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11-12-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
First, the tangibles.... simple fact is that spending money on the space program, specifically on massive endeavors like the Apollo Program and any mission to go to Mars, rapidly accelerates technological development beyond the normal rate. Ranging from simple powdered drinks and pens that can write upside down to major advancements in telecommunications, robotics, and computer technologies, these are all tangible results that arise from increased funding to such programs, and Mars would likely be no exception.
But this kind of stuff is already advanced by the current space program, which sends more sensible unmanned probes, which can collect data far more efficiently.

Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Second, there are the intangibles. What was the value of the manned missions to the moon, really? Or of the images we've obtained from the Hubble telescope? Who knows how many countless of people were inspired by seeing Neil Armstrong walk on the moon or from some of the breathtaking images that Hubble's produced? This is impossible to know, but one has to imagine that they've helped inspire two generations of scientists and thinkers and mathematicians and engineers and philosophers and who knows who else. Who knows what next great thinker would be inspired by seeing humans on the red planet, or at some point in the hopefully near future that there are permanent colonies on the moon and Mars and that while we're all human, we'll also be talking about how we are Terrans and Lunarians and Martians as well and what impact that could have on our species' psyche, knowing that there are people who were conceived, born, raised, and eventually died without ever stepping foot on Earth.
I'm an Engineering Physics major. I know that stuff can be inspiring. But that doesn't mean we need to spend billions of dollars on it right now.

Space probe development is advancing the same technologies that will eventually be used in manned missions. It's just not the time yet.

In 60-100 years, when we can work nuclear fusion on a small enough scale to transport on spacecraft, then it's probably time to get into manned missions.

A huge problem with long space missions is the lack of gravity and the muscular atrophy that comes with it. Simulation by rotation is prohibitively energy intensive, and chemical energy is just far too inefficient.

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