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Science and Space

StingrayStingray Elite Ranger
The benefits of the space program and why we should return to the moon.

Comments

  • ShadowDancerShadowDancer When I say, "Why aye, gadgie," in my heart I say, "Och aye, laddie." London, UK
    Those few samples barely scratch the surface of what there is to know about the moon! Imagine if all the samples an alien took of earth were from a couple of small sites in Arizona, Kenya and Australia....would that tell them everything about the geology and history of the earth?

    As for the benefits, turn off your computer, satellite tv and cell phone then if you don't think they're worth the effort that went into them ;). Who knows what other thing might be developed if we don't try?
  • croxiscroxis I am the walrus
    Each lunar meteorite we find on earth is quite unique from the apollo samples so there is a lot of geological research that can still be done.

    Also the far side of the moon can be covered with arrays of massive telescopes that can be linked together to form one, massive, super scope. Something similar to the TPF but on a world scale: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Terrestrial_Planet_Finder_PIA04499.jpg[/url]

    Also low gravity living/work is much more ideal than zero g. The human body can survive zero g for one, maybe two years, but then the body is shot. Low gravity conditions the body could handle for a decade, maybe longer.
  • StingrayStingray Elite Ranger
    [QUOTE=ShadowDancer;195762]As for the benefits, turn off your computer, satellite tv and cell phone then if you don't think they're worth the effort that went into them ;). Who knows what other thing might be developed if we don't try?[/QUOTE]

    As far as I know only teflon, the microwave oven, velcro and maybe dehydrated ice cream can be linked directly to the space program.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but computers existed well before the space program, Arthur C. Clarke is credited with the invention of the communication satellite and working cell phones were developed several decades after the moon landings.

    I'd like to give space exploration a lot of credit for inspiring many people to aim for higher goals in life. :)
  • Random ChaosRandom Chaos Actually Carefully-selected Order in disguise
    Just a quick search turned up the following real world applications of technology developed for space:

    * Cordless tools, developed for the Apollo missions
    * Smoke detectors, developed for Skylab
    * Enriched baby food developed due to the discovery of an algae additive during research for long duration human spaceflight
    * Teflon coated fiberglass used as a roofing material for large buildings. (Note: NASA did not invent Teflon, just this specific application)
    * Portable cooking systems used for treating medical conditions
    * Breathing apparatus used by firefighters
    * Ear thermometers
    * Improved safety of school bus chassis
    * Robotic arms used by surgeons
    * Artificial heart pump
    * Modern asphalt uses technology developed by NASA to produce some of the ingredients
    * Ballistic parachutes for aircraft emergency landings (has already saved over 200 lives)
    * Emulsified zero-valent iron used to clean up contaminated sites.

    And don't forget the technology that we all use that requires space technology, including:
    * GPS
    * Modern communications infrastructure
    * Weather satellites that help predict storms, including hurricanes
    * Earth observing satellites that help understand changes to the planet and current events, such as volcanoes and forest fires

    I could go on, but I think I've made my point. The technology that comes from the space program is invaluable, some of it life saving, much of it widely used. If we never went there, think of all the technology we now take for granted that would not exist.
  • croxiscroxis I am the walrus
    I also refer you to here negative nanny: [url]http://wtfnasa.com/[/url]
  • StingrayStingray Elite Ranger
    What did you do to this thread??? :(

    Someone surely forgot to take his Prozac. You guys need to grow a little sense of humor, I guess that died with Neil Armstrong. RIP.
  • StingrayStingray Elite Ranger
    Kidding aside, the truth about the space program is that NASA is staffed with engineers who have to continuously invent new tools, materials and ways of doing things that haven't been done before because they are working on the cutting edge of progress.

    So the list of benefits is endless. Humanity owes a lot of gratitude to the space program and it's a shame it doesn't get the funding it deserves.
  • ShadowDancerShadowDancer When I say, "Why aye, gadgie," in my heart I say, "Och aye, laddie." London, UK
    What annoys me the most is that NASA has developed all this talent and knowledge over the years and it is just allowed to go to waste because of politicians and their whims. The Apollo programme is a fine example, and then 35 years later Constellation comes along looking very similar but the skills are gone. And then it gets cancelled! There is absolutely zero continuity of thought!
  • Why should NASA and space exploration be justified because of economics, or how it can eventually benefit the common person's silly household toys? Why can't someone have the balls to say, oh, I don't know, we need to go to the moon again BECAUSE ITS THE FREAKING MOON AND ITS AWESOME IF PEOPLE WALK ON IT?

    Where's the sense of wonder? Why does justification always lie in economics?
  • BigglesBiggles <font color=#AAFFAA>The Man Without a Face</font>
    I recently had to explain to an engineer friend that saying "We've finished the moon" is like stopping off in Africa for a few days, never leaving the beach, and declaring the continent explored.

    [QUOTE=ShadowDancer;195776]What annoys me the most is that NASA has developed all this talent and knowledge over the years and it is just allowed to go to waste because of politicians and their whims. The Apollo programme is a fine example, and then 35 years later Constellation comes along looking very similar but the skills are gone. And then it gets cancelled! There is absolutely zero continuity of thought![/QUOTE]

    Obama's plan (which was actually proposed by a panel of experts, so it isn't really his, he just listened to them) is, I think, better than the Constellation proposal both economically and scientifically. Constellation was a poorly-thought-out proposal based not around going back to the moon but around keeping a large number of people employed in certain areas of the USA. Artificial limits were placed on the engineering possibilities that could be considered solely to ensure that as much of the shuttle programme resources could be reused as possible, irrespective of the higher costs that entailed. It was also shown to be impossible to achieve at NASA's funding level at the time, let alone now.

    The new plan is to rely on companies for LEO, who can do it much more cheaply and efficiently now, while NASA builds a heavy lifter and the vehicles necessary to get to targets beyond LEO, then heads for a Near-Earth Object (i.e. an asteroid). An asteroid is an excellent target. It would be a significant engineering challenge to get there, investigate it, and get back, but it is still within the realm of possibility. It would involve a long flight away from LEO but not to another gravity well. It is something new so it shuts down all those people saying "But we've already been there." Unfortunately, the republicans in the US congress don't like the commercial part, and keep trying to kill it (how's that for hypocracy) and I doubt the funding will ever be there to make a proper attempt beyond LEO without, say, a Chinese moon base.

    In terms of space [i]development[/i], going to the Moon is probably the best target. There are potential resources that can be mined and it's the ideal place for a hub for space flights elsewhere. There is also loads to learn about the Moon itself and, as Croxis mentioned, it's a good place for things like telescopes.

    On a related note, I found it very sad when NASA had an article a few years ago trumpeting the fact that their engineers were visiting a [i]museum[/i] so they could inspect how a part of the Apollo capsule separation mechanism worked. They needed to achieve the same thing on Orion, but none of the people who did it for Apollo were around anymore to tell them how it was done.

    [url=http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20090029988_2009030087.pdf]Here's another sad sample[/url] of what the 40-year gap in engineering talent has required.

    [QUOTE=Seafroggys;195777]Why should NASA and space exploration be justified because of economics, or how it can eventually benefit the common person's silly household toys? Why can't someone have the balls to say, oh, I don't know, we need to go to the moon again BECAUSE ITS THE FREAKING MOON AND ITS AWESOME IF PEOPLE WALK ON IT?

    Where's the sense of wonder? Why does justification always lie in economics?[/QUOTE]

    Because too many people think that wonderous things are only wonderous as long as they aren't paying for them.
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