Have you?  Will you?

We have mail in ballots in my state.  I just voted.  I hope you will too.

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Glad you are voting!  And despite the "drop in the bucket" that each of our votes makes, the investment in voting is minimal, and it matters a lot.  Thank you for commenting and for voting!

"I remember when they used to say - If only we spent that money going to the space program on reducing poverty - there would be an improved society. They always ignored the spinoff technological benefits."

I support the space program, but on its own terms (actually I worked on a component of the Mars Phoenix).

I don't buy the spinoff bit as a justification, it's a large expense for stuff that would have happened anyhow (well except for Tang--no one would invent that). Sure technologies were being developed for the space program but virtually all of them were just as useful for military and commercial aviation, manufacturing and communications industries. Those productive applications would have borne the cost. Almost none of this stuff was specific to the space program. (Interestingly the space program sometimes, of necessity, lags behind the commercial sector. The camera on Curiosity, for example is years behind that in a cheap cell phone).

The spinoffs, when they occur are nice, but they don't come anywhere near justification of the cost. We need to sell space exploration on its own merits.

Jay, I'm glad to hear you support the space program and that is neat that you worked on a component of the Mars Phoenix.  I never believed if you took the money that went into the space race it would have been used to alleviate poverty - it was just a popular thing to say in that era.


I checked Wikipedia and found some interesting technologies that are considered space program spinoffs.  Interestingly enough at the bottom they say Tang is one of the ones that has been mistakenly attributed as a NASA spin-off technology.  I was also surprised to see MRI's beside Tang on that list.  Still, the spin-off list is quite impressive. 

The U.S.A did not send a man to the moon because they would see related beneficial technological breakthroughs.  It was at war with an ideology that had a temporary lead in sending man into space.

NASA spin-off technologies

If the Soviets hadn't put a man into space, teaching evolution in our schools might still be illegal.

I'm not kidding, America began spending on science and math education.

BTW, the money did alleviate poverty. I worked in the Apollo program and some of the money alleviated my poverty.

[I am sorry if my replies don't thread properly. Even when I attempt to reply to a post, it comes out in the main thread]

"The U.S.A did not send a man to the moon because they would see related beneficial technological breakthroughs. "

This is true and this is partly why it worked. Trying to justify it through spinoffs starts us in the wrong direction (and I would argue that pretty much all of those spinoffs would have come about as quickly out of the military or commercial arena anyhow.) Once the justification is framed in spinoffs it becomes captive to ongoing challenges and continuous re-justifications.

I will be voting on the 6th. I hate living in a red state. I feel as like I'm wasting my vote on who will be president. Really crossing my fingers for Obama. Four More Years! =)

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