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There Will Never be a Human Civilization on Mars

Serac

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#1
So, as we all know, our contemporary Messiah Elon Musk has the idea of shipping humanity over to Mars in case things turn to shit here on earth.

To assess that idea, let us take a look at some realities of life on earth.

Take Europe. Historically, eastern Europe has always been less prosperous than western Europe. Why? Because of the geographical nature of the continent. Eastern Europe has a more difficult location because they don't have easy access to the seas. This makes trade more difficult and thus affects their economy as a whole. For example Russia had to conquer St Petersburg from Sweden just to have access to the water. And in general, geographical location determines infrastructure, access to natural resources etc, and this has great consequences for the survivability of a society.

Now think about the situation on mars. You'd be hard pressed to find even a drop of water there. It's just rocks. A tomato on mars will cost like $1 million. There is no way you can run an economy up there. Hell, most people live in poverty even here on earth where there is relatively easy access to resources. So this plan of creating a colony of a million people on mars within 2040 seems like a silly fantasy.

I'm not surprised Musk thinks it's possible though. He has made a career out of getting state subsidies, so to him it looks like there is an infinite source of money out there that we can dip into at will. In reality, of course, the world revolves around scarcity of resources.
 
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#2
I was under the impression that ice is under the surface and landers have seen curved sands from rain flows and the ice caps have water.

so lots of water correct?
 

Serac

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#3
I am aware of the ice situation. That's quite besides the point, however. On earth we have oceans, loads of precipitation, lakes, rivers. Comparing that to some ice scattered around Mars and call it "lots of water" .. I'm not sure if that is a fair assessment. The point is that the environment is extremely hostile to a human colony, which will make a sustainable economy quite impossible.
 

Cognisant

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#4
Once we establish industrial infrastructure in space it's going to start growing exponentially, it doesn't matter what Mars has because by the time we're ready to teraform it we'll be more interested in strip mining it to its core.

Although if we use the materials from said strip mining to construct a Dyson swarm of habitats I suppose you could call that a extremely fast and efficient form of teraforming.
 
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#5
Once we establish industrial infrastructure in space it's going to start growing exponentially, it doesn't matter what Mars has because by the time we're ready to teraform it we'll be more interested in strip mining it to its core.

Although if we use the materials from said strip mining to construct a Dyson swarm of habitats I suppose you could call that a extremely fast and efficient form of teraforming.
Terraforming only works if you have the raw materials. We cannot take the water from the earth and put it on mars and mars has no water to make mars the earth like planet you envision. No cog you cannot terraform Mars because Mars has no water to make mars into a water planet. It is that same reason we can not increase the supply of gold on earth by double the amount. We cannot make each car on earth out of gold because of not enough gold comprende? Where do we get the water to terraform Mars? The answer is not Mars. Think cog, we need to go to Europa to get the water but at what cost? will we spend too much full going to Europa and too much full leaving Europa to send water to mars? we make full from water, we may have diminishing returns without huge gains in rocket technologies.


Question?

Why manufacture in space?
What is the goal, space colony?

Water as fuel may run out (or cause environmental damage) and the fuel we use may fall into the sun and be uncollectible, unreusable.
 

Serac

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#7
Why manufacture in space?
What is the goal, space colony?
I believe Musk claims to have plans of making a colony of a million people by 2040.

If a colony is to survive, let alone thrive and sustain itself on anything besides taxpayer money from earth, they need some way of producing food, clothes, tools, infrastructure, machinery etc. Unless they plan to make it some sort of North-Korea style society driven by slave labour, I don't see any other option than try to create a similar economic system as we have here on earth. But then again, with the level of scarcity one will have up there, only a handful of people would afford living there. Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and perhaps Musk himself with pockets full of state subsidies would be willing to pay $1 million for a water bottle and $100 million for a space suit.
 

Haim

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#9
I don't know if we would be able to thrive on mars, but I do not think you should compare the herds of idiots on earth to top of the line people with future cutting edge and expensive tech, people of the like that made a rocket go to the moon with a freaking calculator as the rocket computer.
Of course I think his time estimates are total bullshit, but it might be possible to slowly learn and grow.
 

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#10
I don't know if we would be able to thrive on mars, but I do not think you should compare the herds of idiots on earth to top of the line people with future cutting edge and expensive tech, people of the like that made a rocket go to the moon with a freaking calculator as the rocket computer.
Of course I think his time estimates are total bullshit, but it might be possible to slowly learn and grow.
Completely agree.
 

Serac

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#11
I don't know if we would be able to thrive on mars, but I do not think you should compare the herds of idiots on earth to top of the line people with future cutting edge and expensive tech, people of the like that made a rocket go to the moon with a freaking calculator as the rocket computer.
Of course I think his time estimates are total bullshit, but it might be possible to slowly learn and grow.
Musk has gotten $5 billion in state subsidies to spend on his sci-fi fantasies. I'd say take those 5 billion and spend them on trying to fix things here on earth - the planet we are supposed to live on. E.g. try to stop human trafficking, build some schools in Africa, do medical research, or any of a plethora of problems we're dealing with in the real world. One of the main sources of this Musk situation in the first place is the instinct to turn to the supposed messiahs and technological superheroes for salvation instead of getting one's elbows in the mud and facing our real problems.
 

QuickTwist

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#12
Musk has gotten $5 billion in state subsidies to spend on his sci-fi fantasies. I'd say take those 5 billion and spend them on trying to fix things here on earth - the planet we are supposed to live on. E.g. try to stop human trafficking, build some schools in Africa, do medical research, or any of a plethora of problems we're dealing with in the real world.
Agree.

You could solve world hunger with that and make a good dent in global warming I would think. Especially if you reinvest. Ofc that requires making a profit, but I think that is something that can be done. In fact, I think it would be better if instead of just giving the hungry some food, you make them work for it. That way they get food and get to establish some goals for themselves with would reinforce their positive emotions and make them more productive and you get something done in the process. win win IMO.

As far as global warming goes, I can see at least one incentive to get the rich to help out with this problem with the kind of money we are talking about. How I see it could work is, you give the 1% an incentive to invest in eco friendly technology and implement it and then you give them back a portion of the profits. I mean, Elon Musk still has to make a profit to fuel this shit. The plus side is that he is independent in his endeavors so he doesn't necessarily have to go through all the BS bureaucracy of the government to help make the earth a better place. Like I feel if you have this kind of money, you are somewhat obligated to make the earth a better place. Like, investing in space travel is a novel goal, but it's going to be a while before people are actually living in outer space or some other planet, AND it's fucking expensive!

Yeah, yeah, "he can't do whatever he wants with the money he gets" I get it. I am just saying what would be ideal if he could do whatever he wanted with that kind of cheddar.
 
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#13
Roads turn to mud half the year in Africa, solve this and their economies will thrive. Make their economies democratic not tribal so national unity is stronger, not tribe rivalry. fight cattle diseases so cattle can work on farms. All kinds of things to do to improve Africa.
 

Haim

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#14
Make their economies democratic not tribal so national unity is stronger, not tribe rivalry.
Extremely bad idea, not every group of people in the world have "democratic" mentality. Palestinian people are a living example of that, they could have formed a state ages ago, their way of organizing is very much village/family centric. Other example is the Arab spring, which just ended up being another internal conflict, it is not like any Arab country is much more "democratic". Assuming what works for you will also work for very different people is the biggest misconception of the western world, a cat is not a dog , it will be very inefficient to treat a cat as a dog, the west is arrogantly saying cats are inferior(by politely saying that dogs are the best) and then makes/try to make everyone dogs.

I see this issues as short term problems, making people not die because of natural causes is not the most important thing and is a temporary solution, we better invest in improving the life quality, such as with hyperloop project, I also think the byproducts of SpaceX will be of more benefit then what bill gates does as will has more chance to benefit humankind also after Elon Musk death.
 
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#15
Yes, it is hard to help people if we do not understand the way they think because we cannot force them to live in a way contrary to that thinking mentality. But at least some basics must be a common factor to which we could help that is not impossible to be beneficial to people not like us. If we wish to help people, not like us, that is?
 

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#16
I will say watching that rocket land straight up was pretty fucking spectacular tho.
 

elliptoid

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#17
Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
 

sushi

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#19
it'll all work out like starcraft. ;)
 
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#20
i guess the point is that technology will make harvesting and recycling of resources more efficient, and that this happens exponentially. allowing us to inhabit previously very difficult to inhabit areas.

i don't see the point and i'd rather we just utilize what we have on Earth more effectively but it is what it is
 

sushi

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#21
they should just try to build a colony on the moon first. i don't know why that is not done.

anyway i agree with opening it is like a castle in the sky.
 

Auburn

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#23
really?! REALLY?!!

Oh dear god, there is so much wrong with this thread I don't even.....

Musk has gotten $5 billion in state subsidies to spend on his sci-fi fantasies. I'd say take those 5 billion and spend them on trying to fix things here on earth - the planet we are supposed to live on. E.g. try to stop human trafficking, build some schools in Africa, do medical research, or any of a plethora of problems we're dealing with in the real world. One of the main sources of this Musk situation in the first place is the instinct to turn to the supposed messiahs and technological superheroes for salvation instead of getting one's elbows in the mud and facing our real problems.
Of all the people pillaging the poor, you're going to call out Elon Musk?

Not, like, ...wall street bankers? The presidential cabinet of the USA?
If you're talking about "solving world problems" then Elon Musk is right up there as one of the most successful pioneers. The reason he gets state subsidiaries is because his efforts are Green and for the benefit of the planet. We need to move away from fossil fuels asap or dozens of major cities in the world's coastlines (along with their economies) will crumble in the next 50-100 years.

Even if he *was* taking $5 billion from the economy, that is a sneeze compared to the trillions in dept racked up by past presidents. Space process shouldn't be scoffed off because "there are more important things to do on earth" -- where do you think your cell phone's GPS gets its data from? Satellites. Space ventures are not some vanity projects. I hate it when people look at space ventures and think "hurr durr, bunch of money out the drain. better spent on food for the poor"

Take a look at this diagram of the USA for instance (where Elon Musk is located)



See that little slice called "science"? :P
And see that massive slice called Military?
The USA spends more on the military and wars than the next 20 or so major developed countries combined. If you want to talk about priorities, then you should be criticizing military spending.

But all that said... that $5 billion is actually going back into jobs, into paychecks, and into bread and butter for working citicens. And science always gives back in terms of innovations or discoveries. We wouldn't have computers if it wasn't for quantum physics, and that seemed fruitless at the time. Renewable rockets (which is what Elon Musk is building) will be like the airplane 2.0 and will have a similarly disruptive boom to our economy once it becomes common practice.

Flights around the world will be done in 1 hr, instead of 20 hrs. Many many many more scientists will be able to afford to send their experiments up to zero gravity and run experiments, if the cost of space access drops - which it's already dropped around tenfold with the Falcon Heavy. That will increase the entire economy. Not to mention Musk is planning to launch (and has already launched the first of) a worldwide satellite internet service, composed of 4,000 satellites that will circle the globe and give third world nations internet access -- no longer needing to depend on stationary towers for broadband. And it's been confirmed time and time again that access to internet lifts nations out of poverty, because access to knowledge empowers people.

But guess what? He couldn't do that for the planet if he hadn't solved the problem of renewable rockets, which is what those $5 billion are going towards.

Oh and don't even get me started on Mars...
 

Kuu

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#24
I must agree with Auburn. First of all, 5 billion is nothing. And second of all, he gets subsidies because he's actually reducing expenses. Before SpaceX spaceflight was ridiculously expensive, literally throwing away the rockets after use. Do you have any idea of how much money NASA threw down the drain annually? They're completely changing the economics of the industry. With cheap access to space, asteroid mining becomes a real possibility, specially for getting all those rare minerals that are expensive on earth and highly polluting, like the ones we need for batteries (that we need for everything and more so if we are moving to solar energy. Oh funny how Musk is also investing in solar and pushing battery technologies forward! They might even end up doing space-based solar power. All their efforts are synergistic.

Now Mars. I'd be pretty surprised if we don't have some sort of city there by the end of the century. The problems are less technological and logistical as they are political. Someone just needs to commit to doing it, and it will be done. As to the why is it worth it, I think Musk has talked about it plenty: it's about long term survival. It's sad that people don't understand that. And perhaps its even sadder to think that we will get to build cities on Mars before we solve poverty and warfare...
 

Auburn

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#25
+1 kuu

I also think this thread's misunderstanding the nature of this first outpost. It will be nothing more than a research facility at first, composed of no regular citizens but just really smart people. National Geographics made a series called "Mars" that I'd recommend as an example of what this outpost will be like. It'll be hell, and it'll be really hard to survive. But geologists will be having a field day with this new planet.

Money won't work the way we think of it on earth. It's not like you can superimpose the economics of our cities here onto Mars. Rather than it being everyone looking out for #1 and having bank accounts, it'll be everyone vs Mars; Mars being the common enemy that everyone collabs to defeat. So it'll probably start more as a centralized corporation/business with very controlled distribution of resources. Maybe more communist, if we excuse the negative connotations to the word.

I have a feeling that each outpost (if there's more than one) will be dependent on continual earth resupply missions for at least the first 10-20 years. And so each outpost will be dependent on a private/national business. But will be giving back in terms of discoveries -- not least of which will be whether life ever existed on Mars.

As to the why is it worth it, I think Musk has talked about it plenty: it's about long term survival. It's sad that people don't understand that. And perhaps its even sadder to think that we will get to build cities on Mars before we solve poverty and warfare...
Quite sad indeed. But there's a small hope in me that Mars' challenges may propel innovations for how to live in inhospitable places on earth as well, and/or be more "independent" in food supplies and water. I imagine things like 3D printers and water extraction/filtration systems helping third world populations improve their living conditions and for an average joe to grow crops in what used to be infertile land, even if their governments are being unhelpful towards those aims. A few dozen of these machines, if donated, could raise a village out of scarcity.
 
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#26
I agree with Auburn and Kuu. This topic requires a holistic understanding of the situation. I'll just touch on a couple of things based on the key themes brought up in this thread.

Humans as an Interplanetary species aka The Earth Insurance Policy
SpaceX isn't trying to get to Mars is for an Earth-problem-abandoning joyride, it's basically an insurance policy for our species. Humanity could be entirely wiped out by a number of events on Earth because right now we have no Plan B. Have you ever asked yourself what will happen to humanity if we face an extinction event on Earth? What happens if we have a global epidemic, a disease that destroys life on earth? What happens if an asteroid hits the Earth? Right now, we have no Plan B. If we get hit by so much as a larger-than-normal solar flare, we could be up shit creek without a paddle. Such an event could mean the end of intelligent life as far as we know. (Which matters to SpaceX, who are thinking about the future of humanity and not just its survival in the next century.)

BUT, if we have a secondary (or more) settlement on another planet, we may be isolated enough to survive as a species. This is why SpaceX wants to put 1 million people on Mars. They believe that 1 million people is the (to steal an analogy from business) Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that will allow the planet's population to become self sufficient enough that they don't rely on their umbilical cord tethering them to the Earth's resources. (And they don't expect to reach this number by 2040.)

The point is, SpaceX isn't focused on the here-and-now problems with the survival of individual humans, because the entire species is at stake so long as we don't have a Plan B.

(Note: Tesla is the branch of Musk's influence that is focused on the here and now problems on Earth. I won't digress here.)

How SpaceX Makes Money and What That Means for the US Government
Secondly, this 5 billion in subsidies I keep seeing (which I believe - correct me if I'm wrong - is referencing subsidies given to Tesla, not SpaceX, who are doing terrific work for the planet). Even if the US government is spending that much in subsidies, it doesn't matter because in the end, they win.

The way SpaceX funds itself is through using the rocket technology they've developed to run space errands such as launching satellites and delivering goods to the ISS (which basically makes them the coolest courier service ever). This aside, let's consider what other options there are for delivering anything to space...

Before SpaceX broke into the space courier market, Boeing-Lockheed (trading as United Launch Alliance, ULA) held a monopoly on spacecraft launch services, which means that if the US government wanted to send anything to space, they basically had to write out a blank check to ULA for whatever cost they quoted. Since SpaceX has begun revolutionising the cost of space travel, they have carried out contracts for this work for the US Government for A FRACTION of what ULA was charging (note: old article, it's significantly cheaper now that they can REUSE ROCKETS).

So, with SpaceX bringing competition to the market and disrupting the monopoly held by ULA, the cost to the US Government for launching satellites into space has plummeted, and even if they did fund them with $5 billion, they made a fucking tremendous investment, because they were only going to hand that money to ULA otherwise.
 
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#27
OP tone is similar to articles like this one:
Lots of people can relate to bitter feelings when privilege people take advantage from existing opportunities realizing their dreams/greed/whatever when others suffer from fate created by byproducts of these privilege first-world-visionaries.

But taking it on Musk is a bit unfair. Besides argument of being green...He didn’t get $5 billion to spend them on Mars colonization. These subsidies are sum given to companies under Musk umbrella as typical state incentives in variety of forms and across years.

$5billion number come from 2015 article .

Here is 2018 article specifying them + info about privet investment, loans and foreigner aid. In both writings you can easily find info about other companies using exactly the same approach in financing their growth.

As about Mars - if I was some of you -I’d actually inform myself more through-fully before making bold claims about it’s environmental unavailability for human inhabitant, need for supply transport and possible economy aftermath. Googling Martial polar ice caps surface, water on Mars and artificial photosynthesis can be helpful here. :d1-rogue00:
 

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#28
The only real problem with having a lofty goal like going to space and settling on mars is that it does pretty much nothing for the baseline of the poor here on earth. The people who are going to mars are either A) Rich beyond belief or B) ridiculously intelligent/accomplished..

What happens when transportation to mars becomes a mass transport and the only people left on earth can't even fend for themselves? Earth becomes a toilet for the down and out. Is that really the way we want to go?
 

Yellow

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#29
I agree. A tomato probably would cost $1,000,000 on Mars.

Mars certainly wouldn't be the easiest planet to colonize. I imagine that once we've done it, to say it's done, the resource extraction will commence, and "moving to Mars" will be closer in nature to life-sentence in a coal mine than a futuristic space-adventure.

Other planets may be a very different story. My only hope in that regard is that once we've colonized space, we turn the earth into a nature conservation project. :D

You kept the old green smilies!
 

Serac

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#30
@Auburn
First of all, it's not really reasonable to compare the total spending of US to what one guy receives. The comperatively small size notwithstanding this is 5 billion that goes to one particular entrepreneur.

Secondly, I'm not against spending on science. I'm criticising Musk's project in particular.

And btw, we wouldn't have computers if it were not for military spending. The ENIAC project lead by Von Neumann was all military money.
 

Auburn

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#31
First of all, it's not really reasonable to compare the total spending of US to what one guy receives. The comperatively small size notwithstanding this is 5 billion that goes to one particular entrepreneur.
Fair enough, he's gotten more than most, but lets look at what he's doing with that money.

Secondly, I'm not against spending on science. I'm criticising Musk's project in particular.
In what ways would you consider Elon Musk's ventures to not be for the benefit of the planet, the economy, and humanity?

SolarCity: Has begun to expansion and adoption of green energy, which will also be more readily available in 3rd world countries when the price of solar panels drop and we no longer need to make environmentally toxic and polluting gas power plants. He's also proven to be more than generous in humanitarian aide by donating a power grid of powerpacks to Puerto Rico when it suffered a widescale electricity outage due to a hurricane in 2017. He also provided a power grid to South Australia who had difficulties with outages.

SpaceX: Has begun to drop the price of space access, competing against ULA for cheaper costs so that the government (& taxpayers) and NASA can actually get a reduction in cost for space services. As mentioned before, this reduces the price of science experiments, and he's also planning to provide the world with broadband.

Tesla: Has begun to produce the first compelling electric vehicles that are not like golf cars, and which can truly begin to compete with combustion engine cars in terms of range, acceleration and now cost with the Model 3. Yes his cars have been luxury vehicles historically, but as he's outlined in his 3 stage plan repeatedly, using the money earned via the Roadster, Model S and Model X -- they've put that money into financing the creation of a cheap, mass market electric vehicle - which was always the endgoal.

So in summary: Elon Musk is helping give green and sustainable energy to the world, to reduce car emissions, to reduce the price of government spending on space, and eventually provide broadband worldwide.

What part of this is not for the benefit of the average citizen?
 
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Pyropyro

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#32
Science is spurred by crazy ideas like going to the moon or waging wars. If I can choose then by all means go for the establishment of the priesthood of mars rather than go for ultra murder sprees. Just look at the tech found at the NASA spinoff technologies article at the wikipedia.

As for solving real world problems, what's stopping u from asking for sweet sweet grant money to solve them?
 

elliptoid

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#35
the last thing I heard through my earphones before passing out last night was that they're considering an atmospheric colony on Venus at altitudes where the temperature, pressure, and radiation shielding are similar to mother Earth. We just need to learn to fly.
 

QuickTwist

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#36
Science is spurred by crazy ideas like going to the moon or waging wars. If I can choose then by all means go for the establishment of the priesthood of mars rather than go for ultra murder sprees. Just look at the tech found at the NASA spinoff technologies article at the wikipedia.

As for solving real world problems, what's stopping u from asking for sweet sweet grant money to solve them?
You have a point here...

What I am seeing in this post is that though the idea(s) that people have for "science projects" may be out of touch with reality, they still do man a far better benefit than waging wars and pushing slave trade (not like those are problems we currently do not have).

Basically, things like this are extremely relative and though it's needed for some people to "bring us back to earth" in terms of what is important in the here and now, occasional creativity in the productive part of civilization is a good thing I think.
 
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#37
Whenever I hear people claim that something is impossible or will never happen I am reminded of all the people that said humans will never fly (in machines) or go to the moon.

I think the only time you can realistically make such a statement is for things that are physically or logically impossible. For example, humans will never discover a whole number between 3 and 4 in a decimal counting system.
 

Serac

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#38
Whenever I hear people claim that something is impossible or will never happen I am reminded of all the people that said humans will never fly (in machines) or go to the moon.

I think the only time you can realistically make such a statement is for things that are physically or logically impossible. For example, humans will never discover a whole number between 3 and 4 in a decimal counting system.
Some predictions fail, others come true. That doesn't mean we should abstain from reasoning about whether an idea is good or bad. Currently most people are abstaining from that and instead go with "just throw money at it and then Science will happen"
 
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