The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
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We should fund more into astronomy and space travel.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/19/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,656 times Debate No: 35762
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)




In past few decades, NASA's budget has fallen dramatically. Regardless of the economic crisis, the US alone spends over a trillion dollars in warfare and shedding blood rather than making something of our species in the universe. The Space age saw many remarkable achievements including the moon landing and many optimists were predicting that we would have began interstellar colonies by now. Yet, congress continues to vote down any future increases in inter-space travel budgets and funds meaning that projects such as the James Webb telescope have been constantly delayed. We have a lot of potential as a species in this front, but it is difficult for engineers and astronomers to unleash this full potential without access to the right resources. Right now, we and the governments of the world are so much more concerned with trivial and terrestrial matters.

I believe, there are two main reasons to why this should not be the case and why we should make funding space travel and astronomy one of our priorities.

The first is the basic understanding of the universe and the knowledge that it brings along. The Hubble telescope gave us this, from revealing the edge of the observable universe to the nature of various celestial objects. The James Webb telescope has larger mirrors and is even more powerful and will allow us to study the birth and evolution of galaxies even better.
But why is this knowledge of the cosmos so important? Because any cosmic catastrophe can wipe out the existence of our species effortlessly. Because we would be empowering ourselves with this knowledge and recognizing that our earth is just a "pale blue dot" in universe a billions of light years across. Because it can have an amazingly positive effect on the future of science and technology, along with how well our species survives and advances. The fact is, that the earth and the sun WILL NOT last forever and it is only logical that, as an intelligent and conscious species, that we make it our priority to push ourselves and have cosmic ambitions unlike the trivial ones world leaders have today. It is most beneficial for the future generations.

That brings me to the second argument of having a "cosmic perspective". Unfortunately, our priorities right now don't acknowledge this. We are too concerned with killing one another and fighting over resources in this "pale blue dot" (aka earth) where in fact its nothing in value compared to perhaps understanding how rare we are. Carl Sagan has said that astronomy humbling and character-building experience. And this experience can really benefit us in the decisions we make.


I thanks Pro for bringing about such a topic to debate. As I am still relatively new to the debating site, I hope that the debate shall be a fun one.

Now My debate shall be started off in such manner
R1: Acceptance & arguments
R2: arguments and rebuttals
R3: Reinforce points and rebuttals
R4: Final Rebuttals
R5: Closing statements (if Pro continues to rebut, I shall act in reciprocal)

Before I start with my arguments, I would like to point out that Pro has the burden of proof of showing how does space exploration and astronomy benefit the people, the society, the country and the world better as compared to things being prioritised right now. Once Pro fails to give out anything of such, then it is safe to say that Pro has failed to fulfill her part

Argument 1: Funding of space exploration is too much and is unnecessary
For each space exploration, the cost to develop and launch a rocket into outer space takes 1.5 Billion U.S dollars, that is for EACH LAUNCH it takes that much. And out of all the launches of rockets in the world, only 80% of launches are successful, if we do a calculation of 1.5 Billion multiplied by 20% which are the amount of failed launches. Averagely, we waste 300 million U.S dollars for each launch. All that money wasted can be put to far greater use rather than just space exploration. Ponder about this, each 1.5 Billion we spend getting shot up the sky, what is it for? To discover and study other planets? That alone fails to provide sense to further invest in space exploration.

Argument 2: Humans haven't even explored the seas and therefore are being too ambitious in space travels
Nasa obtains 157 times more funding than NOAA Office of Exploration and Research whom explores the seas of the world. Merely less than 5% of the world's oceans are known to mankind. I really think we should know what we are up against in our own planet before going on to judge and know about others.

Argument 3: The world has other greater priorities to worry about.
There are two major crisis going on at your home planet. Global warming and the world wild economic crisis, both are severe. if the government doesn't handle the economic crisis with care we all will end up poor. how can we feed the poor,fend for our selves and take care of really expensive space travels? Pro addresses the problems yet has no intention of solving in in her arguments. That Ladies and gentlemen would serve as my first fulfillment of my burden of proof against Pro. There are greater problems, and Pro just wants to find out whether the moon is made of cheese.
Your move,side Pro :)
Debate Round No. 1


Allow me to get to the points and refute side oppositions arguments one by one.

Argument one:

Indeed, there have been a few failed launches and space exploration, but they have decreased dramatically in the past few decades. Side opposition needs to recognize the concept of progress and development. Lets look at analogy that will help explain this. The very first flight, ladies and gentlemen, was clumsy and lasted around a mere 14 seconds. But that did not mean that we shouldn't have aimed to move forward. It took effort and funds for humans to develop the kind of planes that make air flight statistically safer that car rides today. In fact, it is by increasing funds that better engineering can be developed and accidents reduced.

Side opposition claims that all of this was a "waste". Does my opponent really believe that the when the Hubble telescope allowed us to LITERALLY look back into time and capture the edge of our universe, that is was a waste? Does side opposition really think that the moon landing was a waste?

A I explained earlier in the first round, the future of our species over the long term along with our ambitions could very well depend on how familiar we are we interstellar space travel and how well we can keep ourselves safe. Space colonies may sound like science fiction but so did mobile phones one day. I have explained my burden of proof with logical explanations due to the fact that the evidence is in the future.

Argument two

This is really not a very strong point or even an entirely valid one. Mainly, because the benefits of sea exploration are simply not the same to that of space exploration but that is not to say that we should or shouldn't'.

Argument three

Indeed we do have other problems, but will NOT funding in space exploration really solve any of them?

Truth be told, side opposition has demonstrated a lack of understanding in correlation and causation. Poverty, for instance, is a debate of its own. The fact is that we have enough food on this planet to keep each and every individual bloated. Yet, poverty exists and that is not because we are funding space exploration. You can take away all the funds away from space exploration and astronomy - and in fact, all fields of science - and yet fail to solve the problem with food distribution. Same applies to the economic crisis.

Moreover, the crisis is improving in most nations and yet the US doesn't fail to invest about a trillion dollars a year in warfare. We have the money, we are just not using it right.


Before beginning round two arguments, I would like to point out that I am not denying the contributions of space exploration, space exploration and astronomy has done their work, I agree, however in contrast with issues in our current world now (e.g. warfare, famine, economic growth, political instability, poor welfare of people), the priority of space exploration to me has decreased and Pro needs to prove otherwise by PROVING how Space exploration can STILL benefit us better in the future and is worth the investment.
Counter arguments:
My opponent said in her words for R1 how we have a lot of potential as a species in this front, however, lacking in proof, I would like my opponents to list down these 'potentials', their likelihood as well as their benefits to society as a whole, not just scientists who want to see some space action. Pro also said about the James Webb telescope that will allow us to study the birth and evolution of galaxies even better. My question is simple, why does this deserve more funding, it has no purpose to help improve and benefit society. Technological advancements? The latest technological contribution space exploration has to society has are almost 40 years old, an indication as to how astronomy is growing stagnant on that aspect.

Counter-rebuttals 1:
Pro's rebuttals are firstly too idealistic. She says the reason why we SHOULD invest more is because we are failing. It seems too dreamy to say that someone would agree to invest on a business that averagely waste 20% of its capitals per execution. Giving it more money will simply incur more waste and meaningless costs. To answer Pro's question, No it WAS not a waste. However, those events are at least 20 years old,space exploration has managed no greater feat for the past 2 decades and has remained stunted in advancements, therefore should receive funds not more than it already is receiving. About Burden-of-Proof, Pro seems to have misunderstood her burden. Whatever she gave was saying how the proof is in the future? That is basically a post-hoc fallacy and not a burden-of-proof reliever. Pro has the obligation to provide proof according to my statements above.

Counter-rebuttals point 2
Pro has no proof or stats to show that space exploration is rightfully funded 157 times more than sea exploration when the benefits are obviously present are much more realistic. Sea exploration can lead to the discovery of more FOSSIL FUEL SOURCES, one of the MOST IMPORTANT things space exploration uses, this itself is already a greater contrast as the as the whole run run on fossil fuels.

NOT funding space exploration definitely can help because NOT funding gives us more monetary resource to hand out. My point still stands :D
Debate Round No. 2


I've constantly explained how through a series of logical steps, space exploration will indeed benefit humanity. Proof does not merely include statistics, as my opponent is flawed to believe, but also valid logical explanations. Yet, side opposition constantly stresses against this, without he himself explaining or giving evidence to why, warfare, killing individuals and shedding blood is supposedly more beneficial to fund than space exploration. In addition, I am not claiming that we should fund it because it is failing but that is failing because of lack of fund.

Now allow me to address some of the counter-rebuttals proposed. Side opposition claims that there are equal benefits to sea exploration especially with fossil fuels. Now, this is an excellent example to where, in fact, space exploration actually has more benefits to offer. Resources and fuels of all kinds are limited here on earth and when they run out, where are we going to look? The answer is indeed space. President Obama recognized this and that's why he's been requesting the US senate commerce for funds an asteroid mining mission. Such missions would give us access to resources not available in substantial amounts on earth and are in fact, far more sustainable. In addition to this, it would stimulate co-operation between nations and their space agencies. Also, there would be other side benefits that could help us in different ways including asteroid detection and robot development. The metals used in space craft have also had amazing benefits in the medical industry. Even more insterestingly, the best geographical analysis if metal ore concentrations in the earth come from space. A project such as this is merely one example of the many benefits space exploration can have. Other benefits have included better aviation safety, better water filteration systems and mathematical breakthroughs. Look at satellites for instance and all the benefits they provide us this ranging from weather forecast and GPS. Such an achievement would only have been possible with funds in space exploration and we are only at the start of things.
Who knows how much more we can achieve or will have achieved if not from the dramatic decrease in funds.

I've emphasized over and over again that progress in space exploration is a necessity for mankind. Even more, its neccessary for the safety and survival of the human species. I assure you, no one is going to care about the economic crisis when there is an astreoid about to collide with earth. No one is going to care about political issues when a nearby cosmic catastophe such as a supernova is about to affect the earth. Our earth is extremely fragile amongst everything else that is happening in the universe and cosmic catastrophes such as these are commonplace.

And as for poverty, I've already explained that the spare money will NOT help because its not the money that we need to sort out but the food distribution.


Firstly, Pro's opening statement was about how logical explanations serve as proof enough, although obviously it carries not much weight, because stated in the comments even, technology to fend ourselves against cosmic catastrophes still have a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go so your logical steps are not present. By funding astronomy and space exploration more it wont make much of a difference. Also, Pro did not set up the parameters during R1 to state that funding space exploration is more beneficial than warfare therefore Con must prove that warfare deserves more funding. But for the sake of rebuttals I shall address it, now warfare is a very tricky business, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. In order to make peace one must first prepare for war, and it is indeed our priority to ensure that we restore peace upon the world before resuming our ventures to space which obviously does not have as much benefit. Pro has to prove now that space exploration is better than World Peace, take note, that to prepare for more does not necessarily mean to wage it.

Pro says that Obama knows our resources are limited and therefore we have to go asteroid mining? I am sorry but currently almost 95% of our seas are undicovered and what the world runs on now is merely the oil found on 5% of the seas. It makes no sense that we should go look for resources outside our atmosphere when possibly 19 times more of it lie just within our reach at a cheaper cost. In analogy: Why use a cyber cafe when you have a perfectly functional desktop at home with all the same functions? Pro also says that these foreign resources are more sustainable, I would like Pro to name me a few and debate why making the whole world turn to use those particular resources would be beneficial, why fix something that is not broken?

Pro also mentioned how space travel HAS HELPED us. Sure I agree that space travel helped us in the PAST, however now, in present context it is quite clear that space travel has reached its apex and has become stagnant in development, therefore we should not give more funding NOW.

Pro mentions time and time again regarding about how we need space tech to save mankind? Once again, I'll keep this simple: In order to fund for such a BEHEMOTH project, the whole world's economy might be at stake, and in such cases, the whole human race on earth might be wiped out by self-induced problems by the time space tech finds us a new suitable home. Moreover, even if you find a new planet to live on, do you need to regulate the living atmospheres? Yes, but no technology is even close to granting it. Do you need transport? Yes and that takes up fossil fuels, and if you are talking bout the whole human race here, thats a lot of trips and fuel per trips. Pro is flying before even learning how to walk, without careful planning everything is in vain.;
Debate Round No. 3


Indeed, our technology at this moment is not capable of terra forming at cheap costs but you can be assured, that it will NEVER improve and progress unless and until we fund more into it. Just because we do not have the technologies today doesn't mean we shouldn't In the near future. The laws of physics for instance don't make colonizing space impossible, only difficult and that is precisely why I think it's important to increase the attention we give to space exploration. Im not claiming that if you fund today, we will have colonized mars by tomorrow. It is indeed, a step by ste process. We've seen this happen with literally every single form of technology. I've already given the example of the very first airplane that merely lasted 14 seconds. Imagine, if investors then had taken my opponents perspective and decided to stick to horses because its cheaper and already available. It's sad that my opponent and in fact, most individuals today fail to adopt that sort of ambition for space exploration because taking it forward will redefine our species for the better.

It's a big daring jump for our species and wont be easy - that's exactly why it's worth achieving.

Side opposition claims that cosmic catastrophes "are a long way to go". This is not true. It may apply to certain catastrophes such as the sun expanding into a red giant but others such as asteroid impacts and perhaps, even supernovas are quite commonplace in the universe and we need to know how to deal with them as even once can wipe out our entire species.

In addition, there are innumerable benefits that astroid mining can have over deep sea mining where in fact deep sea mining is not much cheaper. These beenfits include more access to clean water supplies, improvements in spacecraft technology and access off- planet resources that are undeniable MORE sustainable and cleaner to extract. Side opposition also needs to recognize that funding will in fact bring money back to the economy. It will not only decrease the prices of rare metals on earth but also create thousands of job and business and predicted to add about a trillion dollars to the economy. Also, most of these asteroids are as easy to reach as the moon and are comparable,in terms of difficulty, to sea exploration.


Pro has failed to understand anything I have said for the past few rounds so I shall sum it up for her once again clearly
  • We should focus on better priorities on earth first: environmental, economic, famine, moral degradation. It is only sensible that we ensure of the inner stability within our own atmosphere before venturing to care about what lies beyond and try to harvest it.
  • The Technology to FEND OFF cosmical catastrophes are too far in the future to even be realistic. And since it is mostly inevitable I think it would be best that we abide by the saying 'ignorance is bliss' because one people find out about an inevitable doomsday, ALL HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE. I wouldn't imagine anyone wanting that as the last image of a home once known as Earth.
  • The airplane theory does not stand because all the mechanics and physics involved are all within the parameters of our atmosphere and therefore is still all under substantial control. Perfecting Space venture will take much more than what it took because we have no models like how the plane took birds as samples. We don't exactly see any organisms out there flying around in space with perfect working mechanisms of whatever sorcery they are using.
  • Deep sea mining is FAR CHEAPER than Asteroid mining because no rockets are needed, and it is also much safer because it is within the atmosphere. But the coup de grace to counter your point would be once again the fact that 95% of the seas are still undiscovered, meaning the amount of petroleum in the world is still A LOT. Pro has Provided no facts, no stats, no examples to disprove this, all she said was it is more sustainable and it is not that expensive(highly doubtful statements).
  • Also, she said that funding space travel will cause the prices of rare metals on earth to decrease. Fallacious, is a good adjective for this statement. If this happens, then it will do little to help the world economy because of a SUDDEN DECREASE in prices, this will in fact jeopardise the whole world's rare metal markets. A sudden economic turmoil will erupt and people will put the blame on space exploration happening too fast.
  • We cannot keep moving forward unless we have made steady ground to keep the journey ahead safe and sound. This is assuming that they are anything worth digging out there that would benefit us this much.
  • Sea exploration is a much easier feat than space travel alright, how often do you hear a space exploration team crashing at the bottom of the ocean? VERY RARELY, on the contrary I have proven launching rockets have a success rate of 80%, after that when the ship exits atmosphere, that is a more sophisticated gamble. Don't even get me started on the cost, its 2.6 Billion $ per excavation mission for space.

Debate Round No. 4


I'm going to have to list the summary of all my arguments/rebuttals as bullet points because side opposition has failed to take into consideration most of them.
I've provided my evidence for this by explaining how asteroid impacts and supernovas are quite commonplace in the universe and just in case you didn't know, asteroid impacts are what lead to the very extinction of the dinosaurs. How can protecting ourselves against such scenarios NOT be a priority for our species? Yet, side opposition, without any evidence or logical explanation, continues to claim that they are "unrealistic" and "far in the future" without acknowledging that one impact is all that it takes to wipe out our species, no matter how rare.

The laws of physics permit it, our engineering capabilities permit it but all we need is funds. I completely agree that progress is slowing down and that is exactly why we need to have this debate - space exploration NEEDS more funds. Physicists have designs for various air-crafts such as deadelus and the japanese ikaros that are capable of traveling at incredible speeds with less fuel but to actually implement these project we need funds. Just as as airplanes in our atmosphere, we are, contrary to what the opposition believe, capable of redesigning our aircraft and improving upon them..

The UN itself has admitted that the technology required to access deep-sea mining is extremely expensive. The same "problem" with prices of metals decreasing can occur with deep-sea mining particularly with gold. Side opposition has claimed that prop fails to prove with statistics that deep-sea mining is not cheaper when that is his burden of proof. Nevertheless, IT IS A FACT that there are ENVIRONMENTAL COSTS. Firstly, its would greatly and irreversible harm the biodiversity in the oceans. There are millions species found no where else that would be lost. Even more, is the pollution that comes with it both with accidental leakages and those as a result of the mechanical processes. None of these are a problem with asteroid mining and hence, it IS MORE SUSTAINABLE also because we have more resources at our disposal.

History shows that increase in ease of access to resources often leads to expansion,not a shrinkage because of the associated industries and the development of new technologies that come as a results. Planetary resources themselves have pointed out that they not only utilize what they've learned of space exploration, but also analyze breakthrough that have occurred in other industries and how they make them possible. Once again, if it was a problem, deep-sea mining wouldn't eliminate it either.

Finally, I would like to point out that I'm not claiming we should make all our other priorities irrelevant but that space exploration ONE OF THEM.


Time for the be all and end all

Counter Arguments
1) The technology to (I STRESS AGAIN)
FEND OFF cosmic catastophes are still to far in the future. since your rebuttals are not going against me point, it will have to stand.

2)I think humans are capable of a lot of things, but not many are equally as worthy of funds as its potential to improve. Also, One does not simply liken an aircraft achievement to Spaceships. The physics involved in both instances stil have major difference and so Pro, you cannot liken them to each other. Also, I mentioned that the world has greater priorities than to see more rockets shoot upwards into space. Funds should instead be diverted to help the world before space exploration, Pro, you have done nothing to deny the fact that the world has problems and funds should be diverted from space exploration to other means. Once again, that point stands.

3)Truthfully, right now deep sea mining is just as credible as asteroid mining. But what i would like to highlight is this: Deep-sea mining does not need much of a pay per mine as asteroid mining. Sure there are environmental costs, but i do not see how it is impossible to achieve when we are using the CLB system which was recommended by the Economist, the incur cost might be high but when compared to the pay per launch disadvantage that asteroid mining brings, i find it a more viable solution as everything is still in our atmosphere.

4)A sudden decrease will ALWAYS BE A PROBLEM. This is specifically highlighted in THE ECONOMIST o Jan 24 2013. We increase the supplies of other better minerals, the market of previous minerals will collapse and that my friend is a global disaster within our atmosphere, equally as traumatising and bad.

Conclusion: Thank you Pro for bringing this up, I had fun while debating despites a bit of frustration at times. Thank you and may the best debater win? :D;


Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by futureisnow 5 years ago
i say use that money to clean earth. Space travel is stupid. we know more we don't know about earth than space. Let's discover the deep sea, and our own eco-system. Figure out how to solve that nuclear waste berried under ground. If there is life in the space, let them come to us, why we go to them? odds are infinite as figure.
Posted by Naajpowell 5 years ago
this argument is funny because the technology needed for extraterrestrial colonization is very far in the future. Because scientist will tell you just getting their is hard enough. Now where thinking on living there we have to come down to reality and think about real problems like the national debt and preserving the world we currently live on.
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