Georgetown Debate Seminar 2011
SETI Negative UpgradeRBDD Lab
- Physical presence in space through humans OR ROBOTS is a necessary MINIMUM for a clear definition of space exploration
“ Giving NASA a clear mission “
G. Ryan Faith is an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Giving NASA a clear missionIf neither technology-oriented nor destination-oriented objectives seem able to provide a sense of direction to guide the nation’s efforts in space, then what can? To approach this question, it is useful to ask why President Kennedy’s challenge to go to the Moon was so effective in providing NASA with leadership. The critical element of this challenge that, although never explicit, was so important to NASA’s health and growth during this period was the transformation—at least in fact, if not in law—into an exploration agency. If we wish to see NASA act effectively as a space exploration agency, then the most direct way to do this is to amend the Space Act to explicitly task the agency with the job of space exploration. However, before we do so, we must define what space exploration actually is.Space exploration is the expansion of human influence in space.This definition of exploration is inherently one of capacity building. Human influence in space is a measure of our ability to do useful things beyond the Earth’s surface. In order to do something useful, therehas to be some sort of human presence, either humans themselves or their robotic proxies. Once some measure of human influence has been established at some destination in space, there are two ways a space exploration agency can expand that influence. One, the agency can decrease the costs and increase the benefits of human influence at a given location until such influence becomes sufficiently useful that it is economically self-sustaining, at which point continued use of agency resources is unnecessary. Alternately, human influence can be extended to some new place that may in future become home to some form of self-supporting human influence. The key element is that such a mandate compels each step to build on past accomplishments and lay the groundwork for future missions.
- They just observe space from earth – they don’t go there or even send machines into space.
- Vote negative to preserve the best limit on the topic – we include both staffed and unstaffed missions, but exclude purely earth-based observation, which blows the topic wide open
2NC Limits Debate
They explode limits including earth based exploration opens the topic to-
Any aff that shifts a telescope to look at solar storms instead of planets,
Affs that look at planets for water
Affs that point existing telescopes at something else
Affs that extend google earth beyond earth
These affs are bad-
A) Unpredictable- telescopes can be fiatted to look at anything causing things like Jupiter moons advantages-- the neg is never prepared where as physical exploration has natural tech contraints that limit affs.
B) Ground- we lose all spending and politics disads against affs that shift existing telescopes makes being neg impossible
C) Limits- There is an infinite amount of objects/regions a telescope can be pointed at.
A) Topic Education- the treaties and military presence prove small topics force in depth case debates and clash over all aspects of the topic instead of over reliance on generics that’s better for education.
B) Critical Thinking- A smaller topic forces more strategic innovation on the aff and neg that improves critical thinking
A) We solve- physical presence can be used to discover ET Life
B) Focuses on breadth- Including dozens of telescope affs means that instead of in depth education we get shotty education about unpredictable and strategic aspects of space like water on Jupiter.
C) Not core of the Topic- NASA cancelled its SETI program and the topic experts don’t focus on it means even if there is lit it isn’t substantive or predictable
2NC Prefer Our Interpreation
Prefer our interpretation-
A) Competing interpretations – if we win our interpretation fosters better debate we should win means all our limits arguments are offense
B) Intent to define- our evidence gives a clear definition of whats T that establishes a brightline that discourages affs from reading untopical affs
C) The ESA Agrees with us-
Ehrenfreund, Peter, Schrogl, Logsdon 10
“ Cross-cultural management supporting global space exploration “Acta Astronautica, Volume 66, Issues 1-2, January-February 2010, Pages 245-256Logsdon:John Logsdon is former Director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University.[Logsdon was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He is a current member of the NASA Advisory Council. He is frequently cited as an authority on space policy by press entities such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.Logsdon is a professor emeritus of political science and international affairs, and has been on the GWU faculty since 1970. He is also on the faculty of the International Space University, and held the first Chair in Space History at the National Air and Space Museum. During 2008-2009, he is the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair of Aerospace History at the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Logsdon authored the entry on "space exploration" for the latest edition of the Encyclopædia Britannicaand many articles and commentaries.Ehrenfreund: Pascale Ehrenfreund, (Ph.D. Thesis University of Vienna/ University Paris VII) Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs. Molecular Biology, Space Science and related policy making, technology management.Nicolas Peter: Research Fellow, European Space Policy Institute,M.A. in International Science and Technology Policy - Elliott School of International Affairs -The George Washington University, Washington D.C., USASchrogl:Director, European Space Policy Institute (ESPI); Vienna, Austria1993Doctorate Degree in Political Science, University of Tübingen, Germany1989M.A., University of Tübingen, Germany1984-1989Studies in Political Science and German Literature, Universities ofTübingen, Freiburg and Newcastle upon Tyne
The European Space Agency ESA defines exploration as the ‘‘travel through [and to] an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it’’ and space exploration as ‘‘extending access and a sustainable presence for humans in the Earth–Moon–Mars space, including the Lagrangian points and near-Earth objects’’ . In this paper we adopt this definition of space exploration to explore robotically and later with humans neighboring planets and small bodies of our solar system.
That’s key on this topic because space exploration is becoming increasingly international NASA standards will become extinct
The tiebreaker is that International Law explicitly excludes them-
Professor of Public Law. Member IISL.University of AbderdeenActa Astronautica, Volume 42, Issues 10-12, May-June 1998, Pages 661-665
Under the general concept of state sovereignty it is for a state to regulate what is done within its jurisdiction. On that basis it is for municipal law to determine the lawfulness of SETI activity, and, for its own purposes to regulate what is done. Passive SETI, if I may so call the simple reception and analysis of signals, could be classified as a matter lying wholly within the jurisdiction of a state. Can one argue that it is an activity in outer space, which is the gravamen of the UN treaties? I think not. However, one could say that it crawls into the international arrangements as being part of the “exploration” of space which is dealt with internationally. However, if that is the case then visual astronomy must also qualify. Certainly astronomy has an interest, for space debris, not to mention space art, can affect astronomers. I would not consider this enough to sweep astronomy into the activities subject to the Outer Space Treaty.
1. They aren’t reasonable if we win they explode the topic and nuke fairness
2. This is just a reason t vote for the most reasonable definition- if we win ours is more reasonable for debate vote neg
3. Reasonability bad- encourages subjective debate where each judge has a different opinion that kills fairness
4. Competing interpretations is the only non-arbitrary standard its objectivity outweighs any disads.
Status Quo Solves—Kepler and ATA are working now
Rhedae Magazine 8
(“ SETI Astronomer: We Will Discover Extraterrestrials By 2025” 11/16/08
Until now, the search for intelligent life has been somewhat hampered by inadequate technology—too few stars surveyed at too low a sensitivity by Earth and space-based telescopes. But in 2007, NASA will launch the Kepler Mission, a satellite probe able to detect smaller planets the size of Mercury, Mars, or the Earth. The mission is specifically designed to look for planets in what scientists consider the habitable zone: the distance from a star where liquid water can exist on the planet's surface. Projects like the Kepler Mission and the new Allen Telescope Array, located near Mount Lassen, California, which will enable astronomers to survey 100,000 stars by 2015, should increase the odds of finding a radio signal broadcast by alien life, say the astronomers. "The bottom line is that there is an enormous amount of real estate, and there doesn't seem to be anything particularly special about our neighborhood. The star that's our sun is nothing special. The Earth is just a rock," said Shostak. "To think anything else is to once again put ourselves at the center of the universe, and scientists are very [wary] of doing that. We've done it before and been proven wrong."
Tech feasibility means SETI radio waves make communication impossible
(Bob, Senior Researcher at the AAAS Science Society, “SETI at Home Upgrade” pg online @ [
So SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, isn't looking for alien spaceships. Instead, it's looking for radio waves that might be being sent, probably unintentionally, by other civilizations. (Our own radio and television signals, which leak from Earth and drift across the universe, have already passed by thousands of stars; if there are any alien civilizations in those neighborhoods, they could theoretically be watching early Earthling TV shows like I Love Lucy.) SETI looks specifically for something called “narrow band transmissions,” which as far as we know can be produced only by artificial equipment. No matter where you are in the universe, these transmissions will be most efficient at broadcasting signals that can be received at the other end. So SETI believes that even extraterrestrials who are very different from us will probably make use of these radio waves for communication, if they have the intelligence and technology to do so. However, it's very hard to look for these narrow band transmissions, because we produce so many of them here on Earth.Sifting out all that noise, along with natural radio waves that bounce around in space, is a task that the world's biggest supercomputers couldn't manage.
Radio broadcasts sparks intergalactic warfare- destroys the solar system
Daily Telegraph 2k8
(“McCabe” July 10, 2008, pg online @ lexisnexis//au)
Count Bounce, aka Pip Norman, was part of a performance art project in May called Yelling At Stars. This involved sending interstellar messages of the cultural variety light years into outer space. Norman explains an American company Deep Space Communications converted the song into radiowaves to "broadcast" it. But there are fears, according to experts at the SETI Institute (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), that instead of getting intelligent life forms from other planets groovin', the song could spark an intergalactic war. "SETI reviewed the broadcast and said sending out artistic-based messages could be mistaken for war cries by aliens," says Norman's band mate Joel Ma. Norman adds: "So we'd really bring the house down. The solar system, actually."
2NC XT 2: No Communication
A) Size of Space
(Kevin, Senior Physiologist, “Extraterrestrial life forms likely exist, despite little evidence” pg online @ [
Knowing what the aliens might look like is really not important unless we make first contact. The Space Exploration and Technology Institute stands on the foreground of the search for alien life. Its mission seems daunting: To explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. These scientists are not to be confused with the countless people who claim they have been abducted. They are quite clear about a first encounter, and we have not had one. In fact, SETI believes that the first contact will not be in person, but through a broadcast signal.It is important to understand what kind of signal we are looking for. Even if we were able to pick up a signal with an alien language, it would be impossible for us to translate. But, an intelligent life source would know this and not waste its time. If an intelligent species wishes to communicate with another, it would need a medium both would understand.The only universal language we have is math. Prime numbers emerged as the most logical form of extraterrestrial communication. Physicists have yet to find an example of prime numbers being created by a nonbiological source. Carl Sagan proposed beaming a signal of prime numbers into space as evidence of intelligent life on earth. However, due to the sheer magnitude of space, it is unlikely we will hear a response in our lifetime.
B) Our tech sucks
The Telegraph 5/11/2k11
(“Earth's Technology May be Too Primitive to Detect Advanced ET Life” pg online @ [
Some of the world's leading astronomers -- including Great Britain's astronomer royal, Sir Martin Rees -- believe aliens, rather than using different radio waves or visible light to signal, may be using an entirely different communication medium such as ghostly neutrinos or with gravitational waves (ripples in the fabric of space-time) or using communication mechanisms we cannot begin to fathom. “The fact that we have not yet found the slightest evidence for life -- much less intelligence -- beyond this Earth," said Arthur C. Clarke, "does not surprise or disappoint me in the least. Our technology must still be laughably primitive, we may be like jungle savages listening for the throbbing of tom-toms while the ether around them carries more words per second than they could utter in a lifetime." Lord Rees, a leading cosmologist and astrophysicist who is the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England believes the existence of extraterrestrial life may be beyond human understanding. “They could be staring us in the face and we just don’t recognize them. The problem is that we’re looking for something very much like us, assuming that they at least have something like the same mathematics and technology." “I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there as aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.” Frank Drake, the founder of SETI and Drake's Equation, believes that satellite TV and the “digital revolution” is making humanity invisible to aliens by cutting the transmission of TV and radio signals into space. The earth is currently surrounded by a 50 light year-wide “shell” of radiation from analogue TV, radio and radar transmissions. According to Drake, digital TV signals would look like white noise to a race of observing aliens.Although the signals have spread far enough to reach many nearby star systems, they are rapidly vanishing in the wake of digital technology, said Drake. In the 1960s, Drake spearheaded the conversion of the Arecibo Observatory to a radio astronomy center. As a researcher, Drake was involved in the early work on pulsars. Drake also designed the Pioneer plaque with Carl Sagan in 1972, the first physical message sent into space. The plaque was designed to be understandable by extraterrestrials should they encounter it.
ET doesn’t exist
[Title: Extraterrestrial intelligent beings do not exist Authors: Tipler, F. J. Journal: Royal Astronomical Society, Quarterly Journal, vol. 21, Sept. 1980, p. 267-281.]
One of the most interesting scientiﬁc questions is whether or not extraterrestrial intelligent beings exist. This question is not new; in one form or another it has been debated for thousands of years (1). The contemporary advocates for the existence of such beings seem to be primarily astronomers and physicists, such as Sagan (2), Drake (3), and Morrison (4), while most leading experts in evolutionary biology, such as Dobzhanslry (5), Simpson (6), Francois (7), Ayala er al. (8) and Mayr (9), contend that the Earth is probably unique in harbouring intelligence, at least amongst the planets of our Galaxy. The biologists argue that the number of evolutionary pathways leading from one-celled organisms to intelligent beings is minuscule when compared with the total number of evolutionary pathways, and thus even if we grant the existence of life on to’ to to" planets in our Galaxy, the probability that intelligence has arisen in our Galaxy on any planet but our own is still very small. I agree with the biologists; I shall argue in this paper that the probability of the evolution of creatures with the technological capability of interstellar communication within ﬁve billion years aﬁer the development of life on an Earth-like planet is less than to-1°, and thus we are the only intelligent species now existing in this Galaxy. The basic idea of my argument is straightforward and indeed has led other authors, such as Fermi (re), Dyson (n), Hart (rs), Simpson (6), and Kuiper & Morris (I3), to conclude that extraterrestrial intelligent beings do not exist: if they did exist and possessed the technology for interstellar communication, they would also have developed interstellar travel and thus would already be present in our solar system. Since they are not here (14,15), it follows that they do not exist. Although this argument has been expressed before, its force does not seem to have been appreciated. I shall t.ry to rectify this situation by showing that an intelligent species with the technology for interstellar communication would necessarily develop the technology for interstellar travel, and this would automatically lead to the exploration and/or colonization of the Galaxy in less than 300 million years.