go through Congress, not willing investors.. Private companies lack such restraint, and can spend however much they feel is needed. In reality, it is private business - not government - that is more effective.

This doesn't mean no science can happen. That's silly. For the initial price tag of JWST alone, nearly 5,000 basic science projects could have been funded.[2] That's nearly 25,000 projects that could have been funded for the full price tag. The Economist noted that NASA's telescope obsession was inhibiting their ability to actually do other things - like, say, create a different telescope to investigate dark matter.[3] A similar telescope, Hubble, launched with a terrible defect that made its images useless and took hundreds of millions of dollars to repair.[3] The fact of the matter is, public funding of these sorts of things makes them >less effective and less useful - not more. Europe dealt with a similar issue and, rather than build a massive project, scaled it down to a reasonable cost and build the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) instead. That project just so happened to make a major discovery - the higgs boson particle.[2]

Privacy
The opposing team argues, for national security reasons, space exploration has to be keep public. The major flaw with this argument is that we can easily fold any aspects that are military into the military, or use contractors. But most space exploration - like a trip to Mars or a science base on the moon - does not affect the military. Governments treat space similarly to Antarctica - no man's land, not for militarization. Instead, Antarctica is used for science. This model works for Antarctica, and works for space as well. Additionally, the use of nuclear rockets differs from nuclear missiles. My opponent spoke only of missiles, but their source spoke of rockets, as in the vessel launched into space. These are simply exploration vehicles that are powered by nuclear reactions, not nuclear weapons.

Public Funding is Needed
My opponent argues that public funding is needed because... public funding is needed? It's a circular argument here - he says that because private companies have needed public funds in the past, they need them now. That's silly. They have not actually provided any real reasons as to why public funding is needed - they are just assuming it is.

Size
The opposing team argues that private companies are simply incapable of managing the number of people an organization runs - he points out SpaceX has 14,000 less employees than NASA. This argument fails on two points - first, it assumes centralized control - that is, one company will take over all of NASA. That's simply not the case. In a market-based economy like the United States, monopolies are either rare or not legally allowed. NASA's functions would naturally spread into numerous companies, many of which would be competing. Space exploration will become an industry, not a business, likely creating far more jobs than NASA has at the moment.

Second, even if we assume a large company will absorb all of NASA's role, it simply is not very large. The top 100 companies in the United States all have over 72,000 employees.[4] These aren't just franchise businesses like McDonalds, but also single companies like Dell (100,000), Apple (97,000), Phillip Morris (82,500), Pfizer (78,300), Oracle (122,000), Comcast (139,000), Boeing (165,500), Walt Disney (180,000), and General Motors (216,000).[4] These companies seem to work just fine with such large staff counts. Surely a measly 18,000 employees is workable.

References:

1. http://www.nasaspaceflight.com......

2. http://www.science20.com......

3. http://www.economist.com......

4. https://en.wikipedia.org......

missmozart

Con

We would like to thank the affirmative for their points.

We will now begin with our rebuttals.

___

Rebuttals:

Politics

"...NASA is underfunded. It is unable to fulfill everything it has been tasked with."

Actually this year (2016), the US Congress has already rewarded NASA with an extra 1.3 billion dollars in funding [1], totalling 19.3 billion dollars. With the extra funding, NASA has become more efficient and effective than ever-"The extra money means NASA has a better chance of pulling off its primary missions on schedule." [2] Some of the anticipated and completed accomplishments of this year include:

-The launching of thirteen science and cargo missions and one commercial crew test
-To advance the Nation"s space exploration plan and ensure that the United States remains the world's leader in space exploration and scientific discovery for years to come.
-To extend the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) to at least 2024
[3]

"There is widespread agreement that NASA does not have the resources to do all of the things it has been asked to do..."

Your source is unfortunately from 2006 and therefore, slightly outdated compared to our more recent and relative ones above which refute your point.

Taxpayer Taste Aversion

"Following disasters such as Columbia and Challenger, the taxpayers, those who ultimately fund NASA, have grown wary of manned exploration projects."

Admittedly, that project was a disaster as you say. However, thirteen years later now, the US government are really trying to increasingly improve their national space agency with more funds as we explained in our first rebuttal.

"When disaster strikes, taxpayers cringe, and the agency has to push back or cancel future manned missions."

That is not only subject to public space agencies. Whether it is a private or a government-funded agency, when disaster strikes, no tax-payer or sponsor will be happy or impressed. However, the solution to this is not to cut funds or to entirely cancel future projects, it is in fact, to invest more money on planned missions so that future accidents will not occur and that quality space exploration can continue to be carried out.

"Privately funded agencies would not be subject to this form of scrutiny, as investors would be conscious of risks and be scrupulous in their spending."

This is not necessarily true. Private agencies are more concentrated and interested in profit and competition rather than being conscious of risks and carrying out every step carefully. A prominent example is SpaceX's Falcon Heavy, which in its hasty race to get to Mars, rushed its development, tested its first launch prematurely and as a result, has delayed their plans and goals. We will be discussing this in much more detail later.

"private exploration firms have to be careful and ensure near absolute certainty that the mission will be successful"

This doesn't really differentiate public and private companies. We mentioned this point near the beginning of our argument. We agree that private exploration firms have to be careful to ensure that their projects are successful but that is the same with government-funded agencies. Public agencies need to be careful too because they are given a specific annual budget and as a result, their overall performance plays an important role in determining their next funds. Therefore, public agencies too have to ensure near absolute certainty that the mission will be successful.

Private firms are already an integral part of exploration

"both Obama and the Republican-led Congress are pushing for expaned private ventures in the field of space exploration..."

We would like to reiterate that one of the primary goals for this year's increased funds for NASA is to "ensure that the United States remains the world's leader in space exploration and scientific discovery for years to come."[3] No more needs to be said here.

"SpaceX is on track to be on Mars between 2020 and 2030, a decade before NASA's SLS craft"

Let us compare the SLS craft (NASA) to the Falcon Heavy (SpaceX), both which are currently developing and planning to travel to Mars. Although it may seem as if NASA is "a decade" behind SpaceX, recent facts show that this is probably not the case. Firstly, the Falcon Heavy was supposed to have their first launch early in 2015 [4]. However, due to a technical problem regarding the over pressurisation of the liquid oxygen tank, the launch inevitably failed [5]. SpaceX hopes to repeat their first launch successfully in 2017 but unfortunately, due to the numerous times they have postponed it already, it is likely that a further postponing could be done again- "Following the Falcon 9 CRS-7 [ie. Falcon Heavy] failure investigation in 2015 and repeated rocket development delays (...) the first Falcon Heavy launch is now expected in early 2017." [4]

This shows how excessively ambitious SpaceX is and how they ultimately rush their projects in order to be the first in their competitions. NASA on the other hand are planning to launch their SLS craft in 2018 [6]. So we can conclude that both companies are on the similar track regarding time- "...it seems reasonable to suppose that Falcon Heavy will be at least as "operational" in 2018 as the SLS."[7]

NASA is ineffective

It is clear that the only reason NASA has really been ineffective was because of the poor government funding in the recent years. This year's increase has proven excitingly successful for NASA and will hopefully be, for the years to come. Therefore, we are not going to go through each of our opponents' individual points as they are very similar to their previous points.

Defence

We would like to thank our opponents who have kindly allowed us to post some of our defence in this round. We will be extremely brief as this was not initially a part of the framework of this debate.

"I do not think a telescope, no matter how fancy, falls under that category. It is not exploring, but examining"

Space exploration is defined as "the ongoing DISCOVERY and exploration of celestial structures in outer space by means of continuously evolving and growing space technology" [8]. Therefore we have not gone off topic.

"The opposing team is absolutely right when they say that a private company would have rejected (...) Why? Because they don't waste their own money."

The telescope is a huge deal as we already explained in Round 2. It is a revolutionary invention that will immensely aid future astronomers, astronauts etc. Compare that to the relatively lesser missions carried out by private agencies who do not want to invest their money on something that could be unprofitable in the short-term. This only proves again that private companies are more interested in profit rather than benefitting the society.

Conclusion

The main point of space exploration regardless of what type of funding is involved, is to discover things and to improve our society (and one's country, we might add). The best way to do this, from all our reasons throughout this debate, is for space agencies to be state-owned.

The primary focus of this debate has been within the US and I'm glad it has because we have excellent examples of both types of agencies. Government funding has proven to work very well, especially considering America's phenomenal list of past projects (eg. going to the moon) as well as recently.

We have also noticed that most of our opponents' sources are quite outdated (dating around 2006-2010) and as a result, do not support some of their claimed points.

Thank you everyone for reading. Vote Con!

___

Sources:

http://tinyurl.com...
Debate Round No. 3
warren42

Pro

Thank you to missmozart and biodome for an excellent debate.

I'd like to make a note to the voters that both sides agreed to a slight altering of the format, and so the posting of case defeense by Con in the previous round was allowed. Con has also allowed TN05 and I to post new arguments in the final round as defense, as they will be the last ones to post and can provide short responses to our arguments. Neither side, however, will be providing entirely new rebuttals in this time.

I'd also like to apologize for the formatting errors with regards to bolded, underlined, or italicized words in the last round. When copying and pasting TN05's parts of the rebuttal I did not account for the formatting and forgot to fix it.

On one final note, missmozart brought it to our attention that our links weren't working well in the previous rounds. For example, if it was an article on the NASA site it'd link to the NASA homepage rather than the specific article. We have remedied this and all the appropriate sources are in the comments section. With that, we'll get down to business.

CASE DEFENSE

Politics
Don't let Con fool you. Just because NASA gained funding doesn't mean that they will become more effective. This is a hypothetical impact that should not be weighed in this round. NASA's budget has hovered around the 19 billion mark for years, [1] this new budget won't help.


If 18 billion dollars wasn't enough, there is no reason to believe that the extra 1.3 billion will make the difference. In fact, the budget proposed for next year actuallly cuts funding, specifically for deep-space exploration.

"The 2017 budget proposal would slash funding to the very programs designed to expand the frontiers of human knowledge and aimed at propelling humans outward to the red planet and robots to a Jovian moon that might be conducive to the formation of life.

Absent sufficient and reliable funding to keep NASA’s exploration endeavors on track, further launch delays are almost certainly inevitable – thereby fraying American leadership in space and science." [2]

So indeed, though on the surface Con's point may seem strong, when you explore deeper, it becomes evident that it is not what it seems, and that the US leadership in universal exploration will decay with NASA at the helm. Therefore, though or source is from 2006, its words still ring true today.

Taxpayer Taste Aversion

Since our opponents used the same attacks on this point, attacks that have been negated, this point also stands.

"Private agencies are more concentrated and interested in profit and competition rather than being conscious of risks and carrying out every step carefully."

Here Con fundamentally misunderstands privatization. The end goal is often profit. True. However, this forces innovation and carefulness. SpaceX and other similar firms will do whatever they can to make sure projects are successful, otherwise they will not make money. Public agencies are able to be more wasteful in their spending by this token.

Private firms are integral for exploration

Con's major argument here was that NASA's budget has increased, and that the SpaceX Falcon Heavy (FH) and NASA's SLS are essentially equivalent. With regards to funding, I have already proven that A. This does not necessarily mean NASA will improve and B. That the budget for next year specifically for deep space exploration has been cut.

Furthermore, if you read the concluson in Con's own source it is clear that for most missions, the FH will be the superior vessel, and is still on a slightly faster track than the SLS. [3]

The fact that the USFG already outsources massive amounts of work in this field to private firms went completely unrefuted. Keep this in mind when voting.

NASA ineffective

Con essentially ignores both of our examples of NASA wasting billions of dollars, brushing them aside by saying it was a result of inadequate funding. I'll get to why that doesn't make sense in a moment, but first please remember increased funding won't help considering the NASA budget has been around the same amount for years, the budget increase is irrelevant. What's important is the decrease in funding for deep-space exploration that is expected in 2017.

We specifically stated that the IT debacle was a result of poor governance and ineffective leadership within NASA. This is not the kind of problem you can just throw money at and make it go away. Though in NASA's case, they may try throwing that money away anyway.

The satellite example is also one that can't just be fixed with more capital on hand. Just because you have an extra $1.3 billion dollars doesn't mean you're going to remember to keep all units either metric or US Customary.

VOTING ISSUES

We urge voters to keep in mind these major points in the round when making their final decision.

We'll start with a condensed version of Con's constructive.

1. Efficiency

We have proven NASA is ineffective and will remain ineffective despite the short term budget increase, while the private sector would be much less wasteful. SpaceX's track to Mars is slightly faster than NASA's, and Con's source proved that the SpaceX FH is going to be the vehicle used for most missions. Con's own source is telling you to vote Pro. The government is also working to expand the private sector's role in future space exploration, proving the value in this premise.

2. Privacy

We proved that Con's argument here was misleading, their only example being nuclear rockets aka nuclear-powered shuttles, not nuclear missiles. Con dropped this issue and it's too late to bring up a new argument. There is literally no issue of national security in this debate.

Therefore, Con has literally no offense in this debate. Now we'll review the condensed version of the Pro points that still stand.

1. Public entities face unique challenges

Private entities are not subject to political strife, nor are they responsible to the general public.

2. Private agencies are important and will continue to be

The government's efforts to subsidize the private sector by outsourcing work traditionally handeld by NASA proves that the private sector is on the rise and should soon overtake its public counterpart. Private companies have a unique interest in efficiency, innovation, and are therefore a more effective investment. We have proven the SpaceX FH will be more important for further exploration than NASA's SLS and will still be finished earlier, despite delays.

For these reasons we urge a vote in affirmation.

Brief note: Con said "most" of our sources are outdated (2000-2010) however this is not the case. Of the 11 sources used in rounds 2 and 3, 2 were Wikipedia articles for general background information, 7 were from 2011 on, most of those being 2014-2016. In this round all of our sources are from 2015-2016. Do not buy this straw man argument.

Thank you to Con for an excellent debate, and regardless of whether your next debate is in the winner or loser's bracket, we wish you luck in that matchup. Vote Pro!

[1] http://www.debate.org...
[2] http://www.universetoday.com...#
[3] http://www.thespacereview.com...
missmozart

Con

Thank you Pro for your points. We will dedicate this round to defence and a summary of our main arguments throughout the debate.

CASE DEFENSE:

Politics

"Don't let Con fool you. Just because NASA gained funding doesn't mean that they will become more effective."

We agree, more funding does not equal more effectiveness. HOWEVER, that has proven to be the case with NASA in the past. As we can see from our opponents' graph (Round 4, source labelled 1), it was in the 1960s where NASA's funds were the greatest. That is not a coincidence that that was also when the first man landed on the moon. The early 1990s brought another increase which was also around the time the highly successful Magellan mission to Venus began [1]. It is not an unknown fact that NASA had been struggling with lack of funding from the government in the past decade but the recent increases has already helped NASA to get back on its feet.

"In fact, the budget proposed for next year actuallly cuts funding, specifically for deep-space exploration (...) So indeed, though on the surface Con's point may seem strong, when you explore deeper, it becomes evident that it is not what it seems"

This is where our opponents are wrong- again. NASA's budget for 2017 is actually 19.5 billion dollars, which will be an increase [2]. A house appropriation bill was released on 17 May 2016, confirming that amount. Pro's source was from February while ours was from May, the exact same date the bill was released in fact. Therefore, while three months isn't a lot, the misleading information from Pro's source makes it outdated and therefore unreliable.

"If 18 billion dollars wasn't enough, there is no reason to believe that the extra 1.3 billion will make the difference."

The extra 1.3 billion this year (2016) has ALREADY proven to vehemently help NASA. We've already given examples in the previous round but nevertheless, we'll add to that. Among the exciting things NASA has achieved this year because of the increase in funds, recent ones include the OSIRIS-REx launches to asteroid [3] and the discoveries of the Kepler Telescope [4]. Extra funding DOES make a difference.

Taxpayer Taste Aversion

"Con fundamentally misunderstands privatization. The end goal is often profit. True. However, this forces innovation and carefulness."

Not exactly. As we have already explained in our example from Round 3, SpaceX rushed into their plans for Mars and as a result, made a technical error which delayed everything for at least a few years. This rush was due to their goal- profit as you yourselves have admitted. Therefore, profit does not force agencies to be more careful and innovative, but in fact, can cause them to make mistakes.

"Public agencies are able to be more wasteful in their spending by this token."

Government funding largely depends on the productivity of the past years. For example, if a public agency performed poorly overall in one year, their funds would decrease in the next. Therefore, public agencies cannot be freer in their spending, just like the private sector. I don't think this particular point differentiates public and private sectors to be honest.

Private firms are integral for exploration

"if you read the concluson in Con's own source it is clear that for most missions, the FH will be the superior vessel, and is still on a slightly faster track than the SLS."

We are not denying the fact that the Falcon Heavy is still slightly ahead of the SLS. However, only about two years ago, people believed that SpaceX would reach Mars about a decade or more before NASA. Now because of SpaceX's totally unanticipated error and delay of the launch as a result, the gap between the two companies is decreasing immensely. It is estimated that both NASA and SpaceX will be on similar tracks regarding the date of their first launch. There is still a lot of time before the goal of reaching Mars, who knows what could happen next?

NASA is ineffective (??)

"The satellite example is also one that can't just be fixed with more capital on hand."

That satellite example happened well over a decade ago. Besides, we can't say that SpaceX is completely effective either based on their first launch of the Falcon Heavy which proved to be a complete failure. There's not much to rebut ion this section as it has been done already above. We will be referring to one or two things in our summary of points however.

"Con said "most" of our sources are outdated (2000-2010) however this is not the case (...) Do not buy this straw man argument."

The date of your sources isn't the problem, it's the false information your sources give because of the fact that they no longer support your claims. We have managed to successfully refute a lot of your points in this debate simply by providing good counter-sources which are more recent and updated than yours.

Brief summary of points and rebuttals

1. This is by far, the most important point in the entire debate. Private agencies are more suitable for space explorations and long-term projects in particular because they focus more on the overall benefit to society rather than profit. A prominent example is the revolutionary JWST, a project that no private company would have bothered to take on, as the affirmative even admits.

2. NASA has become more effective and efficient than ever due to the increase in funding this year (2016) AND next year (2017). Let us remind you that Pro's claim that NASA will have a decrease in funds is completely untrue and absurd to even think of.

3. While private agencies have to be careful with their spending, so do public agencies equally.

4. A lot of private agencies have required funding. This only proves that space exploration in general need government funding.

5. NASA is not that far off behind SpaceX regarding the journey to Mars. Although they are still slightly behind, compared to what it was only two years ago, NASA has improved considerably and SpaceX has fallen behind. If this continues, I wouldn't be surprised if NASA finished first, just like their journey to the Moon.

Conclusion

It is clear that space exploration should be pursued by the government for all the reasons above. The benefits of public funding outweighs the benefits of privatised organisations. Furthermore, a lot of Pro's claims throughout the debate (such as decreased funding, NASA's inability to carry out missions etc) are false due to their use of unfortunately outdated sources. We have proven and refuted these with much better counter-sources.

We have to end it here as we are out of characters.

Thank you for reading. Vote Con!

I'd like to thank our opponents warren42 and TN05 for a wonderful debate. I've definitely learnt a lot. Good luck and may the best team win :)

Citations:

[1] http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov...
[2] http://spacenews.com...
[3] http://www.livescience.com...
[4] http://www.nasa.gov...
Debate Round No. 4
50 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by fire_wings 12 months ago
fire_wings
I knew it
Posted by whiteflame 12 months ago
whiteflame
*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: Peepette// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: RFD in the works.

[*Reason for removal*] The voter never provided an RFD.
************************************************************************
Posted by warren42 1 year ago
warren42
@peepette absolutely, real life always takes precedence over DDO!
Posted by missmozart 1 year ago
missmozart
@Peepette
I know that of course, I do think that you're a very good voter :) I was joking about it earlier.
Posted by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
I apologies again for not getting the RFD in, family matters had to come first. I have nothing against fire-wings or anyone else for that matter. When I do vote, I just call them as I see them; it's never personal.
Posted by missmozart 1 year ago
missmozart
@Fire
Lol, I was joking about Peepette. When I saw that (s)he voted, I was like "aww..." but that was just me being childish.
Posted by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
missmozart- "(S)he has never actually voted for me before, lol, it makes me wonder if (s)he has anything against me.
Just kidding. I thought we were going to win but I came back after two days and I was like "WHAT??" :D"
Posted by warren42 1 year ago
warren42
Alright
Posted by bsh1 1 year ago
bsh1
Given these developments, I will say that Miss/Bio will have "won" for the sake of this debate.

Both teams will be given a 24 hour extension re: when their R2 debates must be up.
Posted by Peepette 1 year ago
Peepette
Yes, have my vote removed. I had an emergency that requires my attention and I will not be able to finish the RFD today or tomorrow. I apologize for not holding up my end.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 1 year ago
fire_wings
warren42missmozart
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Good debate.