Eric Jome
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Why do you think human space exploration and/or colonization has stalled?

When Western European powers discovered the New World, they worked hard to establish colonies despite high costs and great danger... now, a new frontier is perhaps available, but no such effort seems to be underway. Is it just too hard? Too little reward?

Also, if one nation or private firm were to, say, start building a base on Mars, who would own that territory? Would it belong to the person who gets there, the nation they belong to, or all humanity?
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CHAPEL
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I think it's because we've hit the wall with our physical capabilities vs. cost. I think the next jump in Space Exploration will come when certain barriers in Physics happen, where we can escape the earth gavity , survive the radiation of space, and delivery large loads over long distances that can be achieved faster and cheaper. I think we are awaiting our next Einstein.
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Eric Jome
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MWChapel wrote:
... where we can escape the earth gavity , survive the radiation of space, and delivery large loads over long distances that can be achieved faster and cheaper...


We've shown we can put a lot of stuff in orbit or beyond it, some very high tech... though we minimize the weight and cost by sending only machines that need no life support. I suppose our ancestors didn't have the luxury of sending robots across the Atlantic to start colonies for them. They had to do it the hard way...

But they saw enough value in it to try. Are we missing the possible return on investment when we say "too expensive" with a wave of our hand? Or perhaps we just don't see anything that valuable out there within reach?

I think we've got the tech to build these things today... there just seems to be incentive missing.
 
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No profit has been shown... yet. With the New world, there was a strong incentive to begin with (Finding an alternate route to India to ship tea), and an even stronger one once they landed on the shore (gold). That was enough to get banks to finance expiditions, and for men to risk their lives.

What have we found so far in space? The moon has rough dust on the surface, and there may or may not be traces of water on Mars. However, we know that the human body atrophies in zero-G conditions, and the long term health impacts of cosmic radiation are not good at all. Add on to that that even a trip to Mars would take several months, and it's likely to be a one-way trip, unless we can build a second launch platform there. Plus, we have the technology to land rovers to search the surface and report findings.

In the end, there's no compelling reason to go into space at this point. The risks outweigh the rewards.


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MWChapel wrote:
physical capabilities vs. cost.


Right. There's on money in it. Right now. Especially when there's plenty of stuff to exploit for money still down here. I'll add to Chapel's theory of it'll wait unitl we have the next technological advance with: or when we run out of / use up all the good stuff down here.
 
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It's not that there's no profit in space, but that the profit is so far away, time-wise, that investing in it today won't pay off in any of the investors' lifetimes.

It's like hardwood tree farming: If I planted some chestnuts, my grandchildren would be the ones getting the money from selling the wood, and that's only if the trees don't burn down.
 
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MWChapel wrote:
I think it's because we've hit the wall with our physical capabilities vs. cost. I think the next jump in Space Exploration will come when certain barriers in Physics happen, where we can escape the earth gavity , survive the radiation of space, and delivery large loads over long distances that can be achieved faster and cheaper.


thumbsup

MWChapel wrote:
I think we are awaiting our next Einstein.

Technology hasn't yet caught up with his ideas. I think we're waiting for someone who can exploit E = mc^2 without involving a giant ball of fire.
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NASA no longer serves in-flight meals.
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The lack of renewable oxygen seems to me to be a big factor...well that and the inability to harvest space bacon.
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Eric Jome
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matthew.marquand wrote:
space bacon


Mmmmm... tasty, tasty space bacon.
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matthew.marquand wrote:
...well that and the inability to harvest space bacon.



What'day mean there's no space bacon?!

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What makes you think it stalled?

Just because we aren't launching guys on a daily basis doesn't mean someone isn't doing research to lower fuel weights, purify oxygen into some smaller containers and a better flavor of ice cream.
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matthew.marquand wrote:
The lack of renewable oxygen seems to me to be a big factor...


Maybe I've heard wrong, but don't green plants take carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen?

Is zero-G gardening REALLY that tough?
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J C Lawrence
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cosine wrote:
Why do you think human space exploration and/or colonization has stalled?


First, I don't think it has stalled, not to any significant degree.

Second, larger profits for mass capital expenditure were available closer to home. This is however changing.

Quote:
Also, if one nation or private firm were to, say, start building a base on Mars, who would own that territory? Would it belong to the person who gets there, the nation they belong to, or all humanity?


It would belong to whomever wins the shooting war, and yes, there will be a war or three.
 
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Geosphere wrote:
matthew.marquand wrote:
The lack of renewable oxygen seems to me to be a big factor...


Maybe I've heard wrong, but don't green plants take carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen?

Is zero-G gardening REALLY that tough?


My snarky comment, although I admit was poorly worded, was in reference to a difference between early earth colonists and space colonists. The early guys didn't have to bring their oxygen with them. They had to worry about less. Tough times didn't involved running out of breathable air. They did, however, have to worry about the native people mocking them about their big black hats, giant shoe buckles, and their penchant for autumnal cornucopian arrangements.
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Lack of competition. The Ruskies don't eat children anymore.
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Eric Jome
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Geosphere wrote:
What makes you think it stalled?


No manned space flight of consequence in 40 years. Missions to low orbit to install satellites that last at best two weeks don't count.

Quote:
Just because we aren't launching guys on a daily basis doesn't mean someone isn't doing research to lower fuel weights, purify oxygen into some smaller containers and a better flavor of ice cream.


Considering some of the radical advances in technology in other sectors, I think it is more likely that no one is really bothering to try to advance manned space flight because we aren't even making meaningful progress in trying to make progress.

As others have said - no one can perceive anything of value to be had in such an endeavor. This to me seems odd... there must be astronomical (if you'll pardon the pun) benefits to be had out there.
 
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matthew.marquand wrote:
They did, however, have to worry about the native people mocking them...


Actually, they frequently had to worry about the native people killing them. Or the weather. Or the animals. Or the diseases. Or the starvation. Thousands of people died trying to colonize the New World. It was hardly an easy trip or task. Heck, many didn't even make it across the ocean.

But I suppose life was cheaper then. More disposable then. We throw away a boat full of colonists or two, no big... cost of doing business. Today, perhaps, we aren't so mercenary.
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cosine wrote:
As others have said - no one can perceive anything of value to be had in such an endeavor. This to me seems odd... there must be astronomical (if you'll pardon the pun) benefits to be had out there.


Yes, the potential gains are huge, but so are the losses. So far the ration does not encourage mass capital investment. As the energy and rare earth landdscapes change this is also changing, not enough yet to move mass capital towards space industries, but that's clearly on the horizon.
 
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That is not Depeche but rather
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Primarily because we don't currently have a sound stage big enough to fake a whole space colony. Not to mention the risk of leaking the truth due to the increased number of people you'll need. That moon landing bit was difficult enough.
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clearclaw wrote:
First, I don't think it has stalled, not to any significant degree.


What significant advances have been made, apart from purely scientific discovery advances, in the last 40 years? What real economic accomplishments have been made? What resources gathered? What places colonized?

Quote:
Second, larger profits for mass capital expenditure were available closer to home. This is however changing.


I wish I knew more about initiatives to try to make a profit from extraterrestrial endeavors. At present, I don't see any. Surely, someone is thinking there is money to be made from getting resources from somewhere in the solar system.

Quote:
It would belong to whomever wins the shooting war, and yes, there will be a war or three.


We do pretty well co-existing in orbit. And that's a pretty limited bit of terrain for the choice spots. It's always surprised me we haven't had more warfare for that territory.
 
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cosine wrote:
What significant advances have been made, apart from purely scientific discovery advances, in the last 40 years? What real economic accomplishments have been made? What resources gathered? What places colonized?


Meh. 40 years is pretty irrelevant. Give me a century or so and I'd be more interested. In the mean time we've done a lot with fuels, command and control, and energy density, oh, and we've lofted rather a lot of bits of rubble into orbit.

Quote:
Quote:
Second, larger profits for mass capital expenditure were available closer to home. This is however changing.


I wish I knew more about initiatives to try to make a profit from extraterrestrial endeavors.


There aren't any biggies that I'm aware of.

Quote:
At present, I don't see any. Surely, someone is thinking there is money to be made from getting resources from somewhere in the solar system.


Yeah, and I'd guess that it will be another 20 years before we start to see them accelerating into visibility. My guess is that the first systems will be un-manned energy collectors. It is possible that lunar mining will beat it, but I doubt it.

Quote:
We do pretty well co-existing in orbit. And that's a pretty limited bit of terrain for the choice spots.


Pretty damned big actually, especially compared to the minuscule quality of hardware we have trying to occupy it. There are less satellites in orbit than cars in New York.

Quote:
It's always surprised me we haven't had more warfare for that territory.


Oh we will, when it actually becomes valuable to compete.
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