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Round 1. Otts V dreamlandmafia: Space Exploration

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posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 06:03 AM
Debate 7

The topic for this debate is "Space exploration and development should be an international priority."

Otts will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
dreamlandmafia will argue against this proposition.

Each debater will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debater posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom do not count towards the word total.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image may be included in each post. No more than 5 references can be included at the bottom of each post. Opening and closing statements must not contain any images, and must have no more than 3 references.

Responses should be made within 24 hours, if people are late with their replies, they run the risk of forfeiting their reply and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

posted on Sep, 2 2004 @ 02:09 PM
First of all, I would like to thank Kano for allowing me to participate in this debate. I also greet dreamlandmafia and offer him a warm handshake.
I think this epitomizes the exchange of ideas ATS is for.

Since the 1950s, when the first satellites were launched, we have known that space is the next frontier. And intuitively, we have known this will be an international effort – it’s no longer one continent going to the next as in the days of Columbus, it’s our little world going into the cosmos. Hence, I submit that space exploration should be an international priority because it promotes unity and understanding, as well as hope and optimism in the future of mankind.

Never has this world of ours been more in need of unity, of a common goal. In the past thirty years, since the end of the Apollo program, it seems as though humanity has been mainly reactive, not proactive. Reaction against poverty, against famine, against AIDS, against terrorism – this is all good and well, and it must be done. But as Stephen Walker, speaking of Carl Jung’s work, aptly stated, “myths, in the collective life of cultures, compensate for the inadequacy and one-sidedness of the present.” In other words, something which strikes the imagination and re-establishes hope in our future is much required, and an international effort taking the can-do of humankind to the next level will do just that.

President Bush has already unveiled a plan to use a mission to the Moon, by 2020, as a stepping stone for sending human beings to Mars. It’s a laudable goal. But more could be done by putting together an international effort combining the resources of a large number of countries.

A good number of recent Mars missions have been failures. Britain’s Beagle 2 has been lost, as well as the U.S.’s Mars Observer. NASA states that each year it “struggles to make do with less and less. Many good proposals have been shelved and once in a lifetime opportunities missed.” (2) In this context, President Bush’s proposal was met largely with indifference, and some cynicism.

It need not be like this. Combining the efforts of many countries to take space exploration to the next level would provide much-needed financial resources that national space programs are presently lacking, without detracting from the ongoing investments in the fight against famine, poverty, AIDS and terrorism.

Such international cooperation is not new. Space shuttle missions have become more and more diverse, and the International Space Station has pulled together the resources, knowledge and material of countries like the United States, Japan, Russia and Canada. In that context, it makes sense that this cooperation must be expanded and applied to future developments in space exploration.

But more importantly, it must be made a priority. A joint declaration by a good number of countries, pledging to make space exploration an international priority and possibly announcing a new common mission to Mars with a bolder timetable, would strike our imagination and promote a sense of unity and common purpose which is cruelly lacking in our world. It would also encourage dialogue and understanding between countries, potentially making conflicts easier to resolve and common efforts to tackle international problems easier to mobilize.

Fighting against poverty, famine and the destruction of the environment is all good and well, and it must be done. But it does not inspire us or challenge us as fighting “for” something which restores hope in the betterment of humankind can.

1) WALKER, Steven F. (1995), Jung and the Jungians on Myth, Garland Publishing, New York, 198 p.

2) NASA, A Personal Plea,

posted on Sep, 3 2004 @ 07:29 PM
Sorry for a bit of lateness, my cable was down all day and I couldn’t get online to research and post. I’d like to thank Otts for being in this Debate to challenge me, and Kano for setting it up. But you’ve heard this many times, so ill stop now. By The Way, this is my first debate, so it’ll be a little rusty.

Going out into space as an international effort would have dire consequences. All the countries that would be contributing would be bickering and fighting about control, funding, and which country would get the immediate benefits. Look at Earth right now, Russia and the United States have a shaky relationship at best, India and Pakistan were at each others throats with nukes, the Mid-East is in shambles, and with the US most likely planning strikes on North Korea and Iran this isn’t going to get any better. The world is in turmoil and it should be kept contained on our planet, instead of “out there.”

The United States of America has the best space program at the moment. Why ruin it by involving other nations to just screw it all up? The Former Soviet Union has attempted many Mars Missions, with very few actually getting to the red planet. The United States has the best track record of sending soft-landers and orbital satellites to Mars. The US has given the world images from Hubble, which has been successful for the 13 or so years that it has been up there.

If we have an international venture to explore space, then what will fuel our initiative? The space race over the last 50 years has gotten us to where we are now, without it I believe we would just be getting to the moon about 10 years ago. It encouraged competition to be the first country to do something. Being international there would be no competition to be the first to be "out there."

Otts raises a good point about the funding of space exploration would be much easier if it was made international. But the countries that help in this venture would need to all put up their fair share, and with there a lack of countries that have their own space program, I seriously doubt that they could afford to put up the amount of money needed. The delays that would most likely occur with the countries of the world working together would be costly. A country wouldn’t pull through, another doesn’t built a part with enough care and precision, and yet another wrecks something of importance. All that would mean more money to spend, when it would cost less to just do it ourselves.

posted on Sep, 4 2004 @ 04:41 PM
It's true that an international effort to explore space is that much harder to put together. However, such an effort has been tested, first in the space shuttle program (to which my own country collaborated with the Canadarm technology), then with the International Space Station, the development of which involves five partners. Through the European Space Agency (ESA), a total of 10 countries participate in that endeavour (1).

The participation of many countries in the ISS venture is not limited to funding and building parts. The ESA operates ground control centres and laboratories for its contribution to the ISS, JAXA (the Japanese space agency) conducts research on the environment of outer space as well as the development of new materials and medicines using that environment (2). Russia handled a good number of assembly flights to the station (3) and since the tragic loss of Columbia, Russian Soyuz vehicles handle personel transfers to the ISS. It seems that the modus operandi which has been established provides both for a successful international effort and the pursuit of national projects - as Japan's experiments show - therefore giving each country access to immediate benefits.

Of course, not all countries have the means or the will to participate at this time, and this is normal. This is a long-term process, which begins with the gradual implementation of a modus operandi for international cooperation in space. Right now, the presence of the ESA and its 15 member countries in the development for ISS provides a successful template for this - as well as the establishment of an equitable system of contributions and funding for that effort. As international cooperation in space becomes time-tested and more countries (China, Israel, Australia and Ukraine, in the foreseeable future) join the "space" family, this international venture will grow and expand, and bigger achievements will happen.

It also makes good financial sense. The cost of building and operating the ISS is not cheap. However, as the ESA points out, "That 100 billion figure is shared over a period of almost 30 years between all the participants: the United States, Russia, Canada, Japan and 10 of the 15 European nations who are part of ESA." (2)

You say that the internationalization of space exploration would inflate costs because of delays and problems related to production quality where the construction of modules is concerned. It would be an easy solution to broaden current international standards governing, for example, international development of ISS to ensure that treaties bind participant nations to guidelines of quality and efficiency.

Furthermore, the case could be made that international funding and participation can minimize the impact of delays caused by cuts in NASA's budget and by the loss of Columbia - Russian Soyuz capsules were on hand to fill in for the halted shuttle program for crew and payload rotation. And while the U.S. does have the means to fund its own space program, budget cuts to NASA in recent years have jeopardized some aspects of it – NASA has had to slash funds budgeted for ISS. Therefore, an independently-managed international fund to handle development and basic operations of space ventures like the ISS should be put in place. This would prevent cuts by national governments from affecting vital international projects. Participating governments would retain the ability to fund national research projects within that international framework.

This leads me to what the incentive would be to go into space if there is no national competition involved. Above the sheer international goodwill and cooperation that an ambitious space project could generate, there remains that such projects are not only costly - they can also be potentially lucrative. Japanese research projects inside the framework of the ISS show that a country can gain benefits from an international venture. In this case, the drive for space exploration is a scientific drive for breakthroughs which pay off financially or with a Nobel Prize.

(1) ESA - Human Spaceflight - International Space Station - How Much Does it Cost?



posted on Sep, 5 2004 @ 04:28 PM
That 100 Billion Euros comes to about 120 Billion Dollars. The ESA pays only approximately 9.65 Billion Dollars. The other 110 Billion Dollars is spread amongst United States, Russia, Canada, Japan, with the United States of America paying a hefty 100 Billion Dollars. With the rest of the 10 Billion Dollars spread amongst the 3 remaining Nations. (1)

Its pretty clear that at this cost that the United States of America could fund the ISS all by itself without any other countries help. We have the shuttles, which should be back in Space by 2005, we have the needed ground stations, we have everything needed to keep it up by ourselves.

Since the Columbia accident it has been difficult to get to the ISS and retrieve the crews and switch them out. The Russian Space Agency has been able to bring crews to and from the International Space Station, but with budget cuts to the RSA they are finding it hard to launch Soyuz Capsules regularly. (2)

What’s to stop a country from keeping certain medical or scientific advancements to them selves? If we are independent in our space ventures we would reap the immediate benefits without having to mess with other countries to get the advancements made from the international effort.

Where are the Vulcans when we need them?


posted on Sep, 5 2004 @ 07:37 PM
The United States might be able to shoulder the upkeep of the ISS and other exploration ventures by itself, but for how long? It's become clear that governement funding of space exploration activities by NASA will become smaller, not greater, as priorities shift towards the development of nuclear technology in space. NASA's budget document for 2004 shows that Congress imposed a $200 million-dollar reduction in the ISS program, over NASA's objection. The impact is that NASA has had to deplete its ISS reserve funds, which means, among other things, that research capacities are limited. (1) The space shuttle program had also undergone severe budget cuts, losing 40 percent between 1990 and 2003. (2)

In this new context, the United States recognizes that "The first mission beyond the Moon will be determined on the basis of available resources (...) The timing of the first human research missions to Mars will depend on (...) advances in capabilities for sustainable exploration, and available resources." (3) The way I read this is that it will all depend on whether NASA can afford to carry out those missions, hence it will depend on decisions from future U.S. governments.

In this context of shrinking resources, it makes good sense to seek the pursuit of U.S. interests inside the framework of international ventures, as NASA states: in support of its space exploration goals, the U.S. will "Promote international and commercial participation in exploration to further U.S. scientific, security and economic interests." (4)

Once more, this shows that the internationalization of space exploration is in the works, and that in fact an international effort to go to Mars could shorten the timetable for the mission, while furthering U.S. interests as well as those of other participating countries. NASA has recognized that space exploration is becoming too sophisticated and too expensive to carry out alone, as I'm sure other countries recognize too.

(1) page 2


(3) page 17 of 32

(4) page 5 of 32

posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 04:47 PM
If we were to go truly international and share all technologies we would have to give all countries that are willing to help with the space explorations our rocket technology. Giving some countries the access to our rocket technology would be insane. It would be a very bad idea. With as many countries as we have on this planet at the brink of war with each other it would just worsen things. Strap a nuke onto the front of that rocket and you have an ICBM that can enter orbit and come back down, able to destroy a 30 mile radius. (1) Why risk this by giving them our rocket and fuel technology to destroy the planet?

The United States of America pays the most out of ANY country in just about everything that it contributes in. We pay 53% of the United Nations Yearly Budget alone. Out of the 191 countries in the United Nations we pay approximately half of the yearly budget. HALF!! (2) That’s pretty insane based on how many countries are in the UN that we pay half. If this is an international effort and we are paying most of the annual budget, then it’s pretty clear that we would be paying most of any international space effort. Why mess with any other countries and risk our lives, technology and money when we can just do it ourselves?

If countries want to help in the advancement of knowledge from space travel they could help the United States Space Program. If they truly wanted the advancement of knowledge they would help no matter what, but instead rival space agencies have been set up.

Lets just leave this as is:


posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 06:37 PM
Right now, various national space agencies have indeed been created, complementing the efforts and experience of NASA. While NASA's focus is mainly the shuttle program, the development of nuclear technology in space and the robotic exploration of Mars and other planets, other national or transnational space agencies generally operate other programs that complement NASA's own efforts and help all agencies involved gain new knowledge and new experience. The Canadian Space Agency's focus is mainly on telecommunications, as well as Canadarm, the versatile robotic arm used onboard the space shuttle to nudge satellites back into orbit and carry out various deployment tasks. JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency, has spent a lot of efforts on KIBO, its Japanese Experimentation Module for the ISS (1). And the European Space Agency's satellite Galileo will complement the USA's Global Positioning services, while there is an efficient cooperation between the ESA and NASA for the exploration of Saturn (the Cassini and Huygens spacecrafts) (2). These examples show that international ventures work and can be successfully expanded.

Of course, JAXA and the ESA also have launcher programs, as does NASA, but it should be seen as an advantage - the quest for a safer and more efficient launcher is ongoing, and the more people work on it, the more experience is accumulated and the stronger all space programs are from it.

The existence of multiple space programs must therefore be welcomed as proof a good number of countries are accumulating experience and conducting precious research projects that could lead to safer, faster and more efficient technology for international ventures. And of course, the existence of various space projects shows that more and more countries see space as a source of benefits for themselves and humanity as a whole. Therefore, as the interconnexions between space agencies - to which NASA is participating, as (2) shows - grow, it will become clear that space exploration is not only becoming an international effort, but also an international priority.



posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 08:10 PM
Out of about 120 launches there have only been 2 fatal accidents. That is pretty damn safe compared to cars and even planes at times. Definitely a more efficient way of travel needs to be achieved. But I’m certain that we could come up with that one by ourselves, without other countries providing “help.”

Cassini was built and managed by JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and Huygen was built by ESA. That right there isn’t actually working together. They were built and managed by 2 different space agencies and countries. (1) The Spacecraft carrying the orbiters was an international effort, but all it really is, is a giant rocket carrying the orbiters. We could easily have done this by ourselves, we have the technology, we have the resources, and we have the money.


posted on Sep, 7 2004 @ 01:44 PM
Closing statement

Dreamlandmafia and I have chosen to interpret the theme of this debate in two different ways, both of which we have addressed. First of all, that space exploration should be an international priority, and second, that space exploration should be an international effort. The former refers to the end result of space exploration and benefits for all, while the latter refers to the mechanics of how we achieve that result and those benefits.

The result and benefits of space exploration are numerous. As I have said in my opening statement, seldom has the world been so much in need of unity, of a common purpose, of a means to achieve a better understanding and a better dialogue between nations. Space was heralded more than forty years ago as the next frontier. It was, until 1990, a place of competition between two superpowers. Now, it has become a place of research and scientific experimentation, as well as technological advancement. Above the sheer need for the human being to extend his abilities and go as far as he can go - a part of the drive behind a mission to Mars - different countries have begun to conduct research, exploration and experimentation projects that can prove profitable both nationally and internationally by the development of new materials and new medicines. Space can be both a place for unity and dialogue, as well as for economically or scientifically profitable ventures. The fact that 15 countries have united within the European Space Agency, the ESA's partnerships with NASA and JAXA's participation in the ISS show that space exploration is already becoming an international priority.

Of course, this can be done nationally, or internationally. Some say that national space agencies compete with NASA and interfere with American exploration efforts. I have shown that to an extent, they actually complement one another. Cassini was built by NASA, Huygens by the ESA, but the missions of both spacecrafts are being coordinated with a wide exchange of information and knowledge between the two agencies, and shared results. The diversification of space research and development should be encouraged, not frowned upon. The development of vast international projects like the ISS, within which every participating nation can conduct smaller projects, must be seen as a sign of progress towards the peaceful pursuit of knowledge in space. And finally, in a time where NASA's performance, efficiency and funding are in jeopardy, nationally-based space exploration ventures become harder to carry out and more costly. When other options are available, the "thanks but no thanks, we'll do it ourselves" will be increasingly deemed financially irresponsible by the taxpayer.

Space exploration makes sense because we are human beings driven to discover, and it makes sense to do it together. For as Benjamin Franklin aptly said, "We must all hang together, otherwise we shall all hang separately."

posted on Sep, 7 2004 @ 02:36 PM
Space needs to be explored by individual nations. The nations that can afford it and have the needed technology will undoubtedly be the forerunners; while the countries that cant afford it and don’t have the needed technologies will be left in the dust. It’s survival of the fittest. If you don’t have the required technology and money, you’re out. That is my last point that I can think of and my brain is fried.

I have to say that it’s so much harder to debate a topic that you’re for, and not actually against.

posted on Sep, 8 2004 @ 01:21 AM
The judges have been launched (heh heh heh) and results will be in a day or so.

posted on Sep, 8 2004 @ 03:01 PM
Results are in, the winner of this debate by a clean sweep of 6-0, is Otts. Commiserations to dreamlandmafia and best of luck in future debates.

Judges Comments:

Otts presented a clearer and more complete argument.

Otts was the winner of this debate with clear and well thought out point counter-point backed by good links to backround information.

dreamlandmafia was hampered by the side of the topic drawn as well as making a somewhat uninspired debate.
If one draws an undesirable position in a debate it is best to redouble the effort to make others believe in your position.

All things considered, I would and will congratulate both particpants for a debate well done. Sadly, only one can progress and my vote went to Otts and a more persuasive argument. Again, my hats off to both. Good job.

The topic "Space exploration and development should be an international priority." has two parts that one has to either attack or defend: Space exploration and development should be an international priority and space exploration and development should happen through international collaboration. Otts defended both these points quite well, focussing on the benefits of international collaboration and giving examples of successful international collaborations. Dreamlandmaffia had the more difficult side of the debate. However, I think he could have done more to show that space exploration and development is not worth prioritizing. A debater should be able to argue for things he or she doesn't agree with.

Keeping this in mind, I have decided that Otts is the winner of the debate.

dreamlandmafia, it seems to me, began to talk himself in circles immediately after the whole issue of money came up. Otts then came in for the kill.

Good luck Otts in round 2.

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