Don't shoot me. I'm just the messenger.

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askold

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"Nobel Laureate Disses NASA's Manned Spaceflight"<br /><br />BALTIMORE- A physics Nobel Laureate issued a scathing critique today of NASA's manned spaceflight program and questioned the scientific usefulness of the International Space Station (ISS).<br /><br />"The International Space Station is an orbital turkey," said Steven Weinberg, a particle physicist at the University of Texas at Austin and a co-recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics. "No important science has come out of it. I could almost say no science has come out of it. And I would go beyond that and say that the whole manned spaceflight program, which is so enormously expensive, has produced nothing of scientific value." ....<br /><br />http://www.space.com/news/070918_weinberg_critique.html<br />
 
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qso1

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I suppose if I were a professional scientist, I'd take the same position. Especially if my budget was getting cut for human spaceflight. This is not a new position for scientists to take. Dr James Van Allen has been a long time critic of human spaceflight as have been others.<br /><br />The scientific usefullness that has come out of human spaceflight applies largely to keeping humans in space which of course, to some in the scientific community, is a waste.<br /><br />Me personally, I'm for human spaceflight done in a reasonably economic manner. But then again, I'm not a Nobel Laureate. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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holmec

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Sounds like the Nobel prize went to his head.<br /><br />IMHO he sound disgruntled, so it probably has to do with money, and little to do with science. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#0000ff"><em>"SCE to AUX" - John Aaron, curiosity pays off</em></font></p> </div>
 
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askold

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"so it probably has to do with money, and little to do with science."<br /><br />I think that's exactly the point he's making about the ISS.
 
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qso1

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I can see a scientists point when it comes strictly to budgets and the use of space for scientific research only. But space is not just for the scientists is it? Seems to me there is room for human spaceflight if there is room for the far larger wastes of government money that exist. At least human spaceflight has scientific research however non valuable to scientists that do not participate in them. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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JonClarke

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Weinburg is a physicist and cosmologist, He is no more compentent to judge the ISS than he has to judge cancer research. In this regard he is no better than the average lay person. A Nobel prize does not impart omniscience, it is a recongition of a particular contribution.<br /><br />This comment should be taken as seriously as Pauling's opinions on vitamin C.<br /><br />Jon <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Whether we become a multi-planet species with unlimited horizons, or are forever confined to Earth will be decided in the twenty-first century amid the vast plains, rugged canyons and lofty mountains of Mars</em>  Arthur Clarke</p> </div>
 
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l3p3r

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In all seriousness, how can one have a go at the space program when trillions are going to waste in that ridiculous war? <br /><br />What a peculiar perspective! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

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Holy government dollar sign, someone else who sees it logically?<br /><br />Yes, how can we talk of saving money by cancelling human spaceflight programs while wasting around $100B dollars rebuilding Iraq? When I have posed this question in the past, I get the "They have nothing to do with each other" response. Fact is...the money for NASA and Iraq come from the same source...the taxpayer, so if your proposing cutting one to put the money to better use, it seems you would start with the much larger pie...nah, too logical.<br /><br />Perhaps a Nobel Laureate can explain it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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witgenestone

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disses - finally a term I can understand<br /><br />Why did this supreme pessimist care so much about the Superconducting Super Collider?<br /><br />He wrote in his book the first three minutes:<br />"'The more the Universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless" <br /><br />Perhaps he just loves pointlessness<br /><br />Or maybe he just want to avoid comedy, his aesthetic preference is tragedy: "The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things which lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy."<br /><br />But this is quite impossible according to the philosophy of Neinseit:
 
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Kalstang

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Right...so going by his words then archeology is useless then. Seriously whats the use in knowing there were dinosaurs a billion years ago? Science isn't just about produceing useful results. It is about learning. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font color="#ffff00"><p><font color="#3366ff">I have an answer for everything...you may not like the answer or it may not satisfy your curiosity..but it will still be an answer.</font> <br /><font color="#ff0000">"Imagination is more important then Knowledge" ~Albert Einstien~</font> <br /><font color="#cc99ff">Guns dont kill people. People kill people</font>.</p></font><p><font color="#ff6600">Solar System</font></p> </div>
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>But space is not just for the scientists is it?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />No, its not. Its also for economic development and expanding human presence into space.<br />However, note, that NASA does not do anything really relevant to that, not with any significant budget anyway.
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>cancelling human spaceflight programs while wasting around $100B dollars rebuilding Iraq? <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br /><br />One viewpoint, not mine /> one of these investments goes toward securing the energy future and geopolitical position, another can indeed be seen as a pure waste.<br /><br />Guess, which is which. It really should be the other way around, but it isnt.
 
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spacelifejunkie

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Manned spaceflight is about exploration. Any science along the way is bonus. Was the Lewis and Clark expedition pointless? Most people don't realize the scientific body of work that was compiled by M. Lewis during the journey despite all the hardships they endured. What Steven Weinberg needs to understand is that the manned space program (given time) will allow more scientific discovery than is possible without it. He would change his tune in a hurry with a crater sized radio telescope on the far side of the moon. Maybe we'll just send him there and he can wait for us to build it. <br /><br /><br />SLJ
 
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frodo1008

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When I first saw this, I knew that you were indeed going to be the messenger. Why not, you have shown yourself to be against human space flight, NASA, the space shuttle, and the ISS just as much as this character yourself, so I would of course EXPECT you to be the messenger anyway!<br /><br />Yeah, let us just cancel ALL human space flight efforts!<br /><br />Of course, as the average Joe truck driving taxpayer could also care less about the scientific side of the space program also, that would be next to go.<br /><br />Yeah, let us give the future such a boost that humanity does not leave this planet, and our consumption of the resources of this limited space then eventually kill off not only humanity, but quite probably all life itself!<br /><br />Boy oh boy, intelligence sure does NOT equal wisdom, now does it?<br /><br /><br />
 
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no_way

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Lewis&Clark parallels are nice and neat, but last time NASA manned spaceflight was involved with anything like L&C was 1972.
 
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MeteorWayne

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And which one would you be referring to?<br /><br />I'd consider New Horizons and Dawn to be rather similar...charting unknown territory. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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askold

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"When I first saw this, I knew that you were indeed going to be the messenger."<br /><br />Yeah - it was destiny.<br /><br />Yes - this is just one man's opinion. And the point can be argued.<br /><br />But it does point to a serious problem. If NASA's most high-profile manned program is being dissed by an important scientist, and Griffin has to invent some phony "race" with the Chinese to stir up interest in going back to the moon - then NASA has a problem.
 
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bobblebob

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Maybe as im not American and not paying taxes to fund nasa my view is different. But i dont care at all if the ISS or human spaceflight isnt worth it. I love watching it and reading all about it. Thats good enough for me. The sight of watching a shuttle take off and land nothing will beat it for me
 
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cdr6

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The man obviously misses the key point. Which is that ALL space flight, human or the much ballyhooded robotic, is about enabling the human experience...seeing with our own two eyes, touching, and exploring. With out that, there is no science, of any kind...at all. Anybody who tells you otherwise, is trying to sell you something. <br />
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>I love watching it and reading all about it. Thats good enough for me. <p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />You are easy to please then. Lots of people are not at all happy with the state of space development, as they would like to go by themselves.<br />They saw the illustrations in Colliers decades ago about orbiting cities, they watched Space Odyssey 2001 and saw shuttles flying around in lunar cities, and thought thats exactly how things will turn out. Well, they didnt, and that has made a lot of us really annoyed. <br />So annoyed that those with sufficient resources are now taking matters in their own hands, to make real space development eventually happen.<br />
 
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bobblebob

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What the future looks like in films, and what it looks like in reality are 2 completly seperate things. Didnt they predict we would all by flying around (on earth) in our own little hovercrafts many years ago? Never happened but it doesnt mean progress hasnt been made
 
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josh_simonson

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Any headline stating 'nobel laurates say: ...' is committing a ad verecundiam (appeal to respect) logical fallacy. Either they are unqualified to make statements about the topic (eg global warming), or they have some bias regarding their own field, as is the case with this article. <br /><br />I'd say the vast majority of space science is just as useless as manned spaceflight. Knowing the composition of Pluto's tenuous atmosphere will have exactly zero impact on life on earth. I believe that's the definition of 'unproductive'. Space exploration is much more about the development journey to get there than what's learned at the end. Scientific data is just used as a convenient metric to keep score.
 
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spacelifejunkie

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"Lewis&Clark parallels are nice and neat, but last time NASA manned spaceflight was involved with anything like L&C was 1972."<br /><br /><br />no_way,<br /><br />You are correct, the cancellation of Apollo and the subsequent compromises to STS have plagued us since. Finally, NASA is back on the exploration path again. I view the last 30 years as a mistake so the L & C parallel still exists. We simply lost our way and our will.<br /><br /><br />SLJ
 
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