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iPod Generation Indifferent to Space Exploration 526

Posted by Zonk
from the in-space-no-one-can-hear-your-ringtones dept.
An anonymous reader writes "CNN tells us that today's young adults are no longer excited at the possibility of space exploration: 'The 2004 and 2006 surveys by Dittmar Associates Inc. revealed high levels of indifference among 18- to 25-year-olds toward manned trips to the moon and Mars. The space shuttle program is slated to end in 2010 after construction of the international space station is completed with 13 more shuttle flights. The recent 13-day mission by Discovery's seven astronauts was part of that long-running construction job.' As a result, NASA's budget will include a greater amount of public relations spending."
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iPod Generation Indifferent to Space Exploration

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  • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday December 29, 2006 @01:18PM (#17399822)
    and there is no immediate payoff to being in space.

          There isn't?

          http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/shuttle.htm [nasa.gov] And these are just in the past 15 years or so...
  • by khendron (225184) on Friday December 29, 2006 @01:23PM (#17399864) Homepage
    No, we call the generation after that the sex without condoms generation.

    Actually, you might be stuck with iPod generation. I think the term was coined by a think-tank organization, and it is actually an acronym for "Insecure, Presssured, Overtaxed, and Debt-ridden [reform.co.uk]."

  • by pod_sixer_jay (1044818) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:42PM (#17401824)

    Apollo took 10 years because the goal was to do it in 10 years, and that meant doing things quickly but not necessarily sustainably. The spacecraft and launch vehicles malfunctioned routinely; not always in a way that meant scrubbing the mission, but certainly in ways that made us think, "Do we really want to do it this way forever?"

    Technology is not a homogeneous thing, nor is it interchangeable. The intervening 40 years of "technical development" is significant only if it is relevant. We hung up the specific moon landing tools in 1972 and generally haven't had any occasion to look at them again. Aerospace technology is not forever valid and forever practical. Once the industry stops doing something for about five years, it generally has lost the ability to do it again no matter how much propositional knowledge remains. You forget how to build it, and you move on to new methods and standards anyway.

    And that all begs the question whether we want to do it the same way again. Apollo had specific, limited goals and was to be done as quickly as possible. The new missions have different objectives and different constraints. Past engineering solutions, no matter how much or little of them we know, simply won't work unmodified.

    Wishful thinking aside, there simply is no magic button we can push and get a moon-capable manned space system in 5 years. That's just unrealistic. There is no "off the shelf" technology for sending humans back to the moon. There never was. That said, you'll notice we are developing new manned moon technology using the vocabulary of the manned launch vehicles we have been using for the past 20 years -- the human-rated ATK SRB design and the human-rated ET/SSME cluster.

  • Re:Let's see... (Score:3, Informative)

    by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Friday December 29, 2006 @04:00PM (#17402068) Homepage

    We are not running out of oil. We are running out of cheap oil. Global warming is only a threat to poor people (callous but true). These are NOT life threatening problems for most people on the Earth. Running out of oil is not a problem at all as we have lots of time to switch to other energy sources. Global warming is not going to be fixed in the short term, if ever, unless it starts to directly affect lots of rich people.

    This whole "we should fix all problems on the Earth first" attitude drives me crazy. The major problems on the Earth are not technological problems, they are purely political. People die of starvation because of politics not technology. We have the technology to feed everyone. We already grow enough food to feed everyone. So why do thousands of people die every day from starvation? Politics. We will NEVER fix all the problems on the Earth. Waiting to fix them all means waiting forever.

    We should be excited, enthused, and willing to spend money on space exploration because it is the future of humanity. We need to expand to other planets. We need to move out of the parents home. We need more than one basket of eggs. In the long term there is nothing more important than space exploration that leads to people living, permanently, on other planets or habitats.

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