Now I am going to confess something that will probably reveal once and for all what an ignorant fellow I truly am. I do not really approve of space exploration. There I have said it. You have licence to deride me.
Billions of dollars, roubles, yen, pounds, euros and rupees have been spent on space exploration. The current Perseverance mission to Mars will cost American tax payers at least three billion dollars. Admittedly, there are often technological spin-offs and by-products resulting from space missions but these are invariably accidental, disconnected from the project's central aims.
Instead of space exploration, what I would like to see is those resources, that human ingenuity, that passion, that incredible funding being directed to more earthbound matters. These would include advancing the development of better electric batteries for motor vehicles, slowing rampant population growth, feeding the starving, bringing clean water supplies to the needy, tackling plastic pollution, combating global warming and so on. I am not referring to pipe dreams spawned by science fiction and academic or military curiosity but about real world concerns - things that matter right now.
I would rather have seen the three billion Perseverance dollars spent on assisting the poor people of Yemen caught in a truly awful military conflict that was not of their making. Children are dying in Yemen while a clever space vehicle trundles around a lifeless planet.
We are meant to be excited about space travel, moon landings and the like but I just think - what a terrible waste of money. Humans should have nobler priorities - all of them on our doorstep.
Could not agree more with your comments YP. Such a waste of money, when on this earth people are suffering. True, it's a fantastic achievement but at what cost, and what use will this all be in the end?ReplyDelete
In our lifetime it's unlikely man will colonise another planet, but when he's destroyed this one, the survivors will need to look to the heavens.
Phew! That is a relief CG. I thought I was the only one who saw space project expenditure this way.Delete
No you are not the only one who sees it that way. When we have children going hungry on this planet, it seems obscene that we spend this kind of money on getting to another. That being said, I really marveled at the pictures of Mars.ReplyDelete
Oh yeah, the top picture in this blogpost is remarkable - just like Death Valley!Delete
Gregg and I were JUST SAYING THIS! We're totally with you on this issue. It's ridiculous to spend that kind of money to go to Mars when so many humans are dying from abject poverty! Or think of all the good they could do if they put that money into cancer research or the like. Or (better yet) fighting climate change and getting alternative energy sources established to make our one and only home planet better. I'm glad we're not the only people who think this way!ReplyDelete
It is heartening to me to discover that I am not the only one to see space billions in this way.Delete
I totally agree with you. All of that money and intelligence should be pointed at developing better battery technology and energy production. We're in a heap of trouble here on planet Earth, and I'd like science to pay attention to that. Batteries aren't sexy like a Mars rover, but they will make it possible to store the energy created by solar and wind power. After batteries, they could work on developing alternatives to the millions of products made with petroleum and how to break down plastic in the ocean. The list goes on and on.ReplyDelete
In this we are like-minded and united Allison.Delete
If we all were as humanistic as we love to pretend to be, world problems could be solved and space explored. There is enough money.ReplyDelete
I am not pretending Joanne.Delete
I very much agree with you and have always been annoyed at billions spent there and very little where it in needed here. I spent my life in healthcare working in urban areas and believe me the dollars/pounds were needed there.I once had to discharge a patient to a shelter who needed a walker(zimmer frame). The staff chipped in for a walker but we never let him know that. I still see that man's face 30 years later.ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing that story Terry. It kind of sums it all up doesn't it? Money to send a glorified go-kart to Mars but no money for a zimmer frame and a safe place for that poor man to lay his head at night.Delete
I think it's probably easier to get a rover to Mars than it is to get aide to the people of Yemen sadly. I agree with you. Everyone should have clean, accessible water and toilets, enough food, etc, etc before we go messing up other worlds.ReplyDelete
Where there is a will there's a way but sadly it seems there is no will. America has provided the military hardware that continues to destroy Yemen.Delete
The issues you list should be our first priority and if there's anything left over then explore space.ReplyDelete
That is indeed the morally correct order Red.Delete
Another vote for the YP & Beef Gravy Party from here too.ReplyDelete
Free Yorkshire puddings for all!Delete
I also agree with you, there is a lot of space rubbish circling our planet, rubbish outside the Earth as well as in. I think it is because it is much easier to set one's dreams of outer space as a possible home rather than doing the real hard work of actually solving the problems on this Earth. Notice how the rich are putting their money into space travel, perhaps they should contemplate their own actions in the world.ReplyDelete
Well put Thelma! Yes. I wonder how much money the odious Elon Musk has given to the drilling of wells in Africa or to artificial limbs in Cambodia.Delete
*Children are dying in Yemen while a clever space vehicle trundles around a lifeless planet.*ReplyDelete
It is exciting to read about space travel and sophisticated telescopes.
Tasker reviewed *Universal* by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, described as A Journey Through the Cosmos, and like Tasker I cannot speak too highly of the book.
What will the Mars probe contribute to science? An open question.
Does it even matter, compared with the catastrophe of Yemen?
The Red Planet, unlike Ray Bradbury's novel The Martian Chronicles, is *lifeless*.
Children are the only real treasure of this world.
Again you have thrown quite a few ingredients in the pot John. Did you see the blind nine year old Yemeni boy teaching his classmates when his teacher was away from his war-ravaged school? I would rather give the Perseverance billions to him.Delete
Yemen is a humanitarian crisis. It deserves priority over Mars.Delete
I did not see the blind child teaching his classmates. What a great little boy, he puts us all to shame !
As Karamazov said, *Weep, you do well to weep.*
Teflon YP. None stick frying pans are the results of space exploration. Not forgetting the Soup Dragon and The Clangers.ReplyDelete
All that money just so that my sausages don't stick on!Delete
Microwave ovens too, thanks to manned spaceflights, which makes them rather an expensive item!Delete
Aye lass, where would we be without microwave ovens?Delete
I totally agree with you. So much hardship could be prevented with that money.ReplyDelete
Moral Topsy Turvy Land.Delete
I agree with you that THAT money could gave been spent more usefully here on earth. However I suppose when we have finished destroying this planet we need hope there is somewhere else we can colonise.ReplyDelete
I see that as an impossible dream.Delete
There us really nothing more I can add to this discussion YP other than to agree that if those funds were in the hands of decent citizens they would have been spent more wisely.ReplyDelete
What really matters?Delete
I find it all a bit scary, I don't think I really want to know what's out there in the universe. Let's just try and look after our own planet.ReplyDelete
Lord knows we have messed it up big time. Perhaps we should be making amends before messing up other planets.Delete
Absolutely spot on YP. These countries and their wealthy citizens that flex their 'visionary' egos and spend billions doing it - whilst overlooking what is under their feet and ignoring what is blatantly obvious of the investment, vision & co-operation needed to support and protect our beautiful planet and all its inhabitants.ReplyDelete
Your comment buoys me Elle. It is heartening to discover that I am not alone in my attitude to space exploration.Delete
Well, here's the thing- we spend so much more money on the military here in the US than on anything else and THAT is what makes me furious. Space exploration has its place, I do believe. Not to the exclusion of helping those here who need it, of course, or doing something about trying to keep our planet livable, green, viable, clean. Whereas all of the military dollars go to preparing for something that could inevitably end the human race AND the planet. They make new weapons, new equipment, new planes, new submarines, new...every damn thing at expenses that NASA could not dream of and then boom! The technology changes, rendering all of that useless. At least space exploration allows us to look up at the sky and wonder...ponder...sometimes to be amazed in wonder. In that way, it is a beautiful thing. Like art, like music. It expands the boundaries of the human imagination.ReplyDelete
Humans have always had the inclination to explore, to wonder what is over the next hill, under the sea, across the sea...it is part of who we are.
Unfortunately, fighting and making war is also part of who humans are and THAT is a part of us which we desperately need to learn to undo.
These are just my own early morning thoughts.
...and I thank you for them. I have similar feelings towards military expenditure and I do understand that "Star Trek" urge to explore but when a three year old child with a distended belly is dying or when another acre of the Amazon jungle is destroyed, I think that space exploration is a luxury we cannot afford.Delete
I believe my point is that if we quit spending trillions on the military, we could do everything we need to, plus a little space exploration.Delete
I would suggest that space exploration is an unwelcome distraction from things that really matter.Delete
Exactly, Ms Moon. This is my point too. We CAN explore space as well as take care of our people and our planet if we stop blowing money in irresponsible and destructive ways here at home, and also institute a fairer system of taxation that punctures the bloated one percenters at the top of the wealth pyramid.Delete
Disagree. But thought at first from the picture you'd been on Kinder Scout.ReplyDelete
To my surprise you seem to be the only respondent who applauds massive expenditure on space exploration.Delete
Scientific advances benefit all.Delete
The brilliant people who developed COVID-19 vaccines did not need to go to Mars to do that. Also - how does Perseverance "benefit" the beleaguered people of Yemen with its dying children?Delete
Miniaturisation. Communications. There is money for Yemen too, but it can't cure human stupidity.Delete
I rather agree with you about the money spent on space exploration versus the needs of the humans here on the planet. We have enough money to provide for the needs of everyone but instead spend it on other things. Politics wastes so much money. Of course, greed is one of the main problems too. Just sad.ReplyDelete
We could have made paradise here on Earth but we chose not to. Thanks for calling by Lini.Delete
You're not wrong, but the fact is, it doesn't have to be either/or. If we had a responsible government taxation and spending programs (ie taxing the heck out of millionaires and billionaires and corporations) we'd have plenty of money for space exploration AND taking care of our own planet. Less money to the shareholders and CEOs? Oh well. Cry me a river.ReplyDelete
Let me just add to my previous comment by saying that I support space exploration. I think it gives humanity a sense of wonder and excitement and that's a valuable thing. People could just as easily have argued against going to the moon back in the '60s, with the poverty and war and rioting going on all around them. But look what a huge difference it made for all of us. For a brief period, the moon landing united the planet.ReplyDelete
The first moon landing happened at the time of the Biafran War in Nigeria. I remember a cartoon at the time. Two malnourished children are standing on a beach looking up at the full moon and one says to the other, "If they find it is made of cheese, do you think they will bring us some back?"Delete
Have you seen it?
The plot sounds interesting. It may have helped to spawn a lot of conspiracy theories.Delete
I agree wholeheartedly. What use is space exploration while people starve in our midst.ReplyDelete
When I made this blogpost, I had no idea that a lot of other people feel the same way as I do about space exploration. Governments and the media seem to imagine that we are all enthralled by it and supportive of it. They are clearly wrong about that.Delete
I could not agree more, YP. I think it is the height of human arrogance to set off to explore other planets when we cannot find the will to look after the Earth and its inhabitants. A+++ for this post.ReplyDelete