Skip to comments.Lunar Colonies and Mitt Romney's Incredible Smallness of Vision
Posted on 01/28/2012 3:30:36 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
COMMENTARY | During the Republican presidential debate in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday night, the subject of Newt Gingrich's moon colony idea came up. During the exchange, Mitt Romney especially revealed a smallness of vision and an ignorance of the issue.
If Romney wants to know why Gingrich is so focused on the moon, he could go no further than to read Paul Spudis' The Case for Renewed Human Exploration of the Moon" in which the rationale for returning to the moon, not only for science, but also as a prelude to the exploration of the Solar System is examined. Spudis also covers mining lunar resources, such as water.
Then Romney can read Taylor Dinerman's piece about the strategic value of the moon and its importance to national security. Spudis also covers the Chinese challenge where it comes to the moon.
Can we afford to return to the moon with a $15 trillion national debt? The question is actually whether we can afford not to?
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
You are Right. SARC/
See fantasy here.
I think Romney kind of stepped in it with those comments in Fla.
Damn flatlander, at least that was my initial response to his statement thursday night.
My reaction was Oh my, he would have fired JFK, and the Russians would dominate the skies.
LOL. I'm a LONG way from a "big, government Republican", and in fact have never been either Republican, Democrat, nor member of any other party. I registered as an independent when I first signed up to vote forty-four years ago, and have been so registered for the whole intervening period.
The simple fact is, I "do" know history, and I repeat, there has never been a "free market economy" of the type that is the libertarian wet dream on any scale above that of a small town, ever.
"It doesn't matter anyway, in my opinion there will be a near total collapse of the economy within 5 years because neither side will let go of big government. When the stores don't have food and gasoline is $100+ a gallon maybe you'll change your mind on the worthiness of wasting money on space circuses.
If we keep pouring dollars down welfare ratholes, yes. But easy and cheap access to space can PREVENT precisely what you are talking about. And Gingrich knows that. Evidently you don't. And he knows that the best way to get there is to HARNESS competition between private companies (hence prizes) rather than "having the government do it".
No you are wrong. If you think that a Chinese military base on the moon would not be plugged in to all the other sensors and intelligence available to China, well, I can’t help you.
The US missed the opportunity to have the public associate modern inventions with manned space exploration. China, however, is not as naive and idealistic and will not miss the opportunity.
I'm not arguing anything. I'm simply saying what happened and that without a manned space program, future invention will be Chinese. not US in origin.
FWIW, none of the problems associated with the Apollo program were “foreseen”. The problem popped up when it did and was fixed on the spot.
The ‘who is to say’ argument is specious. A prudent capitalist would never dream, or dream of going into space, the stars etc. Only leaders, dreamers, and those with a long vision of the future go where prudent capitalists fear to spend.
People in the US generally have a vision span that stretches to the next weekend. The Chinese have a vision span that stretches for centuries ...
You plan on next weekend's party, the Chinese plan on working all weekend.
We used to be a nation of dreamers, inventors and explorers. Now we are prudent capitalists bemoaning the working conditions in China, hoping to assuage our collective guilt.
All the while crying in out beer we cannot afford anything, but please give me a raise/welfare check/Social Security check/unemployment check.
Our hands are out begging, while the Chinese are working even under horrible conditions. They have a plan, they have a vision. We have tears of regret and excuses galore.
Thanks for your comments.
Like you, I avidly support NASA and do not want their budget cut.
In fact, my step-brother is a senior director at the agency.
However, I believe we are long past the point of diminishing returns for manned space projects and manned exploration.
I support a modest budget for low Earth orbit projects like the Space Station and continued funding for things like manned space planes.
I believe the rest of NASA’s space budget should be spent on robotic exploration and space telescopes.
In my opinion, the Hubble Space Telescope by itself has revealed more about the universe then every manned space flight in history combined.
The ten year manned Apollo Lunar Program cost about $150 billion (2012 dollars).
Yes, there were some impressive technologies spun off that program, and a geologic treasure trove was returned to Earth.
However, if we had used that money for robotic lunar exploration instead, the electronics and software would have been at least one order of magnitude more sophisticated than Apollo.
I agree that knowledge of how man can live and work in space is sound basic research.
But it is research that will not be productively useful for thousands of years.
No amount of research and no amount of dreaming will guide man out of this Solar System before the next millennium.
And in this solar system, there are few places to go, and little to do - except stay alive - once you get there.
Extreme heat, extreme cold, radiation, and atmospheric pressure knock Mercury and Venus off the list.
Asteroids have zero gravity, making construction or mining impossible.
Jupiter's moons are bathed in lethal radiation.
That leaves Mars and the Moon.
Helium 3 may have potential, but it is found in parts per billion in Moon dust, and no one on Earth has ever built a commercially viable Helium 3 reactor, which makes it a true “Moon Shot,” as my generation used to say.
I have no doubt that privately funded space tourism will become a viable business in the coming decades.
I can't imagine a better way to study man's health and comfort in space.
I thought Newt’s moon idea was a stupid idea. How much is this going to cost us? How much are we going to have to borrow to go to the moon? Only shows Republicans can’t help stop spending any more than Democrats.
Given your other comments, I find this just slightly difficult to believe.
"However, I believe we are long past the point of diminishing returns for manned space projects and manned exploration."
A belief unsupported by ANY sort of facts.
"I support a modest budget for low Earth orbit projects like the Space Station and continued funding for things like manned space planes."
LEO is virtually worthless as a target for manned space EXPLORATORY efforts, and will soon be the target of private enterprise. This is about the steps beyond that.
"I believe the rest of NASAs space budget should be spent on robotic exploration and space telescopes.
Which is great, if all you want to do is scientific research. Simply put, if man wants to survive, some of us have got to get off this planet.
"In my opinion, the Hubble Space Telescope by itself has revealed more about the universe then every manned space flight in history combined."
Again, the manned effort is about more than doing science, as valuable as that is.
"The ten year manned Apollo Lunar Program cost about $150 billion (2012 dollars)."
Which isn't even a blip in the overall budget.
"Yes, there were some impressive technologies spun off that program, and a geologic treasure trove was returned to Earth."
Gee, I'm glad you can drag yourself to admit that there were at least "some" positive efforts.
"However, if we had used that money for robotic lunar exploration instead, the electronics and software would have been at least one order of magnitude more sophisticated than Apollo."
Sorry, but this is absolute speculation.
"I agree that knowledge of how man can live and work in space is sound basic research. But it is research that will not be productively useful for thousands of years."
You're probably two orders of magnitude high.
"No amount of research and no amount of dreaming will guide man out of this Solar System before the next millennium."
Pure speculation again. For all you know, a breakthrough in physics could make "warp drive" possible in 25, 50, or 100 years.
"And in this solar system, there are few places to go, and little to do - except stay alive - once you get there.
I can just hear some other Englishman telling my Puritan ancestors "....and in the New World, there are few places to go and little to do-except stay alive-once you get there...". We know how THAT worked out, don't we.
"Extreme heat, extreme cold, radiation, and atmospheric pressure knock Mercury and Venus off the list."
Which is pretty much true for all of space.
"Asteroids have zero gravity, making construction or mining impossible."
Impossible??? Baloney. In truth, probably easier than on earth.
"Jupiter's moons are bathed in lethal radiation.
Potentially true for ANYWHERE in space (see solar flares).
"That leaves Mars and the Moon."
"Helium 3 may have potential, but it is found in parts per billion in Moon dust, and no one on Earth has ever built a commercially viable Helium 3 reactor, which makes it a true Moon Shot, as my generation used to say.
Re-read my post about the moon and asteroid processing.
Of course not, but they are the ones we have. Wishing for better won't change anything.
However, maintaining a military presence in over 200 places around the world is certainly adding to out woes
Expensive and unwise, but not the cause of our current crisis.
I don't see mandates for flitting about in space as critical to our national survival - especially not moon bases or trips to Mars.
Space exploration is pretty much just Louis&Clark kind of stuff. You might be familiar with the Founder who authorized that little boondoggle.
So that word "space" is tripping you up? Funny how "undersea" exploration (which only came about with reliable submarine technology came into existence) doesn't set you off. Or did I just send you off on another tirade?
Nope. Just against boondoggles; like ticks, they add up.
If we actually cared about Constitutional government, all our woes would be over but, as long as we hold to our golden calves, every other hog (and barnyard critter) will find a place at the trough - large and small.
If you hadn’t noticed, we’re no longer into expansionism as a growing nation. Aside from clear and defensive military need, flopping around in the drink or floating about in the stars has nothing, repeat, nothing to do with proper governance.
Without pushing our boundaries and exploring, we are destined to wallow about in our own filth.
Your "vision" of good governance will lead to stagnation, in fact it will lead to a society of limited wealth and advancement. Government will over run everyones lives, shoot we are close to that now.
Exploration leads to innovation and the creation of more wealth, monetary wealth, the wealth of knowledge and it preserves independent thought and freedom to advance.
Your closed system, will eventually fall in upon itself.
You describe the exact system we’re in right now and we’re doing all kinds of ‘exploring’ - can’t be much difference. Here’s an idea: how about we go exploring for a balanced budget, eliminate our debt and go back to an economy that provides its own basics with a modernized industrial base?
Really now, let’s be realistic. We don’t even produce what we need - we buy it from communists. Yet, you think shooting teachers into space to photograph stars is the solution to the near collapse of our civilization?
“Potentially true for ANYWHERE in space (see solar flares).”
No - The moons of Jupiter and Saturn orbit within their planetary radiation belts - Earth's moon does not orbit in the Van Allen Radiation Belt - If it did, every Apollo astronaut would have been exposed to a lethal dose of radiation
I did - I don't get it - How do you anchor a drill on a Zero G asteroid? - How do you refine millions of tons of ore in Zero G? - How do you plan to make a profit? - These are Popular Science Magazine fantasy solutions, like “Warp Drive in 25, 50, 100 years”
I'm not real concerned about what might happen to mankind millions of years after my death
In the planetary radiation belts or outside of them the answer is the same.....shielding. In other words "dirt" piled on top of your habitat. Can't do that on earth (too close to atmosphere). Other places.....not so much.
"I did - I don't get it - How do you anchor a drill on a Zero G asteroid? - How do you refine millions of tons of ore in Zero G? - How do you plan to make a profit? - These are Popular Science Magazine fantasy solutions, like Warp Drive in 25, 50, 100 years"
Drill?? Who would use a drill?? Use a laser and cut chunks off. Refining?? Depends...in orbit or on the lunar surface. I suspect that given the advantages of the easy availability of high vacuum we will use techniques not easily available on earth. In either location, I suspect that something akin to mass spectroscopy will be used, yielding not just pure elements, but isotopically pure fractions, with who knows what unique properties. How will you make a profit?? Look up the platinum metals content of a single nickel-iron asteroid. Add to that materials that are completely unknown today, or large quantities of materials not easily produced today.
Can I tell you exactly what human ingenuity will come up with.....no. But history says that new and very useful things and techniques will inevitably result.
And it won't be the geeks and nerds playing with their little robots that will make it happen.
I can just hear the conversations now....(first fish....whatchoo gonna do with those legs...don't you know the land is a hostile environment....what good will it ever be...you can't breathe up there....and on and on). (First monkey.....whatchoo gonna do with that upright posture...don't you know you're setting you and your descendants up for a myriad of physical problems....and on and on).
"I'm not real concerned about what might happen to mankind millions of years after my death."
Look up the probability an earth-strike by a LARGE meteor, asteroid or comment. Your "millions of years" estimate is totally bogus. It "could" happen tomorrow. We need to get out there with a full and easy access to space to have a chance to detect and prevent that.