Saturday, March 24, 2007

Space Duds

A headline on CNN.com this morning says "NASA Developing New Space Duds." If you're like me, you're surpised to find out that the article is about new types of space suits being developed by NASA, and not about more in the series of ridiculously expensive failures that NASA has blown into the stratosphere over the last few years. President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration," which includes manned missions to Mars, as well as unmanned probes to the moon and other bodies, will cost 16 billion dollars this year, and will average about 20 billion per year every year between 2009 and 2020, with no end in sight. At that rate, it won't be as expensive as Dubya's other boondoggle, the Iraq war (although it may last as long), but it's going to be a horrific waste of time and manpower. No one has properly explained just what benefit the nation or the world gets from sending seven or eight (presumably sane) young folks to Mars in a tin can, especially when the same amounts of money applied to the unmanned space program would yield much more in the way of actual scientific results.

Not to mention what it might do for our educational system.

10 comments:

Thomas Paine said...

I admit to having mixed, ambivalent thoughts about space programs, manned or otherwise. I guess I was one of the many who were caught up in the idealism of Kennedy's call for putting a man on the moon, and I probably considered 2001 a Space Odyssey as being predictive.

But the point of my comment is the cognitive dissonance of Dubbya calling for a program so dependent on science -- the thought of spending billions and risking lived all based on the work of creation scientists and ID proponents is just to ludicrous to contemplate -- do schools such as Oral Roberts University even turn out enough G_d-fearing creation scientists to staff such a project?

Archaeopteryx said...

TP, that's an excellent point. If Mars is truly suspended on a glass dome just a few miles up, it should be no problem at all to get to it. And the angels on Mars will greet us as liberators.

TenaciousK said...

Spaceduds: the latest from the creators of Space Dust and Pop Rocks. A fusion of carmel, chocolate and carbon dioxide.

Rumors that chasing a box with a can of soda will explode your stomach were quickly dispelled by the manufacturer. [See Snopes for further details.]

Homeland security announced yesterday a ban on this volatile new candy in the nation's airports. Great Britain and France are expected to follow suit. Canada observes, however, that even the "supersized" box is less volatile than a travel-sized can of hairspray, and refuses to join in the hysteria.

pctsk: Clearly, I've failed to be sufficiently politically correct. Again.

Keifus said...

Okay, did anyone really believe, I mean really, that anyone was really going to be getting to Mars, or even the moon, anytime soon? It strikes me as nothing more than a vehicle to chalk up extra funding (everyone don't forget to put "mission to mars" in your proposal titles) which wouldn't even be so bad if it were chasing a real vision.

Much as I try to avoid ad hominem bandwagoning (sorry about that phrase), I must concur that our president is no visionary. I suppose it's nice that he's into funding science at all, but this is nothing more than lazy recycling of a popular program from forty years ago, which is as likely to bear wholesome fruit as all the recycled Reagan policies.

That said, I do harbor some romantic notions about manned space travel however.

K

nwbnyde: naugahyde bone

Thomas Paine said...

LOL

I figure Bush expectations of getting to Mars are about as reliable as his predictions for the quick success in Iraq!

Something tells me the plan is for Haliburton to get the bulk of the contracts.

Archaeopteryx said...

Keifus: By "romantic," do you mean you're interested in hot Martian chicks?

TK: Are these candies by the same people who gave us Space Food Sticks? Whatever happened to Space Food Sticks? And another thing--how come I can't get no Tang 'round here?

TP: The Haliburton thing comes closer to explaining Bush's space initiative than just about anything else. That and the "Hey, Look Over There" effect.

TenaciousK said...

Arch, you've forgotten some of the most important benefits of the space program:

Freeze dried ice cream, and that unmeltable paraffin-like faux-chocolate substance.

I understand space duds have now been banned from sale. Something about Mountain Dew and IED's, I think.

What, you can't get Tang around there? What kind've benighted place do you live in, anyway? Check here. I see ads for Orange, Mango, Passion and Pomelo Tang listed (Gourmet Tang! Perhaps a spin-off from new space program funding? Bush, you rock!)

lavnmie: My lavoratory.

TenaciousK said...

Oh, and who isn't interested in hot martian chicks?

flgsbd: flags by day. [ya got me...]

Keifus said...

Well Arch, the romance comes from all those years reading science fiction, so hot green martians? I've gotta go with "yes".

gcjopo: green project

Thomas Paine said...

Hot Martian Chicks?

POON Tang?

Yeah, Bush just might have stumbled onto something here LOL