How important is space travel to mankind?

elohiym

New member
I know space travel was very important to Ralph Kramden.

RalphandAlice.jpg
 

Nihilo

BANNED
Banned
With all the things going on in the world how important is/should space travel be to humanity?
How high up is the sky? According to the best Hubble images, astrophysics and common sense, it's at least a hyper-staggering 13.2 billion lightyears straight up, in all directions. The current estimate for the age of the universe is 13.6 billion years, so we're THAT close to either confirming or denying that estimate. IOW, we ought not be able to see anything at all at 13.7 billion lightyears up, if the universe is indeed 13.6 billion years old.

(There is another telescope being built right now for launch in 2018. It will be able to detect light from even farther away than the Hubble can. We should know the answer shortly thereafter.)

But space travel? I guess it depends upon the stakes, as poster elohiym said. Is the earth in grave danger? Are we going to have to shutter the earth and go find fertile ground elsewhere? If so, we ought to get cracking on our ARK, and space travel is the MOST IMPORTANT thing in the world.

Except for Jesus' universal Church of course. :)
 

Buzzword

New member
Given the number of technological advances which were developed and are continuing to be developed for space travel and have resulted in higher quality of life for people on Earth, I'd put it high on the priority list.

In more poetic terms...
Why We Should Stay in Space
 

The Berean

Well-known member
A small film company has been trying to get this film made. It tells a what-if story. What if right after WW II and into the 1950's the US had pursued the space technology envisioned by Wernher von Braun. In the early 1950's Wernher von Braun had authored a serious of magazine articles detailed his plan to travel into space and colonize the Moon and Mars. This film is based on those plans.

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Defenders of the space programs always cite the scientific advancements and inventions it's created. Yeah, that's what happens when you spend hundreds and hundreds of billion on scientific research but it would be the same if that money had been spent in other areas as well. That same money could have provide research for 10,000 other endeavors.

It's great that we have weather, communication and many other satellites which tell us things about the earth. And it may be worth the expense of going to the moon again just to collect helium 3. But space travel to a place like Mars is a massive wast of money and resources until a better form of propulsion is developed. It's a space pipe dream to think that we can colonize another planet with any meaningful purpose with the propulsion systems we have now. Not to mention that something like 70% of the probe missions to Mars have failed and there's massive dangers to maned travel. Scientist, many of them anyway, are desperate to travel there to "prove" evolution and it's a fools errand.
 

The Berean

Well-known member
Defenders of the space programs always cite the scientific advancements and inventions it's created. Yeah, that's what happens when you spend hundreds and hundreds of billion on scientific research but it would be the same if that money had been spent in other areas as well. That same money could have provide research for 10,000 other endeavors.
NASA's funding isn't that much compared to many other government programs though it's higher than some others.

How Much Does NASA Cost?

How Does NASA Funding ($17.5 billion) Compare to Other Departments?

This amount is $1 billion less than what was spent in FY 2010. It's also much less than these other departments:

Defense (including State, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs) - $756.4 billion.
Health and Human Services - $73.7 billion.
Education - $68.6 billion.
Housing and Urban Development - $32.6 billion.
Agriculture - $21.5 billion.

On the other hand, NASA funding is larger than all other departments, including Transportation ($14 billion) Treasury ($12.4 billion) and the Department of the Interior ($11.5 billion). Furthermore, almost all departments have seen their budgets slashed to reduce the Federal deficit and debt. Although NASA's budget has been cut, its percentage of discretionary spending has actually grown -- from 1% in 2010 to 1.7% in 2015. Therefore, NASA's priority ranking hasn't dropped, even though its budget has.


But this thread was open ended in that I was talking about space travel beyond just NASA. Several private companies are in the process of designing and building privately funded spacecraft.

It's great that we have weather, communication and many other satellites which tell us things about the earth. And it may be worth the expense of going to the moon again just to collect helium 3.
I work for a commercial satellite manufacturer. There is a huge business in commercial satellites. We are busy as can be and we keep signing new contracts.

But space travel to a place like Mars is a massive wast of money and resources until a better form of propulsion is developed.

There is no NASA directed manned Mars mission planned anytime time soon. There is a private group that claims they are going to Mars in a few years to create a permanent human settle. But they sound like total quacks to me. Elon Musk has publicly stated that he founded SpaceX with the the idea of going to Mars. But even with all the success SpaceX has had they aren't going to Mars anytime soon.

It's a space pipe dream to think that we can colonize another planet with any meaningful purpose with the propulsion systems we have now.

This is certainly a bottleneck presently. We need to get beyond chemical rocket technology. The problem is that all of the near term possible technologies are still mostly at the concept stage (nuclear, anti-matter, solar sail).

There was one idea back in the 1960's that had some potential but was scrapped. This was nuclear pulse technology. Have you ever heard of Project Orion? Theoretically, this engine could have produced velocities up to 8%-10% of the speed of light.

Project Orion (nuclear propulsion)

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ProjectOrionConfiguration.png



Not to mention that something like 70% of the probe missions to Mars have failed and there's massive dangers to maned travel. Scientist, many of them anyway, are desperate to travel there to "prove" evolution and it's a fools errand.

Where did you get the 70% figure?
According to wiki there have been 45 missions to Mars.

List of missions to Mars

18 Successful missions
10 Launch failures
17 Spacecraft/lander failures
 
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Granite

New member
Hall of Fame
With all the things going on in the world how important is/should space travel be to humanity?

I'd prefer we care about care taking and saving our planet first and foremost (assuming we haven't screwed her over permanently) but yes, exploration is part of the human experience.
 

rexlunae

New member
With all the things going on in the world how important is/should space travel be to humanity?

I think it's ultimately important. It helps us to understand who we are and where we come from. And on some level, it tells us things about Earth that we couldn't have understood otherwise.
 
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