Forum:Tom Murphy's Physics article on why we will never go to space, is he right?
This blog really bothers me, I do not know where else to discuss this with, or where to find smart people who can argue against this article rational, so I made an account here just to see who can answer.
- I think so. He never mentions that, for example, NASA doesn't get ridiculously high amounts of funding any more, as it got throughout the 60s (well, at least ridiculously high compared to what it gets now), which enabled the Apollo program to get to the moon a mere 10 years after the first satellite ever achieved orbit. Also, he focusses on the end of the space shuttle program a bit too much. Yes, it eventually ended - like every space program before. Don't get me wrong, I liked the concept of the space shuttle - but it eventually wasn't cost efficient enough any more, especially due to the rapid development in the public sector, which he accidentally doesn't mention either.
- It is true that human spaceflight concentrated on low earth orbit missions since the 70s, which I consider stagnation. However, this is probably due to Mars still being a bit out of reach and the moon not being that interesting. The moon landing was in parts US cold war propaganda, and after rock samples had been returned, there was no need to send anything more expensive than a probe to the moon.
- Unmanned spaceflight, however, continued to improve all the time. Which makes sense, since it is much cheaper and probes don't complain if they are left to die on the Venus surface or so. One might argue that unmanned spaceflight also stagnated since Voyager, but those probes heavily profitted from a line-up of all major outer solar system bodies which enabled them to slingshot out of the solar system. That was a lucky coincidence - however, with New Horizons we now managed to launch a probe into the Kuiper Belt with its engines alone. Not to mention that space agencies like ESA (Rosetta), JAXA (Hayabusa) and even the Indian ISRO with their Mars orbiter also advance unmanned spaceflight (ESA even thinks about a launcher capable of launching astronauts, but that will take a few more years) - the blog actually doesn't mention any space agency but NASA.
- Also, he says that space is dangerous. Well, that's true. If you lose your ship, you're less likely to survive in space than you would on an ocean. However, there are reportedly way less freak waves, icebergs or reefs in outer space than there are on Earth. Still, I would rate space flight beyond the low earth orbit a bit more dangerous than an ocean cruise, but not that much more dangerous that the entire beyond low earth orbit space program is unfeasible.
- Colonies on other planets would start out rather small. That's true. We cannot possibly launch hundreds of colonists to Mars, with hundreds of launches per year within the next 20 years or so. However, there is some interest to eventually construct a space elevator, once we have the technology. With that, it would be rather easy to construct large ships in space which could either transport many colonists at once or could be used as generation ships altogether. I've read that the nanotubes may be up for this task at around the middle of this century. We'll see. — Unsigned, by: 18.104.22.168 / talk / contribs 11:49, 5 February 2015
- Yeah, the author focuses on the end of the shuttle as the end of manned flight. Not only is it only focusing on the Americans, but it ignores the replacement. Then goes into how energy technologies will not improve that seems pretty silly. It has kind of stagnated from the lack of funding and lack of commercially viable reason to be in space. Not that space is safe and the author is right about the dangers. Give people some incentive and genius and they will find a way if it exists.
- Hell, if we could land an engine on an asteroid and swing it into Earth orbit (can do now with existing tech) and we can see how fast humanity is living on it extracting trillions worth of its guts. The hardest part, energy wise, is getting off Earth. -EmeraldCityWanderer (talk) 15:06, 5 February 2015 (UTC)
- Murphy fancies himself a modern day Paul Revere shouting an urgent message: " Peak oil is coming! Our resources are limited! Repent and conserve what we have!". Actually I agree with that part. But he fears the possibility of space resources will give us a false sense of complacency. Thus he tries to bend the math to support a pre-decided conclusion. Predictably a lot of it is wrong. I've written a number of rebuttals to his sloppy work: http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-most-common-delta-v-error.html and http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2014/03/murphys-reply.html and http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2012/02/in-his-blog-stranded-resources-tom.html .— Unsigned, by: HopDavid / talk / contribs 19:56, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
- Fuck Murphy. Same crap they were saying about humans flying coupla centuries ago or humans going into space coupla decades ago. Some day, humanity has to get off Earth, after all, you can't stay in your cradle forever, right?--Arisboch (talk) 20:00, 25 March 2015 (UTC)