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Thread: Why aren't we on Mars yet?

  1. #1
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    Why aren't we on Mars yet?

    My local paper posed this question on their website, but my reply was too long to get posted. It's definitley babble, so I was interested what you guys all make of it?

    Why aren’t we on Mars yet?

    I think mankind will eventually have a manned outpost on Mars, perhaps even terraform the entire planet - a tentative step towards sending people to the stars in the distant future. But it's hard to see these great things being accomplished by our current societies, flawed as they are with greedy, self-serving economic and political models, underpinned by utter dependence on hundreds of millions of year’s worth of 'free' solar energy in fossil fuel.

    NASA itself seems to be a Cold War relic, as much as I applaud experiments like the Mars Rovers, Hubble, et al. The LHC and ISS show us how expensive and collaborative science is becoming, so maybe this is the model of global cooperation for future space exploration as well.

    We will achieve great things in the future, but only once global society is much reformed, by necessity probably. Let's hope not too late.

    How did we get here?

    Let’s recap history. Civilisation was ‘invented’ in the Middle East, by the peoples of Mesopotamia (Iraq – so don’t start me on how wrong it is that George Bush has invaded this place) and perfected, if you will, in Egypt, Greece and Rome. Rome was not strong enough to survive (or perhaps her ambitions overcame her) thus Rome fell to the forces of Tribalism, and for a long time Tribalism dominated Europe and the Mediterranean, albeit in a long Machiavellian union with Religion. Civilisation clung on for a time in the Middle East (the Byzantines) and of course Asia had its own history that intersects with this ‘Western’ history from time to time, and still does.

    In any case, in Europe tribes became Kingdoms, and Kingdoms became Nations. In the meantime Science largely usurped Religion, and begat the Industrial Revolution. This powerful union of Great Nations and Industry swept the globe, igniting competition for resources (Colonialism), the tension between the Great Nations eventually sparking the First World War.

    Now, war until this time had been a largely sporting affair. I see the last century as one Great Conflict, the First and Second World Wars and the Cold War being its three main phases, the recent wars in the Persian Gulf perhaps its last. I don’t think the Great Nations intended to start such a devastating conflict (no sane man or woman could) rather they failed to appreciate that industrial war was quite a different beast to what had gone before. Hitherto the King could not afford to take his attention too long from the harvest lest he and his subjects starve, so the campaigning season was short and the havoc war could wreak, limited. Total War was something else, as the Captains of Industry learned to their horror too late, despite the warning that was the American Civil War.

    This Great Conflict paused for a time as the Great Nations were exhausted by what they had wrought. Three great politico-economic systems evolved as the Great Nations struggled for survival: Capitalism, Fascism, and Communism (each with an undercurrent of racism, but that’s another story). Battle was rejoined in short order, as each system thought itself at mortal peril from the others. Fascism was defeated, but by now Industry and Science had given us The Bomb. Terrified, the forces of Capitalism and Communism raced for industrial and scientific domination until, again exhausted, Communism fell by the wayside. Thank God, no one had been insane enough to push the nuclear button (well, just the twice, sorry Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but you know what I mean). Capitalism had emerged triumphant astride the world. A so called ‘New World Order’ was upon us.

    But now, to our horror, we have realized that unchecked Capitalism still threatens us all. This New World Order of Capitalism is a house of cards built on a free source of energy, hundreds of millions of years in the making that we will ‘consume’ in a matter of decades. Concepts of ‘capital’ and ‘property’ and ‘profit’ are flawed and unjust. The wealth of the world is distributed to a privileged and undeserving few while untold millions starve and want. Disaster and Revolution loom again. History teaches us that mankind is unable to control these global forces; that change will only come when it’s forced upon us by calamity and war.

    This economic and political system we have inherited is a ******* child of nationalism and capitalism – L’enfant terrible victor of a devastating war of greed, the most devastating war ever inflicted upon mankind, by orders of magnitude. Given its pedigree could it ever take us to a future we would be proud of? It seems unlikely.

    I think an urgent priority for mankind is to find a just and global, political and economic system of government. To my mind it would recall the great civilizations of the Mediterranean and must follow the evolution: from family, to tribe, to kingdom, to nation, to world. Knowledge and Science will be our salvation and the most urgent need is to develop a sustainable energy technology, be it nuclear fusion, hydrogen technology, or solar, or something entirely new like anti-matter. I can envision a magnificent global society with great senates, universities, hospitals, gymnasiums and libraries. It would need a great army (as I believe the military tradition is valid and honourable, and the first duty of the state, even a global one, is the security of its citizens – the genie of warfare is long out of the bottle by now and to be weak is to invite attack, ask the Romans) but this army would be a force for good in the world. I acknowledge that the civilisations I admire were largely built on slavery, which of course we all abhor, but machine intelligence and robotics have already taken that role for us to a large degree, and will continue to do so.

    If we can build a society like this, then I think we’ll deserve to travel to the stars.
    The newspaper has probably already banned my login code!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Limpus View Post
    My local paper posed this question on their website, but my reply was too long to get posted. It's definitley babble, so I was interested what you guys all make of it?

    I was going to reply to your letter step by step, but after reading it through, I couldn't see any real explanation to the question in question.

    Way too much fluff, with very little to nothing related to the question. Also too many unnecessary political jabs. Sure way to turn off a reader.

    In my opinion of course

    I think a simpler answer would have been that the excessive
    cost and current technology prevents us from going to Mars at this time in history.
    Last edited by Metricyard; 2008-Oct-07 at 04:30 AM. Reason: to add more coments

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    In 1492, Columbus left the Canary Islands on his first voyage on September 6. He had three ships that were loaded with food and water. He landed on a Caribbean island on October 12. That trip took 36 days. He was able to load up with more food and water in the islands before he sailed back to Spain.

    For his return home, he had two ships. He departed on Jan. 16, 1493, and landed in the Azores on Feb. 15. That trip lasted 30 days.

    While in the Caribbean between Oct. 12 and Jan. 16, there was plenty of food and water and lots of nice air and oxygen. That was about three months at his destination. The trip each way was about 3500 miles.

    A space-craft trip to Mars takes about 10 months, while carrying no people, no water, no food, and no oxygen. All food and water and oxygen for the trip with humans and the stay on Mars and the return trip has to be taken on-board a small spacecraft. The distance from earth to Mars is about 36 million miles or more.

    That’s why we haven’t sent people to Mars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Metricyard View Post
    I was going to reply to your letter step by step, but after reading it through, I couldn't see any real explanation to the question in question.

    Way too much fluff, with very little to nothing related to the question. Also too many unnecessary political jabs. Sure way to turn off a reader.

    In my opinion of course

    I think a simpler answer would have been that the excessive
    cost and current technology prevents us from going to Mars at this time in history.

    Well the paper probably agreed, although a previous effort comprising just the first three paragraphs did get posted, not because it had any inherent editorial worth but because it was less than the 1200 character cap.

    Here's a link if you want to see what other peeps posted up in reply to the original question:

    http://blogs.nzherald.co.nz/blog/you.../?c_id=1501154

    Lots of Apollo conspiracy theorists, curiously enough.

    I'm interested you think the political jabs unnecessary - in the current political climate I'd like to give all the pollies an uppercut. We're suffering the onset of elections here in New Zealand, like in the US (I don't know where you're from) and I find it incredibly frustrating that our modern democratic process seems aimed at nothing more than installing a ruler whose sole purpose is to get elected again in a few years. I'm even more outraged at how our global financial systems are put together. That said, Obama seems an interesting candidate, and a cut above the politicians here, for sure.

    I'd hope not to turn off a reader who was at least interested in the question, but perhaps my passion for both history and science is not typical. Of course it could be that it's just not well written!

    If I can have another crack at it, the point I was trying to get across, is that I think mankind will achieve great things in the future, like interplanetary or even interstellar travel, but only once we build a great society here on Earth first, one that overcomes the limitations of our history.

    Appreciate the feedback.

    Did anyone dig the piece?

    Not that I'm desperate for approval or anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    In 1492, Columbus left the Canary Islands on his first voyage on September 6. He had three ships that were loaded with food and water. He landed on a Caribbean island on October 12. That trip took 36 days. He was able to load up with more food and water in the islands before he sailed back to Spain.

    For his return home, he had two ships. He departed on Jan. 16, 1493, and landed in the Azores on Feb. 15. That trip lasted 30 days.

    While in the Caribbean between Oct. 12 and Jan. 16, there was plenty of food and water and lots of nice air and oxygen. That was about three months at his destination. The trip each way was about 3500 miles.

    A space-craft trip to Mars takes about 10 months, while carrying no people, no water, no food, and no oxygen. All food and water and oxygen for the trip with humans and the stay on Mars and the return trip has to be taken on-board a small spacecraft. The distance from earth to Mars is about 36 million miles or more.

    That’s why we haven’t sent people to Mars.
    Hey Sam,

    At least one of the posters on the original site also drew this analogy iirc. We antipodeans could probably substitute Cook for Columbus. I'm reading Sagan's Pale Blue Dot at the moment, and he included this quote from Cook:

    "I... had ambition not only to go farther than anyone had done before, but as far as it was possible for man to go."
    Captain James Cook
    Good book.

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    Money.

    That is the only reason.

    Now- you can write a novel on how and why that money isn't made available to do such an expedition - that, however, is a political debate, not a scientific or engineering debate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Limpus View Post
    Did anyone dig the piece?
    No.

    It didn't even answer the question. Instead it was a politcal rant, one which I would probably get banned responding to. So, I'll just sit here and wonder why such a post was allowed in the first place.

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    Limpus, is this, your OP and the other, two hours later at #4, an attempt to wind BAUTers up?

    Elections or no elections, why are you so blatantly starting to indulge in politcs here? the two countries you mention, aren't the only ones, in the world, which hold elections, you know. that you guys have to get so wound up over it and other people here have to put up with it.

    If you want to talk about Mars and / or getting there...fine...why fly off the tangent into politics.

    to be sharing your letter to your local newspaper editor at BAUT, isn't a particularly good idea. different rules involved.

    edit: i appreciate your keenness and enthusiasm for space travel, very much.
    Last edited by mahesh; 2008-Oct-07 at 01:43 PM.

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    No prospect of a manned expedition to Mars in our lifetime. Far, far too risky and costly. With present technologies, you need large numbers of space craft, and probably a large number of spares for the ones you will lose (we currently lose a high proportion of Mars bound craft). Without some entirely new, safe, cheap, compact, and very large energy source we can't even imagine yet, and may be physically impossible, I don't really see it ever happening at all. Even a sample return mission, which is feasible with present technology, is too costly at the moment.

    This paper sized the problem in relation to current technology. Even though it is now old (1952!), it is still basically correct in terms of the orders of magnitude.
    http://www.astronautix.com/craft/vonn1952.htm

    So when someone says we'll go to Mars in 20 years, that is utter pie in the sky.

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    I V, thanks a bunch for the link!
    it's going in my library

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff View Post
    No prospect of a manned expedition to Mars in our lifetime. Far, far too risky and costly. With present technologies, you need large numbers of space craft, and probably a large number of spares for the ones you will lose (we currently lose a high proportion of Mars bound craft). Without some entirely new, safe, cheap, compact, and very large energy source we can't even imagine yet, and may be physically impossible, I don't really see it ever happening at all. Even a sample return mission, which is feasible with present technology, is too costly at the moment.

    This paper sized the problem in relation to current technology. Even though it is now old (1952!), it is still basically correct in terms of the orders of magnitude.
    http://www.astronautix.com/craft/vonn1952.htm

    So when someone says we'll go to Mars in 20 years, that is utter pie in the sky.
    That page mostly glosses over the fact that space radiation is a far bigger problem than Von Braun knew. Until that problem is solved, you prolly arent going anywhere.

    I dont think the propulsion problem is as bad as it seems tho. Chemical propulsion is right out. You cannot get enough delta-v. If some of the electric systems can be matured, then ISPs in the thousands would be quite feasable.

    Power is still a problem tho. Nuclear might be able to do it. Some of the more advanced designs can provide alot of power, but they are even more immature technology than electric propulsion.

    So, I dont think that 20 years is utter pie in the sky, just mostly pie in the sky

    Still, I kinda hope someone comes up with some new tech that makes it possible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by korjik View Post

    Power is still a problem tho. Nuclear might be able to do it. Some of the more advanced designs can provide alot of power, but they are even more immature technology than electric propulsion.
    I have to disagree here. We've launched many probes over the decades that use RTG for electrical power, it's a very tried and true method of generating power. If anything, power would not be the most difficult problem going to Mars. Propulsion is another matter though.

    So, I dont think that 20 years is utter pie in the sky, just mostly pie in the sky
    This I can agree with. Unless there's a major breakthrough in propulsion technology, it's going to be a long, slow and expensive trip to Mars.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Limpus
    ... mankind will eventually have a manned outpost on Mars, perhaps even terraform the entire planet ...
    Apart from the fact that the synopsis of the history of "civilization" is on a level that was outdated even in 1901, the assumptions about human activity on Mars are wildly optimistic, to say the least.

    Terraform Mars? Why?

    Right here on Earth we have 100% of what we need to survive. Even if we screw up the planet as best we can, we still have 96%* of what we need. Mars has less than 40%*.

    So, it would be 10^14* times easier to fix up a really desolate Earth than to make Mars inhabitable.

    Terrforming Mars is like a farmer in California who lives three miles from a lake saying "well, it's kind of dry here, so I'll walk 2400 miles to Miami, swim 5000 miles to North Africa, walk to the Sahara, get rid of the sand, make it rain, and plant my crops there."

    I'd say to him "fine, see you later; by the way, can I buy your land cheap?"


    * 76,4% of all statistics are made up spontaneously.
    Last edited by kleindoofy; 2008-Oct-07 at 07:40 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by mahesh View Post
    Limpus, is this, your OP and the other, two hours later at #4, an attempt to wind BAUTers up?

    Elections or no elections, why are you so blatantly starting to indulge in politcs here? the two countries you mention, aren't the only ones, in the world, which hold elections, you know. that you guys have to get so wound up over it and other people here have to put up with it.

    If you want to talk about Mars and / or getting there...fine...why fly off the tangent into politics.

    to be sharing your letter to your local newspaper editor at BAUT, isn't a particularly good idea. different rules involved.

    edit: i appreciate your keenness and enthusiasm for space travel, very much.
    Hi Mahesh

    No not a wind up at all. I just wanted to approach the question from a different perspective, and I appreciate it probably does fly close to the wind as far as the BAUT rules go, and that not everyone would share my political views.

    In my defense though, space exploration doesn't exist in a vacuum (excuse the pun), and is very much subject to political vagaries. Take Kennedy's speech which set the agenda for Apollo, and which I admire very much and compare it to the efforts of both Presidents’ Bush who have I think attempted but failed to set an agenda for missions to Mars. I think the Cold War references are valid - Kennedy's presidency and NASA were very much about the Cold War as just one example, and a lot of NASA technology was WWII technology, much of it even originated in National Socialist Germany (I hope that's not too inflammatory, but I think its historically accurate).

    You can tell I'm not much enamored by much of the western political and economic system which rightly or wrongly prevails in the world at this time, and from which the funds and resources to travel to Mars would or would not come, as the case may be. (I'd not be expecting a lot of funds for Mars missions in the near future.) Even if you don't agree with my views, I hope I've made valid arguments that the reasons I think the current political and economic systems are not suited to great human achievements like interplanetary and interstellar travel are rooted in the particular historical skein we live in, a perspective Sagan sometimes employed in his writing (not that I'm saying Sagan would agree with my analysis).

    I'd also defend that I have mentioned the US and NZ elections, in as much as they are currently topical here and there, the question was posed in my local paper and was referring to NASA's 50th anniversary, NASA is a US government department, and we Kiwi's (some of us anyway) feel an association due to the regard NASA holds for William Pickering, former Director of JPL, and New Zealand's own Rocket Man. I meant no offense by doing so.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll try not to be too defensive if people don't agree with the piece.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kleindoofy View Post
    Apart from the fact that the synopsis of the history of "civilization" is on a level that was outdated even in 1901, the assumptions about human activity on Mars are wildly optimistic, to say the least.

    Terraform Mars? Why?

    Right here on Earth we have 100% of what we need to survive. Even if we screw up the planet as best we can, we still have 96%* of what we need. Mars has less than 40%*.

    So, it would be 10^14* times easier to fix up a really desolate Earth than to make Mars inhabitable.

    Terrforming Mars is like a farmer in California who lives three miles from a lake saying "well, it's kind of dry here, so I'll walk 2400 miles to Miami, swim 5000 miles to North Africa, walk to the Sahara, get rid of the sand, make it rain, and plant my crops there."

    I'd say to him "fine, see you later; by the way, can I buy your land cheap?"


    * 76,4% of all statistics are made up spontaneously.
    Hi Kleindoofy,

    Where would you say the historical synopsis is outdated, I'm interested in your views.

    I agree with your point that terraforming Mars, or even a manned station, doesn't make sense from the point of view that it's not a habitat suited to humans. Sagan (and I apologise for all the references, but that's what I'm reading at the moment, and I love his writing) argues that space exploration is important on another less 'logical' level, more about mankind’s drive to explore. I can appreciate the argument that it would make more sense to skip Mars (and the rest of the solar system) and go straight for exoplanets that are more Earth-like, albeit the challenges of interstellar travel are huge in the foreseeable future. Sagan was also a big advocate of robotic exploration of course.

    Edit: Sagan also argued that leaving Earth was important to mankind’s future in as much as the Earth will (statistically at least) inevitably be impacted by an extinction level asteroid, an argument which can't be countered by the fact that terraforming the Sahara would be easier.
    Last edited by Steve Limpus; 2008-Oct-07 at 08:51 PM.

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    Hi Limpus
    Look, let's not get into a dialogue/conversation, where it leads to tension, creates sour taste and negativity. So i am going to retreat/walk away from here. Gruesome is bolder.

    You obviously did not think that a letter, that you could share at a newspaper in New Zealand, may not be suitable to exhibit at BAUT. I reckon the phraseology is offensive. Very Un-BAUT!

    In your OP and the #04 post, you have not mentioned Kennedy / NASA at all, what are you saying? my reaction this afternoon was to your OP. Reading it again, just now, doesn't do anything to mitigate my annoyance, nine hours later. brings it all back.....

    I don't mean to be offending you or anybody here, either.
    some of my best friends are from NZ, as they say! i have several.

    most of your points at OP/04/14 are not for open discussion, on your thread. you can pm me if you like and i'llsendyoumyemailaddress. taking it off the BAUT.

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    Thanks for the offer to pm Mahesh, but I was kinda hoping for an invigorating conversation here on the forum, and I thought Off-Topic would be a good place.

    Never mind. All the best to you and yours Mahesh, all the same.

    If anyone wants to refer the thread to the moderators, and they agree it's inappropriate, I'll defer.

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    Invigorating conversation, sans politics, elections-wise and ranting....
    no one would be offended, if it's clean

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    I too apologize. It was not my intention to be bold or even italic. Forgive me. But while I retain the right to remain silent, it seems I have not the ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Limpus View Post
    Even if you don't agree with my views, I hope I've made valid arguments that the reasons I think the current political and economic systems are not suited to great human achievements like interplanetary and interstellar travel are rooted in the particular historical skein we live in...
    I don't agree with your views, Steve.

    However, I agree that the current politcal and economic systems are not suited to "great human achievements". That's the problem. And if that's the case, then they are wrong.

    It is my politically neutral opinion that the "concepts of ‘capital’ and ‘property’ and ‘profit’ " are not only more perfect and just than your contention, but I would profer that those are the precise principles that got us (U.S) to the moon in the first place...before the Soviet Union.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Because these things take time, grasshopper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Limpus View Post

    Sagan (and I apologise for all the references, but that's what I'm reading at the moment, and I love his writing) argues that space exploration is important on another less 'logical' level, more about mankind’s drive to explore.

    I think that’s really pretty silly. Most of “mankind” never “explores”, and the ones who do, want the rest of us to pay for their trips.


    Edit: Sagan also argued that leaving Earth was important to mankind’s future in as much as the Earth will (statistically at least) inevitably be impacted by an extinction level asteroid,
    And Mars won't be?

    This too is silly. We're here, this is our planet, and we should enjoy it while we've got a chance, and we should make this place a nice place to live while we're here. Sagan's quest for the "immortality" of humanity, by flying from planet to planet, was a fantasy, but of course it helped sell his books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    I think that’s really pretty silly. Most of “mankind” never “explores”, and the ones who do, want the rest of us to pay for their trips.
    It's human nature to explore. From infancy on- we explore. We get into everything, poke and prod and try to figure things out.
    All of mankind explores. I have explored countless mountains, forests and deserts myself.
    Sure, I wasn't the first one there. But I was the first one there To Me.

    Most of mankind are explorers. It's the first thing we do when we get to a new city. It's why we take trips and vacations.
    What is absolutely absurd beyond silly is your feeble claim that most people are not.
    That's like saying most people don't have noses.

    I, for one, am proud and glad to help fund exploration- Whether it be under the sea or out in space.
    MOST of us explorers have to do it on our own funding. Fortunately, a few do get Grants and Funding in order to explore on much larger scales.
    Worth every penny.

    What kind of Luddite thinking could ever conceive that exploration has no value?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    This too is silly. We're here, this is our planet, and we should enjoy it while we've got a chance, and we should make this place a nice place to live while we're here. Sagan's quest for the "immortality" of humanity, by flying from planet to planet, was a fantasy, but of course it helped sell his books.
    We have plenty of time to enjoy home while exploring. After-all, we seem to be stuck here.

    Sam5, for partaking in an astronomy forum, you seem profoundly anti-space and astronomy research and exploration oriented.
    I have read many of your posts that criticize exploration. I guess your kind of thinking may be necessary to keep all us Explorers in check. But if that is the case, it's a shot in the foot as well as failing miserably in its efforts.

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    I can't help it.

    I just have to post again. MY mind is so utterly boggled by the claim that most of mankind doesn't explore.

    Gee, it's the only thing we've been able to Unite under and been doing nonstop since we got bipedal with locking knees.
    Since our brains evolved beyond the concept of eat poop sleep.

    It's our thing.
    It's what we do.

    We don't explore...

    Sure... Most of mankind doesn't chase after members of the opposite sex either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gruesome View Post
    I too apologize. It was not my intention to be bold or even italic. Forgive me. But while I retain the right to remain silent, it seems I have not the ability.



    I don't agree with your views, Steve.

    However, I agree that the current politcal and economic systems are not suited to "great human achievements". That's the problem. And if that's the case, then they are wrong.

    It is my politically neutral opinion that the "concepts of ‘capital’ and ‘property’ and ‘profit’ " are not only more perfect and just than your contention, but I would profer that those are the precise principles that got us (U.S) to the moon in the first place...before the Soviet Union.

    Correct me if I'm wrong.
    I wouldn't presume to correct you Gruesome, I'm not saying my point of veiw is right, it's just my opinion, and I'm glad you've joined the debate.

    If one accepts (even just for the point of the discussion) that my general premise is somewhere on the right track, I'd absolutely agree that Facism and Communism were even more flawed than the Capitalism that emerged from the Cold War. You could take a strictly Darwinian view though, and say Communism ran Capitalism close. Apparently Churchill felt the threat so great he advocated invasion of eastern Europe as early as 1946. My own view is that in retrospect the race wasn't quite as close as it appeared at the time, there was a lot of propoganda on both sides. I don't think the Soviet Union got anywhere near the achivement that the US did with Apollo, but there was a lot of good work done by Soviet scientists, engineers and cosmonauts.

    I agree with your assertion that the US system was the right tool for the job, at the time. Living in a 'western' country myself, I'd never advocate anyone taking credit for what the US acheived, and on the other hand when I criticise nationalism and capitalism, my beef is with the concepts themselves, not the United States.

    There's much I admire about the States. To try and substantiate that claim my sons are named for an American president, one of the three heroes of my life, and for a borough of New York City, my favourite city on the planet (not that I've ever been there but because of the movies!)

    I have to stick to my guns and say I don't believe those key concepts are right or just. I really don't see that the world's wealth is distributed fairly - I see massive wealth concentrated in the hands of very few, and I just don't see the justification for it. And I don't see how that paradigm - profit over everything - could achieve the great ideas mankind nurtures now. People have pointed out, here and at the original newspaper forum, that putting astronauts on Mars would be folly from a profit perspective, it could only be achieved for a greater purpose. I'd argue the LHC was built by international co-operation and benificience, rather than nationalism and capitalism. I would think it would take a large chunk of the worlds resources to travel to Mars, and especially to the stars; or even to build the next collider or develop fusion reactors - perhaps humanity's role is steward of those resources rather than owner, for the benefit of all the world?

  25. #25
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    Jun 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Limpus View Post
    There's much I admire about the States. To try and substantiate that claim my sons are named for an American president, one of the three heroes of my life, and for a borough of New York City, my favourite city on the planet (not that I've ever been there but because of the movies!)
    Let's see. One of your sons is named Millard, and the second Staten Island.
    As above, so below

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    What kind of Luddite thinking could ever conceive that exploration has no value?
    I never said that. Exploration has plenty of value. You are over-reacting to what I said. I’m basically saying that Mars is TOO FAR AWAY. And Sagan’s idiotic fantasy of taking the entire human race (currently 6.5 billion people) to Mars to escape a comet crash with the earth is the most stupid idea I’ve heard so far this year. We’re talking science fiction stories here, not “exploration” and nothing to do with “reality”.

    If you want to explore, go visit the Yanomami. They’ve got plenty of water, food, and oxygen, and they aren’t too far away.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    I never said that. Exploration has plenty of value. You are over-reacting to what I said. I’m basically saying that Mars is TOO FAR AWAY.
    I basically agree with this. Too far away and too technically challenging. If somebody challenged me to single-handedly get to the Americans from Europe, I might not succeed but at least I could take a good try at it. But getting to Mars is in a different league. For one thing, lots of things can (and do) go wrong on a wooden ship, but you get there anyways in many cases. You can even get shipwrecked and still make it to your destination. But on the way to Mars, there's really very little leeway for error.
    As above, so below

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    You are over-reacting to what I said.
    No, not really.
    I reacted to exactly what you said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    I’m basically saying that Mars is TOO FAR AWAY. And Sagan’s idiotic fantasy of taking the entire human race (currently 6.5 billion people) to Mars to escape a comet crash with the earth is the most stupid idea I’ve heard so far this year. We’re talking science fiction stories here, not “exploration” and nothing to do with “reality”.
    It currently is not feasible.
    But that's what exploration and advancement is for.
    To make what seems daunting or even impossible into the possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam5 View Post
    If you want to explore, go visit the Yanomami. They’ve got plenty of water, food, and oxygen, and they aren’t too far away.
    I'll choose my own destinations thank you.

    Exploration is not always just about MONEY.

    It's about us- it's about LEARNING.

  29. #29
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    Why aren't we on Mars yet?

    traffic.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post

    Exploration is not always just about MONEY.

    It's about us- it's about LEARNING.

    Don't lecture me about exploration. I've done a good bit of it myself in my day, and I paid for all my trips myself. One thing I learned from exploring was that the Maya could have, and probably did, communicate between cities at night using light signals, covering hundreds of miles of communication in a single night. Their pyramids are usually well above the tops of the local tree coverage, and from atop their pyramids one can see the tops of all the other pyramids within 50 to 75 miles or more. The Anasazi of Chaco Canyon and the outliers did the same, by building fires on tops of hills. I learned this myself in Yucatan in '64, and archaeologists finally started writing about it in the '70s.

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