reply to post by JadeStar
Funny you mention that. I have heard folks like Tyson say they just wanted an extra penny on the dollar.
Yes, an extra penny would be wonderful. I'm a little greedy so I say give us another dollar. It's less than a cup of coffee in most places these days.
FACT: If the average American tax payer spent 1% of what they do on bottled water per year on increasing the budget for astrobiology we would have the
technology to get pretty good images of these earthlike worlds.
That 1% = $1 US dollar. That's it.
If you go to most people and ask if they'd like to spend an extra dollar per year in taxes to find many of the nearby planets with life and have
photos of them, they'd say, "sure".
But it is almost never put across that way. And the detractors point to the "billions and billions" they perceive is already spent on that. (Which it
But for anything even remotely close- according to your star trek logic, youd first need to get massive ships off the ground
Well I used the term "star trek" loosely. I was thinking more along the lines of finding which nearby star systems are places we'd -want- to send a
That type of characterization of our local part of the galaxy is close at hand and we are right on the cusp of it. The more funding, the better the
Right now, the most optimistic scenarios have us being able to detect biomarkers in earth and superearth M-class planets in the next 10-15 years.
However, one of the things we should also be getting ready for is to be able to better image them once we know they have biomarkers.
Because as exciting as that news will be, having just a pale blue speck while it will thrill me to no end will be forgotten somewhat by the public
Most of us would be thrilled with a picture like this:
That's doable without a ton more money at the moment. NASA has two telescopes that the NRO no longer needed to spy on us and if one were equipped with
a coronagraph then we might get an image of a star system containing a superearth like the one with the large blue background above. They would appear
as a tiny speck of light. (That star system pictures is of gas giants taken by a ground based telescope in Chile by the way.)
Now, imagine having a picture say like this.....
(picture of what the earth and moon would look like to "them" at the kind of resolution of the "Terrestrial Planet Mapper" that was
considered as a successor to the cancelled NASA Terrestrial Planet FInder. That's an actual picture of our planet and moon from the EPOXI probe.)
Of a planet like this.... or several other worlds which we know about (the graphic below however is mostly imagination at this point):
Such pictures will be hard for the general public to forget.
Oceans, continents, clouds and weather, perhaps vegetation will be visible with a properly funded fleet of hypertelescopes in space combining their
optics for a huge aperture telescope to resolve all of that.
And once we know where to potentially go, well then those worlds will beckon us
Thus building the political will for building your starship idea.
There's even a chance we might detect something like city lights or waste heat in the infrared with a suitably large telescope or series of
But that won't come cheap. There is -no- way to get that kind of resolution in a picture of planets light years away on the cheap. We technically know
how to do it. We have the technology and brain power to do it. But the money, well, think about what an aircraft carrier costs to build. That's what
we're talking about here.
Is it worth it? To you and I yes. But how do you get that across to your average taxpayer?
First telescopes, then ships. That's how.
I'd say to them, "this is not a project you will see the eventual outcome of during a 4 year term, or a decade, or your lifetime but your grandkids or
great great grandkids might step out on to another world and in the meantime we're all about to get a little and then a LOT smarter about what and who
might be out there. Isn't that cool?"
Im not so sure this is all about money either. In roddenburies visions, he saw humanity working together towards a common goal without it for the
betterment. In order to even try, people would literally have to change their whole way of looking at life including new prejudices and fears that may
arise from actually meeting other beings once we did. Service in that sort of life... Its like learning up to a masters level or phd in education at
the very least, then doing community service work everyday while your basic needs are met.
Right, what I mean by money really could be expressed as "resources".
A great example of this is ITER
, the big fusion test reactor facility being built by several nations has
these nations contributing resources which are measured in its own currency called kIUA
An actually huge effort say, to build a starship or a fleet of them would similarly be measured not in money but resources.
Typically though, we measure resources at a lower level in terms of money in our world. In the Trek world, Earth was recovering from a near nuclear
holocaust. People were already snapped out of their comfort zones and the ideas of helping each other out, putting aside hate and prejudices for
survival, and then to thrive made sense.
We don't live in that post apocalyptic world. And I suspect if we did, we'd be spending even less resources to recover in any way that would lead us
to Roddenbury's vision.
So, with that in mind, we could simply say, "It starts now. Let's build the next great thing of humanity by reaching out into our neighborhood. The
pyramids were built in about 20 years. The Great Wall of China took about 80 years. Our real Star Trek may take 200 years but it starts today by
figuring out, where among the stars we might want to go. Will you be willing to pay an extra dollar in taxes so that future generations of your
family, might like previous generations, perhaps set foot on new land?"
There are people who have formed an organization which they hope will be around in 100 years for this reason. It's called the 100 Year Starship
organization. They include some of the best people tackling all aspects of what it might take for humanity to take the next great leap.
100 Year Starship Official Web Site
And they were conceived in meeting near the Golden Gate bridge (sound a bit familiar?)
How many people would do that just to meet a green goober from planet whastitcalled when people bitch about the food stamp program lol
Its about shifting the paradigm from a "me" mentality to an "us" mentality. Some people think of that as socialism or whatever, but actually no one
nation is going to do all this by themselves. No one company will either.
Its gonna take a planet to raise a spacefaring child.
edit on 7-12-2013 by JadeStar because: (no reason given)