TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

A People's Space Movement

A people’s space movement
Let us put forth an aggressive agenda to dramatically increase the number of everyday people going into space so that we can at last take on the challenge of becoming a true spacefaring world.
In 1969 we sent men to the moon with ancient technology. Today we have vastly more advanced computers and vastly more advanced composite materials, vastly more advanced rockets. Access to space does not need to be so damned expensive. It has been so only due to the short-sighted greed of the aerospace industry. Yes, space has its dangers, but so too has air travel. Yes, people have died in spaceflight but, so too have people died on every highway in the country. Have we stopped the automobile? No we have not. We continued on and that we must do in space. We should continue onward and upward... to the moon... to the edge of the solar system... to the nearest stars.
We should open our eyes and hearts and minds and take our time and resources to forge boldly toward the high frontier. Let us create a space industry investment pool to pay the bills, let us tell congress to support expanding space initiatives or we will vote them out, let us create a High Frontier University to teach the youngest and the brightest that there are great dreams worth living and dying for... but we will not die. If we have vision and if we have courage, we will flourish. If we do not move more of us on the fantastic adventure of life in space we will follow the path of the dinosaurs. We will fade and slowly wither away. But that is not what humanity was meant to do. We were meant not to just look but to go beyond the next mountain, to climb ever higher, to bequeath to our children and theirs a destiny beyond measure.
Let us not bemoan the negative; any expert can tell you why it will not work. All impossible things were impossible until someone found a way. The universe is our playground... We belong to the universe and the universe belongs to us. Your ideas are welcome as is your support.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 25 2013: "Access to space does not need to be so damned expensive. It has been so only due to the short-sighted greed of the aerospace industry."

    Could you explain this claim? It seems like the aerospace industry would have the most to gain from an expanded space exploration agenda.

    A lost of costs stem from heavy government regulation in addition to the mundane material costs. If you think a gallon/liter of gasoline is expensive, can you imagine the bill for rocket fuel?
    • Jun 25 2013: I had a conversation with a NASA employee a few years ago. I asked him why the cost to launch items on the space shutter was over $10,000 a pound. He said it is beause of the cost of every part of the shuttle. A single tire on the landing gear costs $600,000! I asked why and he said it was because of all the testing they must do. I can buy that for the first tire but every single tire? That is pure price gouging. Once you have the specifications for any shuttle part then the cost for each production part should come way down and it is only a matter of quality control. Imagine what the cost of an airline ticket would be if every tire on the airplane costs 600K. The companies that sell these parts would rather collect 600k as opposed to $89.95 per tire. I think there are cost reduction strategies that can bring down the cost to launch to the neighbhood of a dollar a pound, maybe two. As far as the cost of rocket fuel. we could use alternative energy sources like solar and wind power to produce electricity to produce hydrogen from water as a great cost savings. There are ways to do all this if we examine closely every cost item for less expensive alternatives.
      • thumb
        Jun 26 2013: I believe that we can hugely reduce the cost of take-off.

        Most companies and factories will put huge price-tags just for the cause that its being sent to space.

        Isn't it strange that even after all these years, they couldn't come up with a specific kind of tire. Individual testing for every tire might not be necessary if a specific set is made. The same goes for all the million dollar body which could be easily reproduced, ditto to the original for a cheaper cost.

        We might be wrong with our thoughts but unless someone explains me point-to-point why we need to spend so much on testing, I will not back down from this new found challenge.
        • Jun 26 2013: Absolutely. I suggest we examine the true cost of each component from the beginning of the space program to now. Lets compare the cost of everything and see what has been overpriced simply because it is space related

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.