Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Space: For All Mankind is a charity that allows international corporations to donate money for the promotion of human spaceflight and exploration. Currently what is a corporation to do if they want to donate to space research...give their money to NASA? Imagine if Apple, IBM, CISCO, Google and Microsoft all gave 5 billion for a space mission..we could get to Mars that way

edit: inspired by Apple's dusty billions

simonj, Mar 19 2012

Until SpaceFAM gets up... http://penny4nasa.o...enny4NASA/Home.html
let's nurture NASA [simonj, Mar 21 2012]

This is why we invest in Science http://blogs.discov...st-in-science-this/
[simonj, Mar 21 2012]

Whiteys on the moon http://www.youtube....watch?v=PtBy_ppG4hY
Gil-Scott Heron - thank you Gill - you said it all, and made me laugh. Part two coming up: clowns on Mars [xenzag, Mar 22 2012]

Clangers http://www.youtube....watch?v=wfsMZKwqw3w
The documentary on Mars that inspired NASA to be so desperate to go there [xenzag, Mar 23 2012]


       Sounds good to me.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 19 2012

       Me too, although I suspect $25b for a trip to Mars is a serious underestimate.
Alterother, Mar 19 2012

       How about solving some earthly problems first with that money before playing with space toys?
xenzag, Mar 21 2012

       here we go...the old "life isn't perfect on Earth so let's stop exploring space" argument. If everyone thought this way we'd still be living in caves. In fact we would probably be extinct
simonj, Mar 21 2012

       Maybe another way: CHASM
(CHArity Space Mission)

       But given the choice I think I would prefer local development of Fusion energy production first.
Ling, Mar 21 2012

       It may turn out that materials vital to the development of fusion power can only be manufactured in a zero-gravity environment, necessatating the construction of a far-orbit installation, which, coincidentally, is also a requirement in staging a manned mission to Mars. I'm just sayin'...
Alterother, Mar 21 2012

       Fair enough. Then if there is a CHASM and a CHAFF*, I would probably divide my contribution between them.   

       *CHArity For Fusion**   

       **By the way, did I mention that I don't like acronyms?
Ling, Mar 22 2012

       I have to admit that the existence of an "amateur fusion reactor building society" gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
FlyingToaster, Mar 22 2012

       //life isn't perfect on Earth so let's stop exploring space// You're being shallow and naive. This is not about "exploring space" - it's about politics and power, and showcasing a few cowboys clowning around, with the hope they might "discover" a better version of Teflon.   

       Your "cave" logic is also a simplistic and inappropriate comparison. see link for how I feel
xenzag, Mar 22 2012

       The probes and all the telescopes, they *are* about exploring space. That being said, I think we added more to human knowledge by putting somebody on the Moon, if for no other reason than all the advanced design and engineering proceses that needed to be developed, than we would have by investing the same money in more telescopes and probes.
FlyingToaster, Mar 22 2012

       Put simply, money may be spent on space, but it isn't spent in space. The advanced technology research programs (NASA, DARPA, etc) pretty much created the technology we use today, and created companies that have paid far more in taxes than the programs took out of the economy.   

       Mind you, I fully support private development of a space effort, which is finally happening. SpaceX has already handled commercial satelite launches, and will launch the first commercial cargo to the ISS in the next few months. Bigelow aerospace has prototype expandable stations in orbit, and is just waiting on transport. At this point I'm not sure charity is needed.
MechE, Mar 22 2012

       // it's about politics and power, and showcasing a few cowboys clowning around//   

       That misses the point. Yes, funding for space is driven in part by national pride. But.   

       There is no point in the human race existing unless it's actually going somewhere, or can at least dream that it's going somewhere. Yours _is_ a cave mentality, and it's the species equivalent of deciding to buy a comfortable recliner and take it easy until you get old and fat and shuffle off the mortal coil.   

       I'd also hesitate to classify all astronauts, and the builders of the Hubble, and the rest, as 'a few cowboys clowning around'.   

       If you're not just a teeny bit awed by seeing a ground-level photo of the Martian surface, or by knowing how the universe looked several billion years ago, or by the fact that there are human footprints on the moon, then I really don't understand.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2012

       /If everyone thought this way we'd still be living in caves./   

       I take from this that the impetus getting us out of caves was a desire to explore space. Probably only the failed space explorers were left to beget us, the successful ones still being out there, somewhere. Maybe we should go prospecting for those Paleolithic rock rockets.   

       Or get ready for humans to show up from space and enslave us! How about that for a scifi concept - space aliens come and they are human! wait - maybe that was the premise for Stargate? Or were we the human aliens that showed up there?
bungston, Mar 22 2012

       <xenzag's link> WTF?? Why bring race into it? Ever heard of Neil DeGrasse Tyson? He isn't exactly a 'whitey'
simonj, Mar 22 2012

       I'll second the "fusion first, then space" notion.   

       Can we have a charity for widespread donation to that?
Custardguts, Mar 22 2012

       //I'll second the "fusion first, then space" notion. //   

       Why? If you believe that fusion is more important than space, you're assuming that suspending space research will accelerate fusion research. From a funding perspective, this is questionable (if we take X pounds away from space, will it be given to fusion?).   

       It's even more questionable from an intellectual resource point of view - the brains that work on fusion aren't (mostly) the same brains that would work on space. It's not like saying "instead of digging these two ditches in two weeks, let's get all the navvies to dig the first ditch only, in one week".   

       The only way in which it makes some sense is if you assume, reasonably, that fusion power would benefit space exploration. But there is more to space exploration than propulsion and power.   

       Basically, progress is limited somewhat more by intellect than by funding; and intellect isn't something you can redistribute efficiently.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2012

       // intellect isn't something you can redistribute efficiently.// Hence the Halbakery [marked-for-tag line].   

       I like this idea because it's voluntary. What I don't like is being forced to contribute to every "I think it's a good idea so everyone else should be forced to contribute, comply or whatever" which is the usual preface to almost all government-run programs of whatever stripe. For this particular instance I would choose to contribute while [xenzag] wouldn't. Fair enough.
AusCan531, Mar 22 2012

       This idea would involve you species behaving in a collaborative and altruistic way for the benefit of all ...   

       Excuse us, please.   

       <Sound of Borg Collective indulging in prolonged hysterical laughter>   

       [+] for the sheer wistful childish naivety.   

       // If everyone thought this way we'd still be living in caves. //   

       "When in Maine ... "   

       // an "amateur fusion reactor building society" gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. //   

       Yes, that's the radiation flux. You might want to stand a bit further away from that dull bluey-purple glow.
8th of 7, Mar 22 2012

       //There is no point in the human race existing unless it's actually going somewhere, or can at least dream that it's going somewhere. Yours _is_ a cave mentality// I would prefer the human race to solve some of its problems re humanity ie redistributing wealth so that some folk don't actually have to live in the equivalent of caves whilst others enjoy multi-room mansions - but then I've never respected "The Man' or his military/industrial pursuits. Whitey On the Moon expresses my sentiment better than I can.
xenzag, Mar 22 2012


       You're making the implicit assumption that curtailing space research will somehow help to solve "human" problems, but there is no plausible shred of reason to believe that this is the case. Why would you believe that the two are in any way linked?   

       Taking the US as an example, GDP is about $15 trillion; NASAs budget is $20 billion, or just over a thousandth. In what possible way will freeing up a tenth of one percent of the US's GDP make more than a tenth of a percent of difference to "human" problems? Put it another way: if we lived in a perfect world, and someone decided to remove 0.1% of the money from the system, would it all come unglued?   

       Do countries that don't have space programs have, on average, a better solution to "human" problems? Did "human" problems only begin in the 1950s? Do you really believe that problems such as inequality have such a simple solution?   

       One last point. Space exploration is always in the firing line for money that could be "better spent elsewhere". This in turn means that, not only is it assumed to have no technological value (fine - whatever), but also that it is assumed to have no cultural value. I resent that. I am not particularly interested in sport, but I wouldn't have the gall to say "the money that goes on sport would be better spent elsewhere", nor to suggest that the roughly $40 billion that Americans spend on spectator sports each year should, really, be spent on solving "human" problems.   

       I think you have utterly misunderstood both the cause of "human" problems, and the cultural significance of exploration.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 22 2012

       here's some alternate titles for 'whitey on the moon':   

       Christians on the Moon, Americans on the Moon, Men on the Moon, Non-bearded folk on the Moon, Rather tall individuals on the Moon, Hetrosexuals on the Moon, Astronauts on the Moon, Ex-serviceman on the Moon, Taxpayers on the Moon, Golfers on the Moon, Non-amputees on the Moon,   

       It constantly amazes me how people choose to be offended due to their self-classification
simonj, Mar 22 2012

       "Whiteys on the Moon"...
In the Comments section of the YouTube page, the poster of the video states (presumably threatening another commenter), and I quote:
"Use of the N word as a slur will get your comment removed"

       //redistributing wealth// How come people who use that phrase never say "redistribute education", "redistribute a civilized value system" or "redistribute contraceptives".
FlyingToaster, Mar 22 2012

       //I think you have utterly misunderstood both the cause of "human" problems, and the cultural significance of exploration.// That's a grand statement about what I misunderstand..... shakes head to make it work better like yours. ha - That's better - now I understand everything just like you!
xenzag, Mar 23 2012

       We're now in a new situation, which this species and its predecessors have never encountered: we are not bodily going where no-one has gone before. Although in the past there were many individuals and whole societies which didn't physically go anywhere else, it's never been true of the whole of humanity. I've heard (can't currently back it up) that the populations which are furthest from East Africa, such as Fuegans, share certain genes. I have to go all vague and waffly at this point: i firmly believe (against any evidence you might offer to the contrary, no matter how good that evidence is - this is an article of faith for me) that there is something specially unique about the fact we aren't going anywhere new and that it's bad for us psychologically, socially and culturally. I also think it's linked to Moore's Law.   

       [MB], this is something on which we can probably broadly agree but the details of the reasons we think it are probably mutually incompatible. Isn't that interesting?
nineteenthly, Mar 23 2012

       There's no doubt that scientific exploration is beneficial both to the human race as a whole and individuals in the long run, though generally not so much the rest of the planet's flora and fauna.   

       But hey, when you bitch about something, nobody expects you to pony up for it, right ?   

       And actually there's some rather nifty caves.
FlyingToaster, Mar 23 2012

       Q: When we finally end up exploring space and colonizing it, will those people be equal, or will there be more problems?
Ling, Mar 23 2012

       They'll be dancing around with teflon pots on their heads, and selling cartons of soup made by the Dragon herself (see link).... and wait until KFC spot that iron chicken in the documentary - the sponsorship money will come in like a tidal wave!
xenzag, Mar 23 2012

       //That's better - now I understand everything just like you!// Always glad to help.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2012

       "scio me nescire" Socrates
xenzag, Mar 23 2012

       //       "When in Maine ... "   //   

       Nice shot, Borg. Caught me off-guard.   

       We don't have many caves in Maine, just a few 'slab caves' that only go back 20" or so. The whole state is pretty much a giant glacial dumping ground. Our most advanced scientists, who at this very moment are on the verge of discovering moose-based fusion power, work in crude longhouses built from pine logs and caulked with a mixture of river mud and their own dung. As I said, no caves.   

       We also have a rather impressive space exploration program, but only after the marijuana harvest.
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       // not so much the rest of the planet's flora and fauna //   

       Suppose we did eventually colonise other star systems, taking other organisms with us, deliberately or otherwise. Aeons from now, the Sun will have rendered this planet uninhabitable but even if we were extinct by then, it seems to me there's a good chance that other stars will still be on the Main Sequence and the descendants of, say, our gut flora would've evolved into a viable ecosystem there. In terms of the rest of what's living here now being harmed by what we do, is that inevitable? What if we had a space elevator or airships lifting us into the stratosphere from which we achieved escape velocity with railguns? What if we developed a clean rocket engine? Even as it stands, i suspect the oxidation of hydrogen wouldn't have that big an impact on life here, for example.   

       Caves are of course good, as is the bottom of the ocean and maybe the interior of the planet. Space is bigger than all that, of course.
nineteenthly, Mar 23 2012

       Let me repeat, the space program has done far more to improve the lives of the average or even the poorest American than any number of social programs. Want specific examples?   

       Katrina was bad enough. How much worse would it have been without accurate weather forecasting (along with all the other hurricanes)?   

       Improved baby foods that inexpensively increases nutrition for infants was developed by people who got their start looking at astronaut nutrition.   

       Freeze dried food that allows meals to be distributed to the home bound or after disasters.   

       Choclear implants that allow the deaf to hear.   

       Practical Carbon Monoxide detectors for home use.   

       Those are just some of the ones that resulted in specific technologies with a direct impact. Additional advances in materials science, computing, transportation safety and economy, and food production have a knock on effect that is probably impossible to calculate.   

       Research and development expenses are not a zero sum game. The more you spend on them, the more there is to distribute elsewhere.
MechE, Mar 23 2012

       Just a few examples of the incredible benefits initiated by a Cold War pissing contest. We also got Velcro, satellite communications and imaging, pocket calculators, high- speed air travel... Pretty much everything that makes the modern world, well, modern. WWII and everything that came as a direct result of it, largely including the space program(s), made our society what it is today. If we can continue that trend of innovation without another global- scale conflict, I'm all for it.
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       //specific technologies with a direct impact//   

       Hear hear! And well-cited.   

       However, I still feel that justifying spaceflight on the basis of technological returns alone is a risky proposition. There will always be people who claim that investing in directly Velcro development (rather than in spaceflight) is a more efficient way to develop Velcro, and often their hindsight will be spot on. There will also be people who claim that we should _only_ explore space if it yields a return. How will we make a nice fat profit from knowing whether there was life on Mars?   

       A less-rebuffable (perhaps I mean "more buffable") argument for space exploration is the cultural one, which is not often made. If you tell me that man is not going to set foot outside the Earth's atmosphere within my lifetime, I will be heartbroken - my soul will be truly saddened. If you tell me that humanity will live and die on Earth, my internal skies will be that bit greyer. They really will.   

       The reason [xenzag]'s position upsets and annoys me so much is that it reduces something which I (and many others) consider to be an essential part of human culture, to a simple profit-and-loss pecksniff pennypinching. It is as insulting as pointing out that the preservation of historic buildings has insufficient potential to produce moneymaking spinoffs. It is the attitude of "I don't value this, therefore it's not valuable."
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2012

       I guess the reason my outlook on space exploration efforts is centered on the resultant offshoot inventions is that so many of them are never intended for their eventual applications. To [The Alterother], it seems that space- related R&D produces more unintentional successess than other fields of scientific study, and the castoffs of science are frequently what give us the most practical benefit.   

       Some non-space-related examples, for the sake of fairness:   

       -Development of early-warning detectors for the military leads to the microwave oven.   

       -A failed attempt to enhance refrigeration technology leads to Teflon.   

       -Early attempts to synthesize penicillin lead to the discovery of the rhinoceros.   

       -Atomic energy research leads to new treatments for cancer and other amazing medical applications.   

       Scientists don't just pick their fields arbitrarily; they chase their dreams. If you've got a brilliant person whose ultimate dream is to send humans to Mars but you insist that they instead apply their genius to things having little or nothing to do with spaceflight, you're not going to get their best work. Fusion power would be great here on Earth, but it would also be excellent for spacecraft propulsion. If we fund both fields, we increase the likelihood that some stargazing egghead will inadvertently invent the first fusion plant, and we can still keep the ground-pounding geeks in business. If we cut space- program funding, it's all up to the landlubbers. I think this example could be applied to many other pending breakthroughs that have both space- and ground-based applications.
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       [MB] I am in full agreement with you that humanity needs a fronteir, and we've only got one left (well, possibly deep ocean stuff as well). I don't reduce space exploration to a ROI, but I'm willing to argue against those who do.   

       That being said, I see the eventual creation of large durable oribital facilities as far more likely at the hands of someone who can realize a profit from it that than from a government. Likewise, the first company who figures out a reliable way to get a nickel iron asteroid's worth of metal down to the planet's surface will make a mint.
MechE, Mar 23 2012

       //the first company who figures out a reliable way to get a nickel iron asteroid's worth of metal down to the planet's surface will make a mint.//   

       Wouldn't they be better off finding an asteroid composed of menthol?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2012

       That bone of opposition is mine. (one of my very rare ones) The reasons for it have been given already in the words of the late great Gil Scott Heron. Yes time it won't be whitey on the moon, it will be China-men, and that's what all of this is about - political, military, nationalistic macho bollox - same crap as the "race to the moon" was.
xenzag, Mar 23 2012

       Yes, the space race was, and to some extent still is, largely about political posturing and bragging rights--crap, as you put it. But just look at all the great stuff we have because of all that crap!
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       Oh, really ?   

       // A failed attempt to enhance refrigeration technology leads to Teflon //   

       PTFE was developed as a sealing material for pumps during the Manhattan Project due to the incredibly aggressive properties of UF6. The true origins of its development were concealed for decades as it was a military secret.   

       So, "Nuke Japs and get better Frypans". Hard to see the downside, really (Unless, of course, you're one of the 200,000 incinerated and irradiated civilians.   

       // Nice shot, Borg. Caught me off-guard. //   

       Oh deer, oh deer, oh deer ...   

       // Q: When we finally end up exploring space and colonizing it, will those people be equal, or will there be more problems? //   

       Oooh, let's see ...
8th of 7, Mar 23 2012

       //       PTFE was developed as a sealing material for pumps during the Manhattan Project due to the incredibly aggressive properties of UF6. //   

       Bzzzt! I'm sorry, that's not the correct answer, but thanks for playing!   

       PTFE was stumbled upon by a chemist named Roy Plunkitt (who was trying to manufacture CFC) in 1938 and patented in 1941. It _was_ used in the Manhattan Project, a military secret that was declassified in the '60s (when the product became a household name due to the marketing of the first non-stick pans), but DuPont, the parent company of Plunkitt's Kinetic Chemicals Inc., was contracted by the feds to manufacture PTFE all through WWII, and was given the go-ahead to begin marketing it under the Teflon brand-name shortly after the war ended in '45.
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       // PTFE was developed //   

       We didn't say it was discovered. We said it was developed.   

       Until the Manhattan Project, there was no practical application.
8th of 7, Mar 23 2012

       // /// //   

       Sp.: //
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2012

       Wrong again! PTFE was used as a dry lubricant for precision machine tools in munitions plants and was used for the radial seal of high-speed bearings in the Wright 3350 engines of the B-29. It was the widespread use in manufacture of conventional weapons that brought it to the attention of Manhattan Project tool-hunters.   

       Would you like to keep playing?
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       Perhaps now is not the best time to mention Uncle Liu's pioneering research into non-stick glue?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2012

       Why not? The more the merrier!
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       //just look at all the great stuff we have because of all that crap!// There was fifty times more "great stuff" because of the two world wars.... so the logic of that is?
xenzag, Mar 23 2012

       "Every time the Germans attack France, the world becomes a better place".
8th of 7, Mar 23 2012

       Everytime America heads into space we get better non-stick pans. By the time they get to Mars, the eggs will be floating a few millimeters above the surface of the pan, (made in China of course)
xenzag, Mar 23 2012

       I never mentioned the world wars in the statement you're citing, [xen]. I happen to agree with you there, so I'd say the logic is... logical.   

       I'm trying to say that we never know where a really great innovation will come from, but when a particular area of scientific study has a proven track record, it's kind of silly to eliminate the funding. That's why I like this idea so much; privatize space exploitation to create a competitive field and lift a bit of the burden from taxpayers, and we'll keep the golden geese laying 'til kingdom come!
Alterother, Mar 23 2012

       // we'll keep the golden geese laying //   

       "Well keep the pork barrel well filled" might be a better way of phrasing it.
8th of 7, Mar 23 2012

       As long as it keeps spitting out little pink piglets, yes.
Alterother, Mar 23 2012


       Gil Scott-Heron's point was about class: the uneven distribution of wealth, power and priorities. Did class tend to overlap significantly with race in the US at the time? Yes. Does it still? Yes. It's hardly surprising that someone living in poverty and excluded -- often, at the time, by *reason* of their race -- from the mainstream of cultural and political life would watch "whitey" on the moon on TV and wonder what the hell the fuss was all about.   

       As to the original idea: corporation ... donate ... does not compute.
BunsenHoneydew, Apr 07 2012

       Oh, bullshit.   

       In the US Space Program:   

       # of Afri^ black astronauts in space: 14, another 4 waiting.
# of my countrymen in space: 7
# of even vaguely my ethnic background, in space: 3... and 2 of them are black :D

       Gee I wish I had the chops to write "Niggas in a Rocket"* : maybe I could get famous on the injustice of it all.   


       * now see, I didn't say "niggers" so you can't say I'm racist. I am of course, but mostly against Chinese: ask any of my Chinese friends; they'll tell you. There used to be black racism in the 70's against Jamaican immigrants but that fizzled out. The current black racism we enjoy is of the socially coprophagic variety: thanks alot MTV. :/
FlyingToaster, Apr 07 2012


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