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View Diary: 2013 NASA budget (64 comments)

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  •  When will you acknowledge that the money wasted (0+ / 0-)

    on pie-in-the sky space exploration detracts from basic science research, it certainly doesn't add much to it. Oh, I forgot, Tang, NASA's wonderful contribution to mankind.

    •  Some of that NASA money went to (5+ / 0-)

      develop rugged CCD detectors, the kind that everyone now has in their camera-phone.

      When I was buying them, we had to have 2000 x 2000 pixel arrays custom fabricated. We paid for a lot of R&D.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 10:25:46 PM PST

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      •  Lots of consumer products came from outer space. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, vacantlook, radarlady, Whimsical

        I remember when LCDs, like your watch display, were rare and expensive. Seems like most people think these things just sprung, fully developed, from out of nowhere.

      •  but it shouldn't have to be justified on the basis (6+ / 0-)

        ... of consumer baubles.

        Science, discovery, and exploration should be sufficient motivators in and of themselves.  And our culture commits an epic fail when it doesn't emphasize those values but instead emphasizes shiny consumer baubles as spinoffs.  

        This stuff needs to be taught in school: the value of curiosity and the scientific method, and the fact that gaining new knowledge is an unending process requiring hard work & patience that are ultimately rewarded with discovery.  

        Yes it's nice to get goodies like LCDs on calculators, and solid-state cameras, and so on.  But those have to be considered as secondary rewards for the efforts, like giving a kid a toy for getting good grades when the real prize is a wider choice of colleges and occupations later in life.  

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Mon Feb 13, 2012 at 11:57:55 PM PST

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        •  How else are things supposed to be invented? (0+ / 0-)

          Not for consumer baubles? Why do we do science then, if not to provide new technologies to everyone?

          jad.Blog - another cog in the Internet revolution.

          by aerojad on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 04:17:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  two things: (0+ / 0-)

            There's a difference between "improving technologies" and "consumer baubles."  

            And, there's an intrinsic value that is not reducible to anything else, in finding answers to the fundamental questions of existence.  

            Now in point of fact, we have to make the case to the entire society, so there's going to be a certain amount of bauble-pandering that goes on.  But making that the primary focus really is sinking to the lowest common denominator, almost like a form of bribery.

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 10:15:29 PM PST

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        •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek

          But I still think it's hilarious that I can buy a phone that has a more powerful CCD than we sent to Mars back in the '90s for $199 today. I remember how excited we were when we managed to get a prototype of the next generation camera (complete with the necessary radiation shielding) to fit in a coffee cup.

          The image below was taken with a camera about the size of a large layer cake. The detector is a line array, not a square, and it worked kind of like a giant space fax machine. The camera depended upon the planet surface moving below it during the orbit to advance the next line of the image to the detector, and then it assembled the image from all the lines.

          The Galle Crater always makes me smile.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 08:41:40 AM PST

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          •  how do you pronounce the name of that crater? (0+ / 0-)

            Reason being, it would be great fun to use on people who get all tweako about "faces and secret objects on Mars"

            Is it pronounced like the singular of "(guys and) gals", or like "galley" as in a ship's kitchen, or something else?  

            Yes I'm in favor of science translating to technology.  But I don't much like pandering to the desire for baubles.  If nothing else, sustainability requires fewer baubles rather than more.  That $199 cellphone with the CCD camera will typically end up in the landfill 18 months after it's purchased.  

            We need to radically cut back our ecological impacts if we are ever to last long enough as a technological civilization, to build another civilization on Mars and launch many-generational interstellar missions.   Otherwise something eventually takes out Earth (or Mars, or the inner planets generally) and we fail the test of natural selection on the cosmic scale.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 10:22:21 PM PST

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    •  It's terrible how willfully ignorant... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Whimsical, Sacto Joe

      ...you are about the scientific contribution to mankind that space exploration has gotten us.

      jad.Blog - another cog in the Internet revolution.

      by aerojad on Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 04:16:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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