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« Journalists' Credibility | Main | Exposing The Lies »

The Unexamined Space Program

Jon Goff writes:

If space transportation was as free and healthy of a market as most other markets, I don't think anyone would care about robots vs humans. It would be so obvious that the answer is "depends on what you want to do" that nobody would even ask the question. The saddest thing about the mainstream robots vs humans debate is that it isn't really a robots vs humans debate at all, but merely people arguing over who gets the pork.

Yes. Unfortunately, we continue to fail to ask that fundamental question: what do we want to do in space?

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 17, 2006 05:59 AM
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Live there?

Posted by ken anthony at March 17, 2006 01:54 PM

I felt the need to elaborate...

Posted by ken anthony at March 17, 2006 06:11 PM

I probably have said this before, but I think part of the problem is that having a goal would mean an end to a lot of pork spending. Then you have a more concrete measure not just of how much you've done, but whether what you do actually contributes or not. It'd also introduces an element of risk since you can now fail at a project.

In other words, I suspect there're motives for the lack of a plan in overall space development and exploration.

Posted by Karl Hallowell at March 17, 2006 07:35 PM


I hadn't read your comment before, but you are right on the money. However, it isn't so much a conscious, motivated desire for no goals, as an active (& at least semi-consciously motivated) resistence to goals. Given this natural resistence, it's no surprise that new goals almost never take root. The soil is sandy, the pests abundant, and the rain either too much or too little.

What's comical about this, of course, is that everyone says "we need a goal"... until the goal is proclaimed and people figure out that a priority goal, particularly in a budget constrained environment, necessarily means that some things must stop.

Posted by Jim Muncy at March 18, 2006 03:24 PM

John Marburger appears to get it.

Posted by Paul Dietz at March 21, 2006 04:12 AM

There's no link, Paul. (Boy, I'm glad that I'm not the only one who does that.)

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 21, 2006 05:08 AM

Ugh. Here:">

Posted by Paul Dietz at March 21, 2006 07:12 AM

What the heck? That looked fine in the preview. Your software is messing up link html.

Posted by Paul Dietz at March 21, 2006 07:13 AM

Yeah, right, blame my software. You forgot to close the quote on the URL. It looks like a link, but it doesn't work.

Here it is.

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 21, 2006 07:18 AM

The link worked fine in the preview.

Posted by Paul Dietz at March 21, 2006 07:22 AM

Well, I don't know what to tell you. If my software ate a quote, it's the first time that I'm aware that it's done so, in tens of thousands of comments.

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 21, 2006 07:30 AM

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