The Philosophical Divide In Space

Go read this whole thread.

So Trump's science advisor says they are stripping NASA's earth sci division so they can focus on "exploration" ie colonization of space

— Dr. Chanda 🇧🇧 (@IBJIYONGI) November 23, 2016

On record, @DNLee5 and I told y'all that white supremacist capitalists had a vision of "exploration" in mind and it was NOT Star Trek

— Dr. Chanda 🇧🇧 (@IBJIYONGI) November 23, 2016

As I wrote a year and a half ago:

…we have to be ready for that debate. There is a moral case to be made for settling space by humanity, warts and all, and we have to be prepared to make it.

I think that many in the space community underestimate the depth of this cultural divide. And they’ve already deployed the race card against human expansion into the solar system.

24 comments on this post.
  1. flighterdoc:

    That BAASTID…..Expecting NASA to work on what it was chartered for? The humanity!

  2. Laura Montgomery:

    This will be an interesting research question on the right to travel.

  3. M Puckett:

    If they think they can stop the ballistic minded, perhaps someone should remind the good Marxist doctor Chandra just what rule .303 is.

    I suppose we could just take them somewhere out into deep space and drop them but a Chilean Helicopter ride or an Argentinian C-130 ride over the south Atlantic would be equally appropriate and just as effective at a far lower cost.

  4. MfK:

    Travel isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. At least, that’s what they always told us in California.

  5. Laura Montgomery:

    First off, you were in California….

  6. FC:

    Debate? Wouldn’t be easier to just laugh and continue with our lives?

  7. wodun:

    I don’t think a lot of the misanthropes can be persuaded or deprogrammed from their paradigm of intersectionality but it might help noting that Trump isn’t eliminating Earth sciences but rather moving the responsibility for conducting them to another federal agency.

    NOAA is all about the weather while NASA is only tangentially associated with it. Is it really a bad thing to realign how Earth sciences are done with these agencies?

    Planetary protection is going to be a huge roadblock for humans on Mars. Of course the anti-humans weren’t so upset when Obama said humans would go to Mars but will be apoplectic if Trump says so.

    Also, if anyone thinks 2018 will be the year socialists, marxists, and leftists in general in handful of academic STEM fields can swing a midterm election they need to take a sabbatical and get a real job.

  8. Laura Montgomery:

    There are a lot of signs that opponents will want planetary protection to be a roadblock, but legally it shouldn’t be. Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty, says that “States Parties” to the treaty shall conduct their activities so as to “avoid harmful contamination.” Just on its face, this provision applies to state actors, not to private actors. Additionally, this provision is not self-executing so even if it did apply to non-governmental entities it shouldn’t be used to stop them unless Congress passed a law saying it does. Without a law to carry out, the Executive Branch shouldn’t be using “planetary protection” (which isn’t mentioned in the OST) to stop people from going.

    If Congress were to pass a law about avoiding harmful contamination, it should–one can hope–provide boundaries on the meaning of harmful contamination. A scientist views harmful contamination as that which gets in the way of doing science, and then conjures the principle of planetary protection. The residents of Flint Michigan likely have a different definition.

    I’m relying on memory here, but I seem to recall language in NASA’s enabling statutes that spoke of people going to space. If my memory is correct, Congress has already said people can go. And people have.

  9. wodun:

    There are a lot of signs that opponents will want planetary protection to be a roadblock, but legally it shouldn’t be.

    I kind of agree. It shouldn’t be a permanent roadblock but shouldn’t there be some due diligence to search for life prior to landing humans? At the same time, it is unreasonable to expect that every crack and crevice over the entire planet would be viewed through a microscope.

    I hope that there would be some middle ground that could be used to persuade a portion of the misanthropes that we did what could reasonably be done before landing people. (I favor telerobotics from inside the cognitive horizon during a defined prospecting period.) There are others that think Mars and other celestial bodies are off limits to everyone but the super special scientists club, if anyone at all. While these people might accept scientists, they would never accept commerce or colonists. This is true for the Moon too despite humans already having been there.

    Is persuasion possible here?

    I agree with your interpretation of the OST but there are others who view it differently. I am not sure what can be done through persuasion because they are morally opposed to the existence of humans on celestial bodies other than Earth, and also Earth.

    Earlier this summer there was that asteroid mining bill that passed congress but part of that was language that stated that the executive branch had to determine if the bill violated any of our international agreements. This report was due sometime in the past few months or right about now. I haven’t seen anything about it, so I assume that writing the report got sidelined. Will Obama administration produce the report before he leaves office or will he leave it to Trump?

  10. Laura Montgomery:

    If you are interested in how this applies in the Article VI (supervision and authorization) context, I wrote about how since Article VI is not self-executing, it should not be used as a barrier to private activity here: http://groundbasedspacematters.com/index.php/2016/10/14/article-vi-is-not-self-executing-and-should-not-be-treated-as-an-obstacle-to-private-space-activity/

    Are you thinking about how Congress asked the administration to identify appropriate authorization and supervision authorities for non-traditional commercial space activities? The report was issued: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/csla_report_4-4-16_final.pdf In an excess of caution (I left the FAA this past summer) I don’t talk about it.

  11. wodun:

    Thanks!

  12. Laura Montgomery:

    On the due diligence front, it seems like we’ve sent a lot of landers to search for life on Mars. One might suggest there’s been decades of due diligence. Also, those interested in science could keep looking, and they could look where the people aren’t. Mars is bigger than Texas.

    As it is, I think NASA limits the presence of microbial spores on any surface to no more than 300,000. Some may get through since some things can survive vacuum. There’s no such thing as perfect sterilization.

    If I were writing a law I would make sure to define harmful contamination as meaning something more awful than simple human presence, including life support and agriculture.

  13. wodun:

    I agree and even if it were found that there is life on Mars, microbes should not prevent a human presence.

  14. Graham:

    ” I am not sure what can be done through persuasion because they are morally opposed to the existence of humans on celestial bodies other than Earth, and also Earth.”

    That last clause gave me a chuckle. And truer words never spoken.

  15. Tom Billings:

    We are going to have to acknowledge the fact that today NASA, like much of science and technology funding by the federal government, is looked at by most in politics as only another means for pols to allocate resources to increase their own power. Further, most of academia looks at federal technology/science dollars as a means to fund their positions, including NASA’s budget. It isn’t the cost of getting data that is a problem. The new cubesat sensor sats can do a better job than older battlestar sats at far lower cost. The problem lies in NASA analysis funding having been diverted to only those people who will be Al Gore’s whores. Getting money through NASA, after going against the politically accepted “consensus” in the conclusions of a published paper is nearly impossible.

    That means getting any acknowledgement that NASA should be free to follow its Charter will be a monumental struggle outside the new administration. I do not know how much affect this will have on the administration, though it will afflict Congress members with many sleepless nights for the first 2-4 years. There is where the real struggle will come. Until Congress realizes that their careers are no longer going to be toast just because progressives in mainstream media revile them, they will be twitchy as mice at a cat show.

    That is why abolishing, or massively down-sizing the activities of, the FCC is a higher priority than almost anything else, for me. It is a major imposed cost on bringing new bandwidth online. Once the bandwidth of the internet expands so much that neither ComCast, nor FaceBook, nor Twitter, nor any other provider, can shut off non-progressive views, we will see the Congress members now trembling in their boots begin to sleep well even when the old lags at CBS say bad things about them. From that point onwards, moving NASA towards its Chartered responsibilities becomes far easier.

  16. R7 Rocket:

    People like this want to murder every White. It’s a lot harder to do that if the Whites spread across the Solar System.

    Just as M Puckett said, maybe they need a Freee Helicopter Ride(TM)…

  17. M Puckett:

    That is why I say: “Dick Durbin before he dicks you.”

  18. wodun:

    They are certainly racist against white people but what they really hate is the cultural identity held by specific groups of white people. They have a lot of stereotypes for these groups they use to ignore what the core disagreement is, which are views about the legitimacy of our country’s founding, beliefs about capitalism, economics, the role of government, and individuality.

    Racism is just the most societally acceptable way for them to attack, dehumanize, and marginalize people because when they make it about race, they don’t have to deal with reality. When cloaked in a faux moral righteousness, they don’t have to communicate with the monsters, just slay them.

  19. wodun:

    Oh, forgot to add what we all know. They will use racism against anyone black, white, or whatever if they go against the ever shifting views of what is politically correct at the moment.

  20. Leland:

    NASA is currently the world’s largest climate change research organization

    And that needs to change by cutting NASA’s budget in that area, including the base closing of GSFC.

  21. James Bennett:

    We are seeing the real Great Filter at work. These bureaucratic rent-seekers do not want the sheep that they shear to their benefit to escape off planet into a space so vast they can’t track them down and force them to pay their rents. Getting past them is the ultimate price of our freedom.

    I think the real answer to the “where are they” question is that only a tiny fraction of the civilizations that develop intelligent life ever develop technology, and having developed technology, develop a concept of freedom that allows them to expand off-panet. All the rest fall victim to the predation trap, as those who produce wealth attract parasites that only know how to predate on wealth, and cannot defend themselves adequately, or flee off-planet effectively. I hope we become one of the exceptions.

  22. Ed Minchau:

    And I hope Trump sees your Space Guard idea.

  23. Graham:

    Apologies for test post. Trying to comment and have to test my cookies on a new system. In every sense.

  24. Graham:

    Dr Chanda at one point commented that the new colonizers have a plan to exploit space and “it is NOT Star Trek”.

    I certainly beg to differ and somebody should call her on it at some point.

    Yes, TOS was Kennedy Liberalism and TNG was Gore Liberalism, but in plenty of ways the people weren’t as different as the writers had the characters proclaim nor as some trekkers seem to think. But that’s a bigger issue.

    On this matter- the TOS crew were all drinkers and party guys who either chased women on every planet or spent leave on places like “Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet”, or that planet that was playing host to the ghost of Jack the Ripper. They may not have been Trump voters but they would have been Trump customers. I’ll bet Wrigley was a 23rd century Trump. Hotel, casino and liquor mogul of the Federation.

    Even the TNG crew were into experimenting with alien alcohols, hanging out in places called “Blue Parrot Café” drinking blue booze, stashing green Aldebaran whiskey on the Enterprise, casino gambling, and jazz bands. And seemingly endless poker games. Poker seemed to be embedded in Starfleet culture as much as any navy. And of course Riker was basically Bill Clinton as Starfleet officer.

    There must have been Wrigley Hotels and Casinos from here to Orion and back.

    And of course first Earth and then the ever so precious Federation planted human and other colonies on life-supporting and/or terraformed planets all over the place.

    Do these people even watch Star Trek?