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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

Dawn of the latest space age

Posted Monday, October 1, 2007, at 8:56 AM

Meet Dawn. Not a woman, this Dawn is a spacecraft sent by NASA to study an asteroid and dwarf planet between Mars and Jupiter.

The goal: Find information on the early solar system. The timetable: Dawn won't reach the asteroid until 2011 and the dwarf planet until 2015.

The cost: At least $449 million at least and possibly up to $474 million, NASA officials say.

The bottom line: Is it worth it?

The Dawn mission is relatively cheap compared to many government programs. But could that money be used better for earthlings, such as the always-needy, those who would benefit from government-funded medical research, or still-recovering Katrina victims?

And is the space program, although interesting and a sign of America's scientific expertise, ultimately something that should be turned over to private firms (as if there were some way to make a profit...) or dropped entirely?


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

$474 million is a bargain considering we currently spend $2 billion a week in Iraq.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 9:16 AM

I hope they find intelligent life somewhere since I am beginning to doubt we have any on this planet. LOL!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 1:09 PM

Actually, We see a ton more information from space then people realize. The costs totally are not just govt funded but private too. These are international ventures now, so it is very cheap compared to 30 years ago.

As for the benefit? We have gain more information about the universe in the past 10 years then we have in 500 years so I believe (omg a belief), the benefit totally outweighs the costs we are spending.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 2:01 PM

Exactly what are the benefits Evil Monkey? Just curious, not attacking you.

-- Posted by Vindicated on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 2:25 PM

http://microgravity.grc.nasa.gov/benefit...

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 2:49 PM

I am beginning to think that YOU Nathan are Evil Monkey.....JMO....

-- Posted by Vindicated on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 3:58 PM

I am beginning to think that YOU Nathan are Evil Monkey.....JMO....

-- Posted by Vindicated on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 3:58 PM

Do you see my picture on the blog main page? Do you see my real name posted below my comment? I have no need to hide behind a pseudoname or a phony avatar. I mean what I say, and say what I mean. I simply responded to your question. Look elsewhere for the identity of Evil Monkey for he is not I.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 7:52 PM

Oh, no.. Does anyone remember when NASA spent billions to get a pen to write in space, while the Russians just used a pencil?

Another topic for debate? If we landed on the moon nearly 40 years ago, why haven't we done it since? And WHY was the flag flowing with the wind in a place with no gravity?

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 10:33 PM

Well, #1 Nathan, this really is my name. LOL JK, seriously though, if people want to know my real name they can come meet me. And again, I work from 2pm to 10:30pm on weekdays, so you won't see me comment at those times.

#2 I would rather spend money on Nasa type programs because something actually is yielded from it, results are very cool IMHO. I took Astronomy in college and I will have to say it was the best part of my academic experience.

Vindicated,

I do not consider a reasonable question an attack, Imagine all the places we have been already in this solar system, and we haven't even scratched the surface. Honestly I am surprised they picked that asteroid belt, it is alot younger than the Keiger Belt. Pluto is an inner part of that belt so it would be interesting to see the other objects around that area.

They are working on Ion engines, it takes less fuel but is slower to accelerate, they have pretty much worked out a way to hit lightspeed while not gaining Mass, E=mc2. If you know the problem that would cause, I can explain it further.

Instead of thick glass and heat tiles, they have figured out how to use plasma (which is another form like gas, liquid, solid). I mean the amount of technology that is produced by these missions is endless.

Darrick_04 we have landed on the moon 6 times since the initial landing. All of which were manned.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 11:04 PM

What have we gained from landing on the moon? Other than showing the world, we wouldn't be outdone?

And of those 6 times, what have we observed in layman's terms, please!

I could think of a few thousand people in Louisianna who need $440 million to rebuild their lives.

I don't condemn our quest for better things, gathered from space explorations, I just question the outrageous spending that could be better diverted to other things. Lastly, do any of these huge corporations spend money to go into space, or do they rely on NASA? It is those corporations who rely on constantly beamed satellite data in order to function? Honest question. Thanks Evil Monkey for your candid response!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Oct 1, 2007, at 11:57 PM

Actually the corporations involved normally float the bill. Nasa has the technology already invest from years and years of donations and grants. Nasa is not government owned, it is non-proft. One of the best and smartest IMO.

On the standpoint of what we learned on the Moon? We can use that as a launchpoint for other missions, there is enough material there to make oxygen, fuel, materials for building the next base there. Less gravity there means less fuel needed for lift off.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 9:41 AM

Nasa is not government owned, it is non-profit.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 9:41 AM

What are you talking about?

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 11:05 AM

ROFL I meant to say... Nasa is government owned, it is also non-profit. No idea why I typed that above; Normally I think these things through before typing and I rambled without looking. Heading to work....

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 1:33 PM

Nasa is government owned, it is also non-profit.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 1:33 PM

Yes you are correct. NASA is government owned and is non-profit.

-- Posted by nathan.evans on Tue, Oct 2, 2007, at 1:42 PM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.