Human Spaceflight: No Single Rationale Justifies it, NRC Report


Vocal SJW
Nov 15, 2009
BigTuk said:
joshuaayt said:
We can't just not shoot for space, we need to at least be able to colonise other bodies in our solar system - if for no other reason than to ensure that humanity sticks around. I don't really think we're about to destroy this planet, but we should absolutely spread out as far as physically possible, get some of the eggs out of this one basket.

It's not about getting to Mars TODAY!, it's about getting to Mars at all. I'm always hearing that the human race won't be around forever- well, not if we all stay in one place, we won't.
You do realize the prospect for long term colonization on other bodies is slim to none right?

I mean do you know the host of ways the human body starts failing once it leaves the earth's shell? Our bodies were designed from the ground up to work in this environment. Think I'm talking bull. consider this. and I've always said this. Before you colonize a planet colonize the bottom of the sea. You'd have to deal with many of the same problems, minus the issues caused by gravitational differences causing things like 'weakened immune systems' , 'Space diabetes', Spinal dislocation' 'bone thinning', the list goes on
My best bet would be.. rather than try leaving this planet. we trick this planet out and rig this thing for intergalactic travel. We plant some big mutha honking thrusters on australia and whoosh Alpha Centauri here we come.
Absolutely, those are huge road blocks- But it's either find ways to deal with that, or die out the second earth stops being habitable. Or try to find ways to deal with it, fail, and die out any way. Still, at least we'd go down fightin'.

Also, I'll do you one better- we build a giant space ship around the inner four planets, use the sun as a power source/tanning salon, and go cruising off to Gliese 581c in style.


The face I make when I see unguarded pie.
Jan 9, 2011
I wouldn't say I'm anti space exploration, but I don't really think its a great idea. Economics and sciences are both pretty good reasons to do it, but it will be a while before economics becomes viable, and scientific progress isn't exactly explosive even in the private sectors of space exploration development where they have money.

The drive to explore is nice, so long as I'm not the one who has to pay for it, especially since it is going to be a one way trip for the vast majority of explorers. I certainly don't fault people for saying 'I want to go out and explore in space', I just don't want to do it myself and I can't reasonably say that other people should.

Staving off the extinction of the human race is an interesting one to me, because I guess my disinterest in this argument shows my own weak connection to my species? I'm not trying to be edgy here, I honestly don't feel attached enough to my fellow man to care if after I'm dead the species goes extinct.

I do wonder why it is so important to some though, primarily because if some humans actually did manage to survive the trip and landed to make a new home... Generations living and adapting in space, in a completely different part of the galaxy, with no way to communicate with Earth, are those really still humans? Even if so, do you really feel some sort of connection with them, despite the fact that you could never really be sure that they still exist?


New member
Oct 25, 2009
things don't have to need a unified rationale to get them done.

As long as we can all agree that thing in questions needs to be done, it will get done.


New member
Nov 21, 2007
Why does there have to be one core rationale? Doesn't the lack of a single consensus show that there is a multitude of reasons to go up there?

I would imagine economic growth, medical research, advancement and sharing of technological and scientific discoveries, and taking further steps towards interplanetary colonization[footnote]Which we desperately need to do to survive in the long term.[/footnote] would all suffice. Even individually. And besides, if we are to further the latter, manned space flight is a necessity. Only sending probes into space doesn't help us better understand and advance human space flight - something we'll need to improve if we're to colonize other worlds.

But what do I know? Clearly the public is right on this. Space is big, scary, and full of aliens, maths, and other confusing science-y stuff. We should just stay away from it.


New member
May 19, 2014
If this is the common opinion then there's the risk that we're all going to die on this rock when it stops supporting human life and that will be the end of us.

We won't even get to orbitally bombard aliens from space because they are tentacle monsters, and this makes me sad.


New member
Jun 12, 2010
BigTuk said:
You do realize the prospect for long term colonization on other bodies is slim to none right?

I mean do you know the host of ways the human body starts failing once it leaves the earth's shell? Our bodies were designed from the ground up to work in this environment. Think I'm talking bull. consider this. and I've always said this. Before you colonize a planet colonize the bottom of the sea. You'd have to deal with many of the same problems, minus the issues caused by gravitational differences causing things like 'weakened immune systems' , 'Space diabetes', Spinal dislocation' 'bone thinning', the list goes on.
And that list will never get shorter unless we actively try to colonize other planets. There's a goal and challenges blocking us from achieving said goal; we'll overcome those challenges before achieved the goal - most likely with technological advancements or innovations created by [i/]studying[/i] the challenges. That's how it works. And at that point we don't even need to colonize planets: we could just build space stations big enough to house nations.

In other words:
Step 1: Study and overcome physical and environmental challenges.
Step 2: Develop habitats that mimic Earth's environment, are self-sustaining, and provide for growth.
Step 3: Grow by colonizing celestial bodies or expanding said habitats(like a city building a suburb).

OT: "There's no single rationale" is the stupidest excuse I've ever heard. So we should stop doing something because everyone has their own reason to do it? If we used that philosophy for everything we'd never get anything done.


New member
Apr 15, 2013
RJ 17 said:
shirkbot said:
RJ 17 said:
[...]saying that there's no reason to explore space would be like telling Columbus there's no reason to sail west[...]
Point of Pedantry: What sane person was going to tell Columbus not to go West?
All the people that still believed that the world was flat and that he'd be sailing off to his doom? Indeed he did want to find a shortcut to India, but everyone thought he was nuts.

He had to shop the plans for his voyage around to different nations just to find a backer because most monarchies thought it was a fool's errand.
They thought it was a fool's errand because they thought the man couldn't do math. It was accepted since the days of ancient Greece that the world was round, so they knew he would eventually hit China, Japan or India, but they thought he was massively underestimating the resources required. Perhaps it's not the most well regarded of sources, but Wikipedia has the details if you're interested: (Sorry, I don't know how to embed links)

RJ 17 said:
-self snip-
You mean like sailing west when everyone thought it was a death sentence? We've explored all there is to explore on this planet (generally speaking). There's a reason that space is considered "the final frontier". For all the mysteries and wonders on our own planet, there are vastly more out in the vastness of space, just waiting to be discovered.
I agree there is a great deal to find in space, but I don't see the need to risk human lives to find them just yet, especially when we still have so much to learn about our own planet. We've found many things, but there's a lot more to find, and even if we have found everything of geographic significance, there's the matter of actually identifying and researching all their systems, which themselves are not static. I'm not against it in the long view, but as it stands I much prefer the advancement of extreme-environment-tolerant robotics to shipping some squishy meat creature off to explore the rust desert that is Mars.


New member
Mar 23, 2009
Because we should seek to ensure survival for our species. (Personally, I really think we should fund research into terraforming, as it seems likely it will eventually be as useful here on Earth as well as on other worlds). All that we are, all that we've accomplished, could be undone by one wayward rock, or by our own folly, while Earth is still the only world we can call our own.

Because we should seek ascendancy for the human race instead of being content with one little rock.

Because it is just cool.


New member
Jul 20, 2013
I don't buy the whole "risk to crews" nonsense. This is the kind of pc garbage that comes up because of the way the write the questions. Its the bullshit politicians drum up in order to cut funding. Look at the real world and how many people get killed doing every day things all the time. Look at the reality shows like deadliest catch or ax men or swap people. A part of the audience is waiting for someone to be killed or maimed. Like people watching nascar for crashes.

Forget all the inspirational and its what our species does crap, that is not going to win an argument. Let alone drum up funding. We should be going to space for all the stuff it do to improve our freaking lives. New technologies. ENORMOUS resources, new energy sources. Giving ourselves somewhere else to live after we finally finish ruining earth.

The Rogue Wolf

Stealthy Carnivore
Nov 25, 2007
Stalking the Digital Tundra
Because everyone who doesn't believe that mankind walked alongside dinosaurs knows the reason why we're here and they're not: A really, really big rock. [] And there are a lot of really, really big rocks out there in the blackness of space, and it's just a matter of time before another one comes calling. So if you give the slightest damn about the future of our species, you'll support any reasonable effort to get off this rock before a different one plows into it.

And if you don't care about the future of our species, then you're useless and I have no time to listen to you.

Vigormortis said:
Why does there have to be one core rationale?
Because unfortunately, these days you can't get the majority of people behind any idea too complex to express in a five-second sound byte.

Gary Thompson

New member
Aug 29, 2011
Why can't "To beat the commies" be a good enough reason?

There're still commies, and they need constant reminders that we're better than them.


New member
May 29, 2012
MinionJoe got it right, mostly. Mining is the public first, though the actual second. Weaponizing those asteroids will be the secret first, and the reason the projects get green-lit by the American/Chinese Governments. They will hide behind reasons such as mining, and exploration (new alloys that can only be created in space, etc.). Even a small iron-rich rock can take out a missile base or city, with no radioactivity and virtually no means of stopping it. I know, but it is human nature and military spending usually leads the way.


Elite Member
Sep 11, 2008
Eventually the planet is going to die...

Does the continued existences of the human race not count as a good rational?


New member
Mar 31, 2010
It's not simply a rational thing, it's about emotion too.

Sorry scientists, but the general public doesn't give a flying frak about landing some kind of advanced drone on a piece of space rock fifty billion kilometers away.
Landing a talking & walking emotional human being on that same rock though? Everyone will cling to their TV screens and remember the minute, hour and day they witnessed such an event. Literally.

It's exactly that interest and motivation that you need to progress in any field.
With that progress come new reasons and motivations to do things, the same will undoubtedly be true for space.

If we can invest billions of dollars into new kinds of hairspray or make-up, as well as investing that money in some fleeting popmusic trend. Then it's completely within the boundaries of our rationale to invest that kind of money into space flight as well.


New member
May 9, 2010
I understand that because of the economic crisis space flight is a bit impractical right now, but even so saying that?s there?s no reason to try is just wrong, we humans have always tried to explore new locations and solve the mysteries of the universe, to give up now would be doing a disservice to every scientist who spend his life trying to expand our knowledge of the universe.

I blame the lack of a new good star trek show for the current disinterest in space travel, people need a reminder of how awesome the future can be, even if it is filled with cyborg zombies, space roman?s, evil changelings, and Wesley.


New member
Jan 29, 2009
There is no rational for a space program like what we have had. It is a waste of resources.

That being said, it makes sense to colonize other planets/moons in our solar system as soon as possible, but it would take a world wide, long term effort to accomplish that goal. We, as a race, not a nation, would need to band together and work towards one goal, plan it out, and implement it over decades and eventually centuries.

It's worth doing, and it is possible, but we are WAY behind, and honestly with the population of the earth being so large, resources being limited, global warming etc...the only way we have any chance at this point is if cold fusion becomes possible in the next 10-20 years or so.

I consider it highly probably that a group of scientists knows this already and has a contingency plan ready to wipe out a large majority of human life on this planet, leaving a small amount of humans left around afterwards to try and repair the damage we have done. Population control, in the form of reduced births, would take to long at this point and a more drastic action would be required.

That sadly is the only long term solution I can see for this race. Space, while a long term goal that is worth achieving, is not going to save us from ourselves fast enough. We need to deal with our planet first, ensuring it will sustain us for long enough, before we waste resources on space exploration.

There is a set list of things that need to be accomplished in order to make any efforts in space worthwhile. We need a decent sized perpetual space station...which can be used to combine multiple small parts into working machines in space. That is the first goal. Then, using that space station we could build what would be required to create stations on the moon. That can allow us to use resources from the moon, and build things there (if cold fusion is possible by that point we could use mass from the moon for power as well etc). That is just the start of a long process before we actually could have a sustainable society away from the's not gonna happen in the next 20-30 point on working towards it till we get things settled down on this planet. We need some form of unified goverment (At least to the point of actively working together, if not under one set of laws/rules etc). We need a sustainable energy source for our population and a way to curtain our population growth...using only the amount of resources that are replenishable on this planet etc. That is what we need to focus on.