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Rhysy diaspora
On Space X's plan to send us to Mars thanks to pornography and lolcats.

#Science
#Technology
#SpaceX
Escaping into space is not an answer, it is merely another undefined quantity used to masquerade for a meaning to survive. Intimacy is the only final frontier. We don't need more space. We need meaningful conductivity. We have to stay here and correct our mistakes. And negativity will soon be discharged back into the atmosphere like in so many of the spring storms ripping apart our climate changed midlands. And for me, I'm sorry porn is just another fantasy based overpriced passive lifestyle gimmick. Pushing up into escapism. Fly away little fledglings of the "Force." Or should I say farce? Fantasies drive the "Space Race."
@Phillip Johnson
We have to stay here and correct our mistakes.
What leads you to believe the above statement is true?

For myself, I don't believe humanity is limited to a single path, or that it's even good for humanity to have only a single path. There's nothing preventing a multiple approach. Those that want to stay on earth, can. Those that want to leave, also can.
Numbers. The numbers involved make it clear that dreaming of escaping the Earth is basically a distraction. Even should mankind establish a better foothold in space than the ISS, this will change nothing to the problem for the 99.99% remaining on the planet.
The objection isn't that space conquest can't have positive side-effects, it's that we aren't appropriately responding to earthly issues that emigration off planet (1) can't solve, (2) provides an illusion it will solve.
Rhysy diaspora
Well, it's not really about emigration, unless we actually move such vast numbers of people off-planet that the resources of Earth are no longer used to sustain them. It's more that space exploration necessitates developing other technologies and opens up resources we would otherwise not have access to.
Space travel is not going to directly solve all social problems, just as learning about particle physics doesn't _directly _lead to new social policies or methods of warfare... but make no mistake, they are very much connected.
Emigration off-planet has potential to solve a number of problems:
  • It can provide access to needed additional resources
  • It can provide development of useful tech
  • It can provide a solution to the problem of all of humanity being at risk in case of a catastrophic event here on earth
I am sure there are more that I'm not thinking of at the moment, but it's late here in Baja, and I'm getting tired.

History shows us that humanity can make (and has made!) incredible leaps that benefit us all when faced with the challenges of exploring a "new frontier." Frontiers open up options and modes of thinking that are often progressive, rather than conservative and hide-bound. About the only other thing I can think of that drives those sort of leaps is war. And it would be far better for all of us if we were busy with expanding our frontiers than with devoting so many of our finite resources to killing each other off.

But mostly, it's about having options. Why close off any area of development? No one can predict which area of study or effort might provide just the sort of breakthrough in scientific understanding, technology, or any other field, that could turn out to be extremely beneficial in other areas as well. What we can be sure of is that closing off potential paths to the future seriously limits our choices, and may therefore risk committing to what amounts to a dead end. Literally.

I find it extremely ironic and sad that the very technologies that may help prevent climate disaster now, for example, include many of those technologies that owe their very existence to the "space race" of the 50s through the early 70s. If the "We have to stay here and correct our mistakes" people had had their way back then, we'd be far worse off now. (Solar panels, anyone? Miniaturized electronics? Advanced medicine?) Yet the timid among us would have us believe that forward looking efforts like those are no longer possible.

There's an old saying: "Fortune favors the bold." That statement doesn't just refer to making a pile of money. People need to be bold.
Well, my experience is that common sense rallies to plausible pictures without contribution of the kind of number sense that's typical of physicists, IOW, while not taking heed of John McCarthy's warning: He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense.

The arithmetic at issue, here, would be like the ratio (a) the distance between Earth and the next sustainable dwelling, and (b) say, the distance Columbus first traveled across the Atlantic. Mars is the closest, and the sustainability is dubious. That ratio is about 20000. Crossing 20'000 times the Atlantic in one go!

It's pretty obvious that we won't be able to transfer but an insignificant fraction of mankind to Mars.

After Mars, the next expectation is exoplanets. The lower bound for the ratio jumps to about 10 billions. 10'000'000'000 times the Atlantic. More that one Atlantic per human on Earth. But we haven't even discerned an appropriate destination yet.
Rhysy diaspora
But we don't need to transfer a significant portion of the population for space travel to have significant effects, any more than Columbus had to transfer 300 million people to America all in one go. In order to settle other planets we have to develop the technologies to get there, which will already have spin-off effects for the rest of us, and enable in-situ resource exploitation, which, again, will have spin-off effects for the rest of us. Colonising space doesn't need to send up vast numbers of people to make it worth doing; this isn't about reducing human effects on the planet by simply taking away large numbers of people.
Colonising space doesn’t need to send up vast numbers of people to make it worth doing;
I am not saying it's not worth doing, but that the purpose of doing it is ambiguous to the wider public in such a way that may distract from pressing issues.
this isn’t about reducing human effects on the planet by simply taking away large numbers of people.
I think it's hard to believe the contrary idea doesn't cross the mind of a significant fraction of those vaguely aware of exoplanets news. Either that idea, or the sister idea that effects on the planet will become irrelevant to a large number of people taken away from it -- if not all.
I guess that could be the problem then. If any significant portion of the population consider that the purpose of space exploration (especially to a place like Mars) is to remove any noticeable portion of the living-at-the-time people from this planet then they are completely out of touch with the physical realities of both history and the future.

Perhaps all some of them need is a little reminding that there was a very very very large gap in time between when "modern" Europeans began exploring the Americas and when significant emigration to the Americas began. I read estimates suggesting that under 2 million people emigrated from all of Europe to all of the rest of the world before about 1800 (i.e. in an span of about 300 years), but after that there were as many as 50 to 60 million (albeit over the next 100 years).

Perhaps there wasn't an equivalent increase in the ratio our abilities to transport people as we will need to go to Marse (i.e. by a similar factor of 20,0000) in the time between Columbus and the early 1800s, but was a big enough increase (from horses and sailboats to trains and large iron hulled liners) that such a journey became thinkable and even desirable for "ordinary" people despite the difficulties. Our ability for long-distance communication went through similar leaps at the same time. So, we may also need perhaps as much as 3 to 4 generations of enough people exploring and trying to live on Mars before they collectively declare it permanently settled, and at least another 2-3 generations before we can really begin to consider sending large numbers of people there, all assuming of course that the initial human exploration and attempt to camp out there doesn't end in disaster. Most of all we will need the technological changes that can only happen after several generations of explorers have settled successfully enough on Mars before any significant number of people will consider emigrating there for good.

So, the sooner we start, the better! The more people we can get there at a time and in a short enough time, the more work they can do to learn about the realities of the place and prepare the infrastructure, and perhaps most importantly the opportunity and desire, for more to come.

I do agree a significant portion of the population of this planet is entirely out of touch with both history and the longer term future of their own descendants, and worryingly it would seem a significant portion of that group are willingly so ignorant.
Rhysy diaspora
@Greg A. Woods Hear, hear !
Do you want to piss off a nerd who believes in space travel? Tell them, "There's no such thing as "Warp Speed." Want to piss off someone who believes Einstein was wrong? Ask them to prove it. You want to go to space. Sorry, the problems worth solving are here and now and there is no escape.
@Phillip Johnson
Do you want to piss off a nerd who believes in space travel? Tell them, "There’s no such thing as “Warp Speed.” Want to piss off someone who believes Einstein was wrong? Ask them to prove it. You want to go to space. Sorry, the problems worth solving are here and now and there is no escape.
That's some bullshit, there. Warp speed? Who cares? Fun for movies, but that's it, because most of us interested in going to space know damn well that Einstein is (so far) absolutely correct.

As for "the problems worth solving are here and now", I can't say much else than it makes me sad that you've so limited yourself, and are apparently so convinced that everyone else should, as well.

There's absolutely nothing preventing humanity from exploring as many avenues as they'd like, beyond the nay-saying of folks who have convinced themselves there are limits. With so many of us on the planet, there are plenty of people to do the imagining and the work, across multiple avenues, all at the same time..

Only political conservatives and the timid believe that progress is a zero sum game.
Tick. Tick. The clock is running. Are you?
That last comment makes less sense than this earlier one:

"And negativity will soon be discharged back into the atmosphere like in so many of the spring storms ripping apart our climate changed midlands"