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Manned Space Exploration...Why?

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posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 05:41 AM
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First, in no way do I mean to disparage those interested in the exploration of space. I think it has been a worthwhile pursuit...up to this point in time. However, I wonder why we as a civilization feel so compelled to continue with manned exploration of space, specifically traveling to other planets(?). I believe orbiting laboratories are also a worthwhile pursuit, but again why does mankind need to go to places like Mars or beyond?

Over the years I keep hearing this recurring theme of..."Because it's the only way the human race can survive, it's the only way mankind can be saved"

In my humble opinion that is a BS argument. A far better argument would be simply... "Because it's just really cool!"

Okay, so (hopefully) before anyone gets all wound up; here's where I'm coming from...

1. Human beings require (2) primary things to survive longer than a couple of days (or even hours). They require "air" (oxygen) and water. We already know no planet in our solar system has either of these two things...at least in a readily usable state.

2. Conversely, planet Earth is 75% water. Planet Earth also has abundant "air". But Earth is over-populated, right? No, planet Earth is less than 10% populated. And, with all the money we spend playing around with sending man to Mars we could use that same money to explore things like creating habitats on/in water (just one example).

3. Let's say we discovered a planet that was made out of solid gold, or diamonds, or some other valuable commodity. First, we know that planet is not in our solar system. And second, because of that, mankind has about zero probability of ever reaching said planet (at least not in our human form). Bottom line, man will never go there. Ever.

4. Why? The first Voyager space probe was launched in 1977, forty one years ago. Some say Voyager has now left the "solar system", but in reality it has not...not even close. Voyager 1 may be past Neptune, our furthest planet, but it is far from exiting the solar system. It has passed the Termination Shock and the Heliopause, but it's still got a long, long way to go to truly "exit" the solar system. It's going to take at least another 300 years (yes, 'hundred', and 7x longer than it's already been traveling to date) to even reach the Oort Cloud and then another 30,000+/- years to pass through it! So, just to exit the solar system from our little planet Earth takes about 30,341 years. If we say the average lifespan of a human is 100 years (one generation), then it would require no less than 303 "generations" for mankind to reach a planet outside the solar system...three hundred and three "generations". If a "grandfather" is two generations away, a planetary traveler's grand-grand-grand...is going to have to be expressed in exponents! That's what we're dealing with. The reality of it.

5. But, but, but...maybe we could travel faster than Voyager, right? Well, not in our current human form...and where is all the research into this? By "faster" we would need to be talking about percentages of the speed of light, not just a 'little bit' faster than voyager, not just 4-5x the speed of Voyager, but tens of thousands, even millions, of times faster! Just the amount of time it would take to accelerate the human body to these velocities without destroying it would take years and years of constant acceleration. Acceleration which requires fuel and/or energy which we'd need to put into space first. Human physiology is simply not designed to accelerate and decelerate from extreme velocities such as these, even forgetting about the technical challenges required to accomplish it. Ok, so that's out.

6. Well, let's go to Mars then, or Saturn, or some other planet in our solar system. Why? What can one of those planets give us that Earth can't already provide (refer back to #2)? The facts is, the human being was expressly designed to reside on planet Earth; it's a "custom" model number, the human creature. Any other planet we already know is going to require a very steep adaptation curve in order for a human to survive. Far beyond anything the human form has endured in the history of mankind to date.

7. Landing on another planet is hard, so let's just go to Mars. Oh boy, it sure as heck is "hard"!! In fact it's so hard that mankind has only done it a few times successfully in the big scheme of things. Landing on Mars right now as I write this, even with 21st century technology, only has about a 40-50% success ratio (and that's being generous)...but we want to send a human there??? Why?

8. Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAV's) are replacing mankind all over planet Earth right now. Why does "man" have to go to Mars, why not send UAV's instead? UAV's are replacing pilots, replacing drivers, replacing underwater explorers...heck UAV's are taking over everything practically, but for some reason we're bent on sending mankind somewhere. I don't get it.

9. ET, what about ET???? We're never going to meet ET, and if we ever do he will be so far different from us we humans will likely not be able to relate to, or even comprehend, his existence. Sorry, but that's pretty much the reality of it. It's fun to think about, but in reality it's not likely to happen. Plus, we already know humans are pretty much the only intelligent life form in this solar system (at least 'intelligent' in a form we understand). So, there's no sense in looking for ET anywhere around here, we'd already know him if he was to be of value to us.

At the end of the day what this all boils down into is how money gets appropriated and spent.

I'm all for astronomy, I'm all for space exploration in the pursuit of understanding our physical world better, but I'm genuinely baffled by this obsession with sending mankind to another planet...unless the reason is simply because...it'd be cool and because we can (try).


P.S. As always, comments are welcome.
edit on 4/21/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:07 AM
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There are two main reasons in my view.

One is that however good your equipment is, it lacks peripheral vision and interpretive capability. It can't spot something and ask itself "whats that?" and go check it out. You need eyes on the ground, and our eyes are much better and make decisions faster.

The other is emotional. When you go to meet astronauts, or when you hear them interviewed, the most important question that people really want answering is "What did it feel like?". People want to understand the experience of being i such a unique position. Photographs or film are fine, but they don't explain the emotional response.

So yes, sending 'spam in a can' is expensive, potentially pointless given the risk of death, and really does place limitations on what you can with a mission, but it adds the human dimension that ultimately is what the quest for knowledge is about.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:15 AM
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a reply to: OneBigMonkeyToo

And you know what? That's okay! That's an okay answer to say..."because we wanted to see what it's like".

And, I guess that's my whole point; the human race doesn't need manned space exploration for survival of the species, we just want to see what it's like. It shouldn't be characterized as this dire mission upon which the human race depends, because it's not. It's just cool. (and that's really the context of my usage of "cool", in the broader sense).



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:15 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

Because it's part of who we are , it seems to me we are hardwired to explore which is something we've done since we , as a species , left Africa.
Our destiny is among the stars and our only future is out there , we or something else will eventually kill this planet and if we don't travel the path set out for us we will perish along with it , like a child we must learn to walk before we can run but at some point we will learn to run and as distance has narrowed for us on this planet so it will narrow in the Cosmos as our understanding grows and new technologies become available.

We owe it to the people of the future to do the ground work as our ancestors did for us.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:17 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I agree.

As i see it.

Humans are not evolved enough for space exploration (even when that factor is taken into account).

I don't believe it is sustainable (long term).

The ability to grow food seems easy. And, it would be. Only until the nutrients run out.

Let the machines do it.

Spend the money on bettering life on our own planet.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:19 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

1. Humans require a lot of things to thrive on Earth too, it's not as simple as saying "here's some water and here's some vegetables" we often need to put a lot of effort and intelligence to thrive more than 10 miles away from a renewable water source. I've never drank free running water or encountered foodstuffs in the wild that need at least a little prior knowledge or effort to make a useful source of nourishment.

2. I agree, we've gotten nowhere near capacity and that's not including technological innovation. My point in answer one still stands though, we'd still have to manage resources and harness potential.

3. So we should probably focus on what is attainable, from what I gather nations and companies with space exploration goals and goals of an exploiting nature are not looking to 'go the longhaul' they're looking to exploit viable resources which the likes of NASA have already proved is attainable. I'm not expecting humans to mine other worlds or asteroids any time soon, we do have machines.

4. Voyager was never built to go fast, it's propulsion system (which is absolutely fascinating) was built for the long haul. In comparison the New Horizons probe reached Pluto in a mere 9 years. We have a few concepts that could take us further and faster than anything dreamed of in the 1970's.

5. Not something I know much about but isn't it all intrinsically linked with gravity? It's G's that destroy the human body with regards to acceleration and deceleration. Our probes don't combust or fall apart due to extreme changes in speed. I may be way off the mark with this question though.

6. Tell that to those living in the arctic circle or the divers of south-east who frequently dive to depths of 70 meters and have a biological mutation that enlarges the spleen to accommodate more oxygen-rich red blood cells. My point being, we'll adapt biologically and/or artificially. For instance Beluga whales are a important source of vitamins for humans barely enough to live in a freezer. It's also not unheard of for animals to source raw minerals such as salt, life adapts or dies.

7. We needed decent information about the terrain, atmosphere and a lot more things I'm not even qualified in mentioning. With that being said nobody will send humans to Mars without a very good chance of success. For instance, were you born a good cook? Knowledge and experience is gained, sometimes meals can be dreadful. I can't imagine you'd be the kind of person to sell or even serve a terrible meal, I cannot imagine life will be sent to Mars without at least some assurances it's... palatable. NASA for instance has and will close programs down that are a risk to their staff, they've only improved in such things and are insistent that their knowledge be offered to the private sector regarding safety.

8. I won't argue with you on that, we should perfect unmanned landings on other planets before humans are sent.

9. I once put a post in a thread here on ATS about a hypothetical alien planet that only has two species of lifeforms that regulate each other whilst ensuring each other's survival, in this hypothetical they needn't ever evolve beyond their somewhat simple state because no competition exists. We're humans, a relatively selfish species like any other on Earth. For all we know Earth is extremely unique in that trouble and strife, with the need for survival has shaped what life as we know it is. Aliens are probably never going to be a problem... By design we are most likely superior. I've seen nothing to change my opinion on this.




At the end of the day what this all boils down into is how money gets appropriated and spent. 

I'm all for astronomy, I'm all for space exploration in the pursuit of understanding our physical world better, but I'm genuinely baffled by this obsession with sending mankind to another planet...unless the reason is simply because...it'd be cool and because we can (try). 


I always like that T-shirt on Fatboy Slim's music video Right Here, Right Now...

I'm #1 why try harder.

It's the final frontier, when I was a child I often went to the beach and looked with wonder out torwards the open sea, I grew up and found out it's all been seen and conquered by my ancestors. Admittedly this did leave a bitter taste in my mouth over time. But then I realise expeditions to the Mariana trench or probes going to Mars... I realised we know so little and have seen even less. We should focus on Earth though, we should never let our dreams and aspirations die.

We've been #1 for a long time, I'm glad those before me tried harder. We didn't need to leave the stone age. We don't need to visit space. We want to.




P.S. As always, comments are welcome.


I enjoyed participating, a good thread for a Sunday afternoon.
Posted early....
edit on 21-4-2018 by RAY1990 because: Adding more,

edit on 21-4-2018 by RAY1990 because: Finito.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:24 AM
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a reply to: gortex

Yes, but part of my point is the fact that there are limitations to what the human form can achieve, physical limitations.

Even in areas like aviation, technology has exceeded the physiological constraints of the human form right now. We have aircraft which can outperform the pilots who fly them. They can turn faster than pilots can control, they can maneuver in ways the human body cannot withstand (without losing consciousness or worse). The same things apply to long distance space travel; right now, today, we can develop spacecraft which exceed the physical constraints of the human.

So, on the one hand, if the mission is truly for exploration and understanding then perhaps we should consider not having humans on the mission (because they limit the mission frankly). On the other hand, if the mission is to just experience the thrill within the physical constraints, then it shouldn't be characterized as scientific or research. The two are different.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:30 AM
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a reply to: RAY1990

So we generally agree. I agree we should focus our efforts to preserve the human race on Earth, and focus our efforts to understand the planets on other planets. I think the important thing to say in the same breath is, those two things are not prerequisites of one another.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:35 AM
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Not a reply directly to the topic at hand; just a brief story..

When Star Wars first come out my friend talked me into going to see the movie... Long story short I still remember how much that movie inspired me but I also remember how much I was disappointed in our current space program... I remember when it was said, "Why spend all that money on the space program when we have poor and hungry right here on earth"...

So... the voices were many and the entire Apollo program was cancelled. LBJ and his great social programs fed the poor and hungry and they quietly bred more poor and hungry to the point of just about breaking the social welfare bank..
Just one of thousands which come in all races and all colors. youtu.be...


I do not argue any of your talking points... Unless there is a break away space program with some serious high technology we are stuck in this solar system and as a race of beings we will be exterminated sooner or later. which I believe to be a waste. We can not even stop a planet killer from doing a dino thingy on mankind..
edit on 727stk18 by 727Sky because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:41 AM
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a reply to: 727Sky

Frankly, I think we (humans) have a far better chance of developing that "break away" technology for space exploration if we would just remove the dang human from the equation (traveling that is). Let the human develop the technology, and then let the technology go do the work, leaving the human behind.

How many billions of dollars have we spent desperately trying to keep the human in the space travel equation???



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:42 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




Yes, but part of my point is the fact that there are limitations to what the human form can achieve, physical limitations.

Isn't that a bit like what was believed in the early days of rail travel , that if a train exceeded a certain speed all the air would be sucked from the carriages and the passengers killed.

I think the main problem with traveling vast distances in space is time dilation , if we develop the technology to send people to our near neighboring star systems only tens of years will pass for them but hundreds will pass here on Earth so only future people would know if the mission had been successful , we will develop ways of protecting astronauts from the dangers of space as technology develops but I doubt we will solve that problem.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:50 AM
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a reply to: RAY1990

Incidentally, to your point #5; the "G" is just a unit of measure based on gravity. The forces which create those G loadings work the same way in space as they do on earth. They are a function of acceleration, not gravity, even though the measurement unit is G.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 06:55 AM
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a reply to: gortex

No, humans have a whole lot of things to worry about (physiologically) before we even begin to start worrying about time dilation!

And, though I did reference it in my OP, it wasn't stressed, but where is all the research into changing the form of the human and then putting it back together again (think: Star Trek transporter)? Because this is the kind of technology it's going to take to actually get anywhere in space. You don't need to go into space to develop this technology, it can be done right here on Earth...so where is it?

And, until that technology shows up we really shouldn't be worried about traveling past the Moon.

ETA...And yes, you are correct; we will not solve the time dilation matter as it is a law of physics. One more reason that human space travel isn't viable. Over long distances (multiple tens or hundreds of light years) space travel quickly becomes of value only to the traveler, not the people they leave behind. Because they can never come back (not unless someone invents a time machine...which ain't happenin').


edit on 4/21/2018 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:02 AM
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originally posted by: Flyingclaydisk
a reply to: 727Sky

Frankly, I think we (humans) have a far better chance of developing that "break away" technology for space exploration if we would just remove the dang human from the equation (traveling that is). Let the human develop the technology, and then let the technology go do the work, leaving the human behind.

How many billions of dollars have we spent desperately trying to keep the human in the space travel equation???



I dunno... I guess we would have to ask the Russians how much we are spending since they supply the rocket engines (or were) and giving our people rides to the ISS.. is it worth it ? Some must think so.... but you are correct... the way things are going send a robot... Mars rovers have certainly lived longer than most ever thought. Besides if it is a robot you can always direct it away from anything interesting...hahahha.

Nevertheless I have resigned myself into knowing I will be long gone and dead as a door knob before anything like Star Trek or Star Wars ever happens... Unless the great mother ship lands and shows us they way.... and I would bet everything, "it ain't gonna happen".

So I hope the new robots are better than the robots of today...faster... smarter....better vision...etc etc With robots at least we will have something to argue about what they see and photograph.. Helps keep ATS alive..



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:03 AM
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It's called "Multitasking"

Seriously: there is absolutely NO reason why humans as a species can't do manned exploration of the cosmos and at the same time take care of things here on Earth. The amount of money spent on space exploration is a drop in the bucket compared to the budget of things like defense spending.

Over 90% of all species here on Earth have gone extinct during the planet's life time. I'd hate to see the human race added to that, and keeping all the eggs in one basket is pretty stupid, especially when the species had a way to ensure that's not the case:

Universe Is Gonna Get You

As our species continues to advance, our thirst for power will not be quenched, it will continue to increase and in fact will be necessary to continue to support our species. We have a power source that we can continue to use for billions of years, but we only use a fraction of a fraction of a fraction (I'd have to type this several hundred times to get to the number that is so small) of it.

However a Dyson Swarm would provide a much larger number for that. And while the Earth can sustain us now, it won't be able to sustain us forever......unless you have a lot of manned orbitals around the Earth and the sun itself, that can provide even more living space, manufacture, agriculture, etc.

Colonizing other planets here in our solar system would be hard. Very hard, and take very long times.

Building and occupying O'Neill Cylinders in orbit around the Earth or the Sun on the other hand is a much more viable solution.

We need to be thinking in the long term. Not just today, tomorrow, a few years, decades or even centuries, but even longer.

The sun itself has about 5 billion years left in it's life span. However, life on Earth only has less than 500 million years left. It's because the sun is getting hotter and hotter. It's a very small amount, and it's a very long time (500 million years), but it's a finite amount of time......and that's IF the sun is the only thing we'd have to worry about (see the above link).

There is absolutely no reason why we as a species can't multitask. Manned space exploration is not using up so much money and resources that we can't also do other things (take care of problems here on Earth). Saying that we must solve all of our problems here first before going anywhere is one of the most closed minded or tunnel vision ideas.

Out of all the species that have ever evolved on this rock, only humans became advanced enough to not only explore it, and colonize just about every inch of it's surface, but to also leave it and spread out even further.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:10 AM
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a reply to: 727Sky

Oh, and just to be clear, I completely support things like ISS and similar. I think there are many valuable things to be learned there. I'm just not about going to other planets.



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:13 AM
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a reply to: eriktheawful

I generally agree, but just to be clear (like with 727sky); I am in no way suggesting space itself is an unworthy cause. I am merely suggesting that humans traveling to distant planets is not a good focus, and certainly not for some of the reasons being used to justify it.

Otherwise, I agree with what you are saying, and I say let's continue to do those things. At the same time though, we should realize the human form's limitations when it comes to space travel with the express purpose of getting somewhere 'else'.

Does that make sense?



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:19 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk




And, though I did reference it in my OP, it wasn't stressed, but where is all the research into changing the form of the human and then putting it back together again (think: Star Trek transporter)?

I'm with Bones Mccoy on that front.





posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:22 AM
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a reply to: gortex

See?

There you go!



posted on Apr, 21 2018 @ 07:25 AM
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a reply to: Flyingclaydisk

I added a bit more, I accidentally pressed the reply button.

We can do it all and a bit more me thinks, 400 years ago our population was tiny in comparison to today yet we still found the time to circumnavigate the world, begin institutions to better our species, build like no civilization did before and provide for the common person what was once reserved for the very few.

All of this while Europe was gripped in turmoil and genuine depletion of resources. If it were not for those crazy navigators whom just might,might have fell off a cliff somewhere civilisation might never have become what it is today.

I had to do a little looking into G forces, gravity is still an integral part of the formula as I'm reading it, such forces would be lessened the more a vessel distances itself from gravity wells. With that being said, I've been in vehicles that could have potentially killed me if the acceleration/deceleration was not throttled in some way. It's something researchers have already tackled with regards to vehicles and their safety features, figured it worth a mention.



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