×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

European Scientists Make a Case For a Return To the Moon

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the earth's-attic dept.

Moon 285

MarkWhittington writes "While the official target of NASA's space exploration program remains exploring Earth approaching asteroids, the case for a return to the moon has been made from a variety of quarters. The most recent attempt to make a case for the moon is in a paper, titled Back to the Moon: The Scientific Rationale for Resuming Lunar Surface Exploration, soon to be published in the journal Planetary and Space Science."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

285 comments

We should follow Dave Chapelle's lead (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278691)

Write this down. M.A.R.S. That's right! Mars, bitches!

We're still /. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278693)

Please link to the actual journal submission [arxiv.org], not some article from the Yahoo! Contributor Network...

Re:We're still /. (3, Informative)

timothy (36799) | about 2 years ago | (#40278757)

Yeah -- sorry about that, now fixed. I'd deleted it (the Yahoo version was wrapped in a spammy wrapper), inadvertently not put in the clean version until just now.

timothy

Re:We're still /. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278965)

Yeah -- sorry about that, now fixed. I'd deleted it (the Yahoo version was wrapped in a spammy wrapper), inadvertently not put in the clean version until just now.

timothy

Yes just like all the spelling errors, we understand that it's not your fault. It's never your fault.

Re:We're still /. (-1, Offtopic)

DJCalarco (2392238) | about 2 years ago | (#40279301)

@Anonymous (really, all the Anonymous Cowards out there) Wow, douchebag. How sad are you that you spend your days anonymously trashing legit users of the site. @Timothy: Thanks for the rad article dude.

Re:We're still /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278759)

Mod parent up.

Re:We're still /. (1, Offtopic)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#40279173)

Is sir of the opinion that /. ever had standards?

Re:We're still /. (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40279357)

Is sir of the opinion that /. ever had standards?

Believe it or not, but Slashot has set many standards.
Not lately, no.

Re:We're still /. (2, Insightful)

Stargoat (658863) | about 2 years ago | (#40279383)

Slashdot was once the gold standard of IT information websites. The community was vibrant and rambunctious. It was interesting, funny, and frustrating. I'm not entire sure what happened. Maybe the Internet grew up around us. Like the Old West, someone fenced the cowboys away. Maybe we got rid of the goofs that were our necessary yeast. Dunno. But it's not the same Slashdot it was a decade ago.

Well, then that settles it. (5, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | about 2 years ago | (#40278747)

Since "European" scientists are in board, maybe the Obama administration will agree to it.

LK

Re:Well, then that settles it. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40278835)

Maybe the europeans can get some governments with brains that aren't enamoured with self destructive austerity and fund it themselves as a giant european wide jobs programme.

Which is basically what EADS is already, so it's just throwing more money at them.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 2 years ago | (#40278853)

Right, just when you are drowning in debt it's time to spend billions on a massive program to do something with no commercial value whatsoever. You can just as easily create jobs by paying people to scratch their butts but guess what, broken window fallacy is called fallacy for a reason.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279083)

Exactly, and that wealth either has to be created by fraud (printing money) or by theft of those people creating real wealth (taxation).

We need to focus less on "jobs" and more on producing wealth. Creating jobs means nothing, we need to focus on creating true wealth.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (4, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279153)

Borrowing money isn't fraud, and raising taxes isn't fraud. Nor is taxation theft. Taxation is agreeing that some things are best for the state to manage and paying for those from everyone.

You need to focus more on jobs, which will create wealth. Cutting spending is creating a spiral of destruction in its wake that is destroying wealth left right and centre. Without jobs there's no demand, without demand there's no production and no innovation, without which there's less demand, and less wealth.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1, Offtopic)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40279215)

Taxation is agreeing that some things are best for the state to manage and paying for those from everyone.

Really? So I can agree that those things aren't best for the state to manage and not pay for them?

No, I didn't think so.

You need to focus more on jobs, which will create wealth.

Jobs do not create wealth. Jobs are a cost. If you think jobs create wealth, you should be eliminating all technology and promoting a Pol Pot-style 'back to the land' movement.

Cutting spending is creating a spiral of destruction in its wake that is destroying wealth left right and centre.

Cutting government spending frees up money for private uses. Sucking money out of the real economy to spend on useless government non-jobs makes you poor.

The problem is that the governments which have had bloated borrow and spend policies are also typically the same countries that have been pushing regulations that have destroyed much of the private industry in their nation. So they're fscked either way.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279321)

Really? So I can agree that those things aren't best for the state to manage and not pay for them?

No, I didn't think so.

You're welcome to feel so. If you can convince enough other people that you're correct, then you'll get the policies you want.

Since almost none of us live in an absolute consensual society, mostly because it's impractical to measure out the benefits precisely, you'll just have to accept that you won't get complete individual authority.

Sorry. Maybe if you can convince the rest of us that your way is better, you can get that implemented. I have yet to see any advocates of it actually articulate a method of implementation, but maybe you can try.

Until then, the rest of us don't want you leeching off the products of our labors, so you'll pay up. Or ship out if you want.

Jobs do not create wealth. Jobs are a cost. If you think jobs create wealth, you should be eliminating all technology and promoting a Pol Pot-style 'back to the land' movement.

That presumes an assumption about jobs as an absolute, which is an unfair one to make. But you're quite incorrect in asserting that jobs do not create wealth.

Actually, it does, because jobs are labor. Labor is one of the best ways to increase wealth. Human endeavbor. Perhaps you knew that, but decided to dickishly make an argument about use of terms instead of substantively contribute to the discussion.

However, we don't think that simple employment in whatever you want is the better way to do things. Give us credit enough to think that some labor is more productive than others.

Cutting government spending frees up money for private uses. Sucking money out of the real economy to spend on useless government non-jobs makes
you poor.

No, sucking money out of the real economy to put in fancy bank accounts makes us all poor. Or even just putting them in mattresses. Cutting government spending actually reduces the money circulating in the economy since that happens without intervention.

The problem is that the governments which have had bloated borrow and spend policies are also typically the same countries that have been pushing regulations that have destroyed much of the private industry in their nation. So they're fscked either way.

Yeah, blame the job destroying regulations again. Keep doing that. If only children could still be worked to death, it'd improve the coffin industry or something.

See, I can manufacture some emotion-driven analogies too. But at least I'm honest enough to admit it.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40279361)

Feel free to ignore reality, but eventually it will come back and bite you in the ass just as it has in Europe.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0, Offtopic)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279281)

Borrowing money isn't fraud, but printing money (which is the logical consequence of borrowing more money than a government can pay back) is fraud because it devalues the worth of each currency unit, a bit like deciding to say a pound is 400 grams and not ~453 grams, so everyone thinks they are getting a pound with ~453 grams but instead getting a pound with a lot less weight.

The dictionary defines taxation as "A compulsory contribution to state revenue" the dictionary defines theft as "the wrongful taking and carrying away of the personal goods or property of another".

Theft is compulsory, so is taxation. Both theft and taxation happen with a threat of force. Really the only difference is one is a guy in a T-Shirt with a baseball bat and a pistol and the other is a guy with a suit with a book of "laws".

If taxation was not compulsory (as in, you would pay for what you use and nothing more, just like any other service) it would not be theft. But it isn't.

Jobs do not create wealth. If I pay you to sit on your butt all day and do nothing (and call it unemployment benefits or whatever), you have a job, but you are creating no wealth. We could create more jobs if we got rid of ATMs and replaced them with physical tellers, but we'd lose wealth. The government produces no wealth of its own, everything it produces is with stolen revenue, cutting theft does not destroy wealth. Europe has been suicidal since the second world war when it decided it was going to start punishing wealth creators by increasing taxes and support those who produce no wealth of their own. Overtime those who produce wealth naturally moved outside of Europe where they could keep more of their wealth while those who produce no wealth of their own demanded more of the wealth. It is exactly what caused the collapse of the Roman empire: a worthless currency, expensive wars, a mass exodus of wealth producers, a welfare state and a large bureaucracy.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (2)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 2 years ago | (#40279377)

Both theft and taxation happen with a threat of force.

What about using things that taxes pay for while refusing to pay taxes. Is that theft? If society allows you to opt out of tax, will you accept that you are forbidden to interact with society unless granted permission? Or will you force society to interact with you and force society to accept that you won't contribute anything to its maintainence? Anyone that argues taxation is "force" in effect argue everything is force, making nothing unforced and thus an absolutely useless measure of ethical worth. If taxing people is force, then people wanting to use public roads without paying for them is forcing society to foot the bill for them. Every libertarian is just a monarch waiting to happen.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279427)

Of course you wouldn't be able to use the roads unless you'd pay for them, I can't walk into Wal-Mart, pick up whatever and walk out can I? It's hardly a revolutionary concept to pay for what you use and only what you use. Even in areas where roads are paid for by theft, you still have to pay tolls to use some roads, such could be a way of paying for them without taxation. Commercial vehicles would also be charged and would simply pass on the costs to customers in the form of shipping charges, bus fares, etc. when they used those roads.

The current method of taxation steals from those who provide the most to society in order to pay for those who either produce nothing or produce less. In doing so, it penalizes those who produce and rewards those who do not.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279515)

The notion that those who make the most money are necessarily those providing the most to society is naive at best. The notion that only those who make less money benefit most from taxes is not only naive, it's backwards -- the rich benefit disproportionately from services like national defense, police, contract law, etc., not to mention the benefit they get from having a greater population base from which to draw skilled workers and sell their products. The notion that graduated taxation "rewards" those who do not make money is utterly absurd -- they still make less money after taxes. That's not a reward! If you find a case where person A has a higher pre-tax income than person B, but a lower post-tax income, that's fucked up and rewarding those who make less money while punishing those who make more money.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#40279465)

Printing money is only fraud if it claims to be backed by something that doesn't actually exist. In the case of the US, they can print as much as they want without evey committing fraud. Sure print to much and you destroy the economy (people with wealth spend their resources trying to protect that wealth from the resulting inflation instead of doing economically beneficial stuff).

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279557)

But it -does- claim to be backed by something which doesn't exist, at least to millions of Americans. The entire language of the current US dollar (in fact the entire banking system) is meant to deceive. Consider the name "Federal Reserve" in everyday language reserve would mean it is a federal department that held things in reserve, so in the minds of millions of Americans the "Federal Reserve" conjures up images of a huge vault filled with gold. Similarly, a "Federal Reserve Note" has slowly changed over the years. If you pick up an older (series 1950 and before I believe) it said that the Federal Reserve would pay to the bearer on demand fifty dollars (or whatever) and was "Redeemable in lawful money" (which the constitution states should be coined, meaning, no paper money). Later they just changed it to be "Fifty Dollars" (or whatever) and just called it "legal tender". I bet if you ask the average person on the street they'd say the US dollar was still backed up by gold!

But at the end of the day, even if we can accept the dollar being paper, it still acts as a measuring stick. We'd call a butcher dishonest if they said a pound contained only 10 ounces, but yet the government can still be honest by devaluing the "measuring stick" of the US dollar?

Re:Well, then that settles it. (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279563)

What would you propose it be backed by then? Gold? Land? Because if you want to know how much gold you'd need you're in for a problem. And when someone asks for gold you don't have... well. That's why you're not on the gold standard isn't it?

Money is a representation of wealth. If you actually had to have all that wealth hanging around in reserve to back up the notes it wouldn't be circulating. And someone would just find whatever your currency is backed by (or based on) and manipulate that. A gold mine in south africa would literally be making US money. And when they sell to the chinese in exchange for cell phones, shoes and computers the chinese can then flood the market with cheap worthless gold and your money is worth more being based on paper.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279631)

Printing money isn't just because of borrowing. Devaluing your currency makes your economy competitive*, and it's preferable to have inflation to deflation. Since populations are generally growing, as is productivity etc. you need to print enough to keep up with that growth, and you're better to slightly overshoot than under.

Education produces wealth btw, and government healthcare saves wealth. Government can also produce wealth by balancing risk and collectively providing services which would be difficult to manage individually.

Jobs do actually create wealth when they flow money around. That's how you create wealth. I give you 20k to sit on your arse, you spend 20k to buy a house, which creates a house and increases the number of houses by one. The person who make the house buys a software management system for his company, which I sold him. That's what drives the entire economy.

*everyone else that matters either pegs their currency to a fiat currency, or has their own. If they devalue against you that makes them more competitive than you. If you devalue against them it makes you more competitive against them. You can't devalue against each other.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279235)

Western nations need to refocus on society, and place the almighty economy (and "jobs") back in the realm of serving society, not the end-all be-all single-greatest-force-on-society it seems to have become. We need to ask, what kind of society do we want to live in, what are we achieving as a society, and how should we shape this one aspect of our society to serve our needs. Serving "the economy" had a good run for a while, but clearly, its time is almost up; we need to employ a new method for a few generations, I think.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40279329)

Western nations need to refocus on society, and place the almighty economy (and "jobs") back in the realm of serving society, not the end-all be-all single-greatest-force-on-society it seems to have become.

Uh, the whole problem with Europe is that 'society' has been considered more important than the economy. Now they've poisoned the Golden Goose and are running around trying to figure out how to revive it without abandoning socialism... which is the very poison that's killing it.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

The Evil Atheist (2484676) | about 2 years ago | (#40279457)

If economy, material worth, is all that matters, why the fuck do we keep even a modicum of society or civilization? Why shouldn't we make the economy work for society? Why the fuck don't we just go back to tribalism and feudalism? Why the fuck don't we just abandon modern society and reinstigate the divine right of kings and nobles? Worship people with material worth as having some mystical quality that makes them above the rest of society.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#40279201)

"Right, just when you are drowning in debt it's time to spend billions on a massive program to do something with no commercial value whatsoever. "

The money that states spend have never any commercial value whatsoever. (schools, military, infrastructure,...)
Stuff with commercial value is done by commerce.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279339)

Actually, those things (except for war which is a terrible thing with no benefits) do have commercial value and should be done by private companies. The government's schools are little more than prisons preventing young adults from creating wealth ( look at http://www.khou.com/home/Honor-Student-Jailed-for-Absences-153847275.html [khou.com] ) spewing propaganda and poorly preparing students for basic life. Infrastructure can easily be created by private companies. Anytime there is a resource that needs to be moved, a private company will provide a way to get it out. Consider the following scenario: a logging company purchased a large chunk of land with many trees on it, the only thing is, there are no roads to get the lumber out. If it makes economic sense to buy the land, the company will create the infrastructure needed to move the logs throughout the land and to a location to sell them. Over time, if there is a need for the public to get to and from the logging area, the company will charge the users for maintenance of the infrastructure and improve it and a road is built without the government's involvement.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 2 years ago | (#40279203)

Right, just when you are drowning in debt it's time to spend billions on a massive program to do something with no commercial value whatsoever.

I'm a bit confused. So everything that a government does should have a "commercial value"? If it has "commercial value," why should governments even be involved? Shouldn't private industry be able to do it?

So are you saying that it's okay for the government to have projects like the Space Shuttle, which was going to have it's launches subsidized by carrying private satellites into orbit? After all, putting satellites into orbit has "commercial value." So the government should lock out private enterprise--can't have that annoying competition after all--and do these things themselves so that they can make money?

Re:Well, then that settles it. (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279371)

Yep, that is exactly it. Seriously. This isn't 1850. We understand a great deal more about economies than we used to, and *now* is definitely the time for massive government spending. Otherwise we'll keep wallowing around waiting for someone to try massive government spending to kick up demand. And I don't know about you but waiting for the chinese to spend their pile of 2 trillion dollars, and hoping they spend it on stuff we make, at some unknown abstract point in the future doesn't seem like a good economic plan.

It's not actually a fallacy. For an example, see Japan, because of the Tsunami their economy grew year on year about 4.7% (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/japan-raises-january-march-economic-growth-estimate-to-12-percent-amid-disaster-recovery/2012/06/07/gJQAQASYMV_story.html) Spending is spending. Considering the tsunami cost them about 2.3% of GDP, and they've seen 2.9 percent net growth mostly from reconstruction they are net ahead, and reconstruction isn't over yet. The new windows are better than the old ones so to speak. Education, health care, roads etc. have no more commercial value than that which we place on them. Space exploration is absolutely no different. EADS was largely organized and funded by government because as a commercial enterprise all of the precursor companies were wholly uncompetitive. That *investment*, which was made on the backs of taxpayers, notably rich ones, kept 100 000 direct jobs in europe, + all the spinoff jobs that would have otherwise gone to the US and boeing etc. Investing in space exploration now is probably not the most efficient stimulus plan available to europe, but it wouldn't be all that big of a stimulus plan anyway. 100 billion euros a year is probably less than a 10th of the spending they need.

Most of europe isn't drowning in debt. Quite the contrary, the only country drowning in debt is really greece, with italy a distant and not particularly serious second. Greece's debt problem is compounded because as they make cuts to government spending they're driving down the ability of those workers to spend, which is reducing private sector demand, contracting the economy, making their debt proportionally larger. They're fucked because the thing to do in this situation is either be Florida, and have a large portion of your spending be buffeted by the 'federal' (european) government, think medicare, social security etc, which wouldn't devalue just because one local area is having a bad time, or to devalue their currency to encourage a growth in exports. Europe won't go along with a federal union, and they can't devalue their currency... so they're boned. They are effectively trapped on a gold standard.

When you're drowning in debt you need to either shrink the value of that debt relative to your foreign holdings (devalue your currency), or grow your economy, or both, since one will naturally lead to the other. Since every country in the world cannot devalue against each other, and we've all devalued quite a bit against china there's not much to be done there.

When times are good and the economy is booming, that's when the government needs to lay people off. Right now, paying them to scratch their butts (lets call it unemployment) would be better than what they're currently doing. When the economy needs jobs you need to start laying them off from the public sector. When the private sector won't hire the public sector needs to, or else you start contracting the economy in a spiral.

To use another example of the broken window not actually a fallacy is how WW2 spending pulled economies out of recession. The new deal and so on in the US were essentially the same thing, a start if you will. Building a huge amount of stuff that was of no commercial value created jobs for the better part of 7 or 8 years (depending on where exactly you where), and that boom continued on well after because you had a demobilizing of public sector workers (soldiers) into the private sector as the economy grew.

Part of the flaw in you assessment is that there's no window being broken, well, unless you want to count austerity and laying people off as breaking the window, which they basically are. The government putting it back together would be a net economic gain. There are unemployed people who need jobs, which is a vacant hole in the side of a building. Putting in a window would be a net economic gain in wealth. Building a space programme would create a net increase in knowledge and technology, and create jobs and spending, which all have value. Building roads, sewers, telecommunications (some of which would involve space) and encouraging tourism might be better economic stimulus plans. Depends where exactly the unemployment is.

And yes, Japan has 200 odd percent of GDP in debt. I'd rather borrow 200 dollars at 2% than 100 at 8. Or as the case may be: Japan is actually at about 0.8% fro 10 years whereas greece is more like 30% for 10 years. (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GJGB10:IND http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GGGB10YR:IND). Japan has 230% of GDP in debt, greece about 160.

Economics isn't individual finance, careful you don't confuse the two. In an economy you need money to *flow*. When it stops flowing, or the rate of flow contracts someone needs to get it going again. Eventually yes, when unemployment is very low the government will be impeding flow by employing workers who could be better used in the private sector. This is not one of those times.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40278987)

I still don't know why they're calling it "austerity" instead of "prosperity". Seems a really bad propaganda fumble. The whole point is some short term sacrifice now so that the countries in question can have a great economic future. "Austerity" emphasizes the cod liver oil swallowing part of the process, not the goal.

For a more successful example of propaganda, take "jobs programme". They'd probably fund more jobs just dropping money out of helicopters (or doing nothing for that matter). But it conveys this wonderful sense that they're creating jobs as a result.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279141)

Because it's cutting peoples jobs and income, which is making them less prosperous, which is reducing spending, which is making everyone else less prosperous, which is, in turn reducing government revenue, leaving them less money to pay people and having to cut more, making the economic future look bleaker, and less prosperous.

The whole point is that short term sacrifice has destroyed greece, caused a double dip recession in the UK, and left all of europe wallowing in a debt crisis they can't get out of because austerity is shrinking economies and leaving them no path to growth. It's also destroying 'confidence' in their ability to recover, because everyone with money to lend realizes you can't cut your way into prosperity in bad economic times.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279177)

The government produces no wealth of its own, everything it spends must either be created by the means of fraud (fiat currency) or force/theft (taxation). The problem with Europe is that Europeans have put blind faith in their governments to take care of them and elected politicians to steal from those actually producing wealth to give to those who produce no wealth of their own. Because of the sky high tax rates, most people producing wealth have moved most their operations offshore. This has dried up the income of the governments so they have to keep borrowing to keep their promises, of course debt is unsustainable so eventually it collapses like we are seeing today. Mix this with a (fiat) currency union with both strong economies like Germany and France, and weak economies like Italy and Spain and you have a recipe for disaster.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279537)

And you're living in a fantasy land thinking there's any other good solution than fiat currency. Taxation is not theft. At least not when democratic governments do it. Taxation is the people voting to use their collective bargaining power to buy services.

What sky high tax rates are you talking about? You can't on one hand claim sky high tax rates are murderous and then claim france and germany are strong economies (who are not as highly taxed as the nordic countries, most of whom are doing even better) and then say spain italy (and presumably) greece aren't. there's no strong correlation there. France and germany are both taxed, and spend, more than spain, with italy less than france but more than germany, and greece is way down the list.

The US spends significantly less as a percentage of GDP on total government spending (and taxation) than anyone else and has a massive deficit which it's paying next to nothing in interest on. It also has higher unemployment than Canada or Germany (by quite a lot) despite a significantly lower tax burden, but lower unemployment than france.

Indefinite borrowing is only unsustainable if you are borrowing faster than GDP growth for an extended period, and when the economy is doing well so you're never trying to balance the books (which relatively pays off debt). Japan has over 200% of GDP in debt and is paying 0.8% as it's 10 year rate, France is paying 2.6% even though they're at like 90% of GDP in debt. Right now in Europe and the US the economy is doing badly... so now is when you want to use the ability to borrow to get the economy going again and get employment back up to fuel demand, or devalue against a large economy to drive exports. The problem with this plan is that you can't devalue easily against the chinese, and they won't import anyway, and you can't devalue against each other.

If your alternative to a fiat currency is 'real' fake money, like gold, then you end up trapping everyone in a situation like greece. Not that gold, or well... any physical thing doesn't have all sorts of its own problems with inflation, deflation, manipulation etc.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40279633)

If your alternative to a fiat currency is 'real' fake money, like gold, then you end up trapping everyone in a situation like greece.

No, doesn't work that way. If you play the debt games with a currency that can't be inflated, then you end up like Greece. If you don't, then you don't end up like Greece.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279643)

Taxation is not theft. At least not when democratic governments do it. Taxation is the people voting to use their collective bargaining power to buy services.

So it's alright when enough people say its ok? So if a gang of X (X being the number of people when it is ok for the theft to be morally justified) corner you at gunpoint and let you vote with them if they should rob them. Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what they want for dinner.

What sky high tax rates are you talking about? You can't on one hand claim sky high tax rates are murderous and then claim france and germany are strong economies (who are not as highly taxed as the nordic countries, most of whom are doing even better) and then say spain italy (and presumably) greece aren't. there's no strong correlation there. France and germany are both taxed, and spend, more than spain, with italy less than france but more than germany, and greece is way down the list.

I don't mean to correlate the tax rates between the various European countries and their relative prosperity, merely that Europe has higher tax rates than, say, most of Asia, the Caribbean, most of the Americas, etc. Germany and France have thrived mostly because of their previously solid foundation before the adoption of the Euro.

The US spends significantly less as a percentage of GDP on total government spending (and taxation) than anyone else and has a massive deficit which it's paying next to nothing in interest on. It also has higher unemployment than Canada or Germany (by quite a lot) despite a significantly lower tax burden, but lower unemployment than france.

Really? Because when you look at it, the US is quite high. Not as high as Europe of course but a lot higher than the places where people are looking to invest their money in such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile, etc. When you look at the US tax burden you also have to look at the fact that the US taxes worldwide income if you are a US citizen which most other countries do not.

If your alternative to a fiat currency is 'real' fake money, like gold, then you end up trapping everyone in a situation like greece. Not that gold, or well... any physical thing doesn't have all sorts of its own problems with inflation, deflation, manipulation etc.

A situation where the government borrows a crap-ton of money on useless stuff? A situation where the voters expect the nanny-welfare state to take care of them all their life? Etc. The things that led Greece to this crisis isn't because they have a currency they can't control, instead they can't get out of the crisis the easy way by hyperinflating their currency (something Greece has enjoyed doing since ancient times!) and instead actually have to cut spending and get their affairs in order with an unwilling public.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#40279247)

The whole point is that short term sacrifice has destroyed greece

Lying their way into the Euro and then following a borrow-and-spend policy has destroyed Greece. For years their economy was based on easy credit which has now gone away, and the Euro doesn't allow them to devalue their currency the way they always used to.

caused a double dip recession in the UK

The British economy has been a joke for years. For a decade or so it's been based on borrowing more and more money to sell houses to each other while exporting factories to Eastern Europe. And it's going into a recession despite the very borrow and spend policies you promote, because there's no real economy left.

and left all of europe wallowing in a debt crisis they can't get out of because austerity is shrinking economies and leaving them no path to growth.

That's like complaining that you borrowed $100k on your credit cards and now you're having to cut spending to pay it back. The solution is not to get another credit card and borrow more money on that to pay the interest on the existing cards.

It's also destroying 'confidence' in their ability to recover, because everyone with money to lend realizes you can't cut your way into prosperity in bad economic times.

Europe has no 'ability to recover' without massively slashing regulation and taxation. Which won't happen before a catastrophic collapse.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40279441)

The whole point is that short term sacrifice has destroyed greece

Lying their way into the Euro and then following a borrow-and-spend policy has destroyed Greece. For years their economy was based on easy credit which has now gone away, and the Euro doesn't allow them to devalue their currency the way they always used to.

caused a double dip recession in the UK

The British economy has been a joke for years. For a decade or so it's been based on borrowing more and more money to sell houses to each other while exporting factories to Eastern Europe. And it's going into a recession despite the very borrow and spend policies you promote, because there's no real economy left.

All true. So what do you do about it now? In the UK they need to invest in industries that will create jobs. Waiting for someone with money to come in and start a new industry in the UK could take a very long time. In greece it's the same problem, but if the solution to everything was just kicking them out of the euro that would have happened already. Kicking greece out won't help spain, italy, ireland, portugal etc.

and left all of europe wallowing in a debt crisis they can't get out of because austerity is shrinking economies and leaving them no path to growth.

That's like complaining that you borrowed $100k on your credit cards and now you're having to cut spending to pay it back. The solution is not to get another credit card and borrow more money on that to pay the interest on the existing cards.

It's also destroying 'confidence' in their ability to recover, because everyone with money to lend realizes you can't cut your way into prosperity in bad economic times.

Europe has no 'ability to recover' without massively slashing regulation and taxation. Which won't happen before a catastrophic collapse.

Personal finance is not economics. Please don't confuse the two. But since you need a personal finance type analogy I'll give you one. Lets say you have a business with 100k in debt. At high interest. And the bank wants its money. Are you going to slash inventory, and reduce operating hours in the hopes of getting a positive balance? The bank won't go along with that plan and will foreclose on you because you can't make the money back. If you go to them and say "look, with 20k more I can expand into these new markets that will make me money I might actually be able to pay you back properly" they might go for it. They all need to spend, to get people working and spending, to create private spending to supply the demand they should have.

Slashing regulation I might agree with. Taxation.... er... not really, but kinda. Depends where you are. That's part of the problem. Rich greeks can just move to somewhere with lower taxes within the EU (more importantly so can spaniards and italians who can simply move one country to the east sort of thing), which reduces the tax base they have to work with. It's like slashing spending in california so schools suck so rich people move to Oregon so their kids get decent schooling but commute to california, robbing the tax base making them cut money on schools further. The eurozone needs a political union or a trans-national social insurance system (say health care, pensions, education and defence, they already have agriculture) if it wants to remain a currency union. That's essentially what the US government spends its money on (health, defence, pensions are about half of the US federal government). On the whole europe needs more taxes (just as the US does) obviously, they're running deficits while the wealth gaps are widening and businesses are sitting on large piles of cash, but trying to raise taxes piecemeal would be utterly pointless if it wasn't across the whole eurozone. That's, incidentally, significantly harder in the eurozone than the US since the spread of wealth in the Eurozone ranges from 10k/capita in estonia to 83k/capita in Luxembourg (~36k in the netherlands germany france etc) which is a much bigger spread than the US (mississipi 32k to delaware at 69k). I would probably exclude Luxembourg and the district of the columbia from any comparison.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40279567)

Because it's cutting peoples jobs and income

That's an interesting assertion. You have evidence that that's going to happen? I see instead that some pretty dumb policies have borne fruit in Greece as well as elsewhere. All I can say is that if a little short term sacrifice can destroy Greece, then I don't see the point of the country. Just end it and come up with something better.

The double dip recession is a classic sign of what happens when you bail out banks and other failed businesses rather than end them. Often they fail again (the second dip) because the problems that led to the recession never went away.

It's also destroying 'confidence' in their ability to recover, because everyone with money to lend realizes you can't cut your way into prosperity in bad economic times.

I'd call that a "talking point" for spending more public funds on pork not an actual belief held by most people with money.

Sure you can cut your way into prosperity. You don't just cut everything, you cut the stuff that fails. And the surviving businesses become attractive for loans and investment because suddenly there's less competition for their markets and their costs went down. Lower costs and higher profit margins. Even if no one were to loan money, the recession would naturally end.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40279185)

I still don't know why they're calling it "austerity" instead of "prosperity".

Because it will take 20 years of austerity before Europe returns to prosperity.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40279453)

I still don't know why they're calling it "austerity" instead of "prosperity". Seems a really bad propaganda fumble. The whole point is some short term sacrifice now so that the countries in question can have a great economic future. "Austerity" emphasizes the cod liver oil swallowing part of the process, not the goal.

It's not what you call it that's the problem, it's what you serve.
If, instead of disgusting cod liver oil, you served fresh poached cod liver, it would be a delicacy. Sure, some would malign it without even having tasted it, but it would be more palatable to most, and very palatable to those with a developed palate.
In the economic sense, the austerity measures themselves are not palatable at all. So drop them, and dig up the ones that are, even if less conventional.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278947)

Sure, if intelligence reports that there are terrorists on the moon, Obama will start a Return to the Moon program in no time.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279009)

I hope not. They are advocating manned missions. Robotic missions would be much more useful and cost much less. And why is studying the Moon more useful than studying Mars, other planets, or the cosmos?

I think people want manned exploration of the Moon because it is cool, just like having a space station is cool.

We need to stop sending humans into space until we can justify an actual need to do so. The cost of life support and the additional weight needed to support humans is prohibitive. The ISS has cost the international community $150 billion. What science has it achieved? Spending another $150 billion to go to the Moon will be the same waste. For even a quarter of that cost with robotic probes, planetary science would be advanced by decades.

Re:Well, then that settles it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279241)

"We need to stop sending humans into space until we can justify an actual need to do so. "

Like wiping the dust off the solar panels because the engineers couldn't be bothered to install a dustwiper on the robots?
Or to clean a blocked wheel?

Research and Development (4, Interesting)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 2 years ago | (#40278833)

To me, there's incentive enough to return to the moon simply because of the research and development that would occur. The space program that sent us to the moon the first time brought forth incredible advances in all kinds of areas. We should keep pushing our own boundaries and explore the unknown not simply because it's there, but because we have the opportunity to develop stronger / more efficient / less expensive / generally better tools at the same time. Make the results of the new research available to the public at large and everyone benefits.

It's a use of my tax dollars that I can support without reservation.

Re:Research and Development (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278857)

We have actually lost the ability to go to the moon as the designs of the Saturn rocket were destroyed by NASA. Going to the moon would be the same as going for the first time again with everything being reresearched. This is probably largely the reason it hasn't happened.

Re:Research and Development (5, Interesting)

NalosLayor (958307) | about 2 years ago | (#40278877)

We haven't "Lost the ability" -- we simply don't have factories set up to manufacture that particular rocket. The "orbital propellant depot" concept -- made viable by the "new space" companies and their radically cheaper rockets has been much denigrated by the entrenched space lobby in congress, but the simple fact is, we now have experience in assembling modular craft in orbit (ISS), and thanks to modern computers and materials, spacecraft can be appreciable lighter. Plus, thanks to those same technologies (and better lunar surveying done in the last few years), we can robotically pre-land much of the equipment needed to mount a lunar expedition. Sure, the mission profile would look different, and building the hardware to land on and return from the moon would still cost billions, but the Falcon Heavy, which is really just a falcon 9 modified, will be ready within the next few years. With a green light today and consistent funding, we could easily have a permanent lunar presence by the end of the decade. I would guess the total cost would be less than ten billion dollars, if we were able to keep the government pork under control.

Re:Research and Development (1)

NemoinSpace (1118137) | about 2 years ago | (#40279071)

Just thought I'd do a public service announcement and declare your comment -1 total hogwash.
Anything more would just be ranting over foolishness.

Re:Research and Development (1)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | about 2 years ago | (#40279495)

Correct. My understanding was that they weren't destroyed so much as that some of the fine details (fasteners and the like) were simply poorly documented to the point that you can't just dust off the schematics and build one.

Re:Research and Development (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278905)

That smells like socialism!

Why isnt the free market all over the development?

Re:Research and Development (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 2 years ago | (#40278969)

Invensting in future = not using all assets towards maximizing next quarter profits = soon-to-be-ex-ceo.. Maybe if the US government socialized the costs like with corn and oil.

Re:Research and Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279249)

"Why isnt the free market all over the development?"

No fucking customers on the moon. We'll send _you_ then at least we'd have a customer for a grammar book.

Re:Research and Development (4, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40278939)

And that trip to the moon cost $150 billion (in 2010 dollars). OF COURSE it brought about new discoveries, inventions, tools, etc-- IT WAS $150 BILLION! Saying that we discovered new things in the process of spending that much money does not mean we should automatically do it again.

If our true motivation for a trip to the moon is to develop new things, then we have to ask: does spending that money on a trip to the moon result in more inventions than spending it on the National Institutes of Health? or the National Science Foundation? or the Department of Energy?

The NSF got $7 billion last year... the Dept of Energy got 24 billion.. and NASA got 18 billion (+ we spent another 8 billion on military space funding (GPS, etc)).

Have you seen the list of discoveries just by the NSF? Here's a short list of 587 recent discoveries [nsf.gov]. There's more for computing, engineering, math, nanoscience, physics:
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?prio_area=5 [nsf.gov]
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?prio_area=8 [nsf.gov]
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?prio_area=9 [nsf.gov]
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?prio_area=10 [nsf.gov]
http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?prio_area=11 [nsf.gov]

and that's what they did with $7 BILLION!

Re:Research and Development (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40278981)

The return on that $150B investment has been many, many times that amount. How much return on the NSF investment is there in an equivalent 10 years since the money was spent?

Maybe the NSF has an even better rate of return. Even if you exclude the incomparable inspiration of the Apollo programme. All that means is that we should spend $150B again on space R&D, and on NSF R&D. Instead of on war and the banks.

Re:Research and Development (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40279013)

All that means is that we should spend $150B again on space R&D, and on NSF R&D

If we have $300 billion, why should we spend half of it on a LESS productive program?

Re:Research and Development (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40279415)

If we have $300 billion, why should we spend half of it on a LESS productive program?

Because the sum of returns is bigger.
If a > 0 and b > 0, then a + b > a.

Also, if you believe that doubling the funding for the currently most effective research will lead to twice the research or more, you are wrong. There is no synergy effect in research, rather the opposite - a law of diminishing returns. You want to financially back single projects instead of heap funding, because the latter gets eaten by bureaucracy - especially the kind of bureaucracy put in place by conservatives to make sure everything is done as cheaply as possible costs an awful lot of money. NASA could become more effective again if the cuts were done among the paper pushers and bean counters, and not the engineering side.

Re:Research and Development (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40279497)

Because there's only so much return NSF is giving. I'm waiting for you to document the return on $150B spent on NSF in a comparable period, say 1993-2002 with 10 years to show for it, compared to NASA's 1961-1970 ROI by 1980.

Re:Research and Development (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40279635)

I'm waiting for you to document the return on $150B spent on NSF in a comparable period, say 1993-2002 with 10 years to show for it, compared to NASA's 1961-1970 ROI by 1980.

That's an interesting test. So you want to cherry pick NASA's time period? Why not compare it for the same period as the NSF. NASA's funding for 1993-2202 was more than enough for them to show incredible advances in a wide range of areas. So where are those advancements?

Also, $150 billion is a lot of money. NASA has received many times that amount. I do not think the NSF has received that amount in its ENTIRE HISTORY.

Re:Research and Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279165)

The return on that $150B investment has been many, many times that amount.

Really. How much then?

NASA tries to tie every piece of technology it can to the manned space program to call it a spin-off. Many of these are iffy and the rest are urban legends. The big spin-offs seem to come from robotic programs and aircraft tests (non-manned spaceflight). There is very little that can be attributed to manned space flight, and it certainly doesn't add up to a value of $150 billion.

But go ahead and tell me how NASA manned spaceflight invented computers, the Internet, touch pads, microwave ovens, GPS satellites, etc. Or tell me how NASA has completely transformed medicine in the last 30 years by putting humans in orbit around the Earth.

Re:Research and Development (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40279485)

You know we landed people on the Moon, too, right? Or do you think that's just an OJ movie?

What you're disputing is common knowledge. If you're going to deny it, you have to prove it with better than Anonymous Coward assertions. You can't. Pipe down.

Re:Research and Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279553)

I can't argue against that logic. Moon rocks are very valuable. Btw, thanks for the strawman.

And who am I to debate against common knowledge? NASA has created spinoffs worth multiples of $150 billion due to manned spaceflight. And that's the truth. And common knowledge. Don't debate it, even if I can't think of a single spinoff worth $1 billion. That's the gist of your argument, right?

Really, you should be the one posting as an AC. A low 6 digit UID isn't going to save your credibility in this argument.

Re:Research and Development (1, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40279257)

The return on that $150B investment has been many, many times that amount. How much return on the NSF investment is there in an equivalent 10 years since the money was spent?

Maybe the NSF has an even better rate of return. Even if you exclude the incomparable inspiration of the Apollo programme. All that means is that we should spend $150B again on space R&D, and on NSF R&D. Instead of on war and the banks.

No it has not. The return on the $150B investment has been virtually non-existant. Why? Because the government, who invested the $150B didn't get to profit from the returns on that investment. Private businesses did. These same businesses were also paid for their services and products, so they made a profit from the actual work performed and a windfall from all of the discoveries that the government or should I say the people paid for.

If NASA had been allowed to patent the inventions created for the space program, they wouldn't need government funding today.

Re:Research and Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279325)

Promoting the idea of Government held patents? Are you kidding me!?

Re:Research and Development (1)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40279333)

You do have to give him credit for an interesting idea. If NASA really has invented so much that has benefited society, then IF they had patents, they would be able to fund a moon base or whatever.

IF research agencies did have patents.. it would ensure that we never shot ourselves in the foot by cutting their budget. Not only could we clearly point to their earnings from patents to justify their benefits to society, the agency would be able to fund itself even if it wasn't Congress' pet project of the week.

Re:Research and Development (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40279479)

NASA doesn't need patents to fund a Moon base. We have a government that just spent $1.5 TRILLION on a lying waste of time and lives in Iraq for a ('nother) decade. We could have spent that on a Moon base and a Mars base instead, and been as smart as we instead were stupid.

If NASA had patents that it made money from instead of transferring it to private developers, the overall US economy wouldn't be as good, since the tech wouldn't have taken root in general production as it has. American lives wouldn't be as good. The return in taxes in the 40 years since Apollo on the tech Apollo developed wouldn't exist.

These patents just choke innovation and income, except for the few government enforced monopolists who benefit from them. It's a terrible idea, that is surprising in that it hasn't been done in this country of terrible private economic ideas.

Re:Research and Development (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40279455)

The government gets taxes from the increased revenue of the businesses you're talking about.

But that's besides the point. Public investments pay off in private income in America. And in improved living conditions. The government payoff is leadership, and in teaching the Russians that we could do in space during the Cold War what we did in the Pacific during WWII: ramp up tech and production to bring it right in their face and beyond.

Of course NASA shouldn't keep a monopoly on the tech it develops. It should transfer it to American developers, as it has. If anything it should hold less, especially now that so much NASA work is for spies and so not shared.

Re:Research and Development (1)

bertok (226922) | about 2 years ago | (#40279089)

Can you imagine a Manhattan project style funding of new science?

Imagine throwing $150B at, say, fusion power research.

Instead of a one-off trip to some rock, we'd be well on the way to eliminating global warming and boosting industry through lowered energy costs.

Once developed, the work required to construct thousands of fusion plants would keep far more people employed than the space program ever did.

Re:Research and Development (2)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40279187)

No kidding. Remember the /. interview with MIT fusion researchers? They said we are about $80 billion [slashdot.org] away. So that's quite a margin of error if you budget 150b.

ITER cost 17 billion. We're going to wait a decade for work to complete on it.

It's less than 1 year of NASA's budget.

Re:Research and Development (1)

cavreader (1903280) | about 2 years ago | (#40279405)

What makes you think Fusion research is not being funded or actively being researched around the world? Until the science (ie. math) is deemed feasible off the blackboard why should the government throw 150B at them? And as far the space program goes why does nobody ever mention the US X3-B vehicles and derivative projects built using information collected from the old space shuttle program. There has has been a stealth capable unmanned reusable space shuttle in use for 2+ years with a manned version already being prototyped. Why should the US waste any more time and money playing delivery man to the ISS? Chances are good the US has already used the ISS project to gather, refine, and test certain technologies and processes so they can build an orbital satellite of their own capable of providing everything from human living quarters, labs, docking services, to serve as the starting point for orbital industry construction?

Re:Research and Development (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279277)

"And that trip to the moon cost $150 billion "

Wow, you could almost do one year of war on terror with that dough.

Re:Research and Development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279243)

Is there any evidence that "incredible advances in all kinds of areas" would not have happened without the Apollo program?

Hey, I watched the first landing on TV. I still think it was a very damn cool program. I just reject utterly the idea that we would not /advance/ without that program.

That's a basic fallacy kin to 'Aristotle is a Greek therefore all Greeks are Aristotle.' Let's drop that rubbish argument and find out why we really should go to the moon, or do other things.

If budgets matter, EU cares less than US (5, Informative)

rgbrenner (317308) | about 2 years ago | (#40278845)

The US is spending 25.7 billion (17.7 billion NASA [whitehouse.gov], 8 billion for the military [space.com] (GPS, etc)) on space in 2012

ESA spent 4 billion Euros (about $5 billion) [esa.int]... a total of 413 million EU on human space flight.

There's a lot of talk in the paper about "global" exploration of the moon. I can only assume that means they don't plan on increasing that.

Re:If budgets matter, EU cares less than US (2, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40279267)

The US is spending 25.7 billion (17.7 billion NASA [whitehouse.gov], 8 billion for the military [space.com] (GPS, etc)) on space in 2012

ESA spent 4 billion Euros (about $5 billion) [esa.int]... a total of 413 million EU on human space flight.

There's a lot of talk in the paper about "global" exploration of the moon. I can only assume that means they don't plan on increasing that.

That's why the EU is making a case to return to the moon -- so somebody else will foot the bill for them.

Anything Please (5, Interesting)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | about 2 years ago | (#40278899)

We need kids engaged in science and exploration, not killing terrorists or idolizing warfare. Bring back the coolness of space exploration and the meaning of the word "hero"

Re:Anything Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278941)

the hero is never the scientist behind it all to actually make it work, its the astronaut plucked from the military, just like Neil, Buzz, and John

Re:Anything Please (3, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40278959)

Unless they get the girl. Then they're the hero.

Maybe if the scientist is a girl and gets the guy who's a fightin' astronaut. After all, we're all grown up now, right?

Re:Anything Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40278971)

Yeah, because the first space program totally obliterated war.

Re:Anything Please (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279031)

We need kids engaged in science and exploration, not being terrorists or idolizing warfare.

FTFY

Re:Anything Please (1, Insightful)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40279285)

Until the individual scientist is viewed (and paid) like the athlete, investment banker, doctor, lawyer, etc. you aren't going to get kids engaged in it. Why go to college for 8 years and run up so much debt that you will never be able to buy a house when for a lot less work and money, you can have a career that pays a lot more to boot?

Because Earth Is Doomed (1, Offtopic)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40278955)

One way or another humans will render the Earth uninhabitable by humans. Sooner or later.

The only way to give humans a chance to survive our own suicidal idiocy is to colonize other places. The Moon is the obvious necessary step towards that.

There's plenty of other reasons to make it worthwhile until the Earth is done. But let's get started already. There's a chance that spreading somewhere else might take the pressure off and postpone the inevitable down here.

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (4, Insightful)

rrohbeck (944847) | about 2 years ago | (#40279027)

I have a feeling that even a ruined Earth is still way more hospitable than Mars, let alone other places.

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#40279233)

I have a feeling that even a ruined Earth is still way more hospitable than Mars, let alone other places.

But not more hospitable than a developed city on Mars or elsewhere. Your same argument applies to places on Earth such as the verdant wilds of Africa and the harsh desert of the US southwest. But people would rather live where the economic opportunities are rather than the plentiful hunting grounds of Africa.

The thing is, we can turn a lot of the harsh parts of space into comfortable space for us. And if in the process, we make a place that has more economic opportunities than Earth, then we'll also see people desire this "less hospitable" place over Earth.

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40279443)

The main point is just not to be on this planet when we bathe it in exterminating radiation, or whatever hideous and total fate we have in store for it. Even if Earth is easier to make reinhabitable than someplace new offplanet, if we're not offplanet when we take it down, we're not going to get a chance to make it anywhere again.

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 2 years ago | (#40279439)

One scenario is the Earth overrun by killer robots bent on revenge for the time after we created them as our slaves. Especially if the robots are nanotech diseases we use against each other in an armageddon. Places in space without killer robots would be better.

And that's just off the top of my head. Fact is homo sapiens has to diversify from this single failurepoint planet. Or go down with it.

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 years ago | (#40279271)

"One way or another humans will render the Earth uninhabitable by humans. Sooner or later."

Whereas the Moon is already uninhabitable by humans.
  It would be easier to re-terraform a polluted, climate-changed earth than to terraform the moon.

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (1)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40279293)

One way or another humans will render the Earth uninhabitable by humans. Sooner or later.

The only way to give humans a chance to survive our own suicidal idiocy is to colonize other places. The Moon is the obvious necessary step towards that.

There's plenty of other reasons to make it worthwhile until the Earth is done. But let's get started already. There's a chance that spreading somewhere else might take the pressure off and postpone the inevitable down here.

The moon and mars, etc. are already uninhabitable by humans. If humans do make the earth uninhabitable, which is questionable, then why not just build the habitats here?

Re:Because Earth Is Doomed (0)

jfengel (409917) | about 2 years ago | (#40279649)

But let's get started already.

Get started on what? Making the rest of the celestial bodies uninhabitable by humans?

Canned Ape (4, Interesting)

KeensMustard (655606) | about 2 years ago | (#40279195)

Unfortunately, although a good summary of possible research that could be conducted on the moon, this paper seems primarily to be a vehicle for advocating for humans to be sent back to the moon. To do this, it makes constant reference a to single paper (Crawford, 2004) which purports that human missions are superior because:

1. Mobility: humans are more mobile than probes. This ignores the fact that, for a fraction of the cost of sending a human (say 50%) a robot could be developed and sent which was far more mobile than a human. Robots also don't need to be trained or selected - astronauts have a fixed cost per unit that doesn't reduce significantly by volume - 10 astronauts cost approximately 10x as much as one astronaut. Whereas the per unit cost of a robotic probe reduces per unit at volume - building 10 probes doesn't cost 10 times as much as building a single one.

2. Presupposing that humans are better at drilling than robots. However, this fails once again to take into account that the constraint is the size of the drill - human missions require larger rockets, which coincidentally allows for a larger drill to be carried. Robotic missions launch with smaller rockets. Solution: use the big rocket. Launch a couple of probes at once, with big, capable drills. No need for the spurious meat bag attachment.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279209)

Both the US and Western European countries should be spending substantially more on space programs, and revitalizing the manned space program is the best way to do that.

A space program is the best way to stimulate the economy:

- no military or civilian lives lost (a handful of astronauts will probably die in accidents, but the numbers are orders of magnitude less)
- dependable revenue stream for private industry, not a one-shot stimulus encouraging reckless spending
- home industry can be favored over China, Brazil, etc.
- competitive procurement, no (necessary) giveaways to unproven startups with a promising technology
- creates a stable long-term demand for engineers, encouraging university students in their career choice
- the growth in the economy creates good paying jobs and tax revenues for the government, which may well be sufficient to erase the induced deficit (this is what happened with military spending during WW II)

And it's something that the US and other countries can be remembered for 500, 1000, 2000 years from now, assuming that the human race is around that long.

Re:Yes. (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279255)

- espionage, industrial accidents
- government welfare propping up industries no one wants
- assembled in USA, made in China does not help
- avoiding giveaways by giving contracts away
- creates another welfare class of engineers and scientist, which is why we cant get a fucking thing done as it is, the current ones just work from grant to grant
- artifical growth sustained by welfare

And its something no one will give a fuck about in 500 years as they wonder why we squandered all this time and money doing something pointless when we could have been working on more sustainable energy, food, and water ... ya know the things that really matter, unlike a nerds star trek wet dreams

No. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#40279477)

No. We can employ people sitting on their butt too, but that doesn't produce wealth, government space programs also do not produce wealth when you figure in how much is spent.

the growth in the economy creates good paying jobs and tax revenues for the government, which may well be sufficient to erase the induced deficit (this is what happened with military spending during WW II)

Um... no. You aren't creating tax revenues for the government because everything is taken from tax revenues... from the government. By your logic I should employ myself and write myself checks and make myself a millionaire! The decreased deficit from WWII came because the dollar became more worthless because tyrant-in-chief FDR stole the nation's gold and revalued the dollar (and declared gold clauses illegal) meaning that the amount of money the government had to pay for any contract denominated in dollars (which all domestic contracts had to be because gold clauses were illegal) decreased. The government in essence declared that a pound was not worth 16 ounces but instead only worth 9 ounces.

Platinum! (3, Interesting)

bigpat (158134) | about 2 years ago | (#40279225)

Forget the space race, let the space rush begin! Let's mine some asteroids!

Seriously, once space exploration can be economically self sustaining, self perpetuating, then maybe we can get somewhere.

lunar geology .. is not that interesting. (0)

savuporo (658486) | about 2 years ago | (#40279327)

From the conclusion: Summarising the above, we see that the lunar geological record still has much to tell us about the earliest history of the Solar System, the origin and evolution of the Earth- Moon system,
Yawn. I am an almost certified space nut, and i could not care less. Science for science's sake for cost of billions is just not worth it.
Now if this bunch got together and declared that they support lunar return for more useful reasons like exploiting its potential resources or developing and giving shakeout to critical technologies for figuring out if we could eventually settle it, while doing a bit of interesting science along the way, i would be all ears.

Men were not meant to live in space (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 2 years ago | (#40279463)

Long ago, someone once said, "Man cannot fly." And in the sense he meant it, it is still true today.. You can't flap your arms and propel yourself like a bird. However, mankind has learned to fly to the moon, something no bird could every do. In the same sense, man will not live on the moon or any other planet. Our physiology is too delicate for alien environments, even if we find one with nearly identical atmosphere and climate. We would be as welcomed as any foreign body (think 'War of the Worlds'). To get a very faint sense of the challenge, move to Mumbai or Bangkok and start drinking the tap water and eating their fresh food. Of course, the challenge will not stop us from trying.

However, as technology advances, it will become so much cheaper to send a machine, which can be built for space, that humans will always be a prohibitively costly payload. Sure, there will be a colony on the moon, but people will not thrive in a pressurized can at 1/6th our gravity. Mars, too. However, machines can be built for those environments. As they become more sophisticated, they can adapt, too. At some point, they may evolve to become indigenous.

Humans may evolve, too. However, our inherent advantage, created by billions of years of evolution, may tether us to this planet forever. Not a bad thing, either. At the point when what we create evolves beyond what we are, it may not make a difference.

Create wealth, not squander it (0)

volmtech (769154) | about 2 years ago | (#40279591)

In stead of blasting hundred's of billions into space and and a trillion a year playing whack the Taliban, how about we invest in electronics fab labs, American auto factories, textile mills, Southern invasion prevention measures. Borrowing one and a half trillion every year making bombs and rockets to nowhere makes a few defense contractors rich but are really just make work jobs that pull money out of the economy. We need to invest in energy independence. That means refinery's, pipe lines, transmission lines. Factories and mills where Americans can get a job. We are in an economic war. Business can not be allowed to import goods just to make an extra dollar of profit. Yes, your new iwhatever will cost more, and Walmart's shelves might get a little bare but more people will have money to spend and taxes for welfare and unemployment will drop. Out fifteen trillion dollar economy will keep rolling along. There will still be plenty of pork for greedy pols to grab. We have hundreds of thousands of collage graduates and none of you can figure out how to create wealth? Any one can con or steal someone else's money. Distributing tax money to people so they can just spend it on useless stuff does nothing to in cress the amount of money, just different people have it. The Earth is not in a crises. India and China are increasing their energy usage daily. If we turn out all the lights and sit in the dark, world wide carbon usage will still in cress. We need to spend the next twenty years building up our economy. Then from a position of wealth we can explore alternative energy sources. The worlds brightest minds are working on it and when renewables become reliable and sufficient for our needs we can switch over. Collages and universities wont close, just now more graduates will be able to find a job. The first person that says Smoot-Hawley I'm going to find you an beat like a rented mule. How could the economy get any worse? Government insures no one starves or loses their home. During WWII Compan s sacrificed profits for the war effort, millions had their lives uprooted and hundreds of thousand died. In four or five years of the same kind of effort we could create another Manhattan Project. Put every able bodied person to work. attack unemployment at the source and mobilize a well trained army in a coordinated production effort. The dieing part is optional.

No costs - no case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40279663)

It's not much of a case. There is no estimate of the cost of the research they advocate nor of the sacrifices that would be made to fund the research and, therefore, no evidence of a net benefit.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...