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03-24-2012, 11:42 AM
  #50
darksociety
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Winnipeg
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Good discussion. I'd just like to restate a couple of points already mentioned:

1. Space exploration has a significant parallels with polar exploration in that much of it was politically motivated. For example, the Northwest Passage was key for the British not only because of the perceived economic benefits, but because of Russia's dominance around Beringia. Similarily, the Cold War easily explains the push in the 60s to dominate space before the other guy. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Cold War paradigm in current geopolitics has been replaced by globalization, which explains the different relationship the US has with China.

2. Domestic troubles in the US are devoting resources and attention away from space exploration. Not only do the Americans lack vision within the administration itself, but society in general is distracted from the relationship between pure and applied science. This is made especially clear when anyone questions the value of going into space, human or robotic. The return on investment for the scientific and technical capital is staggering - and people bemoan that you can no longer make $20/hr assembling vacuum cleaners in Peoria.

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