|Quoting moo (Reply 19):|
we need a permanent outstation in earth orbit
My personal view is that those involved should move from generalist ideas such as 'Let's build a space station for international cooperation' to utility, as in get going on researching possibilities of creating gravity-esque forces in space, shield long range spacecraft from solar radiation and so on.
I would consider myself a futurist, and with all the fatalists out there I just don't think that will happen. Let's say a rotational device to research artificial gravity - all the technical difficulties aside, such as the immense size that device would need to be, I doubt we would see anyone want to try if there was a chance the astronauts involved would die.
There is a lack of risk taking mentality, especially where the funds are allocated, and that certainly wasn't such an issue for the last, terrestrial wave of exploration of Magellan and Columbus etc.
I am only a financial analyst and unfortunately lack the scientific knowledge to completely assess many of the developments in space, but from my amateur position as a space enthusiast it is a massive disappointment how the space programs basically came to a dead stop after the Apollo program. The Shuttle program was a failure of epic dimensions, it completely failed to do what it was supposed to do and (the gap between Apollo and STS
aside) since it first flew, there has basically nothing been happening in space that would carry any significance in itself.
It's only recently that private entities, of which (but that again is personal opinion) I only consider SpaceX to have promising and potentially groundbreaking ideas and the guts and monetary support to execute on them, have begun to get back on track.
One more slightly negative indication on the economy until 2024 and I could even see all public space efforts being cut, that's how bad I think it is by now.
Space has always been excessively expensive and this is not a new phenomenon. The Apollo-program cost a fortune and even back then, there were significant protests against the use of tax payer money for it instead of helping the poor or spending it on other public budgets. Just back then, nobody cared and the pace of achievements made generated an opinion environment in which it wasn't too terribly hard to pass such spending, and we lost that.
Sorry, rant over. Don't even know if I stayed on topic but this had to get out of me.