Pet peeve: Shuttle up but CNN stares in the mirror

Atlantis just lifted off. For an old fan of the space program, this is bittersweet. I’ve loved watching the launches and humans mucking around outside the atmosphere. But the program was way past its use by date and is probably holding back some of the science we could be doing in less costly unmanned craft.

There’s a romance and a majesty there when we lift this craft off the earth, soemthing entirely lost on the television cables, who blather over the NASA announcers. The official NASA radio announcements are compelling; the brief silences add tremendously to the drama. But brief silences are anathema to a medium that thrills to its own voice.

Someday we’ll be reaching out further than the Space Station. For that, we must turn our money and brain power to making that happen – in my lifetime I hope.

18 responses to “Pet peeve: Shuttle up but CNN stares in the mirror

  1. It won’t happen because there’s no tangible reason for anything other than some unmanned probes. Space exploration isn’t perceived as being tangibly beneficial to people in general. It’s a luxury that we can ill afford now and likely won’t be able to afford for generations.

    That sucks but it’s the reality that we have to live with unless somebody figures out a ROI for further exploration and gets a few treaties unmade.

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    • You’re right. I think of the Voyager, that little probe we sent out in the 70’s, moving toward the very edge of the solar system. Thrillling! If we count inspiration and firing up the human imaginaiton as ‘value added’ – and I do – just imagine, 21st century Voyagers. And the Mars rover – it’s lasted about 100 times longer than predicted. Great stuff.

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  2. And why would I want to watch people watching. TV directors must have ADHD. I steady shot of the shuttle and all that’s going on around it or not is what I want to see. My pet peeve…same thing goes on for televised sporting events, music events, etc., etc. Just show me the action, not the people watching the action. Especially, I don’t want to hear from them.

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    • They’ll always stand in front blocking whatever it is, because it’s all about THEM. That’s the world htey live in – they are the center of the universe.

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  3. I was watching the same! Anderson seemed so shaken by the whole thing.

    But MAN – 5 minutes – you’re out in space! It’s soo cool.

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  4. I find myself disappointed that in 10 or 20 years there likely will be no living humans who have visited any planet or moon.

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  5. I grew up on this stuff!

    You kinda get a rush!

    The next space USA space craft are gonna be private ones developed by ex-NASA people…..
    We’ll have to see how that works out…
    I’m positive it will be a whole lot cheaper!

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    • Maybe we’ll see robots walking on Mars. I hope so.

      I hope we stay in the space business. Private companies will focus on two things – hauling supplies to the space station and space tourism.

      They’re not going to reach beyond that until the government invests again at the level we did with Apollo and the shuttle.

      The old deal – we do the research and development, creating entire new industries and then turn it over to the private sector. Which is fine so long as so many people would just stop with saying gov’t can’t do anything right!

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      • Forget the ISS; it’ll be decommissioned quite soon – 2016 is planned de-orbit time, but I think 2020 is more likely – so nobody wil lbe delivering supplies to it.

        Private space flight will concentrate on: space tourism (sub-orbital & LOE only), basic delivery & maintenance of satellites, and LOE research project (same as the shuttle does).

        This will continue until there’s a market for doing more and the ability to profit upon that market, which will take getting rid of treaty that prevents Lunar colonies among other things – and that ain’t happening while we have nukes.

        The government won’t invest at the previous levels because those levels were driven by the Cold War and nationalism, not sound reason or sustainable business models.

        Yeah, it sucks. It’s sucks even more because we could build reusable ships with today’s technology that could send men to Mars in about a week and Pluto in 30’ish days.

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        • jonolan – developing NASA wasn’t a cold war outlier. Basic government R&D is a constant, been with us long before there was a cold war.

          But I agree with you (see comment above) about the ISS -at least for now. I think once we approach 2020 or whatever, attitudes can change. And there won’t be aniy market incentive to go beyond the moon. That has to come from government.

          But mostly, humans are called to exploration, and we’ll stay with it. Remember – Columbus sailed to US on government money!

          Just read an intersting story about NASA and the future. Think I’ll post it.

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          • NASA, especially the Apollo program, was a direct result of the Cold War and America’s fear of what Sputnik might mean in terms of nuclear warfare, just as the us interstate system was a result of WW2 and fear of a repeat.

            You’re right that government R & D has been a constant, but it has almost always centered on military systems to be used against an equal or possibly superior enemy. In the absence of that R & D languishes.

            So, unless there’s a military or nationalist reason to go back to space, it’ll require a financial reasoning and that will be hampered by the fear that anything done commercially up there could be militarized – e.g., orbital solar w/ transmission planetside is doable with current tech (just barely) but is also devastating weapon.

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          • It’s true – the interstates and intracoastal waterways came from Eishenower who wanted to be sure we could move men and materials around – in WWII all the RR’s got bombed so this was the backup. But of course, we’re still building them! I think they’re going to have to go to four digits soon for those metropolitain bypass roads.

            So yeah, NASA, interstates, the intertubes – all military. And miltary. And military I beleive is government. Yes? 🙂

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          • Yes; the military is – sadly really – funded by federal government.

            My point though was that the research dollars are based upon military needs and, unless China becomes a real threat, we’ve no enemy of comparable or grater tech to spur the research into more advanced systems.

            The caveat to the above being robotics so that we can eventually kill without putting our own at risk (shudder).

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          • jonolan – I”m really not liking these ‘drones’ very much. They’re fine for surveilance (in war) and mapping and planning and all that, but now they’re killing machines. Dont like that at all.

            I recently read that the Penagon is developing very small drones. Some as small as bees. Coming to a neighborhood near you . . . ? That is seriously creepy.

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          • Well, we agree on something. I have some issues with armed drones – and now fully automated platforms – as well.

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  6. Pingback: Still going where no man has gone before. An update. | Whatever Works

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