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Space Science

Why Space Exploration Is Worth the Cost 276

Posted by kdawson
from the it's-all-spent-right-here-on-earth dept.
mlimber writes "The Freakonomics blog has a post in which they asked six knowledgeable people, Is space exploration is worth the public cost? Their answers are generally in the affirmative and illuminating. For example David M. Livingston, host of The Space Show, said: 'Businesses were started and are now meeting payrolls, paying taxes, and sustaining economic growth because the founder was inspired by the early days of the manned space program, often decades after the program ended! This type of inspiration and motivation seems unique to the manned space program and, of late, to some of our robotic space missions.'"
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Why Space Exploration Is Worth the Cost

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  • by aelbric (145391) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:32PM (#22017266)
    *sigh* 1%
  • by darjen (879890) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @03:55PM (#22017498)
    OT, but here you go:

    It might be here shown, that the power of the federal legislative, to raise and support armies at pleasure, as well in peace as in war, and their controul over the militia, tend, not only to a consolidation of the government, but the destruction of liberty.

            In despotic governments, as well as in all the monarchies of Europe, standing armies are kept up to execute the commands of the prince or the magistrate, and are employed for this purpose when occasion requires: But they have always proved the destruction of liberty, and [as] abhorrent to the spirit of a free republic. In England, where they depend upon the parliament for their annual support, they have always been complained of as oppressive and unconstitutional, and are seldom employed in executing of the laws; never except on extraordinary occasions, and then under the direction of a civil magistrate.

            A free republic will never keep a standing army to execute its laws. It must depend upon the support of its citizens. But when a government is to receive its support from the aid of the citizens, it must be so constructed as to have the confidence, respect, and affection of the people. Men who, upon the call of the magistrate, offer themselves to execute the laws, are influenced to do it either by affection to the government, or from fear; where a standing army is at hand to punish offenders, every man is actuated by the latter principle, and therefore, when the magistrate casts, will obey: but, where this is not the case, the government must rest for its support upon the confidence and respect which the people have for their government and laws.

    -Brutus #1, Anti-Federalist
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @04:54PM (#22018068)

    The Pyramids were built with slaves

    Your ancient history knowledge is 50 years out of date. Archaeological evidence shows that they were built with paid labor, not slaves.

    The world has changed a bit, Enlightenment, Capitalism, Individual Rights, Socialism/Communism(failed)...

    And in every single stage of history you mention, people were taxed to pay for big government projects. They still are. Why do some people act as if they're surprised by this?

  • by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @06:34PM (#22019080)
    You're simply assuming individuals working together voluntarily wouldn't be able to come up with equal (or more) benefits than NASA provides.

    I would offer that space exploration requires solutions to problems that wouldn't otherwise exist and/or be known - as with any untried or unimagined thing. Solving these problems has benefits here.

    Sure we probably would have eventually invented: TV Satelite Dishes, Medical Imagers, Ear Thermometers, Vision Screening tests, Fire Fighter Equipment, Smoke Detectors, Sun Tiger Glasses, CAD, Invisible Braces (for teeth), Edible Toothpaste, Joystick Controllers and Advanced Plastics, and other things. But they were originally developed [nasa.gov] for the Space Program.

  • by Buran (150348) on Saturday January 12, 2008 @07:43PM (#22019714)
    One of the best arguments I've seen supporting space efforts was a fictional news interview that was shown on TV around ten years ago or so as part of a drama.

    Interviewer asks: "Why should we spend money on space? Why do we need to spend billions building space stations, the ships to get there, unmanned probes, why are we interested in finding and someday visiting other planets in our solar system and, someday, outside it? What's the point? Why have a space program at all?" And I always mentally add the unspoken question of "why does the space program constantly get bad press for using, at most, 1% of the federal budget and why does it still get reamed out for being a money-waster when we spend trillions on killing people, which is not as productive and doesn't inspire dreamers? Please explain to these shortsighted idiots why it's important."

    The answer was:

    "Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu and Einstein and Morobuto and Buddy Holly and Aristophenes ... and all of this ... all of this was for nothing unless we go to the stars."

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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