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Comment Re:Start making scientific sense (Score 1) 870

This is definitely the attitude we need to take with space exploration. There have been many valid points made in these posts. I would like to highlight just a few: Firstly, the gov't has no place competing in commercial markets, that's not it's point. NASA should not be trying to provide commercially available services, whether it is ferrying rich tourists into space, or launching satelites. So it should get out of these markets, and let private firms do the research and development that is the focus of this. Let the private folks do the LEO stuff. On the other hand, private firms have no interest in going where there is no immediate profit, or even short term profit. Gov't, on the other hand, can and should be aiming at things that aren't profitable now, but will be critical and likely very profitable in 15+ years. Manned space flight to the moon, and especially to points beyond are a case in point. Asteroid mining, a staple of Sci-fi, is not profitable right now. Nor is it likely to be in the next ten years. But when industry gets into space, when we actually start having cities on the moon (or mars, or space stations, take your pic), mining the rest of the solar system is going to be very profitable. There is the potential for millions, possibly billions of jobs in that, since, eventually, the entire economy, from janitorial all the way up to senior management, will be replicated in space (hopefully more efficiently, but probably not). The country that gets there first, that actually becomes an space power (not just who can reach space, but who actually is permanently in space) is going to have a tremendous advantage in nearly every sphere of influence. Throwing money at it won't help much, but taking away what they have is likely to hurt a lot more than the potential benefit of increased efficiency. Efficiency is good, but not if it means retarding the entire manned space flight program by decades. In reality, we are still in the pre-space age. The space age will truly have arrived when space is a work place for more than a select elite and a few rich guys.

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An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"