The Big Picture: Once Upon a Time in The Future

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While I was going to post "The Case for Mars" apparently someone beat me to it on the first page...

So here's


I've never been a 'huge' space person. It's always amazed me at some level but it never felt like my cup of tea, I just accepted that other people more passionate would get it done.
This mind set does not mean I can overlook it not happening or worse, being intentionally ignored by any of humanity.

We're all "Green this, green that" recently, then why the hell would anyone ignore the real solution. This cosmic vessel's lease is almost up, need to replace half the parts in it and think up creative ways to not use the rest.
Time for a new one, I want a Mars one.

Humanities 'Perfect dying luxury world and ability to sustain it's population can come after the
Continuation of the entire species
is dealt with.

Space is mandatory. I guess some people don't realize that the earth is small, sickly, and leaving no room for the only way to get bigger as a presence in the real "World"
(That may perhaps be ironic coming from such an escapist persona as myself and their obliviousness to the current world)

We can and should be exploring space. Period. It'll take A LOT of money and more effort than we put into most things we do as a species but I think with conventional technology we could travel not only to Mars but to the outer solar system (and don't tell me there's nothing intriguing about those moons of Jupiter and the other gas giants). Hell, Freeman Dyson had an idea to send us there decades ago.

Think "giant railgun"

I'm with you Bob, I want cities on Mars.

Space? come on! Why spread the misery of mankind to the universe? Let us be satisfied with destroying only this planet.

We shot a giant eyeball into space, it saw there was nothing useful in pratical distance, so we're putting it off until the limits of what makes practical distance practical changes.

Except now our entire society functions off these giant eyeballs in space. Satellites are what holds the modern world together, without them the transfer of information would be much slower and more expensive. Not to mention their uses to monitor the earth and what goes on.

The space program is expensive, and it seems to lack immediate rewards. But how many advancements came from useless projects? Laboratory mold, melted chocolate bars, and an ancient novelty toy created antibiotics, microwaves and the steam engine.

Without expanding the boundaries, how can we discover new things? The space program has to tackle problems we would never face on earth, and the solutions it comes up with help tackle other problems we face on earth. The question of long term power for space vehicles launched research into solar panels - a way to resolve the energy crisis we face.

Part of me wonder if the American space program will be the equivalent to the Viking landings in North America - they got there first, but quickly left, leaving little impact compared to those who came after. We speak English (and French) in North America - not Norse.


*sniff* *sniff*

Smells like pretentious to me.

Getting to space takes money, if we're broke we can't get to space. So fix the economy then get to Mars. Look at the big leaps in American advancements into space.
-1960: Right after a period of economic stability and general social dullness when everything was in black and white. At this point, we send our first pieces into space. Yes, it's a reaction to the Soviets, but it got us moving.
-1980's: After the shit-hole that was the '70's, we develop the space shuttle which gives us the opportunity to have more prolonged journeys into space. This was at the time when we got our economic footing and national confidence back. Look, not everyone likes Reagan, I get it. But he did a fair amount for the national space movement than most other presidents of our time.
-2000's: While our government was doing everything it could to get involved with every other country in the world, the private sector grew. This was when millionaires decided to go into space. I am glad Bob mentioned this, however it's also interesting how he takes a typically naive view of private business. I'm pretty sure if we send up people from Boeing and Lockheed Martin into space, we won't really need to worry about the first contact being the Vulcans meeting the Jersey Shore.

All in all, there were things that I agree with Bob on. But brushing aside private advancements into space travel and pointing the finger at the American public because we're a bit more concerned with 10% of our country being out of work than sending people to collect space rocks seems incredibly pretentious to me.

You said everything I could have ever wanted to say about the video, only better.

And yes, private industry is working to make trips into space possible:

Something else to chew on: I wonder if, before 1920, people ever had thoughts that journeys through the air would be privatized? Ok, most probably did, but I'm sure that some people believed that such was impossible and that it would be a disaster if anything but a federal government facility is responsible for mass transit above the clouds. Sure, today we have oversight with airport communications and the military air force, but it's still United, Continental, and Southwest that bring us from place to place.

Couldn't it be true for space as well?

Thanks for ruining my day Bob. The world is going to shit.

It makes me sad to hear that there wont be a real effort to move to space. I mean, I remember when everyone said going to a new planet as the last ditch effort if our planet went to shits. BUt its not even that. its more about how as a kid I read about going to space, and now its just not happening. Or doesnt seem like it at least.

I am ashamed.. I hadn't known about this until now :( This just goes to show that I don't pay nearly enough attention to the news as I should... But yeah.. The loss of the US space program is a terrible one.. And one that makes me ashamed to be an American..

I was under the impression the only thing being stopped was the shuttles being sent to the moon. I mean, we have been there tons of times before and there isnt anything new coming from up there. And Nasa essentially needs newer fuels and to find faster ways to travel to get further into space. So Nasa isnt just not gonna be around, they are going to keep things grounded while we figure out what the truck were doing up there, rather than putsing around picking up moon rocks...

or so i heard from someone...

My god.....

I thought I was the only one who cared about this. Go Bob!

I agree with you completely however...its for a different reason...when this earth finally topples and humanity needs to escape it...where'll we go...if we don't get colonization or terraforming...we're pretty much screwed.


Something else to chew on: I wonder if, before 1920, people ever had thoughts that journeys through the air would be privatized? Ok, most probably did, but I'm sure that some people believed that such was impossible and that it would be a disaster if anything but a federal government facility is responsible for mass transit above the clouds. Sure, today we have oversight with airport communications and the military air force, but it's still United, Continental, and Southwest that bring us from place to place.

Couldn't it be true for space as well?

Who said private investment was bad? But I don't see any of those private investors going to Mars, hell, they're barely even talking about the moon. They also aren't talking about anything like pure science missions, and certainly not purely exploratory work. How long would it have taken to settle North America without purely exploratory voyages, funded by guess who, the crown. We'll go to space with private money when there is money to be made, but there won't be money to be made until we explore, and actually know how to operate in space.

This only sounds like a chicken egg problem. We know the answer, and we solved it for satellites, and for exploring the planet we live on. Nothing is different about deep space exploration, some things need the government to do them, not because no one else can, or ever will, but because no one else can do it first, with no immediate expectation of financial return.

Yeah Bob, but's the opinion of a man who still has a job, and gets paid to go to the movies. I think you'll find the millions of people who are struggling for the bare necessities will have prioritised a little differently.

I whole heartedly agree with bob on this topic but the ESA and China are perfectly capable of space age technology advancements, China and Japan alone are more likely to outperform USA on that front anyway.

And with private sector working on space travel and even the commercial projects like Virgin Galactic technology is going to progress regardless and we will eventually have a colony on the Moon and Mars. It might just take longer........ Unfortunately the only way to get things done on this planet is with war so I'm gonna have to say "Oi Russia point some missiles at the US and race them to Mars!".

Two real reasons space is no longer a priority..

1. It isn't an issue about general welfare anymore, it is about the trillions of dollars of debt the USA is in.

2. No "evil Soviets" around to "beat."

If your argument really looked at the big picture then you would argue that the real disgrace is that all of western society, including the USA, is just too complacent to get hyped about anything as epic as sending humans to Mars. Eastern society is on the upswing and they are going through the same phases as the post-war allied nations.

i'm with bob hell i'm gonna make my own space program and a man into space even if it means getting em their in a V-2 rocket

Amen Brother


The fucked up thing is, the space race? Brought us most of the foundation of all the really awesome technology we use today.

Hey Bob,

As a student of physics and astrophysics, I feel for you. I too grew (and am still, to an extent, growing) up with Captains Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko, Archer, Kirk (again), Hari Seldon, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod Beeblebrox, and would love to venture forth into the final frontier within my lifetime. Part of the problem is that the scientific community as a whole doesn't see much worth in it. The conception and experimentation of General Relativity, Hawking radiation, Standard Model, and even the principles that allowed us to launch the rockets and shuttles were all carried through to their logical conclusion (or at least their practical conclusion) on Earth or without much human intervention in space. Most of the enlightening data doesn't need human involvement to be gathered, here or in space. To be honest, it never really was pertinent to have humans venture forth scientifically speaking. It was mostly a PR/nationalism campaign, an attempt to get our parents to embrace America and embrace science. Perhaps fortunately, the PR of the scientifically community today (as weak as it is) is more focused on the wonder of science and the world that rational reasoning can provide. That, I believe, is a more accurate and secure way of bringing science to the public in lieu of instilling delusions of becoming an astronaut.

The more pressing problem is that American society's interest in science has waned heavily. Without an intellectual foe for us to fear and conquer and with trivial inconsequences like physical attractiveness, wealth, and fame being our incentives, we really have no interest in pursuing scientific endeavors. Perhaps it has always been like this (the nerd stereotype has existed for a while and is still, on the whole, accepted) and we were momentarily relieved of it, or perhaps it is a new phenomenon. It is a problem, however, and I personally would like to hear your take on this similar-yet-more-general topic next week. Anyway, done pontificating.

ok, im gonna make it my life mission to send an Australian to mars

I hear yah Bob. I think a part of the decline in interest is the advent of the net. With that perpetual universe of information at their fingertips, people are spending time exploring in ways that are relevant to their own lives. Space travel/exploration/colonization won't become a big deal until my kids' kids have to start dragging comets into orbit to supplement Earth's exhausted fresh water. *wink*

to be fair i lost all hope in NASA when the ydecided to eject hydrogen into space insted of packing it up into fuel cells and beinging it back down to earth to power eco-freindly hydrogen cars.

that's right bob, fuck all of those resources we need, and the fact that we wouldn't be able to keep the project going too long before running out of those same resources, not to mention all of that money that they could be spending on developing better technology or using to help others, we don't need that. [/sarcasm]

bob, why does this mean so much if anything? we don't need to explore space, we have plenty of undiscovered fronts on earth, mybe if you read any article recently in the escapist you would see new technology prospects looming up.

Edit: I made this post while watching the video and getting as far as I could before it pissed me off, after watching the rest of the video, WHY THE FUCK WOULD WE TRY TO GO SOMEWHERE WE CAN'T POSSIBLY REACH YET BOB? We don't have any way of terraforming mars, we don't have any way of reaching another habitable planet within our lifetime, and we don't have the technology and resources to get there through any failed attempts! Not to mention you parade writers (good writers) around as if they could have magically solved this problem already. You might as well call this show "From only one angle."

Another Edit: This is just sad, I was reading these comments, there are people here who are worse than bob, I guess all of the people who can think up multiple angles on one subject have already left, as will I, goodbye bob, you used to be great, when will somebody once mighty stop falling?

Spending billions of dollars on space exploration is less important than many projects that could be funded to help us now, and not theoretically help us in X years.

Yes boohoo, we'd all like to go into space, but it's just not that important.


Very true. I for one only heard about this last space shuttle launch today. That's twenty three days after it's happened. My countries media is more obsessed with X-Factor (think American Idol, only more dumbed down and homogeonised, it's like a great heaping gloop of terrible) than with anything relevant.

I'm not sure what pisses me off more. The fact that I won't be seeing attempts at Mars colonisation in my lifetime, or the fact that I only heard about the last space shuttle launch through the opinion vlog of a man who writes for a gaming website.

Either way - humanity be fucked.

I'm willing to put good money on Richard Branson or his company being the first to send people up to colonise the moon. Seems like the sort of thing he'd be into.

Although I have my doubts about a ship called the Virgin Enterprise, sounds more like a dating website for lonely losers.

I feel like this show is just giving Bob an outlet to yell about things.

But anyway, I'm sorry that something you truly loved is dormant for now Bob. I personally don't care to much about space exploration, but obviously a lot of people on this site do.

I think it's important as well. Not because of the nostalgia, but because we need to get of this planet as soon as possible before we blow each other all to shit.

I'm with you Bob! I haven't always agreed with you in the past, but you were so right on this time, I got chills.

If the EU united as one single country, we could probably easily get a decent space program running, maybe one that could surpass NASA. But alas, people are too proud to admit that united we stand, divided we fall and the British would want to stay British and the French would want to stay French etc instead of just being European.

I feel kinda depressed that all the world's problems is boiled down to helping the sick and poor when humanity now faces problems of such magnitude that they could destroy civerlisation as we know it, or even all human life. Peak Oil could very well deprive human society of a great many things it bases it's economy on such as fertiliser and pestercide, platics, a vairety of medercines, and all manner of things (fuel being a relativly minor problem). Likewise climate change could alter tempraturesa and weather patterns to the point where food is ungrowable and whole areas are unlivable for humans in only a few decades.

Beyond that why do you even want space travle? Beyond the cool factor what is the functional benifit of going to Mars or the Moon. To be frank colonisation is unlikly within the next hundred years, if not longer, and even if it was what would be the point. The reason this is being cut is that advocates have done little to justify it and policy makers have to ask the question "what is the benifit of this?". Until you can show that space travle is important to people who aren't instantly swayed by the coolness factor it's not going to get funding.

Am I the only one who realizes that video games have already turned this into the next US-War game? Homefront, anyone? You know, where because they lack the means to send up any countermeasures the entire US electrical grid is wiped out by an EMP?

As for the whole "Peace on Earth VS Cities on Mars" bit, let me point out two things. First, the ONLY way to get world peace is to wipe out every racist, sexist, zealot and other group who hates other people; this would be considered genocidal by the humane groups, so unless you're willing to get the electric chair to achieve peace then good luck with that. And if there were colonies on other planets and moons then we could grow more food and create jobs, so that excuse is completely moot.

It makes me sad that space exploration has stopped on even a single front, I remember when I was little and teachers would say stuff like "You can be anything you want, even an Astronaut!" And now every child who might have ever had that dream has been crushed by ignorant fuckery. We have no where to go but forward, and now it just seems like we're happy with becoming stagnant... It bothers me even more that everyone who hears about this seems to not give a single iota of shit.

Actually that's not true to be honest. Such arguements are born out of ignorance and a desire to try and defend a liberal-centric view of where resources should be expended. If this is what they are teaching in school, it's no wonder people have lost interest. Between you and Shinji all I can say is "wow".

Okay for starters, we found trace elements of minerals on Mars like Iron with our probes. Enough in the soil and atmosphere to show that the planet is loaded. This is where all of the "martial mining" stuff comes from. Minerals being a very important thing here on earth. Mines are being depleted, and even enviromentally destructive strip mining in places like Africa is going to deplete the supply of mineals in short order, especially given our rapidly expanding population and need.

What's more we've been able to terraform Mars for a while now, indeed I believe that this is where the whole "terraforming" idea came from to begin with (but I'm not sure). I'm no expert on the details, but the bottom line is that ecosystems are fragile, as enviromentalists point out there are literally dozens of ways we could radically change our own enviroment. The foilage in Africa produces a lot of the world's oxygen. If we literally defoliated the area, and a few other places on earth we could pretty much smother all life on earth. We could probably do it inside a week if we wanted to committ racial suicide somehow.

While it's a slow process, scientists more or less understand why the atmospheres of planets like Mars are the way they are (or so I've been lead to believe) due to the probes and such we have there. We could effectively "destroy" the enviroment of mars like any other ecosystem but do it in a way that benefitted us as we slowly intergrated the things we wanted to support life. It could take centuries, but we've apparently had the tools for decades.

As far as comments by guys like Shinji talking about how we might get as far as Jupiter some day, I think in the course of conveying the size of space people exagerrations have leaked into the actual education, which is understandably demoralizing.

Truthfully we already have a degree of cryonic technology and have been in possession of it since those old rumors about Walt Disney. We're pretty close to the point where we can freeze and unfreeze people at will, and that makes sleeper ships a viable possibility. What that means is that not only is reaching every corner of our solar system within the realm possibility (and yes people would volunteer to do such things) already, we could put people into other solar systems if we really wanted to (over a ridiculous period of time).

People are always saying "it's impossible" as an excuse not to try. They are continuously proven wrong. Right now I think it's more or less an attitude born of politics and people obsessed with the short term being unable to see the solutions to their own problems.

It's odd being casually mentioned in giant posts. But to further explain my cynicism regarding space colonisation...

Do I think it's 100% impossible? No, but I certainly don't share the romantic vision that people like Bob seem to have. In order for mankind to even attempt to try and colonize a planet, we would have to change our way of life drastically. And in today's society of gratification at the touch of a button, I don't see that happening for a looong time.

I know everyone loves to dream about colonizing Mars, but Mars no longer has a magnetic field so terra forming would be futile. Even if we found a planet that had a magetic field, an atmosphere and water, it would still take atleast 100 years to research whether or not the planet is actually save enough to sustain us, or that it might hold a few cataclysmic secrets that might bindside us during the 20th generation of our colonisation.

Then there are the health risks posed by space radiation. Eventhough space might seem empty, there's a shit ton of galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles storming throughout. The best shielding we have is only partially effective and some shield material actually increases the radiation. Even a healthy man in the prime of his life would stand a 20% chance of dying from cancer simply by traveling through space.

I'm not saying, 'stop exploring space', I'm saying, 'stop manned missions'.

I could give more examples, but for a more indepth look at a "What if..." scenario, check out the anime Planets. It's probably the most honest dipiction of space colonisation I've ever seen.

another damn good episode
even when i dont agree with you your opinion is entertaining and provides good counterargument.
keep up the good work

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