September 14th, 2009 18:23 EST
Regarding 'Put the space program on hold'
While I understand the author`s opinions here and to some small degree agree with them, let me point out some obvious errors in his judgment.
First the NASA budget is tiny, and many observatories are operated privately.
The Hubble while government run has done marvelous things to intrigue MANY ordinary citizens and promote science learning in schools.
The author says we will never live on the moon or Mars etc., sounds like the fools who said we will never land on the moon, never pass the speed of sound, never fly, and never circle the flat earth. I could mention a whole host of NEVERs small minded people have claimed we would Never do!
Finally the author asks what good has come from all the space knowledge, and I reply quite a bit. True looking at galaxies has taught us little it seems, but we have learned the age and shape of our universe, and what dangers to look out for. Closer their are 2 stars which could sometime in the next million years explode and in 1 case bathe us in deadly particles, and it would be nice to figure out some way of defending ourselves. If we take his NEVER approach we would stay forever ignorant of space, building a fantastic society, until the blast wave kills us all.
Learning about other stars we learn about our own and it`s possible dangers, and when a possible giant asteroid hits us I personally hope humanity is not stuck to just the one planet.
I`ve obviously left a lot out, but stop space exploration and study and you cut a lot of jobs too with there attendant suppliers and their jobs. There is a practical reason to keep space study going!
Oh, and might I mention, without space studies you wouldn`t have satellites, no cell phones, no internet or at least a far less effective one based solely in land lines, no GPS and so on. Sure the author might amend his rant to exclude orbital studies but then what about radiation that causes static, have to study the sun, and cosmic rays. That leads to study of stars and giant magnitar bursts and other huge radiation sources, and studying other planets to understand our own. Remember, it was the study of venus and why it is so similar to us yet so different that led to concerns about global warming sooner, another practical result of space study. Without the study of Venus we might today only be beginning to think about global warming rather than actually taking steps, or we might not for decades more.
So to the author, wise up and support space studies. In these hard times increasing their budget might be out, but certainly stop that idiotic cheering of their budget cuts as it only hurts us all.