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  1. - Top - End - #31
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    I will say that, being plugged into the space program-nerd communities, 2022 through 2027 is going to be when a lot of cool stuff is going to happen. (having been planned for late the prior year, of course, because space programs dont even pretend to have deadlines, they have "no earlier than" dates.)

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    Here's the thing, space is boring.
    Yeah, that's why little kids never, ever dream about growing up to be astronauts.

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azuresun View Post
    I'm going to be the one to say it, human space exploration is romantic (as well as being vital to our long-term future as a species) and that's a purely good thing, to push back against the jadedness and cynicism that's damaging our collective psyche. Yeah, I said it, I'm not taking it back, 1v1 me irl. Anybody who says it's a waste of money or that we should spend it on the environment of this world has no sense of scale with regard to how much gets splurged on finding a 2% better way to blow people up from the other side of the planet.
    Hear! Hear!
    Last edited by Fyraltari; 2020-09-11 at 12:48 PM.
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    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

  4. - Top - End - #34
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caledonian View Post
    The ISS was, and is, a complete waste of time and money.
    Yes, because before the ISS, we knew already exactly how to build and maintain things is space, and how those things deteriorate in those conditions, and how our bodies deal with being in space for long periods of time, plus what does and does not work when trying to ameliorate that. It clearly was not a massive successful learning experience absolutely necessary for long-term space exploration.

    Oh, wait, no, my mistake: we didn't know any of those things, and having the ISS to figure it out incrementally, and close enough that if something went seriously wrong, we didn't just kill a bunch of people, has been priceless. The next incremental step - the lunar gateway or whatever is called, which is ISS, but around the moon, would also provide us with massive information so we could then move on to Mars, and so on down the line.

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    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2020-09-11 at 01:43 PM.
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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  5. - Top - End - #35
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    “The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space - each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.”

    ― Randall Munroe

  6. - Top - End - #36
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakaydos View Post
    “The universe is probably littered with the one-planet graves of cultures which made the sensible economic decision that there's no good reason to go into space - each discovered, studied, and remembered by the ones who made the irrational decision.”

    ― Randall Munroe
    Agreed, but I'd even quibble with the "irrational" bit. The sheer amount of money that, say, satellites allow the economy to generate cannot be discounted. GPS alone is the cornerstone of endless economic activities that would simply not have been possible prior to it. It may not have made the US a single dollar directly, but the ROI on its development dwarfed the cost of putting it up & running it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Ceterum autem censeo Hilgya malefica est

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azuresun View Post
    I'm going to be the one to say it, human space exploration is romantic (as well as being vital to our long-term future as a species) and that's a purely good thing, to push back against the jadedness and cynicism that's damaging our collective psyche. Yeah, I said it, I'm not taking it back, 1v1 me irl. Anybody who says it's a waste of money or that we should spend it on the environment of this world has no sense of scale with regard to how much gets splurged on finding a 2% better way to blow people up from the other side of the planet.
    Why is this romanticism limited to space though?

    (I am in the Space is Boring camp. Space to me is a Mirage, an Oasis one can not drink from.)
    Last edited by Ramza00; 2020-09-11 at 03:32 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    Why is this romanticism limited to space though?
    I reject your premise. It is patently obvious there is romanticism in plenty of other avenues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Ceterum autem censeo Hilgya malefica est

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    Why is this romanticism limited to space though?
    I reject your premise. It is patently obvious there is romanticism in plenty of other avenues.

    GW
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    Last edited by Fyraltari; 2020-09-11 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Man, some of the posts in this thread just make me sad.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    Why is this romanticism limited to space though?

    (I am in the Space is Boring camp. Space to me is a Mirage, an Oasis one can not drink from.)
    That's like saying the ancient seas were boring- it wasnt about the sea, it was about the places you could go.

    Because you can absoutely drink martian water, if you brought enough equipment to otherwise survive, mine it, and remove the bits of rock in it.

    Asteroid mines would be inconviently located, but would absoutely have resources that people could live off of. And there's nothing fundamentally wrong with Venesian Blimp-Cities, where breathing air is a lift gas.

    It's the random spinning-ring space colonies you see in scifi that have a hard time justifying themselves. Low orbits have their uses, like for GPS or Starlink, but space just doesnt have useful crossroads the way we think of it on earth.

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Space is awesome as long as David Bowie is playing in the background.


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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    I reject your premise. It is patently obvious there is romanticism in plenty of other avenues.

    GW
    Quote Originally Posted by Rakaydos View Post
    That's like saying the ancient seas were boring- it wasnt about the sea, it was about the places you could go.

    Because you can absoutely drink martian water, if you brought enough equipment to otherwise survive, mine it, and remove the bits of rock in it.

    Asteroid mines would be inconviently located, but would absoutely have resources that people could live off of. And there's nothing fundamentally wrong with Venesian Blimp-Cities, where breathing air is a lift gas.

    It's the random spinning-ring space colonies you see in scifi that have a hard time justifying themselves. Low orbits have their uses, like for GPS or Starlink, but space just doesnt have useful crossroads the way we think of it on earth.
    With how much it costs to put a human into space and maintain it, I think it is important to ask

    1) What is the attraction in the first place? This is an entirely separate question from #2
    2) Is the attraction worth the cost?
    3 aka 1 repeated) With the attraction of space, is there substitute goods that provide the same type of attraction?
    4 aka 2 repeated) Are the substitute goods worth the cost?

    3 and 4 repeat until you can find a way to justify or not justify #2.

    -----

    Lets put it this way, on the earth, on the ground or at the ocean has someone made a self-sustainable biosphere yet that could be limited to the size of a few cargo containers? Until someone does so and do so for 2 years (in a successful fashion) I have to question people's dedication to space on a pragmatic level.

    This is not to say stop developing rocket technology, rocket technology is important for Satellites are important, as are many other things to do with Space.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    With how much it costs to put a human into space and maintain it, I think it is important to ask

    1) What is the attraction in the first place? This is an entirely separate question from #2
    2) Is the attraction worth the cost?
    3 aka 1 repeated) With the attraction of space, is there substitute goods that provide the same type of attraction?
    4 aka 2 repeated) Are the substitute goods worth the cost?

    3 and 4 repeat until you can find a way to justify or not justify #2.

    -----

    Lets put it this way, on the earth, on the ground or at the ocean has someone made a self-sustainable biosphere yet that could be limited to the size of a few cargo containers? Until someone does so and do so for 2 years (in a successful fashion) I have to question people's dedication to space on a pragmatic level.

    This is not to say stop developing rocket technology, rocket technology is important for Satellites are important, as are many other things to do with Space.
    Neccesity is the mother of invention. The ISS itself meets all your criteria for a self sustaining biosphere, except for being on earth, and not quite having food production sorted out yet. The one attempt to do something similar on earth, Biosphere 2, only failed because they made it out of concrete which continued to cure after they moved in, sucking oxygen out of the recycled atmosphere.

    But that's an advantage to mars over a purely space base like the ISS- there's plenty of oxygen in the CO2 outside, you just have to compress it to earth pressures and strip the carbon from the CO2. There's metals just lying on the surface, remnants of meteors. We know how to grow things under lights in gravity- there's no reason we cant do that on mars as well as earth. We just have to bring the right equipment to make use of the local resources.

    The problem is just getting there, with enough stuff to get all that started. And like the ISS, it will likely need resupply every opportunity for decades.

    But in the grand scheme of things, decades is nothing. Eventually, we can give Mars what it needs to make everything the people living there need to survive... eventually even including replacement parts for those same machines.

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    With how much it costs to put a human into space and maintain it, I think it is important to ask

    1) What is the attraction in the first place? This is an entirely separate question from #2
    2) Is the attraction worth the cost?
    3 aka 1 repeated) With the attraction of space, is there substitute goods that provide the same type of attraction?
    4 aka 2 repeated) Are the substitute goods worth the cost?

    3 and 4 repeat until you can find a way to justify or not justify #2.
    1) Did someone sit down and figure out if the Internet or GPS was "worth the cost"? And, if they did, did they get anywhere near the true worth of either? Or within, say, ten orders of magnitude of the actual number? Because as far as I know, the answer is "no" and "no". So there is no reason to need to do that for this particular step.

    2) But sure, lets do the silly exercise: a single asteroid moved so it can be exploited would trivially pay back the entirety of what has been invested so far, multiple times over - for example, $4.5 trillion worth of platinum* in a single, tiny asteroid:


    And that's before factoring in such advantages as moving heavy industry to space where contamination is not an issue, moving some of our eggs to a new nest, unknown and unknowable technological byproducts whose own ROI might be even better, etc, etc, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    This is not to say stop developing rocket technology, rocket technology is important for Satellites are important, as are many other things to do with Space.
    That's like saying "This is not to say stop developing sail technology, sail technology is important for fishing is important, as are many other things to do with Sea" but not invest money in colonies. The potential ROI from establishing either off-planet or on low-G planets human bases to serve as stepping stones dwarves "rocket technology"'s ROI.

    Grey Wolf

    *So much wealth, of course, that the cost of platinum would probably collapse if it was fully exploited; but it would still pay for itself, for the entirety of the space race, and it's not the only asteroid out there
    Last edited by Grey_Wolf_c; 2020-09-11 at 10:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    Man, some of the posts in this thread just make me sad.
    Considering how much influence academia and research have in majority of my life experiences, I'd have to agree. Some of the posts here are saddening at best and disturbing at worst. Understandable, but disturbing nonetheless.
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    I agree that space is boring once you look past it being romanticized. (Except for the scientific side, but if I had the power to teleport through space to distant planets or stars and survive without equipment but wasn't allowed to talk about it or bring anything back or collect scientific information or do anything else useful with , then I am pretty sure that how often I use it would steadily drop as the novelty wears of. (Unless I encounter life of course.) Because space is big but non living things just aren't that interesting to me even if they are really big.)
    But I also agree that it is an investment that will be worth it longterm. Grey_Wolf_c is quite right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rakaydos View Post
    Neccesity is the mother of invention. The ISS itself meets all your criteria for a self sustaining biosphere, except for being on earth, and not quite having food production sorted out yet. The one attempt to do something similar on earth, Biosphere 2, only failed because they made it out of concrete which continued to cure after they moved in, sucking oxygen out of the recycled atmosphere.

    But that's an advantage to mars over a purely space base like the ISS- there's plenty of oxygen in the CO2 outside, you just have to compress it to earth pressures and strip the carbon from the CO2. There's metals just lying on the surface, remnants of meteors. We know how to grow things under lights in gravity- there's no reason we cant do that on mars as well as earth. We just have to bring the right equipment to make use of the local resources.

    The problem is just getting there, with enough stuff to get all that started. And like the ISS, it will likely need resupply every opportunity for decades.

    But in the grand scheme of things, decades is nothing. Eventually, we can give Mars what it needs to make everything the people living there need to survive... eventually even including replacement parts for those same machines.
    Personal stuff.

    A) Me personally I have less of a problem with the ISS than the "manned mission to mars / asteroids / etc." You need to solve A, B, and C, you can't just skip to M. But precisely because ISS is reasonable for some tasks if the goal is more space flight you should also be funding lots of smaller and easier experiments that still need to get done on Earth that you could do on the ISS and also in a Cargo Container replicating a Biosphere. Do the things that must need Zero Gravity to test (aka the health stuff on the ISS) while parallel do the necessary legwork on A, B, C on the earth for many things Biosphere wise would be the same on earth or in space or on mars or a moon or asteroid etc.

    B) Rakaydos mentions Oxygen, CO2, plants etc. I mentioned Red Mars Trilogy earlier. Note some of the stuff of that book is just flat out wrong, some of it is due to artistic license, but other stuff is due to new information that was not yet discovered when the books were written (this is why unmanned probes which are orders of magnitude cheaper and safer to human life are good things.) For example discovering Mars lacks a magnetic field did not happen till the mid 90s (I would have to look up the exact year, except when I say "lacks" it is complicated, yadda, yadda, yadda science stuff.) Thus many of the things about an external atmosphere if you perfectly terraform the planet is flat out impossible on Mars. Yes we could still lived on Mars but it would be domes, and most of the domes would be underground due to both retaining the oxygen and other gases we make but also due to needing to not die eventually due to radiation problems.

    C) The question then has to be asked what is the purpose of a colony on Mars or an asteroid colony, etc? If we are going to be making machines to dig domes underground, why not first create that tech on earth, use that tech on earth and then do that Mars and Asteroid stuff later? Aka you reversed the order of operations is the complaint of C. Rakaydos points out that decades in the viewpoint of species propagation is a blink of an eye, but those decades are the lifespan of humans who are already existing who are borned already and are suffering not because we have problems with number of resources on earth, but instead about equal access to those resources for we produce more food than we need, we produce more shelter than we need yet people starve and people are homeless. What problems are you solving with setting your goal to Mars? And if your goal is Mars why not first develop the tech and implement the tech on Earth and unlock human flourishing of the current human people before we export it to a foreign shore beyond Earth's gravity well?

    Pretty much I am talking about Clayton Christensen of Harvard's insight of the Value to innovation is an S-curve in the "innovator's dilemma." The first iterations of a new idea are crappy products, the Samsung Fold of 2019 was a bad phone and a bad tablet, it literally broke in most reviewers hands within a week of 7 days. Well Samsung just announced a new version of 2020 and it looks to improve most of its shortcomings yet it may still be an inferior phone in order to create this hybrid design. Furthermore even if it was an equal phone the phone costs $2k while comparable spec phones are $600 to $1400 so what are you getting extra? Eventually over various iterations in theory the price differential would shrink and the improvements would unlock. This is the "Value to Innovation is an S-Curve" insight, it is an argument for big corporations or big government to invest and do "industrial policy" for version 1 or 2 of the device may stink but 4 and 5 would be good.

    Now Clayton Christensen of Harvard insight is the cost structures and specialities means it is often not big business who does this innovation but instead small startup companies with access to 3rd party capital who are the people who do innovation better. This is because existing big business are often selling comparable products and the value is just not there to do R&D. Leaner and Meaner small companies are able to shorten the innovation time from version 1 to version 2 and 2 to 3 while keeping the costs low. Thus Elon Musk's Space X is faster at getting rockets into space even though Boeing and Raytheon has been having this goal for decades, yadda, yadda, yadda. And yes I am dramatically simplifying the innovator's dillemina for there is several other facets like who is the business catering to with old customers vs new customers and new customers have different needs than old ones.

    But back to Space. Industrial Policy does not need Space in order to exist, it merely needs a goal to organize around. Feeding the world so none of the 7 billion are hungry is a goal. Being more sustainable and learning how to make biospheres or dig under the ground is a goal. Subway tunnels is a goal, so on and so on.

    And because those problems already exist on our planet we can start playing and figuring out how to build better drill bits to dig tunnels and so on, how to better do greenhouses to grow plants and so on. All we need to do is fund these endeavors. We do not need space to justify these goals, people are suffering already, and their problems are here on earth. Even stuff where people are fed and have houses but they have a 2 hour to 4 hour commute is a form of suffering. Mass Transit underground is a way to better use land (or there are dozens of other ways to solve density problems.) My point here is Space is a distraction instead of a clarifying force with #3. Innovation needs hands on trial and error, too far of a goal wastes money, wastes inspiration, you can't play around and tinker. You first need to create A, B, and C, you can't instantly skip to M.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    1) Did someone sit down and figure out if the Internet or GPS was "worth the cost"? And, if they did, did they get anywhere near the true worth of either? Or within, say, ten orders of magnitude of the actual number? Because as far as I know, the answer is "no" and "no". So there is no reason to need to do that for this particular step.
    This is not my argument so I will ignore it for this is not what I am arguing.

    In fact I am arguing the exact opposite. I am arguing the problem of social coordination either with government or a business, and humans on mars may be one way to organize and coordinate but I think there are much better lodestones, much better north stars to organize around and form an industrial policy.

    2) But sure, lets do the silly exercise: a single asteroid moved so it can be exploited would trivially pay back the entirety of what has been invested so far, multiple times over - for example, $4.5 trillion worth of platinum* in a single, tiny asteroid:
    Economics and value do not work that way and we have known this for 200 years now.

    The paradox of diamonds and water is what it is called in the economic field. It is a 240 year old thing that dozens of people like Smith, Ricardo, Marx, George (classical style) and people like William Stanley Jevons, Carl Menger, Léon Walras (the marginalists, sometimes called the marginal revolution) talk about.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parado...20the%20market.

    Water is useful up to a point, but after a certain point its utility diminishes according to the marginalists. Thus diamonds may have less utility in certain circumstances increase in value if you are merely to trade diamonds for water.

    Platinum from Space is a good thing but once it becomes so abundant it would not cost $4.5 trillion dollars for we do not need to dedicate 1/20th of the world economy merely to have one specific metal or even any metal. The world economy is about 80 trillion per year, and 4.5 would be 5.625% of that 80. For comparison the top 40 mining and metal companies of the entire world only have 692 billion in revenue. They do not even make 1% of the total world economy.

    Like I said earlier Rockets can be good in of themselves that is a separate question from man spaceflight to earth. Do we really need humans to mine space asteroids?


    Separating the romanticism of space allows you to get a better sense of the real world economics of space. It may be good to mine space asteroids, but until specific techs are created it is not feasible, and if the goal is to create those specific techs first why not look to our planet and all its current problems both from a romantic perspective but also from a number and cents perspective. And I am saying this advocating for something that would take 20 years to do a return on investment or 10 years. But doing a 100 years ROI makes little sense when we have all these problems here with people that are currently alive and need those problems solved.

    I repeat from an earlier post, is there a better way to solve the very REAL human need that romanticism feeds? Is there a better way to solve the very REAL human need that humans have needs and through science, tech, social structures, we solve these human needs?

    Space is boring, solving for these human things is wonderful!
    Last edited by Ramza00; 2020-09-12 at 03:17 PM.
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Space exploration is probably a good investment. Putting people into space simply isn't, even if we were engaged in trying to do that. What we *are* doing is putting people in a low-orbit space station that has no worthwhile scientific or economic purpose and bringing them back down again.

    Yes, people did indeed look at the economic and functional returns of the Internet. It was made precisely because it offered return on investment. The current space program doesn't.
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Human spaceflight is funded by the desire to live out childhood sci-fi dreams.

    Unlike with fantasy, you can tell yourself that visiting aliens on other planets will be possible all day.
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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Human spaceflight is funded by the desire to live out childhood sci-fi dreams.
    I'd say it's deeper than that. Humans have never looked at a barrier without going "I wonder what's on the other side of that."

    we're the crazy hairless apes who left the climate they were adapted to to settle all of the planet bare the antarctic with noting but stones, sticks and the remains of animals we've killed.

    As a species, we're kind of nuts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    the Vector Legion [is the IFCC's new pawns], mark my words. Way too much unfinished business there and they already know about the Gates.
    I'll take that bet.

  22. - Top - End - #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramza00 View Post
    Like I said earlier Rockets can be good in of themselves that is a separate question from man spaceflight to earth. Do we really need humans to mine space asteroids?
    AI is absolutely terrible at solving novel issues. Humans are significantly better at it. When it comes to fixing stuff that is going wrong, you will always need humans. And if those issues happen in space, you will need humans in space to solve them, because remote work only gets so much done.

    Which is to say, yes, we really need humans to mine space asteroirds. And to build space barges. And to run fuel stations. And all the other adjacent jobs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caledonian View Post
    What we *are* doing is putting people in a low-orbit space station that has no worthwhile scientific or economic purpose and bringing them back down again.
    You are wrong. In every particular and in every sense I can grasp the meaning of your words.

    Quote Originally Posted by Caledonian View Post
    Yes, people did indeed look at the economic and functional returns of the Internet. It was made precisely because it offered return on investment. The current space program doesn't.
    No, they did not. They built it so they could shoot missiles from anywhere, and so universities could communicate with each other. They did not calculate the ROI, and if you want to claim it, you need to do better than simply say so, because I no longer believe you know what you are talking about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    No, they did not. They built it so they could shoot missiles from anywhere, and so universities could communicate with each other. They did not calculate the ROI, and if you want to claim it, you need to do better than simply say so, because I no longer believe you know what you are talking about.
    Return on investment doesn't always mean money. The Voyager probes didn't return a nickel, but they had a massive payoff. I don't believe DARPAnet was ever expected to make money for anyone, other than some contractors, but it had a definite use, and more uses were found once it existed.

    The manned aspects of our space program? Useless. They return nothing, neither economically nor scientifically. What we could learn about humans in zero-g, we've already learned, decades ago. The space station is just a boondoggle to keep certain industries and bureaucracies well-moneyed; it has no meaningful purpose beyond that. There is nothing it is doing that satellites couldn't do better and cheaper, and generally they already are.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    AI is absolutely terrible at solving novel issues. Humans are significantly better at it. When it comes to fixing stuff that is going wrong, you will always need humans. And if those issues happen in space, you will need humans in space to solve them, because remote work only gets so much done.

    GW
    First I never mentioned AI. But whatever, let’s say we use AI to mine.

    Second I do not grant the premise Remote Work is not effective.

    It would take years to reach the asteroid belt and return. It is roughly 6x the distance between earth to mars depending on when you start and stop the journey due to the constantly changing orbits. Thus it would take forever to get there, mine stuff, and send it back. Literally we are taking 5+ years life commitment on the side of the miners.

    If that is the goal, might as well figure out how to sustain life and do semi well sustaining the miners, so the miners are thriving if you are talking a 5+ year mission. (We after all need them to thrive to be smart enough to do the noble planning and problem solving, the human ingenuity you said we can not do via remote distance.)

    To support people for a 5+ year journey and lifestyle we will need to figure out biospheres. Thus we need to figure out how to do those biospheres first on earth prior to any rockets and man missions.
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    The Moon is close enough to be explored and mined with telepresence probes. That would make an interesting series, and the cast wouldn't have to be portrayed as leaving Earth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
    I'd say it's deeper than that. Humans have never looked at a barrier without going "I wonder what's on the other side of that."
    This, humans think this about barriers it is literally impossible to cross and survive (*cough* afterlives *cough*). People have been going to crazy places because they're there for thousands of years, because they're there and might have something interesting, or at least somewhere else to go to. We began with legs, and when our legs failed we built boats, and ever since we have been building better ways to get there, and coming up with more.

    This is why FTL travel is so common in fiction, and why we have serious scientific takes on the subject. While not as efficient as we'd like we've conquered the space between planets with nothing more than robots and chemical rockets. We're starting to know every corner of our star system, even if not particularly well at this point, but we don't know what's beyond, what we'll find when* we fly through the interstellar medium.

    At the same time we're pushing past the barriers to exploring the depths of the ocean (which is also exciting, but not my thing). And I'm sure if there was a jungle defended by a forty foot omnipresent dragon we'd be trying to get past it.

    But the process of exploration is rather boring. We don't have series about a group of scientists remotely operating a Mars rover (but there's a sitcom for you), bit we also don't have series about a six month sail to the Americas to explore a bit, exploit the natives, and spend six months on a boat to return to Europe (but there are documentaries). I'd love a show where maybe six characters took a trip to Mars and we focused on their relationships with the occasional ship repair, but it's unlikely to happen.

    On the other hand, I'm totally incorporating skyhooks into the setting I'm designing (alongside wormholes that, at the time of the story, still don't go anywhere interesting).


    * I am optimistic here, I think humans will leave for other stars, although not for centuries to millennia.
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    This, humans think this about barriers it is literally impossible to cross and survive (*cough* afterlives *cough*).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I'd love a show where maybe six characters took a trip to Mars and we focused on their relationships with the occasional ship repair, but it's unlikely to happen.
    I recall a series called Defying Gravity that was kind of like this. It was a trip all over the solar system rather than just Mars, and it had some alien artefacts that weren’t explained as it got cancelled after like 8 episode.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Androgeus View Post
    I recall a series called Defying Gravity that was kind of like this. It was a trip all over the solar system rather than just Mars, and it had some alien artefacts that weren’t explained as it got cancelled after like 8 episode.
    Oh~ I remember that. Though the only thing I recall - for some reason - was that they came up with a in-story justification for why their hair didn't look like it was in zero-g.

    Now onto another, more salient point that's been bugging me. What does it matter what your opinion on real-world space-flight is?

    Whether it's the trials and tribulations of king Gilgamesh in ancient Mesopotamia, the rebellion against an Evil Empire in a nameless far-off galaxy in some murky distant past, or the struggles of those working in some hospital out of modern day Chicago -- the question doesn't go "how does any of this benefit me in immediate practical terms?" because it's fiction and the point of fiction isn't the same as the subject it's presenting.

    Does the space program - or a reasonably similar fictional representation thereof - provide a basis for interesting stories?

    Do the people participating in these programs make for potentially interesting characters?

    Is there latent drama in the exploration of space?

    That's the significance here. People like stories about bold people who face serious adversity in pursuit of their passions, and more generally the early space program was a fundamental turning point in human history with broad implications thereafter.

    So, the point? Yeah, the argument about the viability of manned space-flight is a different topic. As much as you're opinion on modern warfare and geopolitics is on... say, the relevance or emotional impact of Saving Private Ryan or MASH as works of fiction.
    Last edited by Kitten Champion; 2020-09-13 at 10:53 PM.

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    Default Re: What is the deal with all the astronaut stuff we are getting?

    Defying Gravity illustrated the problem with writing a near-Earth space exploration TV series.

    Almost all television runs off of human drama. People working against each other, having relationship problems, or not liking one another but still having to work together. This dynamic does not work very well for a group of astronauts, particularly a group that is expected to leave Earth's orbit and be together for several years. They all get psych tested. The team works together on Earth for a long time before launch to make sure that they function as a team. There's no human drama in a team of professionals working together in a well-oiled fashion.

    There's a few ways to fix this.

    1)Introduce outside elements. Star Trek does it by introducing alien species and wibbly-wobbly space phenomena. Human drama comes from the "visiting scientist of the week".

    2) Insert an external threat. See: Alien.

    3) Cause a disaster. The Martian and Gravity are good examples.

    4) Make up some reason for the team to be dysfunctional. This is the route Defying Gravity took. There's a alien device influencing who is picked for the mission. It picks people likely to make for a good TV drama instead of the more qualified astronauts.


    Space is amazingly interesting. However, it doesn't make for good TV.

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