Below is a commentary from the New York Times. I thought this would be a good way to start this discussion off!

 

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/opinion/09tue1.html

 

 

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Arguably, exploration is the only competing alternative to war as a massive tech driver when it comes to big leaps and multitudinous additional applications. Obviously, exploration is preferable - although it is often accompanied by a downside - historically in the exploitation of indigenous people and incumbent wars over property rights and sovereignty. Clearly, it will be quite a while before we have to worry about indigenous peoples - and it is likely that sovereignty issues will be fought in Earthside courts.

However, keep in mind the concepts of Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress where he suggests that what ever cargo delivery system used to drop Moon products into the Earth's gravity well might be used to drop big rocks whose heat of impact alone would make them formidable WMD.
Really? I think our trips to the moon were complete wastes. We killed several astronauts and injured engineers just so we could plant a flag up there and whack some golf balls. We sent men up there with only a fuel tank and tin foil between them and harmful solar radiation. I think the major problem is the ignorant bulk of the population. They don't give a crap about the fact that they are completely dependent on technology that they don't care to even consider understanding.
I would absolutely disagree. Maybe the return trips were for science, but the probably unlimited resources that went in initially were definitely backed for political reasons. For example, the atomic bomb was not created for science. Science was exploited for it's creation.
Going to the moon was definitely not a waste. From Apollo 11 alone, 400 pages of research were published in the scientific journal 'Science' in 1970. I actually got to see this journal and flip through it in my college library. The findings are astounding. Just that one trip to the moon helped us determine exactly how far the moon is from the Earth with an error or plus/minus centimeters. Gravitational measurements were also explored. Not to mention numerous soil/rock samples opened our eyes to 3 billion year old rocks, that are still being analzed today. And the future moon landings just provided an even larger knowledge base of the moon.

Landing on the moon was a celebratory event. How to set foot where no one ever set foot before, the moon, well it just gives me chills. To see your home planet out in the distance, it must be astounding. The Moon landing was multi purpose; to enjoy, to do science, to be the first and I'm sure the list goes on.

Saying that the moon landings were a waste does nothing but dishonor the lives lost of the Apollo 1 astronauts. Every astronaut knows the ultimate risk of their job, but they do it anyway. They could die in training, up in space, during liftoff or re-entry. But they were supposed to be the first men on the moon. They wanted to go there most of all, they didn't think it was a waste. It was a horrible tragedy, their death...mistakes were made and lessons were learned.
Discovery of the "Genesis" rock alone was in my opinion worth the entire Apollo program. Now after Apollo we squandered our brilliant start by losing direction, and and having no vision. To this day that is what NASA lacks. Not the individual astronauts, of whom Im guessing they would agree with my statement.

MARS NOW!! Not twenty years from bu within five! The tecnologias have existed. Will is whats lacking. Stephanie great post!
Like your computer, Casey? Or the Velcro closure on your jacket or rucksack? How about your carbon-fiber tennis racket? All from the space program, bro, that and too many other things to count were a direct result of the necessities created when we decided to go to the moon.
I didn't say the space program. I do admit I was wrong about what I said though.
Also, about computers, Nasa had nothing to do with discovery of semiconductors or transistors. The point I was trying to make was that public awareness or interest in science was not related to our trips to the moon. Every high school student in america is attached to a mobile phone, but I'm certain that a minuscule fraction of them could tell you what a transistor was, let alone how they work.
yes, my house is also insulated with aero gel.
I definitely agree that I was wrong when I said that our trips to the moon were wastes, and I apologize for that. It was a terrible choice of words. I was trying to convey a disapproval of the motivations for the first trip there.
No need to apologize in these discussions - at least not to me. There are always pros and cons. The Interstate Highway system was funded out of fear in the Cold War as well. It would be awesome if we could start doing more progressive, forward looking things without mass fear or corporate greed. And, in fact, I think there is an underlying trend up to that effect. It's just that the scale of the curve is over millennia.

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