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Do we need NASA?

UnStupendousMan
Posts: 3,475
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3/1/2012 7:31:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
In a recent DISCOVER magazine article (can't find a link online) Neil deGrasse Tyson bemoans the fact that America is basically losing the modern space race to space programs in China, Russia, EU, Japan, etc. He spends much of the article describing the abilities of the other programs, and how they are so much better than out own. But, for a short moment, he gives me the best reason to fund NASA that I have yet heard:

"People often ask, ["]If you like spin-off products, why not just invest in those technologies straight-away, instead of waiting for them to happen as spin-offs?["] Answer: It just doesn't work that way. Let's say you're a thermodynamicist, the world's expert on heat, and I ask you to build a better oven. You might invent a convection oven or an oven that's more insulated or that permits easier access to it's contents. But no matter how much money I give you, you will not invent a microwave oven. Because that came from another place. It came from investments in communications, in radar. The microwave oven is traceable to the war effort, not to a thermodynamicist."

Other than that, the sole reason to have NASA is to discover space and further science. But what reason should we discover space and further science? What is the benefit of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (other than the fact that it employs people, and hires companies that employ people)? I'd like to hear your thoughts.
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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3/2/2012 11:11:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Its sort of a mixed relationship i have with NASA. On the one hand its a wasteful organization that spends billions of taxpayers money doing nothing and failing frequently, and will most definately save us a lot of money if we give out projects and grants to private companies, which will most likely have a higher chance of succeeding at a lower cost, advancing the space race and our ability to enter space, much faster. On the other hand, I am reluctant to let private companies receive the funding, as they are a business, and will indoubtedly commercialize space, which i am not looking forward to(I do NOT want to see billboards on my goddamn moon).

I read an interesting article a couple years back, where Buzz Aldrin was discussing in an interview that we should chuck out going to the moon, and visit mars instead. And, despite the fact that he supported private companies and letting them take the task of building settlements on the moon and in space, i do agree with him. I think were stuck in this loophole of "Lets visit the moon, lets visit the moon" that weve completely ignored the rest of the solar system. And, as current technology is sufficient to reach the moon, i think we would advance in technology if we started to concentrate on the further planets. Necessity is always important in advancing technology.

That being said, screw the moon, get NASA to send people to mars, privatize space but create an oversight committee to prevent the overflow of advertisement and underhandedness, and we will save NASA, money, and civilization as we know it. :D
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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3/2/2012 11:19:04 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/1/2012 7:31:53 PM, UnStupendousMan wrote:
But what reason should we discover space and further science?

Lol, seriously?

What a ridiculously difficult question.

I think we should probably start with, "should we further science?"

Hmm...

Well, let's first explore how we are.

I premise everything with forms. What is correct, is how things are and whatever furthers that arrangement and condition, without any rational or otherwise sentient intervention, except while defining it. Of course, to be truly functional, one would need to make distinctions for imperfections and improvements, so the larger or more comprehensive the concept or system, the more important it is.

In other words, on one hand, we'll have someone's personality, but the nature of the society on which they depend and to which they subscribe holds precedent. Likewise, the global society in which that society exists holds precedent, and so on.

To simplify it even further, a doornob has its nature, but that nature is not more important to preserve then the door itself, or the very existence of the doornob would be irrelevant.

All that said, humans came this way. We didn't conceive science so much as we continue to discover it, and further exploration has been a human engagement since before we've taken the trouble to record history. Accordingly, one could say that it is part of our nature; it is what we do. It is an aspect of our form.

Although one could probably construct a fairly pursuasive argument against
science as it applies to the world at large, overall, I wouldn't say that it's our scientific exploration per se that has had such a negative effect on humanity's varied ecosystems. Therefore, it isn't necessarily counterintuitive to the form in which humans live, which is the world at large (or perhaps, the Universe).

Accordingly, science isn't really something we should do, as much as it is something we do. It isn't necessarily counterintuitive to the form in which it exists, so there's no real reason (insofar) that humanity shouldn't engage science.

So, 1. We do engage science, and 2. We shouldn't necessarily stop.

Now, should we support it?

With only a very superficial consideration of science, one could easily see that the entire social construct that humanity has contrived is, to a great degree, contingent on science, as are our standard of living, lifespans, and capacity for survival.

Health, life, and social constructs are also forms that do exist, irrefutably, and are not counterintuitive to greater forms.

In other words, science fits rather neatly in with the fabric of reality as it applies to humanity. Given we do not completely understand this fabric (or even know what all is woven into it), it is best to preserve it as it is until we understand it further (or it proves counterintuitive). Therefore, it is satisfactorily moral to practice science and accordingly, we should.

So, that leads us back to your question. Should the United States facilitate scientific advancement as an entire society, or should this be left in the hands of private entities?

Well, we already know that scientific advancement leads to the improvement of the existence in which we already participate. Given that global society is essentially capitalistic, this translates into a resource. Specifically, it is a type of intellectual capital that helps drive technological progress. Economies break down into five primary components, and technological progress is one of them (the others being capital, fixed captial, working capital, and financial capital).

Economies need all five of these components (and they need to be efficient and effective) in order to function healthily. Otherwise, they will be volatile and unreliable. That translates into national security. During a time when military power is absolute (all countries that have any power can entirely destroy other countries, resources and all), capital is much more important for political distinction and resource allocation (in other words, if everyone is pointing the same gun at each other's heads, then you might as well divide everything equally and be on your way -- global socialism/communism -- or base distinctions on something else, and in this case, resources or wealth). Therefore, political clout, military power, and economic stability in our latter day are essentially one and the same.

Accordingly, it is best to promote, improve, and pursue each component of a healthy economy as long as we maintain our current global system (although I will concede that I believe we shouldn't), which includes technological advancement, requiring scientfic study.

Therefore, we should clearly invest in NASA. Of course, it's more likely politicians will simply lie, so they can attack NASA funding to allocate funds to something they consider more pressing (which would inevitably be imperialistic, since most merchants in this country are more interested in physical capital), and simply outsource to save money by sending our greatest thinkers to work with scientific organizations in countries that give a damn, like CERN. Of course, this is a terrible idea, but that's what happens when you leave things in the hands of greedy, bigoted @ssholes.

Truth.
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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3/2/2012 11:24:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/2/2012 11:11:39 AM, tkubok wrote:
Its sort of a mixed relationship i have with NASA. On the one hand its a wasteful organization that spends billions of taxpayers money doing nothing and failing frequently, and will most definately save us a lot of money if we give out projects and grants to private companies, which will most likely have a higher chance of succeeding at a lower cost, advancing the space race and our ability to enter space, much faster. On the other hand, I am reluctant to let private companies receive the funding, as they are a business, and will indoubtedly commercialize space, which i am not looking forward to(I do NOT want to see billboards on my goddamn moon).

I read an interesting article a couple years back, where Buzz Aldrin was discussing in an interview that we should chuck out going to the moon, and visit mars instead. And, despite the fact that he supported private companies and letting them take the task of building settlements on the moon and in space, i do agree with him. I think were stuck in this loophole of "Lets visit the moon, lets visit the moon" that weve completely ignored the rest of the solar system. And, as current technology is sufficient to reach the moon, i think we would advance in technology if we started to concentrate on the further planets. Necessity is always important in advancing technology.

That being said, screw the moon, get NASA to send people to mars, privatize space but create an oversight committee to prevent the overflow of advertisement and underhandedness, and we will save NASA, money, and civilization as we know it. :D

As far as I know, moon visitation is so far behind us that they are already selling tickets (lol, so there goes your commercialization fears, to boot).

We've sent several probes to Mars. It really doesn't look like it's worth the trip right now.

Currently, I'm pretty sure GB and the U.S. are working together to visit Jupiter's moons, like Europa, Ganymede, and Io. As far as our knowledge of different planets/moons go, those are by far the most interesting and likely to harbor life.
Floid
Posts: 751
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3/2/2012 1:05:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
They need to mostly (if not completely) cease manned space flight and focus on unmanned exploration/technologies. Manned space flight is a giant waste of money and most of the benefits that can be realized by it have already been accomplished (specifically the technologies that were developed to facilitate manned space flight).
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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3/2/2012 1:06:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/2/2012 11:24:22 AM, Ren wrote:
At 3/2/2012 11:11:39 AM, tkubok wrote:
Its sort of a mixed relationship i have with NASA. On the one hand its a wasteful organization that spends billions of taxpayers money doing nothing and failing frequently, and will most definately save us a lot of money if we give out projects and grants to private companies, which will most likely have a higher chance of succeeding at a lower cost, advancing the space race and our ability to enter space, much faster. On the other hand, I am reluctant to let private companies receive the funding, as they are a business, and will indoubtedly commercialize space, which i am not looking forward to(I do NOT want to see billboards on my goddamn moon).

I read an interesting article a couple years back, where Buzz Aldrin was discussing in an interview that we should chuck out going to the moon, and visit mars instead. And, despite the fact that he supported private companies and letting them take the task of building settlements on the moon and in space, i do agree with him. I think were stuck in this loophole of "Lets visit the moon, lets visit the moon" that weve completely ignored the rest of the solar system. And, as current technology is sufficient to reach the moon, i think we would advance in technology if we started to concentrate on the further planets. Necessity is always important in advancing technology.

That being said, screw the moon, get NASA to send people to mars, privatize space but create an oversight committee to prevent the overflow of advertisement and underhandedness, and we will save NASA, money, and civilization as we know it. :D

As far as I know, moon visitation is so far behind us that they are already selling tickets (lol, so there goes your commercialization fears, to boot).
Yeah, i heard. Im not so much fearful of that as i am to the problem of space junk and advertisements in space, although i know it to be inevitable. In any case, we require some sort of oversight when it comes to the privatization of space.

On a side note, i always got a kick when i hear about the outer space treaty, wondering who will break the treaty first.
We've sent several probes to Mars. It really doesn't look like it's worth the trip right now.

Currently, I'm pretty sure GB and the U.S. are working together to visit Jupiter's moons, like Europa, Ganymede, and Io. As far as our knowledge of different planets/moons go, those are by far the most interesting and likely to harbor life.

Well, baby steps i suppose. But im all up for visiting anything past our moon. Id think that Ganymede would be the best candidate though, with Io being the worst, though, now that i think about it, Io would probably have the highest chance of microbial life.
Starcraftzzz
Posts: 487
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3/2/2012 4:19:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
There was study done on NASA spending and it found that every dollar spent by NASA results in 10 dollars in economic benefits. NASA has given us so many technological advancements its probably done mroe for science then any single one private organization
http://useconomy.about.com...
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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3/2/2012 6:22:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/2/2012 1:06:08 PM, tkubok wrote:
At 3/2/2012 11:24:22 AM, Ren wrote:
At 3/2/2012 11:11:39 AM, tkubok wrote:
Its sort of a mixed relationship i have with NASA. On the one hand its a wasteful organization that spends billions of taxpayers money doing nothing and failing frequently, and will most definately save us a lot of money if we give out projects and grants to private companies, which will most likely have a higher chance of succeeding at a lower cost, advancing the space race and our ability to enter space, much faster. On the other hand, I am reluctant to let private companies receive the funding, as they are a business, and will indoubtedly commercialize space, which i am not looking forward to(I do NOT want to see billboards on my goddamn moon).

I read an interesting article a couple years back, where Buzz Aldrin was discussing in an interview that we should chuck out going to the moon, and visit mars instead. And, despite the fact that he supported private companies and letting them take the task of building settlements on the moon and in space, i do agree with him. I think were stuck in this loophole of "Lets visit the moon, lets visit the moon" that weve completely ignored the rest of the solar system. And, as current technology is sufficient to reach the moon, i think we would advance in technology if we started to concentrate on the further planets. Necessity is always important in advancing technology.

That being said, screw the moon, get NASA to send people to mars, privatize space but create an oversight committee to prevent the overflow of advertisement and underhandedness, and we will save NASA, money, and civilization as we know it. :D

As far as I know, moon visitation is so far behind us that they are already selling tickets (lol, so there goes your commercialization fears, to boot).
Yeah, i heard. Im not so much fearful of that as i am to the problem of space junk and advertisements in space, although i know it to be inevitable. In any case, we require some sort of oversight when it comes to the privatization of space.

On a side note, i always got a kick when i hear about the outer space treaty, wondering who will break the treaty first.
We've sent several probes to Mars. It really doesn't look like it's worth the trip right now.

Currently, I'm pretty sure GB and the U.S. are working together to visit Jupiter's moons, like Europa, Ganymede, and Io. As far as our knowledge of different planets/moons go, those are by far the most interesting and likely to harbor life.

Well, baby steps i suppose. But im all up for visiting anything past our moon. Id think that Ganymede would be the best candidate though, with Io being the worst, though, now that i think about it, Io would probably have the highest chance of microbial life.

Io certainly seems volatile (plains of sulfur?), although we certainly know much worse (such as air mostly comprised of ammonia, like on Venus), and I agree that Ganymede seems like the best bet... although, I'm terribly curious about Europa, as well. I certainly hope they visit Europa.
seraine
Posts: 734
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3/2/2012 6:48:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/2/2012 1:05:22 PM, Floid wrote:
They need to mostly (if not completely) cease manned space flight and focus on unmanned exploration/technologies. Manned space flight is a giant waste of money and most of the benefits that can be realized by it have already been accomplished (specifically the technologies that were developed to facilitate manned space flight).

I agree. There doesn't seem to be much purpose to manning space flights- we can gather all the data we need with unmanned space flight. However, I am not all too sure on this, because it seems like there is still technology to be gained from manned space flight.
seraine
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3/2/2012 6:50:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/2/2012 11:11:39 AM, tkubok wrote:
I am reluctant to let private companies receive the funding, as they are a business, and will indoubtedly commercialize space, which i am not looking forward to(I do NOT want to see billboards on my goddamn moon).

I cannot see any sane company putting advertisements on the moon - the backlash would easily lose them more revenue than they'd gain.
ConservativePolitico
Posts: 8,210
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3/21/2012 4:28:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Throughout human history we have always expanded. One country over, a continent over, all over the world then to the moon.

Man will undeniably, eventually, move into space because it is our nature to do so.

So in a way, yes, we need NASA to function as the engine for human expansion going forward.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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4/12/2012 5:17:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think NASA should be funded, but that projects should be divided into scientific and commercial categories. Commercial projects should be ceded to private enterprise. Communications satellites, mapping and imaging, and maybe space tourism are commercial. what commercial markets need to succeed is good assurance that the government won't put them out of business by passing a law against it or by the the government competing with no cost constraints on the government side. Boeing put a lot of money into a satellite launch venture only to have the government refuse to use it.

Most of the moon applications are scientific: deep space exploration, large telescopes, and the like. A commercial venture has been proposed to mine the water on the moon and convert it to rocket fuel for various purposes, including return from earth orbit.

I don't object to using robots instead of humans as much as possible in space projects, but robotic technology is not yet up to the sophistication required for moon base operations. NASA does both manned and unmanned projects.

It's difficult to get private funding for projects that take more than ten years to repay the investment. One reason is that it's difficult to estimate risks so far ahead. Maybe something like government offering a prize of X dollars for accomplishing Y would help in some cases.

Worry about keeping the moon free of advertising seems a bit premature. Advertising depends upon having lots of people see it.

Someone has suggested that a mission to Mars could be funded by selling tickets to see the video feeds from the mission. They claimed the economics works, but it seems just a bit doubtful.
darkkermit
Posts: 11,204
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4/12/2012 5:26:12 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/12/2012 5:17:12 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think NASA should be funded, but that projects should be divided into scientific and commercial categories. Commercial projects should be ceded to private enterprise. Communications satellites, mapping and imaging, and maybe space tourism are commercial. what commercial markets need to succeed is good assurance that the government won't put them out of business by passing a law against it or by the the government competing with no cost constraints on the government side. Boeing put a lot of money into a satellite launch venture only to have the government refuse to use it.

Most of the moon applications are scientific: deep space exploration, large telescopes, and the like. A commercial venture has been proposed to mine the water on the moon and convert it to rocket fuel for various purposes, including return from earth orbit.

I don't object to using robots instead of humans as much as possible in space projects, but robotic technology is not yet up to the sophistication required for moon base operations. NASA does both manned and unmanned projects.

It's difficult to get private funding for projects that take more than ten years to repay the investment. One reason is that it's difficult to estimate risks so far ahead. Maybe something like government offering a prize of X dollars for accomplishing Y would help in some cases.

Worry about keeping the moon free of advertising seems a bit premature. Advertising depends upon having lots of people see it.

Someone has suggested that a mission to Mars could be funded by selling tickets to see the video feeds from the mission. They claimed the economics works, but it seems just a bit doubtful.

And there's the problem. If it would be unsuccessful under private investment, why should the government subsidy it, when there are other things private enterprises can use more profitable capital on?
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SuperRobotWars
Posts: 3,906
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4/14/2012 5:02:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/12/2012 5:17:12 PM, RoyLatham wrote:
I think NASA should be funded, but that projects should be divided into scientific and commercial categories. Commercial projects should be ceded to private enterprise. Communications satellites, mapping and imaging, and maybe space tourism are commercial. what commercial markets need to succeed is good assurance that the government won't put them out of business by passing a law against it or by the the government competing with no cost constraints on the government side. Boeing put a lot of money into a satellite launch venture only to have the government refuse to use it.

Most of the moon applications are scientific: deep space exploration, large telescopes, and the like. A commercial venture has been proposed to mine the water on the moon and convert it to rocket fuel for various purposes, including return from earth orbit.

I don't object to using robots instead of humans as much as possible in space projects, but robotic technology is not yet up to the sophistication required for moon base operations. NASA does both manned and unmanned projects.

It's difficult to get private funding for projects that take more than ten years to repay the investment. One reason is that it's difficult to estimate risks so far ahead. Maybe something like government offering a prize of X dollars for accomplishing Y would help in some cases.

Worry about keeping the moon free of advertising seems a bit premature. Advertising depends upon having lots of people see it.

Someone has suggested that a mission to Mars could be funded by selling tickets to see the video feeds from the mission. They claimed the economics works, but it seems just a bit doubtful.

I agree with all of this. NASA serves as an R&D base for corporations in order to help minimize investment risk. I don't think a mars mission would be that profitable unless you sell seats on a spacecraft for tourism [see the Skylon Troy Project design here: http://www.reactionengines.co.uk... ] asteroids on the other hand seem like far more viable destinations for space corporations in the manner of resource harvest, manufacture [Zero-G makes manufacture less of a hassle as far as I have seen], and the potential for setting up colonies [which you could charge people to get on the ride there while making them pay rent, I'm so clever :3].
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: At 12/6/2011 2:21:41 PM, badger wrote:
: ugly people should beat beautiful people ugly. simple! you'd be killing two birds with the one stone... women like violent men and you're making yourself more attractive, relatively. i met a blonde dude who was prettier than me not so long ago. he's not so pretty now! ha!
:
: ...and well, he wasn't really prettier than me. he just had nice hair.
Aaronroy
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4/15/2012 9:56:51 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/21/2012 4:28:53 PM, ConservativePolitico wrote:
Throughout human history we have always expanded. One country over, a continent over, all over the world then to the moon.

Man will undeniably, eventually, move into space because it is our nature to do so.

So in a way, yes, we need NASA to function as the engine for human expansion going forward.

Oh my, not the manifest destiny argument again...
This reminds me of Agent Smith's lecturing of human behavior from The Matrix.
turn down for h'what
RoyLatham
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4/16/2012 1:23:38 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/12/2012 5:26:12 PM, darkkermit wrote:
And there's the problem. If it would be unsuccessful under private investment, why should the government subsidy it, when there are other things private enterprises can use more profitable capital on?

It's because basic scientific knowledge is broadly beneficial, but doesn't turn a quick profit. If there's no short-run profit in discovering life on Titan, that doesn't mean it isn't worth knowing.
FREEDO
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4/16/2012 2:49:29 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I think there's always a huge amount of advantage gained from putting the necessary funds into accomplishing a large scale human project apart from the direct benefit of the project itself, due to the innovations created by trying to achieve it. Any time we set out to do something we couldn't do before, it paths the road for all sorts of other feats.

Since space has essentially all of the conditions that define our physical restraint, trying to get there is a perfect example of one of those innovating projects.
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1dustpelt
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4/16/2012 8:35:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
No, but neither do we NEED cars, running water, or computers.
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sadolite
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4/16/2012 9:49:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Nasa should only be funded to the extent of Launch pad maintenance and a rocket gas station. All the rest should be funded privately.
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

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Lickdafoot
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4/17/2012 9:54:58 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 4/16/2012 9:49:22 PM, sadolite wrote:
Nasa should only be funded to the extent of Launch pad maintenance and a rocket gas station. All the rest should be funded privately.

If space exploration was funded privately, it would turn into a nuisance.

They would turn it into an attraction. It would be wasteful and not productive. Space would get raped.
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