September 28, 2005

DESTINATIONS, NOT TECHNOLOGIES:

Shuttle and space station were mistakes, space agency chief tells US daily (AFP, 9/28/05)

The US space agency NASA lost its way in the 1970s when it focused on the space shuttle and International Space Station, NASA chief Michael Griffin reportedly said.

"It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path," Griffin said. "We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can."

Asked whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin told USA Today: "My opinion is that it was. It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible."

Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said: "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."


Let the mission drive the technology, not vice versa.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 28, 2005 12:04 PM
Comments

The technology is the mission. Drivers understand this.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 28, 2005 12:25 PM

Should have built the Superconducting Super-Collider.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 28, 2005 12:26 PM

Why?

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 1:00 PM

Now he tells us.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at September 28, 2005 1:37 PM

The real question is, if NASA went off in the wrong direction for thirty years, on what basis should we trust NASA to not do it again?

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 28, 2005 2:24 PM

Because the right direction is a direction, not a technology.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 2:28 PM

What's that mission again?

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 2:57 PM

Mars

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 3:04 PM

Unless we're going to put into orbit The Death Ray Super Gun, there's no reason to waste our time in space.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 28, 2005 3:06 PM

Tell us something we don't know.

Posted by: erp at September 28, 2005 3:08 PM

Why was that mission again?

Posted by: joe shropshire at September 28, 2005 3:18 PM

As soon as we can get The Death Ray Super Gun into orbit, I say we shoot Mars with it.

Posted by: AllenS [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 28, 2005 3:20 PM

Because it's there.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 3:38 PM

Because as long as we're talking relatively small money, we might as well see if we can avoid having the survival of the human race depend solely on one small planet, although in the best case scenario, self-sufficiency away from Earth is a couple of centuries in the future. This isn't America's responsibility, particularly, but who else is there?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 28, 2005 4:24 PM

A better mission would be cheap and frequent access by the private sector to geosynchronous orbit. Once that's available, some future Pilgrims can design the next mission.

Posted by: pj at September 28, 2005 5:24 PM

that's one of the stages of the Bush mission.

Posted by: oj at September 28, 2005 5:58 PM

[I]n the best case scenario, self-sufficiency away from Earth is a couple of centuries in the future.

Rather, sixty years in the future, but we'd really have to want to do it, which so far we have not.

"Because it's there" is a flippant presentation of one of the deepest truths about humans.

Having humans walking on Mars would be cool, but probably not worth the cost of doing, at least not yet, if the point were simply safely landing the explorers.
However, the inspiration and invigoration of an entire culture, and to some extent the entire human race, that would result from having humans wandering the Red Planet IS worth the cost of doing the mission.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 29, 2005 2:59 AM

Mr. Cohen;

And what does that have to do with NASA? Being against NASA isn't being against space travel, just like being against the NEA isn't being against education or the arts.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at September 29, 2005 2:26 PM
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