Space shuttle Columbia: "We have found the smoking gun&

That’s possible! :cry:

Hubbard said the board may recommend that future shuttle flights have better imagery on takeoff and the capability to perform in-orbit inspection and repair.

Yes, because the shuttle is such a useful program that we’ll band-aid it up. Gah.

You’d suggest we just ground them and give up manned access to space for the 5 to 7 years minium it would take to come up with an alternative?

For once I agree with Jason. The shuttle program is craptastic.

We have no need to get into near earth orbit. It’s a huge waste of time and money.

We should either be returning to the moon as a stepping stone to Mars, or we should be heading straight for Mars.

You’d suggest we just ground them and give up manned access to space for the 5 to 7 years minium it would take to come up with an alternative?[/quote]

You’re damn straight I am. What the hell are we doing manned space flight for at this point, anyway? Easterbrook covered all this; there’s no need for bodies up there at this point.

I agree with Jason except that I’d rather wait 50-70 years since ANY kind of manned space flight is clearly pointless in the foreseeable future. What, send five guys on a hyper-expensive mission to dig up some rocks on Mars? Yeah, that’s a great use of money, effort, and resources…

Here’s where I part ways with you guys.

Sending missions to Mars is clearly in the best interests of humanity. If we could establish self-sufficient colonies on Mars we would be taking the first steps toward expanding our ability to live elsewhere than Earth.

We could start a mars colonization project right now, but robotics has a ways to go before it’d have any hope at all of self-sufficiency.

That’s my take on it, too. Establishment of self-sufficient colonies is outside of our reach for all I know. If that was possible then it would be worth the effort but I don’t see that, and sending up guys in space suits for limited expeditions doesn’t really bring us one step closer to that goal. More basic research is needed, and that can be done right here on Earth or with robotic spacecraft.

If we had taken all the money we’ve been spending trying to keep the creaky old shuttles going and spent that on new booster development, we could have a better system by now. The Shuttle seemed like a good idea at the time, but given the way its economics have worked out, some of the more ambitious alternatives floated at the time of the shuttle’s development (such as a manned, air-breathing first stage) would have been better. Rather than throw more money down that rathole for 20 years we should cut our losses and start working on the next generation now. But NASA can’t think outside the shuttle box.

We needn’t give up on manned space flight in the interim; just rely on Russian rockets, which are relatively cheap.

If you guys had been around in the 1400s, we’d all be content thinking the sun rotated around the earth and everyone would be stuck living in places like Germany and France.

Bah. Where the hell is your curiousity, your spirit of exploration?

Our wish to kill astronauts for no apparent reason?

I’m still waiting on my flying car. When do I get that?


Missions with a goal is one thing, but pointless missions is quite another.

The Deep Space 1 mission was a great idea. Put a dozen new techs on a ship and send it out to see what works and what doesn’t.

But those missions are a rarity in NASA these days. Everything seems to be “hey, I have an idea… lets send a probe to orbit a meteor”. “OK… why?” “Ummm… because that would be so frig’n cool!”.

The missions to Mars make sense, if they are a forerunner for something more advanced. Once again though, they seem to be done for “neatness” sake. Searching for fossiles? Isn’t that something we should do after a colony is established?

I’d prefer to see experiments like probes attempting to extract water, creating rocket fuel on the fly from readily available resources on Mar’s surface, and maybe even another habitat dome on Earth. (the last habitat dome failed because the plants produced less oxygen than expected. This is very valuable information to have and should be expanded on).

Well, to quote Kirk… “risk is their business.”

I’m not saying be reckless, but everyone who signs up for the astronaut program knows that they just climbed up to the top of the danger ladder of jobs, even in good times.

Without risk, there can be no reward. And we could go at the absolutely glacial pace of getting to the moon in 500 years, or we could try and do our damndest to cut that time down. I’m for the latter. If not for us, then for at least our children or grandchildren.

I’m saying there’s no goddamn reward. Putting people in space at this point accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Putting people in space may not seem immediately worthwhile, but the process of developing the technologies to enable/improve space travel is the important bit.

  • Alan

Which, arguably, the space shittle program doesn’t contribute to. Personally, I feel that NASA is the single most important part of our government. Looking at the long-term picture, the potential is huge. Yet it seems more stuck than some government agencies on the status quo. The shuttle program seems designed to do what the space station and cheaper Russian rockets can also do. I’m not sure what stage the international space station is at, but let’s get that up and running, use the Russian system for getting us up and down (seems no more dangerous than the shuttle).

As for the statement that if we were alive in the 1400’s, we’d be content to assume the sun revolves around the flat earth… what? Seems like faulty reasoning. I think your detractors would be the ones who believed there was something to discover on the other side of the round Earth and were searching for a better way to get there.

The shuttle seems to violate the Okham’s Razor, KISS rule type stuff left, right, and center. It doesn’t save any money, and it seems so much more potentially dangerous.

So we should have stopped after Apollo 1?

NASA does need to move beyond the shuttle program and we need to keep seeing what works and what doesn’t in space.

No, it was right to continue the program. Keep moving along, step by step, until you reach your goal.

Problem is, NASA reached their goal of landing on the moon…and had no idea where the hell to go from there. There was some stumbling around about soil samples and testing for mineral content that looked promising, but that all stopped and it just became abour driving around a cart and
refining landing techniques.

I’d say NASA hasn’t had a game plan since the last Apollo mission.

I’m not saying we ditch things like The Hubble or similiar prospects. We need to continue the pursuit of science for science’s sake. But even Hubble has a goal in mind: look at stuff far away and make new discoveries. But NASA seems to be doing nothing but wasting time and money with the occassional science or goal oriented mission. Orbiting a meteor didn’t discover anything except that there was a fine layer of dust on the surface. It wasn’t that they didn’t discover what they were hoping to… it was that the mission had no goal except to orbit the meteor and take pictures. No goal in mind. No hopeful discovery.

If we’re planning on hitting Mars, we need a similiar structure to the Apollo program.