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Why the Space Program?

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posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 12:12 PM
Over the past several month, off and on, I've been reading with some amusement, and bemusement, the various Moon Hoax threads, and now the Mars Hoax thread.

Amusement, because of the faulty, if not outright fallacious science being quoted as gospel, irregardless of numerous attempts to correct it.

Bemusement, because all too many seem willing to buy into the falsehood.

Anyway, that's not the real reason I started this thread...

A couple of nights ago, a question was asked on one of the Hoax threads about why do we need the Space Program, or words to that effect. They struck a chord with me, and I decided to get philosophical...hey, it's what I do
. Plus I'm a points whore, and I"m hoping a thread of mine might actually take

Why the Space Program? Why do we spend our treasure and resources going to Mars or the Moon, why crash a probe into a comet or into the Jovian atmosphere...why...why...why?

For many, many thousands of years, at least, maybe since our ancestors climbed down out of the trees in Africa, we've gazed in awestruck wonder at the stars above us in the vault of the sky. For not quite that long, we've wondered what are they? Were they other suns, and if they are, are there other worlds around them. Men died for expressing these thoughts, and asking those questions, yet despite it all...the question remained firmly rooted in the imaginations of anyone bothering to look up at night...

For the longest time, the stars were our guideposts on our journeys across our world, if such and such a star is here, we're headed this way. As such, they were and still are, our friends. On warm summer evening who hasn't gazed up at the stars twinkling down at us so cheerfully through the hot muggy air?

As they've beckoned to us on our journey's here on Earth, how can we ignore the beckon that urges, even pleads with, us to leave this nest and join them.

Our first tentative steps have begun that journey...I sat beside my mother and father that evening in 1969 when mankind took that first bold step...We'd landed on another world! I saw, for the first time, my mother cry. I never knew why until I saw the shuttle lift off, and return safely for the first time. I knew right then, and right there, that the Earth will not always be our home.

To this day Armstrong and Aldrin hold a special place in my heart...They were the messengers who told a world that more worlds await, and that it is time to go!

Who doesn't remember those pictures from the Viking Landers of landscapes not so dissimilar to places here on Earth? Or the pictures of worlds so wonderfully and delightfully weird as to beggar our imaginations, from the Voyager spacecraft as the blazed the first trail out of the Solar System on their long plunge into the darkness beyond, heading for those freindly twinkling little stars...

Now more Martian probes have sent back information that may indicate that life might be present now, or in the past. Only water? But as a single note from a trumpet may indicate the possibility of a symphony, so too does water indicate the possibility of life elsewhere in our Universe.

Oh, the possibilities!!

But why go?

Man is, at heart, a wanderer. An explorer. Yearning to see new vistas, experiance places we've never been. Man is never more wonderous then when challenged. This is, I submit, our ultimate challenge. To join the heavens and tread among the stars. Our ultimate destiny, what ever that is, lies not here, on this rather insignigicant little blue rock. But out there, yondering amongst the stars.

If we don't destroy ourselves by ignoring the angels of our better natures. Something awaits us our there...I'd hate for us to miss it due to our prediliction for violence. I don't think we will, but the jpossibility is there...

posted on Jun, 25 2008 @ 12:28 PM
reply to post by seagull

Very well put, Seagull. Our reason for existence in this world is to ultimately obtain some type of understanding -- obtain ultimate truth. We are getting closer.

I was struck by your passage about guiding ourselves by the stars.

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 10:30 AM
I started this thread over two years ago... Always wondered why it didn't get more of a response...

Am I alone in this supposition? That our destiny, as a race, lies not here on Earth, but somewhere out there beyond the bounds of our little Solar System.

These dreams of mine are rekindled every time I hear of new plans for space exploration, and yes, exploitation, too. Mankind was not meant to stay here. The stars beckon to us every time we look up. Haven't you ever wondered about what's out there?

Danger. Adventure. Treasures both physical and not so physical. Knowledge. Possibly Wisdom. Maybe, just maybe, freinds, too.

What's keeping us?

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 10:55 AM
The quest to understand one's self and one's world is the very core of the human experience. It was our desire to know what is over the next hill that brought humanity to every corner of the globe, while our cousins stayed behind in the veldt picking fleas off one another. Just as our ancestors didn't know how useful it would be to overcome their fears and keep that burning stick they found alive, so we fail to understand how something as seemingly irrelevant to our daily lives as visiting an asteroid might be to our future. To those who mock the space program, when, not if, an asteroid is found barreling towards Earth for what will likely be an extinction level event, wouldn't you like to know that we might be able to do something about it?

Very well expressed, OP. If only more people shared your sentiments....

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 11:17 AM
reply to post by seagull

Seagull i agree 100%

I am fascinated with the Moon, spending as much time as possible visualizing our sister planet. I wonder if the moon hoax proponents do this? Do they have a favorite feature or area they like to look at? My favorite would be Messier followed by Vallis Schroteri [Apollo 18 proposed landing site].

Yet I see this all the time, the ones doing the downright attacking, really don't spend much time with allure on the subject, but more just ways to defame and destroy the very essence of the topic at hand.

I'd rather have the amazement and bewilderment of the heavens than some hoax anyway.

To the Stars!

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 11:34 AM

S&F. What a great post, and it's a shame that I didn’t see it sooner.

As you said, throughout history, man has been inclined to explore new horizons, a explorer with a desire to expand their horizons (both figuratively and literally).

Unfortunately, I've noticed a severe, almost fatal case of apathy amongst us, and it seems to become more profound daily.

I have a question for you though, or for anyone else that has been around for a while. At the height of the moon race, how was the general attitude? Was the majority of the public excited about it? Hopeful? Inspired? I only ask because I wasn’t around.

I'm curious to know though... In this day and age, and this is based on my experiences and observations, people just do not care about a lot of things, much less space exploration. People look for the "what's in it for me in the short term" now, and such a long endeavor such as space exploration just is not that appealing to the masses...

Trying to even engage in an intelligent discussion regarding anything now a days is strenuous to say the least...

Who got booted from a reality show? Now you're talking!

Did you hear about the proposed FY11 budget for NASA? Meh who cares.

You know, with the establishment of the interstate highway system by Dwight Eisenhower, Americans became more likely to "explore" their country, sadly, I think it ended there.

Again, best thread I've read in a while. Thanks!

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 12:02 PM
reply to post by Juston

The apathy is, IMHO, very real, and scarily so. People, again in my humble opinion, seem to give a damn, at least publically, about the wrong things.

I wasn't very old at the height of the Apollo moon shots, I had just started school. The kids thought it was the bestest thing ever. We knew who all the Apollo astronauts were, and many of us wanted to be just like them. What the adults thought? Seems evident doesn't it? The moon program was scrapped. The reasons? They must have seemed plausible, at least to them...I don't agree, but hey, I was just a kid.

If what my parents always said is the prevelent views, the attitude was "let's go, let's go, now.". I think the problems began when NASA, and others didn't have a vision of what to do next... OK, we've gone to the moon, now you want to go where? LEO? A reusable spacecraft to shuttle between here and there? Really? How boring.

When, like NASA, you've succeeded on such a grand and glorious scale; it's kinda hard to come up with something to top it... A shuttle, or even Skylab, just doesn't quite cover it. Voyager, and Pioneer, both came very close though, as did Viking... to at least equalling the publics fascination with the worlds that orbit around our sun with us.

Some how, some way, we must recapture that feeling; and hold on to it. That will require appealing, not to peoples pocketbooks, but to their souls. Awaken the vision of worlds awaiting our footsteps by appealing to our sense of wonder. How? I don't know...but that's the answer, IMHO.

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 12:13 PM
reply to post by seagull

I think we're on the cusp of a new phase. While there is a great deal of public apathy, there is also growing motivation in other quarters. The rise in "private sector" space ventures suggests that humanity's exploration of space is about to enter its "Wild West" phase. Without clear and unequivocal international laws regarding private as opposed to state exploitation of extra-terrestrial resources, it is only a matter of time before large corporations begin to eye the mineral wealth and manufacturing possibilities off-world. Caterpillar, the large corporation that manufactures tractors and mining equipment, has recently joined a private endeavor to send a rover to the Moon.

posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 12:21 PM
reply to post by seagull

Hi Seagull!

Being that I was born in '66, I too share a similar emotional attachment to the space program. I have vague memories of the day that we conquered the impossible and landed upon the moon.

I have memories of watching astronauts frolicking, in later visits, upon the Lunar surface - as Walter Kronkite provided words almost worthy of the miracle I was witnessing.

I recall watching, with baited breath, over a period of years as the space shuttle went from something obscure, simply being talked about, into a drawing on the television screen, then into a shape strapped on the back of a 747, and finally into a flaming tower leaping into space.

Of course I also watched, twice, as that flaming chariot, like the stories of Icarus, took its inhabitants into eternity and, tragically, away from those of us who remained earthbound.

Through all of this it's never been a mystery to me, at all, as to why we would go to such lengths, and risk so much, in the pursuit of mastering space... for the desire to reach the stars. After all, our bodies are made of them. Our inner spark - burning as they do.

A little before I was born, President Kennedy spoke to these questions, and he said:

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

His words were deceptively simple, in my opinion. Yet they speak volumes. Why go into space? It's no different or more complicated than the reasons that we climb out of bed, or open our front doors in the morning and face the world - unaware of what may come, endangered at every turn, and vulnerable...

We do these things, all of them, because it's our nature. We do them because we have the capacity to dream of them and then to accomplish them. We do them because we have curious minds and hearts brave enough to let that curiosity lead us beyond that which we are comfortable with - that which we know. We do these things for the same reason that the earliest humans first picked up rocks and sticks and fashioned them into missiles...

We do these things because God, fate, or random chance gave us sight that exceeds our reach and a desire to touch all that we see.

Thank you for posting this excellent thread.


posted on Oct, 20 2010 @ 12:27 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

...and you for that excellent post.

wings of Icarus? Nice.

To break the bounds of this nest will be the job of the private sector. Govt's have too many masters to please.

I hadn't heard about Cat and others getting together for a moon rover. That's exactly what is needed. Nothing grandious or overblown, just simple step by step progressions. But progressions that talk to the spirit of the endevour. Maybe It won't happen in my lifetime, barring some sort of incredible breadthrough, but maybe in the lifetimes of my neices, or their children? Then again, my grandfather lived to see the Moon Landings, and when he was a kid, steamships were still something of a novelty... So who knows.
edit on 10/20/2010 by seagull because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 26 2012 @ 06:44 PM
When does the nest become not a haven, but a prison?

As with all fledglings, or young creatures, including humanity, a time comes when home becomes not a welcome shelter, but a prison that constrains the spirit contained within us all. Eventually, we leave the nest, and make our own way in the world.

That time is coming for mankind as a whole. It's time to stretch our spirits, to try the Universe on for size.

For untold centuries, the stars have beckoned to us. Twinkling at us from over the horizon in friendly challenge..."come join us".

Will it be safe? Probably not. Neither was crossing oceans in leaky wooden boats that no few of us would refuse to sail in today if there were a better way... Safe is for those unready for the challenge of leaving the nest.

Icarus soared towards the sun on his wings, he fell to his death... So to will some of the would be Icarus' in our time. Some already have. Death will be a constant companion. Accidents will happen.

Travelling to the stars is worth it.

Death. Danger. Both will be ever present. But so to will adventure. Excitement. Dreams. New vistas to see, to explore. Man's growth is limited here on Earth. Only Out There can Man reach for his true potential. His true self. What he is meant to be. That answer to the questions that everyone of us has had at some point in our lives "What are we meant to be?" What's the answer? I don't know. I will, in all likelihood, never know. I'm too old to go...but not to dream.

Destiny awaits. It beckons to us every time we look up at those twinkling little stars.

Don't let the nest become a prison.

posted on Jun, 26 2012 @ 06:59 PM
This Planet that we call home will become our final resting place as a species if we dont reach out to the stars.

The Sun is not eternal, it will die and take us with it unless we bravely explore the unknown and figure out a way and a place to go.

Our posterity are counting on us to go forward and learn so they can stand on our shoulders of knowledge.

posted on Jun, 26 2012 @ 07:00 PM

Very well said and nicely put.

It seems that your idea of a popular thread never really took off. That is ok though, you got a star and flag from LJ01.

I have always loved the space program. It is a shame that politics interferes with discovery, but I guess it has always been this way.

It is not about money. I for one would like to see the shuttle still fly, even if it were once or twice a year. Yeah it was old tech, and very expensive, but what do we have now? At least we knew what we were getting, that is when Nasa gets it right and does not goof up, and that is all about politics as well. We do need a new spacecraft, but it seems that Nasa would rather pay someone to do it for them instead of taking the initiative for a new program. I was pretty bummed out when they killed the Orion project. It was pretty close to being a reality.

I believe that as a nation (the US anyways) we need to take the innitiative in manned space exploration and revive that old feeling of proudness for human kind as a whole. If not just the USA, then a true federation of space faring nations that have on goal in mind. To explore(outside of NEO) space and see what is really out there. Don't get me wrong, I love to go out and watch the space station fly by. It is wonderful but it is not really what was intended for a scientific platform.

Nasa has definitely lost some interest from me lately. The whole political stance is destroying the administration and they have no idea what their goals are from presidency to presidency.

I say spend the money on space instead of wars. And maybe some road construction in the meantime.
edit on 26-6-2012 by liejunkie01 because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 3 2012 @ 04:00 AM
If you only see the world one way, there is no other way to look at it. But if you're open to new possibilities, perhaps you can see the world in a different light, and perhaps this light could be the star that changes humanity for the better. I believe that the space program is a way for us to explore beyond what is understood, and to look back at earth with a new perspective. Perhaps, maybe one day, this perspective could be shared with the world and thus enlightens us with its beauty.

posted on Jul, 3 2012 @ 03:12 PM
reply to post by Em2013

Agreed. If there's one thing the Space Program has taught us over the past decades is our perceptions of what is the reality, isn't always what "is". What we thought about the Moon... Even our own planet... All the places we've been, or seen, have all brought "what the heck, it shouldn't be that way" moments.

What other "what the heck" moments are just waiting to be experienced? I, for one, would like to see another generations face light up in joy of seeing something as wildly wonderful as a human setting foot on another planet. Like mine did when Armstrong first stepped out onto the lunar surface. No, I wasn't very old, having barely started school, but I remember it so vividly. ...and Viking landing on Mars, and those fantabulous pictures of a landscape not so very different from places I'd actually been here. Who can forget the absolute wonder of the Voyager pictures? Jupiter in all its awesome majesty. Saturn, and its rings, floating with such beauty against the backdrop of space.

But, as always, I come back to the stars. Those twinkly, little beacons that call us to the horizon.

What will we discover about the Universe? Perhaps even more importantly, what will we discover about ourselves, as we face challenges that we, maybe, can't even imagine, much less plan for.

Sorrows aplenty await. But so, too, will joys undreamed of in our wildest flights of fancy. Out there, among the stars are the answers to "everything". They'll be answers if only because there'll be room to think, to do, to live as each of us wishes. Or eventually there will be.

If ever we go, that'll be the dream that underscores every action. Because that's the same dream that beckoned Man over the first horizon, oh so many years ago. New homes. New adventures. New opportunities.

posted on Jul, 3 2012 @ 03:17 PM

Originally posted by seagull
Plus I'm a points whore, and I"m hoping a thread of mine might actually take

All I can say is TKA. We don't help, we just give you a place with your own.

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 08:40 AM

The Little Spaceprobes That Could... ...and did.

Voyager One. Voyager Two. ...and the almost forgotten Pioneer Ten, and Pioneer Eleven. The four little ships that could. Who doesn't remember the amazing pictures, assuming you're old enough, that these little ships sent back from the outer reaches of the Solar System? Jupiter. Saturn. Uranus. Neptune. Oh, my...

Now, these ships are approaching the edges of our solar system, and sometime within the next decade or so, they will go silent, and begin the long plunge into the Great Beyond. In around 40,000 years, and a little bit; Voyager One will reach the neighborhood of AD+793888 in Camelopardalis. At about the same time, just a tad sooner; Voyager Two will pass within one and a little light years of Ross 248 in the constellation Andromeda. Pioneer Ten is headed for Aldebaran, and will reach the vicinity somewhere in the next two million years or so. Pioneer Eleven is headed for the constellation Aquila.

Even should man ultimately fail in our promise, and destroy ourselves, these little ships will bear witness to our existence. We were here. We did reach for the stars. The glory of the stars were within our grasp.

I, however, choose to believe that they are heralds. Someday, somewhere between here and there, we'll find them, and bring 'em home. Can machines be heroes? They represent the best of our nature. The yearning for new places to rest our heads, to raise our children.

These are "wings of Icarus" reaching for those twinkling little stars that have beckoned us onward for so very long. Since our ancestors so many, many years ago first set foot out on the savannas of Africa, and first looked up at the glory of the heavens. Ever since, we've yearned for the our first harbingers are sailing into the void toward those very stars.

Voyager. Pioneer. Names to conjure visions of worlds wild and wonderful. Strange and beautiful. Dangerous, yet alluring.

Voyager Images.

Pioneer Eleven images.

Pioneer Ten images

I remember watching awe stricken these images on TV shows like Nova, and other TV shows. Triggering dreams of exploring worlds weird and wonderful...

edit on 2/23/2013 by seagull because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 08:52 AM
reply to post by seagull

It's not just the probes that are going out there either. Yes, those are amazing, and we're learning so much from them, but look at our little 90 day Mars Rovers. One finally succumbed after something like 8 years, and the other is still rolling. NASA has put out some amazing pieces of equipment for all their failures.

posted on Feb, 23 2013 @ 09:36 AM
NASA is aimlesslesly chasing any and everything due to lack of a definative goal. The problem is, we are not pursuing a mission or goal. We are just finding useful science things to do witht he money NASA gets. It's all "cool" and neat and we learn lots of little things that mean squat to most humans. In my opinion our goal should be moving humans off this ticking time bomb called earth. Sooner and not later. We need NASA funded and sharlpy focused on colonizing every rock we can with humanity. During our pursuit of that goal we will learn all the neat and "cool" stuff along the way.

It is a matter of fact that humans will become extinct at some point if we do not move out and colonize our solar system. It is imperative for the continued existence of humanity that we move some of us off Earth, and that is "Why the Space Program?". That in itself justifies great cost and sacrifce to make it happen.

Humanity has all it's eggs in one basket currently. Lets hope it does not get spilled before we move some of us to some new baskets, or there really will have been no point to it all. Whats the point of life? Nothing if we go extinct
edit on 23-2-2013 by Xeven because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 20 2014 @ 04:12 PM
In an attempt to, temporarily anyway, escape this worlds issues... I decided to revisit this, my favorite thread, and discuss other worlds...

Exoplanets, and the search for...

Were I to be an astronomer how could I not be attracted to this branch?

The search for other nests. Other homes for future children of Man. Maybe homes of wild and weird things that will beggar our collective imaginations.

Imagine stepping outside your home at night, and see constellations unimagined by our forefathers?

Those twinkly little beacons in the night sky that I keep coming back to...some may have worlds that have life on them.

Imagine that... Life that knows nothing of us.

So many worlds. Most we could never live on for whatever reasons. Too hot. Too cold. Too something.

Some may not be too hot. Too cold. Too whatever. They may be, as Goldilocks once famously said, "just right".

A place where a person can go to live as they choose. Charting their own destiny.

All because of those twinkling little stars shining down from on high.

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