While I understand the emotional appeal and inspirational aspects of space exploration much of what people believe the "benefits" are is false.
Originally Posted by AboveAlpha
For example safety glass was actually "accidently" invented in 1903 by Edouard Benedictus, a French scientist, working in his laboratory was developed for the emerging auto industry and had nothing to do with space exploration. The fact that safety glass was not mandated under the law for use in automobiles until decades later is a rather moot point.
We don't use crystals grown in micro-gravity in our telecommunication devices. There was scientific knowledge gained in space related to crystalline growth in micro-gravity but there are not manufacturing plants in space producing these crystals for commercial use. Perhaps the greatest development of crystalline growth relates to "foam metals" that can be produced in space but not on Earth and someday we'll use them as they are as strong or stronger than solid metal structures at a fraction of the weight. When that manufacturing in space becomes commercially viable then private industry will do it without any need for taxpayer funding.
Most "inventions" that people believe were developed for or by space exploration existed before space exploration. There has been very little actual innovation driven by space exploration.
As noted we already have the technology to go to the moon or to Mars so no technical innovation is necessary related to it. The problem is that we can't do it cost effectively. For example the future designs for colonizing Mars require nuclear fusion which we don't currently have but we're working on it. Adding "space exploration" as another potential use of nuclear fusion, when providing unlimited non-polluting low cost electrical energy to all of mankind is already the driver behind the development, really has no meaning.
What government funded space exploration really reflects is corporate welfare as the government funds private enterprise research and development programs that should be funded by private enterprise. It literally dumps billions of dollars into the already overfull pockets of the wealthy owners of the private corporations that engage in the research and development. We can even look at communication satellites that we unquestionably benefit from but originally this were subsidized when the private corporations used government launch systems and the infrastructure but were only charged a fraction of the total costs associated with the placing of the satellite into orbit. The stockholders of companies like AT&T and Sprint loved the corporate dividends and increase in their stock values due to the government subsidized satellite launches. Why would we want to make them richer when they could have afforded to pay 100% of the costs?
Private, not publically funded, space exploration is what needs to be advocated because it is cost effective and provides the same benefits to society.
Last edited by Shiva_TD; Nov 17 2013 at 04:23 AM.
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