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Old 08-08-2012, 11:51 AM   #21
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I assume your point infers that life exists no where else in the universe, but earth?
The earth is flat and Columbus was lying (Leif Eriksson was just drunk).
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:54 AM   #22
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I like how everyone is slamming 2ndGearRubber's props just for challenging the assumption that the space program is awesome and totally worth the cost.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:23 PM   #23
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mars isn't the only thing you learn about.

lighter materials

communications across great distances (and data compression and latency)

off road vehicle dynamics

robotics

I'm going to stop there and tell you to stop being an anti-knowledge curmudgeon.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #24
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I think the question is legitimate and most of the answers have been less than compelling, so - as a non-space nerd - I will attempt my hand. Too bad Senor Perez is off-grid.

You can make the argument that pushing the boundaries of engineering involved in space exploration - an exercise with limited visibility in terms of tangible return on investment - has led to some great innovations that "trickle down" to the civillian and military population. Think about your smart phone.

In addition to the obvious GPS, consider the size and computing power. How much of that was directly influenced by the engineering need to continually reduce the size of the computers fitted first to the Apollo program and then, later the space shuttle and satellite launchers?
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:26 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ndGearRubber View Post
Yeah, we'll put all the life on a planet with no atmosphere. And it costs $4,729 per pound to chuck something into orbit. Good luck saving the redwoods. I hear solar wind is great for chloroform.
you completely missed the point.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:28 PM   #26
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the latest news blurbs say an iphone has more processing power than Curiosity.
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Old 08-08-2012, 12:35 PM   #27
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Wait a second...we need to be clear here.

Is the claim that miniaturization and efficiency gains were unique to the space program? Because I'm fairly confident that engineers have been trying to make things smaller and use less energy for centuries before NASA was created.

Or is the claim simply that the actual hardware in modern cell phones (to use your example) has direct (whether concrete or conceptual) links to NASA-created/funded technologies? If that's the argument, then it seems to me that it requires an additional argument that must be supported -- namely, that these things were only possible with the existence of NASA and could not have happened in some NASA-less alternate history.

If these things were possible outside of NASA, then I anticipate that the next argument offered would be that rate of improvement was multiplied greatly by the space program research, and modern technology would be set back by 10 or 25 or 50 years absent the space program.

If that's the argument, then I think we need a broader argument justifying the use of government funding for any tech/science research. If the practical improvements in everyday life are the real goal, then why not use government funding applied directly, rather than paying for a space program that may have some practical application years later as the technology trickles down to consumer products, but certainly isn't an efficient plan to improve modern life?
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #28
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I don't think anyone is saying that reducing the size of gadgets and technology overall could have NOT being achieved without NASA. HOWEVER, without the space program the NEED to do so would have not being pushing the envelope. There are greater things that just technology advances that derive from the space programs. The technological advances are just what we see first hand.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:29 PM   #29
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Much of the technology that originated with the space program was a means to an end, not the end itself. To give a more modern example, in which the government and private sector work together, NASA needed an advancement in their technology to study solar flares.

An engineer at a private company worked out how to create the equipment needed, founded his own company to produce the equipment and partnered with NASA through their small business integration program.

That engineer (and now company owner) then applied some of that same technology to advance medical imaging equipment (like CT scans).


The need to study solar flares was the catalyst for the creation of this technology, not a private sector desire to improve CT scan equipment. Would the technology have eventually been created without that catalyst? How the ---- should I know?
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:41 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Wait a second...we need to be clear here.

Is the claim that miniaturization and efficiency gains were unique to the space program? Because I'm fairly confident that engineers have been trying to make things smaller and use less energy for centuries before NASA was created.

Or is the claim simply that the actual hardware in modern cell phones (to use your example) has direct (whether concrete or conceptual) links to NASA-created/funded technologies? If that's the argument, then it seems to me that it requires an additional argument that must be supported -- namely, that these things were only possible with the existence of NASA and could not have happened in some NASA-less alternate history.

If these things were possible outside of NASA, then I anticipate that the next argument offered would be that rate of improvement was multiplied greatly by the space program research, and modern technology would be set back by 10 or 25 or 50 years absent the space program.

If that's the argument, then I think we need a broader argument justifying the use of government funding for any tech/science research. If the practical improvements in everyday life are the real goal, then why not use government funding applied directly, rather than paying for a space program that may have some practical application years later as the technology trickles down to consumer products, but certainly isn't an efficient plan to improve modern life?
But you can't just sit down and think 'we need to invent something that'll improve someone's life in some way or another', you need a specific challenge and then the results of that then end up being a massive benefit to humans.

I seriously doubt the end goal of GPS was that civilised society gets to have satellite navigation on their phone, but without the satalites being put into orbit for a completely different reason we may not have ended up with that technology available to us
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:49 PM   #31
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This discussion calls for this video. Long, but worth listening to.

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Old 08-08-2012, 04:29 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffon01 View Post
This discussion calls for this video. Long, but worth listening to.

TESTIFY REVEREND!

side note: I did not watch.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:17 PM   #33
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I love astronaut icecream. That alone is worth all my tax paid money.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:26 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
You can make the argument that pushing the boundaries of engineering involved in space exploration - an exercise with limited visibility in terms of tangible return on investment - has led to some great innovations that "trickle down" to the civillian and military population. Think about your smart phone.
The same argument can be made for racing. Billions of dollars a year are invested in that, although they aren't taxpayer dollars so I guess it is different.
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:29 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by richyvrlimited View Post
I seriously doubt the end goal of GPS was that civilised society gets to have satellite navigation on their phone, but without the satalites being put into orbit for a completely different reason we may not have ended up with that technology available to us
No, it was for warfare. To that end, I suspect that many more technological advancements have trickled down from continuing military efforts than NASA. Yay wars!
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Old 08-08-2012, 05:30 PM   #36
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My parents are using space blankets in front of their window blinds to lower their energy costs this summer.
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Old 08-08-2012, 06:36 PM   #37
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Nasa publishes a list (every year) that highlights technological advances made by the space programs that benefit everyone. If nothing else, it's a very cool bit of reading.

Link here: About Spinoff

Latest spinoff article: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2011/pdf/Spinoff2011.pdf
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:06 PM   #38
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Image is both true, and relevant.

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Old 08-08-2012, 08:09 PM   #39
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What a stupid ------- thread.
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Old 08-08-2012, 08:47 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by skidude View Post
I don't understand why that picture is fail, but anyway...

The point of Curiosity is to explore Mars and gather information for potential manned missions and colonies. Eventually Earth is going to cross paths with a comet or we will ruin it and it would be nice if there were somewhere we could go to avoid certain death. Once we know what the end of the earth looks like, it would be too late to start exploring options.

Feel free to volunteer yourself to stay on Earth if that day comes sooner than expected.

That's just the one benefit I could think of off the top of my head. History of life, the solar system, and the universe is other good stuff to explore.

I'm glad some people weren't as stubborn and cheap as you when explorers asked for money to sail west a few hundred years ago.

All that damn money and they couldn't use a damn color camera?!

They were looking for a route to the west indies when Columbus sailed west. The educated population also already knew the earth was (somewhat) spherical. Their cost to send a ship and some disposable people was pretty low, with a huge possible pay off. Low initial cost, possibly huge reward (if they didn't die in the process). NASA costs billions, with little or no practical knowledge that couldn't have been created by an earth-bound engineer at a desk.


And if you think your Great^10 grandchildren will still be alive when moving billions of people into orbit, not even space, just orbit, is cost affective, you need a reality check. How about this, we increase NASAs budget, and I volunteer for the mission to attempt to reach 99.9% the speed of light. Since time is relative to the observer (you), time in my spaceship will slow, and I can come back in 50years (my time) and prove your descendants wrong.


Yeah, I had a Hubble telescope background on my laptop. It's cool, but not practical.
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