Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The End of Innovation?

As I'm sure you know by now, President Obama intends to END the Constellation Program at NASA. No Space Shuttle replacement. No moon missions. No mission to Mars. All sorts of jobs, construction (e.g., the new Engine Test Stands at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi), etc. lost or put on hold or whatever. But, most importantly, innovation, lost.

Back in the great space race, NASA developed all sorts of technology. From commercial airliners to schoolbuses to the computer on which you're reading this, even little things you may not have even guessed. And, of course, Tang*. Who could imagine a world without Tang? And this is what Obama wants for our world. No NASA, no Tang, no innovation.

But, on the other hand, check out this Zemanta linked article (noted below) regarding the decision. Personally, I'd like to see NASA continue with a Space Shuttle replacement (I always wanted to be a shuttle pilot, even went to Space Camp in 8th grade - but, alas, I only got to be the mission medical chief, imaginarily left on planet earth as several of my Space Camp buddies got to imaginarily go out on the shuttle - I did get a Space Shuttle Operator's Manual in the gift shop before leaving, though!). As always, DO SOME RESEARCH and MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND! I have little knowledge, really, of Obama's plans regarding the future of NASA and the American space program (other than an acquaintance or two in Huntsville whose livelihood has depended on the now-cancelled Constellation program and the development of launch vehicle rockets to replace the shuttle fleet).

Speaking of Zemanta, I'm still not totally convinced, but it seems like a pretty neat thing: it offers suggestions for related content (articles, images) for whatever you're typing into your blog post. It's an extension for Google's Chrome browser (meaning it'll likely find its way into Google's Chrome OS). While it's not perfect (e.g., it really messes with the formatting, and it takes some patience to get things "right" at times), it does offer some interesting content (such as the Buzz Aldrin article linked in this post). And, like most software and fine wines, I expect that it will improve as it ages (and goes through revisions; it's in a very early state right now).

* OK, so Tang wasn't really "invented" by NASA - but were it not for NASA's use of Tang during the Gemini flights, it never would have received the publicity and acceptance and worldwide fame and recognition that it has achieved.
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