> GBurch1@aol.com wrote:Is there a near-term role for manned space stations?...I'd
> especially curious to hear the thoughts of younger folks who may well not be
> infected so strongly with the "space station meme".
Greg, as sad as it sounds, it may be our generation only that is turned on by the space station meme. I have yet to find a person under 25 that is all that excited by it. Perhaps the low earth orbitting station is an idea whose time is passed. You and I grew up with the same pictures in the encyclopedia, the same books no doubt. I recall seeing the first moon landing as an 8 yr old, and thinking how wicked cool is this whole adventure. But I have seen some of the younger crowd, Eliezer for instance, diss the whole thing.
My view is this: even if we get nanotechnology and tinkerbellize ourselves, sooner
or later, we will convert this whole planet, then this solar system into
transhumans and supporting infrastructure. Sooner or later, we *must* go out there. This is why I am so interested in SETI@home, just so I can estimate what kinds of challenges face us, or future transhumans. spike