On Air: Do we need another giant leap ?


40 years ago this week and man – in the shape of Neil Armstrong at first – walked on the moon for the first time.

At the time , it seemed like everything was possible.

Holidays on the Moon ? by the end of the decade surely….actually living on the moon? By the end of the century, as good as guaranteed.

But the magic was wearing thin even by the second mission.

As this excellent article by Andrew Chaikin says…

“By the time of the final Apollo Moonwalks, on the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972, the networks no longer covered the moonwalks in their entirety. We had already stopped watching.”

So what did the Moon do for us ? Professor Martin Ward at Durham University :

“There are superficial justifications for visiting our nearest neighbour, one being that space technology saw the advent of non-stick frying pans. However, the Apollo programme also pushed forward computer technology and the miniaturisation of electronics which benefit our lives today.”

So are we due another “Giant leap”? Do we need one? With the world heading for over population and climate change, isn’t it time we looked to the Moon – and beyond – again?

Does the fact that interest in, and funding for, space programmes is a lower priority of governments show that it was only ever about muscle-flexing in the Cold War anyway?

Do you want our scientists (and tax dollars) to look inwards to the Earth, our outwards?

Professor Stephen Hawking :

“We need to renew our commitment to human spaceflight. Robotic missions are much cheaper and gather important scientific data, but they don’t spread the human race into space, which should be our long-term strategy. If one is considering the future of humanity, we have to visit other worlds ourselves.”

apollo men

Do you agree with him? Do we not owe it to the men and women who gave the world such hope 40 years ago ?

165 Responses to “On Air: Do we need another giant leap ?”

  1. 1 Mark Sandell
    July 16, 2009 at 18:49

    Minnesota Public Radio tweeted to say they asking a similar question :

    • 2 Tom K in Mpls
      July 16, 2009 at 19:32

      And please people if you like non commercial music, please listen to the NPR station The Current: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/radio/services/the_current/streams.shtml

    • 3 Rehm-Wimmer Maria
      July 17, 2009 at 19:36

      We certainly need a giant leap – in humanity!
      The first programme for the moon wasspurred by the rivalry with the USSR and the cold war. Till now the pressing problems on earth have not been solved, what about President Obama proclaiming an end to worldwide poverty till the end 2020? And the rest of the world taking the same effort in reaching this aim?
      This would be a GIANT LEAP!

    • 4 Maria
      July 17, 2009 at 19:58

      We certainly need a giant leap – in humanity. Thinking of the pressing problems on earth – from extreme poverty to climate change – maybe we could put all our efforts into solving one one of these challenges – till 2020, perhaps?
      It would be a GIANT LEAP.

  2. 5 steve
    July 16, 2009 at 18:57

    It’s sad what happened to society. Back then, kids aspired to be astronauts. Now kids desire to be on reality TV shows.

    • July 16, 2009 at 19:39

      @steve: How about combining big brother with the long term mission to mars?


      I really don’t understand how society had lost all interest in the space programme… I think it’s inspiring, not only because of reaching out for new worlds, but also because of the joint effort from different nations, formerly in conflict with each other. imagine, back then it was a race against each other to the moon and the world was at the brink of WW III.

    • 7 Jessica in NYC
      July 16, 2009 at 22:50

      Arggg! I was thinking that, too.

      It’s appalling that so many kids grow up with the TV as their babysitter. I can’t get over it. They know all famous people’s names, but could not tell me where the capital is on a map.

    • July 18, 2009 at 20:55

      is a, very sad story alltogether , out my own esperince i, can say is out of selfishness desires by focuseing oo weathly things insted on Godly ways our leader shoul lead us well chilrens are watching , irenaus chinedu lagos Nigeria

  3. 9 jr
    July 16, 2009 at 19:15

    I agree with steve that the first moon landing lifted the spirit and made us aspire.

    part of the problem is, IMO, that NASA had a brief to “get there before the end of the decade” but no more; for instance, a lunar observatory (perhaps just inside the ‘dark side’) would yield better images/data than any number of hubble telescopes. anyway, the brief moment of hope has passed, it’s all war and injustice from here on.

  4. 10 Tom K in Mpls
    July 16, 2009 at 19:39

    There is only one reason, currently, to fund a project like Apollo. That is for man to live off this planet. There will be far more technological advances than we see from war. The practicality is very debatable. But the two big questions are, how important is this to the survival of mankind? And how important is it to progress towards this goal now?

  5. 11 patti in cape coral
    July 16, 2009 at 20:12

    Maybe I’m noticing it because I’m getting older, but it seems like our attention spans are getting shorter and our minds want to jump to the next new thing faster and faster than ithey used to. Well, maybe not my generation (I’m 38), but I definitely notice it in the younger generation.

    If this is not just my imagination, a giant leap won’t last very long in people’s minds. I think it would be wonderful if a new breakthrough in space exploration could be achieved, but it would be nice to end world hunger first.

  6. 12 RightPaddock
    July 16, 2009 at 22:11

    That era was such an inspiration, I’ve always been astounded at what was achieved, not just the Moon landings but more especially the Pioneer and Voyager missions. The latter are still calling home and telling us new stuff about the outer reaches of the Solar System. They were launched in 1977, how many of us have anything electro-mechanical that was built back then that still works.

    As a direct result of the first moonwalk in 1969 I met the first, and arguably the only, woman I ever loved. So I know exactly where I was, in Australia it happened the middle of a Monday, so I was at work and …..

    I don’t know if the current younger generation would be inspired by a return to manned space missions, they don’t seem inspired by Hubble to the extent I am.

    Perhaps if it had something to do with solving Global Warming – eg giant Solar Energy collectors in geo-stationery orbit that transmit their generated power back to earth as microwaves.

    • 13 Ann
      July 17, 2009 at 15:30

      Hey RightPaddock – I know what you mean. When I first saw those Hubble images, I was absolutely transfixed with wonder and awe!!!

      And on a visit to Oz I went to a space station that tracks Hubble – much of it was over my head because I’m not scientifically minded but wow it was facinating nonetheless. 🙂 If I come back in another life, I want to be an astronomer 🙂

    • 14 rainbowhope
      July 20, 2009 at 10:24

      I don`t think we have to colonise another space so much as to keep alive our imagination , sense of wonder and self awareness of our place in the known Universe. Stay on the Blue Planet to solve the problems here and enriched by space research. The problem here on Earth is Greed . There is need for more Moral Philosophy in early school to fill the gap left by the decrease in promotion of , say, faith principles.

  7. 15 Thomas Murray
    July 16, 2009 at 22:15

    Contrary to what some claim, the U.S. space program did not invent Teflon or Velcro, just make them more famous, as they were invented years before the first piece of Russian hardware entered orbit. (Credit for Velcro goes to the Swiss, Teflon was discovered by mistake by some guy named Plunket at Dupont.)

    But the Durham U. professor’s point is quite well taken. Without the Soviet/American push for space, we would probably have a computer technology NOW only at the level of the late ’70s.

    We would be better served if we set our sites on Mars. It would take a multinational mega-budgeted super science to do; like CERN, only a billion times more dangerous.

    But the most immediate (and obvious) offshoot would be the management of fusion energy.

    The reason is that, for humans, a conventional rocket trip to Mars is impossible.

    Eight and a-half months there, in a lazy fuel-sipping Hohmann trajectory, would only entail that the crew wait another 13 months for Earth and Mars to sync up for the trip back, which will take another 8 & 1/2 months. How do you think you’d manage if you had to share a bus-sized metal tube for 2 & a-half years with four other sweaty males for company?

    However, if you could get a crew there in under 70 days, the crew could take some snaps from orbit for a week, then turn around and come right back. A chemical rocket that could develop such energy (about 14 kps above 30 kps orbital) would have to be the size of four ((count ’em, 4!!!)) Empire State Buildings, all stacked end-to-end, and already parked in orbit around Earth.

    That’s for little over four months in space. Do the math.

    Going back to the Moon is a waste of money.

    –Got my spaceboots on!!! in Louisville, Kentucky, US.

    PS. I’ve already written a book on the subject. Sold one copy to a Russian rocket scientist who corrected all my Russian misspellings. The numbers are all well vetted, except for the 70 day time window (my mind’s fuzzy on that one, it might be 62). And, believe it or not, the Empire State Bldg. calculation was the easiest to make. Just factor four starts+stops+starts+stops @ 14 kps, then compare fuel tank size to the Saturn V. (Yup, even in space, size matters.) Cheery thought. Peace, –TMM.

    • 16 RightPaddock
      July 17, 2009 at 23:12

      @Thomas Murray

      If I drive from NY to LA I’ll have to stop to pick up some gas.

      So maybe before despatching the people to Mars we could pre-position one time refuelling stations along the route and in orbit around Mars. That should reduce the size of the launch vehicle to something smaller than 4 ESB’s – maybe only 1 ESB;)

  8. 17 Ramesh, India
    July 16, 2009 at 23:37

    professor hawking is right. Most of us fear Armageddan. in order to make human race last indefinitely, we need to explore other planets. Surely not because we are making the earth dirty.

  9. 18 Tan Boon Tee
    July 17, 2009 at 04:04

    It has been most discomforting for space lovers to note that no achievement surpassed that of moon-landing in the past 40 years. One would have wished a new footprint on Mars or a rudimental colonization of moon for scientific research for the preparation of space migration.

    It took only 8 years from the first space travel by Yuri Gagarin to the giant leap of man by Neil Armstrong on moon in the 1960s. Yet nothing spectacular had happened in the four decades despite the hundreds of billion dollars spent. With the space shuttle launching taking a long break soon, can one really expect another super-giant leap in 2020?

    Actually, does the world really need that? For what?

  10. 19 James Ian
    July 17, 2009 at 07:19

    Were we ever really there?? I mean I don’t know why they would make up anything like that but, still at the same time, all the video I’ve ever seen of any of it looks hoxie as heck. I’m not saying we didn’t, I’m just saying all the video i’ve seen looks questionable to me.
    If we did go there though, why wouldn’t we want to go back? I’m sure we haven’t learned all we can there.

    • 20 Thomas Murray
      July 17, 2009 at 21:26

      Mr. Ian:

      That’s how we know it was real. If it was faked, they’d show us a lot better video.

      People who didn’t see the real thing as it was happening (I was 15 then) don’t realize that it took Armstrong for freaking ever to exit the LEM. Then he had to pull a lanyard to fold the TV down to reveal the worst TV image since the invention of television, then it took another freaking zillion years to back off the platform (about the size of a chair seat) all the while Walter Cronkheit (a famous newscaster then) kept saying “Is that a ladder?” “Is that a ladder?” “Is that a ladder?” then “Is that a foot?” “Is that a foot?” … ad infinitum.

      And no one predicted that they’d need to bunny hop to get around. The pressure in their suits (about 200 mmhg) was too high for them to move their legs individually.

      But I agree with most on this site. We need to set our sights higher, and get the whole world in on it this time.

      Tom in Lou., KY, US.

  11. July 17, 2009 at 11:33

    Man’s indomitable ambition to understand the universe lives on. Thanks to Kennedy’s vision numerous missions have been launched and our knowledge has increased astronimically. We need to be inquisitive and broaden our knowledge for the sake of future generations. Knowledge is definitely power: when used sensibly it is a real boon but when used unwisely it could destroy our dreams and hopes for more fulfilling lives.

  12. 22 James Loudermilk
    July 17, 2009 at 12:03

    Maybe we can get some better video this time. LOL

  13. 23 Ann
    July 17, 2009 at 12:10

    One of the most moving things about the moon landing, which was an incredible and inspirational achievement, was seeing our little blue planet floating quietly in black space, fragile and beautiful.

    Sometimes we have to travel away from home to truly appreciate what we have – so more space exploration please 🙂

  14. 24 steve
    July 17, 2009 at 13:29

    I’m always shocked when people say that we need to fix earth before we explore space. I ask those people, what is it like to have absolutely zero intellectual curiousity? The greatest mysteries are out there, and even if we stopped all space exploration, people would still be starving somewhere. Face remains, the earth has a limited time. If humans are to survive, we need to explore and leave. It won’t end any time soon, but it’s going to happen, given the sun will become a red giant, then a brown dwarf, and before that, the earth will lose its magnetic field and all plate tectonics will stop and earth will become a dead planet. Everyone should die so that some people don’t starve?

    Where is your curiousity anyways? Do you not read? Nothing interests you? Space has got to be the most fascinating thing other than the origins of life. It’s utterly shocking. And remember, for those of you who think space is some capitalist plot, blah blah, the Soviets had a space program and were very ambitious too and had the first probes go to the moon and to venus.

    July 17, 2009 at 14:24

    I don’t think there is anything spectacular that will come ouf of this. As compared to the time of the Appolos 11 – 17 humans were generally a happier lot and not overly exposed. No no one reasoned in terms such billions, trillions or any of -ions in the manner of over indulgence but we were a happy lot. Family and humanity was more important to us. Right now our curiosity is so bombarded to the point of importence. This gazing into the infinities has also renderd our blue marble into a second violin that we no longer invest in but in fantasies. I can’t help feeling that we are only in need of more celebrities for even crafts have acquired this status because of the badness of our situation.

    No. I feel it is high time we stopped being escapist. It is time to heal our planet’s environment in order to restore its lost beauty. Its time too to fix the econmy and political conflicts in a bid to restore the lost happiness in human society. In a word; to HEAL or RESTORE.

  16. 26 patti in cape coral
    July 17, 2009 at 14:26

    Hi Steve, I’m one of those people who thinks the earth needs some “fixing.” My curiosity is intact, however, and I think it would be awesome to have more progress made in the area of space exploration. But honestly, if I had to choose between the two, I would choose to do more to end hunger. Generally, starving people do not have much curiosty, don’t have much energy to read, and don’t have many interests other than finding a way to feed themselves. I know this is probably an unpopular view. I just feel if we were able to do something so mind-bendingly incredible as reach the moon, we should be able to do more here on earth. The best option of all would be to be able to do both.

    • 27 Tom K in Mpls
      July 19, 2009 at 23:05

      Hey patti, to me the main reason to leave, is there are things here we will be unable to fix or prevent. I see it as the only way mankind can possibly survive more than 20k years. And that is assuming that asteroids and such will give us that long. As for world hunger, that was a quest attacked in the mid 1980’s. We found agriculture and transportation were up to the task, but politics got in the way. This was seen in central and eastern Africa as well as China and Bangladesh. Granted, mankind will most likely take all our problems with us if we are able to leave this planet, but at least it will be harder to wipe out the species if we are in more than one location.

  17. 28 Chris in Ohio
    July 17, 2009 at 14:33

    With Humbolt squid reportedly attacking California bathers, snorklers, and divers, maybe it is time we thought more seriously about off-worlding humankind.

  18. 29 John Henry - Trinidad and Tobago
    July 17, 2009 at 14:43

    Yes, we do need another giant leap.

    Leaders, scientists, intellectuals, politicians , philosophers, thinkers, in fact everyone should make that giant leap inwards and examine motives and outcomes which affect relationships and hence our existence on planet earth.

    Let’s take a giant leap into our inner space and rethink our individual and collective objectives.

    Let’s take a giant mind -hanging leap and use our skills and technologies to focus on the bettering of the plight of the mass of humanity’s daily suffering.

  19. 30 Michael in Ft.Myers, Florida
    July 17, 2009 at 14:46

    Space exploration, including the moon landing, as explained to my by my uncle who has worked at NASA for many years, has almost always been about finding new and better natural resources. The dawning of the industrial revolution began mankind’s rapidly increasing depletion of our planets resources, and if we don’t find new materials, we are surely doomed to a future where finding a new planet for us to call home will become the only viable option. That also must be looked at relatively, as surely we will not deplete all resources on Earth for a very long time, generations upon generations, but if we don’t begin to test the waters now, we will as a species suffer.

  20. 31 patti in cape coral
    July 17, 2009 at 14:48

    Also, I worry sometimes when people talk about colonization off of earth. Already we are projecting some of our problems into space, such as space debris. Again, I am not against space exploration, and I would be as excited as anyone else if we made progress in this area, I just worry about us messing up here, then going somewhere else and messing up there.

  21. 32 Dan
    July 17, 2009 at 14:49

    The popular misconception is that teflon was the only benefit from the space program but there were many more, some benefits more gross some more subtle but all benefitted our lives.
    Those that think we should solve the problems of Earth first cannot grasp that we can never solve all the problems of earth and each quest to create paradise has resulted in catastrophe.
    We must reach out of ourselves and our world by exploring space. It is just as cavemen learned to use tools and expanded outside of their world.
    However with no competition can we really make those technological jumps as we did 40 years ago. Are the NASA scientists the new “Wunderkind” or just bureaucratic engineers?

  22. July 17, 2009 at 15:01

    Space travel and exploration are inspiring and if it didn’t cost so much, I’d vote for it. However, we have pressing problems like global warming, world wide hunger and disease to eradicate, and since it would be largely American dollars, they should fix the health system first so that the poor aren’t obliged to die young. If they can’t afford healthcare for the nation, they can’t afford rockets.

    As for finding an alternative home for the human race, perlease…How many humans could we shuttle to a habitable planet, even if we found one? Who would go? The most powerful handful, presumably, who could secure tickets, and a few nubile young women to propagate their important seed. Hardly a solution for humanity. Wake up, world! If the earth cannot sustain us, we’ll be finished.

    It’s not a matter of ‘zero intellectual curiosity’. Space will have to wait until we can afford it.

  23. 34 rob z.
    July 17, 2009 at 15:14

    I believe we can both start fixing our planet and colonize the Moon and Mars,plus stations in between.
    But we,meaning the planet as a whole,have to unite to do it.
    The world wars were won by nations coming together and agreeing(THIS HAS TO BE DONE FOR ALL OF US).
    A shared vision of a comon goal,team work.
    Some say;”Well space missions cost to much?”or “What global warming,it’s just a cycle.” and “I don’t want my tax dollars going to a developing nation,it’s a waste.”
    Well,it’s simple.We only have so much livable space and resources on this mudd ball.So it is in our best interest to learn to use everything better.
    It is also in our best interest to do what we can to bring the developing nations up to our level,not in terms of money,in standard of living.
    Example:”There is a group of people in the living in the forest behind your house.One or two come by from time to time,asking for food or work.You always say no,or you give a little money with a bad look on your face.
    Time goes by,some homes are robbed,a person is assulted.Blame is placed on the people in the woods,deserved or not.Those people in turn start walking with sticks in hand.”Who is the bad guy?It all could have been avoided,yes? YES!

  24. 35 michael Ojake
    July 17, 2009 at 15:18

    Space programs of all sorts are a cover-up for something quite sinister. When I see what the more scientifically advanced countries are doing to the developing countries, I can’t help but to think that the motives behind the so-called space exploration programms are not exactly holy. Who are they exploring for anyway. The same countries that are so gung-ho about space exploration are the same that make it difficult for an earthling to travel freely. Will outer space be more accessible for people from the developing nations. Or perhaps the idea is to one day cart all people whose countries are unfortunate enough to have crude oil off to the moon. That should save a lot of bullets

    July 17, 2009 at 15:21

    In my opinion something like the discovery of cure for IDS could be celebrated and open a window of hope & opportunity to those whose happiness is thrown into jeopardy. Just look how we are scared of the swine flue and the reaction we exhibiting.

    • 37 Ann
      July 17, 2009 at 16:31

      Hi Arthur – Sorry to be dense, but what’s IDS?

      Kind wishes to you.

        July 17, 2009 at 20:29

        Thank you my friend. I ment HIV/AIDS. Thank God for giving me an extra pair of eyes and entrusting a caring soul like you to carry them for me. By the way, thank you for providing the warmth when sometimes when it gets cold here on the blog espeicially when some issues make our muscles to contract as if they will never stretch again. I always feel it all the way when you fire the stove.

        Hey! Happy Weekend.

  26. July 17, 2009 at 15:38

    Lat time I checked, there was a global economic crisis and folks are finding it hard to feed. I think we should begin from there, before moving to the moon, then to Jupiter.

  27. July 17, 2009 at 15:46

    yeah..please we do…i mean look at what we are faced with these days – dumb reality t.v shows..rap music..consumerism…i remember reading and seeing pictures of the moon and Neil Amstrong with Buz Aldrin in the school library…i mean it was very inspiring! i wanted to be an astronaut – even though my country (nigeria) has no space program. i think science was at its best then(i may be wrong though) 😉

  28. 41 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2009 at 15:53

    A few years ago I started watching as many documentaries as I could about NASA’s space program – Rocket Science, Earth to the Moon, etc – and one of the things that has always struck me about that era is the sense of wonder and togetherness it seemed the US had as they set their minds on the goal of the ‘moon by the end of the decade.’

    I think we need a great leap forward for a number of reasons. First, to get people focused on something. Working towards a common goal always seems to lessen conflicts and lead to cooperation. Second, is the marvelous new technologies that can come out of it. Imagine if NASA could commercialize the water and waste recycling systems of the ISS. Imagine what kind of hydroponics and food production methods scientists could come up with if research were focused on establishing bases on the moon or Mars.

    • 42 Thomas Murray
      July 17, 2009 at 21:39

      You’re right Shawn. We were a heck of a lot braver in the ’60s, too. We drove big cars with metal pointy things on the dashboard with steering wheels on jousting-lance-like pillars with no seatbelts and usually at over 75 mph (that’s 110 kph) on the Interstate. And you could take firearms on planes with you. And my high school had smoking areas for students. And there were no fence guards on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. You could throw an entire television set off it before anyone could stop you. And everyone was drunk by lunchtime. And LSD was legal!!!

      I miss the ’60s. –Tom, Lou., KY, US.

  29. 43 Gary Paudler
    July 17, 2009 at 15:53

    First, NASA should take a giant leap. They’re a huge self-justifying massively inefficient bureaucratic black hole for money. If they’re so passionate about their
    mission, why don’t they do it better? I love technology and believe in science for
    its own sake and I’d happily volunteer to travel in space, but I think this talk of an
    expanded space program is a distraction unless it’s to colonize Mars with bankers and security traders. I appreciate Steve’s vision, but his neighbors can’t even rally
    to prevent a 2-degree increase in our climate’s temperature, do you really think they are going to act in anticipatory response to the Earth’s inevitable spiral into the Sun? Is all this romantic nostalgia really just the marketing of a jobs program for NASA and their contractors like Boeing, Lockheed, Fluor, etc? I’d much rather put the resources into developing alternative energy and transportation, environmental remediation, social justice, nuclear arms elimination and international conflict resolution before we metastasize to other planets. That’s just plane silly! We’re on the brink of irreversibly messing-up this planet and now we say “oh well, let’s start on Mars”? There’s already not enough money or will to provide safe drinking water to 1/6 of the world’s population. Not enough money to maintain our parks, not enough money to provide healthcare for most Earthlings. Let’s please spend those trillions of dollars gaining a better understanding of Earth and promoting responsible stewardship of the planet we already infest.

  30. 44 Mohan, USA
    July 17, 2009 at 15:55

    I was 4 years old and the child of new immigrants when I saw the Neil Armstrong take the historic “one small step for man…” I can remember it to this day, the scratchy images, the look of awe on my parents’ face. From that moment on, I developed a fascination for space travel and wondered whether I could ever become the type of person who could make such a journey.

    The people of Apollo, from the ground crew to the astronauts, were all heroes. They were icons of an age of optimism and hope that survived in spite of the onslaught of doubt brought on by the 1960s counter-culture and the Cold War.

    Be that as it may, to nostalgically try and return to the days of those heroes may not be wise in this age of world economic crisis and what seems to be a never ending war on many fronts. I would suggest that we seek out a new set of heroes. Of course, for many, there can be none better than Barrack Obama. But, there are other heroes – the soldiers on the front lines, the people who are helping those in need, the statesman who are working hard to bring peace. Perhaps it would suffice if we realize that heroes or this age are just good people, trying to do the best they can with what they have. We still need heroes, but we need them here on earth.

  31. 45 Dan
    July 17, 2009 at 15:56

    @eileen in virginia
    Sad to say that we will never “be able to afford it” as bleeding heart liberals always have another phantom to go chase.
    Today it is Global Warming, tomorrow who knows what.
    Poverty can never be eliminated and disease will always be with us.
    Nations will fight each other for supremacy and religions will claim that they have the only path to God.

  32. 46 steve
    July 17, 2009 at 16:08

    Yeah, anyone who complains about there being starving people, or it’s a waste of resources, why aren’t you donating all the money you have to fight poverty, or why are you watching TV if the electricity the TV uses is creating greenhouse gasses?

    Space is fascinating. There are so many possibilities out there, as well as potential energy and mineral resources. We could one day limit the use of rockets for delivering satellites to earth orbit, by using a space elevator, which would benefit the environment. Techonology shouldn’t be impeded for some feel good measures that won’t solve the problems you want to be solved.

    • 47 patti in cape coral
      July 17, 2009 at 18:13

      @ Steve – I don’t think it’s a waste of resources to fund space exploration, and you are assuming that those of us who complain about there being starving people don’t do our part. Are you donating all your funds to space exploration?

      You really don’t think that we can solve any of the earth’s problems, so the answer is to go elsewhere? What happens when we deplete the mineral resources and energy there, and we make the same problems we have on earth. I just think it would be prudent to solve some of these problems so we don’t take them with us.

  33. 48 Joel Salomon
    July 17, 2009 at 16:22

    (from New York)
     For those who think a space program is “too expensive”, or that other things have claims of higher priority on the world’s limited resources, consider this: Most of these other concerns can be handled by making energy cheap and available — and space is the answer to that.
     Do you want to reduce CO₂ emissions? Space-based solar power systems (cf. Wikipedia) can provide all the energy we need without burning fossil fuels.
     Do you want to reduce hunger? Production of fertilizers is a very energy-intensive process, which is why food prices shot up when the price of petroleum increased. Space-based solar power can provide cheap energy in almost unlimited amounts.
     Do you want to reduce poverty? Cheap energy can give every country the industrial capability it needs for development. Space-based solar power can — well, you get the picture.

     We can’t afford not to go to space.

  34. 49 Chintan in Houston
    July 17, 2009 at 16:29

    SPACE EXPLORATION AS A FINAL FRONTIER FOR MANKIND SHOULD CONTINUE. As a person who lives a few block from the NASA space centre and have lot of friends working there I sort of have a vested interest in this subject.
    There are one of the brightest man and women in the world. Space program has helped develop plenty of products that we use in our everyday life. The space exploration hence is just a small portion of this mission. The list of these can be found at:

    Also moon is a valuable source of energy as published in this article:

    I think these two are good enough reasons to keep this program alive, it might not seem that important today but if this program goes away, it will take several years to bring it back when needed.

  35. 50 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 16:39

    Media cut coverage because they made better profits on selling advertising to profit making businesses.

    When Conservatives got into office they cut the funding for science, especially NASA, and they fired hundreds of thousands of Scientists and Engineers who had been recruited on the promise that they would be valued for their dedication and for their talents to help the US move into the future.

    Those fired Scientists and Engineers taught that lesson to their children, that they ought to go into other more stable and valued professions, because the government can and does change and they shouldn’t waste many years of education, training, and experience betting on the whims of Conservatives.

    I suggest that we don’t need another “Giant Leap”, what we need is a number of long term programs with sustained long term funding, so that we can once again inspire children to go into the Engineering and Science Professions but this time with the confidence that the many years and dollars that they spend to educate and train themselves will be honored and valued over the long term, and so they can pass down to their children that Science and Engineering are worthwhile and valued Professions to go into.

    Long term programs with stable funding and long term planning is a better way to follow than the short term burps of money and unstable planning and short term changing programs. The current capitalist short term profit business model is not a good stable model for Science and Engineering and progress into the future.

    We can realistically say that our current form of Conservative Free Market Capitalism is a race to the bottom while Science and Engineering is a race to the top.

    At the simplest, most elegant, the question is do we want to do Greed or do we want to do Good?

  36. 51 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2009 at 16:44

    @ Dan

    Teflon wasn’t a result of the space program. It was a result of the nuclear program in the 40s. They needed some sort of substance to seal the joints in the high-speed centrifuges used to enrich uranium, and it had to operate under high pressure and heat. If grease were used, it could leak into the works and gum up the system, so they used Teflon, invented by DuPont.

  37. 52 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2009 at 16:45

    Perhaps not a giant leap–space exploration will be a series of relatively small steps–but I firmly believe that mankind would be healthier and happier if we could embrace a sense of ambition and exploration. We’ll never fix all the problems on earth but we might see them in proper perspective if we could stand–literally–farther away.

    Remember the pictures of earthrise taken from the moon that showed what a small, fragile blue dot our planet really is. You can’t see borders or religious differences from space.

  38. July 17, 2009 at 16:55

    What is it, that makes the world unite? A giant catastrophy? Back then it was the awe of science and technology, that struck the world. We’re spoilt by it today.

  39. July 17, 2009 at 17:02

    Space will remain a fascination for scientists and ordinary people. However, the cost remains high in view of the difficulties facing the Earth. A tiny portion of the budget for space can help eradicate many preventable diseases like Malaria.

    Currently, space exploration and journeys will remain the domain of the rich, states and individuals. There are wealthy people ready to spend tens of million dollars for a glimpse of the universe from a spaceship. This money can save millions living in hard conditions.

    Perhaps, in view of the economic downturn and the huge cost, people should be content with science fiction movies and literature depicting life in space, which is just a production of the imagination rather than squandering billions of dollars which quench the thirst for more knowledge about space that remains out of the reach of almost anyone of us.

  40. 55 Prashant
    July 17, 2009 at 17:04

    By this this time man should have made a giant leap on pluto and we are here still thinking of the moon.We should move forward.

    • 56 rob z.
      July 17, 2009 at 17:36

      I agree,we should move forward.We should also put behind us religious intollerance and agree as a people that we need to unite in achieving the next BIG STEP and keep on stepping and reaching.
      Putting a monitary price on our future,is like saying our life has a fixed value.

  41. 57 Andrew in Australia
    July 17, 2009 at 17:06

    Hmmm, with all the problems on Earth. Let’s see that would be wars and greed and religious rivalry. Consider the vast amount of money that is wasted on these three endeavours alone and I say of course there should be another giant leap. Of course we should spend money on space research and exploration. When the day comes the humanity does not waste any more money financing the death on massive scales as we see now or funding armies to show whose is bigger than whose then we can say stop wasting money on space. Until that day comes then the few billion on space across the world pales into insignificance against the trillions wasted on death and misery.

  42. July 17, 2009 at 17:06


    My argument about whether we need another gaint leap is clear. We realy don’t need to waste this tax payers money. we are tied on earth, so what is the need of taking our problem to the moon when we can’t solve our problem on earth. why did this scientist find cure for AIDS Rather than wasting money on going to the moon. they didn’ t succeed on earth yet, so what about the moon?

  43. 59 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 17:11

    One of the things that Scientists, Mathematicians, and Engineers do is constantly go back and look at the roots of their professions and recheck the root theories and assumptions in the light of current knowledge. I believe that is also the method that Coach Phil Jackson uses as part of his winning strategies in basketball.

    I suggest a well funded program to go back over all of our models of Politics, Religions, Economics, War and Militaries, Psychology, Corporations, etc, and search out what is dysfunctional about them in the light of the knowledge of today, and come up with effective revisions of them so that they are more beneficial to people and do less harm to people and our planet. Most of those models were created and developed during the times of Kings, Pharaohs, Czars, Emperors, Monarchs, and the rest of that ilk, and are incredibly unsuited and dysfunctional for our current times.

    Top Down governments created things that are bad for people and we need to revisit all of those things in light of our current forms of Democratic Bottom Up governments “Of The people, By The people, and For the People”.

    And that would be a “Giant Leap”.

  44. 60 Shannon
    July 17, 2009 at 17:21

    Perhaps there would be more enthusiasm about space travel if NASA cleaned house. I applaud all of the talented men and women who have worked for the space program in many different capacities. But the agency itself is loaded down with bureaucractic red tape, resulting in oversights that have claimed too many brave astronauts’ lives.

    Like others posting here old enough to remember those first images, I felt a deep sense of awe. My parents were so moved they wept–something I have not seen my father do before or since then. I stubbornly persist in believing that humankind has not grown so cynical that it has ceased to want to reach for the stars, for the sheer sake of knowing.

  45. 61 Andrew in Australia
    July 17, 2009 at 17:22

    @ Abdiasis

    Why always criticise space science, consider the waste in other areas and corruption worldwide that sucks so much more money away from real progress or positive work and you will see that criticising this aspect of spending sounds rather hollow.

    By the way medical researchers ARE working on cures for AIDS and malaria etc etc. It is not as if no money is spent on medicine because of space science. Money is also spent on hunger and poverty etc etc for that matter.

  46. July 17, 2009 at 17:23

    @ Dan
    Describing the need to combat global warming as an issue for a ‘bleeding heart liberal’ is a strange concept. That’s the priority we need to address today, or there will be no tomorrow for a huge chunk of the world’s population. If we are all competing for diminishing supplies of food and water, your final comment will certainly come true.

    ‘Poverty’ is officially defined as the lowest ten per cent of any population’s living standards. Of course there will always be a bottom ten per cent but we should still be concerned for those living in poverty. Disease will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean limited resources should not be directed to improving the world’s health.

    We are in the middle of a worldwide economic meltdown that may last longer than we fear, and the response to that has created future indebtedness. I still say, manned space rockets at this stage are a luxury we cannot afford.

  47. 63 mountain adam in portland oregon usa
    July 17, 2009 at 17:28

    An international effort to explore the moon might be just what we need to foster a little more world peace. Consider a European, Asian, Australian, American, Russian, Arab collaborative effort. We would all have a stake in going there together. Having something in common might help us forget some of our differences.

  48. 65 John in Salem
    July 17, 2009 at 17:42

    Yes, but…
    I am a HUGE fan of the space program. I was a couple weeks shy of my 18th birthday when Apollo 11 landed on the moon – we watched on our old RCA black and white tv and I couldn’t understand what Armstrong said until Walter Cronkite repeated it.
    The Apollo Program was as much about competition as exploration. Long range plans were being made to explore the moon robotically but Kennedy commited us to manned expeditions because our pride had been stung by the Soviets putting a satellite and then a human in space before we did. We needed a boost in morale and a national goal and we got it. It was a thrilling time to be alive.
    There are legitimate reasons for returning to the moon – putting a telescope on the dark side, building a base in preparation for an eventual manned expedition to Mars. I think that the discovery of extraterrestrial life, through astronomy or the collection of micro-organisms on Mars, would have as profound an impact on the human species as the discovery of fire.
    But I would echo others here by saying that these need to be international efforts. There is nothing to be gained by America being the first when it doesn’t have to be. Plenty can be done robotically for the time being – it’s not like we have to go to Mars to prove it can be done, we KNOW it can be done.
    If this is the time for another giant leap for mankind(and I’m not so sure it is) then the rest of mankind needs to help pay the tab.

  49. 66 Kevin (Menlo Park, Ca)
    July 17, 2009 at 17:44

    As a student working on a Ph.D. in particle physics I’m befuddled by the idea of trying to put people back on the moon and on Mars. Forget the fact that cosmic radiation could turn such a project into a suicide mission, which is bad enough; if you want to do science put robots on Mars, that’s a whole lot easier. If you want to do science invest in projects like the Fermi Telescope which is telling us more and more about the structure of the Universe everyday. If there’s a hot girl you’re trying to impress, tell her you can put on a man on Mars.

  50. 67 Steve in Boston
    July 17, 2009 at 17:49

    In 1969 the US had a strong middle class, a 77% federal income tax bracket, and a bounty of engineers in the populace who were highly educated from elementary school onward in the fundamentals of science, math and reading,

    Since that era we have witnessed a slow and steady disassembly of many of the attributes of the United States that made the space program possible:

    ***the rapidly vanishing middle class,

    ***the continued cessation of major manufacturing and industry,

    ***two new generations that have been spoiled by a lifestyle fueled by debt and bailouts rather than hard work an savings,

    ***an educational system that has been dumbed-down to make room for diversity and inclusiveness,

    ***a culture where feminism has all but eliminated competition among our children and everyone gets a trophy,

    I’m sure there are more, but the bottom line is that you can bet there will be no giant leaps coming from the United States–or any other western nation–any time soon.

  51. 69 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 17:52

    @ Andrew in Australia
    July 17, 2009 at 17:06

    “Hmmm, with all the problems on Earth. Let’s see that would be wars and greed and religious rivalry. Consider the vast amount of money that is wasted on these three endeavours alone and I say of course there should be another giant leap. … ”

    Hear! Hear!

  52. 70 DOLAPO AINA
    July 17, 2009 at 17:54

    If it is to our benefit, then good. The world needs to move ahead technologically. If we can take the big leap, then our lives would be improved technologically.

    Dolapo Aina,
    Lagos, Nigeria

  53. 71 Shannon
    July 17, 2009 at 17:54

    @mountain adam

    I wholeheartedly agree! Although the US would undoubtedly have to carry the bulk of the financial burden, I think the participation of as many different countries as possible could reap positive results on diplomatic relations around the world.

  54. 72 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 17:58

    If you have access to NASA TV, the Space Shuttle Endeavour, STS-127 is just about to dock with the ISS, International Space Station. I don’t know if they put that onto the internet.

  55. 73 steve
    July 17, 2009 at 18:04

    You people who are opposed to space exploration, do realize that it’s INEVITABLE that a giant meteor will collide with earth sometime in the near future, making most life on earth die out. So we “save” the earth now by dealing with greenhouse gas emmissions instead of space travel, only to have the earth wiped out by a meteor 2000 years from now? Is that wise? The only way we’ll ever develop technology to save the earth is to continue the space program and step things up. Remember, it’s not if, but when, we get struck again by a catastrophic meteor impact.

  56. 74 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:05

    The entire NASA budget only costs Americans about a nickel per citizen per day, if I recall correctly. Fifteen cents a day keeps poking into my mind, so maybe that is the right number. Either way, it is a bargain. Heck, chewing gum costs more than that.

  57. 75 David
    July 17, 2009 at 18:06

    I do not think we should attempt another endeavour to the moon or mars. We need to fix our wold first unless we are looking for some other planet to run to in case ours is not livable, or may be some nations want to colonise other planets. As it is now, the world in bankrupt morraly, financially and environmentally.

    There are aspects of the landing on the moon in 1966 which have not been explained. I watched the landing and what I saw was wheel marks similar to a rutt on a wet ploughed land, which makes me believe that there is water on the moon. I also noticed the American flag flying like there was wind on the moon. Can some one explain these two phenomena to me, or am I dreaming?

    • 76 Tom K in Mpls
      July 20, 2009 at 17:16

      The ruts are due to 1/6th gravity, no wind or water and the texture of the dust due to no wind and water. Sand and dust on Earth is rounded by erosion. On the moon it is jagged. Because of this it sticks in vertical walls better. To get this effect on Earth you need to crush volcanic rock. It will stack like moon dust. Someone correctly answered you flag question below.

  58. 77 Jon in Portland
    July 17, 2009 at 18:08

    Moon and space exploration are a huge waste of tax dollars and resources. Although the space program has contributed to modern technology I have no doubt that if the amount of money spent on NASA was allotted to R&D for disease treatment/prevention, poverty, or what have you, the advancements that actually help the average world citizen would be far greater than that provided by non-stick pans or velcro.

    • 78 Ramesh, India
      July 17, 2009 at 18:20

      the reason why americans and russians have rallied with the moon mission is just to control any probable resources waiting to be tapped!! the same happened in Antarcitica.

  59. 79 Ramesh, India
    July 17, 2009 at 18:10

    Well, it seems a lot of us excited about another giant leap in space exploration. But is it possible to have a hope when global economies have melted down(not surely because of global warming!)?

  60. 80 MCP in Oregon
    July 17, 2009 at 18:11

    As a planetary scientist and climate change researcher I think it is vital to understand that studying other celestial bodies helps us understand our Earth and its evolution and vice versa! I think many people do not acknowledge the amount of innovations that people benefit from that were born in space exploration and research.

    • 81 Tom K in Mpls
      July 19, 2009 at 23:33

      Here is where I want to bring up another nasty point. We need to show just how much damage each space launch does to the ozone layer. To call it impressive is an understatement. Who has the actual numbers?

  61. 82 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:16

    I’d like to see more money spent on exploring and studying the oceans, in some ways they are a tougher challenge than space.

  62. 84 Dan
    July 17, 2009 at 18:16

    @eileen in virginia
    Advances that fought poverty, provided cheap energy, made modern drugs available, cured diseases etc…etc were the result of the space program and others that too risks.
    Sitting home hiding under the bed with the dust bunnies throwing money at problems trying to cure them so that we can wait until we can afford to go to space will result in never going to space or anywhere else.
    I dispute your “we are in the middle of a world wide economic meltdown” as we are always in the middle of one “crisis” or another.
    There never has been and never will be a time where all the problems of the world are solved and we can decide then to embark on a new journey.
    I might remind you that througout history people embarked on new journeys precisely because of all the problems of their time. So if we follow your dictum and wait until we solve everything, then why go anywhere?

  63. 85 Sofia
    July 17, 2009 at 18:17

    It ought to be that we spend the money trying to improve life and lifestyles on earth rather than moving to someplace else to go throught the cycle of destruction again. relocating to another planet because we have depleted the resources our resources will mean that eventually all the habitable planets will be in threat of destruction by earthlings.

    Science should be productive, how has the travel to other planets improved humankind thus far? Understanding the cosmic neighbourhood has not served to improve our lives any.


  64. 86 Jonathan (dazzling San Francisco)
    July 17, 2009 at 18:17

    David–The flag was easy: Wire hidden inside for that confident, supported feeling.

  65. 87 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:18

    Collaborative? Yes! I’ll third that motion.

  66. 88 steve
    July 17, 2009 at 18:19

    By having moon rock samples, though some naturally do find their way to earth, scientists have been able to make a better guess as to why the moon formed, and it was the result of a massive collision with the earth, and then it flew into orbit and formed into the moon. If we had a collision like that today, ALL life on earth would end. We know something like that is possible, and know to be on guard for it. If we do nothing, something in our solar system eventually will destroy us. Might be in a long time, or might be next week. But if we do nothing, we will all die from it.

  67. 89 steve
    July 17, 2009 at 18:20

    @ Tom D Ford

    The entire NASA budget only costs Americans about a nickel per citizen per day, if I recall correctly. Fifteen cents a day keeps poking into my mind, so maybe that is the right number. Either way, it is a bargain. Heck, chewing gum costs more than that.

    But 50% of americans don’t pay a penny in federal income taxes.

  68. 90 Jon in Portland
    July 17, 2009 at 18:20

    @ Adam

    I must disagree. The average world citizen doesn’t have a real stake in space exploration. Although in Hollywood the world might be united through alien invasions and asteroids, most people are much more worried (and truly justifiably!) about how to fill their stomachs each day, or make it home to their family safely each day. There isn’t any real utility in exploring space other than curbing our own curiosity.

  69. 91 Adam Harbin
    July 17, 2009 at 18:22

    Adam in Canada

    in 1969 everything was in the right place to go to the moon, nothing is in the right place in 2009. Unless the benefits of space travel directly effect our world problems we need to concentrate on the millions that need help now.

    We will continue with our space endeavor there is no question, but only when we have a better understanding, capacity, and a collective knowledge to the benefits that lay over each of our heads.

    • 92 Adam Harbin
      July 17, 2009 at 19:06

      I think I was taken out of context slightly! I am very pro space, I just think the timing needs to be right.

  70. 93 Biswas from Kathmandu
    July 17, 2009 at 18:22

    Yes, we need another giant leap… life in extra solar planets should be searched for…. not because we “owe it to the men and women who gave the world such hope 40 years ago” but because it is the need of time…. the earth is getting more and more congested with people everyday. For those people who say that we need to spend money “elsewhere”, the so called philosophers said the same when computers were new to us. However, launching vehicles just to gain cheap respect, as India did (by using a mission database designed by the US thirty years ago), doesn’t serve anything good to the struggle for existence in the universe!!!

  71. July 17, 2009 at 18:24

    I’m very interested in space developement. As to whether we should, thankfully there are intelligent and forward looking leaders who make the case that we should, and the evidence of the benefit to mankind is self evident to those who do any research in this.
    One aspect of this discussion I find frustrating is that people seem to think that it’s natural to go to the Moon first since it’s so close, and then Mars..but trying to get to the moon is like trying to build a very sturdy, short term and expensive system for just the moon.. Once we’re there it’s of limited value (except to the military which alwasy seeks the high ground)…If we first build a real space station with permanence in mind, out in one of the goesychronous orbits, which are far beyond where the ISS is slowly degrading, not much good…if we build a real station we could then build a practical caft for the moon if we want, but we could also assemble the equipment for the real goal; Mars. Mars has what we need as a species. A refuge and a frontier and a wealth of resources and room to expand.
    From a real space station we could more easily engineer the future space based solar energy system we need and which will propell us to more and greater achievements. Deeper space has resources including asteroids of metals, and cometary bodies of water and methane…all of it in beautiful, glorious gravity and oxygen free near vacuum. It’s raining soup, people, and it’s a crime that we’re not building a bucket.

  72. 95 nick portland OR
    July 17, 2009 at 18:24

    I believe that we should stay optimistic when it comes to space travel. when Columbus set off, they did not know what he would find. On a larger scale, we may one day learn something from outer space, that could save humanity. It is well worth the investment, to keep on exploring. It is a vast universe, and to think that we are the only relevant phenom, is completely narcissistic.

    nick – Portland, Oregon

  73. 96 Jesus in Argentina
    July 17, 2009 at 18:25

    Our current global food crisis must be our main concern. The advance in space science is without any doubt, a great achievement for human race but we need to think again what is happening to our home, earth planet, understand better our people concerns and of course the main topic that soon or later will catch us: climate change.
    Before you leave your home, you clean it and leave your things in their place. Why don’t we do this very same thing before leave our planet in our big quest?

  74. 97 Darrin Howard
    July 17, 2009 at 18:26

    Many inadvertent discoveries and inventions come about from research into any scientific field, even space travel. Discoveries made from our various space missions have advanced our understanding of physics, engineering, chemistry etc. These advances have had a variety of affects on global economics, job creation, and incomes. This then helps the poor, hungry, environmental projection, and all of the various emotional poster children of what some seem to think would be utterly ignored if we put money into “space travel”.

  75. 98 Andrew in Australia
    July 17, 2009 at 18:26


    A great deal of many is being spent on finding a cure for malaria as are prevention programmes in Africa. The Gates foundation alone spends hundreds of millions on this alone.

  76. 99 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:26

    Justify it? Heck, it’s just good entertainment if you want just the least justification! Anything over that is cherries on ice cream!

    • 100 James Ian
      July 18, 2009 at 06:28

      They could fund the mission by making a t.V. show out of the whole thing, Construction, planing, launch, the men who are involved, the trip just the whole thing. Make a show out of it. It would be better then anything else they have on T.V. any more.

      Yeah, “Good Entertainment” I like it!!

  77. 101 Reverend LMF McCormack
    July 17, 2009 at 18:29

    We cannot take of this planet, indeed, we seem to be destroying in wholesale. Until and unless we learn how to take care of this planet we have no business on another one.
    Look at all the junk we’ve put in orbit. It becomes increasingly more difficult and dangerous to send anything up and I have no doubt the same applies to those returning. considering this, why would we keep risking people?
    The cost is too utterly ridiculous. Put the money into education,population control, resource management and cleaning up the mess we’ve made here!

  78. 102 Jon in Portland
    July 17, 2009 at 18:29

    @ Dan

    Putting space exporation and all other inovators into the same basket is unjustified. Certainly we still need inovation, but we don’t need to be foolish about what inovations to which we allot our resources. Just because we COULD throw a lot of money at digging to the center of the earth doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea or that we should use money that we could otherwise use to prevent hunger to do so.

  79. 103 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:29

    Poetry or Science?

    The next Space participant going up on the Russian Soyuz is Guy Laliberte, the owner of that fantastic Cirque Du Soleil! (sp?) Just try and imagine what he will imagine for his next Cirque!

    I can’t wait!

  80. 104 James Turner
    July 17, 2009 at 18:32

    I am a little hesitant to call going into space a complete waste of time, but!
    I am the type of person who believes in a higher being.
    By our own stands we have just about destroyed the earth! History has taught us nothing! We would only make the next place me moved to if it ever became possible worse than here!!!!
    Our time and money should be spend here! There is more than enough work to do that should challenge any mind of today and for the future!

  81. July 17, 2009 at 18:33

    Nykhana from Jamaica,

    I agree that the world has benefitted from the space race and advancements due to technological developments through the space program….but that appeal has waned over the years, especially in terms of ‘man on the moon’, and millions people who live on Earth could benefit MORE if some of these funds could be used to directly address global poverty and disease…..the cold war has been over for 20 years now……the wealthy need to understand that the poor are not affected by ‘moonwalks’, they are affected by simple things like lack of food, shelter, healthcare……

  82. 106 mr. E
    July 17, 2009 at 18:34

    If I had a choice I would rather work for NASA than Al Gore

  83. 107 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:35

    As to cost, all Science programs combined add up to a mere pittance compared to the trillions that Conservatives have stolen with their Derivative Financial Schemes and Scams. At least with Hubble you get a pretty photograph!

  84. 108 Greg Smith
    July 17, 2009 at 18:35

    NASA has had many practical benefits here on Earth. The list is long and includes the following:
    -Telecommunication satellites since the late 1950’s
    -cordless power tools (first developed for the lunar missions)
    -smoke detectors (first used in Skylab in the 1970’s)
    -CT and MRI imaging studies used in medicine (both came about because of digital imaging processing first done by the Jet Propulsion Lab for NASA in the 1960’s)

    It is in man’s nature to explore and though some may not think it as a prudent use of resources our future explorations will be in space, the final frontier.

    Greg Smith
    Greenwood, Indian, USA

  85. 109 steve
    July 17, 2009 at 18:36

    @ Jon

    “Just because we COULD throw a lot of money at digging to the center of the earth doesn’t mean that it’s a good idea or that we should use money that we could otherwise use to prevent hunger to do so.”

    They’ve actually tried that. It was called Project Mohole.

  86. 110 Mark
    July 17, 2009 at 18:37

    If the same investment that went in to the Star Wars movies, went in to a space program, we’d have long since been on Mars or wherever.
    The implications?
    Advancement of the human condition, and a few less mediocre movies!

  87. 111 Gus Frederick
    July 17, 2009 at 18:37

    Continued exploration and exploitation of space is essential BECAUSE if were to protect the Earth from ANOTHER Tunguska event, we need a robust space infrastructure in place. Recap: On June 30th, 1908 a large chuck on rock exploded over Siberia with the energy of 200 Hiroshima A-Bombs. If it had been 5 hours later, we may well be talking about the “Oslo Event” now. Think of what would have happened in 1908 if a major European city had been taken out by a space rock, people then may well have realized that the real threats are up there and not amongst ourselves.

    Big Rocks are out there. It is just a matter of time before another hits. With a robust space-based infrastructure in place, we have the potential of stopping something like that.

    Plus, the only way for continued economic growth, is to have UNLIMITED energy and UNLIMITED materials. We don’t have that on the planet. We do have that if we have the will and drive. If we don’t, we won’t. We can not survive without a space-based economy.

  88. 112 Todd in Atlanta
    July 17, 2009 at 18:38

    Okay, you have my total attention with this discussion!

    A proposed mission to Mars is NOT enough to inspire in a big way, rather space travel needs to be promoted differently now.

    I have two solutions:

    1. Make space research and developement less of a high-end, elitist field, and find ways for more of the population to participate and possibly develope innovations from a younger age ( as young as junior high, or even younger if a kid is that motivated).

    2. We already have massive advances in computer and robotics technology. Send robots to explore the places we all want to go, and equip them with some advanced version of virtual reality technology, so that the scientists (and even other people) can plug-in and feel what the robots are experiencing, as if they were there themselves.
    Don’t tell me that’s far-out because I KNOW we can develope that technology a lot faster and cheaper than we can in sending people in space all the time. And more people worldwide can participate and innovate in major ways.


    I’m the biggest fan and supporter of space exploration you’ll find. It benefits us scientifically, contributes to technology and inspires many of us in so many ways.

    That being said, I must acknowledge that we do live in very different times, and the political and social motivations for space travel then contrast with the motivations now, especially since people are more cynical.

  89. 113 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:38

    As to bravery, Shuttle Commanders and Pilots have said that riding that rocket is a thousand times more dangerous than flying a fighter jet, and those guys are not only experienced fighter Pilots,but Test Pilots too.

  90. 114 Michelle from Jamaica
    July 17, 2009 at 18:39

    If we don’t explore space, we will implode as a people. We have to push our limits as a people. I don’t think they have to manned, as long as the data is received. I love the images that are sent back. We should know what is out there.

  91. 115 Dan
    July 17, 2009 at 18:40

    @Jon in Portland
    I’d love to see hunger eliminated in the world but it is a goal that will forever elude us as there exists corrupt “leaders” and governments in those countries where hunger is the biggest problem.
    We can never eliminate all the social ills of the world but we can inspire people to greater heights (no pun intended).
    Space exploration does just that, digging a ditch does not.
    When Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon the whole world stopped and for a moment was united.
    Imagine what the world will be like when the first person stands on Mars?
    The human spirit is about insatable curiosity and space is the ultimate quest to satiate that curiosity, mainly “Are we alone?”

  92. 116 Biswas from Kathmandu
    July 17, 2009 at 18:40

    For those who say that space-investments should be curtailed and instead be utilized to distribute medicines to the poor………. can you cut your entertainment costs including ur TVs and iphones, or not join a good and expensive college, so that you can give your money to save those dying of diarrhea, say, in rural Nepal???

  93. 117 slakr007
    July 17, 2009 at 18:41

    In 2007, the US “defense” budget was $602B, 38 times NASA’s $16.7B 2007 budget. I find it very odd that people want to take money away from NASA to fund science on Earth instead of taking money away from the business of killing people.

    Also, what else are these scientists going to do? What makes people think we can take astrophysicists and make them work on solving hunger problems?

  94. 118 Dave, Portland OR
    July 17, 2009 at 18:41

    Should we go back to the Moon? I work in the electronics industry. If it wasn’t for NASA driving the microminiaturization of electrical circuits this industry would not be what it is today. I would not have a paycheck to spend on imports and provide jobs to the starving people of the world.

    If it wasn’t for the International Space Station we would not have such a unique vantage point to study the Earths environment and the Life Sciences.

    Yes, we should go back to the Moon. It does cost a lot of money but we do get a return on this investment many times over. The truth is that we really can’t afford not to.

  95. 119 Lisa from Pennsylvania, US
    July 17, 2009 at 18:41

    Now more than ever we need another “giant leap.” Life on Earth is becoming increasingly difficult and even frightening at times. We need an inspiring event like that of the first moon walk to show us human ingenuity and even heroism on the part of brave astronauts who take place in such missions.

  96. 120 GK
    July 17, 2009 at 18:42

    I think you have characterized this wrong. You’ve asked should we continue to spend or spend more money in space rather than on earth – I can assure you that all of the money for spaceflight is spent right here on earth. We are not putting dollars into the rocket to launch into orbit. Engineers, technicians, dieticians, scientists, and lots of other people are working in jobs here on earth and they are the people who receive the space program’s money.

    Why not ask whether dollars should go to space or towards tobacco production, or to fast food sales, or to tourism, or to camping. These are all industries that cost much more than the space program. What makes you think that stopping funding for the space program would translate into increased funding for the poor or the malnourished ? There is far less money going to space than to any of these other industries.

    Considerably less money is spent on the NASA civilian space program today than was spent during the Apollo moon program. At the height of the moon program ion 1967, about 4% of the US GNP was spent on the space program. Today about 1/2 of 1% is spent on the US civilian space program. By comparison, about 2% of US GNP goes to military space spending.

  97. July 17, 2009 at 18:43

    Space developement will benefit the poor more than is thought by those that believe we should use all our efforts on the poor that are with us now. The way to alleviate poverty is to increase the world’s wealth. This is done by turning raw materials, whether physical matter or the intellectual treasures of our civilization, into something of greater value, and the raw material that is waiting within our reach in space,not to mention the superabundance of clean powerful solar with which to do things for everyone here on earth using mircowave transmission, as is now being explored, will make it far easier to provide real opportunity for those who now are competing for ever shrinking resources. That competition for an ever shrinking piece of a relatively small pie, our earth, causes tension, unstability and conflict. The resources of our planetary neighborhood is greater than we have on the surface of our planet, doesn’t disrupt our ecosystem in utilizing it, and makes the manufactured products on which we depend for the quality of life we all wish to share, possible.

  98. 122 Julia in Portland
    July 17, 2009 at 18:43

    Beyond curiosity, space exploration has been very influential in medical, scientific and physical discoveries.

    Space exploration is not just about getting there, it is about all the medical and scientific experiments that are done while in space.

    It is imperative that we continue exploration….it may give us solutions to many of those issues we are experiencing here on the ground.

  99. 123 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:45

    Endeavour is just meters away from docking with ISS!

  100. 124 Todd in Atlanta
    July 17, 2009 at 18:46

    I truly feel that my second point, as enumerated above, is valid (to me anyway) because with VR-equipped robots we can explore space and other cosmic bodies extensively, while we continue to develop manned space travel here on Earth.

    If and when we (via the robots) find something substantial that demands our direct attention, then we can send people to that location to fully explore or even colonize the place.

    Just a thought.

  101. July 17, 2009 at 18:47

    Space travel – manned or un-manned – MUST continue. To say we gain no knowledge from space, to me, is a bit arrogant and naive.Do people really think it’s all done just for “one-up manship”?? Come on! Amongst a miriad of reasons for travel is international co-operation and a better understanding of each other perhaps even bringing an end to suspicion and war (peace!!), finding resources for us here on earth, the study of the planet, development of new technology etc etc. We ALREADY have massive food wastage. The surplus the EU/US produce could be better managed and at the same time we can sxplore space.

    In short, i find blaming space travel for hunger/climate problems is ridiculus and i really hope we see more space travel.

  102. 126 nevets72
    July 17, 2009 at 18:48

    Earth has been a lovely cradle for us, we must grow-up and leave the cradle, it won’t last forever. Science and engineering can take us to new worlds, the former astronauts did help with that work.

  103. 127 douglas
    July 17, 2009 at 18:49

    Humans evolved on earth and this is where we belong. Those who say that humans must go to live in space to save our species are using that idea as an excuse for trashing and overpopulating our own planet. Earth could be a paradise if we would stop making war and stop making so many babies. Maybe we should send all the politicians off to space so we can have a happy peaceful Earth.

  104. 128 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:49

    I suggest that it is the process that ought to be valued at least as much as the ends. All of the science, engineering, and education that goes into exploration reverberates throughout our world.

  105. 129 Keith
    July 17, 2009 at 18:49

    A couple points:

    We will never make it to Mars if NASA does not have adequate funding. Think of it in perspective, NASA’s budget is $17.2 billion for FY 2009, whereas the US annual budget is almost $3 trillion. This means that NASA’s budget is 0.57% of the annual budget.

    NASA’s budget is a drop in the bucket compared to US social programs- about one percent. The world’s biggest problems (hunger, etc.) are population problems, and they cannot be solved with money, only by widespread awareness/change in human behavior. Contributing NASA’s budget to social programs would make absolutely no appreciable difference, while NASA, with its small budget, was responsible for several acts that have been widely regarded as humanity’s most impressive accomplishments.

    Only a fraction of NASA’s budget goes to the space program- it is also responsible for aeronautics research, creating more efficient and useful technologies for flight and other industries.

    Most of the money funneled into NASA goes into creating and maintaining many government jobs, and what we as US citizens gain is invaluable research in the public domain that could not be achieved by any private enterprise (it is fundamentally a government program).

  106. 130 Count Iblis
    July 17, 2009 at 18:49

    We went to the Moon not because it was easy but because it was hard, at least that’s the reason Kennedy gave when he argued in favor of it. The whole idea of trying to save money by not doing difficult things like space exploaration is inherently flawed for two reasons :

    1) Many of the problems the World faces today have nothing to do with a lack of means. The potential production output for food, cars, houses, etc. is more tan sufficient to supply the World’s population many times over. Poverty is caused by the fact that the free market system is not perfect.

    The Western world consumes too much. In fact we consume so much that the produced CO2 waste is changing the World’s climate with potentially disasterous consequences. Spending money on space exploration at the cost of some sizeable fraction of our national income would be a good thing. Objecting to that is like an obese person who eats too much objecting to advice that he must exercise more. The obese person feels he has a lack of energy and tries to eat as much as he can, so he certainly does not want to waste energy in the gym. 🙂

    2) By spending money on difficult projects, technological development is stimulated. A manned space mission to Mars would stimulate the develoment of more intelligent robots. Sending people to Mars is so expensive that it would pay to spend billions to develop more intelligent robots that could rduce the number of people we need to send to Mars.

  107. 131 Jonathan (dazzling San Francisco)
    July 17, 2009 at 18:49

    What we hoped for from space, we’ve achieved with the internet– unimagined 30 years ago. Everyone on Earth potentially has free, instant communication with everyone else, with automatic translation. Finally, the family of humanity can talk to each other. Surely that holds just as much magic and poetry and promise as space travel ever had.

    San Francisco

  108. 133 Nicholas
    July 17, 2009 at 18:51

    We are far enough from our Nieghbors as it is. A real out of this world journey is getting to know your fellow man a lil better than some dusty moon rocks.

  109. 134 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2009 at 18:52

    I remember that when Armstrong took that step, people around the world did not say that the Americans made it, they said “We made it”, that is all of the earths people joined in celebrating, all earths people came together in that moment., and that has to be good.

  110. 135 GK
    July 17, 2009 at 18:53

    You are wrong. WD-40 was in fact developed for the space program – the military ballistic missile program in the late 1950s was looking for a lubricant and WD-40 was the 40th compound tested.

    Things that have been developed by the space program and put into use on earth:

    micrminiaturizations such as found in cell phones, computers
    communications satellites
    earth resources satellites for flood, famine, crop, rain forest, ozone, arctic/antarctic mapping, ocena current mapping
    google earth
    water reclamation systems developed for the space station now used in remote areas of earth for recycling
    medical instrumentation such as used for NMR and MRIs
    sunglasses that protect against UB and other radiation
    medical pumps for heart/blood pumping and for diabetes control
    mattresses that relieve pressure points
    thermal insualtion
    not the invention, but refined development of teflon, nomex, and velcro for durability, usability
    ocular screening system for eye diseases

    • 136 Tom K in Mpls
      July 20, 2009 at 17:26

      WD-40 or Water Displacement Formula #40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company. It is edible fish oil. Read the ingredient list. It has almost no lubrication qualities, as it breaks down the residue will aid rust formation but it will dry out wet electrical systems such as car ignitions. It is also an excellent fish attractant to put on any fishing lure.

  111. 137 Julia in Portland
    July 17, 2009 at 18:54

    @Jonathan in San Fran

    But, we wouldn’t have the internet, cell phones and communications the way we do if we hadn’t gone in to space.

    What future fantastic things will you be limiting or eliminating the opportunity to design or discover if you eliminate or restrict the space program?

  112. 138 Martin (Salt Lake City)
    July 17, 2009 at 18:56

    If the US cut its defense budget in half, or even more, maybe we would have enough money for space exploration and taking care of people and the planet…

    • 139 James Ian
      July 18, 2009 at 06:37

      Yeah right!! Before we could feel any of the benefits of any of the redirected cash we would be blown up by north korea, Iran or some other religious and/or radical country.

      Cut defense spending??!! No way!! Maybe offence spending. LOL

  113. 140 Vijay
    July 17, 2009 at 18:56

    Yes ,of course we do ,it inspired me when I was a child and young adult to study aero and astro enginering,I wanted to be on the first manned mission to Mars but I found out NASA and its sub-contractors only employ US citizens.

  114. 141 Keith
    July 17, 2009 at 18:56

    One final point:

    Another little-known fact is that the management problems of NASA’s budget are caused by politicians who control the agency’s budget. They control the flow of the money given to the agency, even though they have no experience in science, business, or management. They cancel long-term projects and give money to new ones, only to cancel those same projects the following year.

  115. 142 Vijay
    July 17, 2009 at 19:02

    You last contributor mentioned how Columbus “discovered”America as well as how Cook “discovered”Australia for humanity,however there were already humans living in Australasia and the Americas who were dessimated by the new conquerors.

  116. 143 Nagual
    July 17, 2009 at 19:07

    I do not understand the logic of the former astronaut on your program. We are sending people/robots to moon/mars to see what’s going on there, and she argues that we can look at the earth from space and get a better understanding of what is going on on our planet (Ozone and crops and such).!!! Well, if you want to know what is going on with the crops ask the farmers – and listen when they talk to you; don’t just take notes and disappear. We are already here on earth, why do we need to go to space to see what’s going on here???????????????

    And then she talked about things that have already been accomplished. Someone has got to remind her that we are now talking about renewed space adventures; not the programs initiated in the past. What is the sense in spending hundreds of billions of dollras on space adventures, when we (the US) is 1 trillion dollars in debt??????????

    I cannot believe such an idiotic adventure is even a topic for discussion

  117. 144 Keith
    July 17, 2009 at 19:10

    I’m glad that the people saying “the space program is a HUGE WASTE OF MONEY” will never be in a position of power, considering how quickly they voice their opinion without having any concept of the actual budget or expenditures of NASA and the United States.

  118. 145 Baxter Huston
    July 17, 2009 at 19:12

    There will always be the poor amoung us. If the human race hasn’t got the motivation to eliminate that problem, not spending money on scientific study of space will not loosen the purse for that cause. The world will simply find some other issue of interest to turn it’s moneys to. Further, food is not the essence of life, but inspiration is. The human race as a whole will thrive on inspiration even as it’s individual cells suffer from neglect. Art (including relition) and science (including philosophy) are the hallmarks of human existence, not individual longevity.

    This is not to minimize the terror and suffering of those who hunger, but only to put one’s point of view 10,000 km into space and look back at this little world.

  119. July 17, 2009 at 19:42

    @ Adam in Canada and Jonathan in Dazzling SF
    Well said: thoughtful opinions, clearly expressed.

    @Dan. Your mental images of bloggers as ‘bleeding heart liberals… (and) … sitting home hiding under the bed with dust bunnies’ eloquently portray your attitude, adding so much to this debate.

  120. 147 archibald
    July 17, 2009 at 21:46

    To answer the question, no. we need to renew our sense of pride in the simple and sustaining things we require to exist on this world before we get all, “grass is always greener…..”, and head off to colonize space.
    Is it for sure that we actually made it to the moon? There was a lot of pressure to succeed at our lofty endeavors back then. The idea that it was faked is usually classified as conspiracy, but, there is enough evidence to suggest that it is highly possible.
    We have not mapped 3/4 of our oceans and still lack the technology to go some places on our own world, let alone the moon. The advent of television made many things possible, including the ability to fake events. Especially ones like the moon shot, that bore such responsibility for the overall stability and morale of the country.

  121. 148 Jon in Portland
    July 18, 2009 at 00:29

    @ Keith

    You are assuming too much about the ignorance of others in your statement. I’m puzzled how you find it surprising that some of us don’t believe the $18.7 billion granted to NASA from the federal budget for 2009 is money well spent. Although it is only a very small fraction of total U.S. federal expenditures, it is still a “huge” amount of money which I believe could be much better spent elsewhere. $18.7 billion would make a much larger difference in the lives of everyday citizens even if it were used in some of the more demanding (but still financially lacking) government programs. Although yours is but one disrespectful comment among many which are not written so aggressively I wish that you would simply state your opinion rather than insulting others intelligence.

    If your interested in more information on NASA and government spending check out.

    NASA Budget Summary for 2009: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/fy2010_new_era/National_Aeronautics_and_Space_Administration.pdf
    The Office of Management and Budget Page: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb
    USA Spending: http://www.usaspending.gov/

  122. 149 Bert
    July 18, 2009 at 00:51

    Part of what it means to be human is that we aspire for more than just what surrounds us. Speaking of predictable, the posts saying that we need to fix every problem here on earth first were oh-so-predicable.

    I’d argue that absolutely EVERYTHING great achieved by mankind was achieved because a few individuals saw beyond their little sphere, and moved out there in spite of the niggling little problems that existed at that instant in time.

    One facile example: flight. Think of the Wright brothers, owning a little bicycle shop. Did they say, no, forget this silliness of flight, we need to clean the shop and perfect this bicyle thing first. We have plenty to keep us busy in our bicycle shop.

    History proved that not only could the airplane be invented, but bicylces also improved. And no one cares a whit anymore about the cleanliness of that particular shop’s floor.

    People have to be able to do more than one thing at a time. Some of the things people do are mundane, boring, things that must be done just to maintain the status quo. The great things people do cannot be sacrificed for the sake of the mundane.

  123. 150 Nagual
    July 18, 2009 at 06:55

    Apparently, going to space/moon messed up most astronaut minds. A clear testimony that it is a waste of money and time:


    The only thing about going to space is to pop up your chest and look down on other nations. The same reason the war with Iraq was waged.

  124. 151 Ubaid Aslam
    July 18, 2009 at 13:23

    I am still not convinced that they actually reached moon. How did this eagle lift off from the moon and how did they achieved the speeds needed to get out of the gravity of the moon. Even if we accept that the moon gravity is 1/6 of that of earth, they should have required at least a 6 times small rocket to get back to earth!!!
    it just does’nt add up

  125. 152 george evans
    July 18, 2009 at 13:44

    One might argue that the cost of bringing a gallon of oil back from Mars could exceed $100,000–but if anything, history has taught us that the free market will inexorably work to bring prices down for the benefit of mankind.

    Similarly, the timber or existing food stocks on Mars have yet to be fully explored, and the cost of transport to the earth could seem to be daunting; history has again always demonstrated that the efficiency of unregulated market forces.

    I have one grave concern, however, that NASA has not fully taken advantage of existing technology. Clearly Capt. James T. Kirk has amply demonstrated the feasibility of technology that far exceeds what is required for Mars travel and far beyond that. It is unconscionable that NASA had not appointed someone with his often tested leadership skills to the highest administrative level. I don’t recall if he identifies as a Republican or a Democrat, but it is time to put aside petty self-serving politics and do the right thing at this critical juncture for the journey to mankind’s ultimate destiny.

    God bless everyone who supports our magnificent destiny.

    George Evans MA USA

    (I affirm that this statement was made freely and I have not received any payment or other considerations from NASA. I also affirm that I have never been determined to be insane by any qualified practitioner. I would like to see if others posting here can also affirm these high standards)

  126. July 18, 2009 at 19:00

    I agree with those who say “NO”. Any GIANT, be it another LEAP or any sort of commotion is predominantly Show. J F Kennedy’s spectacular speech was just a bib boy’s challenge to his potential rivals.
    I wonder if those above who are in favour, are not just unknowingly pushing a project in favour the big entrepreneurs who will make another fortune building the machines concerned.
    The article about Jesus is out of place here. Its objective is to right from the start to disprove one by one self chosen conventional negative arguments and come to what obviously is a foregone conclusion right from the start.
    Let science continue making the never ending minute Leaps which the precision and dedication with which it has been going on for centuries creating the ever progressing monuments existing today

  127. July 18, 2009 at 19:08

    This world is plagued by so much probems. am not against space exploration but what am against is spending so much at this particular period when there is much that needs to be done down here. From Nigeria/

  128. 155 Phil Gibbs
    July 18, 2009 at 20:27

    If we discontinued our extra-terrestrial research the Earth’s population would have one more problem, not one less.

  129. 156 Heinz Hinrichs
    July 18, 2009 at 22:36

    Sure! by all means! Let’s spend counts billions of dollars while we face a trllion dollar deficit all while watching the dollar loose it value each day.
    This is sound logic since we’ve poluted our air and water making all the unnatural products that go into fabricating these mechanical objects that we hurl into space and proclaim for the advancement of the human race.
    We need to find somewhere else to live since we continue to destory our planet that we inhabit currently.
    I can hardly wait for the invention of an all organic computer because I feel dirty everytime I have to use this one.

  130. 157 T
    July 19, 2009 at 01:10

    Yes. But why not a giant leap first to take care of the planet BEFORE we go out to others.?

  131. 158 Russell Finley
    July 19, 2009 at 03:24

    Do we need to go, I’m 58 years old if I could go I’d be gone, the moon, mars or where ever as long as I didn’t have to come back here.

  132. 159 Victor Radujko
    July 19, 2009 at 17:17

    Our inability to eliminate poverty is not linked to space exploration – since Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon 40 years ago the world has devoted much money and effort to alleviating poverty, yet hundreds of millions still starve, and hundreds of millions more cannot get basic education. The same is true of military spending – many trillions have been expended worldwide, yet people in many countries are no more secure now than they were 40 years ago.

    History tells us that the human condition has been improved greatly, both socially and intellectually, by the things we created to help us explore and settle new frontiers here on Earth. If we had chosen to do more since the flight of Apollo 11 to explore and settle Mars and other places in our solar system, we might already have seen the rise of new societies, forerunners of civilizations that might surpass any now occupying this planet.

    Of course, if we do nothing, or wait for “the right moment”, none of it will come to pass.

  133. 160 Julio Cesar Pereira
    July 19, 2009 at 22:34

    Humanity can surely deal with their problems on earth and carry out space explorations concurrently. The fact of the matter that humans can perform the latter is a proof that they can do the former. Just because our leaders seem not to be able or willing to do so is not a reason for us to give up on other important matters.

  134. 161 Dave in Florida
    July 20, 2009 at 17:06

    The United States will never again go beyond the Earth’s orbit. The space shuttles will be scrubbed in a couple of years and the once proud NASA will be forced to hitch-a-ride with someone else.

    The U.S. has lost all sense of adventure and boldness, and will NEVER do anything that it deems as too expensive.

    To all other countries out there — please take control of research and exploration for it is up to you now.

  135. 162 T
    July 20, 2009 at 20:05

    Yes. Stop global warming and other problems on earth BEFORE you go elsewhere.

  136. July 21, 2009 at 12:57

    50 years ago two thirds of the world’s budget was spent on military and arms production. Today I believe it is much more.
    If that amount of time effort and money were to be spent on space exploration it would be of benefit to all mankind.
    Even if the time spent on producing arms to destroy the Jewish state of Israel were to be invested in a journey to Mars – the red planet could be reached during the next decade.

  137. 164 Dinka Aliap Chawul-Kampala
    July 21, 2009 at 14:57

    These astronauts should stop this Moon`s journeys because they have started scaring people here especially according to a certain Newspaper called Redpepper had started articulating some false histories about the world future last year that there`s another planet named as Nebiru is gonna struck the Earth on 21st Dec 2012 which they said was got from NASA.So been more scary than promising will leave you with no fans.

  138. 165 Stania
    July 23, 2009 at 13:46

    Thanks to the science and inquisitive nature of a human mind towards the mysteries we are a part of, I can watch countless videos and simulations of what lies further than my eyes can see.

    The view of the Earth from the Universe is my favourite. I travel away from “home”, light years keep multipliing and finally, the Milky way presents its entire shape. Just then, when the blue planet is already unrecognizable, long lost among the magnificent blend of a universal matter, my mind has a tendency to give in. Another angle of observation sets in. This time, as my eyes look “down” through the incomprehensible vastnes of space, starsdust and galaxies towards the point that marks my initial starting point, I see that it is not us, the celebrated intelligence topped up with a flesh and bone that can make a mark.

    Looking up – yes, I think we need a giant leap – in order to prolong the time for which our increadibly beautiful and hospitable planet will be inhabitable.

    Looking down – well,….a failure to do the first one in the first place, might result in us being ridiculous big headed, gready mammals, who on any planet they ever ended up populating, were incapable to realize that they had played only a tiny part in a giant orchestra.

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