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!

The Top Three Reasons for Humans in Space

samzenpus posted about 9 years ago | from the so-we-can-fight-the-aliens dept.

Space 732

An anonymous reader writes "Why humans in space? The Space Review has the top three reasons: 3. To work. 2. To live. 1. To survive. 'To work' means doing stuff in space: research, explore, visit, etc. 'To live' means to have humans/life beyond Earth in colonies/settlements. 'To survive' means that putting humans/life beyond Earth is a very Good Thing in case a very Bad Thing happens to humans/life on Earth."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered


Regarding the article: (5, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#12201216)

Rather interesting order this article puts the reasons in...

'to work' is not a real reason to go to space, instead, the article really shold have focused on a) the abundant energy and raw materials available in space, and b) the nearly infinitely-customizable work environments abailable in space. At any rate, this is only a secondary reason.

'to live'? Exactly what sort of reason is this? Sure, life is important (of course I think that...I'm a living being...I can't help it), but does that mean it's our manifest destiny to spread life throughout the universe, merely for the sake of spreading life? Again, this reason, although important, is purely secondary.

'to survive'. Finally we come to the heart of the matter...the reason that should have been number one, with the two reasons listed above in support of it. Humankind must colonize space, and do it soon. Between the dwindling rescources available to us while we remain shackled to a gravity well, and the impending mass-extinction events (asteroid, pandemic, super-volcano...take your pick), we are left with very little time in which to secure our species' future. Establishing a viable space-community should be the primary goal of the human race.

(BTW, more interesting information regarding our continued survival can be found here [thepreparation.com].)

Re:Regarding the article: (5, Funny)

Mr.Dippy (613292) | about 9 years ago | (#12201302)

"but does that mean it's our manifest destiny to spread life throughout the universe, merely for the sake of spreading life?"

Obviously you were not raised Catholic.

Re:Regarding the article: (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#12201344)

Obviously you were not raised Catholic.

Actually, I was. That's why I'm questioning this one.

TM: "Uh, hi...my name is TripMaster Monkey, and I'm a recovering Catholic."

Re:Regarding the article: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201375)

Obviously you were not raised Catholic.

As long as you and your SO are married, Catholics are all for "being fruitful and multiplying". Also incase you haven't noticed, the Catholic Church has a different outlook on science than the in the 17th century.

Re:Regarding the article: (5, Insightful)

bahwi (43111) | about 9 years ago | (#12201324)

"the reason that should have been number one"

It is.

Althought space colonization is a good thing IMO, we're currently bogged down in crap down here. It's time for humans to just get more intelligent about things, from war to drugs to hunger, instead of listening to one person, taking that opinion as their own, and sticking to it for all eternity. The last thing we need is another colony that works the same as Earth, it'd be a little self-defeating after awhile.

Re:Regarding the article: (4, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | about 9 years ago | (#12201345)

the article really shold have focused on a) the abundant energy and raw materials available in space

The article was not about why crap in general should be in space.

It was in fact about the top reasons for humans in space.

In fact, having humans in space is not a necessary condition for gathering "abundant energy and raw materials" of other planets. The article just makes the arguments that humans would be better suited than robots to work in space.

Re:Regarding the article: (1, Troll)

Jane_the_Great (778338) | about 9 years ago | (#12201353)

".the reason that should have been number one"
They're numbered in the article and in the summary. "To survive" is labelled as number one.

Pretty high on yourself, aren't you?

Based on the above oversight, I'd say you shouldn't be.

Re:Regarding the article: (-1)

WD_40 (156877) | about 9 years ago | (#12201384)

I think colonizing space is overrated. I believe it is arrogant of man to think he is capable of damaging the earth to the point of it being uninhabitable, but that's just me.

Re:Regarding the article: (2, Interesting)

Alcilbiades (859596) | about 9 years ago | (#12201456)

that isn't the point. Not that humans damage the earth so badly but natural disaster such as a huge asteroid hitting earth and killing us off like it did the dinosaurs. Oh and btw massive nuclear war would finish us off pretty quick.

Re:Regarding the article: (4, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | about 9 years ago | (#12201477)

We may not be able to 'damage' the earth enough, but the parent mentioned three extinction events that aren't caused by us. There probably a lot more than three, and its only a matter of time before one of them happens.

So, you've decided to miss the point.... (4, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | about 9 years ago | (#12201487)

Assuming that you're correct and man cannot damage the earth to the point of it being uninhabitable, there are certainly plenty of other ways for us to not survive here that the article specifically mentions

Not the least of which is self-annihilation by nuclear or biological weapons (which have proven that they are ready and capable of killing many of us very quickly). The article also mentions natural disasters, which (once again) have proven themselves able to wipe out huge portions of the earth.

We are also aware of certain natural disasters that might be able to wipe out ALL LIFE on this planet pretty much within a day. I won't bother naming any because most educated people should be able to come up with at least 3 good ones, including as least one inevitability.

The article seemed a bit fluffy (5, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 9 years ago | (#12201387)

In general, the article seemed a bit fluffy. For example, the robot versus people argument didn't mention that sending up a robot to do a specific task is often one or two orders of magnitude cheaper than people. Robotic capabilities keep getting better while plain old non-genetically modified humans remain the same.

I'm not sure that people must colonize space immediately. For me, it's like playing those old sim games. Do you spend limited research dollars on building 1960's style moon bases, or keep pressing on and shooting for nanotech before you move off the planet? If you can hold on long enough before colonization, you can move far more people and reach self-sufficiency much sooner.

Re:Regarding the article: (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#12201419)

The only reason for humans in space is commercial viability. When it becomes necessary or profitable to have humans in space, corporations will see to it that we get humans into space. Until then, it's just an unnecessary venture that eats up costs. And what isn't beneficial to the corporation isn't beneficial to politicians. And until space programs become beneficial to politicians, they won't be funded or supported properly with the appropriate goals.

dwindling rescources available (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201428)

> Between the dwindling rescources available to us

Let's start with limiting the resources used by the biggest user, the US federal government.

Limit what it does and you greatly reduce the amount of energy/resources used.

Re:Regarding the article: (1)

RobRancho (569680) | about 9 years ago | (#12201454)

Humankind must colonize space, and do it soon. Between the dwindling rescources available to us while we remain shackled to a gravity well, and the impending mass-extinction events (asteroid, pandemic, super-volcano...take your pick), we are left with very little time in which to secure our species' future. Establishing a viable space-community should be the primary goal of the human race.

Wow, well done spreading FUD with little to no scientific backing. Just what we need we it comes to discussing high-capitol, high-risk investments in our future, such as space exploration.

Instead, we should focus on the opportunities to levy the costs on private industry (i.e. X-Prize), where motivated individuals with financial backing/pressure will find the most efficient and sane path towards expanded and improved space tech.

What Bad Things? (0)

fembots (753724) | about 9 years ago | (#12201221)

I can understand the first two reasons, but what are the bad things that can happen to Earth that won't happen else where?

If they're talking about things like polution, population, nuclear explosion etc., then aren't we just running away from problems by creating more problems?

Re:What Bad Things? (5, Insightful)

washley (865407) | about 9 years ago | (#12201280)

Why store data at multiple locations? Disks can be destroyed in a fire at all locations after all. It's called redundancy, and it works with living beings too. If humans are on multiple planets the race will survive one being destroyed.

Re:What Bad Things? (1)

Quinn_Inuit (760445) | about 9 years ago | (#12201377)

Bingo. The key is that there's only a mild to (at most) moderate chance of a civilization-ending event on Earth, and a remote chance of a humanity-ending one. The probability of such an event striking both Earth and one or more space colonies in quick succession is far lower.

Re:What Bad Things? (2, Insightful)

Nerd Cooties (823179) | about 9 years ago | (#12201287)

A meteor strike that could destroy all life on earth really wouldn't bother(other than economically) a self sufficient colony on mars. That is one example, I am sure many people can come up with others.

Re:What Bad Things? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201317)

If you have your eggs in one basket and drop one basket, all the eggs are smashed.

If you have your eggs in two baskets and drop one basket, you still have some eggs.

Re:What Bad Things? (5, Insightful)

Chubby_C (874060) | about 9 years ago | (#12201328)

its true, any problems they try to escape will just follow us, its human nature. They probably thought that moving to North America would solve the problems they were having in the old world, they just followed us, and everyone developed new problems to deal with anyway

Re:What Bad Things? (4, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | about 9 years ago | (#12201465)

They probably thought that moving to North America would solve the problems they were having in the old world, they just followed us
They didn't follow you, you took them with you. Ask the Native Americans.

Re:What Bad Things? (0, Troll)

js9kv (690351) | about 9 years ago | (#12201340)

Running away is a good defense - it worked during 'nam. If we had a martian colony now, I'd sign to go in a heartbeat -- I'd rather raise buggalo on Mars than pay taxes to finance DubDub's failing terror hunt.

Re:What Bad Things? (0, Offtopic)

peragrin (659227) | about 9 years ago | (#12201438)

Don't worry you will still be taxed and have part of your life's work go to fund Dubya's ego and friends.

Death , Taxes and Corrupt politicains are constants amoung humans.

Of course being on Mars when Dubya sets off WWIII --Priceless.

Re:What Bad Things? (2, Funny)

bvdbos (724595) | about 9 years ago | (#12201389)

What if someone decides to have a intergalactic highway running exactly over the planet earth. On the other hand, if we decide to move into space, our ranking from "mostly harmless" will go up for sure:=)

Re:What Bad Things? (2, Interesting)

kramtark (767724) | about 9 years ago | (#12201432)

No, not really.

Colonizing other planets will ensure that some of our offspring survive, because even when Earth becomes uninhabitable, we will have another planet to fall back on.

Also, I hope that we are more responsible with pollution and population on other planets. Scientists know the obvious consequences of pollution and overpopulation, so hopefully this will encourage responsibility for the prevention of either problem.

Re:What Bad Things? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about 9 years ago | (#12201464)

They certainly can happen elsewhere. But the chances of humanity being obliterated are substantially less if the population is spread out across different planets.

Re:What Bad Things? (3, Interesting)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | about 9 years ago | (#12201473)

Think a little bigger. If a really really big meteor hits the Earth, we're screwed. The likelyhood that 2 planet-killer meteors will devastate 2 planets that we have colonies within a relatively short amount of time (20 years) is extremely less likely.

Also, your examples of polution, population, and nuclear explosion don't make much sense either. Polution is far less likely on another planet, since fossil fuels are far less likely. We'd probably be using solar or nuclear power instead.

Population makes the least sense, since expanding to other planets is the single most effective way of dealing with this issue. You effectively double your space and eliminate population issues.

Nuclear explosion isn't really a factor either. If you're talking weapons, the likelyhood of them being taken to upstart colonies isn't too likely. Once the colony is established, if one location (Earth or the colony) wipes itself out with nukes, the other is going to think long and hard before using theirs. Having a front-row seat to devastation makes people do everything they can to avoid it happening again (see 9/11 attacks for proof). If you're talking about nuclear power plants, they're getting safer and safer, so I doubt it would be an issue. Besides, nuclear meltdown is a local issue, not a planetary issue.

Wait, what? (-1, Offtopic)

Genghis Troll (158585) | about 9 years ago | (#12201241)

Wasn't one of the provisions of Bitmover's grant of free Bitkeeper licenses to the open source crowd that those who partook of said licenses not work on SCM tools of their own for some time? If so, what's Mr. Linus Torvalds doing working on one [kerneltrap.org] just days after announcing that he's giving Bitkeeper up?

0 base counter... (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | about 9 years ago | (#12201247)

It's a 0 based counter, it's missing the 0th reason for humans in space.


Yes, you too can mutate beyond your wildest dreams, slice-n-dice your DNA and see what progeny you yield! Two heads? Three arms? Oh, no! That's fine for the Beeblebrox's next door over, but you could have any of the following with proper exposure to unshielded solar radation:

  • Green scale in place of skin!
  • Radar Vision!
  • Able to leap small buildings in a few bounds!
  • Hyperspeed!
  • Oil Breath! (Please note: If you develop this desirable trait, contact The Oil Producers & Exploitation Council, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, Washinton DC or your local Halliburton branch office.)
  • Snake Hair!
  • X-Ray Hearing!
  • The ability to become water in any shape or form!
  • Huge pectoral muscles!
  • Chicken feet!
  • Facial tentacles!
  • Long black hair, pasty white skin and interchangeable noses!
  • Shark fins and laser eyes!

Or with improper planning it may just be a short-lived pile of goo! Send for free brochure:


PO Box 1484
West Lompoc, Kasans

(Include $10 for shipping and handling)

Kids these days ... (1)

ggvaidya (747058) | about 9 years ago | (#12201300)

In my day, you had to get bitten by a mutant spider or become accidentally exposed to uranium to become a mutant. Do you have any idea how short lived mutant spiders are???

Everything handed to you on a gold plate, I tell ya ...

Work? (5, Funny)

bigtallmofo (695287) | about 9 years ago | (#12201252)

How the heck did "Work" beat out "Anti-Gravity Porn"?

I can understand Living and Surviving are pretty important but I could list a few hundred things that would beat out "Work" on my priority list.

Re:Work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201298)

Wouldn't that fall under #1? They would need sex to 'survive', plus they have to have enough pratice as well :-)

Re:Work? (0, Flamebait)

GORDOOM (149962) | about 9 years ago | (#12201386)

Who said anything about anti-gravity porn? If there's any zero-gee fun to be had, I'm going to be the one having it, not the one watching!

#3 (3, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about 9 years ago | (#12201256)

1. Space
2. ???
3. Profit!!!

Oh, come on, mods! (4, Insightful)

ggvaidya (747058) | about 9 years ago | (#12201393)

It's a perfectly valid point! Everybody wants to "Space", but unless there's money to be made, the Big Men With Dollars aren't going to look in your direction. Which means you either need to talk the government into it - hard enough in good times - or you need an angel investor.

Whichever way you look at it, whichever way it works, finding the mysterious #2 in this case IS our best case to getting into space. Space tourism is risky and expensive, but it's only a start. If we could come up with some good, financial, bottom-line-friendly reasons to get into space, we could get some serious money - and effort - behind it.

Survive? (3, Insightful)

selectspec (74651) | about 9 years ago | (#12201261)

If we can't survive here on Earth, our chances somewhere else are worse.

Re:Survive? (1)

tehshen (794722) | about 9 years ago | (#12201351)

Not if we turn other planets into fake Earths. For example, to colonise Mars, we'll have to create an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere for breathing, add rivers and seas for water, grow fields and farmlands for food, and trees for recycling bits of the atmosphere. With these, there won't be many differences from Earth, so our survival on such a planet should be pretty easy.

Making other planets into Earths, that's the hard part.

Re:Survive? (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 9 years ago | (#12201355)

If there was an Extinction Level Event on Earth and we had a substantial number of persons else where, then we would have a greater chance of the Human Race surviving. Granted with todays tech we cannot create a viable colony on another planet or in orbit, but all things were started with a small step (America didnt suddenly become 'colonised' by Europeans, it took a small shipload of people to find it, then a few people to go there and live and gradually it built up. Small steps gradually getting bigger). If we dont start small now, we cant continue bigger later.

Funny Math (3, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | about 9 years ago | (#12201433)

Be that as it may, currently we need only planet-breaking disaster for 100% guaranteed extinction. The odds of such a disaster are low, but they are nonzero.

Although the chances of survival on a completely new planet may be significantly lower than our chances of survival on earth, overall the idea of interplanetary colonization lowers the chances of total human extinction.

So "chances are worse elsewhere" still translates to "overall chances are better." You're applying faulty reasoning to the problem.

Re:Survive? (5, Interesting)

selectspec (74651) | about 9 years ago | (#12201505)

This article is rediculous. First of all, humans in space is a complete joke: there is very little of interest in space. Humans on other planets is another story.

However, while all of us dream of populating other planets, the practicality of doing so with today's technology is absurd. For example, we haven't colonized Antartica. Sure there are a few scientists living on isolated stations, but they are doing research - no intention of making the area habitable. If we can't even colonize all of the continents here on Earth, why bother with other planets. A better example is the bottom of the ocean. Why not colonize the ocean floor? It's less rediculous than colonizing the moon.

On this survival front, no scientist could possibly prove that life is safier anywhere else than on the Earth, where it has been happily plodding along for a few billion years, and so far been unobserved anywhere else.

NASA's Missing the Mark (5, Insightful)

IdJit (78604) | about 9 years ago | (#12201262)

Instead of pushing outward in it's exploration ventures, NASA should push inward and delve deep into Earth's oceans. There's a lot of possibilites for research and discovery right in our "big backyard bathtub" if only we'd take the plunge.

Mission costs would be lower, and I really believe the payoff would be much, much greater!

Re:NASA's Missing the Mark (2, Insightful)

jmays (450770) | about 9 years ago | (#12201361)

Actually, I would much rather have NASA attempting to realize a 'multi-home' survival. That way, I can leave this rock and go to another safer rock when yet another big rock is careening towards the current rock at a catastrophic velocity. The ocean would provide a little protection ... but probably not enough. Redundancy, please?

Re:NASA's Missing the Mark (1)

mikael (484) | about 9 years ago | (#12201404)

Instead of pushing outward in it's exploration ventures, NASA should push inward and delve deep into Earth's oceans.

But then they would have to rename themselves to NOSA - National Oceanography and Seabed Administration.

Which would annoy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, especially the National Geophysical Data Center [noaa.gov], who research everything geophysical from the Sun to the Earth's core.

Re:NASA's Missing the Mark (2, Informative)

Danathar (267989) | about 9 years ago | (#12201408)

NASA stands for "National Air and Space Administration". Nowhere do I see "sea" or "water". Give mony to NOAA for that.

Re:NASA's Missing the Mark (4, Funny)

daeley (126313) | about 9 years ago | (#12201411)

Then it would have to be NOSA instead of NASA, which would piss off NOAA to no end, forcing the president to combine them under DHS into the Nautical/Aeronautic Defense Administration or NADA.

Re:NASA's Missing the Mark (1)

izomiac (815208) | about 9 years ago | (#12201422)

We definately should explore the oceans more, but not at the expense of the space program. Why? Because if we completely screw up our planet, then we can live in either space or the ocean. But there's a potentially infinate amount of resources in space on which to expand/migrate/fix Earth, whereas retreating to the sea would be more like delaying the inevitable or "merely" a massive technological setback.

To Survive (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201268)

That also means having enough genetic material in a good diversity in a self sustaining environment. Just having a crew in a space station doesn't count unless it can support itself and you have a large enough population and mixed gender. Otherwise you miss this one.

Sign me up! (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | about 9 years ago | (#12201281)

Get me off this crazy planet. Other humans are making the environment (work, atmosphere, etc) unpleasant for me. Will bartend in zero-g for food.

Re:Sign me up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201431)

Will bartend in zero-g for food.

How would you pour drinks?

...and this is news, how? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201292)

Not to troll, but how is this news to any of us? Space is somewhere that is deep, dark, cold, harsh, and difficult and expensive to travel to... The only reasons, in ascending order, to go there have ALWAYS been:
- explore (scientific)
- exploit (resources, including living space)
- exscape (destruction of earth, most likely by us)


1. To survive. ... ? (0, Troll)

etheriel (620275) | about 9 years ago | (#12201294)

I'm not going to live forever - why should it bother me if humanity doesn't either? Why should I make investments that I know I won't see any returns on?

Re:1. To survive. ... ? (1)

thundercatslair (809424) | about 9 years ago | (#12201358)

Well... Most people won't to see their children and their children's children and so on survive.

Re:1. To survive. ... ? (2, Interesting)

cfromg (872848) | about 9 years ago | (#12201485)

Most people won't to see their children and their children's children and so on survive.

Then why do members of a family often live close together? According to the logic of the article they should spread to different continents to maximise their chance of survival. And they should not travel together. (Yes, I know that some parents actually do take different planes.)

I really do not care if there are humans in space in case of a catastrophe on earth.

Re:1. To survive. ... ? (1)

elasticwings (758452) | about 9 years ago | (#12201504)

I really really hope that was sarcasm. Unfortunately, this is the perception by most people. Maybe if people cared more about future generations back 30-40 years ago, vehicles that run on an alternate replenishable fuel source would be in mainstream production. I take it you don't plan on having kids or grandkids by youre statement.

And the number one reason is... (0)

amstrad (60839) | about 9 years ago | (#12201323)

...Survival. So that humans can continue to make stupid, trivial, self-justifying, meaningless lists like this one.

Redundant (2, Insightful)

frankthechicken (607647) | about 9 years ago | (#12201331)

Where the hell is the classical geek answer?


Because I can, possibly the greatest reason known.

Re:Redundant (2, Insightful)

ggvaidya (747058) | about 9 years ago | (#12201443)

Actually, we can't, not half as cheaply or safely or efficiently as we'd like to.

Of course, "because we can't, yet" is an even better than "because we can". It's why we created computers :).

To Survive? (1)

bleaked (609151) | about 9 years ago | (#12201333)

If something catastrophic happened to the earth -- I think it would be meant to be. What's with this human desire to always survive? ..Plus, what kind of existence would living in space be? Even sci-fi does not even make it look truly desireable. .:bleaked

Re:To Survive? (1)

jridley (9305) | about 9 years ago | (#12201476)

That's the way all living beings are. It's what drive sexual behavior. Race survival in general is fine-tuned by evolution.

The problem with space colonization as a step towards race survival is that it requires an intellectual leap to see it in that way, so it's hard to convey that to the masses. The evolutionary programming only really works on immediate stimulus and internal drives. If space colonization had nice tits, NASA's budget would be bigger than the Pentagon's.

Re:To Survive? (1)

baadger (764884) | about 9 years ago | (#12201506)

What's with this human desire to always survive?

Every living organism has a 'desire' (or maybe it's written into it's DNA) to survive and has mechanisms to ensure it does.

When we destroy animal habitat, the inhabitants can either die out or adapt and find a new place to live and breed. Seeing as far as we know we are the only species to know about the risks of being confined to a single planet it makes sense we try to expand our territory just like any other animal would.

Living in space would be difficult, but i'm sure given time evolution will give us ways to make it easier.

Paranoid much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201338)

Dude are you the type that's scared of his/her own shadow? Do you hate the dark? Can't stand being left alone?

Because this "hurry up, we must rush to colony space our very survival relies upon it" mentality is nothing but wasted energy...relax. Take a deep breath.

Because you know what -- there's nothing we can do to stop our eventually annihilation AND we don't know WHEN it'll happen.

It could happen tomorrow, next month, next year...or it could happen 100 million years from now...we don't know.

When its our time to be wiped away from existence, nothing will stop that -- including moving off the planet.

We its our time...its our time.

So enjoy it while we have it and stop being so damn paranoid.

Re:Paranoid much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201382)

Crap ...sorry for all the typos in the original post. :(

It's Discovery Channel's fault (1)

stratjakt (596332) | about 9 years ago | (#12201445)

Every week they have a new pseudo-scientific special on the latest thing that's going to wipe out all life on earth.

Either it's an asteroid, or a super volcano, or the made-up global instant ice-age scenario of "the day after tomorrow", or some sort of supermegavirus.

People see it and think it's 100% inevitable science fact, when it's pretty much just based conjecture and what-if's.

Because it is there (5, Insightful)

BigGerman (541312) | about 9 years ago | (#12201360)

In the heart of any exploration, any advance of human genius, there was always some personal itch needed to be scratched.
"oh, we can get to India faster" or "oh, we can fly mail to South America in 3 days" or "oh, we can throw explosives further", all this comes later as part of the speech aimed at the venture capitalists, etc. The foundation, the basic desire is always just because it is there. The practical needs come later.

Older hardware my ass (-1, Offtopic)

stratjakt (596332) | about 9 years ago | (#12201362)

Why does Debian's dirt-ass text based installer require 22 megs of RAM to run?

Send that shit into space.

Because the sun will explode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201370)

It will be much safer on the Moon.

starting over is fun! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201378)

If we colonize Mars, I'll be the first to volunteer. Just send me a few virgins and it will be the next L.A. in no time!

#4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201399)

So we can find that mysterious Planet of the Apes...

Survival? (1)

wyldwyrm (693798) | about 9 years ago | (#12201413)

We might have a chance in space in the event a comet hit Earth, but given the poor math done on several "near misses" in the past, they'd probably just move the space station directly into the comet's path... Probably by mixing Metric and English in their equations....

Who could give a hoot when they are dead? (1)

basingwerk (521105) | about 9 years ago | (#12201426)

If something bad happens and humans life is wiped out on Earth, it would only be a very Good Thing to have humans/life beyond Earth if I was one of the human beings, otherwise I'd be dead, and who could give a hoot when they are dead?

Re:Who could give a hoot when they are dead? (1)

tomcode (261182) | about 9 years ago | (#12201495)

If life gets wiped out on Earth, those colonies are going to have a hard time waiting for the next supply ship.

My real reasons (2, Interesting)

lheal (86013) | about 9 years ago | (#12201435)

  1. Low-gee life for the aged, disabled, et al. While muscle atrophy is a problem, I think some people would trade a shorter lifespan at 1/6G on the moon for a longer lifespan on Earth at full gravity.
  2. Survival of the race. If Giant Meteors or terrorists with nukes or superpox don't get us, something else might. Having people off-planet could keep some of these things from killing us all.
  3. Because it's there. We've always wanted to see what was beyond the next ridge, or on the other side of the sea. Now we can see a huge frontier, just waiting to be explored.
  4. Barbarella!

Reason #3 sounds a lot like a Dilbert engineer. (5, Funny)

ledow (319597) | about 9 years ago | (#12201447)

Always have a backup civilisation/planet/atmosphere in case the first goes down.

Make sure you have enough redundancy in your population to ensure DNA data integrity

Shouldn't we sort ourselves out first? (1)

WarwickRyan (780794) | about 9 years ago | (#12201452)

I really don't understand this argument: Basically, we should expend an enormous amount of resources on sticking a few people on different planets in our solar system. This will obviously require an enormous amount of resources.. Wouldn't that resource be better spent, say, finding a renewable energy source that doesn't kill life here? Oh, and on sorting out the Third World countries? These space-faring ideas are great romance, but in reality we're not ready. Our time for expansion across space will be after we've sorted out the problems on our planet.

USA #1 (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 9 years ago | (#12201457)

#1: It's fun.

That's why the US led the space race in the 1960s and 1970s. Space is fun. Driving fast, floating around, looking down on the whole earth, boldly going where no human has gone before. 1960s/70s America was the most highly developed fun place ever, and space "exploration" was just part of that. The US has really lost touch with fun since then. Just as other countries have really gotten back into the swing, after their own fun recess. Hopefully the new space race that's brewing will be raising the fun to new heights. And maybe the competition will push the US back into the fun vanguard once again.

BTW, I look forward to counterarguments that point out where other countries have the US beat in the fun race. Let's get it on!

Grass is greener on the other side.... (0, Flamebait)

postbigbang (761081) | about 9 years ago | (#12201467)

until you have to mow it

None of these are sufficient reasons, but what will actually drive exploration is power-- military power. That's what drives the satellite and Space Shuttle business today.

First we need to learn about how to maintain this planet, before we go spoiling others. Ecosystems need attention; we need serious birth control; a cure for malaria and AIDs; ways to feed the poor and educate them-- not more money for space exploration-- it helps none of these.

We need to fix how we relate to each other, then we can go and screw up the rest of the galaxy

Priorities (0, Troll)

philgross (23409) | about 9 years ago | (#12201472)

4. To suck up vast amounts of the space exploration budget, leaving nothing for robotic exploration that actually accomplishes real science?

4. Keep Us Space Weenies in Jobs (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | about 9 years ago | (#12201494)

That is the fourth unwritten point.

Seriously, I think its a given that nanotech, quantum physics, protein research, environmental sciences etc are fields that will have a much much larger impact on the wellness and progress of humanity in the next century than speace research, and it is in these areas we should be spending.

World Peace! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201496)

I always thought that the best hope for world peace is to find some intelligent alien specie that we can get together to destroy.

Missing the Point (1, Redundant)

logicnazi (169418) | about 9 years ago | (#12201501)

This article entierly misses the point. No one argues that humans should not <I>eventually</I> go to space for these reasons and many more. The question is whether it makes sense to send people into space <B>now</B>.

In particular the question boils down to whether the money spend on human space flight now would be better spent on general technological advancement and not wasted on giant solid rocket boosters. This general technilogical advancement would then reduce the cost and increase the utility of going to space. This would be a plan to ultimately colonize space faster <I>in the long run</I> and in no way contradicts the arguments in the article.

In short the question is whether we are ready for human space flight or if we should spend more of our resources laying groundwork. I mean I think we all agree that in the 1950's it would have been a mistake to just try and build a really big v2 and do space exploration in that fasion. Instead we needed to do lots more research and build tools. Perhaps we need to build better launch systems, robotic support systems, life support systems and the like before it really makes sense for humans to be in space.

In particular at the moment it is not economically effective to send humans to space for raw materials. Thus at the moment argument 1 doesn't really apply yet. Also we don't have the technology to establish independent colonies. If the earth was hit with a disaster any space colonies we had now would die without support. This means argument 3 doesn't really apply yet. Finally argument 2 is a good general goal but it has no time component. Sure lets put life in space but lets spend our money now on technology and later use that to more effectively put life in space.

(Yes I admit that human space flight has some spin offs. However, my claim is that these spin offs are not really worth the large price <I>compared to other research opportunities</I> like robots or ground based research)

the missing one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12201502)

Because we can.

Humans must and should always explore and study in order to move away the borders that separate the known from the unknown. This is done through research, observation, reproduction and it will ultimately pay in the long run.
The worst mistake we could do would be to expect a nobel-prize discover from every research we do (that's how investors too often kill science).
Knowledge grows and grows apparently without any practical use until one day, perhaps after 25 years of lost battles, say, against cancer, a microorganism discovered during a completely unrelated research on some planet (or grown in orbit, for example) gives us the right answer.
And maybe the 25 years of cancer cure research will lead to some other discovers in other fields.
This is pure speculation, of course, but my point should be clear: we must explore, period.
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