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MAIN ARTICLE: Who wants to go boldly into space?

Is space for everyone or only a select few? Will it always be the same? Join the discussion.

Poll Results: Yesterday's poll had a strong result against space. Scroll down for the latest in space polling.

Star Trek: In the News. 'Star Trek' director J.J. Abrams on tribbles and the 'Galaxy Quest' problem.

Yesterday's Comments: "Heh! "Lockheed Martian" now I did it too" - Bill White

Today's Poll: Is funding space tourism good or bad?

After doing about 80 diaries, with each including a poll, on the subject of outer space in general, and human space flight in particular, I believe I can safely make a few observations. Poll data collected is NOT to be considered in the same light as a professional poll conducted by Gallup. These are nothing more then simple opinion polls of DKOS members who actually participate in the poll. The samples only average 55 votes per poll with ranges from 20 - 200 per poll. That is a very small sampling. Looking at returns of professional polling data though shows a lot of these poll results do fall within the same ranges I see on those polls. (see "Public Favorable Toward NASA, Space Exploration", Gallup, January 17, 2006)


The first division takes place with the basic question of should America be in space at all in the first place. There is the "cut all space spending and fix earth first", and those that feel there should be some level of space spending. Those members who vote for cuts in funding typically range between 10% to 20% based on various issues. This falls within Gallup's 17% range. Yesterday's poll is an example of one on the extreme end where 51% wanted space funding cut based on a single issue.

Those in favor of space spending are still in debate over how much funding and what is it going to fund.


The second division is within those that favor space spending and are, in general, divided into two camps. Robotic science missions versus human space flight and what is the balance between the two. Those that favor robotic missions are about 60% and 40% that favor human space flight development.

This leads us to today's main article which has to do with human space flight and yesterday's poll results and comments. Reuters ran a story yesterday:

Super-rich still want to boldly go into space

"DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - The economic downturn has not dampened rich people's enthusiasm for space tourism, the world's first commercial space flight company says.

"Business is good," Eric Anderson, chief executive of privately owned Space Adventures, told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

The U.S. company has sold seats worth about $175 million on Russian rockets to the International Space Station and is preparing to send Hungarian computer software executive Charles Simonyi into space for the second time in March.

His $35-million trip will be the seventh arranged by Space Adventures since U.S. multimillionaire Dennis Tito paid for a trip into space in 2001.

Such journeys could be threatened by Russian plans to double the size of the space station's professional crew although Space Adventures reached a deal with Russia's Federal Space Agency last year to launch its own private trip to the station in 2011.

"Access to Soyuz seats is becoming more difficult, which is why we purchased our own mission," Anderson said, referring to the Soyuz spacecraft used by Moscow.

Several customers have put down deposits for future space travel, including Sergey Brin, co-founder of U.S. company Google.

Anderson is hoping to drum up more business among the world's business elite in Davos this week but customers should not expect any bargains because of the global financial turmoil.

A standard trip to the space station carries a price tag of $35-45 million. For an extra $10 million you have the chance to be the first private citizen to walk in space."

The idea that any federal tax dollars should be used for funding the development of a commercial space economy and in particular, space tourism, generally is not well recieved (see poll results). With titles like that, using the term "super rich", immediately pushes the debate into a class warfare issue.

A comment yesterday sums up comments seen on this topic:

"Playboy dilettantes don't have all that great a record of success of bringing their personal toys to mass market.

As for your second question, I suspect I'd also see the sun, the earth, and some very dim lights.

I'm personally of the belief that "cheap space access" is an oxymoron. Space is, well, space: somewhere where there's nothing worth doing, seeing or having." - jxg
--end quote--

The idea of funding tourism is seen as frivalous, especially in these hard times. The latest data I could find is from 1999 with projections to 2010: data

Travel & Tourism High Lights for 1999

"Travel & Tourism Impact Direct and Indirect upon the Global Economy
11% of GDP
200 Million Jobs
8% of Total Employment
5.5 Million New Jobs per year until 2010"
--end quote--

Almost one job in ten is involved in one way another with travel and tourism. This is just not in United States, this is across the ENTIRE planet! 11% of planetary GDP is involved in this activity.

What does that say about humanity when it's number one economic activity is involved with visiting strange new places, meeting new people and interacting with different cultures?

The idea that funding or helping with funding a new form of tourism is somehow bad just boggles my mind. It defines humanity. I strongly advocate bringing space into our daily sphere of economic activity. Space tourism is just one of many human space activities that I advocate for. I have often times made comments across various diaries "Green jobs on the ground, high tech jobs in space". If we want to build towards the future with jobs for the 21st century then Space is the Place.

Just as traveling by a luxury cruise ship on the ocean or using an airline was considered only for the rich and famous when they started, space finds itself in the same position today. But those means of travel have moved to the general public in affordability it will be the same for space. But only if we are willing to put our minds, some elbow grease and minimal funding towards it's development.

I do not advocate for throwing a ton of money at it with no controls, but to put some of our best minds to look into how a tiny bit of priming the pump can help America develop a new industry for the future benefit of all Americans.


This is just a copy of the poll so that readers can see it as it ran.

"Should America help fund the development of Commercial Space Tourism?"

05% Yes, fully fund this new start up industry for American jobs for the 21st century.
24% Yes, partially fund this new start up industry for American jobs for the 21st century.
15% Yes, help this industry with low taxes and regulation not direct funding.
51% No, let private enterprise invest in this industry. Fix Earth first.
03% No Opinion.

STAR TREK: In the News.

'Star Trek' director J.J. Abrams on tribbles and the 'Galaxy Quest' problem

"Gene Roddenberry had this notion in the early 1960s about a television show that felt like "Wagon Train" in space, a frontier tale with groovy sci-fi imagery and a proud parable spirit. And just look what he started. In May, the pop culture phenomena of "Star Trek" proudly returns where it has gone before -- the movie theater -- with the 11th film in the franchise. This time the director is J.J. Abrams, a creative force in television with "Alias," "Lost" and "Fringe" as well as the director of "Mission Impossible III." He talked to Hero Complex about navigating his movie through the neutral zone that lies between hard-core "Trek" fans and summer moviegoers. This is part one of the interview.

GB: As franchises move into new eras it's interesting to watch how they change -- or don't change. "Battlestar Galactica" could hardly be more different than it was in the 1970s while "Star Wars" is essentially the same. With "Star Trek" you seem to be pursuing a revival like we've seen with Batman and James Bond, which holds on to core mythology but recalibrates the tone.

JJA: I think I benefited because I came into this movie as someone who appreciated "Star Trek" but wasn't an insane fanatic about it. The disadvantage is I didn't know everything I needed to know immediately at the beginning and had to learn it. The advantage though is I could look at "Star Trek" as a whole a little bit more like a typical moviegoer would see it; it allowed me to seize the things that I felt were truly the most iconic and important aspects of the original series and yet not be serving the master and trying to be true to every arcane detail. It let me look at the things I knew were critical."


"I'm not all that worried about the European program... they don't have a real good track record when it comes to putting people in space.. now if it were a Russian or Chinese program?  Yeah I would have some interest... but European?  Sucker will get regulated into a coma or Branson will pull funding to concentrate on core business." - skippythebox

"I said yes to the first one And I want space travel to someday be done on the mass level with ease.  Of course we are a long way away from that.

I support Public Sector efforts to get people to go into space--for research, or eventual recreation--but I don't support any private sector efforts to do so." - Notus

"Europe to Australia in 90 minutes? Never mind space tourism. This has business and terrestrial tourism applications.

Sure it would be a neat experience for civilians to routinely fly in space, but that feeling would become passe in time. Instead, imagine the possibilities of regular commercial service like this.

I've known people who have flown from San Fransisco to Sydney in 14 hours. All the reports were that it was -- if not a nightmare -- at least an unpleasant experience being stuck in a plane seat for more than half a day.

Besides the physical discomfort, that is half a day lost to travel time. Then there is the return trip. Commercial space travel could make a long weekend vacation to Australia feasible with the added benefit of a brief trip in space.

This is the next generation of the Supersonic. Let's get this thing developed. I want to vacation in a Land Down Under." - Casual Wednesday


Is funding space tourism development about "playboy dilettantes" or the creation of a new industry for America in the 21st century.

Read other NASA and space diaries on DKOS.

Originally posted to Vladislaw on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 03:42 PM PST.


Is funding space tourism good or bad?

41%42 votes
49%50 votes
8%9 votes

| 101 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  It'll be for the super rich at first (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, psilocynic, Vladislaw

    But once we open up some cities outside of Earth, it'll be the next step up from "taking a plane trip." Taking a spaceship to the amusement park on the moon.

    "People always say that I'm psychotic. I'm not psychotic - I just have a passion for my job." - William "Razor" Lamont

    by Prinny Squad on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 03:45:04 PM PST

  •  What! You and Chief Justice Roberts? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Pluto, psilocynic, Vladislaw

    To boldly go is the most famous split infinitive in the English language.

    To go boldly may be better grammar, but its not right. Its just not right.

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 03:45:28 PM PST

    •  That's because (6+ / 0-)

      pretentious asses decided to make a grammar based on Latin the "correct" grammar for a non-Latin language.  It's "just not right" because it's structural grammar is naturally closer to German (in which infinitives split all of the time).  If our infinitives were one word as in Latin, then it would be impossible to split them.

      Your political compass Economic Left/Right: -6.50 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.67

      by bythesea on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:03:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for saying this. (5+ / 0-)

        Teachers have been drilling false grammar lessons into the heads of their students in English-speaking countries for decades, and I only learned it when I went through a Cambridge program to certify myself as a teacher of English to speakers of other languages (CELTA).

        Go forth - end thy sentences in prepositions, split infinitives, and bestow unto thine audiences double negatives.  

        They are all lies!

        Gay, straight, black, white...
        Marriage is a civil right!

        by joehoevah on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:09:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  i'm confused (0+ / 0-)

    Are we paying for it out of public money?

  •  govt funded space exploration, both (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Vladislaw, Subo03

    unmanned and manned, is far more important.  You know, actual science.

  •  Luxury (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Vladislaw, Subo03

    If air travel is an indication, I can only shudder to think what economy class will be like for space travel.

    International tourism is hardly accessible for most people now, I think it is difficult to foresee a time when space tourism will be affordable for anyone but the super rich.

  •  Let's price space like a Scottish pay toilet* (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, the fan man, Vladislaw

    Charge 'em $4.95 a seat for boost to orbit...& $495,000,000 for reentry.

    It's a win-win--either the traffic funds space tourism handsomely or we rid the planet of some world-class parasites....

    *Free to get in--but ₤10 to get out...

    May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

    by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 03:55:54 PM PST

  •  Some of things we take for granted (5+ / 0-)

    came a a result of something the "super rich" started.  Trans-oceanic commercial flights were once the province of the wealthy - it was very, very expensive to fly.  Even "normal" domestic flights were in the "not for working people" category.  Today, flying is considered a relatively fast, cheap method of travel.  

    Once something becomes practical enough, and routine enough, costs can come down to the level of affordability.  

    I think that I have had enough of you telling me how things will be. Today I choose a new way to go ... and it goes through you!

    by Norbrook on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 03:58:08 PM PST

  •  Questions like this are best answered by offering (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Vladislaw

    a long and comprehensive list of priorities.  Then this can be placed at an appropriate level on that list.  Right now, I suspect that place would be rather low.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:00:31 PM PST

    •  yes it is, (4+ / 0-)

      space is always the "oh ya we should maybe fund" catagory.

      As far as budget spending, NASA never gets a slice in a pie chart, NASA is lucky if it even gets an asterick.

      it is less then a percent of the 3.4 trillion dollar budget. Human space flight is only half of NASA spending.

      Earmarks last year got more money then America's human space funding, actually earmarks got almost twice as much. When McCain tried to make earmarks an issue in a debate with President Obama, it gained no traction because as President Obama said, 18 billion was such a tiny fraction of the budget it wasn't enough to even be a topic of conversation. If 18 billion is considered to small to even have a conversation about, think of how much a priority 10 billion for human space flight is.

  •  I'd go into space right now (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Pluto, the fan man, Vladislaw

    just to get away from Earth right now. Toss in a Nexus 6 to sweeten the deal.

    "Cunnilingus and Psychiatry is what got us here," Tony Soprano

    by Larry Madill on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:02:48 PM PST

  •  If those who want to go at this time can just (0+ / 0-)

    get stuck there it might not be a bad idea.

    Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions

    by publicv on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:06:59 PM PST

  •  Why not spend less money (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pd, Vladislaw, Subo03

    And let us choose a trip to Hawaii or the south of France?  and yes, I love space, but don't want the government to buy my ticket.  I have a better idea, they can fund Amtrak and give us a European style train transit system.

  •  I voted "no' but with an asterisk (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, Bill White, Vladislaw

    For SpaceShipNone-style black-sky-&-3.5-minutes-of-microgravity stunts, not one damn cent. Rutan's Folly is doing exactly nothing to advance the cause of getting us offplanet. In fact it may be damaging it, by selling a rerun of something NASA did >40 years ago as "space travel" & thereby leading the uninitiated to fiigure that the problems are all solved & charter flights to Mars would be starting next week "if only you gummint bureaucrats would pull yer heads outa Uranus."

    Now if we want to toss some bucks the way of folks who are trying to leapfrog to SSTO and/or reusable space vehicles, in order to jumpstart the development of reliable non-destructive reentry, that would be worth it.

    May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

    by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:10:10 PM PST

    •  Sorry, Uncle Cosmo, but (0+ / 0-)

      I gotta disagree with you - its all inter-related

      •  I tend to agree with Uncle Cosmo (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        SS1 was fun and Virgin Galactic will be fun but the technology development isn't really in any critical path.

        Tax dollars? Nope. Hanging SS1 in the Smithsonian? I'm good with that.

        "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

        by Bill White on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 05:20:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So would you (0+ / 0-)

          prevent them from taking part in a suborbital science program?  

          and can I assume you are going to go protest SpacePort America?

          •  What's to protest? Let them have their fun (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but on their own nickel. Rutan's Follies are already making use of 50+ years of information & experience gathered at taxpayers' expense, they shouldn't expect us to pony up any more.

            As the Wiki article points out,

            Accelerating a spacecraft to orbital speed requires more than 60 times as much energy as lifting it to 100 km.

            But that's the relatively easy part: The real obstacle to spacefaring is getting back down from orbit & then going back up without needing either long turnaround times or major refurb. Which is something no one, including NASA, says they know how to do.

            IMHO it speaks to how difficult that challenge is that Google is putting up $20M in a "Lunar X Prize" that is far less technically challenging--an "achievable near-term" goal, as James Cameron puts it, implying that the real key to spacefaring (see previous para) is neither.

            (On that note, Ferris, you hinted darkly at some emerging wrinkles in reentry technology when I saw you at NN08--are you any freer to talk about that or are they still under wraps?)

            May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

            by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 07:01:54 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, one could argue (0+ / 0-)

              that SpacePort America is being built almost entirely based on the idea of VG turning a profit.  And there is tax money involved.  

              I am just saying..

              As for the stuff we discussed at NN - I gave you pretty much everything I had, but I don't feel comfortable saying much publicly.  

              •  Spaceport America not "merely" for VirginGalactic (0+ / 0-)

                Unless other outfits locate there, too -- like Rocket Racers -- NM will lose money on the deal.

                Zero Gravity should fly out of Spaceport America from time to time as well. I've been told that Las Cruces International lacks the ground facilities to support a 727.

                "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

                by Bill White on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 07:21:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Fair enough. I guess we'll see it when (0+ / 0-)

                we see it & not a day before.

                I really wish I didn't have to be a wet blanket, but reusable rapid-turnaround reentry is the bottleneck, & everyone seems to be ignoring it--private ventures because they don't have the funds to throw at it & gummints because they'd rather just keep building what they know "works." You'd think $50M or so for a reentry vehicle "Y Prize" would get some folks thinking outside the proverbial box...but no, let's offer $20M for the first Roombaon the Moon...

                May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

                by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 07:29:44 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  can you identify those areas that would be needed (0+ / 0-)


              "The real obstacle to spacefaring is getting back down from orbit & then going back up without needing either long turnaround times or major refurb."

              I would imagine material science. Fuels? Thermal protection systems? Engines?

              what are the bottlenecks right now stopping it from happening, what specific areas would you believe would have to be funded?

          •  Of course not, just no tax dollars (0+ / 0-)

            The whole point of SpaceShipOne was to reach space on a private dime.

            Giving them tax dollars would of wrecked the whole idea. Right? ;-)

            Spaceport America? That is a good investment for New Mexico because it will generate tourist traffic (spectators) to come watch the rockets and if the State of New Mexico calculates that hotel sales and restaurant sales and so forth will be greater than the tax dollars invested, subsidize the flying teams, too.

            "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

            by Bill White on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 07:19:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those are tax dollars going to fund (0+ / 0-)

              the science projects, which would then go to VG to fly the payload.  

              If (and I think this is what you are arguing) is that there doesn't need to be direct investment in something like VG by the fed government, well, thats something I agree with.  But we have to be careful when we say they don't deserve tax dollars.  

              I would also say that it does make sense to create something like red planet capital, with the proviso that it only consider smaller, underfunded companies, rather than big ones like VG and Scaled.

        •  I think suborbital is (0+ / 0-)

          think about the selling points for taking this suborbital ride over that suborbital ride.


          and ... wait for it ..

          who flys highest.

          we fly to 70 miles
          we fly to 73 miles

          oh ya we fly to 75 miles

          it will inch up with each new upgrade.

          •  IOW you go 5000 kph, then I go 5100 kph, then (0+ / 0-)

            someone else goes 5200 frakkin what? Long before you get up to 20,000 kph--still well short of orbital velocity--one of Rutan's Follies trying to kill off the delta-V would curl up like one of my old Testor's plastic models over a gas burner. And no one knows how to keep that from happening, except for use-once ablative nosecones & Space Shmatte tiles that take months to rejigger even after they've gotten some very grateful astronauts down alive.

            May I bow to Necessity not/ To her hirelings (W. S. Merwin)

            by Uncle Cosmo on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 07:22:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was not talking about orbital (0+ / 0-)

              I was refering to sub orbital and how, in my opinion, the marketing will play out. it would lead to more cross range and down range flights.

              There is no question orbital and suborbital are two different design callenges.

              but designing a plane for flying under 18,000 feet is different then designing a plane for flying at 100,000 feet, they are two different things.

              trying to compare orbital to suborbital is trying to compare apples and oranges. I was talking about apples.

  •  Asia Times had a Long Article on Space Tourism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill White, Magnifico, Vladislaw

    ...last night -- which discusses all the players, markets, and logistics:  Sky's the Limit for Space Tourism

    An excerpt:

    ...China already has what might be an ideal spaceport, and it could soon be made ready for sub-orbital flights in great number. The spaceport in question is the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, an enormous launch facility in a relatively remote area. When China's new launch facility on Hainan Island is completed in the next decade, it will replace Xichang as China's primary launch facility for large satellites heading into geosynchronous orbit, as well as other large spacecraft. Xichang will be assigned a backup role. There and at other sites as well, China could spawn its domestic space tourism industry with very little effort.

    "Space tourists are the only payloads that exist in sufficient quantity to make reusable space vehicle technology worth developing. Therefore space tourism, while being a fun activity in its own right, becomes a way of making all space flight less costly and safer," said Webber. "So, China can achieve a great deal without going for space tourism, for maybe a decade or more, but eventually will need to engage in the space tourism business if it wants to move on to the next generation of re-usable spacecraft operations, with the associated benefits in costs and reliabilities."

  •  Manned spaceflight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jxg, Pd

    is a waste of time and money. The only thing we have learned from manned spaceflight is how to keep man alive in space. There is really nothing significant that we have done in space that could not have been done better and far cheaper by robots. In fact, had we focused on unmanned space exploration, we would (a) know a lot more, and (b) have much better robots.

    •  Its not about exploration though (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you can't do large scale development of space without humans.  At least, no one I know has offered up an option to be able to do that.  

      •  But why do you want to do (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jxg, Pd, Vladislaw

        large-scale development of space? The answer is always a kind of circular logic. We want to create a habitat such that people can live in space because then we will be able to live in space. I blame comics for this.

        The fact remains that, primitive as they are, robots have acquired about a billion times more scientific data about our solar system than humans have. You may want people to live in space but let's not drag science into it.

        •  my apologies anne, for taking to mockery. (0+ / 0-)

          if everyone on this planet wants the American lifestyle it will take 4 more earths.

          Space is filled with resources that can be harvested and processed off planet.

          solar energy, material sciences, ... well it is a long list. Breakthroughs in space invariably lead to commercial applications for terrestrial activities.

          Just as we learned to work and live on and under another alien environment, the ocean, it will be the same for space. For me space is not about just this science aspect. If all we were looking for was the elements of space science for a few in ivory towers, i would agree. But it is bigger then that.

          It is about being able to bring it into our economy for the future.

          •  Sorry, Vlad, (0+ / 0-)

            but I don't get why you assume that the only way to do what you want to do is with humans in spacesuits. If we had abandoned that Buck Rogers approach and worked on unmanned space exploration and development, we would already be doing what you dream of. So, hey, I'm on your side with the space thing. Really. It's just that spending 90% of our time and money merely keeping astronauts from dying seems to me to be a wasted effort.

            •  It is not that I am 100% against robots (0+ / 0-)

              I advocate for it becasue, first I want it to get cheaper, it will never do that if we only fund NASA and they stay the only game in town.

              The second reason is because there are so many on the robotic side of the aisle. There is room for both. The cheaper we make it for humanity to work in space the cheaper robots in space will actually be.

              Think about building something that is going to cost you 500 million to 2 billion dollars, and on it's completion it is expected to NEVER have any human maintence, repair, or upgrading. That is currently  what we are faced with in space.

              think about what would happen to the cost of space assets if they had the ability to be routinely serviced.

              The hubble telescope comes to mind. It would have been an orbiting piece of space junk, joining the other 18000 pieces of junk orbiting earth without human service missions.

              Humanity routinely services every tool and machine we use, EXCEPT what we put in space. (excluding the ISS and Hubble)

              What I am suggesting is we should bring that space into our economy so that over time it is no different then going to an ocean drilling platform to repair, or walking on the bottom of the ocean to swap out a drilling bit.

              We just have to learn how to do it.

        •  It comes down to a question of whether or not (0+ / 0-)

          you value human beings or not.  If you don't value human beings, and the capabilities of human beings, well, there are people who advocate Human extinction.  

          On the other hand, if you view humanity, and think its worth keeping, then you have to consider the effects of limiting us, and how thats likely induce extinction.  

          Furthermore, if we are considering ways to protect the earth, than I would argue that The Space Option has to be considered viable.

        •  Why do I want to develop space? (0+ / 0-)

          So we can make it a safe place to bear and raise children and eventually fill the entire Solar System with life.

          Then, many centuries from now our descendants can debate whether to send people to another star system.

          "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

          by Bill White on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 05:08:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  then we could have robots (0+ / 0-)

      doing all labor by now. heck we wouldn't have to get off the couch for nothing then.

      they could mow the lawn, wash the clothes, shovel the sidewalk, hell even goto work for us. we could live on our couches and robots could do it all. they are, after all, better then humans, cheaper, never need a vacation, get sick, have to take care of their kids. they never want a raise or talk back... sigh.. life would be wonderful if only we had more robots.

      •  her position deserves better than mockery (0+ / 0-)

        We already use robots in space and here on Earth to great effect.  Her point, that maintaining life in space is is a costly overhead is a valid one.  I support humans in space but the reasons have to be more than romantic, we have to be able to justify it.  the truth is  that our insistance on human presence, as she said, has retarded our robotic development.  No, I don't want to be a couch potatoe with robots doing all my work, but I want to reduce human risk as much as possible.

        Always grateful to wake up alive.

        by Subo03 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:38:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  isn't this making a mockery (0+ / 0-)

          of all that is went into human spaceflight?

          "Manned spaceflight is a waste of time and money."

          to sum up a person's lifetime work on human spaceflight as a "waste"? that your entire life's activity was a waste of time?

          •  it's a rather strong, adverse opinion, yes, (0+ / 0-)

            but it was not mockery.  I agree it was an overstatement, but she was not mocking your  argument.  Perhaps I quibble

            Always grateful to wake up alive.

            by Subo03 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:45:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Right. I am not mocking (0+ / 0-)

            manned spaceflight. I'm really mocking you. There have been quite a number of physicists who have made the same point I have. Manned spaceflight is hugely expensive because 90% of the effort is expended on keep the astronauts alive. In that respect, it's a waste of money. It has taken a lot of time to create these systems. Since it is not a useful exercise to send people into space, this counts as a waste of time. You see where I am going with this? If all that money and all that time had been put into the development of better robotic systems, we would have the large-scale development of space you so desire but without a dozen or so dead astronauts. Speaking of waste...

            •  Well, now she's mocking, lol (0+ / 0-)

              Always grateful to wake up alive.

              by Subo03 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:53:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  why do physicists make that arguement? (0+ / 0-)

              because human spaceflight cuts into their personal desires for a legacy space craft to answer those questions that interest them.

              They are hardly uninterested outside observers. They want their funding, if it means cut human spaceflight, what do they care, they are not interested in it and it takes away from their grant pool.

              •  I think I would put (0+ / 0-)

                physicists slightly higher on the food chain than Buck Rogers enthusiasts. Really, there is no logic to manned spaceflight other than some people want it.

                •  if you read history you will find that (0+ / 0-)

                  early physicists said heavier then air ships would never fly and they had all the math to prove it.

                  Just because someone has a special interest and advocates against something doesn't mean it will never happen.

                  •  Actually, I would challenge you (0+ / 0-)

                    to quote even one who supposedly said that. But that's not really the point. I am not suggesting that space should not be explored or exploited. I just think humans in space is about the least effective way to do that. So it would pretty nutty for me to assert that human spaceflight has never happened. We are arguing about whether it should happen.

                    •  Show me an example (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      of large scale development that was done only using robots

                    •  here are a few, (0+ / 0-)

                      "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." -- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society

                      "Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." -- 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.

                      "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

                      "Everything that can be invented has been invented." -- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

                      "Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

                      "No flying machine will ever fly from New York to Paris." -- Orville Wright.

                      I can not find the history of flight link that had quotes, here are some others though.

                      We can say what we want about space today, it doesn't mean that history will bear it out.

              •  competition for meager resources (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                can get brutal.  In my bailiwick of education, it can get downright cutthroat.  I guess that's why the science teacher at the end of the hallway has a smartboard and I have a blackboard.

                Always grateful to wake up alive.

                by Subo03 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 05:25:03 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Well, we are really talking about you (0+ / 0-)

        getting off the couch. Actually though, we do have robots mow our lawns, wash our clothes, etc. It's just that they aren't very good. A washing machine is a robot. So perhaps you should think about this a little more, especially since I was talking about robots in the context of space exploration.

  •  let's not puit the cart before the horse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    R&D, exploration, energy, communication, Earth studies, and space manufactureing will and should take all the time, treasure and energy we can summon. If tourism wants to take some of that knowledge and piggy back on it to build their industry, more power to them but they're going to have to take their own risks and fund themselves.


    Always grateful to wake up alive.

    by Subo03 on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:30:40 PM PST

  •  Don't like spending 14 hours in an aluminum can? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    C Barr, Vladislaw

    ...then travel by AirShip! Our fleet of luxurious Zepplins will transport you in comfort to Sydney Australia in 3 days. Relax and enjoy a long weekend of first class dining, entertainment and accomodations. Meet new friends, perhaps enjoy a shipboard romance. Return to the Golden Age of Travel...

    BushCheney Inc. - They lied to me, they lied to you, they lied to our troops.

    by jjohnjj on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 04:40:48 PM PST

  •  Weightless sex? (0+ / 0-)

    No. I like the pressure, the close heavy feel of contact, the...

    But on a higher note, the experience of seeing that we live on a round blue/white/tan ball floating in space would be mind-blowing.

    So I wouldn't go up there just to have sex. Except maybe on lift-off and re-entry.

    The due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government -George Washington

    by bob zimway on Thu Jan 29, 2009 at 05:36:49 PM PST

  •  The taxpayers CANNOT be expected to pay what is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    needed to develop space as many of us wish. We can argue about "best policy" however "feasible" comes into play as well.

    Concerning Both fiscal issues (what can the taxpayers truly afford) and political issues (overcoming the "funding playboys who frolic" meme).

    For example, take a look at this call to scale back human spaceflight funded by US taxpayers.

    The take home quote? Vision without funding is hallucination.

    Therefore, we shall require other revenue streams and I continue to propose media, marketing, sports, entertainment, brand value enhancement and other similar commercial sectors.

    Yes, space advocates need to fight for tax dollars however tax dollars shall not be sufficient, by themselves and other than what I propose, where is ANY short term investment money to be found?

    "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

    by Bill White on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 08:40:04 AM PST

    •  What did you think of that report? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bill White

      I had looked at it before, but it didn't seem to be getting any press. Have you heard if the Administration is looking at it?

      There was a couple points I liked, a few I didn't, are you going to cover it with a diary?

      I will if you are not, or we could both do one and give our takes.

      •  I've started a diary, maybe finish tonight (0+ / 0-)

        Vision without funding is hallucination - PVSE #5

        Item by item . . .

        #1) Specifics are: Fly shuttle until 2015, cancel Ares 1, use Delta IVH for a small Orion, Ares V (someday, far away) and the BIG point here is to abandon Moon-Mars for the immediate future.

        Therefore I oppose pretty much everything except cancel Ares 1. ;-)

        The report ignores the shuttle workforce and the jobs issues issue. Sure we can go with a light LEO only capsule but then I'd use Atlas V and cross my fingers on Musk and Dragon rather than Delta IVH.  

        Orbiter is also too damn expensive. Jupiter 120 gives more uplift capability at a lower price.

        #2) Short term energy & environmental payoffs

        Absolutely yes, increase funding for NOAA and NASA Earth observing satellites but this is not going to need huge amounts of money to accomplish.

        No big deal, here

        #3) Longer term payoffs in energy and environment

        A proposal to fund small scale test demonstrations of power beaming to demonstrate space based solar power.

        From an R&D stand-point, well okay, just don't spend very much money, or spend it too rapidly until a better business case can be verified by the accountants.  

        #4) Robotic space science

        As part of a balanced program of exploration, we NEED robotic explorers. However robotic exploration should not replace human exploration even though I believe this is the true spirit and intent of the proposal.

        #5 Aeronautics? Yep we need to do that but its not all that relevant to spaceflight.

        = = =

        The ITAR and Fortress America stuff I agree with.

        "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

        by Bill White on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:08:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The X-38 angle is cool & you could post images (0+ / 0-)

        I always like the X-38 and thought the cancellation of that project was foolish. Figure out how to add a  mission module to support the crew going up and X-38 is practically an RLV.

        "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

        by Bill White on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:21:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  More on X-38 via Wikipedia (0+ / 0-)

          The cancellation created its own controversy, with Congressman Ralph Hall (D-TX) taking NASA to task in an open letter. Hall offered the following criticisms of NASA's CRV cancellation:

             * "No quantitative analysis of the costs and benefits of X-38/CRV alternatives was conducted prior to the decision to terminate the program."
             * "2010 is estimated to be the "earliest" availability date for a Crew Transfer Vehicle (CTV) to support crew return functions on the International Space Station."
             * "No estimates of the cost to develop and operate a CTV are provided."
             * "NASA has no plans to purchase Soyuz crew return vehicles from Russia. The letter does not address the limits on Russian cooperation imposed by the Iran Nonproliferation Act, nor does it describe how a crew return capability will be provided for either a 3-person or larger crew-size Station once the Russian obligation to provide Soyuz vehicles ends in 2006."
             * "NASA now estimates the cost of a CRV fleet at $3 billion, which constitutes a massive increase from the $1.3-1.4 billion estimate consistently provided to Congress prior to the Administrator's termination announcement. NASA's new position is that a CRV would not be available until 2008, which appears to be due to OMB's decision last year to defer work on the program rather than any technical or management problems. Mr. O'Keefe's June 2002 announcement of the cancellation of the X-38/CRV program did not raise cost growth or schedule as factors in that decision. It seems clear to me that the new cost and schedule estimates for the CRV are not based on a thorough technical analysis, but rather on a desire to portray CTV development in a more favorable light."

          "Seeing our planet as a whole, enables one to see our planet as a whole" - Tad Daley

          by Bill White on Fri Jan 30, 2009 at 10:49:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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