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  US Exploring Expedition and space exploration

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Author Topic:   US Exploring Expedition and space exploration
KSCartist
Member

Posts: 2488
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 04-24-2012 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From The Space Review, an excellent article that helps keep our current situation in perspective.
It is not uncommon to read articles and blogs from space advocates lamenting that we as a country don't prioritize space exploration the way America did during the Apollo era. Others complain that we have retreated back to low Earth orbit ever since abandoning the toehold we had for six short missions on the Moon. Some of the writers worry that the Chinese, Russians, or even others will get out to deep space before we return. To them, the Apollo era is the long past golden age of space exploration.

When arguments are made for expanding and accelerating space exploration, historical analogies of Columbus' voyages, Lewis and Clark's expedition, and the Railway Act of 1862 that led to a transportation system across the continent as are used as examples of why we should push into the final frontier. There is one more obscure historical analogy to the Apollo program that is probably more fitting. It is the US Exploring Expedition of 1838 to 1842, at the time referred to as the "Ex. Ex."

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 04-24-2012 08:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And the South Pole was discovered.

And what happened for the next 170 years? Nothing. Sounds a lot like Apollo to me. All the future exploration can be done with probes. Humans will have to wait, as there are no human settlement on the South Pole (sure scientific bases but that's not a settlement and surely a lot cheaper, if not affordable, than one on the Moon or Mars).

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-24-2012 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
All the future exploration can be done with probes.
It's not about cost (although cost is a factor in determining the timescales). It's about the human imperative to explore.

Dave Scott summed it up perfectly as he stepped onto the Moon: "Man must explore..." If we lose the imperative to explore, we cease to be human in any way that matters.

I acknowledge that this may happen if the latest and future generations are not tested as my father's generation was tested. Yet that was the generation that won WW2, put men on the moon, and gave us supersonic transport. The current complacent, soft generation has squandered that legacy and spends its time peering at computer screens and making moronic and pointless conversation on increasingly ridiculous parodies of telephones.

I marvel at the successes of NASA's robot space explorers and rejoice in their amazing findings, but they only make sense as scouts, checking the territory ahead in preparation for the humans who must follow. If we don't follow the robots into space, what is the purpose of our existence?

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-24-2012 07:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two things:
  1. The statement about my generation is mildly offensive. Not all of us are like that as shown by those of us who are going into the STEM fields.

  2. I agree that we have to follow the probes although part of that depends on how to get our national interested sparked again.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27327
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-24-2012 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The generation(s) being written off as complacent includes two of the leaders of the very well-financed effort announced today to start mining the asteroids.

It also includes members of the generation(s) that are actively working to send astronauts beyond Earth orbit again, as well the astronauts who will fly on those missions.

MarylandSpace
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Posts: 961
From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 04-24-2012 08:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I remember the U.S. Exploring Expedition exhibit in the either the Smithsonian American History Museum or Smithsonian Natural History Museum about 20 years ago.

There were collections, logs, scietific instruments from the journey. Was the expedition into the Pacific? (I'm not going to cheat and look it up)

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-24-2012 08:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My definition of "generation" in the context of my previous post was fairly loose. Strictly speaking, the "generation" which won WW2 (and the cold war), put men on the Moon, and developed supersonic transport was probably a generation and a half. My criticism of the devolving generation which expends its time staring glassy-eyed into screens large and small includes at least part of my generation and most of the next. It's difficult to be too critical of teenagers who succumb to peer pressure if their parents don't set a good example, but that is probably a different debate for a different forum.

My previous comments were intended to be rather more than "mildly offensive" towards those who are letting down the progress of humanity, but it is in the nature of humanity that every generation has its inspirational figures, its leaders, its heroes. Given the chance, they will lead us into the future and out to the stars, but, dear God, they have a lot of dead weight to drag along with them.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 04-25-2012 01:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
If we lose the imperative to explore, we cease to be human in any way that matters.
Sure. As long as you devote even more resources at exploring our world than for any other celestial bodies. Earth is by far the richest.
quote:
If we don't follow the robots into space, what is the purpose of our existence?
Why don't we let the robots do our jobs? Solar system bodies are the most inhospitable ones I can think of, so why should we must go?

And the robots acting as scouts may find that there's not much for us to do out there. Sure, come a point where we'll have to be looking for resources. But nobody thinks long-term because if we were we wouldn't be in such a mess.

Fezman92
Member

Posts: 1030
From: New Jersey, USA
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 04-25-2012 08:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Blackarrow:
But nobody thinks long-term because if we were we wouldn't be in such a mess.

That is the main issue. Our nation is no longer thinking about the 10 or 20 years down the road. We keep putting things important off saying "Oh we will get to that eventually" but that eventually never comes unless there is a dire need. The idea of exploring for the sake of exploring is what needs to motivate us. I am more than willing to be one of those explores knowing the risks that are entailed.

I believe that Steven Hawking said that in order for humanity to survive we need to colonize space. The only true way to figure that out is by sending people to those places.

Dave Clow
Member

Posts: 213
From: South Pasadena, CA 91030
Registered: Nov 2003

posted 04-25-2012 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dave Clow   Click Here to Email Dave Clow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tom Jones would be able to add plenty to this discussion, and so would Steve Squires. Squires is the Principal Investigator for the Mars Exploration Rovers, and commenting on the astounding success of those machines on Mars over the last seven years, he noted that human explorers could have done as much or more in a week.

Blackarrow
Member

Posts: 2024
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 04-25-2012 04:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
Earth is by far the richest.
Fair point, but as Tsiolkovsky wrote [and I paraphrase] the Earth is the cradle of mankind, but one cannot stay in the cradle forever.
quote:
If we don't follow the robots into space, what is the purpose of our existence?
Why don't we let the robots do our jobs? Solar system bodies are the most inhospitable ones I can think of, so why should we must go?

Failure of imagination? I would prefer a tough life in a Mars colony than trying to survive permanent nuclear winter on an Earth devastated by nuclear war or massive asteroid impact.

Is it really wise to bet all the eggs in our Earth basket on this never happening? (By the way, when is that small asteroid due to pass us below the orbit of communications satellites?)

All times are CT (US)

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