That's really interesting what Bill Nye said, bronorb. I have a lot of respect for that guy and tend to think if he believes that, than perhaps it is so. As I mentioned in another comment, space had a way of really firing up the collective American imagination, so perhaps this is what inspires kids as well.
Good points, Battar. I think sending humans into space was a great idea at the time it was first done, as it not only had to do with the science of it itself but also with the political and social climate at the time. Americans needed to believe in something greater than ourselves, and the space program did that for them. Now I think we are past all that and NASA's mission is different, and as you point out, robots are a good way to do this more efficiently, safely and economically.
I think this "lul" will continue as long as our news media chooses to spend untold hours on someone's privately spoken racial comments and the disposition of Monica Lewinsky's dress after 16 years instead of the benefits we continue to receive from space exploration. Our media needs to focus on more positive space related breakthroughs and less on negative drivel. --John
Ann, yes, it is good we are in space. I am glad too. I worked a bit on the Space Station Arm supporting SPAR Aerospace some time ago. It is good to see it still going strong.
One concern I have is the current situation in Europe. As the US and Russia get into a more confrontational stance, we risk losing our manned space capability. We need to get NASA back into the launch business for manned missions. It could get very hairy very soon.
There is a big push these days to get young people interested in Science, Technology, Enginneering, and Math. I read an interview with Bill Nye (The Sceince Guy) and he said if we keep humans in space STEM will take care of itself. The Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions of the past inspired the young to become the scientists, engineers, and astronauts of today. I am sure that many of the people reading and commenting in DesignNews were big fans of these programs when they were kids. I know I was.
The article (excellent, by the way) mentions robots taking over the 3 Ds and that is a perfect application. However, we have to have humans in space to keep the earth-bound connected to and supportive of space programs.
Do you think the first robot to Mars will be able to describe the Martian sunrise or what it feels like to look at a point of light in the Martian night sky realizing that it's the light of the earth?
Maybe NASA doesn't have the scope to send humans into space, but they don't have the requirement, either. NASA should continue with space research, and robots can do this far more efficiently, safely, and economically than humans. This was only partly true in 1969 when Neil and Buzz stepped onto the surface of the moon. but today it is difficult to justify sending astronauts to do the job. The reseach carried out on the ISS could also be done with robots and telemetry, which would render all these cargo flights unnecessary.
Yes Ann, this article not only gives show us what NASA is planning but it also give us the general over view of what is going on in the space world as far as technological developments are concerned. I think the idea of introducing these robots into the space will help many space researches, in that they can do and go where astronauts cannot reach; they can do the three Ds. I am also glad that we are going into space.
Yes, Ann, you're right, it's good to see NASA continuing to explore space, and using robots is a clever way to do it if they don't have the same scope they once did to send humans there. I think some of their robotic forays are quite interesting. As you mention, people have varied opinions about whether we should still explore space, but given NASA's history at creating new technology that becomes mainstream and helping people maintain a sense of wonder about what's out there and also in terms of technological innovation, I am personally happy to see them still making these efforts.
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