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Forty years ago today..

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by PLC1, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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    ..man landed on the moon.

    Forty years ago today, there were no digital cameras, no internet, no personal computers, no cell phones, nor a whole lot else, yet we landed the first man on the moon.

    Since then, what advances have been made in space?

    My hypothesis is that the motivation for the moon landing was the space race between the US and the Soviet Union. When the latter sent up the first man made object into space (Sputnik) and sent the first man into space (Yuri Gagarin), the gauntlet was down and national pride was on the line. We had to do something big, something that had not been done before, just in order to prove our superiority to the godless communists.

    We rose to the occasion, but, not having a competitor, we've gone soft and quit trying to reach for the stars.

    If we had some serious competition, we'd have established a colony on Mars by now. (maybe)

    Now, we have a rising star in China. Maybe China will be the next big competitor to spur the US on to do great things just to prove we're better than the next guy.

    What do you think? Is lack of competition to blame for lack of progress, or is it something else? Will China soon be a worthy competitor?
     
  2. PLC1

    PLC1 Moderator Staff Member

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  3. top gun

    top gun New Member

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    Interesting question PLC1.

    I believe you are absolutely correct about why we went to the moon... it had everything to do with Sputnik. During the Cold War it was all about posturing.

    And you technology reference was right on as well... then compared to now. I've heard comparisons like the cheapest, weakest laptop computer you can find today is like 100 times more powerful than all the computer technology on an Apollo Space Ship.

    However I don't agree that NASA has went soft since then. I'd say they went in different directions other than just moon or planet landings.

    Developing the Space Shuttle Program was pretty impressive (a multiple use aircraft style landing explorer & transport). Then you have the International Space Station and the probes to Mars... some of that was pretty amazing. And let's not forget the Hubble Space Telescope. We've learned huge amount about the universe from Hubble photography.

    As far a a "space race" with China or someone else sure it could happen. Is that good or bad... well pride can be a good thing or a sin, it depends on why one is proud.

    For me I like to see NASA as a how will this help earth & mankind in the future sort of enterprise. I'd like to be able to break up a big asteroid before it hits earth. Perhaps some planet or planets moon could be useful for storing some types of toxic waste... or maybe there's some resource on some planet somewhere we need now or in the future.

    I don't expect to find alieans... though I suppose it's possible we could find some kind of living organism somewhere.

    My best advice would be I think NASA is one of those programs that has to be balanced due to it's cost depending on the times we face here at home.

    http://www.youtube.com/NASAtelevision

     
  4. dahermit

    dahermit New Member

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    Eventually an big asteroid will hit earth. Scientists are in agreement about that. "It is not a matter of if it is a matter of when." They base this on the fact that it has happened several times before. We would do better to prepare than to expect God to save us.
    It would be more scientifically feasible to just send it into the sun. The problem is not where to store it if we can get it into space; the problem is the amount of energy it takes to get it into space in the first place. Once it is out of earth's gravity, momentum can carry it all the way to the sun without expending any more fuel. With current techonology, it is too costly in the terms of fuel to get it into space.
     
  5. pocketfullofshells

    pocketfullofshells Well-Known Member

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    I think the the bigger issue, is Nasa has been working more on earth itself now, global warming, and other things more, and less on ooo someone walked on mars...but what would that realy do for us? outside ego trip and look cool...is not most of the actul resurch done on mars stuff we can do without people right now anyway? so maybe its just not worth the resources yet
     
  6. top gun

    top gun New Member

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    All true and insightful points my friend.
     
  7. top gun

    top gun New Member

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    I think that's why NASA has to be sort of an influx agency. What can we afford and how can NASA do the most for what we will probably need the quickest.

    Don't get me wrong I see NASA as important... but just not as critical as certain other things at various times.
     
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