When a business invests in equipment, it is assumed that equipment will generate an immediate return on investment. Especially because the equipment has been designed, tested, and certified to perform its task. Inevitably, when you invest in one piece of equipment, You must be invested in others. But once you set yourself down this path, It becomes very difficult to change directions because in doing so, it often but not always, requires all new equipment.
While there are vendors here on earth to facilitate these issues, And if these maintenance contracts ,there is no such infrastructure in space, All in the moon, or Mars. As such, equipment destined for use in space engenders costs orders of magnitude higher than comperable units on earth.
Engineers struggle daily to find ways to solve the problems associated with remote, much less, autonomous units. These efforts often generate multiple new problems for every solution.
Nature is not driven by the blindness of dogged determination. When a development in an organism tips the balance, and uses too much energy, or too little, or changes visibility too much, that organism simply dies, and the deadend evaporates. Our doggednes often gets in our way, slowing, or even stoppig our progress. A bigger hammer is only good until the energy it takes to use it dwarfs the user.
Our push out into space has been stunted by first the expense, and second the desire to NOT risk human lives to open the frontier. This country began as a frontier, opened by people; the west was a frontier until opened by people; the seas were foreboding depths until people explored that frontier – with robots by their sides.
Music is an ever expanding frontier that robots have tried to penetrate, as is literature. But humans remain at the front of that exploration, with their tools, instruments, and devices beside them to enhance – not replace – the very human elements of emotion, inspiration, and adaptability. Man uses tools to enhance his journey into and through the frontier – not to go before him, nor follow him, but rather beside him, in his belt, back pack, and on his feet, hands, and head.
We cannot take man – nor woman – out of the frontier, anymore than we can inspire hope within a machine. The financial costs continue to demostrate the frustration of trying to do so. Costs continue to spiral upwards in every discipline, with ever more exotic materials and methods.
It is long past time that we re-evaluated our approach to the frontier of space. No frontier has been conquered, capitalized, or monetized with out people to solve the problems faced in the day to day challenges to be met on that frontier. We must treat is as a frontier to be conquered – NOT studied; lived in – NOT admired from afar; and personally savored – NOT shared on facebook.
We must put people out there with tools to survive, and solve the challenges we will find there. It is, and always has been the trail blazers of the frontier that inspire others to follow, not the robots.
Here is another perspective:
Building with robots is problematic. Mines don’t, buildings don’t.
When the Empire State Building took 3,400 workers, 410 days to build; comprises 73 elevators, 102 floors, a total floor area of 2,768,591 sq ft, resting on 2 acres of land.As of 2007, approximately 21,000 employees work in the building each day, houses 1,000 businesses, weighs approximately 370,000 short tons, and cost $40,948,900 to build (equal to roughly $500,000,000 in 2010).
Do you really think we can create enough robots to build an Empire State Building sized habitat in space? And why NOT let humans build it — what a jobs program THAT would be!!