Skip to comments.Space program was our biggest bridge to nowhere(Ignorance Alert)
Posted on 07/12/2011 6:25:48 PM PDT by CharlyFord
Friday marked the space shuttle's swan song, as the Atlantis lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center for the program's 135th and final flight.
It was President George W. Bush who announced the shuttle's retirement with his 2004 "Vision for Space Exploration," which included a moon base and "human missions to Mars and to worlds beyond." But it was President Obama who put the kibosh on that vision, canceling the moon project and leaving "worlds beyond" in doubt.
"We are retiring the shuttle in favor of nothing," Michael Griffin, Bush's NASA administrator, wailed to the Washington Post recently.
Here, as usual, "nothing" gets a bad rap. I'll be "in favor of nothing" until the advocates of federally funded spaceflight can come up with an argument for it that doesn't make me spray coffee out my nose.
NASA's Griffin failed that test in 2005, when he gave an interview to the Washington Post insisting it was essential that "Western values" accompany those who eventually "colonize the solar system," because "we know the kind of society we would get if you, for example, carry Soviet values. That means you want a gulag on Mars. Is that what you're looking for?"
Well ... is it, punk?
Outside of avoiding the hypothetical horror of Martian gulags, what does the ordinary taxpayer get from the space program?
Not much, says Robin Hanson, a George Mason University economist and research associate at Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute: The benefits are "mostly like the pyramids -- national prestige and being part of history."
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonexaminer.com ...
One of the important measures of a culture is it's scientific and engineering advancements. We've had the 'Stone Age', the 'Iron Age', and now the 'Space Age'. This clown would be happy if the U.S. was still in the 'Iron Age' while the rest of the world advanced.
It looks like Mr. Healy would rather spend his money on dope that contribute to the 'Space Age'. Maybe he would be happier living somewhere where they don't throw their money away on technological advancements, like Zimbabwe maybe.
So what did this clown write this drivel on? A Selectronic?
I wonder if the luddite who wrote this has a cellphone, uses GPS technology, or listens to sirius radio.
Just another ignorant idiot who just can’t seem to focus. The boy would be surprised to learn what the space program has done to make our lives better. But he can Google it himself. I’m not going to do his job for him.
Pure genius to cede the high ground. [/sarc]
This has been called the second assassination of JFK, and once again a liberal has pulled the trigger.
You are so correct. Federal Government spending drives all progress!
I am sure that you agree that we should fully fund Obama’s high speed rail program, wind turbine, and electric car programs as well!
What benefit does the average taxpayer get from a research associate at Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute?
Indubitably typed by an author on a microcomputer, or texting on his cell phone, while navigating to work by GPS and drinking coffee out of a styrofoam cup after he microwaved a dehydrated meal.
...while listening to XM Radio over a satellite dish cable TV connection....after surfing the Internet for a Satellite Radar Image of a possible hurricane brewing in the Gulf,....
Heck, just about every electronic device we use today benefited from Space and the Military.
Even more specific than the general idea of space travel, I'd say the space shuttle has probably been a terrible investment by any measure.
We wouldn’t even HAVE hurricanes if it wasn’t for US military missile tests under the guise of a space program... < /greenie weenie cheese and whine >
The trillions of dollars spent in the war on poverty have been a failure at everything except keeping dinosaur racist democrats in DC for decades.
He’s getting a well deserved thrashing in the Examiner’s comments.
But he has a point when it comes to who pays.
There is money, lots of it, to be made in space.
Mining and manufacturing in space is the way of the future.
For environmental reasons as well as technological reasons, it is doable right now, and with present technology.
I really hate to think the Chinese will beat us to this. It is the Third Industrial Revolution and Americans should be on the frontier, leading the way.
One average-sized near Earth asteroid rich in platinum group metals (PGMs, or PeGgyMays) is equal to the entire annual gross product of the world!
We could pay off our national debts very quickly and cause an industrial and technological boom, all at the same time.
The initial start-up will be expensive because so much would have to brought up from Earth. But once a mining/smelting combine is built and materials begin to be delivered to orbiting robotic smelting and manufacturing complexes, the material supply chain starts in earnest and will expand to accommodate demand. It will pay for itself many times over.
That has always been the problem with space exploration: how to make it pay for itself.
I envision a station on the Moon, using a mag-lev launcher utilizing solar power to move cargo between the base and orbiting stations. The U.S.Navy uses rail guns to launch missiles; so can a Moon station launch cargo vessels using one that is larger.
There are materials that can be created in the zero gravity vacuum of space which could revolutionize electronics.
Earth gravity affects the crystal formation when refining metals; this will not occur in space. Very thin panels can be manufactured, as well as metal whiskers one molecule in diameter.
Asteroids contain iron and nickel as well as PeGgyMays. It will be possible to build a Moon station with materials from asteroids and there is sufficient water on the Moon for a group to survive. Energy from the Sun or nuclear can make the whole operation possible. Due to conditions on the Moons surface I believe the station will be mostly underground.
Today we have the technology to exploit space without having to maintain human colonies. Drones have proven that, and robotic manufacturing is far more sophisticated than in the past.
I believe it is something the U.S. should be doing.
Its all a question who spreads out into the frontier of space takes advantage of its potential.
We cant afford it... is true, as the nation is presently run by crazed socialists!
Once the dollar is no longer the international reserve currency the SHTF - assuredly.
But the Muslim fools who caused 9/11 expected the U.S.A. to crumble. We did not oblige them by doing so.
Everyone seems to underate us. Europeans never expected the U.S. to make it after the Civil War, but we fought a war with Spain, then with China, then WWI and came out stronger than ever.
During the Depression we were hit with a debilitating environmental catastrophe causing a dust bowl in the Midwest, and all while paying very high taxes. Then came the attack on Pearl Harbor and WWII. Still, we came out stronger.
As you probably guess, I dont see this as necessarily a bad situation but an opportunity.
We should chuck the United Nations off our shores, for starters, and the IMF after them. Hey, they wont need our dollars anymore, now will they?
I do not support isolationism, but I know this nation can be energy independent.
I know we can feed ourselves and export any leftovers.
I know we have technological know-how. Hell, thats why the Chinese are always stealing ideas from us!
Are there people who will riot? Sure, but theyre probably the same folks who riot after football and basketball games. So what!
Right now we need some time to get ourselves reorganized along Constitutional constructs and change to a tax system, either Flat or Fair, which will generate more jobs and revenue.
We must bring our military home from policing the rest of the world. Im sure youve noticed the rest of the world really doesnt appreciate our efforts.
We can launch the Third Industrial Revolution without the rest of the world. Weve had the technology for thirty years. Then laugh hysterically watching other nations try to catch up from their failed experiment in the socialist utopia known as Globalism.
Five hundred years ago the most sophisticated and powerful political players in the world were the Ottomans (in modern Turkey) and the Chinese (Ming: 1368-1644). No one living then would have expected the 20th century to be industrially developed and dominated by what was then a rustic Europe and a wilderness in North America.
And yes, the market for space fabricated parts would be Earth, at first.
No, I do not believe it is fanciful thinking. The my first paragraph above demonstrates that it is not.
And private investment, just as it was in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries in North America, will be funding this endeavor. The promise of fantastic monetary return and the thrill of risk will be the driving impetus, just as it always has been in the past.
As you can tell, I’m kind of enthusiastic about this subject!
Name them then.
Attention, Mr. Healy, no one needs to explain anything to you nor convince you of anything. You are an ignorant nobody with unfounded delusions of adequacy.
Be quiet and stop convincing everyone of what a fool you are.
The space program has provided many advancements but microwave and dehydrated food precedes the space program by a good number of years.
>>One of the important measures of a culture is it’s scientific and engineering advancements.<<
Yes, and all of these glorious advancements in scientific and engineering issues were paid for with other peoples money. I wish just once I could have been comfortable spending OTM. Even when I was a youngster in Nam and I saw a chopper or a plane half buried into a hillside, I recognized that as taxpayers dollars.
"Space must be an alluring muse indeed, given that it makes Krauthammer, normally a hardheaded neoconservative, sound like a yoga instructor gone lightheaded during a juice fast."
"He calls space skeptics "Earth Firsters," deaf to "the music of the spheres." Apparently there's nothing more "isolationist" than wanting to stay on your own planet."
"Krauthammer's obsession makes sense, in a way, since federally funded spaceflight is the quintessential neoconservative project: a giant, wasteful crusade designed to fill Americans' supposedly empty lives with meaning."
I'll tolerate a poor critique of the space program so long as it is connected to an accurate one on neocons.
We didn't need NASA to launch satellites, but the every existence of NASA, as THE CIVILIAN MASTER of space, did preempt most private endeavors that would utilize the rocket, satellite and related technology that we needed and developed for military uses. That is to say, we didn't need a NASA to get to GPS or Sirius
I have NO IDEA where you get the idea that NASA was helpful or needed for cellphones. That would be laid to ham radio, packet radio, and the venture stage of MCI using truck delivery packet radio for general telephony.
He's an offshoot of "Chicago" typewriter technology.
Did you plan to use Sputnik for all of your satellite needs?
If there is anything out there in space that’s worth a buck, private companies will compete with each other or join and go get it much more effectively than NASA ever could. I don’t see the world coming to an end because we aren’t spending money like teenagers.
Part of it has to do with our inability to harness the wealth already present on our planet, let alone understand what we've got here. The other part has to do with the fraud and waste ubiquitous to the Fed as we know it. Nevertheless I heartily applaud the intrepid pioneers who probe the unknown as they expose ever more certainly the fact that the heavens and the Earth are by no means the result of unguided events.
I hadn't noticed 'The War On Poverty' producing any progress. but, over the past 50 years, it's consumed a lot of money and done significant damage to our culture. No, not all government spending leads to progress.
I am sure that you agree that we should fully fund Obamas high speed rail program, wind turbine, and electric car programs as well!
No! I don't agree! Rail programs, generating electricity, and manufacturing and selling vehicles are examples of 'business for profit'. 'Business for profit' is best left to the private sector.
There has been and still is no expectation of profit from space exploration. The private sector would be a poor choice for that. But, the private sector has benefited greatly from the things NASA learned in it's efforts. Communications satellites are an example. If governments had not financed space exploration, during the last half of the twentieth Century, it's doubtful that we would have some of the technology that we enjoy today.
Being a fan of ‘Chicago typewriters’, I concur!
Radar ranges predated the space program, Ma and Pa Kettle had a Radarange one. Raytheon’s introduced the commercial model in 1947, it was based on ideas and patents that went back to 1934 at least.
The use of dehydrated food predates recorded history. NASA’s manned space program certainly adapted some packaging and delivery techniques, but these were adaptations for space flight and did not drive other uses to any great extent, afaik.
Styrofoam was first invented by a Swedish inventor, Carl Munters, sometime before 1941. In 1941 Dow R&D discovered the process on their own, then discovered Munter’s prior art and then acquired his patents. Dow developed the process from there. 1941!
What if's at variance with what actually did happen are close to meaningless mind games. Yet this is one that is unsupported by any real facts.
We outspent the Soviets to the point where they couldn't keep up. Reagan proposed "Star Wars" which would have made it impossible for us to be nuked.
But I doubt this loser even took a history course.
It just kind of urks me that we spent all of that money on a Space station and now we cannot get to it unless the Russians sell us a cab ride.
How many times did the Shuttle repair the Hubble telescope and other items in space , and how many did it carry up with it?
The shuttles were about used up and I don’t know why it took so long to replace them with something better, but to just drop out of the space industry after all we have put into it, seems a little dumb.
Think it through. That is, this: Would our military-industrial complex have produced extraordinary space vehicles without a NASA?
Someone buy him a condo at "The Villages" so I don't have to hear his cranky voice again.
In your case you surely forgot that “retard” is spelled with seven Z’s. ZZZ ZZZZ. Now go back to sleep.
Gee, that's harsh. He'd be competing in a market driven by Federal retirees on ever-pensions.
I see the Willie Green conservatives are out in force tonight. Just substitute rockets for trains.
Bringing evidence in support of my last allegation: http://www.narfe.org/departments/home/articles.cfm?ID=2160
The Top Spots
The Runaway Favorite The Villages, FL. Many of your fellow retired federal employees recommended the active adult communities they live in. The Villages (south of Ocala, FL) was mentioned the most. It also got the most enthusiastic comments NARFE members who live in The Villages love it there! Their comments pretty much say it all:
It is the worlds largest retirement community, the worlds largest golf community and the worlds largest golf cart community. Wonderful!
Translation: NASA employed Whitey. Eric Holder’s people are in charge now. We don’t care about nobody ‘cept’n Eric Holder’s people. REPARATIONS!!!!
NASA has never consumed more than one cent of any tax dollar!
I would argue microwave ovens evolved from space research, while the applied physics may have preceded the space race.
Tellingly, the justification for the two programs was circular: the Shuttle was needed to build and service the Space Station, and the Space Station was needed to give the Shuttle something to build and service and a place to go when in orbit.
The net effect was an extraordinarily expensive aerospace jobs program of slim benefit to the country. The safe, cheap, and proven line of German engineered Saturn rockets were foolishly abandoned. Promises of gains from zero-G research and manufacturing on the Shuttle and Space Station proved to be illusory. The projections of cheap space flight to orbit were never fulfilled and two catastrophic accidents marked the Shuttle as inherently dangerous.
The US would have been far better served if, instead of the Shuttle and Space Station, we had completed the Apollo program as originally envisioned. Then, using the reliable and robust Saturn 5, we could have gradually established one or more manned bases on the moon and carried out an intense program of unmanned exploration of the solar system.
As it was, with the Shuttle and Space Station circling in near earth orbit, we are like a teenager who struggled and got his drivers license and a car only to spend his high school years driving around the block. What comes next? Having squandered our lead in manned exploration of the Moon, we are likely to see a Chinese landing and base there before Americans return to the Moon.
The first microwave for home use was introduced by Tappan in 1955.
The heating effect of microwaves was discovered accidentally in 1945. Percy Spencer, an American self-taught engineer from Howland, Maine, was building magnetrons for radar sets with the American company Raytheon. He was working on an active radar set when he noticed that a Mr. Goodbar he had in his pocket started to melt. The radar had melted his chocolate bar with microwaves. The first food to be deliberately cooked with Spencer’s microwave was popcorn, and the second was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters.
 To verify his finding, Spencer created a high density electromagnetic field by feeding microwave power into a metal box from which it had no way to escape. When food was placed in the box with the microwave energy, the temperature of the food rose rapidly.
On October 8, 1945 Raytheon filed a US patent for Spencer’s microwave cooking process and an oven that heated food using microwave energy was placed in a Boston restaurant for testing. In 1947, the company built the Radarange, the first commercial microwave oven in the world. It was almost 1.8 metres (5 ft 11 in) tall, weighed 340 kilograms (750 lb) and cost about US$5000 each. It consumed 3 kilowatts, about three times as much as today’s microwave ovens, and was water-cooled. The first Radarange was installed (and remains) in the galley of the nuclear-powered passenger/cargo ship NS Savannah. An early commercial model introduced in 1954 consumed 1.6 kilowatts and sold for US$2000 to US$3000. Raytheon licensed its technology to the Tappan Stove company of Mansfield, Ohio in 1952. They tried to market a large, 220 volt, wall unit as a home microwave oven in 1955 for a price of US$1295, but it did not sell well.
I see we have several believers in big government programs among us who have apparently never read Frederick Bastiat’s “That Which Is Seen, And That Which Is Not Seen.”
Sure, everyone many would say that any big government program provides “good” things. The Great Society provided housing to the poor, food to the hungry. Social Security takes care of the old. The space program gave us Tang and many useful devices.
The point is, however, that in order for the government to produce all of these “good” things, the government had to seize capital from the private sector. That is money that the private sector did not have to invest and that investment did not create what it would have.
We will never know what “good” services or devices we would have had had the private sector been allowed to keep the money that was spent by HUD or the EPA or NASA.
Who knows, we may have been much further along in space flight and all of the technology that goes with it if NASA had never existed.
Of course NASA wasn’t really created for the feel good, let’s go to the moon adventurism. Isn’t it strange how the same tech that would send a rocket to the moon would also send a ballistic missile to the Soviet Union?
Throughout history almost all of our technical, scientific and medical advancements have been the result of war. The only reason we had a significant space program was that it was a reaction to the Soviet space program.
I agree with you. The space shuttle program was over hyped, over priced and returned far less in value that could have been received by the alternatives. Example: the Hubble space telescope could have been replaced by a new upgraded telescope cheaper than the repair of the old. The shuttle program became an expensive hobby and toy for a bunch of grown up children. Science, technology and all the rest took a back seat to a bunch of joy rides. NASA had become a bloated agency with its fingers in everything. Did you know they have a television station? Did you know they were the origin of the fake global warming temperatures via GIS and Mann? They have their fingers in a multitude of things that are not remotely related to space.
Fascinating post and the type of visionary we need in charge of “our” space program. No comment about Muslims being left out as you envision a success.
I'll accept "most measures", although there is not and presumably will not be, anything that can "challenge" its capability, so in a sense it is ( and will remain ) "unmeasured", recalling that measurement means comparison with a standard.
It was just way more expensive to operate than it was claimed it would be, so it never met its design goal of routine access to space. If this goal is achieved in my lifetime, I'll die of surprise.
You’re typing and communicating on one. Oh, sure, laptops and the Net would have come along eventually...around 2040 or so.