APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Chris Peterson
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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun May 09, 2021 10:24 pm

Wadsworth wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 10:15 pm
Chris Peterson wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 8:05 pm
johnnydeep wrote:
Sun May 09, 2021 7:39 pm


Of course, many would say the same thing for the (unmanned) JWST. But not me! :ssmile:
At ten times the cost, it would still be worth it.

I can find some logic in both of your arguments. I feel that the majority of endeavors which humanity seeks out have their intrinsic value. Robotic and manned space travel should hold value as much as anything else we’ve set out to do, and succeeded in. I also think the time was right in the 60’s,70’s, etc. for the Government to pave the way where no private enterprise could. And now the time is ripe for private enterprise to take the lead and push forward.

Following the various robotic exploration missions and rovers has been quite exciting, but it will be spellbinding on an entirely different level to follow the first manned Mars exploration crew.

It is ingrained in us (at least some of us) to find out what is just over the next hill, the next mountain, the next planet. And put our ‘boots’ there.

-Nick-
There are a few financially exploitable areas involving space, such as asteroid mining and various commercial satellite markets, such as Earth observation and communications. There is virtually no role for private enterprise in the scientific exploration of the Solar System or the Universe, outside of acting as contractors to public agencies.

A manned mission to Mars would certainly be exciting. But also expensive and useless. It shouldn't be done by the government. And it won't be done by private industry for any purpose other than a vanity project.
Chris

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JohnD
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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by JohnD » Mon May 10, 2021 9:02 am

Extraordinary, Chris! By your argument, Ferdinand and Isabella should not have used public funds, the Royal income from meadieval taxation, to fund that crazy Italian sailor.

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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by bystander » Mon May 10, 2021 1:06 pm

JohnD wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 9:02 am
Extraordinary, Chris! By your argument, Ferdinand and Isabella should not have used public funds, the Royal income from meadieval taxation, to fund that crazy Italian sailor.
What a ridiculous statement. Regardless of whether or not Columbus deserved funding, robots just weren't available then. Chris's argument is that so much more can be done for less using robots. The cost of human space exploration is prohibitive.
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Chris Peterson
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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon May 10, 2021 1:38 pm

JohnD wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 9:02 am
Extraordinary, Chris! By your argument, Ferdinand and Isabella should not have used public funds, the Royal income from meadieval taxation, to fund that crazy Italian sailor.
They weren't paying for abstract knowledge. They were paying for a shorter route to the Indies. It was an investment. They hoped for huge commercial success.

That's a poor parallel to sending humans anywhere off the Earth.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by JohnD » Mon May 10, 2021 2:57 pm

OK, ignore that, but insert search for the North and South Poles, in particular "The Worst Journey in the World" of Apsley Cherry-Garrard. This was a side trip to Scott's tragic South Pole attempt, that was to take Emperor penguin eggs, laid on the sea-ice in deepest Antarctic winter. No robot could recover them, but study of the embryos was considered essential to the science of the relative evolution of birds and reptiles. The expedition was indeed the "worst in the world" and the three men on it barely survived. Cherry-Garrad was still too ill to go with Scott the next summer. Lucky for him

That by the time the expedition returned to civilisation, theory had moved on and the penguin eggs were of no interest to laboratory scientists, has no influence on the value of the expedition, in human terms. It was as heroic, self-sacrificing and inspiring as any astronaut's, and I include Shepard and Apollo 13.

Do read Cherry-Gerrad's story if you haven't: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14363 (it's also available as audio- and videobook)
Or watch this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdBT670 ... toryMuseum

If that doesn't make you think that human exploration is always worthwhile, then ... well you're still human, but you don't get something about us!

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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon May 10, 2021 3:27 pm

JohnD wrote:
Mon May 10, 2021 2:57 pm
OK, ignore that, but insert search for the North and South Poles, in particular "The Worst Journey in the World" of Apsley Cherry-Garrard. This was a side trip to Scott's tragic South Pole attempt, that was to take Emperor penguin eggs, laid on the sea-ice in deepest Antarctic winter. No robot could recover them, but study of the embryos was considered essential to the science of the relative evolution of birds and reptiles. The expedition was indeed the "worst in the world" and the three men on it barely survived. Cherry-Garrad was still too ill to go with Scott the next summer. Lucky for him

That by the time the expedition returned to civilisation, theory had moved on and the penguin eggs were of no interest to laboratory scientists, has no influence on the value of the expedition, in human terms. It was as heroic, self-sacrificing and inspiring as any astronaut's, and I include Shepard and Apollo 13.

Do read Cherry-Gerrad's story if you haven't: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/14363 (it's also available as audio- and videobook)
Or watch this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdBT670 ... toryMuseum

If that doesn't make you think that human exploration is always worthwhile, then ... well you're still human, but you don't get something about us!
Almost all government funded exploration of the Earth has been with the intent of exploiting resources, acquiring territory, or demonstrating political power to other countries. It is only in recent times that we've seen public funds devoted to advancing science, largely for the sake of science. Of acquiring knowledge with little expectation of commercial value. Which is a great thing.

There is plenty of room for human exploration. But where it returns neither commercial opportunity nor significant scientific value (as with most manned space concepts) I see no reason for public funding.
Chris

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Re: APOD: Mercury-Redstone 3 Launch (2021 May 07)

Post by MarkBour » Mon May 10, 2021 10:22 pm

Love this discussion. Here's a tongue-in-cheek take on motivations. For decades, some car manufacturers have been drawn to building race cars, as a way of learning more to improve their consumer vehicles. Or perhaps just for the prestige that it might bring among potential buyers (or because of their love of the engineering involved). Anyway, the occasional automotive company has delved into aircraft, or certainly aircraft parts, for similar motivations.
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(Ford and SAAB for example)

In the new millennium, Tesla just decided they could raise the bar, so to speak.
My other car is a starship.
-- E. Musk
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Mark Goldfain