High technology

Why invest in space exploration?

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Jonar does not understand the absurd suggestion that space exploration helps to prevent Earth from becoming over-populated. To listen to an excerpt from the radio broadcast, please click on the green play button below.

Here is a transcript of the audio file.

Jonar Nader: The technology that went to Mars is so old that it no longer excites technologists, so what I am saying then is that many technologists can ask, why are we going to Mars? If what went to Mars is so old in technology then why are we investing all this money? Besides forget technology, socially what is the point of going to another planet? So we can put Uranium there, or so we can send the world’s over population there? I just need to digress a moment. What is this idea that the world is over populated, so we send people to Mars? How do we do that? We say if your name begins with A to F, line up here please we are going to send you to Mars so the world is less populated? What an absurd discussion! All we will do is go to Mars and populate it as well.

Back to the question of why we invest all this money in space exploration. The reason we can justify investing 150 million dollars in one particular launch alone, and billions of dollars over time,and in other associated technologies in other labs is that they allow accidents to happen. By that, I don’t mean the devastating kind, the shocking kind of accidents, but the accidents of invention. Sending people to Mars, the process in itself creates accidents for invention. The end result in one year’s time is useless; it’s nothing. The benefit is in what it does in 50 years time. This technology that we are using today in the form of mobile phones, or microwave ovens, or anything you do with cars, is 99% as a result of accidents. No-one meant to invent the light bulb, and no-one meant to invent the telephone. All these things and hundreds like them are accidents. That is what we want from Mars. You may say, well tell me what accidents are likely to come. Well minister if I could foresee the unforseen… we can’t! We just create the environment.

Host: But for instance just looking at the Mars probe itself as the little thing bounced along on its balloons and then one of the balloons did not deflate properly and it may well have stopped the little rover from getting out. They had to solve problems in order to make that happen.

Jonar Nader: Fine, and that is a wonderful challenge. It is like playing chess in such a remote control way. That was a lot of fun for the people doing it, and one minister or senator must have been tearing his hair out especially on the famous day of July the 4th. What a wonderful feat! I mean my airplane from Sydney to Melbourne can’t land me on time, how did they manage to land it on July the 4th for heavens sake? And they knew this years ago! I think they just must have circuited around Mars a few times saying quick quick, lets hope its july 4th so we can give our president something to cut a ribbon on.

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