(Close Window)
Topic: Space Program
Message: Posted by: GlenD (Feb 19, 2003 12:24PM)
What do you all think about the space station, launches and missions in light of the recent tragedy ?
And what is an acceptable mortality rate ? If there is such a thing ??

Message: Posted by: vinsmagic (Feb 19, 2003 01:16PM)
Conquest of Soace must continue
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Feb 19, 2003 02:55PM)
If we were afraid of what might happen, then we might as well just all go out and find caves to live in once again. There is a risk in everything we do....from getting in our cars every morning to eating supper every night(seen what all has been labeled bad, hazardous, or carcinogenic lately?) As for an acceptable mortality rate...if there is such a thing...let's face it, there are certain 'employment' areas out there where going into it, you know there is a chance of death. Knowing this going in, says that the ones who choose these fields accept that they could die doing what they are doing. How many fighter pilots, police officers, and firemen out there accept this? I mean, if you look at what happens with going into space, you have to accept the fact that dying in the line of duty is a strong possibility. There have been three major accidents with the US Space program...Apollo 1, Challenger, and now Columbia...out of how many missions? Auto travel should have that safety record!! Remember Apollo 13? As Gene Krantz said of that mission "failure is not an option." Did Jim Lovell think the space program should cease after that? It is from our failures that we learn. We learn what went wrong and how to fix the problem so hopefully it won't happen again.

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Feb 19, 2003 03:14PM)
I am confused by your question.

What possible criteria of safety would yo like? One could just as well argue that hundreds of people die in car accidents every day implies space travel with a grand total of fifteen or twenty folks dead to date is amazingly safe.

The benefits of getting to the resources on the moon and asteroid belt are beyond measure. The cost of having our species landlocked on this tiny pebble of a world is also beyond measure. Just one big rock could do us in with little if any notice.

Agreed the loss of any human life is tragic. And safety engineering is important in any venture. Also we can probably agree that clear language and better construction/maintenance are goals to persue in any endeavor.

So what do we have to argue about? Is anyone being forced to participate in a space program they feel is unethical at threat of legal action of violence? Is the budget of public monies foro 'space exploration' too large or small?

My condolences to all who lost someone in the tragic failues of the Apollo and Shuttle programs.

Let's get this space program moving again with the addtional motivation of the knowlege that all of those people and more are willing to risk their lives to make this happen.


Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Feb 19, 2003 03:15PM)
Hmmm, Conquering space is col and all, but why are we spending billions of dollars to get 6 people into space, when we could use it to get 60000 people off the streets?
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Feb 19, 2003 03:42PM)

Last I watched the news NZ does not have a space program. Any chance you could get your local government to accept 60000 people off the streets? We seem to have NIMBY issues here that prevent building more affordable housing and also seem to be seeking ofshore labor for many positions these folks might otherwise work at.

The 'civilian-scientific' space program budget is so very small compared to our 'defence' budget. It has also produced so much more per dollar spent that one could argue for some realligment of spending based on productivity and benefits.

The term 'labor pool' comes to mind.

I believe that realizing and improving the human condition is our highest goal/purpose. Getting the resources in place to do this without falling down the gaping maw of what Ayn Rand called 'Collectivism' may well be our second highest purpose.

Workable suggestions for avenues to explore and actions to take are welcome.
Message: Posted by: GlenD (Feb 19, 2003 03:46PM)
is that all there is, 60000 ?
we could solve that problem and conquer space too !
But guess what ? we are not going to solve the "get the poor people off the streets problem"
So, back to the space program issue, and thanks to everyone for the input so far.
I have heard that during the apollo design era, there was discussion and a team whose job was to determine an acceptable death rate. It was, unless i heard wrong (i wasnt involved or there) one crew per 1000 missions would perish.

Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Feb 19, 2003 04:24PM)
Used a collective 'we' there are I didn't want to sound accusing (ie YOU spend...), and all of our governments spend money on things that some may deem less important than our fellow human beings.

Unsure what NIMBY is? can you explain. What can 'prevent' a government from providng affordable housing for its poor and needy?

Glen, why cant we solve the 'poor people off the streets' problem. Please, please explain why? Is it just that you don't want to disucss it in this thread?

OK, to add a proper answer to the thread question...I think that recent events should not stand in the way of further exploration. Like others have said, there are far more accidents on the roads, far more murders, far more people killed by donkeys (more people are killed by donkeys than sharks!) etc.

The astronauts who manned (and womanned - space equality is vital) the mission knew that there was a risk involved. How many others die in their profession each year without any media attention. For example we don't hear about the death toll in the building industry (106 died in Britain in 2000-2001) because the profession doesn't hold the same excitement.

Bring on space stations and holidays to the moon!
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Feb 19, 2003 05:02PM)
I believe, at our present level of technology, that space agencies would be better served concentrating on the unmanned exploration of space through probes, and also developing alternative forms of propulsion for future manned exploration. Nearly everything that we've learnt about our solar system, after Apollo, has come from probes. Columbia hasn't changed my view on this. Chemical propulsion is just not practical. There is no disgrace in acknowledging this. And by honestly recognising this, we would gain the opportunity to develop better, faster, and cheaper ways of getting into space.


Caleb Strange.
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Feb 19, 2003 05:17PM)
NIMBY: Not a political principle to be proud of when it comes to the social well being of our citizens. It amounts the the social equivalent of the common 'yes but' statements one can hear and read in everyday life.

Yes it's important to build affordable housing but... it would lower property values so the local town council will keep this state project from happening in this neighborhood. Short form: not in my back yard.

And if we don't have astronauts to deploy our surveilance, guidance and telecommunications devices we might lose our ability to project our power where it protects our interests.

The arguments for manned vs unmanned scientific/industrial space travel are OLD OLD OLD as in over fifty years old. My counter argument is more pragmatic. Would you want a robot doing pre-programmed operations on a nuke in orbit, or a person taking orders from other people? My answer is the same as my definition of a computer... an electronic device for making mistakes more and faster than a person ever could.
Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Feb 19, 2003 05:36PM)
Ahh, Not in My Backyard...Understood. I guess it is just a sad but true fact of life.

Good point regarding the surveillance and telecomms etc.

I think unmanned exploration has alot more going for it, as it provides us with the ability to purposely 'lose' pods in space (ie let them go and go and go and go...).

However, for close range things, such as repairs to satelites etc the human element may remain necessary fora while longer.
Message: Posted by: Margarette (Feb 19, 2003 06:56PM)
Poor people off the streets....hmmm, well, it has been my experience that some of these poor people are doing nothing other than looking for a handout or what "society owes them". Remember people, I work in a church, and I deal with these people on a regular basis, so I have some idea of what I'm talking about. These people come by the church, ask for money, then when I tell them we don't have any to give, they get irate and play the race card. I have given money out of my own pocket (and I don't have a lot to give) on a few occasions. When I do this, I literally take food out of my kids' mouths so I can help someone else eat. I figure my kids can eat macaroni and cheese again so someone else can eat, too. THEN, I'll be <<expletive>> if they aren't back the next week wanting MORE money! And when I can't help, again, they get irate!! Then, I get some jerk like yesterday...one of the 'regulars' who comes by the church needing "just enough to get lunch", or "just some help to get me thru till this job pays off" or yada yada yada(I've got any number of excuses as to why they need money). He was supposed to be a grieving father who had just lost one of his babies (his wife supposedly had twins a few weeks ago), then as he left the church, he grabbed me and put his hands on places that only someone I'm dating, and only seriously at that, is allowed to touch!! So, am I to continue to help people like that? Sorry, I don't think so!!
I will admit that there are some legitimate cases of need out there. And, if these people come by the church, they will accept the aid we can give, or understand why we can't give aid....and not try to cop a feel from the church secretary!!


I know this response is a bit off topic of the title of this thread, but someone asked about the poor people on the streets, and I wanted to add my two cents.
Message: Posted by: ChrisZampese (Feb 19, 2003 07:18PM)
Ahhh, here in lies the problem. We dedicate the best minds, huge resources and alot of attention to getting people into space, but not much into trying to find out how to motivate people to go back to work.

I agree Margarette that you should not be left to help these people. Where are the experts in the field, the government funding for successful 'back to work' schemes?

don't say its too hard and we can never do it, that's what they said about landing on the moon. But hey, they threw a few billion at the project and look where it got them!

I wasnt suggesting handouts, but some research and development in this area couldn't go astray could it?
Message: Posted by: GlenD (Feb 20, 2003 04:08AM)
I didn't mean to sound flippant but i just didn't want this to become the focus or take the emphasis off of ideas shared about the above mentioned topic of space exploration/ programs etc.
Thanks for elaborating some of your thoughts on the issue Chris.
I agree more could be done in terms of resources and energy into working towards bettering peoples lives that are in need of help. I also think that to write off other programs or use of funds because another problem exists and needs attention does not make a lot of sense.

Message: Posted by: clui (Feb 20, 2003 04:37AM)
I guess its really a matter of how you view it, but personally I feel that the venture must continue but not without paying attention to our own problems on Earth. Haha anyway a bit off topic but i was wondering is there any truth behind all the rumoured aircraft that the government has produced. hmmmz
Message: Posted by: Jonathan Townsend (Feb 20, 2003 01:07PM)
Yes clui it is true. after the initial success of private enterprise aircraft designers our government has been busy making sure the US military has the best technology available in action.

Most of the prototype and working surveillance craft will not be public knowlege for obvious reasons. Since the SR-71 was deployed in 64 and only recently publicly displayed, you can bet the replacement craft is doing its thing quietly where it is needed.
Message: Posted by: Caleb Strange (Feb 20, 2003 01:34PM)
I found the examples cited of why it's better to have humans in space at the moment interesting. Let's be honest, here. We're not talking about space exploration, or the destiny of humanty. We're talking about scratching around in low earth orbit, doing the odd bit of grease monkey work. And as for nukes in orbit, JonTown, I don't want any there, PERIOD :). There is, at present, little scientific justification for manned space flight. It just diverts resources away from more scientific and useful work.

It shouldn't surprise us that we haven't gone to Mars yet. Chemical rockets originated as short range ballistic missiles, designed to hop briefly out of the atmosphere, before going splat. The advances made in the 60's went hand in hand with ICBM research. The ethical issues of weapons aside, I believe that our reliance on this second world war technology, designed for propelling stuff a few thousand miles, has impaired our thinking and our ambition. When we could be looking at new propulsion systems, we're stuck in the past.

Multiply the probe program by a factor of ten, invest seriously in astonomy (land and space based), and do some serious R and D. You've still got money to spare. At the moment, we're like the baby that's learnt to crawl, and is too pleased or scared, to get off its knees and walk.


Caleb Strange.