DailyDirt: If People Were Meant To Fly In Space...

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

When the Soviets launched Sputnik 1 in 1957, the US launched a satellite and put together its own space agency less than a year later. In the past week, NASA has commemorated the loss of its astronauts in the Challenger and Columbia disasters, as well as the men who died in Apollo 1. There's a new generation of kids who have only seen SpaceX and Soyuz take stuff into low earth orbit (plus maybe a successful Orion test) -- and a few other private companies reaching the edge of space. Robots have been doing an excellent job of exploring mars and other destinations in our solar system, but we shouldn't forget about manned space exploration entirely. After you've finished checking out those links, if you want to support NASA unconditionally, print out this form and send your money... into space.

Filed Under: apollo, bob ebeling, manned missions, mars, soyez, space, space exploration, space shuttle
Companies: nasa


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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 5 Feb 2016 @ 5:03pm

    When You Said “Orion” ...

    ... I thought you meant this Orion ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2016 @ 5:40pm

    still not clear why NASA was so anxious to launch without delay

    r reagan already had television time set aside on all three major networks for later that morning to deliver his teacher in space speech. it would have sounded really silly with no teacher up there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 6 Feb 2016 @ 3:59pm

      Re:

      That's a long-debunked myth.
      Feynman personally checked out the rumor and never found any substantiation. If Challenger's flight had gone according to plan, the crew would have been asleep at the time of Reagan's speech, and no communications links had been set up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    alternatives(), 6 Feb 2016 @ 4:23am

    And yet, xkcd does have a point

    https://xkcd.com/893/

    "we" are at the bottom of a gravity well and a 'theme' of Techdirt is - your fellow man is an ass.

    And while the https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp6dsKleGpU uses nukes as the reason we will kill each other - there are plenty of other ways to go.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Barnaby, 6 Feb 2016 @ 9:34am

    Excellent post on the overall NASA boondoggle!

    Of course it would take hundreds of text pages to fully catalog the staggering waste, mismanagement and corruption by NASA. NASA was a huge mistake from the getgo -- the little it actually achieved could easily have been handled by other existing federal agencies & private industry, at dramatically lower costs.

    Indeed, all those citizen space cadets & media propagandists who advocate extravagant manned space travel and general space exploration -- should directly pay NASA for it... by sending their own cash/checks/money-orders routinely to the NASA bureaucracy.

    STOP stealing money from the taxpayers for your silly space fantasies & space hobbying !

    GO to Mars and have fun -- but do it with your own money and that of people who VOLUNTARILY share your exotic dreams.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 6 Feb 2016 @ 4:15pm

      Re:

      Far more TAX dollars go towards stadiums and other costs related to millionaire-owned organized sports teams. Not what your kids are playing, but what they're watching on TV.

      America's human space flight programs cost around $7 billion a year. By comparison, Americans spent more than $154 billion on alcohol. The costs of dealing with the latter almost certainly cost the taxpayers more than the former.

      In the ’70s the USAF calculated that using satellites to conduct weather reconnaissance saved $100,000 a day over the cost of flying airplanes to get the job done. In today's dollars that would probably be $1,000,000 per day. The space program has given also us communications, remote sensing (for resource and crop monitoring) and GPS satellites and much, much more. Who knows what we'll get once the launch rate goes up bringing launch costs down.

      As a programmer, I believe in making backups. The same concept applies to humanity: Establishing a self-sustaining colony on another planet is a Very Good Idea.

      Over the four-and-a-half-billion-year history of Earth, few events have truly mattered: There was the advent of single-celled life, multi-celled life, the development of plants, then animals.

      The next step - the first big step in 540 million years - is the extension of life to another planet. It could happen in our lifetime. Thinks about that.

      Or, if that's not your priority, keep spending it on stadiums for millionaires, and alcohol.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2016 @ 7:15am

      Re:

      If you think NASA is a waste of money ... what about the defense dept? Typical ignorant rant.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Barnaby, 7 Feb 2016 @ 9:44am

        Re: Re:

        ..really amusing when these knee-jerk NASA apologists reliably pop up to defend the indefensible.

        Above, you hear -- 'Hey, the government wastes all kinds of money (like sports stadiums)... why pick on my NASA hobby pet interest'.
        {... Duh, the answer is to stop ALL wasteful government spending, including NASA, sports subsidies, bloated military, and hundreds of other things}

        And -- 'Hey, NASA only spends $7Billion a year'.
        {...NASA has spent/wasted over a TRILLION Dollars since late 1950s and always has expensive future plans! Think of all the other things that Trillion could have been productively used for -- a cure for cancer, clean water & air & power-generation for citizens, safe roads & vehicles & infrastructure, general health & dental care, lower taxes, etc. etc. --- instead we get moonrocks & TV interviews with unnecessary astronauts. NASA gets 5-times as much federal spending compared to other areas of science}

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2016 @ 11:18am

          Re: Re: Re:

          .. really amusing to watch people explode their little heads with their juvenile rantings about things they really do not understand.

          btw - you really think that "saved" money would be spent on things you approve of? A cure for cancer, clean water & air ... fat chance there day dreamer.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 7 Feb 2016 @ 2:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just curious. How much better would NASA be if they DIDN'T have to go through government approvals, budgeting, purchasing protocols? What if NASA was a private company that got X amount of dollars from the government toward a project with the remainder brought in through private sources? Let's give them some access to certain government resources like early rocket science and military pilots as well, but limited money.

          It's not like things developed for space haven't benefited the private sector. If they kept the patent for Velcro say, and other things developed for or by them, would they be self funding now?

          The real question, the one you don't ask or answer is, is exploration good or bad? It's not like it's a new concept for humans.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Feb 2016 @ 6:53am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Yeah, let's privatize everything !
            It will be great! .. It will be fabulous !

            Why not privatize the roads, all of 'em. It won't be that bad ... paying a new toll every time you turn. They just send you the bill, which will be way more than the amount you pay via for roads via taxation.

            What a great idea!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      klaus (profile), 8 Feb 2016 @ 12:17am

      Re:

      Wow Barnaby. Way to completely discount one of the main achievements of mankind, one in which the USA justly gets to strut.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 6 Feb 2016 @ 12:24pm

    The Columbia space shuttle disaster might have been averted with a second space shuttle launch to dock with it and rescue the astronauts.

    The Columbia disaster WOULD have been averted if NASA had authorized a spacewalk to visually inspect the damage to the wing instead of relying on mathematical probabilities and guesswork. Frankly, I think that's a problem that runs through everything that NASA does.

    "See how this number is .003 instead of .005? That proves that there is an Earth size planet orbiting this star which is 400,000,000,000 miles away, covered in giant diamond mountains with emerald tips and heavy concentrations of methane."

    The Challenger explosion was predicted by a handful of NASA engineers who argued against launching the shuttle because they had data that indicated the o-rings wouldn't seal properly under the cold weather conditions.

    I predicted this. No, not the explosion, but the fact that after a little time had passed, people would be coming out of the woodwork to say that they had known this was going to happen. In fact, right after it exploded, I told someone "They claim they have no idea what went wrong, but a month from now, the news will be interviewing janitors at NASA who will say that they warned everyone that this was going to happen."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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