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June 12, 2005

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Brak

A documentary that is being shown here in Australia about crewed exploration of the solar system says, "The desire to explore the unknown is at the heart of the human spirit." You would think that not dying would be an even stronger desire at the heart of the human spirit, wouldn't you? Risking lives to explore space when robots could do it more cheaply sounds like a bad idea. Spinning the cylinder of a revolver with one bullet in it and then pressing it against someone's head and pulling the trigger because it gives you a thrill sounds like attempted murder to me. Sending humans instead of robots because it satifies some emotional need seems uncomfortably similar.

Peter

Well, the humans do go voluntarily, so "attempted murder" does not sound like an appropriate description. I don't have anything against human space exploration other than using it, and its huge expense, as an excuse for gutting much more useful endeavors.

I admit my comment was probably over the top Peter. I'm sorry, but I'm feeling particulary squeamish about people dying at the moment. I'll try to tone down my rants a little.

Peter

Please rant away. That is part of what these things are for, anyway!

Brak

Oh good! I'd like to rant about how much I was in love with space travel when I was young and how I completely swollowed the line about how crewed space travel contributed to science. Now that I'm all grown up and realize that I've been lied to, that sending people into space stripped money from scientific research, I'm one bitter member of generation X. I've reconciled myself to the fact that I'm never going to be an astronaut, and I'll gladly contribute money to find out if there is life on mars, but I don't want to contribute to paying to shoot people into space just for the hell of it. I'll offer a prize of $10 (to be collected in person) to anyone who can think of anything humans can do in space more cheaply than robots. (And no, have sex doesn't count.)

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