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astro girl

on Mars

I do not begrudge Curiosity or the money spent to send it to Mars. It's not all that much dough, it's not all that far, it's not trying to get humans into space, so I'm for it.

But my slapping hand itches whenever I see anyone try to justify its cost with "what happens when we run out of planet?" or "we may have to go to Mars someday!" That's when I want to take all the $$$ and spend it on, I dunno, solar power or something global-warming-related instead. Stop smoking those old pulp pages, folks, it's not good for you.

Comments

I'm absolutely for space exploration and sending humans into space--I don't see it as an either or proposition with environmental spending. But when it comes to the idea of space colonization, clean up your own damn planet first before you EVEN THINK of living on someone else's planet. Because if I saw you coming to make a mess of my planet, like you're doing with your own, I'd turn you into crispy dust before you could say, "yay, space colonization!" The term "colonization" itself should give one pause with the history we have to associate with it.

I've had this argument with my brother who sees going to other planets as back up in case we destroy our own--NO, this planet is not fucking disposable! Tikkun olam, baby, it's our job to fix this one. I don't see exploring space as contrary to that healing, especially with the technologies that come out of the space program that can be applied to environmental preservation.
I'm OK with sending humans into orbit. But I am dubious about the advantages of human space exploration vs. remote space exploration. Otherwise, yes with an underline to all this. Double underline on the colonization tip.
I think we're on the same page about which attitudes towards space exploration are harmful. But since we live in a culture that puts more resources toward bombing people than sending people into space, I'm not worried about NASA spending its small budget frivolously on sending humans where remote imaging will do just as good a job.

However, for the jobs that do require a human to go, it's worth it not just for the fun of someone stepping onto a new place, but the fun of the problem. Figuring out technologies to allow someone to survive and thrive on a long mission is a fun problem to solve. And solutions that may be devised may be of benefit for more prosaic problems to think about that will help our planet's environment. These solutions could be ones we might not have thought of without the more fun problem of space exploration motivating us. That's happened before. Fun is such a big generator of creativity, I don't think the "but exploring space is fun" factor is one to dismiss, as long as the possible harmful impacts of the act are being considered.

Sorry for babbling on about this. You got me thinking and starting to collect links where space technology has been applied to environmental problems.
Yup, both from the environmental and the overpopulation perspectives. Fouled your own nest? Tough, live with it.

Plus that whole trope of finding and Earth-like planet that 'no one else' is using -- if it's Earth-like, it's got to have some living creatures on it, who, y'know, might like it just fine the way it is. I don't think I regret the sensawunda SF of my youth, but ugh, the creepy manifest destiny assumptions. To be fair, some number of them did deal with 'Oops, someone else is here already." But so many just assume the human race has spread like a plague over all habitable worlds.