Print 79 comment(s) - last by acer905.. on Sep 4 at 1:11 PM

The Russian space program outlines its plans for the moon and Mars

The head of the Russian Federal Space Agency announced plans to launch a manned mission to the moon by 2025 and a permanent lunar base by 2032.  

"According to our estimates, we will be ready for a manned flight to the moon in 2025," said Anatoly Perminov.  He further believes an "inhabited station" could be built on the moon between 2027 and 2032.  

Russia originally planned to partner with NASA for a joint moon mission, but the U.S. government shunned the proposal.  After finishing the Russian portion of the International Space Station within the next 10 years, Russia will then shift focus towards modernizing the Soyuz so it can head to the moon.

Russia has a general outline for the space program until 2040, although financial resources must now be properly calculated.

Other nations have publicly announced plans to launch manned missions to the moon in the next 20 years.  Aside from NASA and Russia, both China and Japan have plans to launch astronauts to the moon by 2022 and 2030.  A manned lunar base could be used as an ideal stepping stone for manned launches to the Red Planet of Mars.

The Russian space program and European Space Agency (ESA) are working together to simulate manned missions to the Red Planet - six chosen volunteers will be moved to a sealed capsule to help researchers study what effects the human body will go through over the journey to Mars.

Financial and logistical issues face all nations that have optimistic plans to one day be able to launch manned missions to Mars.  After appropriate spacecraft and supplies are built and acquired, the long journey and rough environment of Mars pose interesting challenges to engineers.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

The United States of Moon!
By therealnickdanger on 8/31/2007 4:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
Is there any reason in particular that the United States hasn't claimed the moon as its territory? I think we should.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By mcnabney on 8/31/2007 4:13:17 PM , Rating: 4
Because the world would just think we were even bigger prigs than they already do. Also, to claim something you need to protect it.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By therealnickdanger on 8/31/07, Rating: 0
RE: The United States of Moon!
By mcnabney on 8/31/2007 4:31:11 PM , Rating: 5
It is currently 2007, not the year 2300. We don't have a vast space fleet that patrols the moon. If Russia, China, or Japan want to sent rockets up there and start mining the moon there is nothing we can do to stop them.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Jonwww on 8/31/2007 5:07:07 PM , Rating: 5
But what if all the other countries mine all the cheese before we get it!? (because everyone knows the moon is made of cheese) ;-)

RE: The United States of Moon!
By clemedia on 8/31/2007 5:39:48 PM , Rating: 5
You say that like you are joking......go to

Zoom in....keep going........all the way.....BINGO!

RE: The United States of Moon!
By PrinceGaz on 9/1/2007 11:39:36 AM , Rating: 2
That's further proof that the Apollo manned moon-landings were faked. Google Moon clearly shows the Moon is made of cheese, but the pictures NASA would have us believe were taken on the Moon show it as being rock and dust.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By LogicallyGenius on 9/2/07, Rating: -1
RE: The United States of Moon!
By 91TTZ on 9/3/2007 10:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
I sure hope you're joking.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 6:10:25 PM , Rating: 2
there is nothing we can do to stop them.

I very much doubt that.

On the other hand, they could likely return the favor. It seems to me the Moon is the most easily attacked military target but likely nearly impossible to defend. Any damage can be fatal, almost nowhere to hide, no weather to obscure movement, and no local citizens or fields to rape and plunder if supply lines are cut.

At least, that's about how it looks to stand now.. and for quite a while. The only deterrent to attacking us on the Moon would be the nuclear & conventional deterrent on Earth.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By rcc on 8/31/2007 6:28:36 PM , Rating: 2
lol, here's a reading list for you.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Stark's War


RE: The United States of Moon!
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 6:36:35 PM , Rating: 2
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

One of my favorite books..

.. but something about throwing rocks back at Earth doesn't strike me as a very good real-world defense plan for the Moon :)

RE: The United States of Moon!
By rcc on 8/31/2007 6:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it wasn't in the book either. Just a deterence, which was much in vogue at the time.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 7:18:22 PM , Rating: 2
I remember Mike had the same thought I did; that it'd be easy to counter with a first strike of some sort, which is why I said it wouldn't be a decent defense policy. But.. starting in Chapter 26 (well, okay, last page of 25 too), they werent just a deterrent.

I almost had to read it sophomore year of college, a professor had it as suggested reading. Thankfully it turned out good.. Heinlein consulted with some central bankers to accurately describe the way central banks work -- and the class was Money & Banking. More then anything else that's what endeared it to me; it was almost silly otherwise :P I'd recommend it either for the sci-fi aspect or for the economic perspective.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By timmiser on 9/1/2007 12:46:48 AM , Rating: 1
You guys are way overthinking this. If we wanted to militarily defend the moon from "invaders", all we have to do is bomb the launch pads.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Alexstarfire on 8/31/2007 6:18:12 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, I'm sure launching a nuke into space would take a considerable amount of effort.[/sarcasm]

RE: The United States of Moon!
By JamesTkirk on 9/1/2007 7:24:44 PM , Rating: 2
Are you smarter then a 5th grader????

Do you haave a sister in South Carolina??

RE: The United States of Moon!
By 91TTZ on 8/31/2007 6:20:21 PM , Rating: 5
I've been protecting it, and I've done a damn good job if you ask me. Since we set our flag on it in 1969, not a single other country has landed on it.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By cochy on 8/31/2007 4:37:43 PM , Rating: 5
Run for President with that platform.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By psychmike on 8/31/2007 4:43:41 PM , Rating: 5
Why can't the US claim the moon? Because it is a signatory of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The Treaty states that territorial claims cannot be established on the basis of occupation either, so setting a base up there doesn't change anything. The moon and other celestial bodies are deemed to be in the common domain, much as international waters. My understanding is that purpose of the treaty is to prevent international conflict over such issues, to foster international cooperation, and to place limits on private ownership. Those kinds of things tend to be important to less myopic individuals.


RE: The United States of Moon!
By shamgar03 on 8/31/2007 5:28:15 PM , Rating: 3
Funny you should mention this in relation to international waters, considering Russia's recent actions: I actually am thinking maybe we SHOULD say its ours, just to make the point that if their claims are valid so are ours. I mean they only went under the north pole once, we have planted a flag, and been there many times. The part about their shelf continuing up there is BS, I am sure we have some NASA guys who can come up with just as intelligent sounding BS....Our atmosphere is closest!

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Martin Blank on 8/31/2007 5:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
Their subs -- and ours -- have gone under the northern polar ice cap on a regular basis, and have been near or crossed the pole itself on numerous occasions. The place is not unknown to undersea traffic.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By ZavrionX on 9/3/2007 10:21:33 AM , Rating: 2
One problem, that was a clip from titanic. The us media for the most part is pretending they made no mistake and therefore have no need to correct themselves, much like the Battle of Grozny.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Belard on 9/3/2007 6:13:53 PM , Rating: 2
That Russian is an idiot... "This may sound grandiloquent but for me this is like placing a flag on the moon, this is really a massive scientific achievement,"

errr... uh... NO. You have to be ON THE MOON to do that... Lets see, Americans went to the moon 6 times (12 men on foot, and at least 7 others that orbited the moon.

Russians = 0, Zero, none. nada!

Did you step out of your "pod" and walk on the surface of the North pole? Play golf? Didn't think so.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 6:25:27 PM , Rating: 2
Come on. So you quote an agreement that essentially says "None of us can profit from that place yet, so lets all look noble -- for now."

I can quote international agreements too; such as Article 3 of the North Atlantic Treaty, of which Canada was a signatory and has clearly violated. I can also point out a large graveyard of paper with big signatures that became worthless as soon as it was no longer, ah, economical for them to be adhered to.

That 1967 treaty will remain in force until two things happen. The first is that someone will need to figure out either how to derive a huge strategic advantage by being there, or how to make large sums of money.

The second requirement is someone else figuring out how to defend it and enforce a system of property rights and the rule of law (the law according to whoever gets there first).

Five minutes later, the treaty will be withdrawn from, and new flags start getting planted.

If you take a long term view here it's inevitable anyway. Even if governments abide by it eventually, once it becomes cheap enough, private citizens will go there anyway. Any random tropical island with a GDP of $20 would be perfectly happy to let people blast off rockets bound for the Moon in 2200 if the rest of the world is still too busy tripping over its idealistic shoe laces. If governments don't participate they'll merely be left trying to catch up.

Best, instead, to get ahead of the curve, and be there first with all the bases covered.

I just wish we were working with Stali--er, Putin instead of competing. We're both competing with China, both doomed to ultimately fall in to China's economic shadow, and dividing our resources seems silly.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By AndreasM on 9/1/2007 2:07:19 PM , Rating: 2
The Outer Space treaty only affects governments, not their citizens. The Moon Treaty prevents private individuals from owning property on 'celestial bodies', but thankfully it was never ratified by any major space-faring country (sucks to be a citizen from one of the 12 countries that did ratify it I guess).

But as you point out, treaties can and do get changed/canceled. The problem with withdrawing from such treaties is that you also lose the rights given to you by them. E.g. if the US withdrew from the UN convention on the law of the sea (which is the treaty that gives Russia the right to claim parts of the north pole), then the US would lose their EEZ.

I.e. any country in the world would be allowed to fish and build oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. Happy times!

RE: The United States of Moon!
By maroon1 on 9/1/07, Rating: 0
RE: The United States of Moon!
By johnsonx on 9/2/2007 11:10:54 PM , Rating: 3
That video is pretty funny, worth a chuckle.

Anyone who actually thinks we didn't land on the moon as described in 1969-1972 is also pretty funny, worth a chuckle.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By johnsonx on 9/3/2007 12:02:04 AM , Rating: 2
RE: The United States of Moon!
By acer905 on 9/4/2007 1:11:12 PM , Rating: 3
Dude, you totally spelled your name wrong. Its M-O-R-O-N, got it?

RE: The United States of Moon!
By maroon1 on 9/1/2007 11:52:32 AM , Rating: 2
Is there any reason in particular that the United States hasn't claimed the moon as its territory?

Russia was the first country to land on moon, but it was unmanned landing

RE: The United States of Moon!
By bfonnes on 9/1/2007 4:16:52 PM , Rating: 2
RE: The United States of Moon!
By fra59e on 9/1/2007 7:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
You can't maintain a claim until you can enforce it. Most of Antarctica is claimed by Australia but the rest of the world ignores their alleged sovereignty and there's nothing they can do about it.

That's why the Canadians have good cause to worry today. They claim a lot of the Arctic but have little ability to protect it.

The legal principle of adverse possession implies that if you enter someone's property and use it and they don't stop you, you have thereby established a claim to continue to use it.

That's why although I like the Mexican illegals you encounter around here, and have helped and hired and advised them, even so I think our borders should be sealed up. If you can't control access at your borders, you don't have a country.

RE: The United States of Moon!
By qball101 on 9/3/2007 6:22:08 AM , Rating: 2
The moon doesn't belong to anyone and i hope that who ever goes there does so for peaceful, scientific reasons and with a spirt of internationalism.

People like you who claim responsibility for the achievements of others just because you were born in the same country make me want to vomit. You talk about your country saying: WE should do this, WE should do that when on a personal level YOUR greatest achievement was probably learning to blow your own nose.

Once you have learnt how to build a vehicle which can transport you to the moon, then perhaps you should be making comments like this, but until then stick to your handkercheif.

niether will hit the mark
By rudy on 8/31/2007 6:35:28 PM , Rating: 1
I doubt either the US or Russia will make good on their claim, Russia is not in any sort of a good financial situation and the support of NASA is not good. I think Japan or China maybe make it there first I just see them having a better grip on the money situation so to speak and getting their people to support it (or making them in chinas case).

RE: niether will hit the mark
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 7:49:51 PM , Rating: 2
By 2025 China will already have been the worlds largest economy for perhaps 5 years, so you might be right on that. One good thing about China -- they can spend Apollo-like sums of money, and the people can either like it or get over it. :)

Japan though? I doubt it..

RE: niether will hit the mark
By Netscorer on 8/31/2007 7:54:22 PM , Rating: 1
You seem to open your mouth before any intelligent thought goes through your brain. Where did you get that Russia is not in a good financial situation? They are just the country with zero national debt and second largest state coffins (after China). Comparing to them US goverment is bancrupt several times over.
Russia has just the biggest known natural gas resources in the world and third biggest oil resources.
Oh, they also happen to have that thing you call 'expertise' in space exploration. They were the first nation to launch a sputnik, live animal, human, establish orbital space station. Actually US still does not have it's own orbital station, considering that Internaltional Space station owns it's design to Russians, not Amricans.
So please next time research the subject and then post your 'knowledgable' advice on the forums.

RE: niether will hit the mark
By 91TTZ on 8/31/2007 9:21:23 PM , Rating: 1
How much misinformation can you fit in one post?

RE: niether will hit the mark
By Martin Blank on 9/1/2007 12:57:50 AM , Rating: 2
Not as much as you think.

Russia has paid off much of its Soviet-era debt, and total remaining state debt is around $140 billion (though it's not zero, as the GP suggested). It may be debt-free in a decade or less -- the only industrialized nation to reach that achievement. Russia's energy deposits are among the biggest in the world, and it uses export of the same to squeeze concessions not just from its former Soviet states, but also from Western Europe.

Russians also achieved many firsts in space, though the ISS is much more American than the GP thinks -- Russia has contributed three modules (Zarya, Zvezda, and Pirs) totaling 23% of the station's mass, while the US has contributed 15 of the 20 pieces totaling 74% of the station's mass (the remaining portion is for Canada's Canadarm2 contribution). Europe, Japan, and the US will be contributing the remaining pieces of the station over the next dozen flights. On top of that, the basic designs for most, if not all, of the US-built pieces date back to the 1980s.

RE: niether will hit the mark
By Ringold on 9/1/2007 1:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
That sounds all good and well, until we look at other numbers.

Like a GDP below 1 trillion.

Or perhaps a corrupt bureaucracy, shrinking population, high long run average inflation, and a still hobbled military with low morale.

Sure, they can put a guy on a rocket and blast them to the Moon. I'm sure they could get someone to Mars if they put their minds to the task. How smart that expenditure of resources is, though, given its huge demographic (often framed in terms of catastrophe) and political problems (crime, inequity in income, corruption) remains to be seen.

Just looking at the debt alone is an amazingly narrow figure and would almost let one believe they're doing great. Debt, both when it's small and when it's large, is way overhyped in importance.

By Martin Blank on 9/1/2007 11:50:25 AM , Rating: 2
The Russian GDP (purchasing power parity) for 2006 was about $1.7 trillion, according to the CIA World Factbook. The same source lists the public debt at 8% of GDP. If the debt mentioned is actually based on the exchange rate GDP of $734 billion, then their debt level is even lower, at $59 billion.

But since you're not interested in debt, look at their foreign reserves, which have climbed from $12 billion to $315 billion in a scant seven years (even as Russia's state debt levels were declining). Only China and Japan have higher foreign reserve levels ($1 trillion and $865 billion, respectively). Budgets have been in surplus since 2003. Inflation has been coming under better control, dropping from 22% in 2001 to under 10% this year, and there are projects underway to improve the population levels over the long term. That should suggest to you the growing fiscal power that Moscow holds.

The military is something that the world will need to watch, much as it did following World War II. If Putin and his like continue to run things, the military's morale may not be in question for long. Putin's attempts to restore the glory of the Soviet military days are clear with the resumption of long-range strategic bomber patrols and reconnaissance flights, the announcement of a significant increase in funding for new and refitted ships through 2015, and the modernization of thousands of old and purchase of hundreds of new combat aircraft through the same period. The end result may be a resurgence in pride in the military, and this may translate to the development of a very complex multi-polar new world.

All of this is happening despite crime on the streets (which may make military life more preferable, or even set it up as a judicial punishment for young troublemakers to set them on the right path early) and corruption in the bureaucracy. Even corrupt power structures can be run rigidly and efficiently, and that may well happen with Russia.

RE: niether will hit the mark
By FS on 8/31/2007 9:01:39 PM , Rating: 2
It'll be quite embarrassing for developed countries, if India or China make it to the moon, while they are still busy with their crap.

Don't rush opinions...
By thartist on 8/31/2007 5:01:25 PM , Rating: 1
Don't wanna rush myself, but this makes me think of some stuff...

If it will acually take them so long to reach the moon, it is because:
a. considering they didn't interrupt or slow down consideralby this moon-stuff research, they are terribly behind But if a a nation as them is half a century behind, that almost definitely states that the travel to the moon of the US is a fraud, as the rest of the world suspects. (i know your stubborn-proud american hearts couldn't take it, but think, you know what this world is made of.)
b. they may have stopped researching moon related stuff, and they will start over again (of course they've already started some time before today), in which case they will MAKE IT BIG (explains the delay, and it's obvious it will be big), even if for now you hear a quiet "yeh, we'll go to da moon in some years to come".

RE: Don't rush opinions...
By psychmike on 8/31/2007 5:51:50 PM , Rating: 2
I don't want to rush you either. You need some time to think things through.

The Apollo missions returned an enormous amount of lunar material, almost 1,000 pounds. These rocks are almost certainly not from the Earth. They're much older (unaffected by geological events) and are chemically quite different. It's possible this was done using unmanned probes, but not likely. The Soviet Luna probes returned about a pound of material in total. It's possible that they were deposited on Earth by lunar impact but they lack thermal effects seen in re-entry. Furthermore, NASA and the US government have been extremely generous and open about giving / lending these lunar samples to research institutions all over the world.

The reason it's taking a lot longer to get back to the moon is because countries are unwilling to fund no-holds-barred research and development projects today, nothing more sinister.

In science, there's a maxim that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I think NASA has provided this evidence. Time to ante up and show yours. What is your evidence that the moon landings were faked?


RE: Don't rush opinions...
By omnicronx on 8/31/2007 6:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
Times have changed, back in the 60's they essentially sent those astronauts up in a tin can just so they could get there first. There was a much larger chance of them being in danger, whether it be from the radiation of leaving the Van Allen Belt, or the fact the lander was as thick as 8 pieces of tin foil together. They will not be taking the chances they did back then today. Mars is probably in the same boat, you are not going to see us going to mars anytime soon, until mars landings become much better, 5-15 are not very good chances in my books, and a waste of trillions of dollars.

RE: Don't rush opinions...
By 91TTZ on 8/31/2007 10:50:06 PM , Rating: 4
Yes, times have changed. Back then, real men got things done. And they did it successfully.

Now we're a bunch of risk-averse pansies who are too afraid to do anything ambitious like that. Now spending billions of dollars and thousands of lives in Iraq seems to be ok for some reason. But space travel- oh, the risk!

RE: Don't rush opinions...
By codeThug on 8/31/2007 11:39:17 PM , Rating: 1
Well Duh...

How do you expect Lockheed, Northrop, and General Dynamics to make any $$$ on mere space travel?

Wake up and smell the (dirty) money.

RE: Don't rush opinions...
By 91TTZ on 8/31/2007 6:25:36 PM , Rating: 2
They were actually pretty close to landing a man on the Moon around the same time we did. But their rocket wasn't reliable, and we landed on the Moon before they could work out the bugs. By that time, they gave up.

Also, with the Soviet Union bitter enemies with the US during the cold war, you'd think that they would like to show the world that the US just pulled off a hoax. But they were very familiar with space travel by that time, knew that it could be done, and knew that we did it.

Now that is progress
By mcnabney on 8/31/2007 4:12:13 PM , Rating: 4
Well, eighteen years to duplicate what was done 40 years ago. I'm impressed.

RE: Now that is progress
By retrospooty on 8/31/2007 4:15:17 PM , Rating: 2
If they make it in 2025, it will be 56 years after the US did.

Irkutsk.... We have problem.

Why didn't we cooperate?
By ChoadNamath on 8/31/2007 5:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
Russia originally planned to partner with NASA for a joint moon mission, but the U.S. government shunned the proposal.

Why didn't we agree to work with them? A joint project could save a lot of time and money for all parties involved. And if we still want to pretend that the Cold War isn't over, why couldn't we partner with Japan at least?

RE: Why didn't we cooperate?
By DeltaZero on 8/31/2007 6:13:59 PM , Rating: 2
Who told you the Cold War is over? And I am not sure partnering with Japan is THAT beneficial...

Is anyone else disappointed?
By Amiga500 on 8/31/2007 5:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
That the US turned down the Russian offer of a joint venture?

It is more a mission for humanity (explore the solar system and beyond) than it is for any specific country.

[Speaking hypothetically now] I think you could imagine the disgust of some little gray aliens (if they are out there) as they see US, Russian, Chinese and European rockets all going to the moon.

If we cannot trust each other - how the fook can they trust us (as a species)?

RE: Is anyone else disappointed?
By psychmike on 8/31/2007 5:54:16 PM , Rating: 2
Well said. I saw a couple of kids fighting today over a wading pool. I wish international politics were much different.


By HyperTension on 9/1/2007 2:01:19 AM , Rating: 2
Hmmm... I wonder if Russia / Soviet / whatever will take pictures of our flag to disprove silly conspiracy theorists. Can't WAIT (Insert sarcasm please) to see what evolves with that..

Then again, with photoshop, who knows...

By JamesTkirk on 9/1/2007 6:34:31 PM , Rating: 2
Please insert your own sarcastic dumb a$$ comment.
Go live on the grassy knoll!!!

Do/Will they have the funds to get there?
By wingless on 9/1/2007 7:40:44 PM , Rating: 2
I didnt know Russia could afford to land on the moon. I guess their economy is looking up. Maybe they are taxing prostitution...

By JamesTkirk on 9/1/2007 7:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
So... they will get ahead by getting head???

By tjr508 on 9/1/2007 1:41:27 AM , Rating: 2
I wonder how much it will cost for a ride this time. Half a billion maybe?

United States of the Moon
By JamesTkirk on 9/1/2007 6:28:46 PM , Rating: 2
Did we not learn anything from Space 1999???
Martin Landua tried to warn you all!!!

Beam Me Up!!!!

I held a moon rock . . .
By JohnnyCNote on 9/1/2007 8:45:09 PM , Rating: 2
. . . back in the early 70's when they were touring around with it. I worked at the planetarium in Jacksonville, FL, when it was exhibited there. It was in a glass container and several of us who worked there got to hold it after the museum closed. I can't say it was the high point of my life, but it was interesting.

A lot better was when we saw Apollo 17 take off at midnight from the Cape. We got passes for a couple of school busses and were about 7 miles away from the launch pad. That was a sight worth seeing!

By danielackerman on 9/4/2007 2:24:38 AM , Rating: 2
talk about a day late and a dollar short!

pulling it off...
By codeThug on 8/31/07, Rating: -1
RE: pulling it off...
By thartist on 8/31/07, Rating: -1
USA rulling the moon
By drew494949 on 8/31/07, Rating: -1
RE: USA rulling the moon
By psychmike on 8/31/2007 4:58:33 PM , Rating: 5
See my post above.

Honestly, let's imagine what things would look like if nations started claiming parts of outer space. What constitutes getting there first? An unmanned probe? A brief human visit? Sustained human activity? How much of the body would a country own? The whole body? Simply by visiting a small part of it? Can private enterprise make the same claims? I for one would not want to look up at the moon and see a big Pepsi ad. What kind of space race would that foster? What doors would that close for countries who don't have that capacity now? Can you imagine what the world would look like if the Brits or Spanish or Portuguese had claimed all the international waters forever?

Land ownership has often been secured at the point of a gun or on reneged upon treaties. I live in Canada where there are many ongoing disputes between Natives and the Crown. Is that the kind of conflict you'd like to extend into space? I think some people hope that the exploration of space will bring countries and peoples together, not consolidate conflicts and guarantee in perpetuity the inequalities that exist on earth.

Most of our lives have to do with where we're born, not what we've done as individuals. I'm a strong believer in personal responsibility but I also acknowledge that vertical mobility only happens slowly. I have a Ph.D. and my folks came to Canada with the shirts on their backs but they were still wealthier than 99% of the people on the planet. I wouldn't think it fair to relegate the rest of the people on the earth to poverty simply because my country had claimed the solar system very early in space exploration.


RE: USA rulling the moon
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 6:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
That's all well and good, and you could make a case for having some sort of.. international ownership of space, perhaps. Something along the lines of the UN, perhaps, but that approach has its own not insignificant drawbacks.

Where I think you fall off the deep end, though, is this idea of limiting private property rights in space.

I'm trying to see some grand, logical idea you're trying to get across with that, but try as I might all I see is communist rhetoric in its most pure form. Collective ownership doesn't even work for agriculture much less providing incentive for people to travel outside of Earth in an attempt to earn profits for themselves and, by extension, for humanity. Do I really need to cite the multiple attempts at collective ownership and its repeated total failure? Furthermore I shouldn't have to point out that China, for example, first started on its long path of explosive growth by implementing just the tiniest shred of private ownership.

If companies arent enticed to go to the Moon then nobody but scientists will go -- and stargazing doesn't improve the standard of living on Earth (not as much as raw economic growth at any rate). If we're not going to go to space to profit as a people, then why the hell go? Dismantle manned space exploration (there's no serious debate that probes can do science better) and let's not bother if that's the plan.

Since you've got a PhD I know you're not afraid of some learning, so I'd recommend traveling across campus (assuming your working at one in academia) and having a few lunches with some of your PhD economist bretheren. I could go on about some other serious holes in your logic as regards economic principles and ownership in your post, but I think you doing that would be much more productive.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By omnicronx on 8/31/2007 7:04:41 PM , Rating: 1
Space should not be owned by anyone, otherwise in 100 years we are going to be in our spaceships saying, "on your right is planet coca-cola, .. now on your left theres planet GM, if you look closely you can see the moons of camero, corvette, and sunfire."

RE: USA rulling the moon
By Ringold on 8/31/2007 7:46:54 PM , Rating: 3
That's all well and good, but totally devoid of economic argument. No property rights, no value, thus no real expansion of human activity in space. Marx didn't have it right on Earth, he wont be proven correct in the wider cosmos.

If it's agreed to not have parsec-wide adverts, then thats a regulatory goal, but property rights is essential, and that means private (individual and corporate) ownership of capital and land outside of Earth is required.

Again, unless we're happy to remain almost entirely Earth-bound. Just because in Star Trek the Federation got away with communism and people cooked food in resteraunts and built giant buildings just because it made them feel warm and fuzzy inside doesn't mean it'll work on the Moon.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By psychmike on 8/31/2007 9:50:13 PM , Rating: 3
I don't have a grand idea that I'm trying to get across, simply that there are risks and perils about simply trying to claim something as large as the moon. I agree that collective ownership doesn't work but I also know that private ownership is very good at specific things (like driving innovation) and horrible at other things. Private enterprise tends to consider the short view at the expense of the long view, externalize costs to the rest of society, and neglect interests that aren't economically viable. Not everything in life that is important has a dollar value.

Morally, socially, children deserve good access to education whether their parents can pay for it or not. Practically, morally, clean air and clean water are crucial even when they aren't owned privately. Have you heard of the water wars in Bolivia? European corporations that had paid for the development of water infrastructure wanted to recoup their costs. Nothing wrong with that. They tried to pass legislation to restrict the collection of rain water. You don't buy their water, you don't drink. No doubt you've heard about Monsanto? They're the folks who have engineered crops that do not produce viable seeds so you have to keep buying theirs. How's about Big Pharma? No doubt, they've produced great products that have increased the length and quality of life for many people. But they've also tried to suppress research that has shown that their products produce birth defects (Dr. Olivieri at the University Hospital Network here in Toronto). I'm not against corporations, but I don't believe for a moment that they have the common good in mind.

I don't work in an academic setting but I've had plenty of talks with academic economists both in the US and Canada. Some have even won national awards. None of them present as simple an idea as you do - that private ownership is simply good. I'm sure you're just brighter than everyone.

I've read my Locke and my Adams and my Tocqueville and believe that I have a conversational grasp of American history. It's clear that the fathers of capitalism saw the unrestrained pursuit of economic wealth as detrimental to the common good and resulting in the vulgarization of society.

Sorry about the holes in my logic. So kind of you to overlook them. But perhaps the problem is that you think that I'm arguing about economic principles and I'm in fact arguing about the moral good. I know, I know, to you they're the same thing.


RE: USA rulling the moon
By Ringold on 9/1/2007 12:58:26 AM , Rating: 1
But perhaps the problem is that you think that I'm arguing about economic principles and I'm in fact arguing about the moral good. I know, I know, to you they're the same thing.

Not quite; economics and morality are best kept entirely seperate. In the grand scheme of things, economic principles should be employed to determin the optimal way to achieve a social goal, but it can also be used to to help society figure out what goal it wants by comparing costs.

None of them present as simple an idea as you do - that private ownership is simply good.

Oh, give me a break. Of course it's not. It was, however, essential in humanity advancing to where we are now. It's accepted gospel that it's a precondition for development -- I'd send you to Gerald Meier on that one, one of the more prolific economists in that field who manages to argue the case of assisting the worlds poor without introducing left-wing ideals. What other motivation is there for using resources as efficiently as possible if not to reap personal profit? I don't know about myself being any brighter than anyone else, but I know if you can figure out how to answer that question you'd of struck on a method of social development no economist, alive or dead, has been able to articulate.

Sure you can get a situation where a factory owns a lake, dumps waste in to said lake, and that waste seeps in to the water table and results in a large negative externality on everyone else in the area. You seem to look at that as an intractable evil, but regulation can easily fix that problem either from limiting waste or devising clever ways to force a firm to internalize the problem. The solution isn't to ban private ownership but to protect what society defines as public goods. These are commonly the things you've elaborated on -- water, air, etc. If such protection really precluded economic activity, Europe would be getting ravaged -- instead it's actually scraping out meager growth, and would be doing much better if it'd free up its labor markets further.

I'm not entirely sure how to respond to the attacks on corporations themselves. The random attack on Monsanto displays, to me, a desire to force social policy on companies; nobody is forcing farmers to buy Monsanto seed. If its more profitable to buy Monsanto seed every year than to buy someone elses once, then that's none of your business, none of mine, and none of the governments -- unless Monsanto has a monopoly. The Big Pharma attack hints of regulatory failure, not really a reason to hobble pharma.

As far as the founding fathers go.. Off the top of my head, your argument there sounds like the common Southern complaint of Northern culture in the antebellum years. Both started off roughly equal in 1776, but that unrestrained vulgar capitalism made the Civil War an almost casual affair for the North by 1860. Not just to cite the ability to wage war, but education and wide standards of living were also superior in the vulgar North.

Here's where I still don't follow your line of thinking, however. I'll illustrate. Let's say we know of a valuable resource on the Moon, or a valuable industrial process that can be done much cheaper there than here.

Under your scenario of no private ownership, that would be the end of it. Nice discovery. No ownership, no security gaurentee, no property rights, no business. Governments might go for it, but they by definition will not utilize it fully.

Under a different scenario, let us say the UN auctions off either ownership of the valuable area or an area valuable for other reasons (such as access to a colony's infrastructure), or perhaps just auctions off a 100-year lease. The UN gets revenue, the firm gets its land, and Earth gets the economic benefit of whatever commercial activity is going on. The framework for this needn't be complicated, as similar auctions of public goods exist already.

I don't see what bothers you so much about the second scenario. Private ownership exists, incentives are not disturbed for developing in space, and an international body could be the one to oversee the process. It ought to be a win-win in the aggregate.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By lompocus on 9/1/2007 2:14:23 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize the UN has no actual power whatsoever, right? OK, they auction it off and for some reason the US government isn't allowed to own it. So what's china gonna do with the moon (or w/e place in space)?

The current way the 'international' community is represented in the UN is unfair. Every country is equal. Guess what? Most countries are little puny dictatorial pieces of land. The votes come in: say, 128 vs 32 for, oh i dunno, sudan owning the moon.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By rdeegvainl on 9/1/2007 6:35:44 AM , Rating: 2
So lets not allow the moon to be given away as a whole. there are parts that would be more desirable for industry and parts that would be more desirable for residential reasons, then we have areas for tourism. If a country or a corporation starts to develop on moon territory they can have it as far as I am concerned. They put in the sacrifice and labor, they can keep it for their profit. Sure their should and will be regulations.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By Ringold on 9/1/2007 10:23:37 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize the UN has no actual power whatsoever, right?

It was hypothetical; nobody has any actual power on the Moon. I tried to think of a way that would ultimately satisfy Russia, China and India, those being the countries that would complain the loudest if we just painted the Moon red white and blue, and figured the UN could act as arbiter. A whole new arrangement might be preferable, I don't know.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By psychmike on 9/1/2007 9:47:20 AM , Rating: 2
You know, I don't think we're that far apart on our understanding of the issues. As I've stated, I think private enterprise is very good for innovation and growth. And you've acknowledged the regulations are important for promoting prosocial behaviour.

Where I think you and I disagree is in the power of corporations. I'll bring up the Monsanto example again. You're absolutely right, there's no problem with a company developing a product and nothing that forces farmers to use that product, but my point is that they're taking something that everyone has a right to (seeds), modifying them (sometimes for the better but also to derive patent rights) and now saying that people cannot use it without payment. Often the public asset then becomes scarcer and scarcer until too many things are owned. Did you know that an American university tried to patent the use of turmeric for wound treatment? It's something that's been used in India for literally thousands of years but an institution wants to say that they own that use. Perhaps a better example is the 'patenting' of the human genome. Private companies are patenting huge stretches of the genome simply by mapping it. They want exclusive rights to develop genetic treatments. Do they really own the genome? What if they decide it isn't profitable to develop a treatment for a disease? That's fine, but no one else can either. I know a little something about how mental health research has been performed and published. Research conducted by Big Pharma is much more likely to produce positive results and to not show significant side effects compared to the same research with the same medication and population done at public research institutions. Private enterprise is much more efficient at this end of work but I wouldn't trust their findings without scrutiny. I am curious about what you think about the privatization of water that I brought up in my previous post.

In principle, I agree with what you say about the privatization of the moon - that it's likely to be facilitated by free enterprise. My problem is that right now, there are huge disparities in wealth and development in the world. A lot of that disparity serves our good (the developed world). The term 'banana republic' comes to mind. If first world corporations can install or support governments in the developing world that do not look after the interests of their citizens but instead look after the corporate interests (export of resources, appropriation of land), we have a responsibility to those people because we contribute to the structural factors that sustain their poverty. They do not benefit from the contract we have signed with their government and their entry into the contract is certainly not voluntary. If we, by virtue of our current technological advantage can consolidate advantages by patenting everything and laying property rights on the rest of the solar system, what hope do others ever have of catching up? The haves often see the system as fair and design into the system ways of preserving their position. As I asked rhetorically, what would have happened if the Spanish, English, or the Portuguese had claimed all the International Waters as their own?

I like your idea about an international body offering a time-limited lease. As I said earlier, I don't think we're that far apart. Since you're suggesting that a public body administer that lease, it seems we both agree that those properties should essentially be the responsibility of the public with private rights.

I acknowledge that I was somewhat rude in my last post but I will claim the long-standing common law privileged of 'you started it first.' You are obviously intelligent and balanced in your views but I don't like the way you've repeatedly said that there are holes in my thinking without substantiation. I am open to learning and to hearing that I am wrong but I do not think I have been grossly mistaken in any of my facts or conclusions. In any case, our discussion has been enlightening to me and hopefully brought some important considerations into the discussion. If you're ever in Toronto, I'd be more than happy to meet up for a coffee and we can hash things out further. I'm sure I'd learn a lot in the discussion.


RE: USA rulling the moon
By Ringold on 9/1/2007 12:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
I suppose we'll have to end in general agreement, then.

We still see things a little different in terms of ownership. I've never thought of seed, at least the improved sort that a firm put time, money and effort in to improving, as being a 'right'. Once Monsanto changed the genetic makeup of the seed it became a product. On the other hand, I too scratch my head over patents on genes that are discovered.

I'm not sure if you've seen it in Canada or not but here in the US the process of privatizing the water utilities is in full swing. The advantage is that once in private hands management of resources is often improved and costs are lower. Here in Florida, private water firms are no worse acting than their government counterparts. That said, I'll fall back to our agreement on regulation; if government doesn't keep an eye on their operation the public good would be endangered through mismanagement. Long term profitability requires the good behavior we'd desire but humans can take short term views out of greed so have to be watched. Ankara I believe it is currently sees what can happen otherwise.

Somebody should be jailed over that. Anyway.

The plight of Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly hard to approach. Economists know the path they should take; export-driven growth is the consensus for success. What we have little idea how to do is to bring the horse to water and make it drink. The government has to be relatively clean and willing to play along; Zimbabwe, for example, is neither clean nor willing to do anything that harms the tiny ruling class. It's a problem to be tackled but if we keep the system fair through regulation and the markets free they ought to have little problem joining the lunar party when their people can afford to do so just as Chinese and Middle Eastern firms have little problem buying US and European companies today. 30 years ago, China was every bit as bad as Africa, so it's not a lead that can't be overcome.

I suppose we are on the same page, generally. I thought you were more against enterprise being involved than you were when really what you seemed to be looking to secure was public welfare. I apologize for my own brash approach. You raised great points and hopefully the international community starts to work something out along the lines we discussed. The childhood of Star Trek in my past has me hopeful about what the Moon has in store.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By NT78stonewobble on 9/1/2007 1:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
anti "communist rhetoric"

But thats another discussion ;)

In all practicality I'd say that if the United States puts a permanent base on the moon then that and the immediate surroundings would offcourse be US property. If any company then opens eg. a mcdonalds within that immediate surroundings then it resides in the US... The moon state or whatever name you like.

But I don't think a manned base there and eg. 10 square miles of travelled territory on the moon gives the US the rights to own the rest of the moon.

Wouldn't that be allmost fair..

RE: USA rulling the moon
By wordsworm on 9/2/2007 2:22:33 AM , Rating: 2
I for one would not want to look up at the moon and see a big Pepsi ad.
I think we'd be more likely to find crackers go better with cheese.

These silly arguments about being able to attack or defend the moon are pretty ridiculous. Defending a base on the moon would be relatively easy. There aren't any clouds between the atmosphere of earth and the moon. A single defensive laser beam could easily destroy any missiles en route. The USA could probably launch all 10,000 of its nuclear warheads, and provided those lasers have enough juice, I'm pretty sure that month that it takes for a rocket to get to the moon would be enough time. Of course, if the Russians and US were to join forces and send all 20,000ish of their nukes... maybe the moon would need 2 lasers to shoot them all down.

RE: USA rulling the moon
By luhar49 on 9/4/2007 1:58:51 AM , Rating: 2
So next time an astronaut wants to lift off for moon, he has to undergo a biometric check at a US customs office.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki