Our post today came about after Lamo watched a documentary on the planned Orion mission to Mars. In order to give you context around our thoughts we give you an extract from a paper that claims Space Exploration benefits mankind.
“There is no activity on Earth that matches the unique challenges of space exploration. The first fifty years of space activity have generated benefits for people around the globe. This past record gives strong reason for confidence that renewed investments in space exploration will have similarly positive impacts for future generations.”
We take issue with this in that if this is true then how come in the last 50 years we have not made an impact on world famine, third world poverty, climate change. In fact most, if not all, of these have these have gotten worse in the last five decades!
Orion, the manned mission to Mars is going to cost around $217.4 billion (£172,927m). Correct me if we are wrong but this one single space program could fund scientific research into food production in starving third world countries rather than how to enable eight people to fly across the solar system to, well to do what exactly? The money alone eats at our very being in this supposed great innovation platform that betters the world for us.
Whilst watching the documentary on the Orion mission they were making a huge thing about how immensely powerful the rockets to get this frankly wasteful payload into space are. As Lamo watched this long cylindrical engine blowing out some number of millions of pounds of thrust in flame, he had the following thought. He wondered how much electricity that could generate if used in a country that has none? We mean just look at the energy doing absolutely nothing but moving some dial on a loading meter somewhere saying, “Hey I can get 100 tonnes and eight humans into space.”
We say, how much electricity could you generate in places that need water purifiers, or powered medical facilities etc. to save the children that charities are constantly showing us on TV? Now that’s a true benefit!
Also it struck us there is huge waste of the elements Oxygen and Hydrogen, around 730,000 gallons of super cooled liquid versions. This is just the one core booster. If you think about all the other US space programs, all doing the same testing, all using these limited resources up. Then multiply that by all the other countries around the world with their space programs, that’s got to add up to a lot of rich beneficial breathable O2 we no longer have here?
It isn’t as though we are not wasting the rather valuable Oxygen already by us poisoning the seas, deforestation and other harmful activities and yet we burn it in these tests! Then more in launching this ship to achieve what exactly? Ok we must be fair and say these two elements being burnt produce only water vapour as a waste product. (Well apart from all that smoke).
Here is yet another benefit they claim is due to space exploration.
“Maintaining the health of astronauts as they explore beyond Low Earth Orbit and conduct missions of many months or years will require increasingly sophisticated methods. Telemedicine provides medical care to patients who may be located far away from medical providers.”
Let us take this supposed innovation. It is true that in May 1965 NASA did propose their IMBLMS (Integrated Medical Behavioral Laboratory Measurement System) program. But it was originally ten year earlier, in 1955, that the University of Nebraska in conjunction with Ron Dutton who were the first to use closed circuit television and radio transmitted records for treating psychiatric patients. (Telemedicine). It was not an innovation of NASA, I don’t argue that their program developed it much further from the mid sixties onwards.
Yet with the technology development pace in the last fifty years and in no small part, the Internet, these advances in remote diagnostics for medical care would have developed to where they are today anyway I believe.
Second they talk about caring for people in a micro gravity environment. Correct me if we are wrong but don’t nearly 8 billion other people all live within the pull of the Earths gravity?
Now here is another thing, air recycling solutions that keep the astronauts alive during their two year journey or what ever it is. Very advanced, keep their life giving breathable air clean so they arrive all fresh faced on Mars. If space exploration were to give one thing back, then why have these not been scaled up to scrub the polluted air of major cities? That would be giving back something of high benefit to us would it not?
Why are we using space exploration as an excuse to say it is needed to drive innovation? Are there not enough serious issues on our planet that need solving first with this huge amount of resource that is being given over to going to a dead planet? Is not the survival of the human race even more of a driver for these innovations? To me we have our priorities completely with the wrong focus here!
It boggles our minds when they say that the missions help us understand the development of the Solar system, we give you this quote, from the same paper;
“In recent years, a number of agencies have conducted robotic space missions that have uncovered new knowledge about the solar system’s past and present and are providing clues to help humankind understand how life began on Earth.”
All very nice but it does not solve the problem with the way life is dwindling on this planet right now does it? How does it solve famine, disease, poverty, over population, someone please explain this to me? (No didn’t think you could!).
They have developed high protein food sachets that keep astronauts fed during these missions. Why have these not been mass produced to send out to the third world countries where children are starving to death? Why are these kept to the domain of expensive space travel?
Again they can recycle the air and water within a space craft, where in the world this this is actually desperately needed has it been deployed to the benefit of the human race? How about cleaning the air in and around our major metropolitan areas first, help seriously reduce those harmful greenhouse gases that are destroying this world?
We do not need the space exploration excuse to drive these desperately needed technologies, we can look at our own home, the Earth, for this. The world is dying, is this not enough to drive all the innovative organisations, not just NASA to develop technologies that actually do benefit the human race?
Regardless of the last fifty years, lets go back to the original, “Space Race” between the then two super powers of the US and Russia. This was not about the benefit of the human race, it was about dominating the cold war. The ability to be able to get a nuclear arsenal payload to the others cities, no more no less. It was from this that the ability to explore space was actually born, think about that!
Yes, maybe today’s space exploration will show us that we could eventually colonise Mars but don’t we need a human race that can survive on Earth first to do this.
We think this should be aptly renamed, “The Space Waste”.
Here’s a thought, using all the money and resources poured into Space Exploration, why don’t we use this to first save our own species along with planet Earth from destruction before we have no one left to actually go to colonise Mars?
(c) Harlin & Lamo The Lion
The Paper on Beneifts Of Space Exploration – This one is by NASA themselves!