Fwd: Columbia Diaster

Les Schaffer schaffer at optonline.net
Tue Feb 4 13:32:44 MST 2003


> >4. The scientific community favored smaller crafts, with a crew of
> >2, which even with added weight, would way far less than a 7-person
> >craft

most of the astronomers i know would prefer increased funding for
unmanned exploration of the solar system, with occasional manned
flights to service stuff like the Hubble.

the space station and the shuttle are more prefered by the military
types and the people who get funding to do zero-gravity research, for
which we are promised benefits here on gravity-dominated earth any
solar day now.

the thing i liked best about the shuttle is the TV broadcasts on the
public cable stations. usually some astronaut is shown spinning some
object or other while floating in the main cabin, demonstrating enough
interesting physics to occupy a complete undergraduate curriculum.

a good general history: "... the Heavens and the Earth: A Political
History of the Space Age", by Walter A McDougall. published in 1985,
so not quite up on the increased militarization from Reagan onwards.

re/ unmanned exploration: even the existing unmanned spacecraft
missions are being hampered by the "quicker and cheaper" NASA
attitude. witness Mars missions, Galileo antenna problems, ad
infinitum.

les schaffer



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