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I Appreciate A Coherent Post Like This, W !

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Posted by Michael W. Pearson on December 15, 2004 21:26:45 UTC

anonywandaqueen (often a source of seemingly deliberate annoyance to me, but not this time), wrote:
Bush's manned space vehicle program will ruin astronomy starting with not repairing or planning to replace Hubble; And reducing overall funding as well.

I agree with a cautious statement in this direction.
(Since 1975, when I read Carl Sagan's book,
_The Cosmic Connection_, I have never heard a compelling argument which overturned the consensus logic he reported in favor of unmanned exploration over manned exploration.)

Still, the imagination should not be limited by stark reality. :) Why is that, I was deluded enough to imagine you ask?

Because, as a member of the general public who has never been paid to work on the space program, I would like to see far more expenditures for space themes including space education on Earth. There is more of the pie to be gained by all humanity by the awareness of what there is to gain by "looking up" in the physical and space sciences. If the public knew better, would they not make better choices? Then, maybe I'd be employed... perhaps on an assembly line making Quasar-shaped lamps, but employed.

The reality of modest NASA budgets necessitates tough choices, probably leading to a complete emphasis on unmanned exploration.

However, we ought to avoid jumping to conclusions about the causes of our space program's shortcomings and we could emphasize there are many things in the past few years worth celebrating and doing again.

wandaqueen also wrote:

HUBBLE IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT TO ASTRONOMY THAN ANY MANNED VEHICLE PROGRAM.

I agree.
Mike

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