NASA's Ames Center Director, Simon "Pete" Worden has announced that development of next-generation propulsion technologies are underway. Image Credit: NASA

NASA’s Ames Director Announces “100 Year Starship”

Article Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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The Director of NASA’s Ames Center, Pete Worden has announced an initiative to move space flight to the next level. This plan, dubbed the “Hundred Year Starship,” has received $100,000 from NASA and $ 1 million from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). He made his announcement on Oct. 16. Worden is also hoping to include wealthy investors in the project. NASA has yet to provide any official details on the project.

Worden also has expressed his belief that the space agency was now directed toward settling other planets. However, given the fact that the agency has been redirected toward supporting commercial space firms, how this will be achieved has yet to be detailed. Details that have been given have been vague and in some cases contradictory.

The Ames Director went on to expound how these efforts will seek to emulate the fictional starships seen on the television show Star Trek. He stated that the public could expect to see the first prototype of a new propulsion system within the next few years. Given that NASA’s FY 2011 Budget has had to be revised and has yet to go through Appropriations, this time estimate may be overly-optimistic.

One of the ideas being proposed is a microwave thermal propulsion system. This form of propulsion would eliminate the massive amount of fuel required to send crafts into orbit. The power would be “beamed” to the space craft. Either a laser or microwave emitter would heat the propellant, thus sending the vehicle aloft. This technology has been around for some time, but has yet to be actually applied in a real-world vehicle.

The project is run by Dr. Kevin L.G. Parkin who described it in his PhD thesis and invented the equipment used. Along with him are David Murakami and Creon Levit. One of the previous workers on the program went on to found his own company in the hopes of commercializing the technology used.

For Worden, the first locations that man should visit utilizing this revolutionary technology would not be the moon or even Mars. Rather he suggests that we should visit the red planet’s moons, Phobos and Deimos. Worden believes that astronauts can be sent to Mars by 2030 for around $10 billion – but only one way. The strategy appears to resemble the ‘Faster-Better-Cheaper’ craze promoted by then-NASA Administrator Dan Goldin during the 1990s.

DARPA is a branch of the U.S. Department of Defense whose purview is the development of new technology to be used by the U.S. military. Some previous efforts that the agency has undertaken include the first hypertext system, as well as other computer-related developments that are used everyday. DARPA has worked on space-related projects before, working on light-weight satellites (LIGHTSAT), the X-37 space plane, the FALCON Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle (HCV) and a number of other programs.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or DARPA has been involved with a number of advanced technology projects. Image Credit: DARPA

Source: Kurzweil

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95 Responses

  1. tacitus says:

    BTW, guys. I refuse to give this fight up. Mother Earth does not deserve rampant disrespect in favour of lofty goals that serve ego and nothing else.

    What the heck are you talking about, Roen. I’m as liberal is it gets (in America anyway) and care a great deal about the fate of the Earth and its people, but even I can see that your spouting nonsense. Do you watch any of the professional sports leagues, or perhaps indulge in a little music or TV entertainment? If you do, how dare you enjoy yourself by indulging in the products of a multi-billion dollar industry when all around you are still raping the planet. You should be campaigning to have the NFL, MLB, NBA, CBS, NBC, and the rest cancel all their leagues and TV line-ups until we have solved all the world’s problems…

    Ridiculous? Of course, but this is essentially what you are arguing for.

    Nobody is going to be leaving Earth permanently for at least a couple of hundred years (and likely much longer) and even after that, they will be entirely dependent on there being a healthy planet with and advanced and capable technological civilization on it — probably for hundreds more years after that. If we don’t solve, or at least abate, the myriad problems here on Earth by then, then there will be no solar-system spanning civilization, period.

    NASA has probably done more than any other single organization on Earth in contributing to the science of global warming, and all they are talking about is spending a fraction of the budget they put towards studying the planet on advanced spaceflight that might get us to settling Mars in 50 – 100 years from now. I

  2. pink says:

    I think we should be maybe a little less hard on this guy. Really I’m happy with any progress in this direction, even if a few of the aspects of particular project is are a little (or a lot) weird. But for example, of course he’s going to mention Star Trek at some point, it’s something that captures people’s imaginations, and of course he’s going to be quoted for the same reason.

  3. Uncle Fred says:

    LOL, what a bunch of hot air.

    April fools jokes are funnier if done on April 1st.

  4. Roen says:

    Okay, first thought was: Humans have not yet shown themselves to be responsible on Earth; so even thinking of settling other planets this early in our development is irresponsible, a waste of money and just plain stupid. The money COULD have been put to better use searching for solutions to problems right here at home.

    “The Ames Director went on to expound how these efforts will seek to emulate the fictional starships seen on the television show Star Trek”

    Second thought was: You’re kidding, right? No, you seriously BETTER be kidding. A message to those who like that show way too much… *its a fictional TV show filled with obligatory techno-babble not real science.* Pete Worden needs to learn the difference between TV and reality.

  5. Ekar says:

    He has a PhD?

  6. Roen says:

    @EKAR: As far as I’m concerned he has brain damage, lol. But, yes he does have a related PhD , but he was also an air force brat and developed projects for the military. Just goes to show, you can earn a PhD but that doesn’t mean you gots a brain.

  7. tacitus says:

    Actually Roen, you’re the one who’s been creating the ultimate strawman. Nobody alive today is likely going anywhere permanently, and only the tiniest handful will ever leave low Earth orbit even temporarily, so to attack people for dreaming about the day when Earth is no longer humanity’s only permanent home instead of dreaming about solving the serious problems here at home (something the vast majority of us have just about as much chance of doing something about, individually) is just stupid. We all face the same future here on Earth, and all but the craziest few are fully aware of that fact. There isn’t the slightest notion that anyone can escape Earth’s fate within the next couple of hundred years at least — we’re all in it for the long haul, so you’re bashing people for dreaming of other worlds is utterly pointless. (Except maybe to stroke your own ego, I guess.)

    Amazingly, you also seem to believe that people can’t wish for and dream for both outcomes (colonized worlds and a better Earth) at the same time. and that a dream of one day colonizing Mars and taking those first steps now and in the near future doesn’t mean that they are giving up on Earth.

    It may have escaped your attention, but 99.9999999999% of all humanity’s efforts (at least) *are* going into dealing with issues here on Earth. The problem is not the dreamers of colonizing other planets, it’s those who are willfully ignorant (usually for political reasons or profit motives). Even if NASA decided to invest every penny into colonizing Mars, it would hardly shift the dial at all.

    As human beings we are excellent multitaskers. Earth’s problems are not going to be solved (even if they can be solved, which given the almost insurmountable political problems around the world) by canceling all dreams thoughts or energies going into the manned space program. In fact, it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference, except maybe reduce the number of scientists available in the future.

    Finally, it might have also sailed over your head that this is a web site about space, and people come here to get away from the worries and troubles we encounter back here at home for a while. As I said before (and it’s no strawman, because it is exactly what you are doing) you might as well be going onto a Yankee’s message board and castigating the people there for fretting over theit playoff fortunes instead of discussing ways to solve world hunger, or perhaps heading over the the Apple forum and telling everyone that they should not buy another iPhone or iPad before they have eradicated AIDS from the African continent.

    Just as pointless….

  8. Dave Finton says:

    Of all the arguments against colonizing space (and there are some good ones) the one I just simply cannot agree with is the sentiment that “we need to solve the problems here on Earth first.

    I believe this sentiment is just flat out wrong-headed and myopic.

    The problem with colonizing space are two-fold. One, the technology just isn’t there yet. To get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time, you need a ship that travel quickly and safely across vast distances taking into account acceleration, cosmic rays, and the odd interplanetary (or interstellar, as it were) dust grain that can’t punch a hole in an unprotected spaceship hull.

    The second is organization. This won’t be something that any one nation can handle alone (even one with the economic prowess of the US or the combined might of the EU). An unprecedented amount of effort will need to take place across multiple trades and fields of science to ensure this type of project would be successful. If *that* could be pulled off, then I’m pretty sure many of the “problems here on Earth” will pretty much solve themselves.

    Regarding the article, I’m not sure where Pete Worden is coming from, but I am always wary of talk about “secret projects” that sound like they borderline on conspiracy theories. I’m not so sure I’d use the term “brain damage” like someone had mentioned above, but “wishful thinking at this point” does sound accurate.

  9. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    Creon Levit is a panegyric for Jack Sarfatti, where if you are not familiar with Jack a look at his website is amusing, to say the least. All sort of good stuff about his having contacted UFO aliens, his role from the age of 11 in top secret programs and — it gets rich. The guy interestingly knows a lot of physics, but he twists it all around with an idea of showing faster than light travel. His proof for the feasibility of this is the existence of UFOs.

    This is not about starships, but interplanetary spaceships. The idea of microwave propulsion has been around for a while. The big difficulty with the idea is in keeping a MW wave on a tight lobe without huge loses over considerable distances.

    This sounds pretty loose and ill-defined. Nothing terribly tangible seems in the offering.

    LC

  10. Roen says:

    @Dave Finton: I can respect another’s contrary POV regardless of the arrogance from which it was produced. Believe me, I used to feel as you do… I too was arrogant on this issue.

    It is complete disregard for nature and humanity that causes the waste of huge amounts of money on projects like this. Maybe you need to be reminded of the fact that our world is dying and all you people can think about is finding another world to escape our problems instead of fix them. No one is willing to learn from these past mistakes, and correct them. It no longer seems that the vast majority of humans really don’t care about our birth place in the cosmos. Maybe it is our collective intent to destroy all we touch, as if it is a claim to fame.

    I don’t expect to change YOUR mind any time soon, you are too “myopic” for that to happen… just as I was. However, calling one of the few people left on Earth who actually does care for his home short-sighted, intolerant and imprudent is simply showing your own.

  11. Dark Gnat says:

    Don’t worry. It will be canceled ater several billion dollars are spent. That’s the American way.

  12. Roen says:

    correction to the above
    It seems that the vast majority of humans really don’t care about our birth place in the cosmos.

  13. Roen says:

    @all:
    If it seems that I am intolerant and harsh, it’s because tolerance and nice has gotten us climate change, extinction of species, the polluting of my water, food and the environment. It’s too late to be nice.

  14. dog_boy_bastard says:

    You know, I miss the old days when men were tough and did amazing things just to get them done. I’m tired of the whiney “it’s too expensive” or the pussy “it’s not safe” crap that has emasculated this damned country.

    We SHOULD build a giant space ship designed to peruse the solar system filled with a crew that goes from planet to planet to explore and investigate. We SHOULD have permanent manned presence on the moon and we SHOULD send a one way trip to Mars.

    Money doesn’t solve the crap problems everyone bitches about. People do. And the fact we still have them mean people do not want them solved, or don’t care. What we NEED to do is get our asses off this planet.

    Light the damned tree and send the freaking thing up…. The gods I miss that spirit…

  15. Roen says:

    @dog_boy_bastard: you say emasculated, I say grown up a little… and I mean very little.

    “a giant space ship designed to peruse the solar system filled with a crew that goes from planet to planet”

    “We SHOULD have permanent manned presence on the moon and we SHOULD send a one way trip to Mars.”

    These show the favour of arrogance over efficiency.

    “Money doesn’t solve the crap problems everyone bitches about. People do.”

    First of all, nice vernacular. Second, money does solve the “crap” problems when people direct it properly. The real problem is that PEOPLE DON’T.

    “What we NEED to do is get our asses off this planet.”

    Nice idea. Let’s ensure that less and less people care about our home world, it’s beauty and diversity and life, by giving them a false hope of an easy way out. It’s pleasing to know that YOU aren’t making the country’s decisions. Yet, it is sad to note that those just like you ARE.

    “Light the damned tree and send the freaking thing up…. The gods I miss that spirit…”

    “freaking”? Wow, thanks for holding back.

  16. Torbjorn Larsson OM says:

    given the fact that the agency has been redirected toward supporting commercial space firms, how this will be achieved has yet to be detailed.

    It has not, and this new political and failed posturing by some of UT’s “reporters” get’s tired fast.

    If anything commercial space firms have been redirected towards supporting NASA’s goal (more directly than before). But the development for exploration is all NASA.

    Where did Nancy go? Always perfectly neutral reporting, AFAI can see. Get her back! 😀

    Creon Levit is a panegyric for Jack Sarfatti,

    Oy! Say no more, but thanks Lawrence!

    So it’s bad technology thrown in with bad reporting. Who would have guessed? 😮

  17. Roen says:

    BTW, guys. I refuse to give this fight up. Mother Earth does not deserve rampant disrespect in favour of lofty goals that serve ego and nothing else.

    I know we’re all doomed. I don’t hold any hope for this world. Humans would rather fight each other on a burning ship than work together to put the fire out. So, keep throwing the insults, it only serves to prove my point.

  18. Roen says:

    @Torbjorn Larsson OM: I agree with you about Nancy. I have always loved her work. She’s fair, logical and shows real talent.

  19. lotusface says:

    Ok we can all see that it is a “dream” type endeavor to use ones time to engineer such an advanced system.
    It could be rationally argued that we should solve the major problems on earth prior to “colonizing” extra earth bodies, and I can see merit in that though NASA is probably the best at dealing with my personal issue with human migration: infecting the new places with old nasties we do not know about or care to monitor (historically-invasive animal species) and our ability to manipulate the environment without careful consideration has caused us many problems down the line.
    But we must remember that “ion drive” was coined on star trek and made a reality by a guy who watched it as a kid. My point is that we need to pursue the future we want as opposed to letting the future happen to us.
    If “god” made us the only “intelligent” life in the universe, then why do we need such a huge universe unless we were meant to populate it.
    If the priority is profit then I say no we should not try to land on other bodies. But if the motive is to explore and to leave behind or at least significantly improve upon our bad habits concerning our home planet then yes I say full steam ahead.
    As to secret technology development; some of the most awesome machines in history were made under cover of secrecy-mainly skunkworks. If we paid as much to NASA as we do to support our global military presence, all of this discussion would be moot.

  20. Jacqo says:

    It is humankinds legacy to explore to our existing and beyond our technologies that we possess. Not doing so will stagnate our future. Literally thousands of NASA patents are inexistance today because of Mercury, Gemini, & Apollo. Even at its hieght NASA’s highest budgetary grab of US Tax payer dollars was under 4% in 1967. Today its 4/10nths of 1%. Considering the dollars spent on playing the Roman Empire this is not even one penny on the dollar.
    Even ludicrous ideas need considering. If the US doesnt step up to the plate, other countries will. Most of the EU and other Asian countries have already contributed to the ISS.
    Ironically, most, if not all of the evidence concerning global warming/climate change comes from satellites in orbit because of the technologies discovered conjunction with manned/unmanned space flight.

  21. Hellvis says:

    @ROEN

    Tacitus has it right, so I’ll not repeat that point. But your sense that this would only serve ego is so errant it’s scary. You seem like you’re trying really hard to come off as an intellectual superior by repeatedly belaboring the word choice of others, but you also seem to have no understanding of scientific method and discovery. In essence, your argument’s only value is its irony: you insult the intelligence of others (arrogance in action) while stating that others’ use of insults proves your point about mankind being too arrogant for another planet. Way to go. Maybe we should just ban YOU from going to another planet.

    If the world worked like Sid Meier’s Civilization series, sure, you could prioritize scientific discovery and green solutions and do everything one at a time; to the contrary, we as a society multi-task and make numerous amazing discoveries in different areas that support growth of still more scientific advancement.

    “I know we’re all doomed. I don’t hold any hope for this world.”

    Then why in the blue hell would you a) bother making any argument, b) want to stop us from escaping said alleged doom by developing interplanetary colonization, c) not want to see such an initiative succeed to rid “mother earth” of these pesky humans?

    Your platform appears to be environmentalism wrapped around a core of misanthropy. Old hat.

  22. Jacqo says:

    @Roen
    More species have gone extinct before humans ever populated the earth, whome do we blame there?

  23. Roen says:

    @lotusface: You raised some very valuable points. Not that I am reassessing my stance, I’m not. Just saying that until now, I’ve not read a single intelligent response to my points.

  24. Roen says:

    @tacitus:

    Your first point is a strawman argument and worthless.

    your second point misses the point. Those that fill others on this planet with the hope of a different world only serves to cause them to give up on this one. THAT was the point.

    Your last point I agree with, but only in part. NASA are up at bat, they are doing real work toward mitigating the climate change issue. Great. But I challenge you to reveal exactly what advantages colonization will have for EARTH. I’ve never, ever, stated that all of space should be ignored until another time. That is a fiction you seemed to have created all on your own… and another strawman.

  25. Roen says:

    @Hellvis:
    “But your sense that this would only serve ego is so errant it’s scary”

    Well, well… you do need to provide the quote where I stated that.

    “You seem like you’re trying really hard to come off as an intellectual superior by repeatedly belaboring the word choice of others”

    No, I’m trying to come off as one on the moral high ground. Which I am.

    “Maybe we should just ban YOU from going to another planet.”

    No need to. I love my planet too much to abandon it. Bye, enjoy destroying the environment of the next one.

    “Then why in the blue hell would you a) bother making any argument”

    Because all of us had the chance to avoid this mess and far too few of those that mattered (those that COULD have curbed their CO2 emissions and didn’t, those that COULD have run corporations with more care for the environment and didn’t, etc) have even bothered.

    Because some here still drive gas guzzlers, knowing that they’re pumping more of the problem in the atmosphere.

    Because now that the climate change, that we were all warned about in the 70’s is here and didn’t care to change things in 40 years, need to be beaten over the head with the fact.

    Because all the nations bickering over what they’re willing and unwilling to do, naysayers with blinders on discrediting science with bogus facts, those that have their heads on other planets while driving that huge GMC, Ford to Seven Eleven for caffeine, nicotine, and cholesterol need to eventually get it in their heads that it’s THEIR fault.

    “b) want to stop us from escaping said alleged doom by developing interplanetary colonization,”

    Strawman argument. You have no idea what my motivation was. What I want is for all you people with hopes of other planets to live on to focus on this one.

    “c) not want to see such an initiative succeed to rid “mother earth” of these pesky humans?”

    Because now that the damage is done, all that research power and money Worden plans to put toward this misconceived notion NEEDS to be put toward fixing the damage.

    Still not getting the point? Still up with the attitude toward Roen for following his heart and doing all he can to give his children a planet this will not be dead in 2055?

    Didn’t think so. You’re far too gone. But my hope is for the lurkers who’s minds can still be swayed, because regardless of how lame you feel my efforts here are… every bit counts.

  26. Roen says:

    @Jacqo: Before humans arrived it was natural processes that killed them off. Humans didn’t cause those. But now we live in a time where humans have achieved unmitigated power over the planet and that power is destroying it.

  27. high_school_astronomer says:

    Okay people, no need to be rude with each other. Let’s face it… NASA is not going to be doing any of this any time soon. It would take too much political will spread over too many administrations. It just won’t happen. So this whole argument over the ethics of colonizing space is pointless. If bases are built on the moon, it will probably be by Bigelow Aerospace or SpaceX. In that case it is private money being spent and there really is nothing you can do about it, like it or not.

  28. high_school_astronomer says:

    And by the way… I fully agree that the governments should be pumping more money into stopping global warming than space exploration. Leave space exploration to private entities…using environmentally friendly spacecraft.

  29. tacitus says:

    Fabulous — I see Roen has unilaterally declared himself the winner. Congratulations, Roen, I see we are no match for your razor-sharp debating skills and penetrating logic. You truly are a legend in your own lunchtime. What next? Are you going to tell us that physicists should stop their experiments into quantum teleportation until we’ve weaned ourselves off fossil fuels because it might lead people to believe that they will be able to teleport around the world one day?

    Now, back to reality…

    My second point was simply that all this talk from officials like Worden and this other nutcake who feels we’ll have a Mars colony very soon is promoting a feeling of relief we can ill afford, for relief breads complacency.

    Mmm — relief breads sure sound tasty….

    But this is really where your entire argument separates it from reality. Who, pray tell, is in the slightest bit relieved that we could have a colony of Mars “very soon”? I have never met anyone who thinks that, not in real life or online.

    As I said before, the very notion that a Mars colony could provide an independent base from which humanity (let alone any other life on Earth) could survive calamity within the next two or three hundred years (at the very least) is utterly dumb.

    And the only people dumber than people who believe for one second that planning for an outpost on Mars in the next 50 years allows us to relax over the threat of climate change are those who seem to believe they are on a mission to correct them of their dumbosity,

    Arguing with idiots (none of whom is in evidence here anyway) make you the bigger fool.

  30. tacitus says:

    By the way, I don’t believe I told you to shut up — or that you should be banned.

    Why would I want you to stop being able to make a fool of yourself?

  31. Roen says:

    @high_school_astronomer: “NASA is not going to be doing any of this any time soon. It would take too much political will spread over too many administrations. It just won’t happen.”

    I agree. But the bigger underlying issue is the false hope for a different planet non-learned people will and have seized upon. We’ve all been lulled into complacency by this rat-race perspective of survival. We’ve all been conditioned to get more and more frivolous stuff of poorer and poorer quality and not given the choice of better. Out to the waste bin nearly all of it went/goes. As stated, in 1970 we all knew this would happen. General Motors EV1 had the EV1 from 1996 to 1999. But some people killed it, didn’t they? Who fought to get it back? Not enough, obviously, because the EV is still dead.

    For the last 40 years we’ve been saying “someone will figure it our before it’s too late”, but it is now too late and no one bothered trying to figure it out, and when they did they were shut down, shut out and shut up.

    @all: Which brings me to the next comment. I won’t shut up. I didn’t then and I won’t now. It is morally, intellectually and scientifically correct to be the biggest pain in the arse I can be. Those of you who did nothing need to be harassed up one side and down the other, because you deserve it. Those of you who defend the waste of money on efforts unnecessary to survival of our planet, deserve all the discomfort my words can offer. I will always be the voice in the chorus that throws the whole song off key.

    “And by the way… I fully agree that the governments should be pumping more money into stopping global warming than space exploration. Leave space exploration to private entities…using environmentally friendly spacecraft.”

    I agree with this too, but on the grounds that private companies be forced into the moral behavior they rarely ever show.

  32. Roen says:

    Just using UT as a cross section of humans I did a quick poll of the views here in an effort to show everyone just how bad this is. I divided those that placed comments in 3 camps.

    The No’s (Those don’t believe that our planet deserves our full attention before it’s dead) = 4

    The Yes’s (Those the seem to agree that the money that could be spent in this proposal should go to saving life on Earth) = 3

    The Neutrals (Those that don’t seem to care one way or the other) = 5

    Of all those tallied above, those that are useless in saving Earth = 9 and those who really seem to give a crap and see the problem = 3.

  33. Spoodle58 says:

    The level of funding this project is getting is very small but enough to start a study like project daedalus (barnards star probe) but on a interplanetary scale with a human crew, would be interesting to see private companies involved. I hope they consider a nerva type engine in some designs.

  34. Roen says:

    Correction:
    The Neutrals (Those that don’t seem to care one way or the other) = 6

  35. Spoodle58 says:

    Roen help save the planet from CO2 emissions and go and turn your computer off.

  36. Roen says:

    @Spoodle58: lol :). Actually My wife and I have exceeded the conditions detailed in the Carbon Footprint Challenge. How are you coming along with that?

  37. Spoodle58 says:

    Well said Tacitus, thats exactly how it is.

  38. William928 says:

    @TACITUS,
    Bravo!. I think most of us that visit this site are conscious of and interested in doing what we can to mitigate climate change. However, as you point out, this is a space site, and we primarily come here to learn about and discuss topics related to the universe. The reason that most who discount climate change do so is because of people ranting as ROEN has here.

  39. HeadAroundU says:

    STFU, Roen. 😀

  40. Roen says:

    “(something the vast majority of us have just about as much chance of doing something about, individually)”

    40 years of that kind of thinking passed off as wisdom is what brought us here.

    “Amazingly, you also seem to believe that people can’t wish for and dream for both outcomes (colonized worlds and a better Earth) at the same time”

    You proved that very well all on your own.

    “bashing people for dreaming of other worlds is utterly pointless. (Except maybe to stroke your own ego, I guess.)”

    I agree it’s pointless for those like you. As for the stroking of my own ego you’re doing the stroking very nicely for me. I mean, you obviously feel that my view points have enough merit to attack them so vehemently.

    The more you attack, the more you oppose, fight and try to thwart moral logic, the more you show those who can actually be swayed to think about where the government funds are going and why.

    “Even if NASA decided to invest every penny into colonizing Mars, it would hardly shift the dial at all.”

    You did the research and calculations yourself? Or is this just another of your trumped up fantasies passed off as evidence?

    “Finally, it might have also sailed over your head that this is a web site about space, and people come here to get away from the worries and troubles we encounter back here at home for a while.”

    You’ve polled everyone who reads UT? Impressive. It’s interesting to note that in the process of counter-accusing me of strawman arguments you made another one. The simple fact is, and it doesn’t surprise me that it’s so complicated that you missed it, there are 2 others here that agree with my basic premise. See, that’s clear evidence that anyone who has read this exchange can see discredits your claim that “people come here to get away from the worries”. Unlike you I actually read all the view points, took an impartial tally of who felt what about this issue. With that and the fact that UT has not yet silenced me. So until they do (which I really doubt) it’s like UT telling me that I’m fully welcome to express my views here. Gotta love freedom of speech, eh? 😀

    “Just as pointless….”

    The only thing that is pointless in all this is your effort to shut me up. Keep going, though, because the more you oppose my valid views the more credence you give them each time.

    and BTW…
    Corrections:
    The No’s (Those don’t believe that our planet deserves our full attention before it’s dead) = 6

    The Yes’s (Those the seem to agree that the money that could be spent in this proposal should go to saving life on Earth) = 3

    The Neutrals (Those that don’t seem to care one way or the other) = 5

    11 to 3 for those who don’t care.

    “However, as you point out, this is a space site”

    Again, unless and until UT blocks me they are saying I am fully allowed to express my views and concerns. You may not see that my concerns are unrelated, but that’s your own failing.

    For the record, however, I’ve left far more space related comments here on UT in the past than environmental comments.

  41. Roen says:

    @HeadAroundU: “STFU, Roen. :D”

    Lol, never gonna happen! Uncomfortable yet? 😀

  42. cipater says:

    I was gonna jump on the Roen-countering train, but it looks like Tacitus has it covered.

    I’ll additionally pose this though: does it really matter if we end up being able to sustain ourselves off of Earth and begin to foul up other worlds as well? Who cares? We are what we are.

  43. cipater says:

    Oh my goodness look at that mess that snuck in just before I posted. That totally would have kept me out entirely. *withdraws*

  44. Roen says:

    @cipater:

    12 to 3

    How many are actually paying attention to how much morality is outnumbered?

  45. cipater says:

    To which system of morality are you referring?

  46. Roen says:

    You know, you just got here and I honestly would never expect anyone to read through all that above, so I will repeat it again for you.

    Given climate change and the small time we have left to fix it, spending money on research unrelated to saving life on Earth is morally wrong.

    And that is what they’re opposing.

  47. cipater says:

    So spending money on any sort of research that is not directly aimed to slow, stop, and reverse climate change is morally wrong?

    Wow.

    Again I ask: which system of morality did you use to derive this?

    Wait, so does this mean we shouldn’t do any medical research? Because human longevity can only make reversing climate change more difficult. Maybe we should have direct provisions for reducing our population also?

  48. Roen says:

    I’m sorry, I tried to be brief and that lead to my misstatement and your misunderstanding. let me try again more thoroughly.

    I oppose research into colonizing other celestial bodies while our climate is falling apart. Dropping funds into a Moon base, Mars colony or starship right now is morally wrong. Climate change is as serious as it gets, next to total extinction due to nuclear war, which we lived with the horror and the fear of for so long, a fear that is still there btw. We didn’t want to die in a nuclear war, so the vast majority of humans opposed it, one look at what happened to Hiroshima, Nagasaki Chernobyl and other incidents made the reality very hard to ignore.

    But now we are faced with a slow, lingering death of all life on earth. It’s easier to ignore, overlook and say “oh, tomorrow I’ll start recycling and reduce my carbon footprint” or “oh good they found an Earth like planet, now we have a place to go before all humans die”. The financial might of the free world has a small hope of fixing the climate damage we’ve wrought. But so much of those funds are locked up in endeavors that are not conducive to fixing this before it’s too late.

    I do not oppose medical research, never said such. I do not oppose research into nano materials, new orbital telescopes, propulsion and the like. Those areas of research and spending have a chance of discovering something that can save, not just us, but all life on Earth, from extinction.

    If all our effort that we can put into this is put into this, maybe, just maybe we can solve the problem before 2055 extinction deadline. I hope that last sentence hammered the point home for you, because that’s only 44+ years from now.

    My second point was simply that all this talk from officials like Worden and this other nutcake who feels we’ll have a Mars colony very soon is promoting a feeling of relief we can ill afford, for relief breads complacency.

  49. HeadAroundU says:

    Just STFU and climate change might reverse. 😀

  50. Roen says:

    @HeadAroundU : your emote not withstanding, no… I won’t. Maybe that’s another thing that is too complicated for you to understand? oh and 😀

  51. Roen says:

    Oh and also… 13 to 3 now that I know that HeadAroundU was not actually joking.

  52. john says:

    Space exploration and planetary science provides us with an incredible understanding of our own planet. These are direct benefits. Nasa has done far more to help climate change through research in tangental or perceived unrelated areas than most people realize.

    While I understand the moral concern of not wanting to move to another planet before we have figured out how to manage our own, this position is not pragmatic and it smacks of a desire for a “forcing function” on humanity. Forcing functions on humans are just as likely to result in a looting than a utopian paradise. Humans are uniquely skilled at living in ecological dystopias ( read: indigenous peoples in inhospital places ).

    Addtionally a myopic focus on one particular problem often leads to inefficient or poor solutions.

    Your position is short sight-sighted and immature.

  53. Dominion says:

    i love this place. so fun and exciting. let’s see which direction i’ll take with your moral compass Roen. i’m very much in favor of solving the problems we face here on our beautiful planet. i agree that we as a race need to mature a bit and take some initiative at addressing the issues before us. i congratulate you on leaving a smaller carbon foot print. we could do with more people like you. however, i see that exploration and colonization of space is another viable solution to some of our woes. keep in mind that the environment is not our only concern. will your little foot print have any effect on the people of Darfur? will the Zetas in mexico lay down their drugs and guns because you inspire us to be ecologically responsible? will Wallstreet decide that going green doesn’t mean having more dollars? no. and neither will colonization either. but suppose that a bunch of people left to another world. those of us left here would have that much less strain on limited resources. there would be that much less pollution. and we would have a new planet to trade with. new resources. new science and ideas that might help with our problems.
    my last thought is of something that Hawking said. (i think it was him. may be wrong) do we not have a responsibility to save our race from extinction? if the earth is struck by something big then we all go down for the dirt nap. no more humans anywhere. but if we have planetary colonies then the race is saved. earth still dies but our species goes on. long live the humans!

  54. Roen says:

    “While I understand the moral concern of not wanting to move to another planet before we have figured out how to manage our own, this position is not pragmatic and it smacks of a desire for a “forcing function” on humanity.”

    Do you have any clue why it seems that way? Because the vast majority of people are immoral at the core. There was a double blind study done with a focus group and a control group several years ago that shows clearly that 9 out of 10 people will screw everyone else for a little personal gain if there was no way for them to answer for the deed. Only 1 out of ten people care about other people. With a ratio now of 14 to 3 on this very UT article, those who want to will easily see that the ratio done in the study has increased in favour of selfishness. So yes, humans need to be forced to be moral, because they just can’t do it on their own. this may have been okay back before we were able to destroy the whole planet both quickly and slowly, but it is not okay now.

    “Your position is short sight-sighted and immature.”

    Interesting you should put it that way. Because this is a moral issue involving all life on the only planet we know that has life on it. 7 out of 10 people here (you included) just don’t get the moral problem at play. No, all 7 of you can’t say that you do get it, because if you did you would realize that it is your own views that are short-sighted and immature, that it is your own opposition that is the clearest evidence that can ever be given that humanity is immoral and irresponsible.

    The way you 7 completely ignored the basic premise and logic of all the points at issue (not just my points, but all 3 of us who still care) is the clearest evidence that you are incapable of giving a crap.

    Your accusation on the basis of immaturity and short-sightness, not only misses the mark, but shows your own inability to understand basic decency. No, my position is one of a higher morality. If that sounds like hubris, it is. I am extremely proud that I have higher moral value than 14 of you. I am proud that I matured enough to give a crap. I’m also proud that not a single one of your rebuttals carries one shred of weight.

    All 7 of you have clearly lost this debate… and you will never know it.

  55. Roen says:

    @Dominion: Thank you for a very intelligently laid out rebuttal.

    “i love this place. so fun and exciting.”

    Oh I agree all the way.

    I won’t comment on your agreed points, except that it’s nice to see number 4.

    “i congratulate you on leaving a smaller carbon foot print. we could do with more people like you.”

    Thank you very much for the recognition, it does help when one gets such. It makes one *feel* that someone other than themselves appreciate the effort.

    “however, i see that exploration and colonization of space is another viable solution to some of our woes. keep in mind that the environment is not our only concern. will your little foot print have any effect on the people of Darfur? will the Zetas in mexico lay down their drugs and guns because you inspire us to be ecologically responsible? will Wallstreet decide that going green doesn’t mean having more dollars? no. and neither will colonization either.”

    You are entirely correct above, and I agree with the logic. But allow me to lay a counterpoint at your feet. The issues with the people of Darfur, the Zetas in Mexico and Wall Street think, will be irrelevant in 2055 when the last handful of people are starving to death because nothing will grow, because there are no animals to hunt, water is scarce, the ozone layer is gone and it’s just too damned hot.

    Granted, Darfur, Zetas and Wall Street, they are still issues that are of major concern. I’m not ignoring that and I’m not saying they should be ignored, merely that in 44 years, none of it will matter anyway. maybe that’s why Worden made such an incredible claim, if things go as they are now without change, NASA doesn’t have to deliver on his prediction.

    “but suppose that a bunch of people left to another world. those of us left here would have that much less strain on limited resources. there would be that much less pollution. and we would have a new planet to trade with. new resources. new science and ideas that might help with our problems.”

    Again, I agree with that logic. However, spending money now on something that is at least 100 years away is wasteful on intellectual and monetary resources when it also won’t matter when there are no more people to go to the stars in less than 50. You see that math just doesn’t work out.

    “my last thought is of something that Hawking said. (i think it was him. may be wrong) do we not have a responsibility to save our race from extinction? if the earth is struck by something big then we all go down for the dirt nap. no more humans anywhere. but if we have planetary colonies then the race is saved. earth still dies but our species goes on. long live the humans!”

    I know the quote. It was the one man I idolized as a child and who got me interested in astronomy in the first place, Carl Sagan. I have the whole “Cosmos” series on DVD here. He was a truly brilliant man… not that Hawking isn’t, mind you. Hey, maybe he said it too.

  56. Roen says:

    No, you didn’t tell me to STFU, HeadAroundU did and I was addressing him.

    “Are you going to tell us that physicists should stop their experiments into quantum teleportation until we’ve weaned ourselves off fossil fuels because it might lead people to believe that they will be able to teleport around the world one day?”

    Another strawman. I see you’ve mastered the form. But, quantum teleportation is not really teleportation but copying a particle’s properties from one to another that are entangled on a quantum level. I’m surprised that with your obvious grasp on science you couldn’t see this on your own.

    Aaaanyway, strawman or not, the fact that you paid only enough attention to the media hype about quantum teleportation to use this as a vehicle for ridicule shows how little in the way of a real argument, and knowledge in the sciences, you possess.

    “Mmm — relief breads sure sound tasty….”

    aaaaand that’s all you had? A spelling error?

    “As I said before, the very notion that a Mars colony could provide an independent base from which humanity (let alone any other life on Earth) could survive calamity within the next two or three hundred years (at the very least) is utterly dumb.”

    Yeah, you did… maybe as a strawman argument, can’t remember there are so many of them.

    “And the only people dumber than people who believe for one second that planning for an outpost on Mars in the next 50 years allows us to relax over the threat of climate change are those who seem to believe they are on a mission to correct them of their dumbosity,”

    Well, now you’re simply trolling ;). Seriously, we’ve covered all this over and over and you’ve offer nothing new here. Do you honestly expect me to keep repeating myself when it’s obvious that
    a – intellectually, you came to this debate armed with a wet noodle for a weapon
    b – you’re simply trolling
    c – you made it far too easy to invalidate your arguments (no that word is too good for this… let’s see) prattle? yes prattle.

    “Arguing with idiots (none of whom is in evidence here anyway) make you the bigger fool.”

    That’s a contradictory statement. You first indicate that there is no evidence of idiots here yet you seem to allude to someone here being a “bigger fool”. Whoever that is is not really as funny as the fact that you just called yourself (and perhaps the other 6 of you) a fool. Hey, at least now you admit it, you’ve come a long way in all this, Tac… I’m proud of you.

    Just because I really doubt you have caught on by now, I’m no longer debating with you, punching holes in your ineffective rebuttals was more fun. rebuttals… again, not the right word… hmmm… droolings… yes I like that.

    But now that we all know you’re a troll, and before UT actually does see me as getting too insulting I’ll stop. Feel free to keep talking, as I for one would never insist on someone to STFU as a debating style, that’s best left to those with IQ’s the same as their shoe size.

  57. tacitus says:

    Another strawman. I see you’ve mastered the form. But, quantum teleportation is not really teleportation but copying a particle’s properties from one to another that are entangled on a quantum level. I’m surprised that with your obvious grasp on science you couldn’t see this on your own.

    LOL — I am fully aware of what quantum teleportation is without your help, thanks all the same. You do seem to have completely missed the point of the example, however…

    But anyway, ignoring all your personal insults and barbs (and the accusation of my being a troll is laughable) I will simply point out another persistent flaw in your argument on this thread:

    This is the same with interstellar probes as opposed to a starship. It was completely illogical for Worden to make such an announcement when we haven’t even sent our first probe to a nearby star system.

    Worden isn’t talking about space ships that can carry humans to other star systems, though I can see how the word “Starship” might confuse you. (I see that Lawrence has already tried to correct your misapprehension.) For one thing, there isn’t any technology around today, nor will there be for a long time to come, that could get us anywhere further than the edge of our own solar system within 100 years (and that would be pushing it).

    All Worden is doing is saying that now is the time to start a serious effort into the initial planning stages of a manned space craft that is capable of hopping between Earth and Mars over a long period of time (and likely the Moon and the asteroids too), and if and when serious money is ever put into the project (which is still a big if) there is just as much chance that the time and money invested in paving the way to colonizing Mars will also reap dividend that can help here on Earth. Indeed, research into sustainable self-sufficient living in space and on other planets may well be one of the most fruitful sources for spin-off projects that could mitigate some of the more serious problems here on Earth.

    So really, I do not see any point to your argument here. Nobody is “relieved” that we are starting to consider colonizing Mars and investing a few million into the effort (as a safety net in case we destroy Earth), and given that you are willing to accept that much of NASA’s current research could help solve problems here on Earth, I find it strange that you do not believe that a serious effort into building a sustainable colony on Mars (and all that entails) would not add to that tally. Indeed, it is far more likely to do so than, say, sending a probe to Pluto, or building telescopes to study galaxies billions of light years away. Your two positions are at odds with one another.

    Perhaps if you took more time to engage in serious discussion instead of taking wild pot shots at everyone who disagrees with you, you might learn something, and you might find that we’re willing to take your comments seriously too. As it is, you are merely driving people away from you, which is doing your own cause no good at all.

  58. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    This thread has gotten heated. Tacitus is correct. It is silly to think putting a Martian colony is our ticket to survival. This is not about a few people pooling their resource to head out. This would be a multi-100 billion $ program, where the objective is to save a few representatives of our species on another planet by spending about as much money as required to address some of our problems.

    LC

  59. Maxwell says:

    You have to start somewhere. You cant bypass having a colony of ten astronauts and expect to insta-create a self sustaining colony of a hundred thousand. That is just part of the problem tho.

    The reality is tho this wont be about solving earths injustices or creating some kind of human utopia before heading out to the stars. It is, it will always be, about our means to move man and equipment.
    Its about the ships.
    To that end, the Darpa guys are right. If you want to colonize mars then cheaper, faster, and easier space travel is the root of all problems.

    Even a Utopian society with science, exploration, and understanding at its core will never create a Mars colony at millions of dollars per pound launch cost. It just wont happen.
    Make the same thing happen for less than a thousand dollars a pound and anyone can live on mars.
    Its got to start somewhere, and it might as well be with a few crazy dreamers in a secret hangar trying to figure it out.

  60. Roen says:

    14 to 5! yay Lawrence

  61. Roen says:

    @Maxwell: Living on mars has had a huge influence over many people. It’s the kind of fascination that causes smart and dumb people alike to think some really stupid things. Including colonizing it. What NASA is doing right now is awesome. We’ve learned more dollar for dollar by sending cheap robotic equipment to study the planet by proxy. Sure, *eventually* humans will have to go there to learn more, but that can and will only happen after our current means (robotic probes) have been exhausted.

    This is the same with interstellar probes as opposed to a starship. It was completely illogical for Worden to make such an announcement when we haven’t even sent our first probe to a nearby star system.

    FYI, yes, I do support this. Probes are cheaper, safer and can travel faster than any human crew. The sheer logistics involved with sustaining a human crew for the length of time it will require is massively prohibitive.

    So, no, they won’t colonize Mars (more than a few scientists), or build a starship, within the next 100 years simply because we haven’t used up the remote probe method just yet.

    The final point I wish to make is simply that by sending probes in first (locally or interstellar), we are gathering valuable information. We need to know everything we can about a place before risking human lives. In the case for mars, we need to know if there is water, what the soil is like, what’s in the atmosphere, etc. In the case of a starship we need to know if there are any natural phenomenon that may kill the crew with massive amounts of radiation, just as an example. Who knows what else lies just outside our stellar bubble.

    And for the record, utopia is impossible, humans would never allow it.

  62. Aqua says:

    Microwave or laser energy beamed from Earth or the Moon, eh? That’s before something like a hurricane or tornado, earthquake, lightning strike, meteor strike, giant CME or other natural calamity takes out the power source for several months or years.. right? I think I’d prefer any method that includes ‘self propelled’ as a keyword.

    I’m starting to like the idea of using Sol’s magnetic field for thrust! Its recently been reported that the Solar wind is ‘shepherded’ and accelerated into Sol’s equatorial plane by that field. Just saying…. generate a big enough mag. bubble and hitch a ride in the flow!

  63. Roen says:

    @tacitus: I’ll start by redirecting you to the very beginning of *our* interactions.

    “What the heck are you talking about, Roen. I’m as liberal is it gets (in America anyway) and care a great deal about the fate of the Earth and its people, but even I can see that your spouting nonsense.”

    Yes, I was harsh on both Worden and Dave Finton. Maybe it was these two things that got your hackles up. Maybe it’s not related to that at all and you’re simply a jerk. I didn’t start my interaction with you. *You* started it with me. You started the insults by calling my valid premise nonsense. Clearly it is not, or 4 others who seem to be fairly intelligent and reasonable would also consider it nonsense. But they don’t, do they?

    Anyone looking back will see me responding nicely to those who have responded nicely to me and harshly to those who responded harshly to me.

    Dave Finton was at least a little less deliberate and called the premise “wrong-headed and myopic”, which is still an insult. I responded in kind.

    dog_boy_bastard in hindsight may not have actually been addressing me so my response to him may have been out of turn. Sorry, @dog… just saw that now.

    Hellvis replied to me harsher than all three so far, so, yeah, I fired back in kind he deserved it.

    Spoodle58 and cipater. notice how they managed to agree with you WITHOUT being insulting? Learn from it.

    HeadAroundU tells me to STFU twice. I replied in kind.

    Dominion also managed give a very well delivered rebuttal, and not only *didn’t* come off as a belligerent jerk, but was actually very nice about it. Learn from it.

    Maxwell also delivered a non-hostile opinion, and take a look how I responded to him. Notice that you get out what you put in? You delivered crap and that’s all I’m giving you back.

    The only nonsense is this whole interaction with you. Yes, I can be pretty harsh to what I believe to be blazing stupid. Meh, whatever, I do what I can to control it, but sometimes one little word, one little insulting word from one like you is enough to earn the remarks.

    You did not start this between us in an amicable manner, you’re incapable of seeing simple logic. We will never get along and if you won’t end this garbage I will.

    Reply if you wish, I don’t care. But your next reply will no longer earn my attention. Your input is worthless.

  64. Uncle Fred says:

    I think this is a heated discussion I’ll stay out of…

  65. Roen says:

    @Aqua: Pretty sweet idea. Michio kaku gives a great run down in his book “Physics of the Impossible” of propulsion methods. At the moment the best possible method with off the shelf tech we have now is nuclear drive. But no one is allowed to test anything nuclear in space. There’s also the problem of shielding against radiation.

    I think nuclear pulse is in the there too, where you drop a series of nukes behind your ship and the result propels you.

  66. Jacqo says:

    @roen Dr kaku also explains that most of the technologies needed for different propulsion systems are hundreds of years in our future in pace with our advancements we have made…
    ive enjoyed this thread, unfortunately when one opinion is so radically different than another telling others that you are right and they arent just because you disagree wont get you anywhere
    so roen i ask you…. in 500 words or less what have YOU done personally to back up all your talk….

  67. Roen says:

    @Jacqo: Of course it’s hundreds of years in the future no matter the type of propulsion. Moral issues aside, I was merely stating that nuclear drive would be the quickest to develop if it were legal, as stated by Dr. Kaku.

    “in 500 words or less what have YOU done personally to back up all your talk….”

    You need to restate the question, unclear what you’re asking.

  68. Aqua says:

    @ ROEN – So far all I’ve come up with is using an expanding cloud of charged particles then ‘attaching’ that expanding mass to a mag. field….

  69. Roen says:

    @Aqua: Where do you feel you’ll get the charged particles form?

  70. Aqua says:

    The energy source might be a superconducting shaped charge sequential detonation power source?

  71. Aqua says:

    There are EMI weapons out there that can neutralize all electronic circuits within hundreds of miles based on that concept…

  72. Roen says:

    @AQUA: Okay, so you’re thinking of an EMP to supply the particles? How will you power the EMP?

  73. Roen says:

    EMI, sorry

  74. Aqua says:

    Idea is to use a ‘Gatling gun’ like field generator to capture a directionally shaped and explosively expanding cloud of ionized particles.

  75. Aqua says:

    We bought the basic concept from the Russians back in the late 80’s. A shaped copper cylinder surrounded by stainless steel tubing is taken to cryogenic temperatures. A shaped charge inside the copper cylinder is simultaneously detonated with the discharge from a high voltage condenser bank… lets talk output around 700 million amps!

  76. Aqua says:

    oTay…so now you have to couple to an expanding magnetic wavefront with your magnetic self…

  77. Roen says:

    You still need to get the initial power to do this, no? How will this be done?

  78. Aqua says:

    Let Tesla do the magic… induction!

  79. Nexus says:

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that the planet is currently on a spiral towards destruction. I’m not quite so pessimistic, but let’s run with that. You, Roen, think it is morally reprehensible to spend money on solar system exploration and colonization instead of spending it on finding ways to fix the mess here. Do you think that exploring the Solar System will not yield any benefits in that? We are studying the atmospheres and geologies of Mars, Venus, Titan, etc. and in the process learning things about planets in general- including ours.

    If you want to send people on long missions to outer space you need to research things like efficient propulsion, better waste management, more robust electronics, better and cleaner power sources- all of these things will also find positive uses on Earth. Then there’s the fact that a giant space mission will require a spirit of international cooperation to pull off- and you’ll need that too to manage any meaningful fight against climate change.

    In my opinion, if you want to save the planet you can’t do much BETTER than to throw money at space research.

    Finally, I think you have been extremely unfair to Tacitus. You’ve called his points “straw-man arguments”, as though your inability to follow the thread of his though is his fault. You’ve called his opinions worthless and him a jerk, when your behaviour has been ten times more obnoxious than his, and you’ve set yourself up as some kind of tally-keeping arbiter of right and wrong which I find very arrogant and extremely annoying. Pull your head in, stop taking disagreement with your opinions as a personal affront, and start treating people- even ones you disagree with- with a bit of respect.

  80. Maxwell says:

    @Roen
    …But what is the point of gathering data if its never going to be used?
    We support these probe missions mostly because it helps us plan for a broader future in space. At some point you have to practice what it would take to go other places and survive, at some point you have to go.
    Otherwise these are all pointless engineering challenges with little end value.

    We don’t really need to concern ourselves with why someone will go or how they will deal with the politics, economics, and emotional aspects. Those things will see to themselves once launch costs are down enough that people can afford the journey.
    The lower the costs, the sooner things will happen. The faster we fan out into space, the further we will start sending our probes.

  81. Roen says:

    @NEXUS: No sending probes is not part of my issue with this. My issue is with manned missions in a time where it’s frivolous to think that far ahead. Even spending a million dollars on thinking about it is that much less money we can throw at preventing extinction.

    I said already – “What NASA is doing right now is awesome. We’ve learned more dollar for dollar by sending cheap robotic equipment to study the planet by proxy.”

    and

    “FYI, yes, I do support this. Probes are cheaper, safer and can travel faster than any human crew. The sheer logistics involved with sustaining a human crew for the length of time it will require is massively prohibitive.”

    With respect, to allude that I am overlooking exploration of our system entirely is unfounded and unfair.

    “In my opinion, if you want to save the planet you can’t do much BETTER than to throw money at space research.”

    I understand the view that research into manned missions has the potential of a spinoff effect, I am not denying that. However, direct research will always have a much greater payoff simply because that is where the focus is. Spin off knowledge is too random and there is no guarantee that there will be any spinoff knowledge from that. Manned missions will always have a much, much greater cost than probes. As stated in my quote above, NASA’s shift to smaller/cheaper has also yielded much more for the money than researching directly into sending people to Mars. Again, I already stated this.

    You’ve communicated to me with respect, which is why I am reciprocating such back. I thought things had calmed down and feel your last statement as unnecessary. I recognize where my fault is and thought I had corrected that since my last message to TACITUS. I backed off first, he backed off second and the issue is over. He’s moved on from our argument and so have I. Entering an argument that is now over will only serve to start it back up again. Leave it be please?

    @Maxwell: I have to admit a little confusion regarding your reply. I am uncertain what precipitated “But what is the point of gathering data if its never going to be used?” and what followed.

    Talking about manned missions, directing any money toward manned missions is taking away what precious little time we have left. I know I said we had until 2055, but that is when all of Earth is projected to be dead. Not when it’s actually too late to do anything.

    Over the period of 26 the next years will be a steady degradation of conditions that will accelerate the more time we waste until the entire ecosystem collapses. Once that happens life will die off at an incredible rate, Earth’s land masses will become dessert and the oceans will steadily disappear. That’s just the natural processes.

    Now we get into the human factor and the tradition of killing each other. When conditions get bad enough (which will be sooner than later) people will start killing each other off for food, water and other resources necessary for survival. The social systems we have developed over time will collapse, so will governments, first the smaller ones then that big ones. I understand that the larger nations may get together to stem the violence and it would succeed for a while. But even that will break down as resources dwindle. Human mortality due to violence, starvation and disease will ramp up until our population is small enough that contact between groups re sporadic. The violence will drop very fast, but the deaths will not stop, because we will still have a massive increase disease infant mortality and the inability for women to carry children. But by that time it will be far too late.

    I don’t know how long it will take before governments start falling, but it will be a number of years before 2036, simply due to human nature.

    It’s all about time, money and the ability to put it all together. We have little time, in 2004 it was reported that we had 30 years before this problem becomes irreversible. 6 years have ticked away leaving us 24 years before it really is too late and the runaway greenhouse boil the oceans away.

    Remember the poll I took here? I think the last tally was 14 people not completely concerned to 5 people who are. That’s 64.3%. A recent poll was done in the US, and 54% Americans are still not convinced. Please feel free to look over the messages and tally it yourself. Take another look at the recent stats. Hey this is a science forum and all claims need separate verification, so go to it if you like.

  82. Spoodle58 says:

    Networked computers (i.e. the internet) are a spin off from the space program.
    What if money was not made available to fund the research in the 1960s.
    That is just one of the many what ifs.

    Thankfully people back then had the long term thinking to fund space research projects and they do today. I firmly agree that funding space related projects is good for humanity, we are always quick to forget or set aside the benefits of such funding.

    S58

  83. Roen says:

    @Spoodle58: Were you referring to my most recent message?

  84. Spoodle58 says:

    @ Roen
    No, Im just stating my opinion on the article and why I find it worthy to fund.

  85. Aqua says:

    How does one ‘surf’ an expanding magnetic field? With a vessel capable of generating VERY powerful opposing or oppositely charged fields. How is that vessel powered? Nuclear of course…

  86. Roen says:

    @Spoodle58: The difference is that in the 1960’s we didn’t face climate change. Sure we faced nuclear war, but nuclear war was a fear that didn’t require money and research power to solve, and the situation was not as desperate. At least then we were in a bit of a holding pattern. we could just let the situation stay as a status quo and all life here on Earth would go on. We had time to mess around with other things like the Moon mission.

    Today is very different. We are not in a holding pattern, we cannot keep the status quo, and we definitely don’t have time. Add to that the random nature of spinoff discovery from research into frivolous pursuits, as opposed to direct research, and you have the recipe of a dead world in less than 50 years.

    24 years is all we have left to reverse this climate change. But remember, as we near that mark the more desperate the situation gets, exponentially compounding the problem itself. I want you to discredit me. I want someone, anyone to show me, with evidence, where this is wrong. Nothing would please me more than to know that this bigger issue is a non-issue. But anyone, who does try to dog up data to counter my points will find the support instead.

    Even a Mars colony would be too little too late. There is no guarantee that enough people will be saved to carry on the species. Remember humanity had come close to extinction a number of times in the remote past. This is why we have such small genetic variation as compared to other animals. We as a species can no longer afford to come close to extinction. There will not be enough genetic diversity for the human species to be viable.

  87. Roen says:

    Besides, colonization and starships really can wait until after we solved climate change. Not the other way around.

  88. LloydD says:

    There are many schools of thought as to what we should do first in this gigantic unuverse of ours. Fix our little corner or go to the stars.

    I say we go to the stars at any cost. Doing this might save the Earth. And I have to emphasize the word might because we have little time left.

    Just our very existance on the Earth continues to change it for the worse. We take in food and air and exude polutants. We use raw materials and foul the land, waters and atmosphere. We change things. Because of our vast numbers we simply overwelm nature’s natural cleansing cycles. And we still breed non-stop as nature programed us to do.

    I understand that even right now we could use 2 Earths to house our population and keep everything under control. But, by the year 2030 we will need 4.

    Space is a vacume and the Eath is under great pressure. We need an escape valve to reduce our population on Earth and give our children an opportunity to live at least a well as us.

    I know one thing for sure about man. Sometimes we do what we want to but, we always do what we have to. Because of this we are not extinct.

    I think the near future may not be pretty but in the long run we will do OK.

    Man will be a space faring people regardless if we want to or not.

    I like the idea of a microwave space ship.

  89. Roen says:

    @LloydD: If you had intended the examples you gave to show why we really shouldn’t be allowed off this rock then I’d say good job and add our tendency to enslave or kill other sentient creatures (so far just us).

    But that won’t happen. Even if it were to happen by 2030, so few people would make it off Earth that when Earth does die a by less than two decades after, and the rest of us with it, there would be so little genetic variation left that we would no longer be viable.

    To top that off, resources are forcing more and more violence and unrest as we get nearer to irreversibility, that governments would not be able to keep up with it. As those resources get less and less faster and faster (exponentially) the financial systems will crash far sooner than 2030.

    As stated at the very beginning of these comments (but with a nicer tone now), you and everyone else who feels we will be saved by this starship idea really need to rethink it all and start paying more attention to the facts… and you don’t have time to decide.

  90. Spoodle58 says:

    Roen, I can’t say this any nicer but your not doing justice to your opinions. Your arguments will sway peoples opinions away from you.

  91. Roen says:

    @Spoodle58:
    Is that what the truth does. Odd that.

  92. Dave Finton says:

    I have to admit, when I made my original reply, I kinda thought there would be a few follow-ups and then the thread would die. As such, I hadn’t checked back in a couple of days, thinking the issue was settled, only to find a thread that had over 90 comments in it (roughly half of them by Roen, who was the poster I originally responded to). Such is the way of the internet.

    Anyways, I fully support space exploration, and I also think colonization is ultimately going to be a path we’ll need to go down at some point. This will need to be done partly by commercial ventures (obvious example: space mining) and also by government for the pure science aspect of things. We’re reaching something pretty close to a zenith by staying here on Earth, and if we want to move forward as a civilization, space colonization is pretty much our only ticket out of town.

  93. GBendt says:

    What the heck brings someone to ideas like “the universe is ours”?

    We are just ONE of some 500 MILLION different lifeforms on planet Earth. How can we claim the right that everything around US belongs to US? This is wishful thinking.
    There is an attitude around that we can attain whatever we want by simply wishing to do it and working hard for it. But it is obvious that you can´t row a boat from Europe to America with nothing but a match for an oar.

    Almost all states in this world are currently in the severe danger of running out of money and means they require to sustain their function.Within a few years from now, we might not be able recognize the powers and certainties we have ever been used to.
    Those who are dreaming of being something like the ‘masters of the Universe’ will find that the Universe will have a different point of view on that. The Universe does not care about us. It wont be forgiving. If we can´t handle our world in a responsible manner, there won´t be annything nice to handle left for us any more.

    Currently we do not even habe the means to support and further develop manned space travel in low earth orbit. Starting a Space shuttle with a crew of seven and 12 tons of supply to the ISS costs 500 million dollars. Such amounts of money are not availble any more for that purpose. As I read that people think that space colonisation is the future of mankind, I feel that some folks are sort of losing their sense of reality.
    Some seem to fall in love with the idea that the Universe was created for our purpose and needs. We might learn that we need to meet the needs and demands the Universe and the world poses on us.

  94. Roen says:

    @GBendt: Isn’t it damned sad that it took 93 comments for 1, that’s ONE, other person to have as solid a grasp of reality. You’re preaching to the deaf, though. According to at least one person, trying to detail the most basic of facts causes people to decide to bury their heads in their ego’s instead of getting their priorities in the proper order.

    My advice to you, GBendt? Give up while you still have some patience left. Spend the next couple years getting yourself self sufficient. Because, after the last few days here, I realize that crap is going to go bad a lot quicker than I indicated above and these people here for the most part will be dead within a couple decades. Such is the price of dreaming too much and caring too little.

  95. QuantumEntangled says:

    Both sides of the argument raise interesting points. Indeed, the heat of the conversation seems to have calmed down a little. Perhaps cooler heads can reach some understanding.

    On one side of the argument, I would agree that priorities do appear to be a little out of place. A declaration of a starship in 100 years does seem ludicrous to me when we don’t even know that our race will survive the next few score years. Even if that was not the case, I also see difficulty in justifying manned missions on a starship when robotic probes are doing such an amazing job. It does not seem to be cost effective to me.

    On the other side. I agree space exploration must go on, especially in these times. Very often we have discovered things that helped us in areas we never even dreamed was possible. There is a great amount of unknowns here in our Solar system that are waiting to be revealed, any one of which can lead to a possible solution to the climate change Roen is using as the prime motivator to his arguments.

    I am leaning toward his stance based strictly on the fact that we are still uncertain if climate change is as real as the media is making out to be. I’m not saying it does not exist and I am not saying it does. However, somewhere in the middle is truth. But if what we are told is correct, and we do only have little over a couple decades of livability on Earth, do we really want to risk losing this opportunity just because it may not seem to be true?

    Peace, guys.

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