The politics of space exploration

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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1974836 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 1:50:46 UTC

Landing on asteroids is not really very exciting to me, but I know it's good science, and actually pretty darn impressive. Everything - public and private industry - is moving at a glacial pace compared to the glory days of the moon shots.
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Message 1974840 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 2:07:34 UTC

China has made a big splash on the far side of the moon, and has a nice new radio telescope. NASA and the ESA and Russia are all doing good astronomy science, too, but what will get an ambitious new space goal going? Do we really have to have another cold war?
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Message 1974856 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 3:51:44 UTC
Last modified: 12 Jan 2019, 3:58:33 UTC

Scientific knowledge about asteroids could end up having a very practical application. If we're to one day divert an asteroid headed for a collision with Earth, we must understand how they will respond to various means of delivering route-changing force to them. The varying geological composition of asteroids will have a very important bearing on this response.

Learning how to navigate in the vicinity of asteroids, with their irregular gravity fields, and how to best deploy probes and sensors to their surfaces will be the basis of learning the details of their composition. A means of better connecting the spectral types of asteroids with details of their composition would be highly desirable. Such knowledge would be built up from on-site scrutiny of a substantial number of asteroids.

The Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission is being planned for 2022. It will test the effects of one method of diverting the potentially hazardous asteroid, Didymos.
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Message 1974859 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 4:05:31 UTC - in response to Message 1974856.  

Totally agree with you, Michael. I just wish to see in addition to those very worthwhile and important projects, a bigger goal like the moon was, back in the day.
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Profile Gary Charpentier Crowdfunding Project Donor*Special Project $250 donor
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Message 1974865 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:06:45 UTC - in response to Message 1974859.  

Totally agree with you, Michael. I just wish to see in addition to those very worthwhile and important projects, a bigger goal like the moon was, back in the day.

The number one reason the moon went so well was because congress understood the reality of research.
There are 3 things in research and you can only know two of them.
1) Your Goal
2) Your Budget
3) How long it takes.
Our goal was set and the time frame was set, money wasn't, NASA got how ever much it needed.

I don't believe the country has the political will to set up a project where there is an open ended budget any time soon.

We aren't at the point today were we could set a goal of a self sustaining colony off earth in a decade time span. That is a goal which is far enough out there it would drive huge advancement. However a realistic time span is longer than can be maintained with political will.
A permanent off world base, which isn't self sustaining, is within reach in a reasonable time span, but I don't see that driving huge advancement, only limited advancement and it isn't a sexy enough goal to window dress for the politicians.

We are getting much closer with 3D printing to being able to make the attempt to go modestly self sustaining, but we have a very long way to go to be able to put a shovel of moon into a hopper and get a crescent wrench out of a printer. Also one of the biggest issues is likely going to be the manufacture of IC chips. While it isn't that hard to get the raw material, once you have a slice, doing all the steps necessary to make it an IC isn't trivial. (You have to be able to make repair parts for everything to be 100% self sustaining.)

If we were to start today for off world, we are likely about a century out of being 100% totally self sustaining. Until then some exotic supplies will still need to be made on mother earth and sent up.
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Message 1974866 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 5:20:05 UTC - in response to Message 1974865.  
Last modified: 12 Jan 2019, 5:48:14 UTC

What if the Apollo missions had never happened? Would there have been a manned mission by now?

What if it had been unsuccessful? Would there have been more attempts?

I feel like these questions should be posed and answered in Politics, because it may get dicey.
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Message 1974873 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 6:03:10 UTC

I really hope that everyone visiting this thread will think and read first, and if feeling like posting to join the discussion, will do so in a way that doesn't put down other posters, but instead makes things more interesting, and educational.
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Message 1974925 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 17:35:20 UTC - in response to Message 1974866.  
Last modified: 12 Jan 2019, 17:39:44 UTC

"Space exploration doesn't just happen—it is made through the decisions of government, budgets, policy documents, and by individuals and industries. Space exploration is for all of us, but only by understanding the politics of space can we make it happen."
Space exploration cost Big Money.
Using manned missions with perhaps not so much of a science value cost even more Big Money.
The Apollo program was reported to Congress as having cost $25.4 billion from beginning to end.
The program lasted from 1960 - 1972, so let’s ballpark 1966 as the midpoint.
$25.4 billion dollars in 1966 adjusted for inflation would be $197.5 billion in 2018 dollars.
Are there any estimates of the cost sending man to Mars and getting them back within this 2+ decade?
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Message 1974949 - Posted: 12 Jan 2019, 19:22:24 UTC - in response to Message 1974925.  

That's only 25% of their military spending.

FY-DoD Base Budget-Total Spending

2016 - $521.7 - $767.3
2017- Actual $523.2 - $818.2
2018 - Enacted $574.5 - $874.4
2019 - Budget $597.1 -$886.0
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Message 1975110 - Posted: 14 Jan 2019, 1:20:11 UTC

Will defense budgets ever shrink to the point that money can be directed into space exploration?
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Message 1975115 - Posted: 14 Jan 2019, 1:51:13 UTC - in response to Message 1975110.  

Will defense budgets ever shrink to the point that money can be directed into space exploration?
Most of the world would just love those defence budgets cut no matter what and all at once

Then we can all get on with many more much important things Gordon. ;-)

Cheers.
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Message 1975116 - Posted: 14 Jan 2019, 2:07:41 UTC - in response to Message 1975115.  

Will defense budgets ever shrink to the point that money can be directed into space exploration?
Most of the world would just love those defence budgets cut no matter what and all at once

Then we can all get on with many more much important things Gordon. ;-)

Cheers.

I agree, wholeheartedly!
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Message 1975130 - Posted: 14 Jan 2019, 5:36:52 UTC - in response to Message 1975110.  

Will defense budgets ever shrink to the point that money can be directed into space exploration?

Well, there is lots of money to be made selling munitions to both sides.

We need to get the chest beating idiots out of politics in every country. Or get a planet wide scare so everyone realizes we all have to cooperate for a change.
One would have hoped AGW might have provided that scare, but the troglodytes seem to have proliferated.
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Message 1975876 - Posted: 19 Jan 2019, 2:34:28 UTC

It might take the discovery of an off-world intelligence, with a presence in this solar system, to finally unite the human race. We might then divert the money spent on destruction to a constructive purpose, such as going out to meet them...
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Message 1976096 - Posted: 20 Jan 2019, 18:28:22 UTC

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Message 1976110 - Posted: 20 Jan 2019, 19:36:23 UTC - in response to Message 1976096.  
Last modified: 20 Jan 2019, 19:45:52 UTC

Yes. Seems that it's only governments that can't own the moon according to the "Outer Space Treaty".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty
The treaty explicitly forbids any government to claim a celestial resource such as the Moon or a planet.[7]
Article II of the treaty states that "outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.

However Article I
The exploration and use of outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind.
Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.
There shall be freedom of scientific investigation in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, and States shall facilitate and encourage international co-operation in such investigation.
Unless there are any new treaties.
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Message 1976140 - Posted: 20 Jan 2019, 23:56:58 UTC - in response to Message 1976096.  

BBC - Can anyone 'own' the Moon?

Good link, Nick.

I remember hearing about moon land rights being sold to the general public.
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Message boards : Politics : The politics of space exploration


 
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