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STEM Connection

Spreading Excitement About Space Exploration

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Takes too long
Rob Spiegel   10/2/2013 12:26:59 PM
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Hey Dave. Yes my calculation on Afghanistan spending versus NASA spending was off. It looks like we're spending about $300 million a day in Afghanistan, so it would take 59 days, or two months, to equal the NASA budget.

But I think you got my point regarding priorities. 

Dave Palmer
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Re: Takes too long
Dave Palmer   10/1/2013 9:57:48 PM
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@Rob: Actually, the annual NASA budget is equal to about nine and a half weeks of Afghanistan war spending. That's still a pretty unfortunate commentary on where our national priorities are. But the $17.8 billion dollars allocated to NASA is producing some amazing results; imagine what NASA could do with the $99 billion that is being spent on the war. Hopefully the government shutdown will end soon so that they can get back to work.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: SPACE EXPLORATION
Ann R. Thryft   10/1/2013 7:49:02 PM
Thanks, Dave for that comment: eloquent, well put, and reminds me of what I felt about space exploration as a kid growing up in the Sputnik era. There was a lot of nonsense about us vs the Russians but I just thought everything all of us did was amazing and wonderful.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Little awareness of barreirs to manned exploration
Ann R. Thryft   10/1/2013 7:45:39 PM
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Thanks, Rob, and that's a good point about the unmanned missions--they are equally important.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: the best motivation
Rob Spiegel   10/1/2013 2:20:13 PM
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I tend to agree with you RougeMoon. The public is probably behind the space program and might very well get behind an expanded program. Your China scenario might do the trick.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Takes too long
Rob Spiegel   10/1/2013 11:21:08 AM
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Good point, Dave. Even so, I understand that the annual NASA budget is smaller than a week's worth of defense spending in Afghanistan.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Little awareness of barreirs to manned exploration
Rob Spiegel   10/1/2013 11:17:46 AM
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Ann, you make a good arguement for unmanned space exploration. The challoenge is to make sure the unmanned efforts still capture the public's imagination. The recent Mars trip certainly accompliahed this.

Nancy Golden
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Inspiring Programs Have Been Cut
Nancy Golden   9/28/2013 12:42:57 AM
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"We owe our children a positive vision that will inspire their imaginations."

Indeed we do. Part of the problem is that important programs that raised public awareness and create excitement for space have been cut. I will never forget our family's visit to the Johnson Space Center Open House. It was incredible as we got to see behind the scenes in many areas that were not normally open to the public except at this special event. My son was three years old and he got to shake Colonel Rick Husband's hand and meet several space shuttle astronauts. He got to see moon rocks up close. I was hoping to take him several times as he got older, but when I called NASA to find out when they were having it again, I was informed that the program was shut down. This is such a shame - I hope they are able to do these again some day - it would definitely be a "positive vision that would inspire their imaginations."

apresher
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NASA in the future
apresher   9/25/2013 3:16:10 PM
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Dave, NASA could definitely use your help in explaining the good things that are happening. Given the state of our federal budget, NASA needs to be able to communicate its value better moving ahead.  Excellent post.

Dave Palmer
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Re: SPACE EXPLORATION
Dave Palmer   9/24/2013 2:01:00 PM
Regarding the Chinese and Indian space programs, I was raised on Star Trek, so I was inculcated with the idea that space exploration is something that ought to bring humanity together as a species, rather than competing nation-states.  Even as a kid during the Cold War, I followed the Soviet space program as closely as the U.S. space program, and celebrated its achievements, such as the Venera probes to Venus, the Salyut and Mir space stations, and the Proton rockets (which are still in use today).  I really hope that as humanity goes into space, we can leave narrow nationalism behind.

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