Beefy Boxes and Bandwidth Generously Provided by pair Networks
Clear questions and runnable code
get the best and fastest answer
 
PerlMonks  

Re: The most important near-term goal of a space program:

by Happy-the-monk (Monsignor)
on May 10, 2007 at 10:05 UTC ( #614594=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to The most important near-term goal of a space program:

Keep the voters busy dreaming about space instead of dealing with arduous but real problems on earth.

Excuse my sarcasm, but I beleive this is true.

Cheers, Sören


Comment on Re: The most important near-term goal of a space program:
Re^2: The most important near-term goal of a space program:
by Ovid (Cardinal) on May 10, 2007 at 10:09 UTC

    If only that were the case. So far politicians have done a lousy job of keeping voters dreaming about space. At least then we'd have something to dream about.

    Cheers,
    Ovid

    New address of my CGI Course.

      Absolutely. I too think the space program has had enormous tangible benefits, but ... and here I stray into mush territory ... the abrupt ending of the Apollo program in 1972 was like a kick in the heart I can still feel today. I feel both enormously lucky I was alive (and to a certain extent conscious - I was only 8 years old when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon) to witness some of the first steps into space AND enormously sad that ... it just died.

      I don't know how this will sound, but knowing that most folks just got BORED with it after Apollo 11 was over, and wanted their regular TV shows to not be interrupted any more, was one of the great nails in the coffin of my being able to understand what a lot of people are all about. I'm completely serious about that.

        I'm all for sending the Survivors and American Idols into space, then we can get the space program back on TV and get rid of the crap... all at the same time! ;)

                        - Ant
                        - Some of my best work - (1 2 3)

Re^2: The most important near-term goal of a space program:
by rhesa (Vicar) on May 10, 2007 at 10:38 UTC
    s/space/{medical care,education,employment,peace}/

    Politicians want us to dream about a lot of things...

Re^2: The most important near-term goal of a space program:
by jcoxen (Deacon) on May 10, 2007 at 10:54 UTC
    The US Space Program is possibly the only Government program to ever pay for itself. The returns to the economy in the form of jobs, new technology, etc are incalculable. Spin-offs alone are the basis for most of the advancements in computers, medical technology, food storage, metalurgy, weather prediction, communcations...

    Do you have a cell phone? Thank the Space Program.
    Do you watch Digital TV? Thank the Space Program.
    Do you own a computer? Thank the Space Program.
    Have you or anyone you know ever had a serious medical problem diagnosed with a CAT Scan or MRI? You quite literally owe a life to the Space Program.

    You can't judge the value of something based on simple cause and effect. You HAVE to look at the secondary and tertiary effects to see the true cost or benefit. The early Space Program didn't pay off directly but the spinoff technologies the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs gave birth to are still growing and paying dividends today. And they'll continue to do so for the forseeable future. The Space Program, especially now that it's privatizing, is money well spent.

    Just my .02 worth,

    Jack

      The problem with that argument is that there are many other "secondary and tertiary" causes besides the space program. Why thank the space program, and not war, for example? Should I thank Hitler for the microwave oven, given that World War II encouraged the development of radar technology, which in turn gave rise to the microwave oven? (Oops, Godwin's Law violation! ;-)
        This strikes me as flamebait but I'll try to answer it anyway - apologies if I'm wrong about your intent.

        Intent is a consideration. Undoubtedly war has driven a huge number of advances for mankind that have eventually helped to make life better - medicine, explosives (I'm thinking construction here, not destruction). Even the Space Program got a boost from war - from Congreve's rockets to the German V2 program.

        But whether the good derived from those secondary and tertiary benefits outweighs the evil of war is a question for God, not me. I do believe that the benefits derived from space exploration more than outweigh the costs involved. And the intent of exploration is usually benign at worst where the intent of war is usually malign.

        Jack

      For some reason, the acronym EINIAC comes to mind every time someone attributes the invention of the computer to the space program.
        On the face of it you have a point. ENIAC does predate the space program. But ENIAC was based on vacuum tube technology and cost huge amounts of money and filled rooms. The space program gets it's computer kudos because it brought about the use of solid state circuitry in computers which eventually resulted in mass production, lower prices, smaller size, etc. All of which is why today you can buy a computer at WalMart that makes ENIAC look like an abacus and is small enough to fit into a students backpack. So, if you own a computer...

        Jack

      Have you or anyone you know ever had a serious medical problem diagnosed with a CAT Scan or MRI? You quite literally owe a life to the Space Program.

      Since my real career is in medical technology, I feel compelled to dispel this misconception. While while the space program drove advances in electronics & computers, which advanced the capabilities of CT (the term CAT has been depreciated for years) and MRI, the space program is not directly responsible for them.

      CT scanners are based on x-ray technology, which has been around for over a century. As for the scanning technology behind CT imaging, you probably have more reason to thank the Beatles than the space program. The CT scanner was developed in England by EMI, who made a pile of money to spend on such things from recording the Beatles' music.

      MRI technology was demonstrated in the 1950's, before the existence of the space program. It just wasn't applied to medicine until the 1980's.

      On the other hand, the space program has had a more direct and significant impact on vital signs monitoring and medical telemetry. The real legacy of the space program is more often the advancement of technology than the creation of it.

        more often the advancement of technology than the creation of it
        That's basically the same thing (which is one of the reasons I think patents are a ridiculous, misbegotten notion).

        print substr("Just another Perl hacker", 0, -2);
        - apotheon
        CopyWrite Chad Perrin

      Have you or anyone you know ever had a serious medical problem diagnosed with a CAT Scan or MRI? You quite literally owe a life to the Space Program.

      Well mine was not really discovered by means of one of those, although they helped in making sure about it and monitoring the progress of the disease. However what I'd really like is a medical tricorder and even more importantly, the associated therapeutic technology. I imagine that both in the 23rd and in the 24th century the doctor would stop me and say: you have to stay for ten minutes to remove some tumoral cells... and the next day I would wake up just as fine as I've ever been. But it's not like that yet! ;-)

Log In?
Username:
Password:

What's my password?
Create A New User
Node Status?
node history
Node Type: note [id://614594]
help
Chatterbox?
and the web crawler heard nothing...

How do I use this? | Other CB clients
Other Users?
Others chilling in the Monastery: (4)
As of 2014-09-02 04:49 GMT
Sections?
Information?
Find Nodes?
Leftovers?
    Voting Booth?

    My favorite cookbook is:










    Results (20 votes), past polls