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Musk said he's sad that American space heroes like Armstrong and Gene Cernan don't approve of his work

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has all the confidence in the world that his company will provide the first manned spaceflight for America since the retirement of NASA's space shuttle program, especially since the company's Dragon capsule just completed the first NASA Crew Trial. But he is faced with criticism from some of the country's largest space heroes like Neil Armstrong and Gene Cernan.

Musk recently participated in a "60 Minutes" interview with correspondent Scott Pelley, where Pelley was escorted around the SpaceX factory near Los Angeles, California. Musk showed off SpaceX projects like the Falcon Nine rocket and the Dragon cargo capsule, explaining that SpaceX is ultimately working to make spaceflight cheap and available to anyone. He also mentioned that all projects are assembled right in the plant, where materials come in one end of the factory and a full spacecraft comes out the other.

After NASA retired its space shuttle program last year, U.S. astronauts have depended on Russia to deliver supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Sending a U.S. astronaut on a Russian Soyuz rocket costs about $60 million per seat, and this price is expected to rise. With that in mind, America is working to create its own spacecraft once again, and SpaceX is at the top of the list of private companies competing to send a U.S. astronaut into space after NASA.


Elon Musk and the Falcon 9 [Source: Discovery]

Last week, SpaceX announced that the Dragon completed the first NASA Crew Trial, which is one of two tests that will help SpaceX work to build a prototype Dragon crew cabin. This milestone allowed NASA astronauts to provide feedback to SpaceX for a new crew cabin design. The prototype features seven seats, cargo racks, life support systems, and displays.

Despite this milestone, Musk's company has received some criticism recently from American space heroes Neil Armstrong, who was the first astronaut to step foot upon the Moon on Apollo 11, and Gene Cernan, who was the last man to step foot upon the moon on Apollo 17. Armstrong and Cernan have both testified to Congress that commercializing space would lead to safety issues and cost the taxpayers at some point. Musk's inexperience with space also has some worried, since his degrees are in business and physics, not aerospace. Musk claims to be self-taught through reading books and talking to those who are experienced.


Neil Armstrong (L) and Gene Cernan (R) testify before before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee [Source: Zimbio]

Musk told Pelley that he looked up to Armstrong and Cernan, and that it was disappointing to hear that they disapprove of his work.

"I was very sad to see that because those guys are, you know, those guys are heroes of mine, so it's really tough," said Musk. "You know, I wish they would come and visit, and see the hard work that we're doing here. And I think that would change their mind.

"What I'm trying to do is to make a significant difference in space flight, and help make space flight accessible to almost anyone. And I would hope for as much support in that direction as we, as we can receive."

Despite criticism from his heroes, Musk isn't giving up. He has poured $100 million into SpaceX and received a contract worth up to $1.6 billion with NASA. Musk said he would have to die or become completely incapacitated to ever give up on commercializing space.

Musk was happy to show Pelley around the factory, where Pelley was able to see the Dragon cargo capsule up close. The Dragon is expected to conduct an unmanned demonstration flight to the ISS on April 30, and if it's successful, SpaceX will be the first private company to dock at the ISS. The flight was originally set for February, but with so much riding on this launch, SpaceX decided to take its time and make sure all would go well when the time came.

But unmanned cargo deliveries aren't the only plans SpaceX has for Dragon. Pelley noticed that there are windows in the Dragon, which Musk said was for astronauts to see through. He said the Dragon was intended for manned missions and expects SpaceX to be the first private company to launch an American astronaut into space.


SpaceX Dragon Crew Vehicle [Source: SpaceX]

Musk's vision even extends beyond that. He wants to help humans settle on other planets like Mars at some point.

"I think it's important that humanity become a multi-planet species," said Musk. "I think most people would agree that a future where we are a space-faring civilization is inspiring and exciting compared with one where we are forever confined to Earth until some eventual extinction event. That's really why I started SpaceX."

SpaceX seems to be on its way, and despite the stones thrown from his heroes and the fact that SpaceX seems to be the underdog, Musk fully believes his company will be the one to make spaceflight a reality for America again.

"It's like a little kid fighting a bunch of sumo wrestlers," said Musk. "Usually, the sumo wrestlers win. We're a little scrappy company. Every now and again, the little scrappy company wins. And I think this'll be one of those times."

Sources: SpaceX, CBS News



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Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 2:21:37 PM , Rating: -1
We want to spend 10's and 100's of billions on space exploration, yet we cant figure out how not to spend more than we have here in the U.S. I think fixing a broken government and society here on planet earth is required before we start playing in space. I'm all for scientific exploration, but lets be real. Nothing of gain has been discovered that can compare against the amount of money spent.

The space program in general has tuned out to be an extremely bad return on investment. Yes, I understand the tremendous amount of research that has been ushered by it, but why couldn't we have done that independently? I understand why we should spend money on orbital satellites, but not deep space. Seems like we are trying to push technologies and achievements too fast and outside of their era. I guess I am more of a simple economics and free market kind of guy. Because no sane person/company would have spent this kind of money without tangible and specific returns.

Honest question: What are the top reasons why we should continue to spend billions of dollars that we don't have?

Anyway... cue the down-ratings and angry replies from space nerds XD




RE: Priorities
By retrospooty on 3/19/2012 2:27:19 PM , Rating: 5
"Honest question: What are the top reasons why we should continue to spend billions of dollars that we don't have?"

Alien hookers cant be beat.


RE: Priorities
By MrBlastman on 3/19/2012 2:49:26 PM , Rating: 2
Just watch out for the space aids, or even worse, space crabs. Nothing worse than being stuck in a space suit doing a walk with a bad, bad case of space crabs...


RE: Priorities
By retrospooty on 3/19/2012 3:20:57 PM , Rating: 3
In space, no-one can hear you grinding your teeth because you cant scratch the itch.

B Movie, here we come!


RE: Priorities
By MrBlastman on 3/19/2012 3:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
Of course, notice how I didn't mention space herpes. That's a rather unique story too lengthy to mention here. It is legendary, though, how the Zosterfarians successfully eradicated it in the Pantsaloneovaya system through rapid Canker induction. Needsless to say, they were quite sore afterwards...

I hear the worst time to talk to a Zosterfarian is when they are foaming at their pustules.


RE: Priorities
By Belard on 3/19/2012 9:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
Why is the robot black?

Because he's perfect...

Space herpes is dangerous...


RE: Priorities
By RjBass on 3/19/2012 9:24:02 PM , Rating: 2
Only if they have three boobs.


RE: Priorities
By bobsmith1492 on 3/19/2012 2:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
My quibble is "The space program in general has tuned out to be an extremely bad return on investment."

The space program from the '50s has brought so much incredible innovation it's amazing to hear you say it's a bad investment. Technology advancements typically are the best economic driver from an overall economic development perspective.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 3:25:07 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that the breakthroughs since then have been comparatively dismal. During that time, however, NASA research brought some really great stuff to society. There have been some really nice advances since then, but the vast majority of those do not make their way to the general public for one reason: cost. To me that is pretty much worthless.

I see it as (exaggerated): "WOW! We made a battery that can power a small town for a year on a single charge... but it costs one trillion dollars when scaled."

I guess my skepticism has been brought by the same scenario with hydrogen fuel cells. For decades we (a collective of research around the world) have been throwing billions at making a hydrocel that is 1) economic and 2) functional for as long as today's fossil fuel cars. To this day, the private sector and the government research sector has no clue how to make this happen yet. We should keep trying, don't get me wrong! But I think our interests are best served in the private sector where we KNOW for fact that innovation costs less, comes quicker, and is overall better for society.

You might convince me better if NASA suddenly hits a major breakthrough tomorrow that essentially breaks us from foreign oil dependence. Until then, I see don't see the justified cost.


RE: Priorities
By mmatis on 3/19/2012 3:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
You might want to look at all the new drugs that have been developed since the late 90s. Understand that they were made possible by electrophoresis which is used to separate proteins which are associated with each malady. Note that electrophoresis was going nowhere until J&J started flying their Continuous Flow Electrophoresis System (CFES) as shuttle middeck experiments. Results obtained from those tests enabled the drug manufacturers to make electrophoresis work in 1G, and the drug explosion quickly followed. So tell those whose diseases were untreatable up to about 10 years ago that "...breakthroughs since then have been comparatively dismal..."


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 3:55:25 PM , Rating: 3
Thanks for the example. I can't see why so many people are responding back with hate rants rather than actually answering my honest questions.

I still have to wonder though, could that particular breakthrough be made without proxy research from NASA? Such question cannot be answered (since no-one owns a time machine or crystal ball), but maybe you see the point of my questions.


RE: Priorities
By mmatis on 3/19/2012 4:23:30 PM , Rating: 1
Again, the drug companies understood that proteins held the key to cures for many diseases, and had been trying for years to get electrophoresis to work in 1G. The experiment they flew required interaction in flight, and would not have been possible otherwise.

Also note that corporations have to satisfy their shareholders with their research funding. As a result, the event horizon for profitability from research has to be no more than 5 to 10 years, or at most 15 with an exceptionally promising idea. NASA and the other government research agencies do the long range research beyond that event horizon which private entities will not fund, but without which many of the world's great advances would not exist. Because of that, the benefits of NASA research are not generally seen by the public. In the CFES example, McDonnell Douglas and J&J provided the flight hardware for the experiment, while NASA provided the ride to space. Astronaut Charles Walker:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_D._Walker
was a McDonnell Douglas employee who flew as a payload specialist after the initial flight of the payload.


RE: Priorities
By nafhan on 3/19/2012 8:35:03 PM , Rating: 2
You can be fairly certain that without basic "unprofitable" research by universities, NASA, etc. Much of the technology that we enjoy today would not exist. Exactly which technologies and how much such a nebulous concept is actually worth is (as you mentioned) impossible to pin down.

As far as "people responding with hate rants", that's probably because you called science that's not immediately monetizable worthless - on technology blog. :)


RE: Priorities
By stromgald30 on 3/20/2012 5:43:51 AM , Rating: 2
Scratch resistant coatings on eye glasses and UV protective coatings on sun glasses were both invented by NASA in the 60s and 70s. The technology was commercialized when NASA licensed them out to various companies.

A more recent example of NASA innovation being commercialized is in hip implants, which originally had a short life span (would crack/break down after ~5 years) in the 90s. NASA had a special metal hardening technique they developed for jet engine components in the late 90s. The technology was licensed out to a small biotech company that used it to extend hip implant life to >50 years.

There are plenty of examples if you take the time to really look.


RE: Priorities
By pfd on 3/20/2012 8:14:33 AM , Rating: 2
I can say with some confidence that CFE has had basically zero contribution to any marketed drug. McDD had intended it to be used to purify a hormone, EPO, from human kidney cell cultures. This hormone is now produced from genetically engineered microbes (yeast, I think), which produce it in high enough concentration that no microgravity separation would be needed.

Microgravity crystallization of proteins, another much ballyhooed technology, has also not led to any new drug. Ditto for all other attempts at microgravity exploitation.

The rule of thumb is to take any claims about commercial spinoffs, scale them down by several orders of magnitude, and then be very skeptical about the even that residue. It's a field for shysters, frauds and the hopelessly gullible.


RE: Priorities
By Jedi2155 on 3/21/2012 12:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'm right there with you regarding Fuel Cells. Awesome technology in concept "Only emission is water, hydrogen being the most plentiful element in the universe!?!" How could you not buy that?

Then you learn about all the hurdles about it....I am actually strongly against hydrogen fuel cells as a vehicle fuel. Having personally driven a fuel cell vehicle for thousands of miles (and having had them break down on me a dozen or so times), I think the hurdles are far too great, to be overcome when they is a much more promising technology nearing mass acceptance, which is the pure battery EV.

The ONLY benefit I see with fuel cell's over EV's, is the fast fill time, but just about every other aspect about it is worse imo. Cost, range, wells to wheel efficiency, durability, and infrastructure are just so under developed and cost so much that it can't compare.


RE: Priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2012 2:40:00 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know how you can put a price tag on knowledge and advancing the human race.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Priorities
By SoCalBoomer on 3/19/2012 3:32:41 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, NASA has helped in the fight against cancer.

True, it hasn't actually cured cancer - but then it's not what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration focuses on. However, the technologies that we USE to fight cancer have massively benefited from NASA's research.

Radiation - the control systems used to focus the radiation . . . many of those originate with NASA's research into using nuclear motors for spacecraft. Did you know that? Did you even know that NASA had researched that? Well, they're actually still doing that research and using smaller nuclear motors for deep space and research.

Fuel Cells - guess where much of this was pioneered? Satellites and the shuttle extensively used fuel cells. . . and they MUST be as light and compact as possible so they don't use as much fuel to lift them. . .

Water (and air) processing - guess what? they have to recycle EVERYTHING on a space station/shuttle/craft. That especially means water and air - and that technology does make its way down to us.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 3:57:14 PM , Rating: 3
Valid arguments, thanks!


RE: Priorities
By sigmatau on 3/19/2012 10:09:20 PM , Rating: 1
NASA was also the first to implement human waste recycling into drinkable water on the space station. A few cities have already implemented this technology and are now recycling toilet waste into drinkable water.

I believe that 10 private space companies combined do not equal one NASA. The budget for NASA is peanuts when compared to things like the defense budget or "entitlement" programs. We can trim the defense budget by 5% and funnel that to NASA and that will be more than its current budget.

Why do people pick on a government organization that has a budget of under $19 billion before they pick on something like the $600 billion defense budget? We spend more on defense than all other countries combined. Now that's crazy.


RE: Priorities
By Paj on 3/20/2012 8:46:19 AM , Rating: 2
Good reply. I disagreed with your original points but its good to see you modify your position in the face of new evidence. Kinda like science itself :)


RE: Priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2012 3:40:25 PM , Rating: 1
I would love to reply but I feel like trying to discuss this topic with someone who apparently lacks the mental ability to see further than what's on his nose would be a waste of time.

quote:
I'm not buying into the whole idea that cool space gadgets will somehow "advance" the human race.


They already have, 100% fact. Sorry.

But I'll be sure to send a memo to NASA telling them to get right on that "curing cancer" agenda...

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research...


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 4:16:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I would love to reply but I feel like trying to discuss this topic with someone who apparently lacks the mental ability to see further than what's on his nose would be a waste of time.


Thanks for the helpful information.

quote:
They already have, 100% fact. Sorry. But I'll be sure to send a memo to NASA telling them to get right on that "curing cancer" agenda...


You missed my point because you were in too much of a rage to call me a retard. Almost all of the major breakthrough from NASA have been proxy results. The ultimate question is could we have brought the same findings without proxy? I have a valid point somewhere between the lines.

From the outside looking in, it doesn't look economical. But then again, it may be one of those type scenarios where you actualize a solution to a difficult problem just by doing something else unrelated.


RE: Priorities
By SoCalBoomer on 3/19/2012 5:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
re: Proxy results - the same could be said about warfare.

For some reason, we as a civilization and race seem to need some kind of spur to get us going in a direction. Otherwise we stagnate - our growth drops to next to nothing.

Look at the cycles we, as a nation, have gone through. We stagnate, then we get in a war or we find gold or we find something to kick ourselves in the arses and DO something. :D I'm not saying war is good, I'm not saying we all need gold (although it wouldn't hurt!) but what I'm saying is that we seem to need some spur.

One of those spurs has been exploration. It's been one of the most persistent and continuous spurs. We had the West, we had the farther West, we had the gold rushes (California, Montana, Alaska, etc.) all of which encouraged and pushed exploration (in addition to being spurs of their own).

Very few things can be seen as being direct findings. Very rarely is something directly looked for and found without having a large amount of "proxy" results that it is built upon.

Would we have progressed as far as we have without NASA's "proxy results" - I doubt it. In reality, NASA's contributions have been far more than "proxy" - a massive amount of what we know about the Earth has come from NASA's partnership with NOAA to give us vast amounts of satellite imagery. . . that's not proxy.

Quad - I appreciate your sentiment, but this stuff can easily be researched. NASA's (and the space research movement as a whole) contributions are really EASILY found. Just search things like "space return on investment" or "NASA contribution to science" - if you like, skip the "propoganda" of the .gov sites and look at other sources.

I won't call you a retard. You ask intelligent questions - but they're easily answered questions that you really can answer yourself. Please - go forth and inform! :D


RE: Priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2012 6:51:57 PM , Rating: 1
I wasn't in a rage. I just pity you. Plus for an opinion you stand so firmly behind, you appear to have little or no knowledge of the actual specifics. How can you form an opinion without facts?

quote:
The ultimate question is could we have brought the same findings without proxy?


You mean WITHOUT using hindsight? No, probably not. Without a problem, nobody bothers coming up with solutions. Getting into orbit, flying around the moon and back, landing on the moon and back, was the problem. The CHALLENGES of doing these forced us to innovate and solve the many problems involved with human spaceflight.

If right now, today, we had to get to Mars, land, and come back...we would find a way to do it. And the lessons we learn, the technologies developed, the metallurgy and material advancements, all of that, would trickle down to all of us in one way or the other.

No, they might not all be amazing jaw-dropping revolutionary advancements. But why do you seem to only care about those? Is there no value in numerous smaller improvements to the human race? Saying crap like "When NASA finds a way to get us off oil, give me a call" makes you sound like an extremist loon.


RE: Priorities
By SPOOFE on 3/19/2012 3:48:59 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
NASA has done some great things, but they haven't cured cancer.

Which says a lot about cancer and very little about NASA.

[quote]I guess my ideal vision is that we split up money spent on taxpayer sponsored research to real world problems of the here and now[/quote]
Most "real world" problems are a matter of getting different human beings (or groups of human beings) to see eye-to-eye. Middle East peace conferences should tell you that it's not simply a matter of throwing money at the problem. How do you propose we solve starvation in Africa? Invade?

[quote]Like nuclear power, hydrogen fuel cells, clean water processing, cancer research. You know, the essentials.[/quote]
How about you start with "get people to stop slaughtering each other en masse"? O ye of fucked-up priorities.


RE: Priorities
By nafhan on 3/19/2012 2:41:24 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
What are the top reasons why we should continue to spend billions of dollars that we don't have?
Since you are singling out the space program, I will assume that you are implying that the following areas where significantly more "billions" are being spent are worthwhile and a good use of taxpayer money:
quote:
Department of Defense
Department of Health and Human Services including Medicare and Medicaid
Department of Education
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Housing and Urban Development
Department of State and Other International Programs
Department of Homeland Security
Department of Energy
Department of Justice
Department of Agriculture
Honestly, there's way to many variables here for your to have any idea whether cutting spaceflight and dumping the money into social programs would have any impact, much less a major one. My guess is that things would be about the same, and the line items for several of the above items would be bumped up by a point or two. Also, how do you value basic science research? It looks like you are placing that worth at $0.

***Yes, I do think NASA could be run more efficiently, but that's pretty different from saying we shouldn't be doing the stuff that NASA has done/is doing.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 3:50:32 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Since you are singling out the space program, I will assume that you are implying that the following areas where significantly more "billions" are being spent are worthwhile and a good use of taxpayer money:

No, I am not suggesting that at all. I would say with 99.9% certainty that anything government run is inefficient at best, and downright waste of resources at worst.

And no, I don't think we should automatically throw money at (insert current popular social issue) either. My main issue is that we spend a tremendous amount of money on stuff that just turns out to be "pretty neat" rather than things that can be thought of as mind blowing revolutions; the telephone and automobile for example. Unless I am missing something, NASA and the like have not churned out such tremendous innovations like that in many years.

I'm not at all placing $0 value on scientific research; I just refuse to believe that billions spent on a deep space probe satellite will somehow magically cure the looming food and clean water shortage problems. I offer my opinion that we should spend research money directly rather than it come about by proxy. What innovation has been brought to the world by NASA's deep space program that couldn't have been independently researched? I'm genuinely curious.


RE: Priorities
By nafhan on 3/19/2012 5:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
My main issue is that we spend a tremendous amount of money on stuff that just turns out to be "pretty neat" rather than things that can be thought of as mind blowing revolutions
In the years, following the invention of the telephone and the automobile, both of those fell into the "pretty neat" category, and were absolutely not mind-blowing. Same with numerous other inventions. Most "revolutionary" things aren't realized as such until YEARS later.
quote:
I'm not at all placing $0 value on scientific research; I just refuse to believe that billions spent on a deep space probe satellite will somehow magically cure the looming food and clean water shortage problems.
Pretty sure no one thinks that, and by saying we should only spend money on things that we know ahead of time will be revolutionary, you are placing a value of $0 on scientific research as this is an impossible thing to know.
quote:
What innovation has been brought to the world by NASA's deep space program that couldn't have been independently researched?
This question implies one of two things: that an independent company would do deep space research, or that this research has no value - neither of which I agree with. A private company could theoretically do any of the things NASA has done, but would they? Probably not, and that's because there are no guarantees that any of this stuff will provide immediate monetary results. Again, this comes back to: "How do you place value on science?" For instance, is the discovery of the termination shock at the beginning of extra-solar space worthless? You could certainly argue that it is, but you could also argue the opposite...


RE: Priorities
By TSS on 3/20/2012 1:45:59 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Honestly, there's way to many variables here for your to have any idea whether cutting spaceflight and dumping the money into social programs would have any impact, much less a major one.


Quite easy to see wether it would or wouldn't have a impact.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_fe...

$17,7 billion enacted for NASA.
$787.8 billion enacted for medicare/medicaid
$817.5 billion for social security.

Cutting NASA in it's entirety won't do jack. It litteraly only takes 5 days before you've borrowed NASA's entire yearly budget, because of your social programs (which will have increased with more then 1 NASA by next years budget).

You're better off tripling or quadrupling NASA's budget. Deficit wise you'd hardly see the impact while jobs and thus tax revenue wise you'd see a nice healthy increase. Aside from all the innovation NASA brings, of course.


RE: Priorities
By serkol on 3/19/2012 3:18:01 PM , Rating: 2
Priorities, really. Apple will spend 45 billion on dividends and stock repurchases, while Musk spent all his money on changing the auto industry and to make humankind interplanetary.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 3:37:17 PM , Rating: 1
Agent Smith in the movie "The Matrix" does a pretty good job of explaining the human condition. We breed and deplete resources like a cancer. I see that science fiction can sometimes become science reality, but I do think we take it a little too far sometimes.

No matter how much money we throw at research, we cannot speed up the possibility of reaching other planets. That's my opinion.


RE: Priorities
By SPOOFE on 3/19/2012 3:44:36 PM , Rating: 3
[quote]Agent Smith in the movie "The Matrix" does a pretty good job of explaining the human condition.[/quote]
No, he didn't, and the fact that you think he did shows how stupid you are.


RE: Priorities
By Reclaimer77 on 3/19/2012 3:46:31 PM , Rating: 1
Then I guess, like space travel, you didn't even get the point of the Matrix and Smith's inner conflict.

Seriously this isn't play time at Sesame Street here kid. Take your garbage opinions and terrible supporting arguments back to Twitter.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 4:02:42 PM , Rating: 1
Instead of offering constructive opinions or criticism, you resolve to being an asshole. No wonder everyone here hates you. Notice how some of the folks above offered some very valid points that I have never considered. That is, after-all, how the learning process works.

Are you suggesting that I go create a twitter account in lieu of learning how NASA might benefit our planet?


RE: Priorities
By SoCalBoomer on 3/19/2012 3:27:33 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree that space exploration should be a slightly lower priority than essential civil service programs, I disagree with your post on a couple of specific points:

First, what do you want to fix about our broken government and society? Just curious - your statement is vague and ephemeral. If you get some specifics, then we can talk about it. As it stands, it's too vague - everything is broken, somewhere, somehow; nothing is perfect. We could spend all the money in existence and education, social services, something would still not be perfect or even close.

Second, "Nothing of gain has been discovered that can compare against the money spent" - this is not a valid statement. Realize that electronics, computers were really pushed technologically due to the space program (and warfare) - their original purpose was for ballistics calculation, and then orbital calculations. Considering how huge these industries have become, I think they cover the money spent. . .

New much safer school bus design can be traced directly to the space program.

The medical field has benefited massively from the space with drugs and especially robotics control - all of the remotely controlled surgeries that happen. . . yep.

Your argument is one of the longest standing and least valid of all the arguments against the space program. While we've spent hundreds of billions on the space program, the return on investment is far beyond that, both in human life and in dollars spent.

So, in answer to your "Honest question:" - top reasons why we should continue?

Well, research. Research in these areas gives back to humanity in many ways. Medical, structural engineering, electronics. . .

How about imaging? We know a MASSIVE amount about our planet just due to the satellite images (visual, IR, radar, etc.) we get back.

I could go on quite a bit further, but this is getting long and honestly, I think I've more than answered your question, if it really was asked honestly.

Granted, some things should have a higher priority, but that does not mean we should stop. . .


RE: Priorities
By stardude692001 on 3/19/2012 4:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
If we ever make it to interstellar space, we will find thousands or dead world covered in the ruins of civilizations that made a cost benefit analysis of space travel.

Life ending events happen all the time and we know this. Do we really want to keep all our eggs in one basket till this happens to us.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 4:28:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If we ever make it to interstellar space, we will find thousands or dead world covered in the ruins of civilizations that made a cost benefit analysis of space travel.


We will find? How about we might find? Lets not confuse science fiction movies with reality. It is still very clear that we are the only ones here; unless you have compelling evidence otherwise. And yes, before you patronize me, I do understand how big the universe is and the statistical probability of other life. I'm just stating what we have observed so far. I have no problem with the idea of spending money on space travel and exploration. I do have a problem with the amount of money we spend on it.


RE: Priorities
By stardude692001 on 3/19/2012 5:38:39 PM , Rating: 2
hey there was an if at the beginning of it all.

I'm sorry I didn't label this as my belief. I tend to think of aliens the same way religious people think of god, I can't prove it directly but I "just know it's there"


RE: Priorities
By JediJeb on 3/19/2012 4:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
We want to spend 10's and 100's of billions on space exploration, yet we cant figure out how not to spend more than we have here in the U.S. I think fixing a broken government and society here on planet earth is required before we start playing in space . I'm all for scientific exploration, but lets be real. Nothing of gain has been discovered that can compare against the amount of money spent.


I think this is a partial answer to your own question. If we are so advanced that we can put a man on the moon, they way can't we make our finances work here on the ground? Matter of fact, hasn't our financial situation gotten much worse after the days of extravagant spending on the space program went away? I really hate to sound cruel, but once the days of "if you don't work you don't eat" were over, this country as a whole has been sliding downhill. The spirit we once had that was based on self reliance and the drive to make ourselves better by our own hard work was what fueled this nation to become the dominate financial power on the planet, and now sadly we are losing that very quickly. Unfortunately there will always be some people that have legitimate needs, but I personally know people who are poor because they do not want to do anything to change their lives. Those people if I could hand them a million dollars would soon be broke again and have absolutely nothing to show for it, instead of taking it and turning their lives around and becoming productive members of society. I still do what I can to help even those types of people I know, but I try not to enable them too much and hope that some day I can help them change their minds so they make the effort to achieve better things in their lives. If we had fewer people looking for the free ride though, then those of us who do help them would have more money to put towards private funding of things like the space program, or would be happy to have more of our taxes spent on the space program. I think were we are now is more of a society problem than a science problem.


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 4:22:25 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I think were we are now is more of a society problem than a science problem.


Agreed and well said. I think I would rather spend my taxes on helping our nation become energy independent rather than building a new telescope to see extra-solar planets. Gas prices are nearing $5 a gallon, and that to me is more important than outer-space. When we can no longer afford to travel to our jobs or buy groceries, we will not have to worry about funding NASA projects.


RE: Priorities
By JediJeb on 3/20/2012 1:52:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I think I would rather spend my taxes on helping our nation become energy independent rather than building a new telescope to see extra-solar planets.


This is where we differ, in that I believe we should be doing both. My biggest quibble is that we allow the need to support those who will only ever leach off of those who achieve, to keep us from moving forward into greater things.

If you continue to hold the train for those who are slow to board, then the train may never leave the station. Sometimes you just have to set a schedule and stick to it and those who miss the train can either catch the next one or just sit in the station forever. It may sound heartless, but what is the more heartless act, leaving a few behind or sacrificing the many waiting for the few that will never come along?


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/21/2012 8:38:28 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure you fully understand my stance on this particular issue. We would have TONS more to spend on NASA if we would cut off the free handouts to the lazy degenerates. At that point, I would be glad to spend our extra money on research for deep space programs.

I think where most people don't understand my view on this is when they assume that I think NASA is a waste of resources. It absolutely is not a waste. If anything, it would be a step in the right direction, as I would much rather see my money go to overly expensive research then to someone who sits on their lazy ass all day to collect taxpayer checks.

To put it plainly: I have a problem with spending billions of dollars on things that don't immediately get us on a path towards financial and personal responsibility. We don't need to keep spending money that we don't have. Lets fix our major problems first, THEN come back and start investing more into these programs.


RE: Priorities
By maven81 on 3/21/2012 2:13:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is a very tired and very stupid argument. There will ALWAYS be problems here. And the problems we face are usually not economic but political in nature. Even if somehow tomorrow we magically got rid of all the debt and the budget was perfectly balanced and so on there would still be disease, poverty and crime. There would still be corruption, pollution, overpopulation, war, terrorism, and a million other issues. So when exactly is the right time then huh? There will never be a right time. But because of misguided fools like you the moon program was killed in the early 70s. After all there was a war going on, and all sorts of other issues. We could have had a base on the moon by now, learning how the human race can survive in space which will one day become a necessity. We could have been pushing our engineering to the limit of what is possible. But no... we have problems here...
Why is NASA your whipping boy anyway? What was the return to humanity or to this nation over the hundreds of billions spent in Iraq for example?
Quit while you're ahead. Return when you have something intelligent to say and don't misconstrue every reply to you as a personal attack on your "ideas".


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/21/2012 5:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
How is asking to spend only what we actually have a "very tire and stupid" argument? What's the point of the science fictional plan of finding, reaching, and populating a new world if we can't manage to live properly on the one we have now? I'd say that IF our civilization is to advance that far, then we will already have the tools necessary. But it's people like you who think we can just throw money at NASA and ... POOF! We all of a sudden will invent a wormhole device to explore the universe.

You take your ideal and stick with them all you want; but I want to fix the problems of the real world (here and now) before we even think about dreams to explore and spread our human race elsewhere.


RE: Priorities
By maven81 on 3/21/2012 6:23:19 PM , Rating: 2
Again, your reasoning is a dead end. At every stage of our evolution as a species we had a choice to either focus on the "here and now" or to aspire to something bigger. We didn't have to leave the safety of our caves either, or build fleets of ships, or establish new colonies, etc. There were always problems to be fixed here and now. You would have Spain turn down funding Columbus' expedition because they had huge problems to deal with at the time.

And if that wasn't bad enough, your entire premise is wrong. Giving money to NASA doesn't make it disappear... we aren't literally stuffing it into ships and launching it into space. That money funds research, creates hardware and pays people's salaries, it returns right back into the economy. And you're the one implying that we'll somehow magically have all the right tools when the time is right. Who's going to develop those tools? There needs to be basic research even if it has no immediately obvious applications. That's how most of our technology has been developed, from the transistor, to lasers, to carbon nanotubes. All research projects where someone just gave someone else some money and said here, see what you can figure out. Hell, the very internet you are using right now is a government sponsored research project. I suppose you think that was a waste of money and resources too right?


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/21/2012 8:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
I can tell you haven't bothered to read the thread of posts here. You don't understand my stance on this subject if you claim that I believe NASA "a waste of money and resources". I never said, nor implied that it was. I was merely point out that we have larger priorities right now that will get in the way of future funding for projects like this.

What's more important to you, food? Or cool telescopes and probes? The way this nation is going, we are going to spend our way right into starvation before we know it. All I'm saying is that we need to focus MORE on important things FIRST. Secondary stuff can come later.


RE: Priorities
By maven81 on 3/22/2012 12:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
"You don't understand my stance on this subject if you claim that I believe NASA "a waste of money and resources". I never said, nor implied that it was."

That is EXACTLY what you said. And I quote: "I just refuse to believe that billions spent on a deep space probe satellite will somehow magically cure the looming food and clean water shortage problems." Meaning you feel money spent on a deep space probe could be better spent on other things. Sure, you tried to backtrack after that, but that was your position.

"What's more important to you, food? Or cool telescopes and probes? The way this nation is going, we are going to spend our way right into starvation before we know it. All I'm saying is that we need to focus MORE on important things FIRST. Secondary stuff can come later."

You haven't listened to anything I said. There will always be important stuff and research is not a secondary need. It's exactly what separates us humans from animals... we aren't just worried about a roof over our head and food on the table. We are also explorers. And cool telescopes do not result in there not being food on your table. it costs each tax payer a couple of dollars to fund them. Far more money is lost on much more dubious things. The government has spent more money on air conditioning in afghanistan then they have on those telescopes.


RE: Priorities
By Spif221 on 3/19/2012 4:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
You're saying this via a device, the personal computer, that exists now, at this time, as opposed to some unknown point in the future, because of the work done creating the onboard computers for the Apollo project. Office work today is done through computers and printers and communication devices that are rooted in Apollo. You are communicating instantly today, instead of tapping out a message on a typewriter (with a file copy made with carbon paper) dropping it in the mail and waiting for it to arrive, through the same technology.

If you used your cellphone to place a long distance call today, it worked because of satellites launched as a result of the unmanned space program and computer technology developed for the manned space program. If you saw a news report from overseas today, in real time, it happened because of satellites and microcomputer. Ditto the GPS unit in your car and on your phone, the electronic color camera on your phone and the computer chips in your car, your refrigerator, every piece of audio and video gear in your house.

And that's just scratching the surface of thousands of things we take for granted today, things that created vastly more wealth and prosperity and opportunity than we spent on the program.

Solar power? Space program developed it before anyone conceived of the need for it on Earth.

And it is the fact that the government invested in things that "no sane person/company would have spent this kind of money [on] without tangible and specific returns" that got us all of these things. The mighty invisible free market, so beloved and revered by everyone with a case of Rand-induced arrested development does not believe in serendipity,cannot conceive that giving a bunch of top flight scientists and engineers an impossible, and not self-evidently profitable, task and the resources to accomplish it will bring quick returns.

The free market doesn't do "leap of faith."


RE: Priorities
By Quadrillity on 3/19/2012 4:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for patronizing me, but I work in the IT industry. Save your explanations of the origins of the computer. You can't know for certain that the computer wouldn't have been invented one year later at a MUCH lower cost by a single visionary. Thomas Jefferson, Graham Bell, Tesla, and the like didn't take billions to invent the world most useful devices.

quote:
If you used your cellphone to place a long distance call today, it worked because of satellites launched as a result of the unmanned space program

I have mentioned that orbital satellites are worth the research costs. Please pay attention.

quote:
Solar power? Space program developed it before anyone conceived of the need for it on Earth.

Oh really? http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/solar_timel...

quote:
The free market doesn't do "leap of faith."

Tell that to the above mentioned, plus AMD, Intel, and every other free market innovation giant.


RE: Priorities
By SoCalBoomer on 3/19/2012 7:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
Thomas Jefferson's inventions - yeah, like Macaroni and Cheese (which, undeniably is one of history's best inventions); an improved dumbwaiter for wine bottles; a better swivel chair; revolving bookstand; a better plow. . . Yep - only a step away from a computer.

I can be certain that it would not have come from a single visionary. A computer is an amalgamation of far too many revolutionary technologies for a single visionary to come up with it.

You said you're in the IT industry - so you know that a computer is made up of not only MANY hardware inventions and revolutions, but of entire processes that came from military necessities that were used, refined, and adapted by NASA. Remember, the origins of the computer were for calculating ballistic trajectories (very similar to what NASA needed).

Barring this, it would very likely been a significant period of time before the pace of technological evolution made the strides needed to arrive at the transistor, the integrated circuit, the CPU, etc.

Large efforts like NASA and war, when everyone coordinates toward a specific goal, this is when things like the computer, which requires a synergy of inventions, actually come together.

after that initial synergy and the further development into something that could be commercialized (Job and Woz didn't actually INVENT anything, they brilliantly developed existing technology into something that could be commercialized and adopted by "normal" people - and yes, I'm skipping the mainframe stage for brevity's sake - yeah, ME, brevity. . . LOL)

On another note, don't assume that everyone reads all the threads and divergent threads that happen. . . :D I'm not sure where you mention that orbital satellites are worth the research costs. . . and it's not because I'm not paying attention. :D


RE: Priorities
By Amiga500 on 3/19/2012 5:45:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What are the top reasons why we should continue to spend billions of dollars that we don't have?


Watch Armageddon or Deep Impact.

Pretty good reason for continuing to develop space capabilities if you ask me.


RE: Priorities
By Truenofan on 3/19/2012 7:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
as the great neil degrasse tyson said on his podcast basically is this. you stop spending money on looking up into the skies, spending it on looking at the ground. you wont see the asteroid that will wipe out all civilization.

you spend money in the skies for basically, insurance type reasons. to try to know whats coming, when its coming, and develop ways to stop it. or to move to other planets. and avoid the possibility of one rouge asteroid wiping out all civilization. to have some backup.


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