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The Future of NASA!!!

06/10/2010 4:12 PM

I am one to support most of the research that NASA does and all of the great things that have come from space exploration. A lot of different advancements have been made to our lives due to it. But we do spend billions of dollars into something that many consider a waste. These days, it seems that , as tax payers we are not getting our money's worth from them. If we cut spending to NASA, thousands of jobs are affected and we make it that much worse for the country. What should our future be for NASA?

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#1

Re: The future of NASA!!!

06/10/2010 5:33 PM

The proponents of NASA being a waste of money fail to grasp the whole picture.

Many only see the Space Shuttle, Hubble, or the ISS and that is the end of it.

However, NASA plays roles that are like an iceberg. We see the tip, but we never realize the depth of the contributions to society and small business. There are venues for small businesses to tap into to get scientific help with new product development at essentially no cost.

This argument will always be. That is because the boundaries of ignorance are deeper than that of our Universe.

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#2
In reply to #1

Re: The future of NASA!!!

06/10/2010 9:37 PM

When its war, they get the picture. NACA made great contributions to US Aviation supremacy in engine cowling and wing design. The Cold War Space race was about ego, pride, fear, and money. The win was getting to the Moon.

Who knows, maybe there will come a day with there is on a Space Station on the Moon, in L5, or on Mars one person from every nation?

Who knows how long those Russians will be able to stand the journey time isolation for the Mars mission?

I myself have no interest at all in being a part of that experiment. No privacy and no women for 18 months? -give me a break, I wanted to go into space, not prison!

Sometimes I really do have trouble when I know that I know a few things, and think that if I know them, everybody must. I mean it's Rocket Science!

People do things for emotional reasons, or if they are hungry.

The time for the US is clear. There are too many wars. There are also bomb makers in North Korea who know how to make Weapons of Mass Destruction.

The alliance of China with North Korea could loosely be compared to the US alliance with Haiti. Haiti has no nuclear weapons. Cuba just thought about it and are still better off. Puerto Rico has turned out better.

The French are not perfect and in Africa their prior colony Malawi is probably worse off than Haiti. Low is e anna is pretty bad off.

(Damn I am not sure if I spelled the name of this landlocked country in africa right.)

Because of the Nation, or In Spite of the Nation! That is the question.

P.S. Who surpassed Nevil Shute as an aircraft designer of the UK? Why where most Mr. Norway's designs not of any particular distinction after the R 100 Airship? How does the experiment and contest between the UK government and the private company of Shute apply?

Why do both paradigms fail at some point?

Should Nations have and require all corporations doing business within their borders to show allegiance to that nation? - their nation, in all forms proper for any nation?

Back to the ranch. Signing out.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: The future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 3:23 AM

A little milk and sugar on them flakes might make for a decent breakfast....

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#4
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Re: The future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 5:21 AM

Probably 90% of the population has no idea - just like you stated. İt is depressing to read comments by people who would consider themselves intelligent but are really very poorly read and informed. There would be few items in our everyday lives that the space program has not touched. But then most thought the explorers of old were foolish as well.

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#5

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 1:59 PM

Let me share some of NASA's benefits to all of us for < 1% of the Federal Budget and a return on investment of 7 to 1. How many commercial programs have that kind of ROI???

Life-Saving Medical and Health Care Benefits

• Cancer Detection and Treatment

LED (Light-Emitting Diode)—LED was originally used for plant growth experiments aboard the Space Shuttle. This technology is now being used in a form of chemotherapy to treat brain tumors in children and many other forms of cancer. The device helps ease the pain and discomfort associated with cancer treatment. Not it mention a much more efficient means of generating light.

• Cardiovascular Treatments

Pacemaker Implant—Pacemakers used to treat cardiac patients, as well as the remote monitoring devices for intensive care patients, were derived from the telemetry systems that first monitored astronauts and spacecraft. Communication technology that first monitored the gap between Earth situations and orbiting satellites also enables doctors to directly communicate with pacemakers implanted in the human body.

Artificial Heart Implant—The technology used in the Space Shuttle fuel pumps led to the development of a miniaturized ventricular-assist pump. The tiny pump is 2 inches long and 1 inch in diameter and weighs less than 4 ounces.

Medical and Health Care Benefits For Women

• Detection of Breast Cancer

Breast Biopsy System—Silicon chips in the Hubble Space Telescope that convert a distant star's light directly into digital images have been adopted so that doctors can easily detect tiny spots in breast tissue. Locating the exact spot allows doctors to analyze the tissue using a needle. This non-surgical procedure is less traumatic and reduces the pain, scarring, radiation exposure, time, and money associated with surgical biopsies.

Faster, Safer, and Easier Mammograms—Space-based instruments used to study the atmosphere may soon have a place in the medical examination room, since atmospheric studies and mammography both require compact, reliable, low-power sensors and digital computers. The computer scans each part of the mammogram image and reports any suspicious areas. This technology—which will be faster, safer, and easier to use—will save countless lives.

New, Non-Intrusive Ultrasounds—Technology developed to improve the quality of pictures from Mars Pathfinder is being modified to make 3-dimensional models of breast tissue. This allows physicians to differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue without painful invasive procedures.

Medical and Health Care Benefits For Children

• Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

Video Game Treatment for ADD—In America, an increasing number of children are being treated for ADD. NASA research on brain waves has a practical application in this area. The technique uses computer games and biofeedback to treat this disorder. The treatment involves monitoring brainwaves of children and trying to get them to modify brain activity that helps them concentrate. Because children are happy to play video games, the treatment is proving popular and effective.

• Enriched Baby Food

Formulaid—NASA-sponsored research exploring the potential use of algae as a recycling agent for long-duration space travel has led to the development of enriched baby food. The formula being fed to an infant contains an algae-based additive highly enriched in nutrients that are believed to be beneficial for infants' mental and visual development.

• Rapid, Easy Temperature Readings

Infrared Thermometer—Each year in the United States, 2 billion temperature readings are taken. Infrared sensors originally developed to remotely measure the temperature of distant stars and planets led to the development of the handheld optical sensor thermometer. Placed inside the ear canal, the thermometer provides an accurate reading in 2 seconds or less. This device can even be used when a child is not awake.

Firefighter Safety Benefits

• Firefighter Air Breathing System

The conventional firefighter air breathing system was heavy, cumbersome and so physically taxing that it induced extreme fatigue. Many firefighters opted not to use the equipment and smoke inhalation injuries increased dramatically. Today's air breathing system incorporates materials and technology from NASA into a lighter, less bulky breathing apparatus. The air tank weighs one-third less than traditional gear and is pressurized at twice the level.

• Infrared Camera

Infrared technology was used on the Apollo program to simulate sunlight and a sensitive infrared hand-held camera is used to observe the plumes from the Space Shuttle. This NASA technology is currently used to scan for fires. The camera was used to point out hot spots during the brush fires that ravaged Malibu, California in 1996, thereby increasing the level of safety for firefighters.

• Satellite Tracking of Fires

NASA's Earth Observing System consists of satellites capable of relaying near-realtime information. These satellites can transmit the location, area, and extent of a fire. They can also track the direction of fires, the size of smoke plumes, and projected pollution effects. This assists U.S. Forest Service fire managers in evaluating the level of danger for firefighters and determining where to deploy resources.

Household, Consumer and Recreation Benefits

• Household Efficiency, Safety, and Comfort

Cordless Power Tools and Appliances—On the Moon, astronauts used specifically developed portable tools that were the direct predecessor of today's cordless screwdrivers, drills and other rechargeable power tools. Cordless power tools and appliances are one of the most successful commercial spin-offs of space-based technology.

Household Smoke Detectors—A technology originally developed for NASA's Skylab spacecraft, smoke detectors are now required by law to be placed in all homes and are universally credited for saving countless lives.

Mattresses/Pillows—NASA originally developed a foam technology to relieve the enormous force of gravity at liftoff. This technology is now used in mattresses and pillows to evenly distribute weight and body pressure points.

• Cutting-Edge Sports Equipment

Golf Balls and Golf Clubs—A recently designed golf ball employs NASA aerodynamics technology to create a more symmetrical ball surface, sustaining initial velocity longer and producing more stable ball flight for better accuracy and distance. Composite golf clubs are also a result of NASA technology.

Athletic Shoes—Originally developed for lunar boots, a unique NASA material for cushioning and ventilation has been modified and incorporated in the midsole of athletic shoes to improve shock absorption and provide superior stability and motion control.

Insulation for NASCAR—Materials from the Space Shuttle thermal protection system are used on NASCAR racing cars to protect drivers from the extreme heat generated by the engines.

Your watch, calculator AND cell phone are all developed from NASA technologies.

I could go on & on. As to the original question - We should return to the moon and setup up a colony for research and exploration. Only then can we think about truly exploring other planets.

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 2:22 PM

That needs a GA just for all the work you did! Bear in mind, that list is just a tiny fragment of the total benefit NASA has given the world.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 3:03 PM

Some of the things you mentioned were used by NASA, but not originally developed or invented by NASA. LEDS, infrared camera technology and the infrared thermometer are examples that I know about.

I've long been a supporter of NASA, but truth and honesty are needed; don't just drink the NASA 'Kool Aid'. The NASA public affairs people have the attitude that everything NASA has touched is 'theirs'. This attitude rips-off the work done by engineers and scientists at other institutions and private companies. I prefer to see credit given where credit is due.

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#8

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 3:18 PM

I could quote chapter and verse for the items I mentioned. I KNOW for a fact the IR imager was developed at this NASA Site. I do have the facts correct. I'll add this one - Winglets now used on aircraft wings to decrease drag and improve fuel efficiency WERE developed by NASA.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 4:44 PM

Well here's an example of what I mean when I say that everything NASA touches is 'theirs'. This is from the American Heritage website listing various NASA 'spinoffs':

"The Dustbuster. In 1971 Apollo 15 astronauts obtained lunar core samples with a powerful, battery-operated drill produced by the Black & Decker Corporation. Using the computer program designed to develop the successful drill, as well as the project's knowledge base, Black & Decker invented the Dustbuster, a small, handheld, cordless vacuum cleaner, which went on the market in 1979."

Okay, so NASA gives Black and Decker some funding to make a drill the Apollo astronauts can use for a 1971 lunar mission. Eight years later, Black and Decker uses some of that knowledge to invent the Dustbuster. VOILA, a 'NASA' spinoff. Those gearheads at B&D would-a never have thunk uvit without them bright boys at NASA.

Hey, wait a minute -- I was paying taxes back in 1971. Part of that money went to NASA, so I'm claiming all of these spinoffs as mine. They couldn't have done it without me.

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#10

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/11/2010 5:03 PM

So, when did NASA "claim" to have invented the dust buster? You make me laugh!

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#11

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/12/2010 10:52 AM

I would love to see NASA become relevant to some real world problems such as the oil spill. If they could add to the discussion it would help them in public relations and push the technology. NASA Tech Briefs shows their accomplishments but doesn't translate well to the general media.

From what I remember, a few of the early astronauts were also engaged in the early underwater habitat programs. I would like to see NASA invested in pushing the unmanned limits of this technology. It would seem to have potential applications in other hostile environment areas such as planetary probes.

Some areas of these discussions where NASA could provide valuable insight:

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/55394/BP-Oil-Spill-Could-Oil-Be-Burned-Underwater

- LOX or oxygen transfer to the ocean floor.

- Oxygen injection/mixing with crude oil stream (Nozzle design)

- CFD analysis of the oxidant/crude/seawater mixing.

- Possible electrolysis or manufacturing of oxygen at the sea floor.

- Thumbs up or down of whether it is worth considering or whether portions of the proposal would be of merit in analysis or testing.

- 50kW fiber laser as a potential tool for ROV use.

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/54223/Transocean-Oil-Spill-Backup-plan-for-containment-dome

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/54448/Transocean-Tyranny-of-Depth-Does-It-Matter

- What industrial equipment could be used with minimum modification at the sea floor if contained within an inert gas enclosure balanced to outside sea pressure?

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/55601/BP-Oil-Spill-Options-for-the-Next-Time

- What emergency response equipment could be designed and in place for the next oil spill?

- Should NASA look at the design assumptions used in the construction of modern deepwater oil equipment and offer any insights?

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/12/2010 11:11 AM

There is a dept for that - NOAA or some such thing. NASA would have zero expertise in the areas you mentioned.

Let NASA do what it does - that the president can't understand it is his shortcoming.

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#13
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/12/2010 11:40 AM

I was referring to LOX transport and handling, oxygen generation, combustion nozzle design similar to a rocket engine, CFD analysis, a laser application and the use of technology such as electronic components in a hostile environment. I am puzzled that you think this wouldn't apply to NASA.

These would seem to be core competencies.

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#14
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/12/2010 12:01 PM

What do you propose to do with the LOX? Burn off the crude? At those pressures that would be different for sure. İf you could direct the various flows where desired it would be one thing - That is plainly impossible to do with the damaged mess at the top of the BOP.

The last 3 points of the post had nothing to do with burning off anything that I could see.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/12/2010 12:13 PM

I would prefer not to clutter this discussion with a repeat of previous ones. Only one of the discussions mentioned dealt with burning the oil at the source. The others dealt with pushing the boundaries at depth.

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#16
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/12/2010 12:22 PM

I'm not sure whether the President is on the right track or not after looking at the SpaceX reports. It is probably advised for nations to keep control of their highest technologies in case a war is required.

The influence of the International Space Treaty on events in Outerspace is of interest as applied to successes of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

I have no idea what Biden thinks about NASA, but it has been traditional for a good while for the VP to have great influence over NASA, and it probably was good that Gore was involved in giving out of work Russian rocket scientists paying work.

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#17

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/13/2010 9:12 AM

From entries #18, 19, 25 & 28 of the following discussion:

http://cr4.globalspec.com/thread/55733/Collapsing-the-Oil-Well-with-Shape-Charged-Explosives

After thinking about it more, it is essentially nothing more than an improvised DOCKING RING using the existing flange below the location where the riser was cut.

In summary:

- Remove the existing riser flange exposing the sealing surface of the lower flange.

- The flange on the bottom of the replacement valve would have a segmented conical ring with swing clamps extending through slots to engage the underside of the lower flange.

- Clamps would be spring applied, hydraulically released.

- Open the replacement valve, stab it over the lower flange and engage the clamps.

Who do you think would have the most expertise with DOCKING RINGS or fuel quick disconnects?

BP

NOAA

Homeland Security

Coast Guard

White House

FEMA

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/13/2010 10:14 AM

It looks like everything that we have been proposing is all for naught.

The well pipe is fractured or damaged 1,000 feet below the sea bed!

Link to article here

This is much more difficult and serious than we imagined.

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#19
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/13/2010 12:57 PM

Dear AH, It would seem we are off topic. On topic there is a nice little overview of NASA, and its operating procedures in this weeks issue of The Week. Smoke detectors, solar panels, water purifications systems, medical imaging and GPS navigations systems are listed as spinoff contributions. Spinoff is cited as a publication specifically with the mission of tracking offshoots.

The operating procedure is that NASA turns to private companies to make tools as needed, and retains usage rights, and the company retains intellectual property rights.

Certainly I myself have complaints about US Government protections of Intellectual Property rights feeling that much work is allowed to be stolen. This has long been the case in China and Russia as far as motion pictures are concerned. Sometimes I've postulated that it was allowed since the right hates leftist movie artists anyway.

I worry as well about how aspects of the International Space Treaty are to be enforced if we abandon supremacy, and the raw ability to be there?

In the past I have suggested that either Shakespeare the Engineer, or John Loz, who we know here, be given the writing assignment of examining the International Space Treaty with an eye towards what it means now, and how it might influence the goals of NASA. I wonder if it ought to be amended?

As to the issue of the BP oil disaster your information contribution inclines me more towards my own pet ideas that are very low tech, and blunt. Truly it is a massive problem that seems to my simple mind to call for a massive reaction.

I do not endorse the nuclear option due to suspicions that there would be further damage and unhealthy unintended consequences.

I am for my blunt approach of dropping heavy balls all over the sea floor to blanket the area. Originally steel balls were my balls of choice, having used some 5,000 pound balls for crane testing. As time crawls along and the disaster continues I turn towards whatever can be made and assembled most quickly, which is likely to be concrete balls. Essentially my concept is blanket bombing of the area with heavy weights in mounds and layers as necessary to stop the continuing poisoning of the Gulf waters, if not up round the Eastern Seaboard.

Surgery seems to have so far failed, so I go for the First Aid approach to wounds, which is apply pressure first.

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#20
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/13/2010 1:38 PM

Did you happen to see the subarticle listing the BOP had 260 failure modes? How do you shoehorn this through an FMEA process?

http://www.theengineer.co.uk/channels/process-engineering/bp-now-capturing-16k-barrels/day-at-deepwater-horizon/1002390.article

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#21

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/13/2010 9:17 PM

NASA has a bunch of problems that are coming to a head because they've reached an economic barrier. No matter what NASA does on the side, the end goal of NASA is to make space exploration and access possible. This mission is suffering because of the inherent limitations of chemical propulsion technology. So trips to Orbit are getting more expensive not cheaper and flights to natural satellites like the moon and Mars are simply out of the range of acceptable budgetary commitments. The solution to NASA's issues is that they need to find a better way to get to space. Not an easy job, but that's what they get paid to do. The current administrations has come to this conclusion, but no one wants to say it out loud. On October 1st 2010 you will see a shift from what we can do with Rockets, to the search for a viable technology that can replace them as our primary space movers. Without a massive improvement in performance you are not getting to Mars in a small fraction of a human life span and under budget. This is not speculation I'm personally in the middle of this new movement. I can tell you that this has been long in coming and this time it's going to happen. Change is never easy, but it's inevitable.

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#22

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/14/2010 1:38 AM

WHY did Bush and NASA cancel NASA's newly funded space-based solar energy program in 2001 ?

And why didn't NASA begin developing and perfecting space-based solar decades ago ?

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#23
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/14/2010 7:07 PM

I don't think the technology has come far enough along to make that kind of power generation cost effective yet, when compared to terrestrial alternatives. I remember there being concerns over aircraft and birds flying through the beam. The solution was to spread the power over a very large area out in the middle of nowhere. There are just a ton of problems in getting terrestrial power plants approved, I can only imagine the logistical and bureaucratic nightmare it would take to get a space based solar microwave power plant approved. Can you imagine the cost of maintenance. Hell back in the 80's the Regan administration blew a few Billion just to study what it would take to make Space Station Freedom, (now the international space station). Sorry I can understand why they dumped that program. NASA needs to focus on it's primary job, which is getting us into space, further, faster and cheaper. This is their bread and butter, without this being their focus they will end up exactly were they are at this moment.

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#24
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/14/2010 8:10 PM

Thought there was some worry that microwaves would put holes in the ozone layer?

Heard somewhere here there was some company with a contract in California for down beaming of power.

I'd like to see Space Elevators myself, but carbon nanotube tech doesn't seem far enough along for the ribbons, and vehicles for building that down out of orbit are less available, as opposed to more available, anyway, from what I know.

Globalspec does feature some fine horizontal mirror and fluid power systems that ought to be being taken up.

Hydro systems for energy production seem very superior to wind systems, and still the US has a rattletrap of a Grid.

On one hand I agree with some of Obama's takes on the Space Program, and on the other fear that they, the administration, will give away the farm.

Hence I turn to a revisit and study of the International Space Treaty.

Further while I think going to the Moon and Mars is great, I am concerned that NASA, as part of the US Government, does not seem to have a responsible program of defense against rogue asteroids.

Defense and Education are important responsibilities of a national government.

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#25

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/14/2010 8:32 PM

~

My brother was a NASA scientist who just retired from NASA this year.

He was one of NASA's last remaining Apollo era scientists.

A few years ago I asked him about space-based solar.

He replied that it would be quite expensive... but the money

being spent on the war in Iraq would do.


~

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#26
In reply to #24

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/15/2010 12:15 AM

The California company has a PPA with PG&E that if they manage to get any power down PG&E will buy it at a competetive price. PG&E made a token offering to the greens at no cost to themselves. A meaningless document. Rogue asteroid - İ heard one was coming next week - my gardener told me but then he speaks no English and I speak little Turkish so maybe he was talking about aphids.

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/15/2010 8:45 AM

AH once wrote We had had no more than 3 days notice of near passing asteroids. If we didn't joke about some things, we'd cry, but still it's a legitimate mission for a national Space administration, same as it is a legitimate mission of the CDC to guard us against diseases.

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#28
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/15/2010 8:50 AM

An asteroid in the same danger class as a new infectious disease? You are kidding I hope? There are a lot of things to worry about in the world - asteroids are among the least.

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#29
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Re: The Future of NASA!!!

06/15/2010 9:23 AM

We were discussing the future of NASA. As an Institution, I'd say it was proper for NASA to be the institution charged with worry about Asteroids.

Minimizing the risk, does not eliminate the risk.

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