Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lifting man to the heavens…

This morning was the Space Shuttle Discovery touched down for the last time [VIDEO], the longest-serving and most-travelled winged spaceship ever. 

There are problems with government space exploration:

As the grandest of man's technological advancements, requires the kind of bold innovation possible only to minds left free to pursue the best of their creative thinking and judgment. Yet, by funding the space program through taxation, we necessarily place it at the mercy of bureaucratic whim. The results are written all over the past twenty years of NASA's history: the space program is a political animal, marked by shifting, inconsistent, and ill-defined goals.

And yet, we have seen a great human achievement.

It was other vehicles that first made space a place that man could visit. It was these Shuttles, allowing an easy return journey, that allowed men and women to begin the process by which man first began making a home there.

As the workhorse in that fleet retires, it’s a good time to celebrate that.

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PS: the source of this picture is the blog Temple of the Human Spirit.
If celebrating human achievement is your passion, you should give it a regular visit.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous James Hughes said...

Thank you for spreading the joy!

3/10/2011 10:12:00 am  
Anonymous V said...

Sad to see them being retired, especially when the replacement is so uninspiring.

With today's political leaders it is doubtful we would have even reached space, hell they probably couldn't organise a busride to Nebraska.

You have to admire President Kennedy's 'by the end of the decade we will put a man on the moon', setting some long term goal, in a world now consumed by short-term-ism.

3/10/2011 02:29:00 pm  
Blogger Dave Mann said...

I have often been dismayed that mankind's early progress in space seems to have been simply abandoned after such an inspired, courageous and visionary start.

Also, the other night I watched the movie Bladerunner (2??) which was probably made in the '80s and depicted a sci-fi futuristic society of "2019". I remember a time when today's science fiction was literally tomorrow's fact, but there's no way anything like Bladerunner's technological progress could be achieved by the year 2019 and I wonder if, as a species, the human race is actually slowing itself down??? (Note: the film was crap, but thats not the point hehehehe).

Has anybody got any thoughts on this? Are we slowing down as a species and if so, is this a direct effect of the green sickness in society, or what?

3/10/2011 03:47:00 pm  
Blogger StephenR said...

Depends how you want to measure it Dave:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerating_change

3/10/2011 04:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are problems with government space exploration"

Unlike that flawless private enterprise space exploration eh comrades! Oh wait...

Jol Thang

3/10/2011 09:58:00 pm  
Anonymous V said...

@Dave Mann

I think its been quoted the problem with the shuttles was that they were ahead of their time, and despite the loss of two, it became a fairly routine event to the general public.

NASA is still doing some valuable and incredible exploration with robotic craft that seem to last well in excess of their original mission life. However manned progress does seem to have slowed.

I would have liked to have seen a redesigned shuttle capable of perhaps runway landing/takeoff on the moon. (Build a runway robotically or something)

Then there might be commercial opportunities with Helium-3 prospecting etc that could be developed.

3/11/2011 12:23:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Has anybody got any thoughts on this? Are we slowing down as a species"

Yes, because of over-taxation and over-regulation, and we've transformed governments from organizations that often got things done, into massive bureaucracies that pay millions of people fat salaries to push paper around and harass companies. Nowadays your tax money goes to bureaucrats so they live in nice houses, drive nice cars, and watch big-screen TVs, for pushing paper all day. This is basically what the Wisconsin protests are fundamentally about.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/12/opinion/12brooks.html?_r=2&th&emc=th

"Over the past few decades, governments have become entwined in a series of arrangements that drain money from productive uses and direct it toward unproductive ones.

New Jersey can’t afford to build its tunnel, but benefits packages for the state’s employees are 41 percent more expensive than those offered by the average Fortune 500 company. These benefits costs are rising by 16 percent a year.

New York City has to strain to finance its schools but must support 10,000 former cops who have retired before age 50.

California can’t afford new water projects, but state cops often receive 90 percent of their salaries when they retire at 50. The average corrections officer there makes $70,000 a year in base salary and $100,000 with overtime"

3/11/2011 02:28:00 am  

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