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Should NASA continue with the shuttle launch despite technical difficulties?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 26, 2005

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Photo of Jessica Schneider

“Sure. They should continue if they think it will lead to something productive.”

Photo of J. Taylor

“No. I don’t think they should put peoples lives in danger for their own benefit.”

Photo of Chris Brown

“I trust their calculations to a point, but not when it comes to human lives. Especially in light of their recent difficulties.”

Photo of Christina Robinson

“They should hold off and make sure all of the technical difficulties are taken care of, because we wouldn’t want to have another tragedy.”


GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

Extreme that joke was wickedly awesome! That's why you're my favorite! XOXO

Redneckgal 12 years, 4 months ago

Gonna sound like a ole sore head here probably but I say the whole friggin thing is a huge waste of money and lets just scrap the whole mess.

Topside 12 years, 4 months ago

THe shuttle is definitely the biggest waste of time and money ever. It is pointless and dull. If we wern't prepared to have a moon colony or something by this point than just scrap the whole deal. I mean we were on the moon in the late 60s then why havn't we been back?
And to the people who are complaining about lives lost...these astronauts know what they are signing up for. This wasn't a Southwest airlines flight to CHicago that accidentally crashed this is space travel! There are a Billion things to account for and calculate that is why astronauts are (and should be bigger) heroes. They put their "junk" on the line to hopefully discover something and push this lame human race forward.
-Chris Brown I'm sure NASA would love to take a call from you so you can recheck theri calculations for them. I'm sure you can do a much better job. NASA is just on the edge of their seats waiting for Chris "Beautiful Mind" Brown to graduate. -I'm out, I'm going to go watch "The Right Stuff" on DVD.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

Of course they should! Regardless of how much much money we waste, regardless of how many lives are lost, God shed his grace on America for a reason, and we're out to show it.

God Bless Amurrica

RushIsRight 12 years, 4 months ago

Posted by extreme_makeover

What color were Sally Ride's eyes again? Blew?

Seriously, I pray for a safe mission.<<

Just an FYI, Sally Ride Is still alive, not sure what color her eyes are though.

Guess you got that joke from Al Gore huh.....

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

As a little kid I was a big fan of the space program. I wanted to be an astronaut even after the Challenger exploded. Now that I have become more concerned with the economy and the federal deficit, my enthusiasm wanes a little. I still think pure science is a noble endeavor, but I see it as a luxury the country can engage in once our house is in order financially. I wish our leaders would operate the budget the way families should (i.e., don't but it if you can't pay for it or are in debt up to your eyeballs). I think there are times when the federal government could go in debt such as extreme emergencies (plagues, famines, wars where we are defending against an attack, economy meltdowns, etc.) But, I think a more sound policy would be to save a little against such emergencies.

Anyway, Washington needs to feel the pinch of their pocketbook and hold off on projects like the space program (there is no urgency in their research) until they get back in the black.

Did you guys read the story about the guy who keeps his severed foot on his porch?

italianprincess 12 years, 4 months ago

I remember the first shuttle disaster very clearly.

Myself and another teacher decided to do a theme week of space with our daycare children. We talked about everything to do with space and thought that letting the kids watch the shuttle take off would be a fantastic thing for them to see. These are kids between the ages of 2 to 6 .

We had the kids on the carpet in front of the tv awaiting the take off and they were so excited. The shuttle blasted off and the kids were all cheering and clapping. Everything looked fine until it exploded shortly after take off. Cheri and I looked at each other and quickly turned off the tv. We then looked at each other with looks of our faces like you couldn't even imagine. All that ran through our heads is how to explain to these kids what happened.

It was more the older ones that were wondering what happened. In so many words we told them that sometimes things happen and accidents happen. It was very hard to explain to children of that age. Here we were expecting them to watch something wonderful and they had to see such a horrible tragedy. We even had one of our 4 year olds in tears because the people inside died. It was a very hard day for her and it took awhile to calm her down.

To this day I haven't and will not let my daycare kids watch a shuttle take off just in case something happens. Kids can handle things, but that day was very hard. I really would rather not have to explain to anymore kids why the people aboard any shuttle died.

I hope all goes well with todays shuttle lift off and that there are no problems. I will watch it later in the day with my youngest if I hear that all went well.

Staci Dark Simpson 12 years, 4 months ago

I think we should keep the space program. However if one more shuttle explodes I will change my mind. These people do agree to go and it is an honor to them but the shuttles were created in the 80's. Maybe its time for a new design. I agree with enochville, that this is a luxury and maybe we need to work I little more on the structure of our country before spending billions to send people to space. As for the guy and his nappy foot, that is disgusting. I have heard of party tricks but come on!!! Next thing ya know he will be walking down Mass with it calling himself a street performer. Do you think he will take it back to he homeless shelter with him?

BunE 12 years, 4 months ago

Flying into space is really dangerous, but searching for and understanding the origins and nature of our Universe is worth the sacrifice. Its not like we are drafting astronauts to fly kamikaze missions to the sun. I volunteer to fly into space any time.

Gotta dream big in order to push the development of the human race. Man explores.

Fangorn 12 years, 4 months ago

"Your ideas may have some merit, Cristobal, and I can see how trying to explore beyond the little region that we know could someday yield benefits. But the royal treasury is depleted right now. There's high unemployment in the Castile region and the people are restless. The Protestants from England are making trouble in France again. And we're still struggling to push the Moors from our soil. I'm afraid there's just too many other priorities and I'm going to have to scrap the entire program." --King Ferdinand V of Spain, circa 1491

IP: I was in Mr. Jones' trigonometry, third seat from the righthand wall, second seat back, just behind Tanya. When Vice Principal Meyers came on the intercom to tell us what happened, his voice was halting and broken. For a few horrible seconds, I thought he was going to tell us that the Soviets had launched a first strike. Perversely, it was almost a relief to find out that seven people had just died rather than 7 million people were about to die.

Enochville: I agree about the budget, but I believe there are other programs for more useless than NASA that should go first.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

The space program is a HUGE waste of money. Topside's right on this. Why are we spending billions of dollars to have people fly around the world again? We aren't going to accomplish anything else with this flight except to waste more money. Crap they may as well just send a satellite off stuffed full of cash and make sure it's malfunctioning and doesn't make it back. Either way we've accomplished the same thing.

happyone 12 years, 4 months ago

Ok its a big rocket light the fuse and see what happens. Its a good thing fireworks haven't been banned there!!

massst 12 years, 4 months ago

i think they should not...its just waste of extra fuel and energy.

Topside 12 years, 4 months ago

OMB-I get the fact that we have come a long way in tech advancements because of NASA. That is the part of my point about discovery and exploring. But, for NASA to just use the Shuttle as a "Cosmic NASCAR" that just circles the globe for the past 20+ yrs is the big waste. Make a Right turn for God's sake!

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

OMB: I think it is wonderful all the helpful inventions that have come from the space program and I support the research. I say pursue it with gusto when you have the money, but reduce the program to an idling stage when you don't. All of those inventions and discoveries are nice, but not urgent. They can wait, but debt is like a cancer that never sleeps. The problems compound and become bigger when they are ignored over time. I dare say the benefit of having a government out of debt is more beneficial than the inventions that are developed. You can still have the space program, you just have to be patient. And I am not saying wait until all of earth's problems are solved because that will never happen, and maybe something we learn in space can help solve a problem like it has in the past. But, we need some fiscal discipline.

Fangorn: I agree that there are many federally subsidized programs that need to be cut. We need a cohort of politicians with the guts to do the unpopular thing and cut programs. About Spain, it would not have been the end of the world if Europe had to wait a few more decades to discover the Americas. The Native Americans probably would have appreciated it.

wichita_reader 12 years, 4 months ago

We have to go somewhere after we destroy this planet, which is bound to happen sooner rather than later in my opinion. Why not continue looking now, before it's too late?

Sounds like the lift off went well.

IP: I was in 2nd grade at Tonganoxie Elementary, Mrs. Cronemeyer's class, watching the Challenger take off. She, too, quickly diverted from our space lessons to an ad hoc "dealing with loss" lesson. Sad day.

1derer 12 years, 4 months ago

Since today's question included "despite" the technical difficulties, I say no. We should not proceed despite the difficulties because I would assume even minor technical difficulties may have a way of becoming major difficulties when in outer space. However, I do think we need to proceed toward resolving those difficulties and once again establishing a sound space program. Should we do that at all costs? No again. It's not as though we are competing with an evil adversary for control of outer space.

There is no denying the research benefits connected with NASA and the space program. However, how can we be sure that given the same budget those researchers would not have developed/discovered the same technology?

Fangorn 12 years, 4 months ago

OMB: I watched a movie/"documentary" about the supervolcano under Yellowstone on (I think) the Discovery Channel recently. Very well done. (oops, no pun intended.) The action of the story was interspersed with documentary-like interviews with the USGS scientists who played roles in what was happening. These "interviews" were set after-the-fact, looking back at the eruption. This is worth a look if you didn't see it:

BunE 12 years, 4 months ago

Don't you people know!? Thats were the Airforce Keeps their weather control machine!

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

BunE: The URL above is not opening for me.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Fangorn: Thanks for the link, I think -- One more thing to worry about :-)

BunE 12 years, 4 months ago

The weather machine site has been shut down already?

Interesting note: Most of those reciepts were the result of the sunset of a number of short term cuts as well as tax amnesty for some american corporations sheltering profits overseas.

Great to see that dip though. 350 billion. Hm

BunE 12 years, 4 months ago

Just taking my info from last weeks WSJ, check out David Wessel

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 4 months ago

I would think that a moon colony would be worthy of our time and money and should definitely be our goal. I mean, if the purpose of space travel is exploration and research, then us just continually doing laps around our own planet doesn't do a thing. And the international space station?! What a joke - that thing is taking so long to assemble that it's going to be obsolete by the time they complete it. Talk about a money drain.

Sunlover 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey Original Bob-- is my mom's website!! Thanks for mentioning it!

Sunlover 12 years, 4 months ago

Yeah, her full time job...and her passion. Thanks again!

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Are YDP trying to get our ljw companion's attention or what? :)

BunE 12 years, 4 months ago

Sweet jebus this has degenerated into silliness.

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 4 months ago

One More Bob: Yeah...I realize they are doing experiments. (Are you seriously posting that as if it's news to us?!) However, I don't really think that experiments such as 'the effects of weightlessness on raisins' or 'the reactions mice have to a zero-gravity environment' (are we planning on introducing pests into space?)is going to do any of us any good. brings me back to my original statement: Just continually doing laps around our own planet doesn't do us any good.

wichita_reader 12 years, 4 months ago

Switching gears back to space, a friend forwarded me an e-mail earlier this morning about Mars. Can anyone with more knowledge of science or astronomy substantiate it? If it's true, I figured it would be worth sharing. I copied and pasted the text of the e-mail below (sorry for taking up so much space):

The Red Planet is about to be spectacular!

This month and next, Earth is catching up with Mars in an encounter that will culminate in the closest approach between the two planets in recorded history. The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287. Due to the way Jupiter's gravity tugs on Mars and perturbs its orbit, astronomers can only be certain that Mars has not come this close to Earth in the Last 5,000 years, but it may be as long as 60,000 years before it happens again.

The encounter will culminate on August 27th when Mars comes to within 34,649,589 miles of Earth and will be (next to the moon) the brightest object in the night sky. It will attain a magnitude of -2.9 and will appear 25.11 arc seconds wide. At a modest 75-power magnification

Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye.

Mars will be easy to spot. At the beginning of August it will rise in the east at 10p.m. and reach its azimuth at about 3 a.m.

By the end of August when the two planets are closest, Mars will rise at nightfall and reach its highest point in the sky at 12:30a.m. That's pretty convenient to see something that no human being has seen in recorded history. So, mark your calendar at the beginning of August to see Mars grow progressively brighter and brighter throughout the month.

Ben_Meover 12 years, 4 months ago

I don't know about the rest of you, but the other LJ World story about the guy reunited with his missing foot is a riot! And so is the thread below it!

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

wichita_reader: I don't remember if the actual numbers are the same but I did see a "Star Gazer" short that was discussing this very information on Mars. It should be quite a sight and easily viewable for an extended number of nights. I agree it is something worth staying up late or getting up early to see. Thanks for providing the stats. I'm sure there are websites about this but I haven't had time to search.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

TOB, I think it seems like we are going backwards when in reality, we either lost favor or lost contact with the aliens that furnished the technology that got us to the moon. Another possibility is that they only come our way occasionally, you know, build a pyramid, go to the moon, can't wait to see what happens when they return.

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

w_r: "Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye."??

I'm no expert on astronomy, but this simply is not possible. The Moon is roughly 240,000 miles from Earth. Mars is about 64 million miles from Earth. Since Mars is twice the size of the Moon, to look as large as the Moon to the naked eye wouldn't that require it to go from being 64 million miles away to being just 500,000 miles away?

o_m_b: You point out that today's federal deficit, while actually a higher dollar amount it is a better percentage of GNP than the deficits witnessed in the mid 1980s and early 1990s.

This raises my question: what does today's federal government have in common with the government in the mid 1980s and early 1990s? If you answered "Republicans in the White House," you are correct! To the fiscally conservative out there, where is the outrage?

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

beatrice: I believe the statement that wichita_reader shared was that "At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye." Using as a comparison -- Mars (with 75-power magnification) -- to the moon (with the naked eye).

If Mars gets close enough to appear the same size as the moon to the naked eye the space program will be irrelevent. Chances are we will only have enough time to bend over and kiss . . . well you probably know the rest :)

wichita_reader 12 years, 4 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

omb: If it was a campy, sci-fi movie, present or past, I know I must have seen it! When I was in the 7th grade my brother and I were rewarded for a week of slavery by being allowed to go to the "Electric Theatre," on Minnesota Avenue in KCK, almost every Saturday morning to see the latest sci-fi film to hit the screen. That was (ahem) a few years ago :)

In fact, it was so long ago it was safe for children to walk from 3rd & Ann St. to the movie theatre in downtown KCK. Ahhh, the good old days, when movie heros could save the world regardless of approaching danger. There was a congress then, but I don't remember which party was in control.

All y'all have a good night!

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

Ceallach: Thanks for calling me on the Mars thing. I just caught the single line standing by itself. Oops.

omb: I'm sorry, but Congress was not part of my political question, so you must be deducted 100 points (the rules are the rules).

But you have a chance to make it up with a new, politically-charged question:

If the Democratic controlled Congress was responsible for the budget deficits handed down by the Republican Presidents in the past, as you imply, how do you explain the current deficits?

(This one is worth 200 points. However, if in any portion of your answer the numbers 9 and 11 appear in sequence, you will be deducted an additional 300 points. Good luck.)

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 4 months ago

Beatrice, can anyone take your quiz? If so, my answer would be "Saddam Hussein and his giving the finger to the UN for 12 years".

Fangorn 12 years, 4 months ago

On the question of the deficit (if anyone's still reading this late), I would point out that the Congress has the "power of the purse". President's can only suggest budgets; Congress mutilates them, loads them with pork, and then sends it back (unrecognizable) to the President; who must either sign or veto the entire bill. The SCOTUS, in its (self-proclaimed) infinite wisdom, has declared the line-item veto (a useful tool to many governors) to be unconstitutional.

Reagan made the error of trusting Democrats when they said "Suuuurrree.....we'll cut spending later if you'll raise taxes now." The Clinton budgets in the early 1990s projected deficits pretty much as far as the eye could see. Until the voters put Republicans back in control of the House, where all appropriations bills must originate. Then we started seeing "surpluses". For a while, at least.

Unfortunately, we're now fighting a war on Islamic terrorists and the Republicans have gotten fiscally soft and lazy. Too many of them lack the courage to stick to their principles, and so they try to out out-Democrat the Democrats, always buying votes by promising this or that group more and more of someone else's money. With the increasing faithlessness of the GOP with the taxpayers' money, to whom now shall the voters turn for relief?

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

Fangorn scores the points! While there is more to the response than necessary, he nailed it with "the Republicans have gotten fiscally soft and lazy." He admits that the deficit is now squarely on the shoulders of the GOP. If the deficit fits, wear it. (I might add that the onset of "soft and lazy" isn't such a recent phenomenon for the Republicans, but the judges will over look the error this time. Fangorn also score bonus points for not actually using the numbers of 9 and 11 in his response.)

Now where to turn, he asks? Back to the true party of surpluses, of course - the Democrats.

Thanks for playing. Goodnight John Boy.

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