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March 23, 2010
Posted: 1418 GMT

The UK government has announced that the country will spend nearly $60 million on the creation of a new space agency that it says will help fulfill its ambitions in outer space.

Should we bother exploring space?

The agency will be a hub for the country's space activity and scientists will study data generated by earth observation satellites and analyze information to understand the effects of climate change.

The agency will also focus on advising on the security and resilience of space systems around the world.

The space industry supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the UK and contributes nearly $9 billion to the economy.

The move by the UK government to commit millions of dollars to the space industry is in stark contrast to a recent decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to scrap it's lunar program.

NASA's Constellation program had sought to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020.

Constellation also intended to study the idea of establishing a moon colony. The program was set to follow the U.S. space agency's shuttle missions, which are due to end in September.

Instead of building new spacecraft of its own, NASA is planning to invest in space technology research and spend $6 billion to pay private space groups to develop and build new rockets to take astronauts into orbit.

The plan leaves many open questions about the future of U.S. space travel, including if and when NASA will ever build rockets of its own again, when astronauts will return to space and in what kind of spacecraft.

We want to know what you think.

Do you think it's worth spending billions of dollars in space exploration? Should we bother going back to the moon?

Filed under: Business •Quest Means Business


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César Cremonesi   March 23rd, 2010 2:34 pm ET

In a planet under climate crisis, entire populations in hunger, civil wars, war on terror, AIDS and other epidemies, I'd say no. Let's clean up the house first, say for the next 500 years, then we go catch rocks one godzillion kilometers from here or whatever they wanna do there.

César

RaduBT   March 23rd, 2010 2:44 pm ET

Yes, we should bother a lot. And not only to the Moon..

We could save the earth, make power and move the stars in the same time. Have a look here (link) to see how.
:)

And yes, it is NOT a joke. This could actually be done but ONLY if you let the private interest to do it's part without any interference from the goverment.

pentrax mul   March 23rd, 2010 2:47 pm ET

the only question I have is why has it taken so long to get the world to come together and as one people learn and study what is out there? The space race has been and ISS should be the international flagship.
copetition is good but know we have had a slowdown in Space tech since the beginning of the 1990's( or end of the cold war). should people be thinking of short term profit from these ventures? Or is it better to be realistic and have long term profit goals for the neo space race?

k.m.   March 23rd, 2010 3:22 pm ET

My answer is NO,NO,NO!!
Human beings do not cotrol mother nature. What make you, people
think Earth is only for human beings? We share the precious natures with all kinds of animals, birds and fauna flora,
We destoyed the nature on the earth, and now people say, save the
earth? Hah?!
Look! earthquake, flood, fire, syclone, don't you understand why these things happen lateley? It is because of US,stupid human beings.
Now, our island gets yakky sand storm all the way from
North-Beijin!!!!!! NO THANK YOU, CHINA!!!

ivan   March 23rd, 2010 3:33 pm ET

we are several hundred years away technologically from exploiting other worlds and 50 000 years away(travelling time) from the closest star to our sun. Outer space is not the priority of the day. We need to address many issue- ignorance, fanaticism, etc. first. And if we are still around and have nothing better to do to while away the time, then O.K., go chasing ET

Dimitris   March 23rd, 2010 3:34 pm ET

The point that most people are missing is that the whole investment for space exploration does not only return "rocks (from) one godzillion kilometers from here". Just think of all the innovations made as part of the space exploration that made their way to everyday life: like more efficient insulation to save energy, more lightweight solar panels, new more efficient water purification systems etc etc. So I would say an emphatic "yes" to spending money for space exploration.
As far as going back to the moon it also sounds like a good idea. The Apollo missions explored a very limited part of it, not enough to show what one may find there. It was only recently shown that there is water on the moon! So, who knows what else may be there? We should go and find out!

Joseph FitzGerald   March 23rd, 2010 3:41 pm ET

To compare Britain’s space ambitions and funding with the United States is ludicrous. Great Britain spends $300 million a year on space, NASA’s budget is 19,000 million (19 Billion) dollars a year.

Britain’s space program funding is the lowest of the great powers, for example France's space budget is seven times larger than Britain's at 2.1 Billion a year. Obama just gave NASA a funding increase of more than 1.2 billion dollars a year, a raise that, all by itself is four times Britain's entire space budget.

Richard Duncan   March 23rd, 2010 3:47 pm ET

I was raised around the space program and have always believed that if there was a need to put satellites in to space private industry could do it cheaper and better.
On the other hand, space exploration will probably have to be done by government. The risk reward for individual companies is to high.
Why would a company want to go to Mars or the Moon, Pluto not profit, unless subsidized by the government.
The space program has created many industries and made a lot of people rich.

Stas   March 23rd, 2010 4:02 pm ET

How many of you use velcro? Do you know how it came to be?

How many of you have relatives in another continent? Do you know how you communicate with them?

Space exploration is a goal. The technological advancements that have been made in relation to exploration (including race to space) are second only to those made in relation to war and killing.

Taking the above into consideration, if I was given the choice, I'd urge every government on Earth to fund space exploration.

Gregory K   March 23rd, 2010 4:10 pm ET

It does worth !
As the scientist say planet earth has an expired date and that date comes even closer as long as we treat the environment that way
So is not a bad idea to have an alternative when the time has come in the very.... very long future

GreenNovember   March 23rd, 2010 4:10 pm ET

Yes we need to go back and move into space. Humanity needs to ween off of mother earth. She has given us everything we need shelter, energy, and food. Now it is time for our species to evolve and us technology to bring us to another plato. If not then Mother Earth will use tuff love to make us. Ex: Katrina, Haiti and the Tsunami of 2004.
Orbiting space stations and colonizing the moon will be our quick stop before venturing out even further in to the vastness of the great unknown to search for known and unknown elements. Creating a new work force and job opportunities for the bold and brave.

swyck   March 23rd, 2010 4:15 pm ET

Yes, definitely. We need to explore space to keep increasing our knowledge. IMO we won't solve our problems on earth until we can look at them from the outside.

Aaron Fisher   March 23rd, 2010 4:15 pm ET

Is it possible that evolution created man kind through survival of the fittest and perhaps our purpose is to use our knowledge to protect the earth from a threat that wiped out our predecessors the dinosaurs. So yes we need to be aware of what is out there to some degree..

Nigel   March 23rd, 2010 4:17 pm ET

Exploring space could bring untold benefit to this planet in the future. From discovering new fuels that can be used on Earth to preventing mass disasters such as collisions with meteors. It is crucial that we go deeper. into Space and learn more

AndrewJ   March 23rd, 2010 4:19 pm ET

Yes, of course space should be explored. Nature gave us this intelligence for a reason – and I believe we are nature's solution for spreading life on this planet to other locations in the universe. Right now we are completely dependent on this planet and the Sun for our existence. In a few billion years, the Sun is going to destroy Mercury, Venus and the Earth as it expands due to 'old age'. Life on Earth will cease to exist as this happens, so if we don't colonize somewhere else by then, all that we have done and will do will be for nothing. We still have lots of time, but we might as well start our quest to exist beyond the boundaries of this planet now, as we don't know how long it will take us to develop that kind of technology and whether or not we will need resources on other planets to achieve our goal.

Don H   March 23rd, 2010 4:28 pm ET

Here's the thing: We may find something out there that just may help us, then again, we may find something out there that just may help wipe us out. Our knowledge is so limited, I tend to agree that we should clean up our own planet first and then we'll see about exploring other planets.

k.m.   March 23rd, 2010 4:29 pm ET

Since 1994, almost a dozen Astronauts joined to NASA to fly and spent millions & millionns of dollars of tax payers money.
Here in Japan,I failed to fugure out the exact amounts wasted to the space explorations for more than a decade. For us, the ordinary people, it is hard to understand what is so good about the space exploration. After we destroyed the earth,will we move to another
planet and destroy it again?

César Cremonesi   March 23rd, 2010 4:31 pm ET

@ Dimitris And my point is there are people dying for stupid reasons while you're "insulating efficiently" ROFLMAO.

Shuvankar Mukherjee   March 23rd, 2010 4:35 pm ET

Space exploration is needed to understand our planet better, which would help in running our everyday life in a better way. Not a penny spent in space research is worthless.

If I say, we are putting the first steps to interplanetary mining, then lots of businessmen's eyes will sparkle. Not just tomorrow, maybe in 500 years time.

By the way, Obama has not scrapped the lunar program altogether, merely outsourced it to ISRO in India. Good for us!

Chris Hyman   March 23rd, 2010 4:37 pm ET

First of all, it's a little silly to question investment in the space program through the use of e-mails and computers, which would not be near their current level of development (if indeed, personal computers would even be around) without the space program. The miniaturization of electronics, in addition to tremendous advances in integrated chips and circuitry, which eventually led to much of the technology we have today, came about as a result of the space program technological needs. Much of this information is being transmitted by satellite by the way. Do you ever fly, or use any transport that relies on navigation? What about weather? Medical diagnostic and monitoring advances (mostly because of the manned portion of the program), effective wireless data transmission, the list is almost endless. Certainly, some of these might have occurred without the program, though most would be not nearly as advanced.

Spending the money elsewhere would yield little. It's a pittance compared to most major programs, and the money would probably yield less in benefit if applied directly. One example, even in the early years, the estimated crop and property savings due to early warning and more accurate weather forecasts exceeded the cost of the space program at the time (which was a much higher percentage of the national budget than our current program).

The future. . . two possibilities of hundreds . . . the Moon has an abundance of Helium 3, which may well be the clean fuel of the future. This may well be the primary reason that China, India, and the European Space Agency have announced their intent to colonize the Moon, and may be one of the motivations for England and Germany ramping up their own programs a bit. The Russian device which converts urine and sweat to drinking water (which may sound gross to some, but it's the way the world works), may one day, in evolved version, supply drinking water in extremely arid areas or those with high pollution.

Space Program technology is now part of our daily life, and the technology developed will continue to help provide the solutions to current and future problems.

charles   March 23rd, 2010 4:55 pm ET

well there is exploring and maned exploring . i would like to see some
space telescopes such as a deep space hubbell put out in several directions that would go to our nearest galaxies and return some
good pictures of what they look like besides just a bunch of lights shining . do we need to send people to anouther planet or galaxie
i dont think so we dont have a fast enough transport system developed to be able to sustain life going out into deep space
and i dont think that bringing rock from mars or the moon servers any real purpose .if we cant find a place that supports life then going there doesent solve anything.

sammieb51   March 23rd, 2010 5:07 pm ET

Space ... the last great frontier .... I think as a civilization we first need to learn how to live more harmoniously with our own environment and other countries, clean up some of our own trash like the "garbage island" floating in the Pacific. Bring potable clean water to the 1/3 of the world that doesn't have it. Develop some tough environmental, nuclear/WMDs, and energy policies that all civilization participates in.

And figure out first how we are going to clean up that 'trash ring' that now orbits our planet from prior space flights.

Albert Silver   March 23rd, 2010 5:12 pm ET

The only justification for saying no is a lack of perspective. To begin with, space exploration is a ripple effect in every aspect of human life, including how you are reading these messages. The knowledge and technology required will reverberate into other fields, each affecting the next, and each taking us forward, far beyond simply getting nicer pictures of our neighboring planets. To repeat an age-old adage, it isn't the goal that matters, but the journey and what we will learn and gain from it. Consider this: there is no other effort in this planet that has nations working with each other both as stimulating competitors, as well as contributing collaborators as the ISS and space efforts. It is certainly one of the fields where we are brought closer together than any other.

Beyond that, there is simply the obvious precariousness of our existence here. As is often pointed out by others, we don't own the planet, and this is massively misunderstood. Though we are the dominant species, we are also no different from the others in that we are simply born here and can disappear here, and the Earth will be fairly oblivious to it all. In the long run, the best chance for our species' survival is not to be limited to this very tiny island in the cosmos that is our planet. We've been very lucky so far, but let's not be reduced to hoping our luck holds out forever. If anything, the dinosaurs should have taught us that.

jude   March 23rd, 2010 5:20 pm ET

Take care of this planet first before going off and destroying another. Take care of feeding, sheltering and clean water for all Earth's citizens before spending Billions on a "Maybe".

Kevin Quail   March 23rd, 2010 6:00 pm ET

No, let's wait until we're finished destroying this planet first and are on the brink of extinction before we begin to litter the rest of the universe. According to the homeless man in the tinfoil hat I get my secret information from, some other species consider us mighty good eatin' so let's get out there and become dinner.

Karl Bergmann   March 23rd, 2010 6:07 pm ET

Seeing as it would take more resources than our planet alone can muster in order to raise the world to the American standard of living, space exploration is an absolute necessity. It creates very high-paying jobs and pumps massive amounts of money into national economies. It shouldn't be a "rainy day" activity for when the world is perfect, it should be something we work on on a daily basis in order to improve the quality of life of all mankind.

Claes Andersson   March 23rd, 2010 6:25 pm ET

"Let's clean up our house first" – yeah right. Good plan. We'd still be living in huts if anyone had ever followed that advice. Which might not have been all that bad when I think about it. Nevertheless, it seems infinitely depressing to declare "we give up about exploring and in general doing anything else than reacting to pain and suffering". So let's just all become one another's caregivers and comfort one another sobbing on a slow road to the grave.

Claes Andersson   March 23rd, 2010 6:28 pm ET

By the way it seems that many have a funny image of what the world ought to look like or how society works. The concept that we have a project that we all work on that one day will lead to everybody being happy and healthy and with all problems solved so we collectively can say. Now, let's go explore! Where does that come from?

SC   March 23rd, 2010 6:38 pm ET

Remember, space is the final frontier and is begging for exploration. The clock is ticking folks for mother earth and father sun. In another 5 billion years, earth will turn into cinder. So, for humanity to survive and thrive we have to go into the unknown world of outerspace though its cold and inhospitable. Why can't we tackle clean up of earth, taking care of earth and explore space at the same time?

Tim Sanchez   March 23rd, 2010 6:58 pm ET

I think we should probably focus on Earth first. Get everyone comfortable.Save this planet before we destroy another one. But, Hey things are slowly getting better in my opinion. I recently shipped 2 cars to the UK, using Auto Shipping Network. Business is starting to get good again.

alx359   March 23rd, 2010 7:16 pm ET

This world is becoming more smaller, overpopulated, polluted; and our technology and weapons too dangerous for our power-twisted morals and bellicose narrow-vision to handle our planetary affairs. If we do not colonize space in the next 100-200 years we will most probably extinguish.

MRC   March 23rd, 2010 7:20 pm ET

Arguing that we should wait to explore space until all our modern problems are resolved is ridiculous. Every generation has its own very serious problems to solve.

Exploration of space has already yielded tremendous benefits to humankind even if there is a lot of it that has yet to show its value. I firmly believe that there are tremendous possibilities awaiting us in space that we have barely begun to conceive of. Granted many things will take far beyond our lifetime to achieve but the only way our descendants will see those benefits is if we actually keep the effort going.

Jay   March 23rd, 2010 7:27 pm ET

How about sorting ourselves out on earth first and then look beyond. With the way we are now, we'll just f-up space too.

fc   March 23rd, 2010 7:48 pm ET

UK is second , alliances are for science and jobs and ...High Tech.

EJ247   March 23rd, 2010 7:55 pm ET

We haven't finished discovering our own planet, why care about others?

A. Davila   March 23rd, 2010 8:00 pm ET

Yes or no, the attitude is for the goverments to be truthful about their findings, especially our out-of -space neighbors.

ELBA GUTIERREZ   March 23rd, 2010 9:15 pm ET

IT IS A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. LETS COHABIT AND TRY TO SAVE OUR PLANET FIRST. HUMAN BEINGS WILL NEVER SUCCEED IN SPACE OR IN OTHER PLANETS. LET THE CRAZY ONES COMMIT SUICIDE IN MARS AND PLUTO OR SATURN, OR EVEN THE SUN.... YES, MAY BE THE SUN TOO. BUNCH OF LOCOS.

DR Cammack   March 23rd, 2010 9:22 pm ET

Of course we should, for all the reasons stated by Cresmonesi... hunger, population explosion, climate change etc.... We need more room, and more resources and we are outgrowing this little planet. But more than that, we need to explore and move outward as mankind has done for 200,000 yr.... Its in our nature, our soul. And what a waste of time its been, these last few years, not really pushing forward fast. And now another decade or two wasted... Our heirs will wonder what caused us to stop and ponder. To them this question will be a very strange one.

Perk Cartel   March 23rd, 2010 9:45 pm ET

Well, there's precious little intelligent life down here so we owe it to ourselves to see if we can find more out there...

LJFalcon   March 23rd, 2010 9:50 pm ET

Yes, by all means explore space, After our Race Grows Up and puts Our House (this World) in order.

Tom Rower   March 23rd, 2010 10:02 pm ET

It is all more and more obvious the planet's resources alone cannot solve all our problems. One planet is simply not enough. So how many Americans would with free will lower their living standard, consume less so resources for poor people would be affordable? And what kind of poor man would say no to progress and riches?

The equation for a single globe is impossible to solve. We will need new worlds if we are not to be engulfed in new and endless resourcewars (where as the war in Iraq is just one in a endless row). Iran will be next.

Why do you think America wage war all across the globe in the worlds most resource-rich (middle east) region ? To just liberate a people? C'mon don't be that stupid!

What if Columbus never went to the new World and instead stayed home to solve Europe's problems?

Europe had huge problems back then. Starvation and oppression to name a few bad things.

The risk of NOT going to explore space is that we all could be stuck on a dying world. If so you regret using up all the resources on things like new cars, headless travel or a new television-set.

Not exploring space is a collective suicide on a global scale.

apple   March 23rd, 2010 10:08 pm ET

lets do what we did last time in the early 60's and just go to area 51. its cheaper without us shelling out more tax money and we can still convince people we were there. it worked the first time!!

Mendeleev   March 23rd, 2010 10:09 pm ET

You must learn to crawl before you learn to walk. This planet cannot sustain infinite development. Is their not a compromise? Without doubt we need to take care of our own backyard but we should not discontinue looking 'up'. Future technological advances will be the side benefit, or is that the main benefit?

BTW. Some of you should get a spell checker or grammar checker. You lose credibility in your discussions when they look like a 3 grader has writen them.

Mendeleev   March 23rd, 2010 10:10 pm ET

written!!!

Sergius   March 23rd, 2010 10:54 pm ET

achieve a steady-state in the poverty/riches situation and mankind will sit on its bum.

Toynbee in his history of civilizations stated progress needs a catalyst (competition or an enemy) to prompt new growth for civilization.

Until national planets are set up in outer space we may need national countries on the earth to compete to come up with new forms of ideas for progress to achieve prosperity and harmony for all.

(though "infinite" progress is a misnomer one cannot stagnate-this would not be nature otherwise)

so two steps forward and one back (to reflect) is the game whether conscious or unconscious.

space seems the game -- what other frontiers can you name !!!

sergius

jeff   March 23rd, 2010 10:56 pm ET

we are exploring space because we want to see if really there's life in the distant galaxies or planets..but what are we doing with some of the lives here on earth...we destroy them...we have this abortion clinics...we have wars...etc...i beleive in the creation...i beleive there is no life outside our planet earth...

Randomw   March 23rd, 2010 10:58 pm ET

Space Projects are just a HUGE excuse to go overbudget and over schedule. Then they can fail on lift-off or in orbit.
All the geeks tell us how deep space travel can be done – yet starvation can't be avoided.

Andreas   March 23rd, 2010 11:06 pm ET

Why is space exploration important? Let me count the ways:
1. NASA has returned much more money to the US economy in the form of new technologies than was spent on NASA. So space is a worthwhile investment.
2. It takes only one stray asteroid hitting the Earth to destroy civilization. Wouldn't it be better to detect and deflect such asteroids before they hit Earth?
3. "Cleaning up our own house first" is of course an admirable goal. Unfortunately history shows that it is unrealistic to expect humans to do so.
4. In space, we can get clean power and clean raw materials mining. That would "clean up our house".
5. Nothing says we can't fix Earth bound problems AND explore space. The current space budgets wouldn't make much of a dent in earth-bound disease, pollution and starvation anyway. Keep spending on space, AND fix Earth bound issues.
6. In the deep future, our sun will burn out. The only way to ensure humanity's long term survival is through space exploration.
7. Was it a bad idea for Columbus to go to America? Was it a bad idea for Marco Polo to go to China? Was it a bad idea for Lews and Clark to explore America? Was it a bad idea for Magellan to circumnavigate the Earth?
8. It is not enough to exist. Mankind must also be able to dream.

"The only justification for saying no is a lack of perspective."

indeed.

Graeme Woller   March 24th, 2010 12:05 am ET

Humans do not want to save anything, plant, animal, human, or earth. We want to kill as much as we can, no matter how stupid it is. Space should be a important whole-world goal, but no, one country MUST kill another because they are different. One man MUST kill his neighbor because he looked at him funny. KILL KILL KILL.

"Humanity" means "Murder"

Civilisation?! We have nothing of the sort.

andy   March 24th, 2010 12:41 am ET

Should we bother exploring anything, oceans, mountains, jungles, space, whatever. Who knows what will be found in these places.

Mike   March 24th, 2010 1:04 am ET

Ventures such as space exploration are not just about the prize. They are about the process. Working together to overcome a great challenge creates lasting bonds that are blind to bias or greed. They are a driving force that can fix other issues such as fanaticism, nationalism, intolerence, etc. through cooperation.

IWishIwasOnAnIsland   March 24th, 2010 1:28 am ET

The people who said YES better not be the same people who said NO to the healthcare bill. Let's fix the problems on Earth first..

George Day   March 24th, 2010 1:30 am ET

Should we continue? Of course. The alternative to knowledge is savagery, as has become all too clear in recent years.

Mobius007   March 24th, 2010 1:35 am ET

We will explore the solar system and then outer space – it's the nature of humanity to sread and conquer. Of course, history shows that it takes centuries just to explore a newly discovered continent, so extrapolate those time scales to exploration of the universe. Fortunately, there will be exciting discoveries in our lifetime. Several hundred planets outside the solar system have already been discovered, and we will witness the discovery of the first planet capable of sustaining human life within our lifeime.

Haggus   March 24th, 2010 1:44 am ET

If anything, I can't wait to use some old cheesy pickup lines on a cute alien (it's on my bucket list.) So we must take to the heavens. For now though, I'll settle for robots going first until we can get our act together back here on tera firma.

apurva   March 24th, 2010 1:53 am ET

Yes we sholud by all means explore outer worlds. We are spending more than enough money on useless activities on our Earth like gambling and gaming and mindless partying. We should curb this activites and get to know more about the outer world.

Aaron Ponton   March 24th, 2010 1:56 am ET

We should explore space, we shoudl answer teh question are we alone ?? We can answer this question in a few different ways. First of all we can search for primitive life on the Moons or Europa and other moons also we can use space based telescopes to search for "Earth like" planets. Also we can explore mars. Once we find evidnce of life then we can tone down our space programs but we shoudl at least know we shoudl find out fpor sure. Teh constellation program was a bit of a waste and i think it was politically motivated because China had put a man in space and I think the US did not want China to go to far ahead of them. But certainly we shoudl explore space.

Peopel say its too expensive or there are other things we should spend money on, but this is a silly argument, think of all the money we spend on defence, sport, gambling cigaretts and alcohol. We shoudl help the poor and spend on medical research but its these things not space exploration we should be cutting back on.

Aaron
Sydney, Australia

Mark   March 24th, 2010 2:01 am ET

The benefits provided by weather and remote imaging satellites have more than paid for manned exploration programs for the next several centuries, even if there were no other return on that investment. Not to mention that we spend more on gambling or makeup than space exploration.

Justin   March 24th, 2010 2:42 am ET

An emphatic YES. The act of exploration will yield benefits in other fields of science as it already has with the past space programs. Expecting to "fix" everything first before exploring is not realistic as things will never be completely solved. It is analogous to Europeans refusing to send explorers over the ocean until they had sorted out all the problems in Europe first. This would have put off the exploration indefinitely. Exploration opens new horizons and turns up new possibilities, some of which may have been inconceivable at the time of deciding whether or not to explore.

Tom Kange   March 24th, 2010 2:48 am ET

No! We need to take better care of this planet, scrap it all.

karl G   March 24th, 2010 3:09 am ET

there will always be problems on earth.....waiting for them to be solved is pointless...there will always be hunger, disease...... its the reason we are able to define perfect and imperfect...and we live in a very imperfect world....exploration is a necessary continuation for the human spirit from the days of columbus and so forth....

joel   March 24th, 2010 3:17 am ET

I think there is an important point that everyone leaves out in their arguments. Whether we abandon the space programs and use our money in an attempt to fix the problems on earth, or whether we spend a whole bunch of money to go into space in hopes of finding answers for our problems, peoples comments reflect they haven't learned a thing from our present situation and all the history that lead up to it.

Greed. Our society and every other society is based on greed. No matter which direction we choose to go, or try and split it down the middle, greed is the ultimate problem. Of all the poblems we face, greed has brought about the THINKING and MOTIVATION that resulted in the problems we now face. Some benefits could come to society from technological advances that the space program might create, and the same could be said if people just directly spent the money on looking for technology to overcome problems without the excuse of space exploration. Either way, we will have greed mixed in to the situation at its base, and the result will be more pointless arguments over details( space or no space, green revolution or no, whatever governmental ruling style against another kind), instead of fixing the route of our problems. That is, greed.

Achim Kemmesies   March 24th, 2010 4:07 am ET

All the improvements of our life through space age technology do not justify the neglect of our fellow human beings who are starving and dying. It is a slap in the face of the suffering part of mankind, which is not small, to spend enormous amounts of money for questionable space projects, instead of feeding the hungry and healing the sick. We should get our act together and tackle the problems on earth first. This challenge makes more sense and it has the blessing of God who holds us accountable for all our actings and also our inactions.

robin Perry   March 24th, 2010 4:20 am ET

Then we can send Ann Coulter there

T.O.   March 24th, 2010 4:37 am ET

Of course.... space discovery is a natural state of human evolution

John Dinwiddie   March 24th, 2010 4:56 am ET

There are plenty of good reasons to explore space, to use it,
some of them critical to our long term survival. But to extend
manifest destiny into space, to mount exorbitant grandiose
projects the very worst of which would be a manned space
expedition to Mars, is to send out into nowhere one ship
of fools launched from another.

This kind of "exploration" serves a long list of shady or even
vile agendas. It serves chauvinism, and it functions as a
form of agitation of the masses. It perpetuates an expensive
aspect of the military industrial complex. Worst, it deprives
the urgency of confronting potentially devastating environmental
parallel catastrophes on space ship earth of its energy, indeed
thumbs its nose at it.

To leave a magnificent, threatened planet that is our soiled home
to set foot on one that is a dead pile of rocks is insane. The
civilization that commits such folly deserves its fate.

John Dinwiddie   March 24th, 2010 5:06 am ET

Reading some of the dream boat replies, I would like to add one
other thing.

There is no way in hell that space exploration is going lead
to interplanetary immigration that can offer humanity a way
out of its mess on earth. You cannot engage this problem
intelligently if all you care to think about it amounts to bad
science fiction.

There is no magic way out of the crisis. So try this, my answer,
really that of Bill McKibben: 350 PPM CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE
OR ELSE.

You want some heroic engineering with your breakfast cereal,
try that one, and you had better get it right, or your breakfast
cereal is scheduled to vanish.

Right here on boring old not at all Space Cadet planet earth.

Adam R   March 24th, 2010 5:06 am ET

If there was ever one thing that could unite all humans, one goal that was bigger than anything anyone on Earth has ever achieved, it would be to reach out and explore space. What we need is a boost, some big event that changes everyone's views on space. The private sector is indeed the way to the stars, but we need a bit of a kick in the pants to get us going in that direction! The tiny pebble that starts the avalanche, if you will.

power4things   March 24th, 2010 6:46 am ET

Naaah ... let's keep spending our money on foodstamps to be traded for cigarettes and beer. Maybe a little left over to teach some of the posters on this page English, so they can better express what a waste of time science, education and research are ... we might actually have something to show for our short stay on this planet. BTW, my friend with the tinfoil hat agrees with Kevin Quail's friend – I bet we taste great!

Jukka   March 24th, 2010 6:50 am ET

Yes, we should bother exploring space, but we should do so by international co-operation. Let's put our knowledge and resources together and work together, then we can really achieve something.

If every country continues to have its own ambitions and own space programs with the only joint effort being the ISS (and even that doesn't involve everyone) the prospects are not good. Individual efforts seem a bit futile, we could do so much more if we join our efforts.

And it's not just in space.

SOLOKAST   March 24th, 2010 6:54 am ET

Yes, we need to explore outer-space and get off of this god-forsaken rock. The future of humanity is in outer-space. We should spend half of our GDP on Space Exploration!!!!!!!!!

C U   March 24th, 2010 6:56 am ET

Rich nations are damn hypocrites and outrightly heartless. The billons and trillions of dollars being thrown away in the stupid space exploration could be used to salvage the earth where hunger and deprivation reign supreme. Do they think one day they would discover water and beaches up there and leave the earth behind for the suffering masses? God is watching. Remember the story of The Tower of Babel

Tyler   March 24th, 2010 7:33 am ET

We have to explore outer space, not as a nation but as a people. We are all at risk, and Space would start a new peaceful begining for all of man kind. No growning advance race can ever stay on one planet in the long run. Only way to save our race is to go out and expand. Plus, having colonies on other planets would incrase our economy and unlock new recourses.

Sharif Chowdhury   March 24th, 2010 7:35 am ET

naaah why bother spending on space and science!
just add few more trillions$$$ on weapons and wars....

Friedrich Schellhorn   March 24th, 2010 8:00 am ET

Space exploration is needed to understand our planet better, which would help in running our everyday life in a better way. Not a penny spent in space research is worthless.

The Obama administration has not scrapped the lunar program altogether, merely outsourced it to ISRO in India.
Not good for the USA!
We will loose in the long run, and become a 2nd hand nation working for that or those nations who have the lead in space.

carl botha   March 24th, 2010 8:28 am ET

Yea, its OK, it will keep the atheists happy! But the space program(s) is merely a waste of time and space....

David N   March 24th, 2010 8:31 am ET

While the list would be too long to enter here, it is clearly a fact that most technology of the late 20th century and our current capabilities to utilize and benefit from all manner of devices that use microprocessors, long-life batteries, fuel cells, and innovative materials and processes are directly derived from space exploration. Without the 60s space race and continued manned and unmanned space exploration, we would likely today be enjoying an existence not much more elevated than the 1960s or 70s. Just the communication technologies initiated by satellites have enabled information flows to help advance causes as diverse as ending the communist threat and enabling the internet age to be born.

Space exploration, rather than taking away from utilization of those funds on earth, has actually multiplied the benefits on the ground by its very existence. Our budgets for NASA over the years have been dwarfed by other departments of government, and had NASA received funding commensurate with its worth, we would have probably been on Mars during the 1980s, reaping benefits we can only guess about today. Only short sighted minds will not grasp the importance of space exploration, even though they will happily utilize the resulting benefits as some sort of birthright – such as participation in this forum, the communication hardware technology necessary to enable this initiated by the space program.

Hopefully the new thrust toward private enterprise in space will by sheer numbers of participants and the competitive spirit push us upward again. It's not space exploration itself that causes the benefits, but the solutions of problems relating to that exploration that gives us our technological advances. Solutions to global warming other global concerns do not originate only from earth. They are a result of earth in its environment, and to study that environment and understand its relation to us and our planet is perhaps the most important endeavor we can ever pursue.

Magnus   March 24th, 2010 8:31 am ET

Space exploration is more than moving up the node of aeronautical advancement. It is a form of nourishment to our soul, it's discovery, it's what's next. The endeavor of humanity into the stars speaks to our next generation that courage, hope and perseverance is in our spirit. This, on top of the benefits we've reaped from technological eurekas of space research makes the vision of journeying beyond, not only vital but inevitable.

Nando   March 24th, 2010 8:32 am ET

The money spent on space exploration would be far better spent on developing solutions to the myriad sustainability challenges we face.

Gerd   March 24th, 2010 8:36 am ET

Any argument against space exploration is a vote against progress, a vote for a return to the DARK MIDDLEAGES!
Man has never been perfect, but those who dream new ideas have advanced mankind "for better or for worse" to where we are today.
Yes! and Yes again for space exploration.

Peter O'Driscoll   March 24th, 2010 8:53 am ET

We have to go back to the Drawing Board at the moment.

The current Space Technology is not sustainable for long range exploration.

There will come a time again, when we will endeavour to persue such expansive dreams again.

It's in Human nature, to roam and explore.

Benjamin   March 24th, 2010 9:11 am ET

We have three choices that I can see:

1) Expand on the Earth until we end up choking on 20 billion people, and nobody EVER lives the fairly pleasant lifestyle we have now, ever again..
2) Go to war, killiing billions, until those remaining have enough space and resources to live comfortably.
3) Explore, colonize and use resources elsewhere.

I think a plan to colonize Mars or maybe even the moon is a fantastic idea, and would really represent an improvement in the excitement that is being human, as well as an improvement in our chances of surviving for more than another 100 years.

MSF   March 24th, 2010 9:19 am ET

No, instead the funds allocated for space programs should be diverted to exploring the earth. The world has suffered unimaginable losses from earthquakes and tsunamis. Are they really unpredictable ? Or is it that this arae has not been explored sufficiently. The Milky Way has always been more appealing than the underground. Shouldn't we change focus BEFORE the big one hits?

Timothy   March 24th, 2010 9:42 am ET

To Stas, Velcro was not discovered by nasa but in fact by a man in the forties.

The hook-loop fastener was invented in 1948 by Swiss engineer, George De Mestral who lived in Commugny, Switzerland. The idea came to him one day after returning from a hunting trip with his dog in the Alps. He took a close look at the Burrs (seeds) of that kept sticking to his clothes and his dog's fur. He examined them under a microscope, and noted their hundreds of "hooks" that caught on anything with a loop, such as clothing, animal fur, or hair.

Ian   March 24th, 2010 9:52 am ET

I imagine that the moment we confirm life outside of our planet, our entire consciousness would be transformed. The whole ego-centric world we created would finally be compelled to focus less on our differences inside the Earth, and more on what we all have in common.

Manuel   March 24th, 2010 10:05 am ET

We must explore the space and look for options for human settlements outside earth.

You will never know what will happen to us tomorrow.

If someone thinks that space exploration should be done only after all poverty in the world is alleviated, all religious fundamentalists are wiped away, then they are waiting for Utopia…

There was poverty and extreme religious intolerance in Europe when Columbus ventured out of Spain, went around the world, eventually discovered Americas, at a time when most of the Europians believed that Earth is flat.

Had Columbus stayed rooted in Genoa, the ‘great’ democracy called USA would not have happened.

So, this subject is beyond any debate or discussion.

Now is the time, tomorrow will be too late..

JP   March 24th, 2010 10:53 am ET

No way... NASA has to be the biggest money waster on the planet!

Stop worrying about how we're going to get to other planets 50,000 light years away... rather, spend money on alternate technologies that help us now.

I mean, really folks... firstly the chance of us ever getting to one of these planets is virtually non-existent... but on top of that, colonization as well?? My goodness... If only there was a bookie willing to take my bet against that ever happening.

I'm all for sending things into space that are within our reach and benefit us - things like satellites, etc... But to go send billion dollar machines, with a mission to crash into planets hundreds of years away to get a few soil samples and photos is just ludacris.

Tell me honestly, what good has ever come from gathering soil and photos from other planets before? Tell me one thing that has improved society from sending a machine into another planet costing billions of dollars? Nothing.

And to all those people who are championing space exploration and all the technologies that have come from it... sure, there have been some great inventions, but is Velcro worth 19 BILLION dollars a year?

I think NASA has a place in society, but they should get rid of the outer space exploration, and focus on research and technologies closer to home.

oneeye   March 24th, 2010 11:11 am ET

We need a back up planet in case this one goes south.

chris   March 24th, 2010 11:20 am ET

not to mention, as more and more people are born where are we going to put them? the more resources we use, the trash we make. it cant be "fixed" it will only get worse. it's a runaway train. don't you nay sayer get it? it's now not later. dont you get it?

JP   March 24th, 2010 11:22 am ET

And what is wrong with AARON in Sydney, Australia...?
Spend less money on medical research and the poor?
So... what part of NASA do you work for??!
Good one... spend less on medical research so that you can venture out into space and die of some disease they can't find a cure for cause there's no money left for research... Yeah, way to use those brain cells.. or lack thereof.

Torino10   March 24th, 2010 4:53 pm ET

The purpose of life is the continuation of life, while I support all endeavors to keep mother earth livable, the fact remains that this planet is the only known place that life exists, and history has shown us that cataclysms do occur and our study of Mars implies that planets that may have been suitable for life can become dead. I believe it is vital for the future of life for mankind to create extraterrestrial colonies.
The side benefit is that the study of what it takes to support life in different gravities, environments, will give us a better understanding of how exactly life here on Earth works, only by standing apart can we see the group as a whole and grow to understand it better.

Geoff O   March 24th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

Space is up there, it's big, and it isn't going away any time soon.
Earth is down here, it's small, and its future in not guaranteed.
Staying on Earth is a way of keeping all our eggs in one basket. It's not a safe policy if humanity is to survive into the future. The universe is full of energy and resources waiting for us to harvest and use. Planet Earth is filling up with humanity. We should venture into space as a matter of bio-survival, not only for humans, but all our life forms. Life is precious. It should not be confined to Earth. We must consider colonizing the Moon and Mars, building cities in space, even the creation of new planets by aggregating asteroids. We should not become limited by people with little or no imagination.

George Sakoulas   March 25th, 2010 6:10 pm ET

No,

But exploring better use of space yes!

JGScience   March 26th, 2010 11:34 am ET

Velcro was NOT invented via the space program. Another NASA fueled rumor to supposedly help justify their wasted billions. Velcro was invented in 1948 by George Mestral, and his Velcro Industries. Playtex played the fool in the early 1960s when it decided against using it for bras.

topherlytle   March 27th, 2010 3:43 pm ET

My comments won't fit so I wrote a blog. "Nasa and the death of a childhood dream". http://topherlytle.wordpress.com

John Freeman   March 30th, 2010 8:34 pm ET

Considering the problems that are currently plaguing this planet such as AIDS, various flu epidemics, global warming, war amongst others things, if money was spent building self sufficient colonies on the moon and Mars, it would give the human race a fighting chance at survival should some sort of global catastrophe such as a meteor impact or killer pandemic that hits the Earth. Also, the more people who go into space, particularly to live on any future colonies should they be built, the more resources – food, water, fuel ect – there will be for the people still living on Earth. Expansion into space is the only way forward for the human species as a whole.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   April 2nd, 2010 12:14 pm ET

Yes, they better, because we might all have to escape this doomed planet earth.........(joking)!

No, what will it achieve anymore going back to the moon. Just a lot of money spent and the country's debt is huge already. Doesn't make sense. Can barely cope with what is on good PLANET EARTH......let alone with what's out there in SPACE......a big black hole really, isn't it.

Exploring space so as to find another inhabitable planet.......well forget it. According to the Bible.......Earth is the only planet made inhabitable for man.........forget about all the others........don't even go there. We need to worry about our planet first......and to care for it and to value it.

Gosh! Man still manages to pollute outer space, even with their space explorations. They can't help polluting whereever they go. I guess it is the price we pay for being humans. I hope all that debris floating out there in space and left by man......doesn't all come crashing through earth one day like the meteors and goodness knows whatelse.

I would not go far as to condemn continued SPACE EXPLORATIONS completely, as we have benefited from them.......and if it will help us to understand climate change more or better, etc., etc........then I am all for it.

Forget about expansion into space......it will never be possible, I think. But as the saying goes........NEVER SAY NEVER!

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   April 2nd, 2010 12:27 pm ET

Is space the last frontier for man?

Well, it is too costly for one........Will leave the rest up to your imaginations. Going by the previous comments......some are already doing quite a good job of it.

Dream on everybody.........we might all get to visit outer space one of these days......if we're lucky!

Gerri   April 7th, 2010 9:05 pm ET

My husbby worked diligently for 2yrs planning & testing the new Aries spacecraft to replace the Shuttle. There are 100's like him who have already been paid to do this research. It makes no sense to scrap the project or pay private contractors to do what has already been done! What a waste of taxpayer dollars & the loss of jobs in our struggling economy. (he has been out of work for 6 months). THIS IS ADDING TO THE DECLINE IN OUR ECONOMY BECAUSE THERE HAVE BEEN 1000's WHO HAVE FAMILIES WHO ARE NOW OUT OF WORK!. THERE ARE SO MANY ADVANCEMENTS THAT WE USE DAILY AND GO UNNOTICED THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED IN SPACE-from AIR QUALITY MONITORING, SCRATCH RESISTANT GLASSES, POOL PURIFICATION, SOLAR ENERGY,BREAST CANCER IMAGING, PACEMAKERS, VOICE ACTIVATED WHEELCHAIRS, WINDOWS COMPUTER TECH, MAPS & GPS TO ATHLETIC SHOES. The list goes on & on! WE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO CONTINUE IN SPACE EXPLORATION & SHOULD BE GRATEFUL FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE MADE THIS ALL POSSIBLE!!!

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