Instigator / Pro
Points: 7

Significant economic and political resources should to be allocated to advance space exploration

Finished

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After 1 vote the winner is ...
It's a tie!
Debate details
Publication date
Last update
Category
Technology
Time for argument
Three days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One week
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
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Contender / Con
Points: 7
Description
DEFINITIONS:
[in relation to this debate]
"Significant" [present and future] - enough devotion where a adequate amount of progress can be sustained, and with a majority of goals completed
"Economic and Political Resources" - The money and political/social attention devoted into said task
"Allocated" [present and future] - Saving or spending
"Advance" [present and future] - Further develop an entity beyond existing conditions
"Space Exploration" - The process of exploring, entering, and/or utilizing space
Time Frame - Starting now, and stopping at the end of the 21st century
Anything I missed?
MODEL:
We will devote a significant amount of resources, both political and economic, towards space exploration. This can include tasks such as scientific research, asteroid experiments, and foreign body colonization.
My goal is to prove that we have to devote time to space exploration, and Con's duty is to prove that we don't need to devote time to space exploration
Overall, should we advance our status quo of space exploration?
Round 1
Published:
Hello God of Knowledge, and thanks for accepting this debate. Let's start off with an outline...


A) OPENING

Outline

Round 1 - First Argument
Round 2 - Clash, and Second Argument
Round 3 - Clash, and Third Argument
Round 4 - Clash, and Summary

Note - This outline may change slightly depending on unforeseen factors

First Argument - Own World Benefits
How can advancing our current technology related to space exploration improve lives on Earth?
  • Earth Science missions
  • Space companies' non-science contributions
  • Connection to economy
Second Argument - New Possibilities
How can advancing our current technology related to space exploration open up new possibilities for space travel?
  • Discover solutions to existing problems
  • Mars colonization & Asteroid mining
Third Argument - Advances Humanity
How advancing our current technology related to space exploration will open up a new chapter for Humanity
  • Explaining the Kardashev scale
  • Explaining about civilizations
  • Relating everything back to this point

Now let's begin...


B) Own World BenefitsHow can advancing our current technology related to space exploration improve lives on Earth?

Let's use NASA as the dominant example here.

Oh, and how much does NASA get per year?
If America's budget was $1, NASA would get less than half a penny.

Keep that in mind as we follow into the next section...


Earth Science Missions

Space exploration is not all about exploring other planets. It's also about helping life on Earth. In fact, NASA has it's own Earth Science Division (ESD) [1]. That division constantly helps to monitor Earth's vital sign, like drought, precipitation, and wind patterns. This is all done by up to 23 different satellites [2], from soil monitoring done by SMAP [3], to cloud and weather patterns done by CALIPSO [4].

Take SMAP for example. In only a couple of days, this satellite can measure all the crop yield of the planet, and accurately predict when the next flood or drought (40% of all disasters) will happen. NASA has already prove that this can save upwards of $30 billion per major disaster.

Let's take a look at another example. The PACE satellite [5]. This satellite can gather data concerning our oceans and clouds. This information is vital to researches as it lets them analyse how carbon dioxide is exchange in our atmosphere, along with how aerosols might affect phytoplankton growth. This is important because carbon dioxide and plankton are heavily woven into our ecosystem, and can greatly affect our ocean's habitats.

As you can hopefully see by now, there are many satellites currently, or scheduled to orbit Earth, providing vital key sign to researches down on the ground. Advancing these technologies can sharpen these satellites, and proving more accurate readings.

And keep in mind, all of this if for less than half a penny each year.

But what about non-science missions?


Non-Science Missions

NASA has over 2 000 spin-off technologies [6] improving our lives today. This all includes simple items like memory foam, to more complex systems like AI recognition devices or heat absorbing metal alloys.

And it's not just NASA.

SpaceX for example launched its first commercial flight in April of this year, the first of many to come. The satellite it launched is one of the most advanced communications satellites out there, used for both public and private reasons.

As the space sector advances, we will be seeing more and more of these helpful technologies, or useful rocket launches take place.

But it's not all about Science.


Economic benefits

SpaceX’s new rocket, the Starship, is primarily made of steel. 218 000 people work in the steel industry in America [7]. Most of Nasa’s rockets are made of aluminum alloys. Alcoa, an aluminum manufacturing company, employs close to 14 600 people [8]. The China Hongqiao company also manufacturers aluminum, producing over 7.5 mmt per year, and employing over 60 000 people [9]. And that’s not all. Where do you think Nasa gets all its electronics from? What about other materials? And more?

My point is, the space sector is a massive one, with many connections benefiting thousands of people. Advancing space exploration will undoubtedly lead to more jobs being created, and more economic gains.



C) CONCLUSION

In this round, I have mentioned how space companies also too benefit our society, with important satellites, non-science missions, and economic benefits.

In the next round, I will be continuing my case, supported by stating how space exploration opens up new possibilities, and why it matters.

In the meantime, I wish my opponent the best of luck in his next augment.

Thank you


Links:

Published:
Firstly, I thank my opponent for starting this debate about an interesting topic, and for posting his opening argument in a timely manner.

Here is an introduction to my arguments against allocating significant economic and political resources to advance space travel:

The Extreme Cost

My opponent points out that, if the budget of the USA's federal government were modeled as proportions of a dollar, then NASA's annual budget would amount to less than half a penny per year. Although this is technically correct, it is also misleading because it fails to put that "<$0.005" figure into proper perspective. The USA federal budget for Fiscal Year 2018 was over four trillion dollars, which means that this hypothetical "half a penny" corresponds to about $22,000,000,000 [1].

You, the reader, are implored to take a breather here to contemplate what else could be done with that much money. I can't know what you'll come up with, but according to the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2017 Infrastructure Report Card (page 2), the US had an "$836 billion backlog of highway and bridge capital needs," and the "Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar spent on road, highway, and bridge improvements returns $5.20" [2]. With simple multiplication, we find that diverting NASA's annual budget towards infrastructure would yield about $115 billion in net gain towards the USA's economy.

My opponent might want to point out that there are better places to find that money than in NASA's coffers, but that would miss the point. I would wholeheartedly agree that I would rather see America's roads invested in with money obtained from liquidating mega-corporations within the military-industrial complex, or by recovering and taxing funds stored in offshore shell companies as made famous in the "Panama Papers." But even if both of these glorious hypotheticals came to pass, NASA would still be receiving tens of billions of taxpayers dollars which could undoubtedly be spent to great public benefit in many other ways: paying down the national debt, lowering taxes accordingly, staving off and possibly reversing the impending bankruptcy of Social Security... and I'm sure you can think of more.

Finally, I should point out that because I only accounted for NASA's budget, the cost estimates I have provided here are underestimates of how much money the space program absorbs. For example, I didn't factor in how much money SpaceX makes, which must be billions of dollars annually.

Fungibility

The concept of, "It would be wiser to spend it elsewhere," does not apply just to money. Every one of roughly 17,000 people who are employed at NASA is someone who is not employed somewhere else, where their surely exceptional minds could be put to other, likely better, uses. [3] Understand that "the space program," as an abstract concept, did not create memory foam nor artificial intelligence systems nor heat-absorbing metal alloys. These miraculous inventions are the product of brilliant minds who worked on the space program, and brilliant minds will not stop being brilliant when they change employers.

However many of the wondrous things we benefit from are the result of space-related research, far more of them are the result of research and development undertaken by the private sector. Releasing thousands of top-flight brains from NASA into the sphere of private corporations would only magnify this.

My opponent mentions that space-related construction efforts are dependent on the steel industry. This should be taken as an argument against the space program, not for it. Returning to the importance of resource interchangeability in this context, any material which NASA uses is material not used for other projects. I can think of something we could copy with about 463,000 tonnes of the good old carbonized iron [4]. The same applies to the electronics industry and any other industry which NASA subsidizes. Additionally, privately contracted employees who work on NASA-commissioned projects fall into the category of minds which could elsewhere probably be more useful to society.

Do we need a space program?

The answer is a resounding: No, we don't. What can we expect it to provide that we couldn't do better through another avenue? For example, my opponent (if I understand correctly) mentions SpaceX's "Starlink" program, under whose auspices they are launching satellites which will provide high-quality Internet access across the globe. A praiseworthy goal, certainly, but there are other ways to go about this. There have been proposals to do something similar by using blimps as enormous Wi-Fi hotspots [5]. There are more examples, but I will save them for later rounds.

All specifics aside, the motif of my opening round has been: The space program does offer us benefits, but the resources it consumes could be spent elsewhere to provide us with greater benefits.

Ⲑⲱⲟⲩⲧ

[2] https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org/cat-item/roads/ (you will need to download the report, which is a PDF file)
Round 2
Published:
Hello, and thanks for responding. Let's open up Round 2 with some clash...


A) CLASH

My opponent said...

$22,000,000,000 [..] what else could be done with that much money [..] paying down the national debt, lowering taxes accordingly, staving off and possibly reversing the impending bankruptcy of Social Security
What you are suggesting here, is that we drain all the money used for NASA, and use it elsewhere.

But if that happens, that would mean the end of literal millions of space photos and observations, thousands of lives would fail be be saved [1], no new developments in life changing technologies (like previously developed firefighting equipment, cloud computing, or even baby formula [2]), the ISS could no longer provide vital research [3], and not to mention companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin sometimes rely on NASA's field of specialty, but now have to venture out on their own.

each dollar spent on road, highway, and bridge improvements returns $5.20
I find this particular statement interesting because NASA's current ROI for every dollar is around $10 [4]. So spending NASA's money on infrastructure would actually be worse for the economy.

Like stated before, NASA has many ties to many companies across the world. It provides additional good and services, along with commercial infrustructure and support industries.

Every one of roughly 17,000 people who are employed at NASA is someone who is not employed somewhere else
With that said, does that mean that everyone of roughly 6.71 million people who are employed at the construction industry [5] is someone who is not employed somewhere else?

Remember, the space sector is a one of a kind sector, with many benefits that could not be achieved elsewhere.

"the space program" [..] did not create memory foam nor artificial intelligence systems nor heat-absorbing metal alloys. These miraculous inventions are the product of brilliant minds who worked on the space program, and brilliant minds will not stop being brilliant when they change employers.
These inventions are not made on purpose, but by coincidence.

So you are suggesting that if these people work elsewhere, then the amount of new products being made will increase?

Interesting thought, but if that's the case, then how do we know for certain that new inventions will be made? These inventions were made when people tried to solve a problem, or improve an existing design. And where do those problems and designs come from? The space sector.

However many of the wondrous things we benefit from are the result of space-related research, far more of them are the result of research and development undertaken by the private sector. Releasing thousands of top-flight brains from NASA into the sphere of private corporations would only magnify this.
This debate doesn't discriminate against private or public companies, so this statement is actually off-topic (however is an interesting though for another debate).

any material which NASA uses is material not used for other projects [..] employees who work on NASA-commissioned projects fall into the category of minds which could elsewhere probably be more useful to society.
This is yet again another statement in which you say that NASA's expertise could be used elsewhere. But you have yet to provide an example to this explain claim. How will we displace thousands of people? Will there be enough job offerings for these people? What if they don't like change, and backlash occurs (because remember, most people want to work at NASA)?

And like stated numerous times before, the space sector's benefits cannot be duplicated.

here have been proposals to do something similar by using blimps as enormous Wi-Fi hotspots
That is actually an interesting concept of which I have never heard before. However is a blimp really going to substitute the entire space sector? More evidence is needed.



B) New Possibilities - How can advancing our current technology related to space exploration open up new possibilities for space travel?


New Solutions to Problems

As stated earlier, many scientists and researchers are working hard to fix current problems. But coincidentally, they also create solutions to other problems. As space exploration advances, me might discover a whole new world of possibilities!

Mark Rober, a former NASA engineer, once said:

Predicting all the amazing things [space exploration] will discover would be like expecting Christopher Columbus [..] to predict the polio vaccine or Netflix
An example of this could be Mars. Studying Mars and adapting our technologies there could one day pay-off in more efficient rockets.


Mars Colonization and Asteroid Mining

A couple ways we can advance space exploration would be using the resources found in space, like other planets or asteroids. Not only can we learn from these encounters, but we can use these to further develop space travel.

New research sites of Mars, or even the Moon would act as a permanent scientific outpost testing new methods of space travel previously impossible here on Earth. We could also study Mars for signs of life, and historical records, to see how the planet formed, or might of looked millions of years ago [6].

And from there, we could potentially travel to nearby asteroids to collect valuable resources form them. With the asteroids, we could import precious metals from them such as gold or platinum, further advancing our rate of build on Mars, or back home here on Earth.



C) CONCLUSION

In this round, I have mentioned how space exploration can open up new possibilities for space travel.

I have also refuted many of my opponents claims, and supported my own.

In the next round, I will be presenting my final arguments, which is how space exploration opens up a new chapter for humanity.

In the meantime, I wish my opponent the best of luck in his next augment.

Thank you


Links:

Published:
As always, I thank my opponent for responding respectfully and promptly.



1. Resources, Risk, and Reward

What you are suggesting here, is that we drain all the money used for NASA, and use it elsewhere.
[...]
I find this particular statement interesting because NASA's current ROI for every dollar is around $10
NASA may get a numerically better return on investment than infrastructure spending, but we also need to consider what form that payoff takes.

With infrastructure spending, it's easy to see how the general public will benefit: better roads mean more convenient transport to places of work and spending; better seaports and airports improve long-distance trade and mobility; power lines and fiber optic cables allow greater engagement with the modern world; "green" power generation lowers electricity costs and ameliorates global warming; and repairing bridges and dams is a proactive measure against potential catastrophic damage from natural disasters.

With NASA spending, the benefits aren't so obvious and direct.

It may be that NASA funding will create something as beneficial and unpredictable to us as the polio vaccine or Netflix would have been to Christopher Columbus. However, we can't know that for sure. We could dump billions or trillions of dollars into space exploration without discovering anything like that. While the space program's history 'spinoff' technologies makes this possibility seem less likely, it cannot be ruled out.


2. Employment

With that said, does that mean that everyone of roughly 6.71 million people who are employed at the construction industry is someone who is not employed somewhere else?
It definitely does, at least if we presume that none of those people are simultaneously employed in another industry, which seems unlikely given that many people hold multiple jobs. Come to think of it, since vastly increasing spending on infrastructure would do so much good for the economy (let alone construction workers specifically), maybe those people wouldn't have to have multiple jobs if we diverted $22 billion per year in that direction.

My point is that NASA employs about 17,000 people. That 17,000 figure includes support staff, like janitors, who presumably aren't exceptional minds, Will Hunting notwithstanding; but doesn't include employees of private contractors, who in this context are NASA employees, since they are working towards NASA's goals using money from NASA's budget. Assuming that these two circumstances balance each other out, then ~17,000 great minds are being used towards NASA when they could be intellectually productive in other roles: as university professors, sole proprietors, researchers and engineers in non-space-related projects, and so on.


3. New Products

So you are suggesting that if these people work elsewhere, then the amount of new products being made will increase?

Interesting thought, but if that's the case, then how do we know for certain that new inventions will be made? These inventions were made when people tried to solve a problem, or improve an existing design. And where do those problems and designs come from? The space sector.
I can't claim that the amount of new products being made will increase, whether in quality nor quantity. It might increase, decrease, or stay the same.

While innovations usually originate as a response to a specific problem, and space exploration poses unique challenges, innovative solutions can come from other types of problems. University professors have to generate novel research, and private technology sector companies have to improve their products to stay in business.


4. Post-NASA Employment

This is yet again another statement in which you say that NASA's expertise could be used elsewhere. But you have yet to provide an example to this explain claim. (1) How will we displace thousands of people? (2) Will there be enough job offerings for these people? (3) What if they don't like change, and backlash occurs (because remember, most people want to work at NASA)?
(1) That's a good question, with a simple answer: Fire them and let them draw unemployment benefits for a reasonable amount of time, or until they find another job.

(2) I can't know for sure, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will in the next decade be tens of thousands of new jobs in various related fields (although cutting space program funding will likely reduce those numbers somewhat, since those figures include space sector employees) [1] [2] [3].

(3) Can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.


5. DUPLICATING BENEFITS

And like stated numerous times before, the space sector's benefits cannot be duplicated.
I'd like to proceed to this, then:

However is a blimp really going to substitute the entire space sector? More evidence is needed.
Just one of its specific functions: satellite Internet. No one sector could replace the space program's benefit, but many could, collectively.

The GPS and imaging satellites my opponent pointed out can also be blimpified, with several advantages: 1. Physically repairing blimps would be much more viable; 2. Blimps are much easier for the public to see, which reduces opportunity for sinister uses like excessive state surveillance; 3. Blimps (for some purposes) offer better data security since they wouldn't have to be wireless; data transfer could be done by physically transporting drives.


6. Mars, Mining, Moon

An example of this could be Mars. Studying Mars and adapting our technologies there could one day pay-off in more efficient rockets.
A payoff in more efficient rockets... after spending an unfathomable amount of resources studying Mars? Sounds to me like high-cost, low-reward.

New research sites of Mars, or even the Moon would act as a permanent scientific outpost testing new methods of space travel previously impossible here on Earth. We could also study Mars for signs of life, and historical records, to see how the planet formed, or might of looked millions of years ago
Given how many problems we still have to deal with back on Earth, I'm hardly interested in figuring out what Mars might have looked like a long time ago. Looking for Martians could have fascinating results, but it's also like drawing to an inside straight.

And from there, we could potentially travel to nearby asteroids to collect valuable resources form them. With the asteroids, we could import precious metals from them such as gold or platinum, further advancing our rate of build on Mars, or back home here on Earth.
That's true, but we won't run out of gold any time soon, especially if we get better about recycling it from electronics [4]. Mining huge amounts of gold from asteroids might *harm* the economy by crashing commodity prices, which are widely regarded as a safe investment.


CONCLUSION

In this round, I have pointed out several mechanisms by which the benefits of space exploration could be achieved through other avenues. I have also discussed the inferiority of its practical benefits.

I, of course, also wish my opponent the best of his for his next argument also.


REFERENCES

Round 3
Published:
Hello Thoth. Sorry for this short and late reply. I just did a First Aid training today, and I have a tournament tomorrow, and school stuff on Sunday. Really busy, and really sorry.

But at least I didn't forfeit.

Fourth round should be okay for me (and I plan on it being a good one), but expect this round to be really short from me. I literally have 20 minutes to write this whole thing...

A) CLASH

With NASA spending, the benefits aren't so obvious and direct.
1) You basically agreed with me that your previous statement was wrong.

2) Like I said earlier, NASA has a small but vital niche to fulfill. And it is an important niche. The $1 broken down will go towards the Department of Defense, National Reconnaissance Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, National Science Foundation, Federal Communications Commission, and the United States Geological Survey.

According to your statement, please tell me why we shouldn't be investing in these companies.

However, we can't know [spin-off developments] for sure.
You are missing the point here. These spin-off technologies are just another benefit we get out of investing in space exploration. They are not the main benefit, but merely a side one. Still yet another reasons to do so.

they could be intellectually productive in other roles: as university professors, sole proprietors, researchers and engineers in non-space-related projects, and so on.
You are saying that 10 university professors and 0 space engineers is better than 5 professors and 5 engineers. Please explain.

Fire them and let them draw unemployment benefits for a reasonable amount of time, or until they find another job.
You're gonna fire thousands of people, pay them (which costs money), and pray for them to find a suitable job? Unlikely.

next decade be tens of thousands of new jobs
How will we know that these jobs will be suitable for space engineers? And there will also be competition, so not everyone will get those jobs.

Also, if we fire thousands of space engineers, then whose going to fill the role of space engineers? Satellites will burn up, billions wasted, anticipated time thrown away. All this progress is gone.

No one sector could replace the space program's benefit, but many could, collectively.
I just realized this. If a company does a space related job, then they are now part of the space sector, which brings us back where we started. So this argument isn't going anywhere in relation to this topic.

A payoff in more efficient rockets... after spending an unfathomable amount of resources studying Mars? Sounds to me like high-cost, low-reward.
That's not the only benefit of Mars. These are most of them. Also, Earth might die in the next century or so. Asteroid, natural disaster, Kim Jong Trios, etc. Mars will be a back up drive.

Mining huge amounts of gold from asteroids might *harm* the economy by crashing commodity prices
I was waiting for you to bring this point up. Three solutions:

1) Space resources stay in space - faster development
2) For a while, the return of asteroid mining will not greatly exceed the cost of asteroid mining


B) ARGUMENTS

I will be expanding on this in my next round since I'm in a hurry now!

How advancing our current technology related to space exploration will open up a new chapter for Humanity

This argument is important, even if less solid.

Space exploration opens up a new chapter for Humanity. We will conquer the stars!

All I have time for bye!

Thanks!
Published:
Hello again, and thank you for replying. I myself am a bit late to the party, but at least I also will not be forfeiting. Since your third round was short and sweet, I'll open Round 3 with some brief counterpoints of my own.

CLASH

You basically agreed with me that your previous statement was wrong.
Not really. I agreed that you were right from a purely numerical standpoint, but then I interpreted those numbers to reach a different conclusion. Just because the numbers offer an obvious meaning doesn't mean that meaning holds when you investigate more deeply.

Like I said earlier, NASA has a small but vital niche to fulfill. And it is an important niche. The $1 broken down will go towards the Department of Defense, National Reconnaissance Office, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Energy, Federal Aviation Administration, National Science Foundation, Federal Communications Commission, and the United States Geological Survey.
Not necessarily. Just because we stop allocating money to NASA doesn't mean that the other government agencies you mentioned will each receive a proportional share of the money thereby freed up. I would not divvy it up like that. You might be tempted to respond, "Just because you wouldn't divvy it up like that doesn't mean that isn't how it would work in real life!" But remember that this debate is about ideals, not what will happen in the real world, as it can be safely presumed that neither of us have any control over the space program.

According to your statement, please tell me why we shouldn't be investing in these companies.
Because then the money could be invested elsewhere (you may note that this is the leitmotif of my arguments).

You are missing the point here. These spin-off technologies are just another benefit we get out of investing in space exploration. They are not the main benefit, but merely a side one. Still yet another reasons to do so.
I understand that spin-off technologies are a side benefit, but just because part of your argument is on the side doesn't mean that I'm not going to counter it. Appetizers get eaten along with entrees.

You are saying that 10 university professors and 0 space engineers is better than 5 professors and 5 engineers. Please explain.
Not necessarily better. "Greater than or equal to" is also compatible with what I said. As for why I believe this to be the case: who gets paid to do groundbreaking research, as opposed to just develop a new product, which will mostly rely on existing research? Professors.

You're gonna fire thousands of people, pay them (which costs money), and pray for them to find a suitable job? Unlikely.
Paying them will still cost far less than funding NASA. Also, since there are plenty of jobs in the technology sector, I don't see how expecting them to get another job is a far-fetched hope, although it might take a while.

How will we know that these jobs will be suitable for space engineers? And there will also be competition, so not everyone will get those jobs.
We don't know that these jobs will be suitable for space engineers, but we can make a good guess. If nothing else, they'll already have a solid foundation in engineering (math, physics, etc.) which will make them relatively easy to retrain - perhaps this could be added to their unemployment benefits.

The existence of competition isn't surprising. Competition is good for all involved. That's the firmanent of why the free market benefits the public.

Also, if we fire thousands of space engineers, then whose going to fill the role of space engineers? Satellites will burn up, billions wasted, anticipated time thrown away. All this progress is gone.
Sunk-cost fallacy.

I just realized this. If a company does a space related job, then they are now part of the space sector, which brings us back where we started. So this argument isn't going anywhere in relation to this topic.
I think you misunderstood me. When I said "replace the space program's benefit," I was talking about mimicking the benefits we get from it through non-space related means! Wi-Fi blimps might replace StarLink, but that won't make them part of the space sector.

That's not the only benefit of Mars. These are most of them. Also, Earth might die in the next century or so. Asteroid, natural disaster, Kim Jong Trios, etc. Mars will be a back up drive.
This is an interesting argument, but if we're concerned about the Earth being destroyed, don't you think averting that possibility should be a higher priority for spending? SCP-2000 comes to mind. Or the Svalbard Seed Vault. Or campaigns to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Or basically anything other than spending money on other planets.

I was waiting for you to bring this point up. Three solutions:

1) Space resources stay in space - faster development
2) For a while, the return of asteroid mining will not greatly exceed the cost of asteroid mining
1) I know it's a little bit contradictory for me to say this after mentioning how this is a debate about ideals and not practice, but... do you really think that all those resources are going to stay in space once it becomes possible for governments - let alone private companies - to reach them? Like discovering millions of tons of gold in the ground without an ensuing gold rush?

2) OK. So we've delayed the problem by, what, 20 years at the most? Postponed or not, the problems still stand.

3) If I correctly understand the answer on the question you linked to, the respondent claimed that asteroid mining will decrease the price of mined resources and related electronics. That would almost certainly be good for humanity as a whole, by itself, but would it outweigh the inherent crashing of commodity prices? You brought up the topic of asteroid mining in this debate, so the burden of proof is on you here. I need to see numbers.

CONCLUSION

In this round, I have responded to my opponent's points from the previous round, although I haven't made any new points. I eagerly await my opponent's final round, and wish him the best of luck in explaining how humanity will ad astra per aspera.
Round 4
Published:
Hello and thanks for your reply. Regardless of who wins, I feel like I have gained a higher knowledge. Perhaps from some godly powers.  Nonetheless, I had fun! Anyway, let's get into closing this debate...


A) CLASH

My opponent stated...

Just because we stop allocating money to NASA doesn't mean that the other government agencies you mentioned will each receive a proportional share of the money thereby freed up
Not how it works. Those eight previously listed agencies work closely with NASA, so when NASA gets $1, that money gets circulated through those agencies, finally turning into $10 - if that makes any sense. If we take NASA out of the equation, then the whole operation falls apart, and no more $10 return, bring it back to my point about NASA's small niche.

And it's not all about NASA.

SpaceX made $2 million last year [1] mainly through outsourcing, like NASA, and economic deals with other companies.

I'm not going to counter it
You can counter it. But not in the way you're doing. You have yet to find a negative to spin-off technologies.

And if you can't find a negative about spin-off technologies, then that argument stands.

Oh! And I forgot to mention. A scientist working on the Hubble Space telescope used its technology to produce more accurate X-ray images, helping to more accurately detect breast cancer [2].

Who gets paid to do groundbreaking research, as opposed to just develop a new product [..] I don't see how expecting them to get another job is a far-fetched hope
I'm not so sure what you're saying here, and in previous text. Are you trying to say how space engineers get little to know things done? Yet without them, no benefits of space exploration would even exist. Who knows, without them, we might even be flat earthers right now!

You also mention how excepting thousands of people to relocate and find a new job is not "far-fetched".

More evidence is needed to sufficiently provide an adequate reason to how displacing thousands of jobs in a crucial sector is a good thing.

Sunk-cost fallacy
No clue what that means. But what I think that is saying is that the satellites we already have in space are useless, or something like that.

Really?

[3]

  • Ecosystem protection
  • Climate change analysis
  • Agricultural monitoring
  • Safety (search and rescue, navigation)
Mimicking the benefits we get from it through non-space related means!
Impossible! No amount of witch craft could substitute for Elon Musk's car [4]!

But seriously, we can't. I would assume this would be pretty obvious. We can't mimic satellites or space related research on the ground.

Also the blimp you mentioned... doesn't do anything about anything in the big picture. We're not going to have blimps flying over our heads anytime soon providing the world's internet, whilst also conducting technological advancements and crucial research. And if there were, I bet you there would be that one kid with the blow dart gun running around practicing his aim.

Averting that possibility should be a higher priority for spending
Again, you miss the point. That's only one reason. Other reasons include [5]:

  • Scientific Research
  • Evidence for life
  • Technological improvements
  • Species advancement
And besides, there are some major disasters that can't be avoided. Just ask the dinos- Oh wait they're dead.

Or campaigns to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
Yes, because when the time comes, Jim Jong Quatre (son of Trois and father of Cinq) will definitely hand over his nuclear weapons.

However, another good debate topic: Should restrictions on nuclear advancements be dropped to allow for faster technological advancements?

Sorry, I'm getting way off-topic here...

{Proof that asteroid mining would be beneficial to the economy}
Oh my god! I just thought of two new topics! Wow, I'm on a roll today!

  • Public companies should dominate private companies in the space sector
  • Asteroid mining should be heavily persued
Anyway, back on track. Here's my plan for why asteroid mining would work.

1) Resources in space stay in space
2) "This debate is about ideals" - Quote from Thoth
3) "Delayed the problem [for] 20 years" - Another quote from Thoth

So here's the new solution (based off of Bloomberg - lost the link):

As you have said, asteroid mining won't be a problem for the economy for 20 years, and studies estimate that asteroid mining will be sufficiently a business in 20 years [6]. So we can safely assume that asteroid mining will be impactal to the economy somewhere around the time of 2060. And like I have earlier stated, this resolution only covers up until 2100, which leaves us 40 years for us to cope with the effects. Nothing too complicated here.

So how do we do it?

1) Use a part of mined resources specifically for space objects' advancements (satellites, off-world colonies) - space resources stay in spacet
2) Use a part of mined resources directly for space related advancements (telescopes, rockets) - space resources get used for space technology
3) Use a part of mined resources specifically for nonrenewable resource supply (precious metals) - lower the cost of already too expensive materials

The first two methods will ensure that materials in space aren't mixed with the regular economy. The third method will ensure that Earth doesn't run out of natural resources.

Also, just a side argument (don't take this as a major response), but inflation is actually not that big of a problem! I'm sure that we can learn from history. In fact, this article talks nothing about inflation [7]!

Phew! That was a long response. Hopefully that clears some things up.

Wait, I think I came up with another topic: The Colombian Exchange benefited socially, but not economically

I am so sorry. I just can't help myself. Moving on!

I need to see numbers.
264592764972459837465429


B) ARGUMENT

Humanity will reach for the stars. Humans have been stuck on this planet from the dawn of our species. Have we done anything special? Yes, but does it affect the cosmos itself?

This argument is arguable the most important, even if it's less concrete.

Take a look. Some would say that this is the most important picture ever taken. Every single speck of light you see (with the exception of three or four stars), is a galaxy, containing millions if not billions of more stars. We might not be alone.

Regardless of how you believe the universe was created, it is there waiting for humans to explore
Buzz Aldrin. First person to piss his pants on an off-world body (no joke, he actually said that). Humanity will only survive for so long, and we must make use of our time. Reaching out, fulfilling our desires, is what will complete Humanities' destiny.

Kardashev scale. Not enough space, but we are at the bottom. We should try advancing if we don't want lizard people running for president.


C) CONCLUSION


This was quite a fun debate!

You guys should also be expecting those new debate topics to surface sometime soon.

Kinda hard not to say the last word, since I really have to make sure I have my case down.

Anyway, good luck Thoth in your final speech!

Thank you!


Links:

Published:
And here we are at the end of a fascinating debate. I will start by summarizing my two central points one last time:

1. We have better things to do than reach for the stars, considering all the problems on Earth.
2. Space exploration takes up resources that could better be used for other things.

Onto the specifics:

Not how it works. Those eight previously listed agencies work closely with NASA, so when NASA gets $1, that money gets circulated through those agencies, finally turning into $10 - if that makes any sense. If we take NASA out of the equation, then the whole operation falls apart, and no more $10 return, bring it back to my point about NASA's small niche.
I understand the idea of a profitable investment, and this is a good point, but it's not as crushing as it first appears, as I've extensively discussed in my previous rounds with regard to infrastructure, debt control, and other alternative ways of spending that money.

SpaceX made $2 million last year [1] mainly through outsourcing, like NASA, and economic deals with other companies.
$2 billion, according to that article, which I'm lucky I clicked on. I don't see how this supports your point. If anything, it's an admission of cash-absorbance.

You can counter it. But not in the way you're doing. You have yet to find a negative to spin-off technologies.
And if you can't find a negative about spin-off technologies, then that argument stands.
I don't need to find a negative to the technologies themselves, but rather to the programs which originate them. Analogy: If I paid $100,000,000 for a new bicycle, there might be nothing wrong with the bicycle, but there would definitely be something wrong with my payment.

I'm not so sure what you're saying here, and in previous text. Are you trying to say how space engineers get little to know [sic] things done? Yet without them, no benefits of space exploration would even exist.
No. I'm saying that, most likely, former space engineers would keep getting things done in other positions, even if it took some time and money to partially re-educate them.

Who knows, without them, we might even be flat earthers right now!
This is a minor aside - but really? Even ancient Greeks knew the world is round.

No clue what that means. But what I think that is saying is that the satellites we already have in space are useless, or something like that.
You could have Googled "sunk-cost fallacy" to find out my point: just because we've spent a lot of money on the space program doesn't mean that we should keep spending money on it! That's somewhat like discouraging a fat person from losing weight because they've been obese for so long.

But seriously, we can't. I would assume this would be pretty obvious. We can't mimic satellites or space related research on the ground.
This shows your failure to grasp the difference between an object and its function(s). We obviously can't carry out space-related research without going into space, but that doesn't negate the possibility of non-space technology giving comparable benefits.

Yes, because when the time comes, Jim Jong Quatre (son of Trois and father of Cinq) will definitely hand over his nuclear weapons.
North Korea's nuclear arsenal poses no risk of global annihilation, and it's extremely unlikely that the international community would allow it to get so large.

[...snip...]
The first two methods will ensure that materials in space aren't mixed with the regular economy.
So, you suggest strict regulations against mining asteroids and selling their produce on Earth for profit? Those would be difficult to implement, let alone enforce, given how much corporate lobbying there would be against them if asteroid mining seemed to be a viable source for many billions of dollars in profit.

ANTICONCLUSION

In regards to the idealistic "to the stars" closing speech: have I mentioned that aliens might not be so friendly, and would want us de-existencefied? Especially once they see how awful humans can make the lives of other humans. Come to think of it, I've been suggesting that we prioritize fixing that.

Although the galaxies may be beautiful and alluring, they exist on cosmic timescales. They will be here in 100 years, and in 1,000 and 1,000,000,000. We have a lot of time to deal with our terrestrialities first. There is no rush. Humanity may only survive for "so long," but the more we focus on our immediate problems, the longer we can expect that so long to be before so long to humanity.

END
Added:
--> @DynamicSquid
No problem. I appreciate your kind response.
#11
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--> @Jeff_Goldblum
Got it man. Thanks for your detailed vote!
Instigator
#10
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--> @DynamicSquid
YEEEEE!!!
Contender
#9
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--> @Thoth
Good debate!
Instigator
#8
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--> @Alec
$200 billion per year!!!!!! DUDE!!!!
Also, I disagree. We should utilize the Moon, but not colonize it. Mars is a better opportunity. Interesting debate topic...
Instigator
#7
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The funny thing is that I actually agree with my opponent. I'm just arguing the other side because I enjoy doing things like that.
Contender
#6
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--> @DynamicSquid
NASA currently gets $19 billion annually. I think once we get our debt paid off, this can go to around $200 billion per year. Hopefully they colonize the moon with it and get the natural resources from it.
#5
Added:
--> @Alec
Enough done so that comparing our progress from the start to the end, we can see significant change.
Well, don't get too caught up in the definitions. What the topic seems at face value is what I meant. The definitions are there to seem more "formal" you could say.
Instigator
#4
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--> @DynamicSquid
How much money would you dedicate?
#3
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--> @Alec
How much what?
Instigator
#2
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--> @DynamicSquid
How much?
#1
#1
Criterion Pro Tie Con Points
Better arguments 3 points
Better sources 2 points
Better spelling and grammar 1 point
Better conduct 1 point
Reason:
Arguments - Pro puts forth reasons to value space exploration that are of varying quality. Perhaps the highest quality argument relates to the benefits of satellites (how they help us on Earth). However, this doesn't really explain why we should advance space exploration. Will we get better at predicting disasters on Earth? Maybe one could presume this, but Pro does not articulate this idea. As such, this is only a point in favor of the status quo, not advancement. Some of Pro's other points, such as those about asteroid mining exploitation, lack data. Since asteroid mining is an economic proposition, Pro should be able to present a cost-benefit analysis that favors him. He does not do this, so the point lacks oomph. This is overall emblematic of Pro's argumentation throughout: a good seed of an idea, but a failure to successfully follow through in support of his position.
Arguments - Con's argument boils down to opportunity cost. Con argues that all the resources - financial and otherwise - that are devoted to space exploration would be better spent elsewhere, or could be spent just as well elsewhere. In essence, Con relies on counterfactuals about resources. "If we took x away from NASA and put it toward y, we would benefit." However, without much data to support such arguments, I remain unconvinced. In R1 Con factored in infrastructure spending ROI to suggest we could beneficially put all space exploration funding into infrastructure, but Pro's rebuttal with the $10 ROI killed that point.
Arguments - In sum, I feel neither side did enough to tip the scale in their favor. Pro had some interesting points that could have gone far with more data and detailed argumentation. Con relied on counterfactuals that generally failed due to a lack of convincing data.
The rest - You both did fine with sources. Pro, your S&G was worse, but not so bad that I feel I should award it to Con. Regardless, if you don't proofread before submitting, definitely start doing that. You both were courteous throughout and upheld your obligations as debate participants - good conduct.
Last comment: Pro, instead of doing stream-of-consciousness tangents (as seen in R4), use all your characters for argumentation. Had you done that, you might have been able to devote more characters to your Kardeshev Scale point, which could have been interesting.