One of the long-running challenges faced by proponents of space exploration has been finding compelling reasons to sell such efforts—particularly big-ticket government programs—to the general public. This is a challenge because in the United States there are few coherent attitudes about space. The prevailing attitude might best be classified as apathy. Jeff Foust of The Space Review talks a bit about a recent forum held on Capitol Hill: What’s the value of space? This is one of those questions that literally boggles the mind. For those of us who view space the way others might view… well… God, it’s hard to even frame a response. So what is the value of space? I’d love to hear how all of you would answer that question. If you’re not too shy or apathetic why not answer in comments?

Further space linkage for today:

NASA offers Planet Quest, the search for another earth (flash presentation)  which rounds up information on 8 separate up-coming missions. Here is the homepage.

NASA’s Constellation Program is “getting to work on the new spacecraft that will return humans to the moon and blaze a trail to Mars and beyond.” Here is a nifty flash presentation.

After a decade’s work, physicists are flying an antimatter observatory. PAMELA.

They all see it. It comes and goes. Could it be that it’s alive? From clues to hypotheses, the forensic investigation of the dark dune spots of Mars. Via.

Lastly, a nice alphabetical way to browse the major space artifacts on display in the National Air and Space Museum.

06.20. filed under: link dump. space.

Unfortunately, my girlfriend is one of those people who doesn’t believe in space exploration and feels that money would be better spent here on earth fighting hunger or aids.  She has a point.  But having parents who are both scientists, and myself having a never ending passion for knowledge and exploration the idea that space is better left alone baffles me.  Unfortunately, I can’t come up with any good arguments, so thank you for posting this, I’m eager to hear some good answers.  Space exploration does sometimes seem like a very selfish endeavor, the only argument I know of is the one made for all of the offshoot technology like digital watches and plastics that come from throwing all your money towards a demanding goal like going into space.  I’m looking forward to being enlightened.



“Idilic” – unfortunately I’m not a great speller, sorry to pollute your posts like that, but I went to public school, so what can I say.

posted on 06.21 at 11:51 AMnymous

Nutshell reply: Earth’s riches are vast, yet Earth is but a grain of sand in a great beach. Isn’t that value enough??!?!??!?!?!??!?

posted on 06.21 at 09:24 PM.

What’s the value of space? It’s where you can put stuff.  Like bombs.

Or else we could put all of our bio-hazards on to a space ship and send it hurling into the sun. Throwing nuclear waste into the star is like throwing a lit match into a forest fire. No harm done.

I’m not so enthusiastic about space colonization, as was mentioned in the prior articles criticizing Steven Hawkings, there is some doubt as to how well that would actually work. Once we’re in another gravity, specifically one that is significantly lower, a lot of of our physiological functions that rely on gravity are going to be compromised. On the up-side however people who complain of their sagging whatevers in their old age would probably not sag as quickly.

Still, when its all said and done, people complain about the price. However I don’t believe that people have compared the everyday cost of the war machine (never mind the current situation) to the price of space exploration. It is very small in comparison.

What we need here is a verifiable threat from the Martians. Oh yeah, they’re testing their anti-matter laser distructo-beam even as we speak. The British told us so.

posted on 06.22 at 02:06 PMAl.

Slippery slopes away….
What was the value of early humans leaving Africa (if you are indeed an “out of Africa” believer), why did early explorers set out for new land (to find a short way to Indian silk and spices, you get it) Well why the hell shouldn’t we spend our money on fantastic things? Why would we pool our collective resources together to fight the worldly scurge of hunger and AIDS? Because fighting hunger makes less sense to us than sending rockets to the Moon and Mars, there need not be other reasons than that. We are in a galactic pissing contest I imagine. However wrong or right it may be those who have had resources enough to help the whole lot of humanity with their benevolence are the exception and not the rule. Space exploration is pretty cool, cooler than some hungry, sick, old…. Im kidding, hardly so vicious.

P.S. Sending nuclear waste to space will never be done, we can hardly keep a ship from exploding pre-launch, let alone attempt sending into the atmosphere.

P.S.S. I bet we have all bought more I-Tunes songs than purchased hot coffee for a chilli NYC homeless man in the middle of winter.

posted on 06.27 at 03:11 PM.

We live in space. That’s enough of a reason to get to know as much as we can about it…

posted on 07.26 at 10:41 PM.

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