2007-01-16

Science Further Undercut

Economically and scientifically relevant data on the Earth are no longer important priorities for NASA as shown by budgetary cuts in satellite based Earth observation. Robotic space exploration is the only scientifically or economically effective sort, yet funds are being diverted instead on a fool's errand to send men to the Moon and Mars. Observation of the Earth is important especially to measure climate change. Hopefully the ESA will pick up the pieces on this.

1 comment:

Mark said...

It is good that a greater swathe of humanity is becoming motivated to engage in space exploration, especially of the robotic kind.

As for the manned exploration of space, as reinvigorated by NASA, I have mixed feelings. Yes, it is largely yet another prestige project, as I stated in a posting on my blog. Yet, at the same time, humanity needs to become permanently engaged with space on a personal level, one way or another. Private space travel is thankfully becoming a greater reality, and an East India Company-style quasigovernmental space company, as proposed by Carl Sagan, would prove the best means to extract both knowledge and value from the universe around Earth.

I would point to this much. Despite what the naysayers in Europe said, dreamers, explorers, plunderers and cranks threw bad money after good and countless of lives in exploring the New World, and quite frankly the economic returns were poor in most regions for quite a long time. And yet eventually Europeans found valuable enterprises in the New World (as well as bad ones)...and here we are today, all products of that enterprise. Perhaps space exploration will be something similar. Quite frankly we simply cannot say at this time. But we can travel to the limits, damn the costs.