Re: SPACE: Cassini Mission Consequences

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 22 Sep 1997 21:20:25 -0400

Paul Hager wrote:
> It seems to me that there are two issues here and I've only seen one
> discussed: the hazard associated with a failure. I've already posted my
> view that the Plutonium hazard is virtually non-existant and that the most
> dangerous thing about the probe would be its kinetic energy. Despite the
> fact -- and I consider it incontrovertible -- that the opposition to
> Cassini is driven by junk science and hysteria, the opponents do have one
> compelling argument on their side: they are being made to pay for this
> mission against their will.

Hey, I'm being made to pay for a War on Drugs I don't approve of, yet if
I protested, I'd get arrested.
I'm being made to pay for the research to find a "cure" for AIDS, when a
good supply of vitamins, rubbers, spermicide, and an aversion to anal
sex should do the job of prevention much better and more cheaply for all
practical purposes.
I'm being made to pay for a welfare system that anyone but a single
white straight educated male can get benefits from (I know, I tried
several times when I was down on my luck to seek the "help" that freinds
said I "deserved" and was "entitled to").
I'm being made to pay for research into and measures to reduce the
"greenhouse affect" that as far as anyone can tell isn't now and won't
anytime in the near future centuries be anywhere near the outside bounds
of normal terran climate variation. For all we know, our pollution is
protecting us from an ice age right now, and we don't even know it. The
solar flux and atmospheric data support this theory as much as they
support the theory that manmade pollution is causing a "greenhouse
The two things I want the overwhelming majority of my tax money to go
to: space exploration and space technology/ifrastructure development are
extremely atrophied.
> I accept as a given that if Cassini provides any data at all, it will
> benefit the human race. However, although governments are good at quick
> and dirty projects and sometimes fund useful science, for the most part
> politics governs decisions. Science, by its nature, must be free and open
> but even the most benign government bureaucracies tend toward their
> opposite. "Big" science as practiced by government bureaucracies is
> wasteful and inflexible. It is true that planetary exploration is
> CURRENTLY expensive and it APPEARS that only a government can fund it.
> But, if there is ever going to be an expansion of humanity beyond the
> Earth, we will have to get the government out of the picture -- market
> forces will yield solutions that will reduce costs and open up
> possibilities for exploration and exploitation that will dwarf anything
> that government bureaucracies are likely to produce.
> So, the Cassini opponents, in their neo-Luddite way, actually have an
> important point to make and it behooves us to give it due consideration.
> I think the issue should be how government can effectively privatize space
> -- in other words, how quickly government can get out of the picture.

True, but government should not get totally out of the picture until the
technological and infrastructure base is sufficient to be economical,
with growth, not just self sufficiency.

As seen in other posts on this subject, the human race is far far more
risk averse than they were back in the age of exploration, or even in
the earlier part of this century.

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------	Inventor of the Lorrey Drive
MikeySoft: Graphic Design/Animation/Publishing/Engineering
How many fnords did you see before breakfast today?