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> Deep Impact, Enough Bang For The Buck?
Victoria Silverw...
post Jul 4 2005, 11:20 AM
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This image shows the initial ejecta that resulted when NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1 at 10:52 p.m. Pacific time, July 3 (1:52 a.m. Eastern time, July 4) . It was taken by the spacecraft's medium-resolution camera 16 seconds after impact.


Certainly a dramatic event.

A little research reveals that the proposed cost for this mission was something under three hundred million dollars. (Figures vary.)

To be debated:

1. Was the Deep Impact project worth the cost?

2. Should NASA concentrate on projects such as Deep Impact -- "low cost" scientific missions using automated spacecraft -- or on human space flight? Both? Neither? Something else?

This post has been edited by Victoria Silverwolf: Jul 4 2005, 11:21 AM
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lordhelmet
post Jul 4 2005, 12:56 PM
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QUOTE(Victoria Silverwolf @ Jul 4 2005, 07:20 AM)

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This image shows the initial ejecta that resulted when NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1 at 10:52 p.m. Pacific time, July 3 (1:52 a.m. Eastern time, July 4) . It was taken by the spacecraft's medium-resolution camera 16 seconds after impact.


Certainly a dramatic event.

A little research reveals that the proposed cost for this mission was something under three hundred million dollars. (Figures vary.)

To be debated:

1. Was the Deep Impact project worth the cost?

2. Should NASA concentrate on projects such as Deep Impact -- "low cost" scientific missions using automated spacecraft -- or on human space flight? Both? Neither? Something else?
*




1. Was it worth the cost? Well, in an indirect way yes. The expenditures supported an American industry and helped the overall effort of US technological R & D. Was it worth it for this specific project? No. The goal of walking on the moon meant really nothing per say. It was the associated developments that were the real benefit of the Apollo project.

2. Should NASA concentrate on low cost scientific missions? Well, I think most of the "cost" associated with NASA these days is based on the risk averse mentality of that bureaucracy. When a clear goal like beating the Russians to the moon was the primary motivation, risks were put in their proper perspective. As it stands, NASA is a shadow of its former sense from a management, talent, and attitude perspective. It's just another government agency with all of the associated ills; political correctness, inefficient management, risk-averse mentality, wasteful money management, etc. I think Bush tried to shake things up a few years ago with talk of a Mars mission which fell like a thud. If one keeps in mind that the actual goal of space travel is American technical superiority (an economic trump card), then expenditures are acceptable. It is, after all, better than paying people not to work or to continue to have children out of wedlock. But, if those expenditures result in no viable technology, or are just play-toys for scientists who will give away our technological advances to "the world" or are studying areas of the universe that fundamentally mean nothing, then those funds should be spent elsewhere; on medical science or on technology that will ultimately give the US an economic or national security advantage.
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moif
post Jul 4 2005, 01:11 PM
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1. Was the Deep Impact project worth the cost?I'd like to think so but I think it will have to depend on how much information we actually get in return and as yet, its just to early to say.


2. Should NASA concentrate on projects such as Deep Impact -- "low cost" scientific missions using automated spacecraft -- or on human space flight? Both? Neither? Something else?

Both, for as long as they are possible. Only by means of asking questions can we ever hope to find any answers.

Space may seem an empty place to many, with scant possibilities for enterprise and profit, but I believe we are going to need the knowledge NASA and the other space explorers are building up.


QUOTE(lordhelmet)
1. Was it worth the cost? Well, in an indirect way yes. The expenditures supported an American industry and helped the overall effort of US technological R & D. Was it worth it for this specific project? No. The goal of walking on the moon meant really nothing per say. It was the associated developments that were the real benefit of the Apollo project.
This begs the observation that the Apollo programme and others like it, whilst indeed spawning further research and some technological products, actually offered no real inventions as such. The rockets, the computers and the tech toys were nearly all invented by earlier generations* and (I reckon) the true benefit of the Apollo programme, and the other missions like it, is in the experience gained. It is for this reason that I regard the Societ/ Russian space programme and its focus on (relatively cheap) space stations as having been as successfull than the lunar landings.


* It has been said that we are entering a new technological dark age


editted for grammatical purposes

This post has been edited by moif: Jul 4 2005, 01:18 PM
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CruisingRam
post Jul 4 2005, 01:47 PM
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1. Was the Deep Impact project worth the cost?

Well, if we ever are threatened by a "deep impact" (the movie) type scenario- this goes a very long way into understanding how to keep that from happening- we have to know what something is made of before we can blow it up, right? biggrin.gif

Eventually, we will turn to mining space, and this is one of those steps as well, so I consider it a long term investment. There are of course, the unintended spin offs in technology we don't know about now- like Velcro or miniturization were from the space race.

I am a hard sci-fi buff, and an avid science amatuer, and hope my kids will be astronauts or cosmonauts some day.

Americans are seriously behind in the production of domestic created engineers- and space is a glamour industry for engineers- you know "hey, I am a rocket scientist" LOL- and this is definately the kind of stuff that encouraged kids to go into engineering- NOT designing a wastewater treatment plant in Hoboken!

There is a saying among science-space engineers- "To get to Mars, we need American money and Russian brains"- kind of sad that our country is just not turning out the engineers in droves like India or Russia.

2. Should NASA concentrate on projects such as Deep Impact -- "low cost" scientific missions using automated spacecraft -- or on human space flight? Both? Neither? Something else?

Actually, I think it is ingenious- though, I think they have tempered it too far- you need a "big W" every once in a while, a big program to work towards, a big goal to complete- possibly one of the only two things I have ever agreed with GW- the Mars landing and restarting War bonds. Those automated small missions are great- we get so much more "bang for the buck"- we find out some very basic scientific questions and close some theories, which will be very important if we want to , or even worse NEED to have a major space mission. The small mars missions are definately totally neccesary if we ever want to have a mars landing.
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