What about the benefit of mankind someday occupying multiple solar systems with more being added every year
meeting other intelligences
and learning amazing things we can't predict now?
You persist in acting as though the really long term benefits didn't exist.
Brandon wrote:What about the benefit of mankind someday occupying multiple solar systems with more being added every year
It's a prospect I'm utterly indifferent about, and unwilling to spend money on. If you believe it's a Great Thing, put your money where your mouth is first. Go start a non-profit and fund your own vision....
I begin to suspect, Brandon, that Thomas is just baiting you for the entertainment value. Certainly i don't think you're going to get any significant amount of funding for this in the near term, and that it will only be accomplished over very long periods of time. But to deny the value of the exercise, even if modestly funded over long periods of time is a little odd in someone who claims to have a background in science (was it physics you claimed you were educated in, Thomas?). Research of any kind has an intrinsic value which does not need to be further justified, except perhaps in those circumstances in which the "research" is a false front--such as SD doctors or Japanese whaling.
Going into space and doing the necessary research to someday do interstellar, manned flight will have enormous benefits to us, even if only pursued modestly. The electronic world we currently inhabit is very the much the product of the space program of the 60s and 70s.
Shame on you Thomas--you're just arguing for argument's sake.
The White House hasn't even given an aspirational schedule. I've been fighting this battle since the 70s, and this looks to me like abdication with a smokescreen of pretty talk. As I think you've said somewhere, politicians aren't exactly the best people to take the long view seriously.
NASA's narrative problem
Here's an excellent summary from blogger Jeff Foust of the botched roll-out of NASA's new strategy (he and I were on a panel yesterday at the NASA Goddard symposium). Foust explains that NASA bosses didn't see the Constellation-killing White House/OMB budget request until just a few days before the Feb. 1 announcement. The budget shocked a lot of people because it spiked a major program outright -- stake through the heart -- and committed NASA to a new strategy in which there'd be no Ares 1 rocket, no Orion spacecraft, and commercial firms with commercial contracts would take over the task of launching astronauts into orbit. There was no presidential speech to trumpet the new strategy, no preview in the State of the Union Address, limited consultation with Congress, very little backup documentation, etc.
The Administration failed to control the narrative. We are a species that communicates with, and makes sense of the world through, stories (as someone wrote a while back). My piece the other day in The Post quoted Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) saying that folks in Florida think Obama killed the manned space program. Of course, Obama actually boosted funding for NASA, and a lot of money is going into technology development. But he nixed the idea of going back to the moon in the near term. Where will we go instead? Unclear. Undecided. The moon is still a possibility, but maybe we'll go to an asteroid or the moons of Mars