AlanS (Space Man) Space Man View all posts in this topic  
Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:12 pm
This is the interesting problem of our times        

Brian,

In short, Space is the most hostile environment in the universe. The engineering, technology, and science required to produce working vehicles (nevertheless the associated science instrumentation!) is absolutely extraordinary and continues to affect us more than the previous day. And of course, that just encompasses the offshoots of space technology. Our world relies more than most people realize on space-based communication (way more than just phones, GPS, and surveillance).

Whether or not you realize it, Space technology plays a more important role in this modern age. No, I am not talking about Velcro or Memory Foam - but rather your cell phone, plane ticket, computer, television, and more. All of these were made possible by technology which continues to grow more advanced - and that you have likely never heard of. High stability nanosecond-accurate clocks? Crucial to almost everything you do.

How are we supposed to further advance humanity when our current technology is not even associated with the scientists who developed it? To clarify, Steve Jobs was not a NASA scientist or employee, however much of the technology that he profited from came directly from our 100 billion dollars/year space industry.

On a side note, did you see that NASA just tested out an optical communications system that transmitted about 650 mbps a distance of roughly 250,000 miles? If that technology becomes mainstream, I worry that a large portion of folks (like yourself) will hobble the very source of science which that developed it - all due to a misunderstanding. I would say that the big difference between now and the times of the "Old" NASA tech that you reference is nothing to do with the science or mission of NASA, but rather the misconceptions developed since the golden ages of space exploration.

And just so you know, this yahoo is hoping to win a fellowship for research that has the potential to save NASA millions of dollars per year - and lay the foundations for better science and technology. None of the above is an abstract desire to fund my beloved field; the facts are the facts. For every dollar that NASA gets (which is only 3/4 the cost of the recent government shut down per year), between 10 and 20 go back into the economy.

At any rate, your conceptions are not really the focus of this post. They are mainly just a symptom of the pervasive misconceptions that exist in this ironically high-tech culture.

Alan

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