The Big Picture: Once Upon a Time in The Future

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I personally think that space exploration is the future of our species. Eventually, we are going to run out of resources and we'll need to mine other planets and asteroids for them. But until we have technology that makes space flight economical, it just won't be a priority. The only reason we could do it back in the day was because beating the Soviets was considered a National Security priority. We were afraid that the U.S.S.R. would put nukes on the moon or something crazy like that. So billions of dollars got thrown into R&D that ordinarily wouldn't have received a second glance. The same sort of fear in upper levels of government doesn't exist right now. The bad economy and constituent dissent are far more important to the government right now.

I think that eventually, some private industry will start exploring space for resources and that is how we'll get back off the ground.

Ive been talking about this with a friend some people still care

I'm actually happy they're cutting this program. As many have said shuttles are incredibly outdated anyway. Besides, in order to make the "cities in space" mess a reality we are going to have to hone our technology on Earth first.

We need to be able to create Giant Biodomes that can survive for decades. You know, the only thing that will truly sustain life on a dead planet. Yeah, we have a hard time keeping those things running on Earth. Need to work on them. A lot.

We need to work on safety in space travel and habitation. Again as others have brought up space isn't exactly healthy to live in. Humans did not evolve to live on mars nor a complete void.

We need to work on long distance communication. If you think living in desolate areas on Earth is lonely imagine living on a dead planet. Talk about insane isolation. Also, "space pets" might help keep people sane. No, having crew mates won't totally fix this.

Space agriculture must be perfected. We're making great progress with crops but they'll probably need a source of meat eventually (like goat). Need an efficient system for them too.

The modes of travel and the energy they need to run needs to be made a hell of a lot more efficient.

All work equipment and construction items need to be stored on the other planet from the get go. Not going to have harvest-able forests and such there.

Finally, We need to master genetics because I believe living in space will create a need for stem cell mastery. If you need an organ transplant or major surgery you aren't going to get
them from Earth. Well also need engineers because fine surgery? Work on those robots.

So, yeah none of these goals are easy but we're well on our way to making them happen. Still, putting it all together takes time. It also definitely takes the effort of far more than one country. Hell, the only way I can see this really working is if various countries are assigned a part of the overall project. In the mean time we'll just use this technology to help our condition right here. That's important for the now and the later. After all why should we leave our planet to die? What if the space colony fails? You need a stable system to fall back on. You also can't abandon anyone on Earth. We need to get education and health up to par for most as the children of the disadvantaged may be your vital future crew.

Couple of notes:
1. commercial space flight is a growing industry (KLM (and thus Air France) hopped aboard this year for one).

2. the Russians are currently testing humans in isolation for the period of time it would cost to get to Mars with current technology.

3. Warren Ellis did this rant in the foreword of Orbiter years ago. "We cannot let manned spaceflight become our past."

So we're not dead yet but the dream is faded in the minds of lots of people, which is very sad indeed.

Yes, it is unfortunate, Space travel and planet colonisation should be the next big step for a race that is rapidly running out of space on their current planet, and kind of done all it can do in its current state, I mean, we're making everything IN 3D now! We're clearly out of idea's, it's time to move out and go to Mars.

It's sad but I think it isn't over yet.

...

Aulleas123:
You have a point that the infrastructure is publicly built, which is what I loosely mentioned. However almost any form of transportation is going to have some privatization along with public oversight.

tokugawa98:
Why? I completely fail to see why this would be true and I haven't so far read an argument making this point

If you run a ground, air, or sea freight service, it's doesn't have to be owned by the government. Individual companies own FedEx and UPS, not the government. They work with government but most of their business is an exchange between private hands. However, what I meant was with all of these forms of transportation, they often have public regulation. Most of this is completely reasonable and necessary, but to think that government runs these companies is just not true. I don't think that's what you meant, but it's what I meant to argue against.

Aulleas123:
My whole point is that the public side is not doing so hot right now, so it would not be unreasonable for private business to pick up the pieces. Sure, it'll need public oversight, I'd be alarmed if it didn't. But every truck on the road and airplane in the air is not government owned, most of these are owned through businesses.

tokugawa98:
The problem being, of course, that air travel was partially privatized when the technology was relatively mature. And this maturation is what's not gonna happen in space travel if governments pull out, since there's as of yet no money to be made of it.

I actually disagree with you here. To say that we will not advance the field outside of governments' help doesn't seem to fit history. When Bell invented the telephone, he did it with his own innovation and not government funding. The same can be said of the light bulb, the personal computer, and the airplane. Government latched on to some these ideas later and helped to innovate them further, but the original innovation was not necessarily the work of government. In the case of space travel, government did start the process and now have let it go. I think it can mature to a point either that the private sector will take it over or government will become interested again. Only time will tell which one will happen.

Aulleas123:
Also, you make a claim about research and development, I'm pretty sure that Boeing is not publicly owned. Their whole thing is creating innovation from aviation research. Some of which would be federally funded through contracts, however much of it is done through private means as well.

tokugawa98:
Not publicly owned, but much of it publicly funded. And when you look at actual aviation break-throughs or for that manner, other scientific/technological break-throughs, how many were privately financed?

Ferdinand von Zeppelin paid for the invention of the Zeppelin out of pocket. The Wright brothers received no federal funding. And SpaceShipOne was privately funded too. These are just aviation innovations. I could go on with other innovations but I think that would take too much time.

Aulleas123:
After all, Chewie and Han didn't fly on a government owned starship, did they?

tokugawa98:
I know, you're just kidding but still...if capitalism doesn't give the incentives to develop space travel, then Chewie and Han simply don't fly at all or we first need a regression to a quasi-feudal dictatorship which then develops the technology without a profit motive - but also for use in a world in which I'd wanna live even less than in a capitalist one.

Hey, I like capitalist societies far more than any other type of society (as you can tell!). But to each their own.

I am very, very sad now.

I guess my kids'll have to convince the government that there is actually more to space than no oxygen.

what happend? i'l tell you what happend. We woke the fuck up.

1) Its not doable with what we know so far.
space is big, i really shouldn't have to say it. I mean the moon maybe, Mars simply isn't. Not with what we can do now. i mean a back and forth trip would take about 4 years last i heard. Thats 4 years of food, water and air that need to be supplied.

Not to mention the effect weightlessness and radiation would have. And no, just spending more on space programs isn't gonna fix these things.

2) its a Waste of money. Sure Bob might be enough of a ass to favor some SF wetdream over the lives and problems of actual people but thats his problem. I mean so what if we get a city on Mars or the Moon? Its a prestige project, a decadent waste of money. As for "humanity doing you favors", you mean apart from everything around you? On the other hand i'm sure you get allot of nice stuff and friends out of space. And frankly Bob is one of the last people that should complain about humanity not focusing on the right things.

3) the space shuttle was crap. The thing was a jack of trades, ill suited for most jobs. Plus it was falling apart.

Now if you really care, you could donate money, or quit your job and go help out. But some how i don't think thats gonna happen.

MovieBob:
Once Upon a Time in The Future

This week, Bob rants about the abandonment of the Space Shuttle program.

Watch Video

Just letting you know, MB, that a few friends and I are going to watch the last night and shuttle launch on the 17th. Thought you'd like to know. ^.^

Two words Bob: Rockets suck.

Rockets are an awful way of getting things into space. The problem is it's the only feasible way we have at the moment. Until that gets fixed, either through better fuel or Space Elevators (which is what I'm personally hoping for) or something else entirely, I'm okay with space exploration being put on hold.

Building a raft is fine when you went to hop to the little island just off the coast, just to see if you can. But if you want to travel across an entire ocean to another planet, you need a better boat.

I loathe being mostly on the unpopular side of this debate, I really really do because I am deeply passionate about colonising other planets and exploring beyond our solar system, beyond our star system, beyond our galaxy, and maybe one day with enough exponential luck coming into contact with other intelligent life, or even discovering the relics of any advanced culture of extinct species, and all the inexplicably ultimately staggering possibilities all this opens to our race. Humanity as a collective needs to come together and put our greatest minds to the task of making these, inevitable necessities a reality (necessities in that, the earth is finite and humanity can potentially long outlast it). However disease and extreme poverty are problems we face immediately, and threaten to undermine everything I desperately hope humanity will express to any such intelligent life we are fortunate enough to be given the chance to exchange pleasantries and cultures with. Going out there, the odds are astronomically against us coming back with anything but a requirement for time and labour to put what we already have here, on there. What would our new inter-galactic allies think of us when they discovered, rather than ease the suffering of those already on our planet in their many millions, we decided to buy a new city? Well I guess that depends on if they're prone to mass genocide or violent xenophobia, but I would hope they'd value that life however futile and of limited significance it is. The NASA program was only a fraction of America's budget, but of humanities "budget"? Of the cities we could build here to home, educate and provide medicine to those who already need it. I can't justify that, especially when I consider how vastly humanity has failed those of us who hope beyond hope and put our all into furthering our species, when the rest of the world would rather gawp at dull witted uneducated marketing-clones in music / television / etc... and fill their lives with meaningless beyond futile (not to mention stagnating) bile. Humans on another planet would be like the humans here, lazy, opinionated without empirical or logical basis, and driven by the desire to get ever shrinking audio devices. Most of us would completely lack any modicum of appreciation of understanding of what we'd have achieved would we put them on Mars. This generation of humanity has yet to mature, allowing too many of it's own gaping wounds to go untreated. The wounds are festering, and we shall be judged forever as a species by how we treat our less fortunate and weak. Well at least judged until the universe ends since there is as of yet no conceivable means of surviving longer than it (Unless time travel is possible, but that opens a whole new complex web of arguments and problems). Humanity needs to grow up and acquire drive not for a solution petty squabbles, not from desire for financial or influential superiority, and certainly not to further the abhorrent "advancements" of the fatuous and misguided. If we send humanity to colonise space we benefit only the few who would use it as a platform to much greater achievements ad infinitum.

In conclusion, the issues those who you passively mocked with the whole "hypochondriac" and "nay-sayer" montage, are as relevant now as they will be to what we reveal ourselves to be to the universe and all it's potential for wondrous adventure and discovery and equally it's horrors and foulest spawn. Not only is it the very basest of human requirements we allow to go unsatisfied, but there are much greater threats looming ominously over our collective heads. The issue with energy is very real and all as if not more so important than space exploration, poverty or medicine. Global warming is really shit. It's beyond shit. It supercedes shit a billion fold. It is the single most prevailing threat to our existence for the significant future. Earth is nothing if not a test, a trial of what we are capable of, how we treat each other and our environment when we comprehend a little of that capability, and a lesson in how to sustain, to endure and to be prosperous. That's my opinion anyway.

cathou:
actually, what happened to the space program is that the USA lack a competitor. The WW2 and the cold war with the USSR, as bad wars are, did give a big kick in the ass to the humanity. By fearing that the communist would populate the moon first, the USA push themselve over their limit and created the apollo program. Now that the focus is only on war against terrorist, that push is no longer there. I bet that if al-kaida was an actual country and that they were trying to go on mars first, chance are that the space program would be still nicely funded.

This is my point. Hold out hope Bob because as soon as China or India or Japan starts gettin ready for something like colonization, we'll be on that shit like flies.

e: ^^ Holy shit that was an extremely convincing suicide suggestion.

Semi-Human:
what happend? i'l tell you what happend. We woke the fuck up.

1) Its not doable with what we know so far.
space is big, i really shouldn't have to say it. I mean the moon maybe, Mars simply isn't. Not with what we can do now. i mean a back and forth trip would take about 4 years last i heard. Thats 4 years of food, water and air that need to be supplied.

Not to mention the effect weightlessness and radiation would have. And no, just spending more on space programs isn't gonna fix these things.

2) its a Waste of money. Sure Bob might be enough of a ass to favor some SF wetdream over the lives and problems of actual people but thats his problem. I mean so what if we get a city on Mars or the Moon? Its a prestige project, a decadent waste of money. As for "humanity doing you favors", you mean apart from everything around you? On the other hand i'm sure you get allot of nice stuff and friends out of space. And frankly Bob is one of the last people that should complain about humanity not focusing on the right things.

3) the space shuttle was crap. The thing was a jack of trades, ill suited for most jobs. Plus it was falling apart.

Now if you really care, you could donate money, or quit your job and go help out. But some how i don't think thats gonna happen.

Glad I read your post it sums up my thoughts precisely.

If MB would take a basic college level astronomy class he'd see how insignificant the earth is in comparison to the rest of the galaxy not to mention the rest of the universe. History tends to mock those who have power (in MB's hypothetical) and insist on stargazing and living in a fantasy world.

I don't think Humanity is actually prepared for the notion of self sufficient planetary/moon colonisation barring possibly our own. I mean self sufficiency (barring replacement of personnel, as having children born in low gravity environments would inevitably create weaker humans unfit for any sort of labour) is a logical step if you have colonisation.

But the idea of a self sufficient extension of another country into space? No one nation has ownership of space.... that means weapons and extension of nationalism into a realm that is beyond measureable yet incredibly sparse overrall.

You're talking about many trillion dollar investments in space that peaople would see as viable targets during armed conflict.

In a world of religion and nationalism I doubt any facility would last long enough before an 'accident' destroyed it, and that the losses would be so extreme as to remove them from any nation's current budget.

Sad truth is that religion and nationalism have to go before we can pool the resources and risk such grand adventure for the greater sake of Humanity. Otherwise we just end up with some lunatic crippling their organization.

Ya know, people HAVE seen that it's viable to go to Mars. You can actually make the resources needed to survive there and we can hop there every two years. That's when the orbit of Earth and Mars are the closest together.

I was downtrodden and devastated when I heard we no longer have a plan to go to Mars. But here's the thing. Think about what happened in the 60s. We had those damn Commies to fight and beat into space (well, we played catchup). The great thing is to hear about China and India going up.

We just need to actually convince our government it doesn't cost billions of dollars, merely a few million to make the crafts necessary. Further, we need a new government that doesn't want to be as corrupt as the US government is.

I think it's GREAT that NASA is going down, it's bloated and about as progressive as Rush Limbaugh as of late.

Let the private industry take over and compete with each other, keep NASA around as a purely research base group.

WorkerMurphey:
It's hard for me to give a shit about the space program with the economy still mostly in the shitter. I'm not waiting for world peace or a cure for every disease to make space exploration a possibility but in terms of priorities, space isn't too high up there for me. It seems that most politicians seem to agree.

I'd rather see money for NASA going to slightly more tangible and (perhaps) immediate goals like changing the way we go about creating energy.

Troofus. It'd be nice, but come on. Besides Bob, why should the world start doing nice things for you, like pandering to your (and mine, and lots of other people's) nerdy dreams about space cities? You might start by doing something nice for the world first.

the antithesis:
We've been to the moon and lost interest because we found nothing of value.

That's pretty much it. Space became boring because there was nothing in it for us. Sure, there is likely precious metal and other resources throughout the cosmos, but good luck getting at any of it. At present, reaching the moon is the best we can hope for and getting there and back safely is still dicey. Much less setting up colonies on other celestial bodies.

Take my word for it, this will never happen unless a gold deposit is found. Only then will space travel become interesting again. The television show Ice Road Truckers are not delivering supplies to a bunch of hippies living in peace and harmony. They are delivering to a diamond mine. Unless similar materials of value are found and a stellar gold rush ensues, space exploration will move forward very slowly, if at all. It is too costly and ultimately uninteresting to do for its own sake.

Well there are trillions of trillions of dollars worth of metals (just about all of them) in the asteriod belt. Just a stone's throw from Mars.

I actually plan on working in this field when I graduate college, assuming there still is one...

Gindil:
We had those damn Commies to fight and beat into space (well, we played catchup).

Well, here's my understanding of it (of course, I forgot the names of the people...)

The russians faked their first second orbit with that Yuri Gagarin (sp?). They did try to go up once before that, but crashed and the guy was so badly burned they couldn't parade him around as the first man in space. So they faked Yuri's to get a nation hero. Shortly thereafter, we tried and failed then strapped a rocket to Alan Shepard's (was that his name?) ass and flung him out of the atmosphere (didn't orbit the earth, just left the air for a short time). Then we went to the moon first. (yes we did)

We need some competitor to beat in an attempt to show off to the rest of the world. Without it, we don't have any national interest in the space program and Obama has to cut funding to fund economic recovery. Which the public is much more concerned about and the no more NASA thing slipped by unnoticed. Which I am angry about because I wanted to work for them...

*crosses "The Big Picture" off of "Must Watch" list*

Alright, your time is up. I gave you three episodes to make me not want to fuck your kidneys with a knife, but you failed. Your voice fills me with hatred and the subjects you cover are pointless. Go whine on a forum somewhere you can be ignored.

...

tokugawa98:
Finally, a personal question: Since you claim to prefer a capitalist society to any other: if from tomorrow on you could do whatever you wanted, pursue your own goals, research the stuff you wanna, maybe create art, philosophize, teach people, whatever - all without having to think for one second whether there's someone willing to pay you for it so you can in turn buy food, shelter etc - would you really reject this to continue living as you do right now?

I would reject it because I care about other peoples' success because their success makes the world a better place. If I, or any other consumer, doesn't care about the research, art, food, medicine, or any service, then they fail. If I get everything for free, many people get screwed over. To me, this seems to be a difference in orientation. I prefer that people get what they deserve for the work they deserve, a sort of orientation for achievement. If people work and get rewarded (with profit), they'll continue to work and maybe even aim for a bigger reward (bigger profit). Without the promise of rewards, people won't work; Human nature at its finest.

Look, you can respond to this if you want to, but this discussion is simply a difference of background and belief; which is the equivalent of us bashing our heads against the wall. Yes, Capitalism and corporations has done some terrible things, but so have socialist, monarchical, and even democratic governments. Ultimately this stems from us all being human and us all screwing everything up. I just believe that the evils of capitalism are more acceptable than the evils of not having capitalism.

Ultimately, you don't like corporations or privatization of space. I do. Much easier than yelling at each other, yes?

Darks63:
The main problm with cities on Mars Bob is we lack terraforming technology to make Mars and the Moon places worth living on. Overall I share ur regret over humanity seeming to be in a tech slump where we try to make a ever cooler cell phones while other dream techs get no time. Sadly much like before we probably need a war to galvenize tech to go forward again, as long as its not nuclear.

We also didn't have the necessary technology to breathe where there is no air.
We goddamn made it.

I hope this picks back up, because the fact that it gets relegated away because it makes no profit. Capitalism shouldn't shatter the dreams of man, or what should be the dreams of man.

I'm only watching American Idol until the Singularity arrives!

Daystar Clarion:
Bad move America, looks like it's up to Britian and the space S.A.S. to discover Prothean technology on mars. Don't worry, we'll share the discovery... for a price.

the space S.A.S. indeed, captain price, the firs man on mars...

smiles'o'death:

Daystar Clarion:
Bad move America, looks like it's up to Britian and the space S.A.S. to discover Prothean technology on mars. Don't worry, we'll share the discovery... for a price.

the space S.A.S. indeed, captain price, the firs man on mars...

Not quite, his moustache got there first...

These are some pictures I took of the last "Night launch" with my cell phone. I'm about 50 miles away, and I can actually hear the roar of the shuttle when it launches.

Space Shuttle Mission: STS-130
Endeavour is in Orbit

http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000411.jpg
(This was right before the launch)
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000414.jpg
(The glow on the horizon as the clouds North East of me are lit up)
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000414a.jpg
(This is the first picture of the actual shuttle)
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000414b.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000415.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000415a.jpg
(This is a little bit later, as the rocket moved away)
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000416.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000416a.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000416b.jpg
(You can actually see the two side external tanks breaking off in this shot)
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000416c.jpg
http://i36.photobucket.com/albums/e38/MrKitties/0208000419.jpg
(This is as the rocket moved over the Northern horizon)

About this example with Gienie...
I would choose peace on earth
Why?
I LOVE the idea of space exploring, unfortunatelly this isn't going to help those people in North Korea, who're eating grass and dying in concentration camps right now. Also it's very likely that the same mess we have here on earth, will be shifted on another planets AND THAT would be a bulls**t. :-/
Think about that... With a world peace, we would be truly united, so with a common work and engagement, we would COLONIZE our galaxy IN NO TIME

i feel that way two

I Don't think u should be talking about a game u have never played.
The Covenit at trying to kill of the human race, so we have to fight off when ever attacks us.
The Eyes turning blue is a computer system, and blue is the lest bights color.
There are only so much of a personality u can have, Would u rater have the Girl be all nice a sweet, the Big Old Guy be a hard ass, NO u would criticizes on it no mater how they act.
There no diverse because only "Humans" are fighting the Covenit, no dogs, or lions.
U should stick to Movie, i like your Movie Reviews

Couldn't agree more Bob, I look up at the sky all the time and wonder what might be if we put more effort into it, instead of effort into making the next reality T.V. show or another round of sexual enhancement drugs for the obscenely elderly.

Sad, sad indeed. But you're not alone, I just think that we're in a country that doesn't care about lofty ideals and goals anymore.

Snip

Bob,

Really? Peace on Earth or cities on Mars...and you choose Mars? Just...wow.

One of the most beautiful things about massive endeavors such as space exploration is the way it brings people together. It gives them a reason to set aside their differences and work together for a common goal. What do you think the astronauts themselves would say? "Hey, Buzz Aldrin. I know there's this whole Red Scare thing going on that has children hiding under their beds at night for fear of being dashed off the face of the Earth in a nuclear holocaust...but wouldn't it be really neato to go stand on the moon and swing a golf club around? I have a magic button right here that could put an end to the tension, paranoia, and specter of worldwide annihilation...but if you press it, you can just forget about planting that flag!" Do you REALLY think he'd be like, "Fuck everybody because I've had a bad run. Let them burn, for all I care. Let's light this candle! WOO!"

You make a point of highlighting how shallow and indifferent America has become...yet you're every bit as guilty and short-sighted as anyone you would jab your finger at. Yeah, space exploration has been put on the backburner. In case you haven't noticed, our economy isn't exactly thriving and we're hemorrhaging resources into a war against an IDEAL. Have you observed what happens any time somebody mentions raising taxes? The country shits its collective pants. Where's the money supposed to come from? Sacrifices have to be made. Yeah, I would rather see the war end than NASA lose funding, but that's just not how it played out. Does that mean America has written off space exploration altogether? If you really think that, you're as naive as you are childish.

Sheesh.

The USS Mountain Dew with Captain Crunch and first officer Hamburger Helper.

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