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NyArtist26
Just curious to hear what everyone has to say on this topic...

I was recently reading the latest issue of Wired and came across an interesting opinion piece talking about how we should stop worrying about the space race and start to explore our oceans with a program similar to NASA.

I personally think that it would be pure folly to stop our exploration of space. I mean, not only is the space program an inspiration to the people, but also the scientific benefits reaped from microgravity experimentation are immense.

On the other hand, the author of the article did have a point in that there is a large percentage of our world left unexplored and we are one of the few countries with the resources to explore it and perhaps even colonize it (just as some of us have dreams of colonizing space stations and moons). Not to mention, that there are undoubtedly major scientific breakthroughs awaiting us among the highly populated and largely unknown biologically diverse depths.

Where do you all stand?

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D. Gage
Upstate NY
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Gray Seal
I do not think space vs. oceans needs to be an either/or question. The pursuit of knowledge can take us many places. Money spent on exploration will be money well spent.

It would be good to spend more money on exploration than we are currently. It will be good to increase the demand of the marketplace for intelligent and well educated people in non-aggressive science. We should increase our exploration of the wild blue beyonder above and below our feet.
AuthorMusician
From the purely scientific standpoint, all that we can explore should be explored. All that can be studied ought to be studied.

However, our space exploration is nearly 100% funded by our tax dollars. Why is space concentrated upon rather than our oceans, seas, and big lakes?

The crowd chants: de-fense, de-fense, de-fense!

As is often the case, science advances upon the shoulders of the military.

The next most effective motivation is economic. For example, the laying of copper underseas communication cable led to the discovery that sharks respond to electromagnetic fields. The sharks would nibble on the cable! Optic fiber cable doesn't attract sharks.

Personally, I am all for any kind of scientific research. Those are tax dollars well spent due to the return on investment.
GoAmerica
I say stay with space because the sea has already been explored & it's just algae and sunken treasure/ships

Space has new things that don't belong to this World & Man will someday want to leave Earth & spread out in space & we need to keep exploring space, looking for possible dangers that might await us
Cyan
QUOTE
I say stay with space because the sea has already been explored & it's just algae and sunken treasure/ships


The deep sea is largely unexplored because of its inhospitable environment to man, but we have been gradually developing the technology to explore this high pressure, no light, and low temperature environment.

This link talks a little bit about the history of Deep Sea Technology

The same article touches on the reasons why we should explore the deep.

QUOTE
Investigations of the deep sea have demonstrated that many varied and unique creatures thrive under the harsh conditions associated with a lack of sunlight and great depths. Giant squid, six and seven gill sharks, large tubeworms, vampire squid, and a host of other creatures inhabit the deep sea. As man continues to explore the oceans, more discoveries are being made that assist researchers in better understanding how marine creatures can and do affect the lives of human beings. Not only are marine organisms used as food, but the medicinal values of many of these creatures are just being realized. The cures for many human diseases may lie in the deep.


I tend to agree with Gray Seal that this doesn't have to be an either/or question. We should be exploring both space and the deep sea.

Edited to add this link from NPR's All things considered: Prospecting Beneath the Seas
AuthorMusician
cyan,

Good information! I was once attracted to marine biology, but I hate getting wet and dissection isn't my favorite activity.

goamerica,

We've only just begun to explore the depths. Not only are there biological discoveries to be made, some of which may become useful for medicine, food production, and energy collection/generation, but there are chemical and geological discoveries to be made too.

The very cool thing about knowledge is that the more we learn, the more we realize we don't know. It is easy to dismiss any area of knowledge as being fully explored. This is a mistake in thinking, but a common one. Scientists who make big discoveries reject this way of thought.

Thinking about "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" right now. Ah, if only I had a Nautilus!
JonBon
QUOTE(NyArtist26 @ Mar 2 2003, 04:32 AM)
the scientific benefits reaped from microgravity experimentation are immense.

As a bit of a scientific ignoramus in many ways, could I ask what the benefits of such experimentation actually are?
Abs like Jesus
QUOTE(goamerica @ Mar 2 2003, 04:19 PM)
I say stay with space because the sea has already been explored & it's just algae and sunken treasure/ships

Space has new things that don't belong to this World & Man will someday want to leave Earth & spread out in space & we need to keep exploring space, looking for possible dangers that might await us

Actually, from the material I've read in my subscriptions to bothScientific American and Discover magazines, we haven't yet explored everything in the sea. There are still regions of the sea too deep for equipment to thoroughly explore due to the immense pressure put on the sensitive equipment. While there is some technology that can probe these depths, their ability to gather information is still severely limited.
Also, it has been through our explorations of the sea which have shown us different ways in which life might have arisen on our planet. Studies linked with hydro-thermal vents and the life that populates it (living without sunlight and oxygen) has prompted many new hypothesis and theories.
I must agree with that it not be an either/or situation. In many ways, exploration and studies of the deep sea can in some ways tie in with our explorations of space. Both offer inhospitable environments and the study of life in the depths may offer ideas regarding life beyond our planet (whatever your views on this may be).
That's just my opinion... perhaps I'll check into some of the links others have posted on this subject and do some research of my own. I regret not having links and sources at this time... blush.gif
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