homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam

The Geek Culture Forums


  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | | search | faq | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» The Geek Culture Forums   » The Archives   » The Big Archives   » The Final Frontier... (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!  
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
Author Topic: The Final Frontier...
Janeway
Assimilated
Member # 78

Member Rated:
5
Icon 5 posted February 03, 2003 20:56      Profile for Janeway   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A question being posed by several people now... Is manned spaceflight worth the risk?

--------------------
Janeway--
Author, Artist, and Dreamer Extraordinaire

Posts: 468 | From: Cyberspace, Delta Quadrant | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
Cap'n Vic

Member # 1477

Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 21:02      Profile for Cap'n Vic     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe you should send George Bush up there.....one way of course [Big Grin]

--------------------
(!) (T) = 8-D

Posts: 5471 | From: One of the drones from sector 7G | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
SupportGoddess

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 822

Icon 1 posted February 03, 2003 22:39      Profile for SupportGoddess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Correct me if I am wrong, but the only shuttle fatalities I can think of are the Challenger and now the Columbia.

The people going up are well aware that this is a risky proposition. They aren't being tricked or forced. And for these people, the risk is worth it. Hell, I'm with supa. I would go up tomorrow if someone offered me the chance.

We lose more people in *one* bad plane crash than we have in the entire space program. But no one says "Is commercial air travel worth the risk?" Why don't they ask that? Because the benefit is obvious.

When it comes to the space program the benefits aren't obvious. Every product that came about because of research done by the space program doesn't carry a little label saying so.

And what about the other benefits? After all the years of the cold war, America and Russia work together. From what I understand, China is on their way manned space flight too. It seems to me that anything that can provide a common ground between nations is invaluable. Especially now.

The space program goes beyond the achievement of one nation or one small group of people. It's a triumph of all mankind. It stirs the imaginations of everyone, not just our best and brightest. It is a symbol of the best of what we are, of the heights we can reach.

So, is that "worth the risk?"

--------------------
"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."
-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Posts: 1148 | From: The Digital Temple | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Snaggy

Sir Snaggalot!
Member # 123

Member Rated:
5
Icon 14 posted February 03, 2003 23:49      Profile for Snaggy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
great post SupportGoddess...

[Happytears]

Federation, now!

Posts: 8111 | From: Canada | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
ASM65816
SuperBlabberMouth!
Member # 712

Member Rated:
2
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 02:20      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Cars are really dangerous.

Cheeseburgers and potato-chips are dangerous.

... people could choose to alter their behavior to minimize risks to their health, but as long as we have plenty of lawyers somebody will say something like:

"There should be warnings in six languages plus an international hazard graphic to save individuals from slamming their heads into brick walls."

Over all, I'd say travel in the 13th century (especially by sea) was far more dangerous than what most industrial nations experience today, and exploration was far more dangerous beyond that.

Beyond that, it's sad that those who sought progress were placed in danger by societies that placed superstition above reason and organizations that would attempt to retain power at any cost.

Life goes on.

Let us hope that society is better for our endeavors, whether we succeed or fail.

--------------------
Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

Posts: 1035 | From: Third rock from sun. | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
spungo
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1089

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 03:42      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm in two minds... I mean - what's the point in going into space. There's nothing out there - that's why they call it space! These 'experiments' they do are of absolutely no scientific merit whatsoever - it's just hyped-up to justify the enormous cost.

As for going to Mars - hmmm... how much effort would that require to ever make it habitable? And why? So when we trash this joint we'll have somewhere to move on to.

But, the truth is that you cannot halt this desire for 'progress' - it will continue regardless of what gets said here. It would be nice, however, if Congress, for example, could maintain a grip on objectivity in these matters, and not subscribe whole-heartedly to foolish notion that space travel defines us as a species and that we would lack some primal purpose should it be stalled. This is mostly emotive bullshit. It is about shoring-up self-belief, national identity and all that crap - it has nothing to do with any tangible gain it might afford mankind.

--------------------
Shameless plug. (Please forgive me.)

Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Allan
SuperFan!
Member # 1717

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 03:52      Profile for Allan     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Come on Spungo, think of the benefits... Velcro, pens that write upside down and moon boots, to name but a few. Can you honestly, with your hand on your heart, swear that mankind would not be poorer without these things.
Posts: 1280 | From: Edinburgh, Scotland / Frankfurt, Germany | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
spungo
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1089

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 03:57      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think a great deal of the money currently spent on missions could be diverted into researching a more efficient (and more cost-effective) means of getting there. There has to be a better way than giant hydrogen-oxygen rockets, on craft accelerated from rest.

--------------------
Shameless plug. (Please forgive me.)

Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
cheezi git
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
Member # 1598

Member Rated:
3
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 04:13      Profile for cheezi git     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
my greatest condolances go out to the families of the astronauts who died on the shuttle.

but let's be honest. the shuttle is an ancient pile of shit, put together by committees and accountants. anyone who has read richard feynman's account of the enquiry into the last shuttle disaster will know.

--------------------
there were so many stains on the road. squashed miss mitten-shaped stains in the universe. squashed frog-shaped stains in the universe. squashed crows that tried to eat the squashed frog-shaped stains in the universe. squashed dogs...

Posts: 1929 | From: the left nostril of my cat | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
supaboy
SuperFan!
Member # 183

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 05:03      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
I think a great deal of the money currently spent on missions could be diverted into researching a more efficient (and more cost-effective) means of getting there. There has to be a better way than giant hydrogen-oxygen rockets, on craft accelerated from rest.

There are other ways, but they're not necessarily better. Google on Project Orion. But people don't want nuclear power plants in their "backyards", much less nuclear-powered rockets!

FWIW, the space shuttle main engines are the most efficient liquid-fuel rocket engines ever made.

All craft are accelerated from rest, rest being relative to the surface of the Earth. However, Cape Canaveral makes a decent spot to launch things into orbit because a) they fly downrange out over the ocean and b) it's already traveling a few hundred miles per hour due to the rotation of the planet, which reduces the impulse a rocket must be capable of in order to loft a payload to equatorial-ish orbits.

quote:
Originally posted by cheezi git:
but let's be honest. the shuttle is an ancient pile of shit...

Old != bad. I'll give you that the shuttle is much more expensive than originally planned, and doesn't fly anywhere near the frequency. But it is still a product of the best and brightest, and it does the job (well enough that the Russians dropped development of their own reusable spacecraft program).

No other machine would have been capable of fixing the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit. No other machine can bring satellites back down from orbit in one piece. I think I read that this was the first shuttle mission in a while that wasn't ferrying parts to the space station.

There are people who claim that they could design another vehicle which could do everything the shuttle can, better. Theoretically, of course, because those machines don't exist yet. There's no guarantee that they won't end up costing as much as the shuttle does. They say that the expense of the shuttle program limits the amount of research on alternative vehicles (quite possibly true). And they might be right, considering that we now have over 20 years of experience flying a shuttle and there are a few things we would do differently this time. But this is a clear case of the bird in hand being worth two in the bush to me.

Posts: 1767 | From: Columbia, SC USA | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
Member # 1200

Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 05:11      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post 
There is certainly a lot to be said of Spungo's point of view. In fact Paul Krugman of the NY Times says quite a bit about it in support
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/02/04/opinion/04KRUG.html

(You have to register to read it, but the Times is worth it)

He does make a point that the vast majority of the wonders of the space program would be available to us if we only had a non-manned (peopled?) space program. And if any of you are wondering exactly what the list entails, NASA maintains it on their website. Google will get you there.

There is a bit of each of us that goes up in those space ships, and a bit of us dies when the missions end in catastrophe. There is a pride in all humankind that drives us to build monuments to our knowledge -- from the pyramids to the Space Shuttle. I don't know if that pride is a good thing or not, but it's impossible to resist the temptation to feed it. You don't have to read too far into Exodus to chew on that bite of the apple.

I do think the space shuttle is a boondoggle, and there are better ways to send people into space. I'm more a fan of BDRs (Big Dumb Rockets) like the Soviet's have. And we should take a look at going back in that direction.

Then we could save the wasted money involved with the shuttle and look at alternative methods of "recyclable" space transportation.

Excuse me now, Mrs. Lubner is serving Tang right now, I can't be late for noogies.

Colonel Panic

--------------------
Free! Free at last!

Posts: 1809 | From: Glacier Melt, USA | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
spungo
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1089

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 05:12      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by supaboy:

FWIW, the space shuttle main engines are the most efficient liquid-fuel rocket engines ever made.

Being hydrogen-oxygen, it would be difficult for them not to be - it being the most efficient fuel around. It wouldn't take a genius to develop it. My point, however, is that there has to be a better way all-round of getting craft into space - the technology just hasn't surfaced yet - hopefully it will, soon.

--------------------
Shameless plug. (Please forgive me.)

Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Janeway
Assimilated
Member # 78

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 07:40      Profile for Janeway   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by Colonel Panic:
Then we could save the wasted money involved with the shuttle and look at alternative methods of "recyclable" space transportation.

Actually, the space shuttle was developed to be "recyclable". Both the orbiter and solid rocket boosters are used again. The only part that is not used again is the external tank.

--------------------
Janeway--
Author, Artist, and Dreamer Extraordinaire

Posts: 468 | From: Cyberspace, Delta Quadrant | Registered: Sep 1999  |  IP: Logged
raydreams
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 13:39            Edit/Delete Post 

IP: Logged
Tut-an-Geek

SuperFan!
Member # 1234

Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 13:47      Profile for Tut-an-Geek   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
a dime a dozen [Wink]
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,57536,00.html

Posts: 3764 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Colonel Panic
BlabberMouth, the Next Generation
Member # 1200

Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 17:42      Profile for Colonel Panic         Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by ilovemydualg4:
a dime a dozen [Wink]
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,57536,00.html

And there is always the Ralph Kramden method of sending the first woman "to da moon!"

[Wink]

Colonel Panic

--------------------
Free! Free at last!

Posts: 1809 | From: Glacier Melt, USA | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
SupportGoddess

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 822

Icon 1 posted February 04, 2003 23:34      Profile for SupportGoddess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
But, the truth is that you cannot halt this desire for 'progress' - it will continue regardless of what gets said here. It would be nice, however, if Congress, for example, could maintain a grip on objectivity in these matters, and not subscribe whole-heartedly to foolish notion that space travel defines us as a species and that we would lack some primal purpose should it be stalled. This is mostly emotive bullshit. It is about shoring-up self-belief, national identity and all that crap - it has nothing to do with any tangible gain it might afford mankind.

For thousands of years, mankind stood outdoors at night and looked at the moon and stars above them. We wondered what they were, we theorized. We named them. We told stories about them. We guided our ships by them. 34 years ago, we went there.

Some people don't think that is important though. Maybe I am just a romantic.

On the other hand, beyond the velcro pens and Tang, we have:

Solar energy research,
Better pacemakers,
Laser advances applicable across a range of fields, including medicine and manufacturing.

Oh, let's not forget:

Ultrasound,
Advances in X-ray technology,
and MRI.

Then again, maybe you are healthy, so you don't care much about that. How about:
Doppler radar,
and you can use that to tell if you should plan on picking up a new package of golf balls.

I could keep going. For a long while. But you get the point. Inventions and research from the space program are incorporated into our lives. Everything from your new swimsuit to your new computer to your new car to your new valve in your heart. The space program is one of the few government initiatives that actually improves people's lives in a tangible way.

Posts: 1148 | From: The Digital Temple | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
ASM65816
SuperBlabberMouth!
Member # 712

Member Rated:
2
Icon 4 posted February 05, 2003 06:49      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Support Goddess, you forgot ... computers .

Imagine ... 1998 ... you're playing Brick-Out (or some other variant) on a game system the size of a short yellow bus.

--------------------
Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

Posts: 1035 | From: Third rock from sun. | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
SupportGoddess

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 822

Icon 1 posted February 05, 2003 20:30      Profile for SupportGoddess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
ASM, computers were mentioned in there.

--------------------
"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."
-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Posts: 1148 | From: The Digital Temple | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 450

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted February 06, 2003 07:08      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes. Manned spaceflight is worth the risk. And, yes, people will die, as have explorers and pioneers throughout history. I firmly believe that this planet will not be habitable at some point because of human or natural disaster. I want colonies on other planets way before that happens.
Posts: 2902 | From: 5 to 15 meters above sea level | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
spungo
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 1089

Member Rated:
4
Icon 1 posted February 06, 2003 08:16      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
QF - don't you think we should be concerning ourselves with making sure ecological disaster doesn't befall us? Why must it be inevitable? Spending billions on jetting into near-outer space while the CO2 level in the atmosphere is rising unchecked is, as far as I'm concerned, utter madness. The West is blinded by short-term economic gain and refuses to think beyond the next tax year - I pray for the day when we stop voting for whomever assures us that our trade deficit is safest with them.

--------------------
Shameless plug. (Please forgive me.)

Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
quantumfluff
BlabberMouth, a Blabber Odyssey
Member # 450

Member Rated:
5
Icon 1 posted February 06, 2003 09:24      Profile for quantumfluff     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, it's that I don't see trying to save the earth from people and space exploration as mutually exclusive spending priorities. But us fouling up the planet is only one risk. There could be natural disaster, warfare mishaps, meteor impact. There is a non-zero risk that something really bad will happen one day.

Space exploration towards colonization is an insurance policy. I have auto insurance *and* I try to drive prudently. To not do both is stupid. Yes, let's keep the planet clean and strive towards not clubbing each other's countries over the head each chance we get. But I still want insurance because I just don't control everything that happens.

Posts: 2902 | From: 5 to 15 meters above sea level | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
raydreams
Discontinued


Icon 1 posted February 06, 2003 15:28            Edit/Delete Post 

IP: Logged
ASM65816
SuperBlabberMouth!
Member # 712

Member Rated:
2
Icon 1 posted February 07, 2003 02:25      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Quote: ... making sure ecological disaster doesn't befall ....

Question: How much technology is required to ruin land?

Well, all you have to do is Think like a Locust (and this isn't a big deal since much of humanity has the intellectual capacity that one associates with small invertabrates).

1) Breed, Breed, Breed.
2) Consume Resources.

Cutting down forests and burning what's left to make way for agriculture has been going on for quite some time.

Divert water away from wildlife and into fields. Contaminate remaining water with refuse from cattle, pigs, whatever (no need for technology exceeding Roman Empire developments). By the way, mud does a good job of "poisoning" water when rains wash topsoil away.

But wait, there's more! Introduce old species to new environments!
Cane Toad to control insects..... oops. Mosquito fish... liked fish and frogs better.
Or maybe they just hitch a ride. Brown tree snakes vs. birds... birds lose. Carp..... Then you add "weeds" to the mix.

The easy way to avoid Ecological Disaster -- Reduce the number of Near-Hairless Tool-Using Bipedal Mamals on the planet by 6 Billion.... Lack of potable water is the most likely global catastrophe we'll see.

Personally, I like to believe that Recycling is one of those aspects of technology that will make humans easier to live with ... regardless of your species.

--------------------
Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

Posts: 1035 | From: Third rock from sun. | Registered: Mar 2001  |  IP: Logged
SupportGoddess

Solid Nitrozanium SuperFan!
Member # 822

Icon 1 posted February 07, 2003 03:19      Profile for SupportGoddess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by spungo:
QF - don't you think we should be concerning ourselves with making sure ecological disaster doesn't befall us? Why must it be inevitable? Spending billions on jetting into near-outer space while the CO2 level in the atmosphere is rising unchecked is, as far as I'm concerned, utter madness. The West is blinded by short-term economic gain and refuses to think beyond the next tax year - I pray for the day when we stop voting for whomever assures us that our trade deficit is safest with them.

I agree with QF in that saving the earth and space exploration are not mutually exclusive goals.

Technology gives us *recycling* (as metioned by ASM) - it gives us alternatives to our CFCs. It gives us things that make our lives easier, better even. It helps us live longer. It helps us live easier. Technology and advancement are not bad things, but they need to be respected and treated with care. Technology can also be blamed for chemical and nuclear weapons, nerve gas, and biological weapons. The same argument occurs repeatedly, with many different specifics.

"Guns are bad. They kill people."
"Guns are good, they kill animals which feed people."

Technology is neither good nor bad. It is the *application* that is good or bad.

This thread was initally directed at the space program. Being as "ethnocentric" as we are, I am not sure what the U.K. involvement in the space program is, so I cannot comment on that. What I can say is that I wish *more* of my tax dollars went to a program that can boast the benefits of the space program. Here is a thought. Instead of welfare and foodstamps, how about using that money to train people and put them to work *for* the space program. How about instead of paying for the incarceration of repeat offenders, they worked off that money doing research? It's easy to talk about where we waste money, but a $1200 hammer and a $600 toilet seat speak volumes.

How about instead of quibbling over party differences (where does it say anything about "democrats" and "republicans" in the Constitution?) and trying to sneak violations of our civil liberties into law, our public servants did exactly what they are supposed to (i.e. serve the public), and as volunteer work, instead of making 6 or 7 times my salary (not counting bribes... er, "contributions"...)

There are plenty of places to look at budgeting. At least the space program gives something back.

--------------------
"A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes."
-Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

Posts: 1148 | From: The Digital Temple | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged


All times are Eastern Time
This topic comprises 2 pages: 1  2 
 
  New Poll   Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Contact Us | Geek Culture Home Page

© 2015 Geek Culture

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.4.0



homeGeek CultureWebstoreeCards!Forums!Joy of Tech!AY2K!webcam