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Space and the Military

  1. Jul 18, 2005 #1


    I was wondering how many people think that we are moving towards a militarization of space? I am really impressed with the probes like Cassini and the latest probe, but I feel that ulterior motives could be at work.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2005 #2

    Astronuc

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    There are two groups - those looking to explore space, and those interested in securing a military presence. It's much like the oceans, where nations established both a commerical/trade presence and a military (naval) presence.

    The military, particularly US, is looking for a strategic advantange. So much communication is now handled by satellites. The nation which controls space will have a significant strategic advantage against all other nations.

    Organizations like NASA and ESA are interested in exploring space, for both scientific and commercial reasons. However, the costs of doing so are enourmous.

    Is there a relationship between the two groups? Perhaps. Certain technologies are common. People will move back and forth, friends and colleagues communicate ideas, governments and individuals within governments will influence policy and direction.

    So, what will be.
     
  4. Jul 19, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    I don't see what Cassini has to do with the potential militarization of space: it was just a probe to Saturn and we've been sending probes to the outer planets since the '70s.

    All of our current space-based miltiary initiatives are focused on earth orbit.
     
  5. Jul 20, 2005 #4

    Chronos

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    Of course there is a military interest in exploiting space based technology. It would be naive to think all that money is invested solely in the interest of science. Scientists should 'moo' and flutter their eyelids like milk cows when asked 'can we use this knowledge to create a weapon?'
     
  6. Jul 20, 2005 #5
    It's better to find out first if the military you work for will use it for good
    or evil. Arming good is always better than not arming it and much much
    better than arming evil.
     
  7. Jul 21, 2005 #6
    I don't think it's quite so much the military that should be viewed as being good or evil but the administration that wields it.
     
  8. Jul 21, 2005 #7
    Yes, E6S, spot on.

    And in the general case, if a scientist works for a hate-filled leader or
    world view then it is quite likelier that their weapons will be used less
    justly than if those weapons would be in the hands of a more open
    system with respect for the individual citizen.
     
  9. Jul 21, 2005 #8

    russ_watters

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    That is precisely what happened with the early space race (Manhattan Project, too) - the fleeing German scientists decided between the USSR and the USA.
     
  10. Jul 21, 2005 #9

    Astronuc

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    I am not sure if German scientists decided about USSR, i.e. I don't believe the Germans had much of a choice. The Russians simply moved the German scientists back to Russia, in some cases. Germany and Berlin were divided into US, British, French and Russian sectors at the end of the war. I think von Braun and his colleagues were lucky enough to be in or get to the US sector. The US had a high priority to get the German scientists.
     
  11. Jul 21, 2005 #10
    An interesting question, grant555. I have not done much reading on this topic, but did a google search now and came up with some information:
    And finally, from the Union of Concerned Scientists:
     
  12. Jul 21, 2005 #11
    Moooo *flutters eye lids*
     
  13. Jul 21, 2005 #12

    Astronuc

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    RTG systems in space - http://www.ne.doe.gov/space/spacepwr.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator

    General discussion on space-nuclear power, which is essentially RTG technology - http://www.nuc.umr.edu/nuclear_facts/spacepower/spacepower.html
    ----------------------

    Cassini's subsystems - http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/subsystems-cassini.cfm
    including 3 RTGs that provide a total of 850 watts of power.

    Three Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators -- commonly referred to as RTGs -- provide power for the spacecraft, including the instruments, computers, and radio transmitters on board, attitude thrusters, and reaction wheels.
    ----------------------

    Space-based weapons platforms were designed with Multi-megawatt reactors in mind.

    So Cassini has little to do with military applications. On the other hand, it is a 'satellite' or 'spacecraft' which uses generic technology that would be used on military satellite or spacecraft.
     
  14. Jul 25, 2005 #13
    The V-2 research complex was at Peenemünde (north-eastern cost of current day Germany), this complex housed Von Braun, his research team, and there families for most of the war. They were located to the facility for security reasions early on in the war. Von Braun moved his research team and as much of his teams research papers away from that complex near the end of the war to prevent the russians from getting there hands on it. He moved it to the main production lines in central Germany, then went looking for G.I.'s on his bike so he could surrender his team and there info over to the Americans. So the argument that tec. is as evil as the hands that it is in is a vary legit argument.
     
  15. Jul 26, 2005 #14
    Ok. I'll accept this appelation. But remember I made the choice willingly.
    Farm animals don't have that luxury. This puts my decision into a morally
    different category than theirs.

    If the military is the farmer and he agrees to keep me free, I'll agree to
    stay on his farm and make milk. Anything wrong with that?
     
  16. Jul 26, 2005 #15
    Fine. Whatever.

    I'm pretty sure you don't have the luxury either.
     
  17. Aug 10, 2005 #16

    Can you say "The Evil Empire"?
     
  18. Aug 10, 2005 #17

    russ_watters

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    What do you mean? The Soviet Union dissolved 14 years ago.
     
  19. Aug 10, 2005 #18
  20. Aug 10, 2005 #19

    loseyourname

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    Yes, but the Yankees keep going strong.
     
  21. Aug 13, 2005 #20
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