I Love You NASA, But…


I was just reading a release on the progress of NASA’s New Horizons mission. It was sent toward Pluto back when Pluto was still a planet. It gets there this summer.

New Horizons is still over 100 million miles out, but closing fast. Low-res images of two of Pluto’s four moons are coming in. It’s an amazing achievement.

But why?

Actually, I know why. Space technology creates many well paying jobs. It’s a political landmine to cut.

Unfortunately, there is almost no practical payoff to space. All the good discoveries happened decades ago. I’ve been hearing about pharmaceuticals and metallurgy in space for the last forty years! Don’t hold your breath.

i19_025588I don’t know what they do on the International Space Station on a daily basis, but it’s the modern version of a ham radio operator’s basement from the sixties. And, it’s expensive.

What we need is to better explore Earth. We need to understand and leverage the natural power around us. There is untapped energy in tides and ocean currents. There is great heat at the center of the Earth.

The same types of skills NASA employs for space are needed for Earth! Only the mission need be changed.

Could harnessing heat from the Earth’s core be any more difficult that sending a mission to Pluto?

This is a pipe dream. I don’t see it happening. I wish it would.

There are so many bright and wonderfully talented people at NASA. Their accomplishments are way beyond mind boggling. They’re just solving the wrong problems.

2 thoughts on “I Love You NASA, But…”

  1. The thing about exploring space is that it is expensive and arguments are always made for spending and research money in different areas. The problem is we are a curious species by the very nature of our being, we are explorers each and every one of us. If we weren’t so curious we would all still be stuck in a cave in Africa throwing rocks scared of what my lie over the next hill. When a country spends so much on unnecessary programs, military spending and corporate subsidies, it’s a nice change to have anything back for the dollars we spend. Space is our future, im not saying we don’t need to understand our own planet more that is certainly an area where I would spend more money, but as an addition to our space programs not as an alternative. If you want to look at the greatest waste of money with no results to show, I am sure we would all look elsewhere than NASA first.

    1. Simon – Space isn’t just expensive, it’s prohibitively expensive. From the Washington Post:

      To date, the International Space Station has cost as much as $160 billion, with the United States providing the bulk of the money — nearly $100 billion (although it depends how you include the price of the space shuttle program). Russia, Europe, Canada, and Japan chipped in for the rest. It’s arguably the most expensive single object ever built.

      This is just for an object in near-Earth orbit!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *