Re: SPACE: Cassini Mission Consequences

Paul Hager (
Tue, 23 Sep 1997 10:12:27 -0500 (EST)

On Mon, 22 Sep 1997, Michael Lorrey wrote:

> 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.

Well... you can "protest", but if you deduct from your taxes the
guys with the guns and truncheons will come to take you away.

> 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
> effect".

While I may be more concerned about possible man-made climate change than
you, I essentially agree that there is no evidence that big government
"solutions" are desirable.

> 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 would say that 4 (or N) wrongs don't make a right. Statism is the
problem, not the solution.

> >
> > 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.

This may be -- let's say I'm somewhat agnostic on the subject of whether
or not a government needs to "prime the pump". But, assuming that such
may be necessary, I would want government involvement to be minimal,
indirect, and of limited duration.

> 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.

I'd say we're more bureaucratized -- which produces the same effect.

> --


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

paul hager

"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason."
-- Thomas Paine, THE AGE OF REASON