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Someone almost made me cry today

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by A.Nonymous, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    I was talking to a friend of mine and we somehow got on the topic of the space program, space shuttles, space station, etc...... He commented that NASA and the space program ought to be cut and shelved permanently. It's not the first time I've heard this argument. Usually it centers around the idea that we're spending all this money in space when we should focus on our problems here at home.

    This guy had a completely different argument though. He argued that we should scrap the space program because we're not getting any useful knowledge out of it. Sure we learn more about how the universe works and how to do things in zero gravity, but that knowledge is useless he argued because it's just knowledge. It's not stuff that's useful here on Earth and it's not stuff that's commercializable in most cases. It's just knowledge. And knowledge for the sake of knowledge and science just for the sake of discovery is pointless. My face at that point kind of looked like a three year old who's sucker has just been stolen by a bully. Has our respect for science in our society really sunken this low?

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  2. chimphappyhour

    chimphappyhour Android Enthusiast

    Wanna really cry? Come to the midwest. Just across the state line from me is a state that has twice, yes twice, had the school board try to demote evolution. Both times, they got laughed at by the world and put it back in but that just goes to show you how powerful that mentality is becoming that such inanity can happen. Is it no wonder then that this is the same state that is home to people like Fred Phelps?
  3. Steven58


    Some of our greatest technological medical advances (and other advances) have been because of the space program, fwiw.
    Bob Maxey likes this.
  4. NASA should be completely scrapped. The special interest in Washington has turned NASA into a free ride for a lot contractors.

    Just crunching the numbers is a nightmare. Last year NASA over ran 9 main projects by 1 billion dollars.

    They took the contract for x million dollars, the contractor then tell them to complete the project they need y million more dollars. It is not a project, it is extortion.

    If NASA told the contractors that they will only pay x for the project and sued the contractors,when the project went to y millions of dollars, it would be one thing. But NASA just pays the y millions of dollars.

    Bottom line, I tell you that I will build you a custom car for 1 dollar. You agree to the one dollar. I then go to the car dealership, buy a car for 100,000 dollars, buy a complete workshop for 100,000 dollars, hire 10 people at 100,000 dollars a year, spend 1 year to build your car, and then hand you a bill for 1.2 million dollars and claim there was a "slight" cost overrun.

    Prime example. The webb telescope. The original cost was 500 million dollars to build and launch, started in 1997 and launch in 2007. NASA paid the 500,000,000 dollars. 1 year later 1 billion dollars, NASA paid the extra 500 million dollars. By 2010, 3 years after it was suppose to launch, the cost is now 6.5 billion dollars, 13 times the amount originally agreed to, which NASA has paid.

    The cost is now 8.7 billion dollars and will not launch until 2018, 20 years after it was first started.

    What can NASA do, nothing, because of special interest in Washington and the contract system that it was to work with. For being free market, NASA contracts are pretty locked down.
    OutofDate1980 likes this.
  5. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    I actually live in KS so I know the pain. I have good friends who I love and respect who get ticked that Creationism is not taught as science. I've given up trying to explain to them that there's no science behind Creationism. I'm a Christian. I believe in the Bible. To me Creationism is faith. Evolution is science. In their proper spheres both could be taught in schoos. But oh well. Part of me thinks science education is dead in these parts.

    There are all kinds of problems with how NASA is run. I'll give you that. Still I think the pursuit of science just for discovery is worth it. We may never benefit in any concrete way from our knowledge of black holes. I still think that knowledge is worth pursuing.
    tommy_ed likes this.
  6. 9to5cynic

    9to5cynic Android Expert

    I think it's sad. We need to get space colonies up as soon as possible. To many threats to earth. (Asteroids, Nuclear war, sun going super nova (some time out)... etc. )

    We need to 'abandon ship' - so to speak. ;)

    But really, we need to keep the space program going.
  7. YankeeDudeL

    YankeeDudeL Android Expert

    Guess he's not coming along when we colonize Mars. That same mentality would have prevented the discovery of the Americas.
    Roze and tommy_ed like this.
  8. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User

    I agree that NASA should keep going. However, reading on some of the Mars projects, the only "cheaper, faster, better" that actually worked was Sojourner. NASA lost quite a few other projects with this route.
    From reading "Roving Mars" Spirit and Opportunity ran into problems with engineering. You have a finite amount of space, and an infinite amount of wants. Those rovers went back to "bouncing" on landing since the projects using other landing techniques had failed. But the 2 rovers were far heavier than Sojourner, so that meant money spent on testing parachutes. NASA got good value for that - Spirit is apparently dead, but Opportunity is still going. Curiousity is supposed to be even bigger than the last 2.

    The rovers and the lander at the poles proved that Mars had water. Given the fact that Mars is smaller, less gravity to hold onto the water and atmosphere, what happened? I think I read that Mars is not now seismically active.

    We do need to know to apply the science to Earth.
    YankeeDudeL likes this.
  9. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    The thing with robotic rovers is they're cheaper so you can actually afford to lose more. I think a lot of space exploration in the future could and maybe should be done by robots. You don't need to ship foolish things like food, water and oxygen along and they work long hours without complaining as much as we humans tend to.
  10. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    i agree .. nasa.. and many gov projects are money drains... but sometimes you got to do it.

    the example of the 10yr nasa project going way up in price... and delayed..
    in that 10yrs technology has changed so fast... they may had to redesign many things.. and add many things.

    if the scope of the project stayed the same..and used the same tech as they started with.. .the end product 10yrs later.. would be... laughable at launch.

    i do agree.. 500 mil growing to 8.5 bil.. is nutz..
    but some of it .. might be explainable.
  11. Roze

    Roze Hiding behind a mystery

    This is why the government is in debt :<
  12. Vihzel

    Vihzel Destroying Balls Everyday

    I absolutely love The Universe series on The History Channel and learning about what NASA is doing out in space and what they discovered, are discovering, and hope to discover. I really want NASA to continue so our understanding of the universe increases because there is just so much to discover and learn about the space in which we live in. Imagine what it would be like if NASA was never created... tons and tons of knowledge just gone... like the Alexandria Library (and we all know how much of a disaster that was).
  13. ninja_reject

    ninja_reject Android Enthusiast

    I agree with your verbal opponent. Partially. Don't cry.

    I believe the space program should be put on hold until some of our country's financial woes are resolved. Tax incentives for companies to keep jobs in America, secure social security for the baby boomers, improve our schools, make more federal grants for lower income students to go to college.
    I mean, the country spends an insane amount to send probes to Mars and stuff. What did we learn about mars? That there may have possibly been water there a trillion years ago? That is just common sense. When our sun was young and blue and big, the planets that support water would have been farther away.
    Another idea that would require a lot of cooperation would be to combine space programs with a couple of the other developed countries. I think it would save billions. Just my thoughts.
  14. ninja_reject

    ninja_reject Android Enthusiast

    It is a fairy tale that we will find another livable planet. The closest star is what, like 4 lightyears away? So it may be possible, if we find a way to travel the speed of light, or if we find the secret to wormhole travel. God already gave us a perfect planet, with everything we need. We need to worry instead about saving the one we have.
  15. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    gov programs .. help to spark the economy.. create jobs in all kinds of fields...

    and nasa/science projects help keep usa on top of the super power technology race.

    i dont think anyone in usa wants to fall behind in the global tech race... right?
  16. Here is my basic problem. If I could, I would put us on the moon by the end of the year and on mars in the next few years. I would expand the space throttle wide open. I would let nothing stop the advances in sciences and the seeking of knowledge, for just the sake of knowledge. I would pour 100's of trillions of dollars into that hole, just to figure out the world around us.


    We have to have an acceptable return on investment.

    For example. Lets take two programs.

    1.) NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Total cost, $720 million dollars.
    2.) EUA's Mars Express. Total Cost, $185 million dollars.

    They do about the same work, have the same instruments, and produced about the same results.

    NASA is not the only government agency that gets bent over a barrel. For example.

    Boeing Overcharges Taxpayers By Up To 177,000 Percent For Army Helicopter Parts | ThinkProgress

    I would love to fund NASA to the end of the universe, I can think of nothing more valuable then exploring the universe. BUT... We need to demand that a 1 cent part gets paid no more then 1 cent. We need to make sure that the parts that are being produced are 100% up to standards. NASA contractor faces fraud charge over space station parts - Houston Chronicle

    And we need to make sure that anything that can be built, is built safely for the low cost, which means that you remove the profit out of the equation.

    The only way NASA can get out from under those contractors that are charging 1,000's of dollars for a dollar part, is by dissolving NASA and replacing it with another agency.
  17. OstrichSaK

    OstrichSaK Android Expert

    If you agree then that's the end of the conversation. Our economy is bankrupt and as a result is causing global economic crisis. The pursuit of discovery is nice but far from a necessity. I think we need to work on our more critical issues before we keep allowing for gross overspending which will likely never yield anything that couldn't have been discovered throwing a fraction of the money at the development here on earth. It's a lot like losing your job, not having money for food or a place to live but you keep your Netflix account because it's 'interesting' and you get 'knowledge' from the movies you watch.

    Remember that applied knowledge is power. Knowing the mating habits of a specific butterfly inside and out that resides in Africa won't do you much good. Americans are paying LOTs of tax money for this kind of knowledge at a time when we can ill afford it.
  18. OstrichSaK

    OstrichSaK Android Expert

    The government can create jobs? Orly? Maybe we should create a program who's sole purpose is to create jobs. Yeah, that's it! Who will pay for those jobs to create more jobs? I know! Tax payers!! The very people who are unemployed who we will take money from to create jobs to create more jobs that just maybe they might get. Yeah... great thinking.

    The federal government can NOT create jobs. Period. It's time we as members of a free society stop looking to our government for solutions and handouts.

    This is the best reasoning of the issue at hand right here. It's easy to sell American's a dream which makes taking endless amounts of money to fund those 'dreams' no matter how poorly run they might be even easier. Now, all of a sudden, money seems to matter in America; specifically government spending. It makes sense that one of the larger programs gets put under a microscope and what's found is shocking in the way of waste. We can't afford any kind of waste right now.
  19. Actually the government has a better track record at creating new jobs then private industry does. You can not name one private sector that has not been started and propped up by government money. Not a signal one. Auto, computers, internet, housing, everything. The military industrial complex alone is in everything you eat, drink, watch, and use.

    Completely agree. We need to completely dismantle that whole united states military. Every square inch of it. Leaving only enough supplies and money to fight off problem with in the boarders of the united states. That would save trillions of dollars a year and get us out of debt in 14 years.
  20. OstrichSaK

    OstrichSaK Android Expert

    Bailouts does NOT count as creating jobs. I would argue that if something is too big to fail then what's the point of the anti-trust act? Isn't that why the government blocks mergers and buyouts all the time? Could it be that they just block the ones that don't benefit them or their cronies? If the gov had done it's job then those entities wouldn't be too large to let them fail. We would let them fail then the small guy with the GREAT idea would have his time to shine since he was waiting in the shadows of the giant for years. The government is a raging failure and trusting that they can more effectively create long-term jobs if we throw more money at them is a joke.

    For anyone who thinks that the government can create jobs here's a short read that will explain a little better why you are misinformed.
  21. Never said one thing about bailouts. I said that government creates more jobs then private industry. There is not a private industry in the united states that was not created by tax payers money.

    Try to name one industry that did not start on a tax payer dime. Just one.
  22. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    This is my argument as well. All knowledge is worth pursuing in my mind.

    Just because NASA is not run well (what government agency is) doesn't mean we should scrap all space travel and never do any research in space ever again. Reformed and overhauled? Sure. Scrapped altogether? Hell no.

    I disagree. The thing is we never know what knowledge we're going to come across while researching something. Some of the greatest scientific discoveries ever were made by accident while scientists were looking for something else.
  23. zuben el genub

    zuben el genub Extreme Android User

    We need some programs kept up. Apparently there are more NEOs than originally thought and they need to be tracked and orbits calculated.

    The sun needs to be monitored. A large solar emission can do more than create auroras, it can disrupt communications and power grids. Since atmosphere distorts, viewing from space is better.

    Plus we need to clean up the space junk. Who knows when or where some of the old stuff will come down unless tracked.

  24. dan330

    dan330 Extreme Android User

    when the gov give XYZ company for a contract to build ABC product for $1bil... do you think that ABC product will appear from NO-where?

    they will use that money to hire other companys (maybe a 100 or more) to deliver different parts of the project... those companies will employ 100s of workers each... these workers will need to spend their hard earned money on services that they can not do for themselves because the are at work. these service companies that hire more workers to......
    on and on..
    that is the economy working .. and moving... as the money is created.

    $100Billion from the gov.. created more than $100 bil jobs and money movement... that is what we need to help push our bad economy back to a healthy one.

    yes.. the gov spending does create jobs!!!!!!!!!!


    investing in research and development is very very important to the economic health of the USA... without it.. we aint got shit... other countries have manufacturing down to an art...
  25. A.Nonymous

    A.Nonymous Extreme Android User
    Thread Starter

    Let's be honest here, we can't do a single thing about an NEO at our present level of technology. If the sun erupted we wouldn't be able to do a single thing about it. I wish I was wrong on both of those things, but I don't think I am.

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