Oil on Titan!

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by ebow, Jul 31, 2008.

  1. ebow macrumors 6502a

    ebow

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    #1
    Kick the space program into high gear! It's time to invade Titan for its oil!

    Okay, fine, it's not really oil, but liquid ethane and methane have been found on Saturn's moon Titan. They've known the compounds were there, before, but I guess the news is NASA has positively identified them in a liquid state. CNN was sure to point out that "Liquid ethane is a component of crude oil." :D :rolleyes:
     
  2. soberbrain macrumors 65816

    soberbrain

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    #2
    No offense to anyone who works at NASA, but I don't understand the point of exploring deep space. The results just seem to be "Yep, it's confirmed, there's <insert stuff> on <insert name of planet/moon/etc>" But where's the impact on human life.

    So much money goes into these projects that could be used for social issues or even exploring our own planet.

    Anyone have links to more info where space exploration has had concrete impact to better human life?
     
  3. GanChan macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Of course this can only mean one thing...

    Space dinosaurs!:eek:
     
  4. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #4
    I'm with you on that one.

    Space exploration is pioneering and all, but as long as there are problems down here on Earth, let's keep our focus grounded.
     
  5. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #5
    Yeah, +1. The human race is primitive in the grand scheme of things - with our current level of understanding and technology, "exploring" space in the manner that we have been is the equivalent of trying to map out a pitch black underwater cave with a book of matches - we're not even going about it the right way, we only see a percent of a percentage of what's really there, and we cannot comprehend the true arena that we're attempting to play in.

    I realize you have to start somewhere, start small and all that, but trying to pursue things seriously with repsect to space exploration at our current level of understanding and knowledge is silly.
     
  6. Antares macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #6
    Well, why did European and other explorers leave their own countries and explore the oceans and the world? How would that benefit human life? They could have stayed home and spent those resources helping the people in their own country... Would you agree with that?

    Space exploration is the same thing....only, the ocean of space is more vast and the environment is more harsh.

    There are many things you cannot observe/confirm/know/discover from staying in a laboratory or just looking through a telescope. You sometimes need to go out into the field and see things first hand. By leaving the comfort of our planet, we can learn more about why we exist and where we will go in the future.

    Plus, the Earth will eventually run out of natural resources (sooner rather than later) and we will have to look elsewhere to sustain humanity. The only elsewhere is space. But that's a whole different topic.....

    Humanity will never advance if we only stay focused on our petty day to day lives.
     
  7. Much Ado macrumors 68000

    Much Ado

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    #7
    Yes. I think people don't like to accept that they will be dead and gone before humanity is ready to take real steps into space. Save the money and make a difference for today.

    Having said all of that, there are significant arguments to be had for setting up a colony beyond the Earth, i.e. the moon or Mars, as 'domesday protection'. Also, if we're resigned to admitting that the world we live in is broken (war, greed etc.) then it might also be sensible to start-over, as it were, somewhere else.

    But even that's talking 100+ years ahead of our time, minimum.
    No, cavemen did not try to cross oceans using rafts made out of stones and hair. That's the comparison we're making. There is no way we're ready for harvesting minerals off of other planets etc.
     
  8. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

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    #8
    Well the biggest driving force behind European exploration was trade…
    Fastest way to the East to get the spices and other goodies.
    It was not out of any altruistic concern — it was all about making a quick buck.
    So staying at home and helping out by burying the dead of the latest plague outbreak wasn't really on the agenda.

    As far as I can see we're not expecting to do much trading with Titans or Martians (yet). :)

    Exactly right.
     
  9. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #9
    And that's my point - I'm not against it, it's just that we're not even close to having the capacity to do it properly yet. As a result, let's focus on issues here at home.

    Exactly, that's pretty much the exact example I was going to use.

    Just think about the feasibility of space travel as we understand it. The amount of fuel it takes (physical propulsion), the amount of time it takes (physical measurement), the vastness of space (physical distances) - space exploration right now is infeasible with our current model of physics and our primitive technology. In general, it's due to our extremely limited knowledge and understanding of how the universe really works. Our grasp of physics right now is flawed and very narrow and essentially only half the picture - if that. We cannot hope to succeed until we push beyond our current beliefs and models which will take a long time at our current pace.
     
  10. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #10
  11. Scooterman1 macrumors 6502a

    Scooterman1

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    #11
    Isn't ANY of the Baby Generation required to study common things in school anymore.

    If it wasn't for the space program, you wouldn't be writing this online!! Do some research! I won't even attempt to list the technology that came from the EARLY days of the space program for I feel it would just fall on deaf ears. I'm not picking on you, but you 'Can't' be serious with you statement about "impact to better human life"
     
  12. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

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    #12
    To be fair, at the rate we're buggering up this planet we need to be looking for new ones we can move to.
     
  13. BoyBach macrumors 68040

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    #13

    And there was I believing that Tim Berners-Lee invented the internet as a tool for his fellow CERN-ers to share and update their research with each other.

    As for a benefit of the NASA program, imagine life without WD40!
     
  14. kwood macrumors 6502a

    kwood

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    #14
    Really humans should just wait until the year 2063 before any serious space exploration ensues. Then we won't have to worry about war and poverty, and we can just focus on the final frontier.
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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  16. dstrauss macrumors regular

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    #16
    Just look up at the screen, and down at the keyboard, you are playing with to see firsthand the space program's impact on human life over the last 50 years. This permeates most every technical aspect of our lives.
     
  17. Roric macrumors regular

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    #17
    How about structural analysis, air quality monitoring, virtual reality, enriched baby food, water purification, scratch resistant lenses, portable coolers, athletic shoes, shock absorbing helmets, smoke detectors, composite golf clubs, quartz crystal timing equipment. Or maybe telemetry systems, fire resistant material, pacemaker, digital imaging breast biopsy system, ocular screening, MRI, portable x-ray, invisible braces, ultrasound scanners, engine lubricant, interactive computer training, wireless communication. Also emergency rescue cutters, fireman air tanks, Doppler radar, airline wheelchairs, electric cars, windshear prediction.

    These and more can be found at http://www.thespaceplace.com/nasa/spinoffs.html.

    As for how much money is spent on space exploration, the same site mentioned above states, "Out of a $2.4 trillion budget, less than 0.8% is spent on the entire space program! That's less than 1 penny for every dollar spent. The average American spends more of their budget on their cable bill, eating out or entertainment than this..."
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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  19. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #19

    Great list of inventions and innovations from the space race. However, NASA had nothing to do with the inventions of teflon, velcro or duct tape.
     
  20. Roric macrumors regular

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    #20
    Yep you are correct. I thought they were, but just looked them up. All 3 were around before the space program. I will correct my post.
     
  21. soberbrain macrumors 65816

    soberbrain

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    #21
    Good list. Thanks for the link. Definitely, great inventions that help.

    I agree it's R & D that brought these ideas to life and that money spent on R & D is necessary, but why not focus NASA in just R & D to solve the actual issues on earth.

    Regarding the R & D budget, how much of the 0.8% ($19.2 Billion) for the space program is used in traveling into deep space. This money could be used for further R & D, creating more jobs in R & D and for faster results that we could still use for spin-off applications.
     
  22. theBB macrumors 68020

    theBB

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    #22
    If space exploration did not start, we would not have communication, weather or earth monitoring satellites, would not know that much about sun's effect on our atmosphere or the ozone layer exactly etc. Science has a way of helping you back even if you don't know how it will do so in advance.
     
  23. Antares macrumors 68000

    Antares

    #23
    But that's exactly why we should be sending probes and people into space. You advance technology and understanding by going after something, not by ignoring it. Let's say we abandon space exploration and research for 50 years and focus on Earth's social issues. 50 years later, are we going to suddenly, magically have the capacity and knowledge for space exploration...having done no research and testing involving space for those 50 years?

    We don't have the capacity to send men to other star systems right now...or even really beyond the moon. But how would we ever get to that point if we don't push that knowledge and technology to be developed? Necessity is one of the greatest drivers of innovation and development. The space race, in the middle of the 20th century, pushed us from having not a single man-made object outside of Earth's atmosphere to being able to land humans on the moon...all in a matter of a few decades. The urgency to outdo the Soviets pushed us to create the technology that allowed us to do just that. Where would we be if we waited to go into space until we had the technology for artificial gravity or cheap propulsion systems to get man-made objects out of the atmosphere? We would never have developed satellites yet...that would mean no GPS, no fast world-wide communication, no live tv, no weather satellites, etc., etc..

    What we need is not to ignore space and "focus on issues at home." Instead, we should push more towards space. What we need is another space race. That would give us the incentive to develop the "capacity" to go into space and to "do it properly," as you insist. We're not going to develop that technology and knowledge by sitting on our hands.

    How could we have ever created the car if we didn't develop the wagon, first? We may not have the capacity to fully handle space properly...yet...but if we don't develop the framework and gain the experience of being there, now, how will we be prepared to do so in the future? That capacity will not just magically appear.
     
  24. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #24
    One could say the same for art. What's the point?

    On the other hand you might argue that science, understanding the universe and art is the whole point of life. Eating and making money and medicine are only enablers that allow you to do what's truly important.

    As for better use of money. Some one pointed out when Pathfinder landed on Mars the it cost less to go to Mars then Kevin Kosner had spent to film "Water World". I think NASA got better value for it's money. In the grand scheme of things NASA does not spend much money. As a nation we spend far more on stuff like Starbuck coffee and Hollywood flops then space.

    Now about the part of social programs. We spent far more then 10 times NASA's budget on that already. If we were to shut down NASA and give that money away to poor people each of those poor people would get maybe $12 a year. They'd still be poor. The problem is the numbers. A billion dollars sounds like a lot of money but with 300,000,000 people living in the US that comes to only $3.33 per person.
     
  25. ~Shard~ macrumors P6

    ~Shard~

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    #25
    Very good points, and I don't disagree. My issue is that we need a fundamental shift of thinking in order to make space exploration feasible. This isn't simply a matter of waiting for technology to give us more powerful rocket engines, faster smarter computer chips and the like - I'm talking about a significant departure from physics as we know and understand it - and I simply don't believe we as humans are mature enough to handle "thinking outside the box" in that manner yet. Alternate theories of physics are laughed at, dismissed by many, quantum mechanics, I could go on.

    And for the record, I am not syaing that spending money on space-related initiatives has been useless - as others have pointed out, many great inventions and advancements have come from it - I'm just referring more to space travel and exploration itself. By all means, continue conducting experiements in space and such... Without outside intervention or proper disclosure from the military and the UN at least as a start though, I just don't see us advancing as a civilization to the required level of awareness and so forth for a long time... :(
     

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