The Big Picture: Once Upon a Time in The Future

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I agree with Bob on this one. History has shown us that when cultures stop trying to expand, they stagnate and die. There's only so much expansion room left here.

Anywho, at leas Stephen Colbert stuck up for the space program...
EDIT: Sorry for the rant, I'm back from my dark place now.

AssassinJoe:
You want to know why no one cares about space anymore? Because when we went to the moon you know what we found? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Because of that, we got bored with space, hell, the only reason we went to the moon in the first place was because the Russians beat us to orbit and we had to one-up them somehow.

And Mars is already Red AND Dead

Amen, Bob!

We'd rather spend trillions on equipment and weaponry to destroy the planet than the few billion extra it would take to make these dreams a reality. And for all of you people who complain that there are too many problems here on Earth: NASA is not your enemy. Militarism and Greed are the enemy!

NASA's annual budget is something like 19 or 20 billion dollars (generally somewhere around one half of one per cent of the total budget). The US spends TRILLIONS on "defense" programs - well over 20% of our annual budget. (And that's only the things they'll talk about publicly, not including all the black budget stuff.) Something like 40% of the military spending in the world is done by the U.S. ALONE.

Why is that? Legislators LOVE military spending, because it brings jobs and cash to their districts. Why can't we shift some of that over to science and space exploration? Why can't we shift some of that over to HELPING people here on Earth, too? Because the U.S. government is owned - lock stock and barrel - by huge corporate interests, who spread the cash around Washington: military contractors, banks, Big Pharma, agribusiness and insurance companies. As long as those companies, with almost endless resources at their disposal, are given the same rights as the voting citizen (MORE rights, actually, as they never die, and very few individuals within these organizations is ever held personally accountable for anything), this is what our future will hold ... what's left of it, that is.

Dwight Eisenhower warned us about this in 1961. If we were too stupid or lazy or ignorant to stop this from happening, well ... I guess we're getting what we deserve.

Good luck China and India - I guess the future is yours now. Try not to fuck it up, like we have.

~Cheers!

7

p.s. Sorry to be such a downer, but this whole thing gets my blood boiling. So no, Bob - you're NOT alone.

MovieBob:
Once Upon a Time in The Future

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

Watch Video

You are not alone Bob. I followed the last Discovery launch in every detail, from the inital launch date to the delays. I am saddened USA gave up but there is always room for hope. Like you stated, other corperations and counteries are pushing for this. Space tourism might not be what you are looking for but it might help you out in the long run.

Either way, I'd make the exact same choice if you ask me.

*sigh* At this rate, the only way we're going to discover practical interplanetary travel is if actual aliens show up...

Serious: Yes I know there are other space programs, but still...

Bob, if I had the same magic genie choice, I would go with the same choice as you, it would help push the "evolution" of mankind,

AjimboB:

Jesus Phish:

AjimboB:
The problem that the space program faces is a lack of tangible goals. The reason people used to care about NASA was because of the cold war, and the goal of NASA was to beat the soviets, and show American dominance and supremacy through science. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, the US hasn't had an enemy on the same technological level as us, so most people no longer care about progressing technology, unless it's being made by Apple.

The thing about people is that most of them have no foresight, and don't care about the future. This is the EXACT SAME reason for America's recent economic collapse, people not caring about the future, borrowing and spending money that they don't have, with a live now, care later kind of attitude.

When people don't have a direct, tangible goal for the future, they forget that the future even exists, which is why this program is being shut down. This is sad.

I've always thought the best goal for space travel is so that when the time comes, humanity wont be destroyed by our sun going nova on us.

See, that's the problem. What you're describing isn't a tangible goal, because the sun exploding is SOO far off that no one in the world can care to think that far ahead.

Even a goal like "manned mission to Mars within 20 years" is difficult for most people to grasp. People want their goals to be baby steps, yet at the same time, to somehow be significant, which is the basic problem faced by the space program, because the baby steps seem insignificant to people who don't understand the principles behind space travel, yet are fundamentally necessary for the final goal.

Agreed 100% with you there. It's just like a math function. People don't care about all the little steps to get an output from an input, they just want to get the output asap.

Sorry Bob, can't agree with you on this. Still entertaining as always.

I'm not even american and i'm pissed off that america has canned the shuttle! How as a species are we gonna advance without pushing ourselves to explore and colonize space?

that episode was fantastic, why want to linger out here and watch x-factor and americas got talent rather then going to space?

It's not just space flight the governments of the world want to NOT spend any money on, but rather, they don't want any progression of science or knowledge or even education, the budget cuts of universities and schools etc. is evidence of that :(. Also, why do the governments spend so little money on anything related to science at all? I believe that the progression of knowledge and the advancements of the human race are more important than some stupid wars, but the US have spent more money on the Iraq war than on their education system...
I weep for humanity.

JoeyMousepadd:
I don't understand how asking for proof of where Obama was born is racist.

You either don't know many racists or you are one.

The man has been in office for two years. The question has been answered so many times, it's stupid. They only ones still harping about it are just upset a black man got into the white house. And the only reason they won't let it go at this point is because they can be racist while sounding like they have a legitimate complaint.

Personally, I'd take a huge chunk out of the military budget and give it to nasa...and schools...and health care...why the fuck is the military budget so DAMN high?! But there is hope, I've been reading in space.com and popular science that there are options, such as a successful test flight of an unmanned space plane a few months ago, it's mission is still classified but I imagine it can be used to ferry cargo and even personnel to the ISS, not to mention there are independent space stations going up, and they even finally managed to launch robonaut! ROBONAUT! We have a humanoid robot in space right now! Plus scramjets that can get an orbiter up at a tiny fraction of a space shuttle launch's cost. Never lose hope for the future Bob.

I remember watching a documentary on this a few years ago, about group scientists working at Lockheed Martian figured out how to get to Mars within 10 years over 10 years ago, using current tech and cheap, NASA was all behind the plan before certain groups in NASA realised that a whole lot of their pet projects would be caned, the cheapest way to get to Mars was to go straight there, so no space station, no moon base.
So there reason there is no NASA base on Mars is NASA, blame them.

You know what this means, time for a super evil organization to take charge here and be the first to mars. Yes we will have cities but also giant lasers, because we "evil" people are impractical and giant lasers are a must. It's ok to be evil every now and then Bob, so grow your evil beard and get to mars!

MovieBob:
Once Upon a Time in The Future

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

Watch Video

Even if it does make you the bad guy, the trick is to remember, they get things done. Good guys, keep the status quo in place.

On a side note. I've always said, if they looked for volunteers to colonize Mars, I'm there.

Yeah I fully agree with you Bob. And it's not like the billions spent on getting us into space would somehow solve world hunger and poverty. Ok maybe in theory they could do that, but they would never ever be used for it> They'll probably be diverted to some pointless miltary program to create.. I dunno robot seals that are supposed to shoot down missiles with lasers. Except that they can't and even if they could, its not like an enemy missile can't deploy counter-measures and decoys. But I digress.

My point is the space program is not only awesome, its fundamental to our advancement, cellphones, global communications, satellites that let you talk to someone on the other side of the world in real time. That's all thanks to the space program. GPS in your car, space program. Google maps, space program. People don't care about the space program because they think it doesn't effect them. But it does, it effects all of us in our daily lives. If anything we're more likely to solve world hunger through the space program then anything else.

I mean really, your getting a bunch of hyper brilliant people together and giving them something they can fucking get excited about to work on rather then creating a slightly smaller iGadget or new perfume that smells like Agent Orange. How can you go wrong?

I feel the same way bob. What really dug into me was that the government decided that now the "foremost misson" of nasa was muslim outreach, and not getting us into space like it is supposed to

the antithesis:
Take my word for it, this will never happen unless an unobtanium deposit is found. Only then will space travel become interesting again.

Fixed. But this is the best point made so far.

However, considering the cost of space travel, the precious substance would need to be way more valuable than gold. Mining planets is in no way feasible at the moment.

Good one Bob, and this is something I wholeheartedly agree with. It also really ticked me off when I found out that the Space Shuttles were being wound down and there was nothing left to replace them. I remember discussing one time with my dad (who had the fortune of being around at the time of the moon landing) the topic of space travel and I expressed my displeasure that, since that time, we've someone only managed to send people to an orbiting space station, something that is actualy closer to the Earth than the moon is.

It also saddens me to think I'll now likely never witness a shuttle launch first hand. I remember holidaying in Florida as a kid with the family and we parked somewhere to watch a scheduled shuttle launch. It was all very exciting. Alas, as they reached the latter stages of the launch preparations (we were able to follow the launch on the car radio, if I recall correctly), the whole thing was called off. Talk about gutted.

Alas, looks like until we somehow get to Mars under our own steam and find the alien technology hidden aware there, or discover some ring shaped transportation device buried in the desert on Earth, we'll jyst have to keep dreaming about reaching the farthest reaches of space anytime soon...

Also, with regards to the genie choice, I'd also go with the second choice. Sure you could end poverty and all that for a little while, but eventually the corrupt and selfish nature of mankind would take over and things would go back to the way they were. I'd much rather experience the excitement and possibilities of colonising another planet within my lifetime.

Onyx Oblivion:
Poor Bob.

It fell out of the media spotlight, Bob. That's all that happened. The media would rather give Justin Beiber a music award, or show pictures of racist right-wing idiots, or talk about how to shop safely on Black Friday.

It took one post for the dismantlement of the space program to be blamed upon Justin Bieber.

Should call this theJustinBieberMagazine.com

Jesus Phish:

AjimboB:
The problem that the space program faces is a lack of tangible goals. The reason people used to care about NASA was because of the cold war, and the goal of NASA was to beat the soviets, and show American dominance and supremacy through science. Since the Soviet Union collapsed, the US hasn't had an enemy on the same technological level as us, so most people no longer care about progressing technology, unless it's being made by Apple.

The thing about people is that most of them have no foresight, and don't care about the future. This is the EXACT SAME reason for America's recent economic collapse, people not caring about the future, borrowing and spending money that they don't have, with a live now, care later kind of attitude.

When people don't have a direct, tangible goal for the future, they forget that the future even exists, which is why this program is being shut down. This is sad.

I've always thought the best goal for space travel is so that when the time comes, humanity wont be destroyed by our sun going nova on us.

Our sun going nova on us is so incredibly far down the track that its probable humanity wont even exist then (like billions of years). A more realistic, and probable, scenario is humanity using up all of earth's natural resources or destroying the planet beyond repair. That could happen in a hundred years, not like our sun going nova.

I'm a bit surprised you didn't quote Carl Sagan for his works on showing that humanity is more same than different and that our differences are insignificant compared to our similarities. Basically I'm referencing the Pale Blue dot and the quotation by Carl Sagan where all we are miniscule, a tiny pixel and that the stars are where we should be looking..but that's possibly another topic/area than Bob was pointing to.

That being said..coming from a NASA based area, they're pretty fired up about it but I'm not sure if it's due to the Tea Party or other political organizations but there used to be a lot of activity among my circle of friends a few months ago and it's just died down.

I can't believe this is the first I'm hearing of this, not the shuttle program being retired, but the apathy regarding funding a replacement. I'm with you though, if I find a genie or something that grants me a wish I'll be wishing for interstellar space travel and terraforming to be discovered and perfected by 2025.

First time ive heard of it ,but i don`t really care since there are more important things to spend money on in this shitty economy.

That last part he said at the end about seeing the future instead of a screensaver really resonated with me. I think what happened to us is, yes, we got bored. Sure, we went to the moon, but that was over fourty years ago, now. And sure, we have the space station, but nothing nearly as viscerally thrilling as the moon landing has really occurred since then. In that time a generation has reached middle-age, and we, their children, haven't seen anything quite that monumental since then.

I think we've just been jaded from all of this inactivity. We've been talking about Mars for, what 20 years now? I've barely been alive that long. It's hot, then it's cold. We're going to Mars, and then we're not going to Mars. All of these plans for advancement have been so flaky recently that it doesn't seem worth it anymore. We've talked about it for so long it's lost its appeal.

And to me, that is incredibly, incredibly sad. Somehow, the final frontier is just not thrilling enough anymore. I mean, where would we be if Columbus had gotten bored with the idea of sailing to the new world? Or if Lewis and Clark just didn't feel like exploring the western wilderness?

You are FAR from the only one. I am absolutely obsessed with space, and the entire idea of interplanetary colonization fills me with wonder, hope, and AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW YEAH!!!!!!!!!

Fuck the poor. No, I don't mean that. But let's face it, since when did the poor get in the way with making cool shit? Since when do people actually do something about the problems Earth is facing instead of just complaining about them? The answer: very little for both.

So why not expand? We're doing it with technology already; why not do it to technology that matters. Like it or not, space exploration will be MANDATORY for future survival. Hell, what about those mineral rich asteroids circling around the sun? I think we could solve a few problems with diminishing resources if we started sticking buildings on the bigger ones.

The entire concept of building a structure on the moon or Mars gets me giddy. When they announced Constellation was to be disbanded, I was devastated. If I ever become the US president (I won't), I'm taking money out of education and all that boring shit and putting it into space travel. I'm also going to act really liberal until the Republicans start getting pissed. Then I'm going to act really conservative. Don't ever elect me president.

Screw China and India. America got to the moon first, and we should get to Mars first. We own the moon already (there's a flag on it; I think that constitutes ownership), so we should probably start building stuff on it before someone else does.

The thing is there is no reason for us to go to the moon or Mars. There aren't any natural resources worth spending billions of dollars to obtain. Unfortunately that's what make the world go round. If there was something up there that is worth all that money spent, then we would have colonized the moon years ago.

I think its cause we got impatient. we started to think that it would never happen in our lifetimes so we stop caring. we think that because by the time we're old and wrinkly that at most we'll have set up a sort of data post on the moon which will gather data on stuff like the atmosphere on earth. I agreee, i would go for the city on mars, world peace was never meant to happen since war is how we keep the population down at a safe number

What the hell this sucks major ass.

What the hell? Are you guys kidding me?

The reason the constellation program was cancelled was because it was a useless bloated money hole that would spend 25 years building antiquated technology and cumulate in sending a few astronauts to the moon to do jack diddily squat other than pose for a few photo ops that america can wave around to prove its superiority to the rest of the world. By the time they go to mars most people here would be in their 60s or 70s, and it would just be a meaningless touch & go mission anyway. the Constellation program was 9 years old and so behind schedule, underfunded and over budget that meeting any of its goals wouldn't be possible.

The program that replaced it seems far more optimistic to me. Instead of just simple exploration, it involves A Flexible Path to inner solar system locations, such as lunar orbit, Lagrange points, near-Earth objects and the moons of Mars, followed by exploration of the lunar surface and/or Martian surfaces, a systematic expansion into space. including cost-effective HLVs (Heavy lift vehicles, e.g. space elevators)more robust spacestations and engineering facilities, a focus on Interplanetary spaceflight, and a stated goal of placing colonies, not just expeditions, but colonies, on the Moon, Mars, Phobos and Deimos.

The fact is cancelling the constellation program has not only upped the chance of significant space exploration within our lifetimes, it's insanely upped the chance the portion of the general population will experience it.

BlueInkAlchemist:
I grew up wanting to go into space. When eyesight and other factors made it clear that I wasn't cut out for that life, I focused on writing about space instead.

Bob, I like you am glad that the luminaries of science fiction, from Heinlein to Roddenberry, are, for the most part, dead. This would sadden all of them. It certainly does me.

There are groups on Facebook and whatnot who are interested in seeing programs like Constellation continue. Unfortunately, we're a minority. Since we're not screaming racist epithets or ignorant insults at our current Commander in Chief, it's unlikely we'll be heard. This is a country where clever and smart television like Firefly, Better Off Ted and Rome have to knife-fight for their audience share while American Idol, Jersey Shore and Cougar Town make embarassingly large piles of money for people who don't give a damn about this planet or anybody on it save themselves, to say nothing of other planets that might sustain our population if we just put our minds to it instead of waiting for the next pandering, flickering image to come at us between advertisements.

This is in response to you talking about the TV shows, it's pathetic really, hat people would rather watch trash then intelligent shows that make you think, disgusting

eldera1:
The thing is there is no reason for us to go to the moon or Mars. There aren't any natural resources worth spending billions of dollars to obtain. Unfortunately that's what make the world go round. If there was something up there that is worth all that money spent, then we would have colonized the moon years ago.

That is true, however the Moon and Mars offer us something that we are slowly running out of here on Earth: square footage. If we can find a feasible way to have people travel to live there and be self-sufficient, it is very possible for full-sized colonies to live there. And with the vast square footage Mars has to offer, we can significantly ease up on real estate here and let our natural resources replenish themselves.

That is very far into the future, but as they say, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one, single step. And if we stop taking steps, we're never going to get there. Then we can solve overpopulation with some other lovely systems...like federally mandated birth limits, or mass murders.

The problem with Space Travel is that it's hard.

Not tough hard.
Not even Nintendo hard.

We're talking obscenely hard. And with nothing to find except dreams.

See, it's not even about the toughness of getting into space - which is tough like MarioKart 150cc.

Or getting back from Space, which is tough like R-Type when you lose your powerups.

It's staying in Space, which is killing you faster than IWBTG on Nightmare. See, everything out there is not Earth, so it wants to eat you alive.

But it's still a dream.

You may have noticed recently that dreams are coming second to facts and WAY behind feelings.

See, what we're really focussing on, in today's programme, is FEELINGS.

Why Debbie here still loves Chad, despite him punching her in the face; and why Chad feels it should be his right to.

Coming up later on we have people waffling about some foreigners dying somewhere.

And then, when we don't have time for any infomercials, something about how we're supposed to save the human race - but on the other side it's the finals of Eggs Factor, so skip the boring life saving and let's go straight to stoning drug-users for threatening the lives of our unborn children.

And here's Oprah with her sponsored gift programme!

Space Travel requires us to act as a society. We're not capable of acting like a family at Thanksgiving/Xmas at the moment.

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