Great iconic righteous anger song, but misses my point. Instead of either/or, why not both? Its not a question of limited funds, its a question of willingness.
The spinoff argument is definitely appealing, but I’ve never found it to be especially persuasive. I’ve never seen a study of innovation as a result of space spinoffs that didn’t ultimately boil down to hand-waving, even ones that purport to be rigorous. While there are definitely a handful of technologies whose development we can trace directly to human space exploration, do we know that similar innovation would not have happened in the absence of manned spaceflight? I think an argument can be made that hoping for serendipitous spinoffs from a space program that’s not focused on producing them is an inefficient route to innovation compared to directly pursuing these new technologies. Also, if we’re using spinoffs to justify the existence of manned spaceflight, then we also have to accept that justification for e.g. military programs, which I find unpalatable.
But I’m biased, being a skeptic overall of the rationales for manned spaceflight, so take my doubt in that light. The irrational part of my brain still thinks manned spaceflight is supercool - I’ve just never been able to justify it.
The challenge was to “find one” positive. I did.
I actually don’t disagree with your skepticism of manned space exploration. I just love science and engineering. Ultimately, we spend very little on those things.
Except, sadly, on the stuff that goes “bang” in a bad way.
It is always a question of limited funds.
I mean, the moon is just right there
This should be the easy level
How much energy is required to escape the Earth’s gravitational pull…?
Our defense budget, corporate welfare and industry subsidies laughs at such notions.
They worked out the math for it over 50 years ago.
Maybe not the best example,
“The myth though, is that Tang was developed for the space program. The actual truth is [that] General Foods was making its travel drink mix and NASA thought, ‘Oh, this is how we should be flying our beverages.’ So we purchased the already made and commercially available product.”
So now I’m curious!
When was the last time you drank Tang?
- This morning!
- Within the last month
- Within the last year
- 1-5 years ago
- 6-10 years ago
- 11+ years ago
- Not even once?!
I figured 11+ was enough, but, edited.
I did have a Tang-coated doughnut less than 5 years ago, though.
I don’t recall the last time I’ve even seen it available for sale.
Me either, that’s why I asked. Not sure if I haven’t been seeing it cause I don’t buy it, or if I never buy it cause I never see it!
To get back on topic, if NASA is serious about going back to the moon, they’re going to have to bring back Tang. They can even promote something like “10¢ from every packet funds moon dust mitigation research,” the way money’s been these days.
Not to mention bailing out banks and such.
The 2008/2009 “banking crisis” could have easily paid a manned Mars mission and spandex jackets for everyone, with change to spare.
And the fact that we DON’T have them is evidence that we won’t have large space colonies (in orbit or on the moon) even if we DO find some resource in space that is exploitable. After all we don’t build floating or underwater cities to harvest fish, or extract oil from the sea bed. Instead, it is far cheaper to pay a small number of people extra (or use forced labor in some cases) to endure the privation and risk of fishing boats or oil platforms, or decompression chambers.
The only way that we will have sustainably large colonies in space is if we decide that we WANT sustainably large colonies in space. There is no way to justify them economically, no matter what we find out there. It could happen. After all there was no real scientific reason to go to the moon, but we did it for geopolitical reasons. The Egyptian built the pyramids for reasons that seem strange to us now. But for now, we have an entire continent that we’re not using (Antarctica) that is orders of magnitude more habitable and orders of magnitude easier to get to than the Moon or Mars.
Miami will be one before long…