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dmfalk

We must return...

by
...To the Moon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSTY3hjgD4c

Courtesy Fight For Space.

d.m.f.
Viewed: 8 times
Added: 5 years ago
 
Winterimage
5 years ago
It will probably be a long time before we go back to the moon, unless someone finds rich ores of minerals that we can excavate. There seems to be a general feeling of 'been there, done that, bought the t-shirt', especially following the drop in the economy.

I kind of agree, even though the astronomy/sci-fi geek in me wants moonbases and shiny domed cities on the lunar surface. Still, I can't help but feel that it's not right to spend so much money on something that won't really give us new science or new resources. Maybe we should focus on taking care of the Earth and the living things on it, rather than going out of this world.
dmfalk
5 years ago
First off, NASA's annual budget is less than 1 billion dollars, US. Sounds like a lot, unless you realise the US government budget, annually, is in the multiple trillions of dollars. And yet, aside from the military (with about 2/3 of a trillion dollars, annually), it's the most visible branch of the US government that has not been privatised as a government agency. (The US Postal Service is a private for-profit company with federal employees, and has been since the Nixon administration. Never should've been, to be honest, but that's a whole different rant.)

That said, there are numerous scientific and national-security reasons for America to return to the Moon. (The latter can be summed up in two words: The Chinese.)

And as Shadycat mentioned below, numerous technological advances over the last 55 years (since NASA's creation) have come forth in our daily lives, including computing & broadcasting technologies (miniaturisation was made a priority by NASA in 1960, which gave rise to integrated-circuit chips). We have NASA to thank for the development and constant improving of solar power, to where it is now a commercially-viable option. (Telstar, in 1962, was the first to be realised under both the aforementioned initiatives.)

Everything from clothing to fuel-efficient engines to medical to agriculture to low-cost (and ever-shrinking) computers- including your mobile phone- is all due to NASA. Loss of life, especially in natural disasters, has been drastically reduced because of NASA technology.

Even the European Space Agency's budget is tiny, compared to its accomplishments and returns to the public at large!

Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Fight For Space explains the benefits vs. cost from the American perspective, how only 1/10th of a US cent for every tax dollar goes to fund Great Things and Accomplishments that certainly have spanned more than half a century. (The goal of Fight For Space is to bring it up to *shock!* one cent!)

I've spent my life following the space program, and space research in general, and I can tell you, I've personally benefitted from many of the accomplishments, as someone with multiple medical conditions-- Including lighter, thinner, bifocal glasses, made from composites that were developed for the space program, which are needed to replace my now-nonexistent eye lenses.

d.m.f.
shadycat
5 years ago
I have to contradict Winterimage and state that space exploration has provided us with new tech and new resources, and will continue to do so. I'm typing this on laptop that represents more computing power than was available to NASA when they achieved the first moon landing. It also is at the very least an indirect result of that program, the technological development being driven by the needs of the program and, as the video points out, the program served to inspire the generation that would revolutionize computer technology.
As to the expense, I would point out that what it costs the US to be in Afghanistan for a month is more than has been spent on NASA since its inception.

dmfalk
5 years ago
A typical calculator watch has more computing power than the Apollo 11 onboard computer! THAT alone is a measure of how far things have gone! :) (Next, compare that to a typical cellphone, and mind = blown! ;) )

Most, when they see what NASA does and has done, think they have a massive budget, and think that could be better spent elsewhere...not even realising they're effectively doing it for peanuts, and that the return alone is going well into the things they'd rather see going into, like feeding the poor-- It's because of NASA satellites and technology that have gone into rather drastic improvements in agriculture and food productivity, even keeping us from having another repeat of the 1930s floods and dust bowls!

And you're right- What we're typing on, here, is as a result of a 1960 NASA initiative, to bring computing technology from the size of a (rather overheated!) room down to something less than 1 foot square, now with more firepower than the Cray supercomputers of the 1980s!

d.m.f.
DOtter
5 years ago
" dmfalk wrote:
A typical calculator watch has more computing power than the Apollo 11 onboard computer! THAT alone is a measure of how far things have gone! :) (Next, compare that to a typical cellphone, and mind = blown! ;) )


To be fair, most of the computing needed for the mission was done in advance on the ground by rooms full of supercomputers... which had a fraction of the power of a typical 2013 gaming rig. Okay, now imagine how powerful a 2013 supercomputer must be; mind = blown! And yes, that is also a direct result of NASA's need for small, fast, light, powerful computers.

(Even so, NASA craft were largely behind the curve. For instance, Space Shuttles had five computers controlling their systems in order to assure that there'd always be one left to do the job. They were S-100 models from the 1970s which were so deeply embedded in the vessel's design and construction that they could not be upgraded or replaced. Shuttle astronauts used to take laptops on missions to help them track their orbits because the laptops had several times the power of all five onboard computers combined.)
dmfalk
5 years ago
Well, the Apollo 11 onboard computer was needed to calculate guidance for landing- Only that said computer crashed! (Oh, my!) Armstrong had to land by stick!

But yes- Budgeting concerns were part of why the computers were so integrated into the shuttles as to make them non-upgradeable...and said computers were failing years before the program was shut down. (Nixon approved the shuttle program; Ford cut its funding back.)

Also, it wasn't until well into the ISS construction that NASA finally upgraded video feeds from colour-sequential low-bandwidth analogue to digital.

d.m.f.
DOtter
5 years ago
Oh yes, there was a reason why NASA wanted test pilots for the astronaut program! It paid-off that day.

It's ironic; NASA's need for better technology has driven some of the most advanced technologies we have today, yet budget constraints have kept them behind the times. What I think we should do is start a movement in the Tea Party to limit the huge drain NASA puts on America's economy. Point out how much NASA gets every year, as if millions were still a lot of money for a government agency. Preach (and I use the word advisedly) that NASA's budget should be immediately brought to one half of one penny for every dollar of Federal spending. We'll make our motto, "Half a penny for NASA and not one penny more!" And the fact that NASA's current budget is a tenth of a penny for every dollar of Federal spending and bringing it to a half-penny would actually be a five-fold increase... we'll just keep that to ourselves for now. *bwa-ha-ha*
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