Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NASA - How A Girdle Made The Moon Landing Possible

Nasa Moon
With the end of the space shuttle, we may also be seeing an end to manned space travel as a science endeavor. I am not saying we shouldn't send people into space, we certainly should, but it should be just that - a bold voyage into the unknown and not rationalized with science, where it is not a very good one. Robots are cheaper and better and the Congressional hearings are less messy if a robot dies.

President Obama likely agrees about robots, since he canceled the manned successor to the space shuttle, the Constellation project and there is no valid replacement in sight.

With the space shuttle over, people have given it a lot more honest reassessment that they did in the past - before a week ago, virtually no one in science media would do anything except be a cheerleader for the thing. But the space shuttle also did something positive - it showed us newer is not always better. Some old NASA stuff is still pretty cool.

When talking about the Mercury program, for example, and comparing the NASA of that time to that of today, I noted that we can still fire up an Apollo RS-18 engine from 39 years ago and it works just fine, so it shouldn't take 16 years to go back to the Moon when it only took 9 years the first time. We've lost our way because space started being about science and not about boldly going where no man has gone before.

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