TBD

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I'm sitting here at Patrick AFB, FL. I just heard an explosion and my RV shook. I went outside to see what happened. I heard people saying "Can you see it"? Then it dawned on me. They just brought the shuttle in to land at the cape. The explosion was the sonic boom as it passed over our area.

Ther are only two more scheduled shuttle launches. The space program funding has been drastically reduced. The dreams of going into outer space seem to have lost their luster. Has mankinds hopes for the future ever been as dismal as it is currently?

 

Should we give up our attempts to explore the solar system? Could something else ever catch the imagination of people as strongly as the space program once did?   

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It's just a matter of waiting until someone invents and developes "warp speed capabilities" .........

Where to Captain ? ....... That-a-way Mr. Sulu ................
If Christopher Columbus hadn't been willing to go sailing across the sea (Even if it was mainly to find a shorter trade route for his wealthy patrons), then America today might well be speaking Spanish or French, instead of fractured English. Who in the "New World"-ignorant society of 1491 Europe could have possibly foreseen the outcome of CC's little adventure cruise?

Space exploration captured most folk's imagination because it's an expression of a fundamental human characteristic - Curiousity. Deep Sea exploration, while no less interesting and worthwhile, is a bit less sexy, because it seems more pedestrian and less likely to find a race as "intelligent" as we suppose ourselves to be.
Yet both could yield vastly fortuitous results for all mankind, in ways that no one can predict. Unmanned exploration is the smart way to go for right now, but ignoring space exploration while it's all just sitting there would be the same as Columbus crashing into Florida and announcing to the crew "Screw this joint - Let's go to Cabo."
All fortuitous results are unpredictable, so unmanned exploration is indeed the cheapest safest plan.

Cabo is very last year. Everyone goes to Saba, Netherlands Antilles now. Sheesh! Get with the program.
LynneAnne,
I totally agree. We have benifitted more from space and deep sea exploration than possibly any other human endevor during the last 50 years. As nice as it sounds to many, if the money spent on exploration is stopped, we won't be living in a perfect world. Humans will find some way to create to disrupt the status quo. The "Perfect Picnic Spot" does not exist. If scientific advancement is left to the "for profit" sector, it won't happen. If it weren't for the space program, none of us would be using something called "The Internet". Does anyone here think private industry would have developed the satellite network and other communication and navigation systems in use today, if the pure science used had not been funded by government?
Right on Lynne Anne.
Government funding initial research and the fall off is spectacular. Who cares where it comes from the results can be spectacular.
Space is cool, but:

1) ARPANET- not NASA - funded and developed the packet switching that made the Internet possible.

2) Dr. Raymond V. Damadian, who was neither a NASA employee nor a NASA contractor, invented the MRI. He even started the first commerical MRI company.

3) Lightweight metals like titanium and various aluminum alloys were well-known and widely used for years before NASA was even formed. I had lightweight speed parts on my car in high school in 1966.

4) Flame-retardant clothing was likewise widely used before NASA. Improvements to it over the years came from companies like Monsanto and DuPont working closely with national safety and construction organizations, not from NASA. NASA certainly specified such cloth for certain applications, but specification is not invention.

The first widely-believed rumor I heard about NASA's practical contribution to everyday life was that NASA "invented" the modern digital calculator. It just ain't so . Click here for the mind-numbing details.

It is a testament to NASA's PR machine that so many people give them credit for practical everyday stuff they had no part in. Apparently it's OK to repeat a public misconception, as long as you didn't originate it...especially at budget hearings.

The sad part is that NASA has now seen the light. They realize they were acting like weasels: problem is, it's too late.

There are plenty of good reasons to fund NASA that have nothing to do with wheelchairs, pocket calculators and firesuits. However, they are almost all highly technical and not very "sexy" to the the average taxpayer.

So politicians continue to tout expensive manned space flight missions instead of the much more useful things that could be done via unmanned projects. NASA is trying to shift attention to unmanned projects, but the politicians don't listen. Astronauts are easier to sell to the public.

There is significant well-founded disagreement about the cost of such advances. Except for certain questions arising in particle physics, theoretical physics and astronomy, all the other questions could be researched right here on Earth for a lot less money.
Another NASA BS story ... Velcro was invented in 1941.

Google "Who invented Velcro?"
They also invented the zero gravity toilet.
That could come in handy if someone had too much to drink.
Does the NASA PR Machine never sleep?

I invented the zero-gravity toilet at a Sigma Alpha Epsilon rush party in 1966. I have witnesses, dude.
If we don't continue the space program Captains Kirk and Picard will be unemployed in the 23rd and 24th centuries along with all those others on the Enterprise. I see it as fighting future unemployment.
Couldn't they just go back in time to when they still had jobs? Wait ... they wouldn't have jobs in the past.

OK, OK, they could come back here and get Congress to pass a bill - ... nah, that won't work because if Congress doesn't give them the money in the first place, they can't very well time-travel back from a future where there is no time travel.

All right, I got it ... we give Arnold Schwartzegger (yes, I know I misspelled his name: I just don't care) some cash in a Velcro bag, and he goes to the future in a fire-retardant suit, gives the money to Picard who uses it to build a time travel mach- aw, man ! I forgot about inflation. We're gonna need a bigger bag ...

OK, got the bigger bag ... here you go, Arnold ... aw, man, wait ! There isn't a time machine yet here in the present. Wait up, Arnold ...

Suggestions, anyone ?

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