Reviews for In Defense of Space Travel
Bob Evans chapter 1 . 4/16/2008
Very excellent points. I think Americans are too content playing politics ground-side to actually think about advancing further into space. And, they seem to forget that every time we take a major step in space, our technology advances similarly. I just fear humanity's stupidity and ignorance is going to keep us planet-bound much longer than necessary...possibly longer than we can afford.
Wesley The Dark Prince chapter 1 . 9/6/2005
Mars. Mars is never the ultimate goal. No planet is the ultimate goal, and you should know that for someone who calls themselves a 'moderate realist technocrat'. An ultimate goal in space travel is absolutely unrealistic. Look at the 60s or 70s, back then the Moon was expected to support a 100,0 people by 2001. Did it happen? No, we ran out of money. We ran out of money because we lost interest in a mere moon when our technology advanced to the point where Mars seemed more exciting. Are there moon bases? No, and I heavily doubt that there will be Mars bases either. And once we set our sights on Europa or Io we'll ditch Mars and come up with foolish, unrealistic and shortsighted goals that bases will be put on one of those moons in a mere decade. And after that? Edge of the galaxy? Where does it end? Once we reach one point we look ahead to the next one. We may be stationary on Earth, but when it comes to space we're pretty damn nomadic. I mean common, the dead wife said the exact same thing in Mission to Mars!

The International Space Station is a massive vacuum for countries that shouldn't be spending money in the first place, or at least not on a laboratory thats exclusive only to those who take extensive training for a decade. What a good way to declare yourself a democracy! Build a space station that only 1% of the general population can somehow get to!

I do however agree with your opinions on the space shuttle. Using 25 year old technology to transport modern (and delicate) machinery, and more importantly, several human lives is not a good idea. It's like hooking nitro up to a steam powered car. If they decide to flush some big bucks into the space program, I hope it goes straight to the shuttle.

Ahah! Weapons in space! Again, my belief of you being a 'realist' are heavily challenged. As if having a 50 million dollar missile on Earth wasn't bad enough, now you want one in space where, not only is Earth extra vulnerable, but the actual astronauts are at a higher risk. Maybe on Earth you can escape a building that is burning, but it ain't that easy in space.

And weapons for destroying asteroids? What are, straight from the 50s? They said the exact, EXACT, same thing about the atom bomb. Hey this massive bomb can blow up a mountain, so next time we need to move an entire mountain and disrupt the environment and release incredible amounts of radiation into the air, we can just nuke the fuck out of cities. Why not put it in space? Yeah that way you can blow up even more stuff! Yeah that's really great. Fine, I agree with you that asteroids and large debris could be easily removed by special weapons (as if we can't just fly around them...) but you have to understand that as long as it's dangerous on Earth it'll be dangerous in space, even more so in fact.

Your probably gonna counter that with something along the lines of "well we need better laws then, or specially chosen people". Well Jave, laws were meant to be broken, any 'realist' such as yourself should know that.

So to top it off, this is not a flame (unless, of course, you took it as one). It was more of a harsh criticism on your opinions. Because apparently I have the right to criticise your God given opinions...

Seriously though, I don't regard your work as poorly done or weak in any serious way. It has that amateur kind of look to it, and the words aren't exactly intoxicating with meaning or spiritual depth, but they get the point across.

I should insult you too much though, I heard you know alot of weapons and maybe someday I'll need your advice on a story. :)

So overall this was nice, I'm just not a big supporter of it. Look at it this way, if there was a rating system on fp (which would be pandemondium) I would rate you an 8.5/10. And since when was 85% a bad thing?
ChaosTheory89 chapter 1 . 3/14/2004
I totally agree. Several members of my very conservative family disagree, but I agree. Not only can the Earth no longer support us, think of the medical advances developed by NASA - CAT scans, for one. Excellent job, however, I am weary of a colony on the moon, because history shows us that Colonization is just not a good idea. Period. Plus, we pledged that no one could 'own' the moon. So, I am still impartial, leaning toward your view.
Zero chapter 1 . 2/19/2004
For the most part, I agree that space exploration is an important thing. However, I also believe that humanity will never expand to the stars, no matter what new technologies we come by. The prospects of ever getting to stars beyond our solar system seem unrealistic at best. The nearest stars to our own would take years to get to going at the speed of light, a speed that is widely believed to be impossible. You could reach speeds very near the speed to light, but at very high energy costs. The only way that anyone would currently survive a journey beyond our own solar system would probably be by cryogenics, but I doubt many would be willing to go on such a journey. Mars is a possible destination, but aside from scientific curiousity, most uses for the planet would almost certainly be overlooked for a very long time. While I agree with the premise of your writing, I don't believe that we have, or will in the foreseeable future, the means to go beyond Mars, and even then, most of our eggs will remain in the same basket.
Formerly chapter 1 . 1/30/2004
Ah, I see. So space travel is good! Yes! Let's take massive amounts of money that could be used to do something productive, such as (god forbid) helping people live better here on Earth rather than on Mars! Well, obviously that's stupid, right? I mean, it's surely best to ignore any and all terran problems and focus on something we won't be able to do in any case for dozens of years. With any luck, by then the world'll still be here.
No Trust chapter 1 . 1/28/2004
If you like space exploration so much then *you* can pay for it.

Look, I don’t care if people want to explore space. But if I were free I wouldn’t give one red cent to NASA, and I’ll be blunt and say that if you want space exploration to get anywhere helpful at all it needs to be completely and utterly privatized.

“There’s some other advantages to a space program. Civilian life has been given several innovations by the space program. Artificial limbs and implants are just the tip of the iceberg. Personal computers and other electronic devices trace their roots back to the space program.”

Broken window fallacy.

“However, if a colony is self-sufficient, it might get ideas of revolution into its mind.”

All things considered if a space colony was self-sufficient I would support the idea of them seceding, if they so desired. To prevent secession would be to reduce the colonists to the status of slaves.

I have a dream: That people will pay for their own dreams.
Mbwun chapter 1 . 1/28/2004
Excellent essay. Technically, very sound, and you're dead right on the subject.

Of course, you'd expect that reaction from a guy who write sci-fi, wouldn't you?:)

~He Who Walks On All Fours
Lee Harvey Kennedy chapter 1 . 1/28/2004
A very informative and interesting essay you've written here. I've long been a supporter of space travel for several reasons, including a love of adventure.
I think my fellow reviewers sort of missed your point about no planet lasting forever, since there's always asteroids or exploding stars to take them out. However, our sun is expected to last for another six billion years, so the issue is not so pressing as people make it seem. With proper care, pollution can be taken care of, and our earth will be livable until the sun consumes it.
Once again, good essay. I enjoyed reading it, it flowed very well and made many good points.
James Jago chapter 1 . 1/28/2004
I support the idea of venturing beyond our home planet wholeheartedly, but mainly out of a spirit of scientific adventurism.
Planet Earth will still be here long after the human race as evolved into something else entirely or wiped itself out, though we might end up moving to colonise the rest of the system from sheer population pressure.
A manned expedition to Mars foundered in the 80s because of intense solar radiation that would tear the crew's bodies apart and is nearly impossible to protect against; have they resolved that yet?
Calvin Fitzgerald chapter 1 . 1/27/2004
This was a great, informitive essay. The grammer was perfect and the structure was impecable. Even people who have no interest in the US space program would enjoy reading this article. I fully support the Bush plan for future human expansion across the solar system. I think its the best thing to spend our money on. Keep us informed of NASA's progress.
Calvin Fitzgerald
jevn chapter 1 . 1/27/2004
I almost completely agree with you. I think we should set up a moon-base. I see the reasons for going to mars. I also agree that we should not back out of the international space station. This has to do with the cooperation that it took to establish it not for any economic reason on my part. All though the leading space agency is NASA, this does not mean that Americans are the only ones who have made significant contributions to the space program. It would make more sense, I think, too keep the station and help the space technology of the world. After all, as you said a planet doesn’t last forever and if Earth is becoming unlivable does it really matter which group of humans gets off to survive?
Qthe only thing I didn’t agree with you on isyou saying no planet lasts forever. I think that earth may not but that doesn’t mean thatother planets can. If humanity was more careful with what it did then the planet they lived on would be in better shape. I’m not saying that this any reason not to go in to space, but if we are more careful with the planet hopefully it will last long enough that we’ve already colonized other planets when we do need to leave.

Great essay.