[FPSPACE] Caves on Mars
DSFPortree at aol.com
DSFPortree at aol.com
Tue Mar 27 17:15:37 EST 2007
I'm trying to discuss the future of U.S. space program, an issue of some
concern to me, which should be of some concern to most people on this list. The
spurious noise level has, however, become rather high, which is what I think may
be troubling you. You're welcome to join in, of course, and improve the
quality of the discussion.
Discussing the future of the U.S. space program is relevant to FPSpace
because things are changing. In a year or two, our space program will be moving in a
new direction, or, more likely, will be looking for a direction yet again.
Asteroid hunting is one way for NASA to make itself relevant. It's an easy
sell, for one thing, in part because Hollywood has primed people. That's not to
say that Hollywood has *ever* gotten it right!
That's also not to say that that should be NASA's whole focus. There are lots
of meaningful things to do in space, lots of constituencies to be served.
Projects which serve multiple constituencies are likely to receive the most
support, so if asteroid hunting can be tied in with science, that'll help its case.
Projects than can be done on the cheap get extra points. That's another thing
in asteroid detection/deflection's favor.
Earth science is another way for NASA to make itself relevant. Almost
everyone (except Jens) accepts that the world is warming up, and what does NASA do?
It muzzles its world-renowned experts in this field. That's nuts.
Then there are the big questions. Is there life elsewhere? How did it all
begin? Those questions appeal to thinking people. Inexpensive automated
spacecraft can answer these questions - are answering those questions - so that's
points in their favor.
None of these observations are original to me. They've come out in many
studies perfromed by NASA, NAS SSB, etc.
In their simplest, cheapest form, not a one of these needs humans in space,
which is not so good. Just my opinion, there. I'd like to see people fly in
space even if it is an extravagance. More on that later.
David S. F. Portree
author & educator
dsfportree at aol.com
Flagstaff Arizona USA
"It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world's
turning and you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like it's
standing still. I can feel it - the turn of the Earth. The ground beneath our
feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, the entire planet is hurtling
around the Sun at sixty-seven thousand miles an hour, and I can feel it. We're
falling through space, you and me. Clinging to the skin of this tiny little
world, and if we let go..." - The Ninth Doctor
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