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Ray Bradbury's Reasons to Go to Mars

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the interesting-reading-at-least dept.

Space 387

An anonymous reader writes "Ray Bradbury's testimony to the Presidential blue-ribbon Commission, 'Moon to Mars and Beyond', covers a range of rather optimistic space-related topics, including why three Italians should be the first on Mars. But at age 83, Bradbury's next book, entitled 'Too Soon From the Cave, Too Far From the Stars' seems to set an overall vision that this is an in-between generation caught between the brutal and primitive and the advanced."

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ep (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9172947)

This early post for everyone who wanks to Dido!

We have to go... (4, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 10 years ago | (#9172949)

Sooner or latter we have too expand our knowledge and return to the moon or journey to Mars. Nothing will stop man from seeking adventures and knowledge.

Re:We have to go... (5, Funny)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173012)

Nothing will stop man from seeking adventures and knowledge.

Except a largish cometary impact.

Re:We have to go... (5, Interesting)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173072)

Or our own shortsightedness and stupidity.

bad luck (2, Interesting)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173444)

Yes, but while that might happen tomorrow, statistically, we have a long time before that will happen. We can pretty safely put off manned space travel for a hundred thousand years or even a million years. If it hits us before then, that's just bad luck. But, frankly, if we get out into the galaxy the way we are behaving right now, that would be really bad luck for the galaxy.

Re:We have to go... (4, Funny)

Tenebrious1 (530949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173203)

Nothing will stop man from seeking adventures and knowledge.

Nothing, perhaps, except marriage.

"Honey, I'm going out to explore Mars."
"Not before you clean out the garage.

Re:We have to go... (5, Interesting)

pgnas (749325) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173295)

I agree, we have to go. I hate to sound so cliche, but it is the "final frontier". It is ridiculous when put in perspective the amount of money that is spent for other things, and not see the money go into future development.

Others have pointed out and I agree, It is HIGHLY short sighted and extremely selfish to NOT continue pushing further into space.

Are we Selfish? Yes. We tend to only think about ourselves, or maybe one generation, we must adopt and ideology that extends beyond our own lifetimes and taking the money (taxes) we have now and applying them to the future.

Space travel IS necessary, we must reach beyond the local boundries, I agree with Bradbury, we never should have left the moon. Why did we go to the moon? was it merely a political statement?

It is all about seeing the BIG picture, instead of 50 years, just start thinking 100 years, thinking beyond our own lifetimes and start thinking about making multi-generation advancements.

We should not go (3, Interesting)

pilotofficerprune (682802) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173440)

I'm a romantic who is caught up in the notion of the Outleap to space, but Bradbury's Pollyannish predictions are difficult to swallow. Space travel as a catalyst for political epiphany? Mars as the place where democracy is finally perfected and poverty solved?

This is quite some form of cosmic transferrence. We have failed here on Earth so somehow a new world will be better? The cynic in me is stamping all over my romantic side with large boots.

I recall an Arthur Clarke's novel where he predicts that cheap international telephone calls will bringing down many of the world's political barriers because of the improvement in communication. Well, we've seen a version of this come true with the internet and the jury is still out as to whether improved global comms has made mankind unite as one, or ever will. Humanity, if anything, seems more polarized and divided into tiny like-minded niche communities than ever, and if anything the internet has facilitated that. If the internet can't bring man together, why should I believe a trip across the inky black would do it?

We are, it must be said, well into Bill Hicks territory here. He finished his gigs with a wish that mankind would climb spaceships into the void and somehow the world's insanity would be cured. Life in infinite space would drain us of all our hatred and rottenness. I loved Bill's comedy but I always felt this was a cop-out. Maybe the REAL romantic solution would be to forget Mars and think about spaceship Earth. Get this little baby fixed first. Because going somewhere else certainly ain't going to cure it.

Re:We have to go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173449)

There's plenty of adventures and knowledge still to be learned here on Earth.

Re:We have to go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173468)

Has anyone seen Capricorn 1?????

Braces self (3, Funny)

XMyth (266414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9172953)

For all the Martian Chronicles related jokes....too bad I couldn't think of any.

I'm not thirsty (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9172982)

Yes you are

Re:I'm not thirsty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173180)

That's not a troll, nimrods, that's a Martian Chronicles joke. I take it you didn't read the book?

cool (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9172956)

cool

Why? (4, Funny)

robpoe (578975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9172958)

Why go to Mars, except maybe to have someone ON SITE to push the "RESET" button??

Soooo not funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173145)

Is it a rule that moderators do their job while drunk?

Re:Soooo not funny (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173376)

Is it a rule that moderators do their job while drunk?

Mods don't drink.

They only do crack.

But Ray stays home (4, Interesting)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9172962)

This is the same Ray Bradbury who was afraid to fly in airplanes [raybradbury.com] until recently. Could we get him on a spaceship?

Re:But Ray stays home (4, Insightful)

Mukaikubo (724906) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173374)

This is an irrelevant comment at best, and misleading at worst.

Just because someone is personally afraid of something does not translate to that thing being bad for people. I personally am terrified of bees, but that doesn't mean I won't eat honey!

From the link (1)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173397)

I'm amused at how Fahrenheit 451 is described as "a neo-Orwellian tale." NEO-Orwellian?!? It was published 4 years after 1984! I guess this is why people don't read Playboy for the articles.

Martian Landscape (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9172973)

Is very mineral rich [peoplesprimary.com] . Definitely a good reason to go there.

WARNING HOMOSEXUAL LINK (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173014)

Do not follow link unless you are gay and want everyone to know it!!!!

So where's Marco Polo? (2, Insightful)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#9172975)

Mind you, he didn't go anywhere interesting did he!

Who to send out there (2, Insightful)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9172986)

Well, if we do send someone on a deep space exploration mission, let's make sure it's a poet this time.

Re:Who to send out there (5, Funny)

Theresa1 (748664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173152)

yes poets, management consultants, hairdressers, telephone sanitisers. Send the lot of em.

Re:Who to send out there (1)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173242)

yes poets, management consultants, hairdressers, telephone sanitisers. Send the lot of em.

Ummm, leave it to generally disgruntled slashdotters to miss a reference. See the movie "Contact".

Re:Who to send out there (2, Funny)

Theresa1 (748664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173313)

Whoops I did miss the reference, but I'm not disgruntled. I'm happy to be alive. I've just got over a terrible virus that I caught from a dirty telephone.

Re:Who to send out there (1)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173324)

Ummm, leave it to generally disgruntled slashdotters to miss a reference. See the book "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

=Smidge=

Uh... (1, Troll)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173001)

... why would you even bother reading this banal junk? Just check out the rest of their site. Most of it's garbage!

Re:Uh... (0, Offtopic)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173022)

wtf??? crap. Wrong story - sorry ppl! I *was* trying to reply to the adti story. *sigh*

Now I'm going to be marked -1: Troll for sure.

Re:Uh... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173081)

Yeah, and now you've been marked -1 Offtopic for this post... not your day, hmmm? :P

Cave life (4, Funny)

spellraiser (764337) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173007)

'Too Soon From the Cave, Too Far From the Stars'

Yeah, much too soon. One minute you're an ape triumphantly hurtling a bone into the air under the theme of 'Also Sprach Zarathustra', and next thing you know, the bone turns into an orbiting satellite in the year 2001. Also, you've become human and there's this weird monolith on the moon.

Talk about culture shock ...

Re:Cave life (3, Interesting)

JaimeZX (780523) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173372)

If you read the book by Arthur C. Clarke, that's actually an orbiting nuclear weapon. Which I guess is a satellite, but the transition in the film was supposed to be more poignant because it was between two weapons (the bone and then the nuke) separated by millions of years.

- Jim

Didn't Arther C. Clark say (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173009)

"The missing link between apes and man . . . is us."

Re:Didn't Arther C. Clark say (0, Flamebait)

Mr. Troll (202208) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173135)

I really can't stand people over-quoting each other. Just because someone else said something, doesn't somehow make that statement more valid. Please leave your Einstien and Ben Franklin *quotes* at home.....you act like they never said anything stupid in their lives.

Like what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173319)

"Please leave your Einstien and Ben Franklin *quotes* at home.....you act like they never said anything stupid in their lives."

I'm sure they both said stupid things, but only the reasonably smart-sounding quotes get recorded. Of course we could always just make up some quotes.

Huh-huh-huh... He said 'rod'.

--Ben Franklin

Re:Didn't Arther C. Clark say (1)

idfrsr (560314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173466)

Please leave your Einstien and Ben Franklin *quotes* at home.....you act like they never said anything stupid in their lives.

This brings up a valid point, with such a forum as slashdot, the perpensity for saying something stupid and having it remembered is vastly under-rated. Wouldn't you just hate to be the guy that first said: "oooh, First Post!"

Too Soon From The Cave (2, Funny)

blackholepcs (773728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173035)

I still live in a cave, you insensitive clod!

Re:Too Soon From The Cave (3, Funny)

DChristensen (98850) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173173)

Osama, that you?

2 words .... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173036)

granular peebags!

Beat The Chinese (0, Flamebait)

USAPatriot (730422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173044)

I think getting there before the Chinese first do is reason enough. Right now, the USA still has the most advanced space program of any nation. But the Chinese are making a push, and I wouldn't be surprised to see these wily, scientifically advanced people landed on the Moon in the near future. I, for one do not want to see this fascist, totalitarian state score a propoganda win by landing humans on Mars first. Going to Mars would give NASA a real purpose. The ISS is a joke, the shuttles are obsolete and unsafe. This would inject some needed life to NASA and revive technological advances that hasn't been seen in 40 years.

Re:Beat The Chinese (2, Insightful)

divirg (695027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173068)

I, for one do not want to see this fascist, totalitarian state score a propoganda win by landing humans on Mars first.
You mean China, or the United States?

Re:Beat The Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173341)

When I see the +4 funny, I think we really miss a +1 tragic.

Re:Beat The Chinese (1)

Peden (753161) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173092)

" fascist, totalitarian state score a propoganda win by landing humans on Mars first" I wont let George W land there first either, or have I missed your point.

Re:Beat The Chinese (1)

JosKarith (757063) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173183)

Oh no, let Dubya be the first to land on mars.
I just wanna see the look on his face when he hears "Return plans? Sorry, those got scrapped due to budget cutbacks to fund your war against the wood-hogging Amazonian pygmies..."
;>

Re:Beat The Chinese (5, Insightful)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173165)

I, for one do not want to see this fascist, totalitarian state score a propoganda win by landing humans on Mars first.

This really doesn't sit well with me. Why does patriotism always seem to require hatred for everyone else? Isn't it enough to be proud of your country without considering a different culture fascist and totalitarian? Or, is 'pride' just a nice way of saying 'hate', as in "I'm black and I'm proud of it" = "I hate whites"? I don't think so. I think that you can be proud without being hateful.

Have you considered this option: Become friends with the Chinese and work together to get to Mars using the best minds and resources of each country.

Re:Beat The Chinese (2, Insightful)

drakaan (688386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173331)

Dammit...you just made me waste the mod points I spent on this topic. Ah, well...

Two things. First, who cares if it doesn't sit well with you (aside from you, that is)? Second, the parent post never mentioned anything about hate, although you did.

It's interesting how some people will go out of their way to make a comment about political systems something seemingly personal. You don't need to 'consider' China to be fascist and totalitarian, you can look up the definitions of those words in the dictionary and say "oh...China is a fascist totalitarian state...interesting".

Pride, to a certain extent, IS just another way of saying hate, just not in every instance. I think it would be fair to say that the author of the parent post may actually hate totalitarian fascists.

It is equally true that people will think very differently about the statements "I'm black and I'm proud", and "I'm white and I'm proud".

Does the first one mean "I hate whites"?

Does the second one mean "I hate blacks"?

I don't think you honestly say that using the first example without the second isn't just baiting, plain and simple.

Finally, a government and the people of a given country are not the same thing. You assume the parent's author has no Chinese friends and has no desire to work with them, rather than taking his comment at face value, and assuming he took issue with the Chinese government.

If you're going to criticize someone on their point of view, at least come back with something more substantial than "I bet you HATE them, don't you?"...it just comes off childish.

Re:Beat The Chinese (1)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173469)

It's interesting how some people will go out of their way to make a comment about political systems something seemingly personal. You don't need to 'consider' China to be fascist and totalitarian, you can look up the definitions of those words in the dictionary and say "oh...China is a fascist totalitarian state...interesting". Chairman Mao led a fascist and totalitarian state. That is true and I do not argue with it. However, contrary to most American beliefs, Chairman Mao is no longer in charge of China. It is now a republic. They have elections. The people have the power to vote on who runs their government.

Your first argument may be that they are technically a republic, but the people only have a choice between two evils in each election - not a true choice. I feel the same way about our electorial process, so am I to believe that the United States is a fascist totalitarian state?

Second, I equate the statement that China is fascist and totalitarian to hatred because both terms are highly negative and untrue. I stand by my opinion that the original post was hateful. It could have been: "Let's get to Mars before China so we will have more to be proud of in our great country." instead of "I, for one do not want to see this fascist, totalitarian state score a propoganda win by landing humans on Mars first."

Re:Beat The Chinese (1)

WombatControl (74685) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173379)

That's all well and good except for the fact that the PRC is fascist and totalitarian. Remember that little incident in Tiannamen Square? Try asking a Tibetan exile if they agree with Bradbury's statement.

That being said, the Chinese have been steadily getting better as they realize that being a global economic powerhouse isn't compatible with a communist command economy and China stopped being truly communist the second Deng Xioping said "to get rich is glorious" - but still, Bradbury's comments aren't jingoistic, they're fairly accurate.

Re:Beat The Chinese (1)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173429)

I don't think its bias. China is, from any impartial point of view, very obviously fascist and totalitarian. This may be slowly changing, due to the influence of Hong Kong, but its hard to tell whether its changing for the better.

Because... (4, Interesting)

Iowaguy (621828) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173483)

I will blow a nice string of +5 posts on this, but here it goes since it is important....



As much as it may pain some to admit it, China really is a facist /totalitarain state. It may be trendy or cool to hate the Bush admin or US bash, but at the end of the day, it is a democracy, people do have a free voice, and by any rational measure, it is not totalitarian or facist. If you don't agree, then please go to China, become a citizen, and post anti-Chinese statements everywhere you can. When you are finished, please write back and tell about real totalinarism from the comfort of prison cell, if you are still alive. Disagree? Ask someone who practices falun gong about voicing different opinions. Or, is it easier to behave like a child? Rational people can disagree with out hyperbole.

We should cooperate with when we can, and especially with the other great free counties, such as those found in Europe.. But when dictors become greater than you, it is not a happy day for civilization.

-My two cents, -Iowa

Re:Beat The Chinese (3, Funny)

A. Pizmo Clam (779689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173176)

If the Chicoms make it to Mars first, American industry is doomed.

Our IT companies are losing out to cheap foreign competitors from countries that are poor but have highly-educated workforces. A newly colonized Mars would be extremely poor (no natural resources!) and everyone who lived there would be a MENSA-level scientist!. There's no way a patriotic John Q. MSCE could compete with that kind of competition competitively.

Also, if some Chicom "hacker" outfit wanted to publish stolen source code or red-blooded American credit card passwords over the World Wide Web, a Mars-based broadcasting rig would be unreachable by current missile technology!!!

Our national security and livelihoods are in danger. We must colonize Mars immediately and render it a Chicom-free zone.

Re:Beat The Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173201)

You're definitely a racist and a xenophobe. You're also confused. On one hand you're claiming the USA is the most advanced, while a couple of sentences later you list the ISS and shuttles as obselete and unsafe. Make up your mind.

Maybe your stupid country can invade China next and see how tough and advanced and superior you really are.

Re:Beat The Chinese (1)

metaboy (368195) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173471)

Maybe your stupid country can invade China next and see how tough and advanced and superior you really are.

Way to take the high road.

What wrong with traveling to Mars? (5, Insightful)

Jason Hood (721277) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173057)

I really dont see what the big fuss from some politicians about going to Mars. 500 years ago sailors went to the New World (risking their lives) with really no garunteed return on investments.

It ended up working out ok for some countries but not for 50-75 years after the initial voyages. There wasnt really a need or reason to go, but some naval officers and private sailors convinced the people with cash otherwise.

Although these "discoveries" didnt work out to well for Indians I suppose.

You have to start somewhere. We will do it eventually, why not now?

Money (1, Insightful)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173079)

That's why.

Re:Money (1)

Laser Lou (230648) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173413)

I guess that's a good reason not to go to college, right?

Re:What wrong with traveling to Mars? (4, Insightful)

justforaday (560408) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173214)

I really dont see what the big fuss from some politicians about going to Mars. 500 years ago sailors went to the New World (risking their lives) with really no garunteed return on investments.

What about the possibilities of finding the shortcut to India, or the fabled Fountain of Youth(TM)? Sure, there weren't any guaranteed returns, but if they were successful then they certainly would've been well worth the investment...

Re:What wrong with traveling to Mars? (2, Interesting)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173258)

The difference this time round is this: Back then people with money could simply invest in stuff like that, and send out people on their own. Say for instance you had a billion bucks right now, there is no way in hell you would be able to privately fund a mission to Mars. Look at the Azanti (?) X Prize, every team needs special licenses from the FAA (or something like that), they need a launchpad, etc etc. Stupid Government regulations would sadly kill any such venture .....

Re:What wrong with traveling to Mars? (2, Informative)

Unregistered (584479) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173287)

Part of it is that mars isnt self-sufficient. No food, hell, no air, and even h2o is proboby gonna be a long way away.

it makes no sense (2, Insightful)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173361)

I really dont see what the big fuss from some politicians about going to Mars.

No big fuss, other than that it is hugely expensive. Is Bush going to raise taxes for it in order to pay for it? Are scientists willing to sacrifice the potential scientific results from 200 robotic probes in order to pay for a couple of people getting to Mars? It just makes no sense: not economic, not scientific.

500 years ago sailors went to the New World (risking their lives) with really no garunteed return on investments.

They thought they were going to find a route to India. It was a high-risk investment, but would have been hugely profitable if they had succeeded. So, it wasn't some shot in the dark, it was a business plan that could have made people fabulously rich.

What they actually found was even more valuable: a sparsely populated, fertile continent with incredible natural and biological resources. That didn't help the original investors much, but it helped Europe as a whole in the centuries to come.

With Mars, we already know what we are going to get, since we have studied it extensively: there is nothing there of economic value to us. Establishing a colony there would be hugely expensive and it would be centuries before anything could become self-sustaining, if it ever could. The only value Mars seems to have is scientific, and that value is largely destroyed by putting people on it.

This is what's wrong (1)

fleener (140714) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173409)

No guarantee of return on investment in New World voyages? Maybe, technically. Every voyage had clear economic hopes, from returning with raw materials, artifacts and exotic animals, to establishing trade, to discovering new trade routes. In fact, those economic hopes were the basis for attracting funding from royalty, wealthy investors, etc. What's the economic incentive in traveling to Mars? If this is a worthy project, why aren't the Bill Gates' of the world pouring money into NASA? The difference is NASA does it for science, military applications and the spirit of exploration. NASA will always be a money hole until it finds a clear way to benefit corporations.

from the prez (-1, Flamebait)

AgtSmith (738147) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173076)

"We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national spirit" - President George W. Bush - January 14, 2004 --translation:"I like watching pretty rockets"

Slashdotted. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173082)

I believe it was Clark who said... (4, Interesting)

clichekiller (665320) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173085)

no child can live in the cradle forever. At some point we're going to have to spread to the moon and other planets, if for no simpler reason then it's going to begin to get awefully crowded down here.

Other reasons to go:
  • Spreading humanity to other planets so as not to have all our 'eggs' in one basket
  • The potential discoveries are out there, new materials, etc.
  • It's just plain Cool!

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (2, Insightful)

divirg (695027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173126)

You forgot a reason:
  • Distract millions from record debt and a rapidly deteriorating situtation in the Middle East during an election year

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (1)

Brackney (257949) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173177)

Someone mod this brilliant person up!

Only on Slashdot... (1, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173302)

would this be modded up as insightful.

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173457)

Wow! Just had a look at this [brillig.com] ....$7 Trillion?!

Does this actually mean anything? I mean, is there some point where the US has to pay this back, or could they carry on ignoring it? (I'm not from the US). If they had to pay it back at some point, I don't get how it could have grown so much....

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (3, Interesting)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173127)

Space travel will not allievate overcrowding on earth.

Remember the story about the Chinese all getting in line and marching past a given point and how the line will never end?

There are compelling reasons to explore space - but population control is not one of them.

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (1)

leenoble_uk (698539) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173314)

The planetary population IS out of control. Sooner or later there WILL be a correction. It's been going on in nature for millions of years. Why should we consider ourselves above it all.
I only hope that after the correction, the new world's population can put all that religious shit out of the way and start cooperating on an effort which would would benefit all mankind.

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (4, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173479)

Sorry to tell you but the population bomb myth has been shot down. Developed nations are already slowing down their growth or even shrinking. Maybe this is the "correction" you speak of, though I expect you're suggesting a more cataclysmic one.

Too bad, because it'd be fun to watch from the confines of the richest nation on earth. :-P

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173347)

I'd still rather not have all the humans on one planet so that one good nuclear war could wipe us all out.

Quickshot

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173353)

"The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but mankind can't stay in the cradle forever."

-- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, 'Father of Astronautics'

Re:I believe it was Clark who said... (1)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173401)

At some point we're going to have to spread to the moon and other planets, if for no simpler reason then it's going to begin to get awefully crowded down here.

So, let's stop breeding like rabbits.

Spreading humanity to other planets so as not to have all our 'eggs' in one basket

If we figure out how to take care of our basket, that just wouldn't be a problem. Short of an asteroid hitting us, there is no reason why we shouldn't live on this planet for hundreds of millions of years. And while asteroids are a real concern over long time spans, we can worry about that after the first million years as a species, not after a few tens of thousands of years.

Besides, settling Mars wouldn't help: Martian colonies would remain completely dependent on Earth for a long time, if they could ever become self-sustaining.

The potential discoveries are out there, new materials, etc.

Yes, and those are more easily and more efficiently explored by robotic probes, directly and/or via return missions.

It's just plain Cool!

I don't see what's "cool" about it. Space exploration is "cool", but it is much more efficient with robotic probes than with people.

Quote from Ray Bradbury (4, Funny)

Woogiemonger (628172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173087)

"If we can find any living relatives of Columbus, and Caboto, and Verrazzano - wouldn't that be remarkable if we could send them on the first manned rocket to Mars."

Descendants of Columbus?! Oh sure, so we're going to send out another white man to treat the native Martians as slaves. Great idea!

Re:Quote from Ray Bradbury (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173151)

Well, there are no Arabs there to sell them to they White Man... so maybe everything would be ok. ;-)

Why Ray Bradbury? (2, Insightful)

jstave (734089) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173098)

Don't get me wrong, I love the guys writing, but what, exactly, qualifies a fiction writer to be giving advice to the gummit on this subject?

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (5, Insightful)

AllUsernamesAreGone (688381) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173168)

He's a popular author. He knows how to tell a story, a story that can include some fairly complex ideas, to the general population. If a scientist stood up there and tried the same thing, half the audience would be asleep within five minutes while most of the rest wouldn't understand how anything he said had any real importance.

You need someone who can put some fire behind the ideas. non-scientists just can't see any reason to do things just for the science, you need someone who can appeal to their sense of adventure, excitement and mystery.

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (4, Insightful)

Dr_LHA (30754) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173343)

Or maybe its because no scientist can find a compelling reason to divert almost all of NASA's funding from the current excellent science its to the underfunded pipe-dream of sending a man to Mars?

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (3, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173170)

Are you saying that writing fiction and working for the government are somehow different?

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (4, Insightful)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173197)

Ah... you know how it is. We're always taking our purchasing advice from professional athletes and Hollywood celebs too....

But seriously, plenty of science-fiction writers turned out to do a pretty decent job of predicting things that eventually became real science. If nothing else, you're dealing with people who made a career out of thinking things through and imagining what things could be like, based on the present. That may not qualify them to give advice to the govt. - but they probably have more interesting input to offer than many people.

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (2, Insightful)

CXI (46706) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173207)

If you read the story, they are asking him how to "sell" the idea to the public so they will be willing to pay for it.

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (3, Insightful)

sckeener (137243) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173231)

there are many armchair scifi nuts...he is just one that captures the imagination of the many and can explain it to the masses.

Re:Why Ray Bradbury? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173278)

Because right now interplanetary travail is just a sci-fi based publicity stunt that has little to do with science and much to do with politics, and they want to know if they are doing it right?

Dunno?....Here are my Reasons: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173115)

I was thinking it'd be funny to pretend to be a child molestor online so you could lure the officials into coming out somewhere to meet you as if they were a child. I guess everyone knows the deal if you've seen the television shows where they've busted online predators by setting up a meeting place where the pedophile meets up with the child and then the pedophile gets arrested.

I think it'd be fun to say you're gonna meet them somewhere, then go there and just watch them waiting around, heh. I figure if they found out you were messing with them then you'd get in trouble; kinda like calling 911 and not really having an emergency I guess.

Have you guys ever wondered if you've been an attempted target for the internet child molestor police? I can't remember how long ago it was but someone messaged me on AIM and wanted to hook up, I was probably 20 or 21 then and this girl said she was 16. She asked me if I wanted to hook up and I said hell no and that was the last I saw of her LoLz.

#1 it's WRONG
#2 teenagers are stupid (ALL OF YOU! ;) )
#3 I'm not gonna be some hick with a girlfriend in highschool and her saying to all the other dumb whores "hyuck muh boifren is 20 bich, hez gunna kik ur azz shaniqua" I always thought those girls were stupid whores and I'm not gonna be part of it. Now if we were in Thailand (read Mars, ONTOPIC) that'd be a different story! ;)

Bradbury needs a history lesson (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173191)

If he thinks those three Italians were, regardless of what we're taught in Kindergarten, at all significant in the history of global exploration, he needs to do a lot more reading.

When you were the first to perform a voyage of discovery like that, thats significant. Of course they weren't... the Chinese, Vikings and others of course were doing it long before.

When you set out as a representative of your country to explore, well thats significant I guess to your country. But we all know the history around Columbus and who was supporting him, right? Being the first of your people to get somewhere when it was an accident of timing isn't all that significant either.

And all of that is completely ignoring the (hotly contested, but significant enough to be interesting) evidence that Columbus set sail knowing exactly what he was going to find, with charts of the Carribean and Gulf of Mexico drawn by people who had already been there.

I think if you were going to honor the nationality of the people who really were the first to do global exploration in an organized manner by having them land on Mars first, it would be the Chinese, not the Italians.

And, the way China is moving with their space program, that might just happen.

Re:Bradbury needs a history lesson (1)

Paulrothrock (685079) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173304)

I think Mr. Bradbury is simplifying the topic. Most people hear "Columbus" and think either "discovered America" or "that other city in Ohio."

Re:Bradbury needs a history lesson (1)

RickHunter (103108) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173382)

with charts of the Carribean and Gulf of Mexico drawn by people who had already been there.

Sounds like a pretty apt comparison to me, then. Mars is probably the second or third best-charted body in the Solar System. The top two, of course, being Earth and the moon. And as a double-bonus, there's probably not even any natives for him to enslave!

You got it exactly backwards (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173439)

If he thinks those three Italians were, regardless of what we're taught in Kindergarten, at all significant in the history of global exploration, he needs to do a lot more reading.

Let's get one thing straight. Since you claim to be talking about what is significant in history, the point is not who discovered a place or when it was discovered.

Columbus's voyage was incredibly significant because it was followed by an immense wave of European exploration and conquest. Whereas, previous expeditions led only to small and temporary colonies.

Re:Bradbury needs a history lesson (2, Insightful)

STrinity (723872) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173496)

When you were the first to perform a voyage of discovery like that, thats significant. Of course they weren't... the Chinese, Vikings and others of course were doing it long before.

No, such voyages are significant when something comes from them. The Viking settlement in Vinland lasted, what, less than a generation, and the most that came out of it was a saga; and the Chinese voyage was so earth-shattering that no one'd even heard of it until this last decade.

Nope, the pre-Columbian voyages are like the Apollo flights -- interesting footnotes, but ultimately unimportant.

Bradbury's Dreams (5, Interesting)

pilotofficerprune (682802) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173233)

It's an odd document. You can imagine the commission members looking at each other and asking: "what's Ray on?" He sells the Outreach as a romantic, almost religious experience. But I have trouble imagining how romance in and of itself is enough to power man to Mars.

The parallels with American colonization do not stand up. Once America had been discovered and the seas charted, it was a matter of affordable logistics and courage, not technology, to get people to the US. But the logistics of a Mars mission require the exchequer of a major nation state and the technology is far from perfected. Courage is not enough. And unlike America the lure, the promise of a commercial harvest is so much slimmer. This is not 1482 any more. Those rules no longer apply.

My heart agrees with Bradbury. But my head... it says no.

escapism (1, Insightful)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173243)

Perhaps for humans to spread across the galaxy like a bunch of rats or cockroaches would allow us to avoid facing our problems: we could keep breeding with impunity and consume resources. If we found "natives" on other worlds, we'd conquer them, enslave them, and exterminate them. And when we have used up one planet, we would just move on to the next.

I'm glad that it looks like we are forced to figure out how to solve our problems here for now: we need to figure out how to keep us from killing each other on earth, how to reduce our population, how to take full advantage of our human resources by making sure everybody gets basic educational and health services, and how to live sustainably.

If we ever get manned interstellar space travel (and that's a big if), maybe we'll have figured out how to behave sensibly and responsibly towards ourselves and other species we may encounter. On the other hand, if we kill ourselves before then, that's just as well--leave the stars to some other species that's smarter than us.

Re:escapism (2, Insightful)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173352)

Perhaps for humans to spread across the galaxy like a bunch of rats or cockroaches would allow us to avoid facing our problems: we could keep breeding with impunity and consume resources.

Not to worry. There is no conceivable technology that would allow us to send people elsewhere fast enough to have nay significant effect on population growth or pollution. So going to space will not relieve us of the need to solve our problems. More likely, it will do the opposite. It is not a coincidence that the ecology movement really began to take off once pictures of the earth from space became available. How often have you heard the term, "Spaceship Earth." There's nothing like managing life aboard a space ship or colony to make people acutely aware of the importance of resource management and recycling. Indeed, technological advances arising as spinoffs of space travel are likely to do more indirectly to help us deal with those problems on earth than throwing the same amount of money at their problems here on earth--because in space, if a solution doesn't really work, you find out in a hurry.

Re:escapism (1, Interesting)

hak1du (761835) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173506)

There is no conceivable technology that would allow us to send people elsewhere fast enough to have nay significant effect on population growth or pollution. So going to space will not relieve us of the need to solve our problems.

Oh, I fully agree. But that's not the point. If our species is intrinsically incapable of living sustainably, then being confined to earth will mean that the problem lives and dies here. If we spread to other planets before then, it means we may destroy habitable planets in the entire galaxy or even beyond--leaving behind trashed planets and dying human populations.

There's nothing like managing life aboard a space ship or colony to make people acutely aware of the importance of resource management and recycling.

Most likely, that will be orchestrated and enforced by machines if it is to work at all for long voyages. What makes you think that people don't revert to their biological imperatives once they land?

We need to demonstrate first here, on this planet, that we can live responsibly and sustainably at a planetary scale, not because something is forcing us, but because it is how we operate. Before we reach that point (if ever), it would be a disaster if we got out.

Go back to your cave. (2, Interesting)

JonBovi (599577) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173358)

Tell me, hak1du, has there ever been a time in history when we didn't have problems? No. That didn't stop us from constantly heading towards the horizons and exploring just for the sheer joy of exploring and, in many cases, it was the act of exploring that led us to new discoveries that improved the world as a whole.

You know, if you think humanity is so completely pathetic and stupid, why don't you just give up your computer and electricity and antibiotics and go live in the cave you deserve?

Oh, I see - all the OTHER people (but not YOU, of course) are the pathetic ones.

Oh no! (4, Interesting)

Galvatron (115029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173335)

But if we go to Mars, the first two expeditions will be slaughtered by the Martians, and the third will arrive to find that the Martians have been wiped out by chicken pox carried by the first two waves of astronauts.

Seriously, I enjoy Bradbury's books as much as the next guy, but he's not exactly a scientist. His testimony is more of the same philosophy expressed in The Martian Chronicles, that Mars is no different from the New World. Unfortunately, it IS very different, because whereas the Americas are perfectly habitable, Mars is quite hostile, to say nothing of the unbelievable expense of getting even a single person out of Earth's gravity well. His only real argument is "if we want to do it, we can." He's right of course, but he fails to give a convincing explanation for why we should want to. For us here on Slashdot, he's preaching to the choir, but he's going to have to do a lot better than that if he wants to convince the population at large.

"three Italians should be the first on Mars" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173437)

If one of them's Monica Bellucci, I'm all for it!

Re:"three Italians should be the first on Mars" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9173493)

Um, why? Personally, I think she should stay right here on Earth. If she goes to Mars, all my chances of scoring with her will be ruined!

"new thing", democracy? (2, Informative)

AmicoToni (123984) | more than 10 years ago | (#9173456)

And I quote from Bradbury's testimony: "would found a nation of 300 million people that would become the center of civilization, the center of a new thing called democracy".

Excuse me, but wasn't democracy invented in ancient Greece? Granted, with a somewhat different connotation, but definitely *not* a new thing.

Patriotism is fine, but when it deliberately ignores facts it becomes more like an ideology. It is an unfortunate trend, to put it mildly.
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