Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Go flight, again

The spacehead in me is having a difficult time keeping the excitement in check in advance of Wednesday's scheduled launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. Return to flight represents a lot of things to a lot of people, not the least of which is the need to keep exploring despite the inherent risks of doing so.

I have been fascinated by aviation and space flight for my entire life, and I watched shuttle launches, missions and landings faithfully from STS-1 on up. I saw Challenger explode and Columbia disintegrate on live television, and thought the only tragedy larger than the loss of such precious and exemplary lives would be an end to the journey.

The journey resumes tomorrow. Television coverage starts at 3:30 p.m. ET in most regions. I hope you'll stop what you're doing and tune in - or log onto www.space.com and click on the NASA-TV link.

I'll have more to say tomorrow. For now, it's your turn: Is space flight worth it? Why? Why not?


Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i don't think it is, i understand the need to learn and explore and push forward, but i think the amount of money that goes into the program could be better used elsewhere.

Beanhead said...

I think it is so worth it. My youngest girl wants to be an astronaut when she grows up..:)

Thumper said...

It's totally worth it; we just have to look back to things that have come out of the space program in the past--things we take for granted in everyday living now. Some medications wouldn't have been possible with having been started in space. We wouldn't have had VCRs. We learned about certain metal alloys in space. the more we explore beyond out world, the more we learn about our world...

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Not until we've solved more of the problems on this planet - like hunger, disease and poverty - I agree with 'better safe than sorry' that, for now, the amount of money it costs is needed more elsewhere.

sxKitten said...

I think it's definitely worth it. I know there are a lot of other problems that could use the funding, but I think it's important for the human psyche. Space exploration keeps us looking outward, focussed on the future. Without it, we turn inwards, becoming more and more concerned with minor concerns and petty complaints - like an elderly shut-in with nothing to worry about but the noises their neighbours make and who keeps leaving the lids off the garbage cans.

Dealing with the problems and challenges of space exploration gives us a greater ability to identify and deal with the very real problems we have at home, without getting sidetracked by the mundane and the insignificant.

CanEragon said...

Living in Florida gave me opportunity to visit the Space Port numerous time. Space exploration is important.

I was standing on the roof of my then workplace when challenger exploded. I saw it live and in color.

It is important to return to space, even an abbreviated schedule. the next frontier still is a mystery, like the bottoms of the oceans.

If you've never been there (To Kennedy Space Center ) it is worth a trip for your children one day.

They have tours that explore the launch pads and the different areas of the installation.


aa.blogger said...

I think that space flight can serve as a great testing gorund to future technological development. The US has been #1 in aviation due in major part to NASA's contribution to science and technology.

While I often question the need for human exploration of space, I hope it is used more as a stepping stone for unmanned explorations such as the Mars rovers and other such missions which yield valuable science at a fraction of the cost and risk.

But hey, I want to be an astronaut too...

psuche said...

Space flight has always been dangerous. Because of the intelligence and skill at NASA they typically pull it off though. When it doesn't work though it is devastating and snaps people back to the reality of that.

Is it worth it? I'd say yes, the better they get at it the more we know about physics and the universe. Not to mention the commercial value of learning to do it safer and cheaper could save telecom and television companies billions in costs of getting satellites up there.

Also imagine if it can become safe and cheap enough for commercial flights. You could travel to any destination in like an hour.