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Do you think NASA should end the space program?

Well, the space shuttle is about to launch (maybe tomorrow, after repeated delays). Engineers at NASA have apparently argued that the space shuttle is not ready for flight, even finding a problem on the fuel tank.

So, my question. Do you think NASA should end the space program?

Or should they end the current shuttle fleet and work towards something more flexible? The benefits of the space program are numerous, but are the costs worth it?

Here are a couple more NASA spinoffs:

POOL PURIFICATION – Space technology designed to sterilize water on long-duration spacecraft applied to swimming pool purification led to a system that uses two silver-copper alloy electrodes that generate silver and copper ions when an electric current passes through them to kill bacteria and algae without chemicals.

COOL SUIT – Custom-made suit derived from space suits circulates coolant through tubes to lower patient’s body/ temperature, producing dramatic improvement of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other conditions.

BETTER BRAKES – New, high-temperature composite space materials provide for better brake linings. Applications includes trucks, industrial equipment and passenger cars.

More here…

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12 Comments

  1. If you had an organization that employed millions of people (directly and through contractors), provided innovative new technologies in most everything that exists today, provides military support, provides mounds of scientific data, makes new businesses and economies based on their discoveries, fulfills our need to explore, teaches our children and countless other things…

    would you end it?

  2. I just finished a book that was about this. Fiction but interesting read. Dan Brown’s Deception Point. I don’t know what would happen if we didn’t have it anymore. Would kids dream of growing up to be a Pepsi sponsored astronaut?

  3. I think that NASA should get it’s collective head out of the 70s and start looking for more efficient, less wasteful ways of getting into space.

    They should also stop building things that have an extremely high potential of breaking and go with simpler designs.

    Just my 2 cents. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks for the link to the wikipedia article, Ara. I found it really interesting. Lots of great down to earth data!

  5. “I think that NASA should get itโ€™s collective head out of the 70s and start looking for more efficient, less wasteful ways of getting into space.”

    Ara:

    The current Shuttle fleet will be phased out by 2010 once construction on the international space station is complete, at which point NASA will be moving to more cost-effective means of payload transport such as traditional rockets similar to the Titan series.

    NASA has been fully aware of the shuttle’s failings for some time now, but when you have an operating fleet like that you can’t just mothball it. It takes time to decomission and plan for the phase out. Launches are scheduled years in advance.

  6. I definitely have to say no, but with some bias. I’m from the Cleveland area and our NASA division (NASA Glenn) was awarded the contract for the new space vehicle and some other related contracts. It means hundreds of jobs in our area, and Ohio’s unemployment rates have been soaring since 2000 *ahem*, plus it’s always nice to see something that isn’t steel or tires being made in Northeast Ohio. I’m also in agreement with the first response, that NASAs technology has made so many other (unrelated) things possible.

  7. I think everybody here basically agrees with me that the space program should continue, and that the shuttle fleet we have currently should phase out. I’m glad to hear that (thanks Gendo for the info).

  8. Let’s not forget memory foam mattresses. Without NASA we wouldn’t be able to jump up and down on our beds without spilling that glass of wine.

  9. Haha, totally. I forgot about those. That would have made a better picture than the shuttle taking off.

  10. I think that the space program should continue, but they should stop being morons and re-desing the shuttle *now*. You NASA folks are using 30 year old computer technology! I think maybe the times have passed you by?