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I wondered what other people thought about the probe that has just smashed into Titan - one of Saturns moons?

This seems like a very significant scientific success. Just one failure that I can note from the news reports - one of the two communications channels on the probe isn't working, so they can only converse on one channel (which I don't think is too bad a situation given this thing was launched 7 years ago).

However, I wonder whether the cost and effort involved has been worth it? Brilliant if you are a space scientist, but so far the only real objective I have found is that it might help us to understand how mankind came to evolve on planet earth.

Which seems all very interesting for the chat over a pint in the pub, but does it actually mean anything that Aunt Mabel was actually Uncle Harry in drag?

Andrew
 

Philly

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Andy
I used to be all for space travel, etc. But couldnt we do with spending those billions on Our planets needs? Even if only for one year?
I'd settle "just" for curing cancer......
hopefully yours
Philly
 

Drew

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I see Britain had a hand in the probe. They probably allowed us to select the colour of the key fob for the toilets at NASA visitor center.

:p :p

Philly
as for the cure for cancer, last time I noticed one of our biggest cancer charities was so wealthy it was investing in land and property and still had it's hand out for more. Don't get me wrong I give to charities particularly cancer because my dad died of that. But it's hard at times to see past their hypocrisy.

Drew
 
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Anonymous

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My thoughts exactly. However I'm not against furthering scientific frontiers, because sometimes advances which affect our daily lives come from these sorts of events. I believe that Velcro was one of the inventions that made its way into everyday life 20 odd years ago. And the space shuttles heatproof tiles must have had some benefit for mankind.

But I question the possible advance that landing on Titan will have for mankind. As I understand it that area around Saturn is so infected with radiation that you'd be dead within minutes of getting anywhere near there, and that's assuming you could stand the temperature of minus 170 below!

I guess there will be spin-offs, but right now I can't see any possible benefit of putting a pile of scientific junk on the surface of Titan.

Andrew
 

Gill

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Space exploration throws up all sorts of unexpected challenges for scientists to meet. Although their breakthroughs often don't have practical applications on earth, I'd like to think that each one is a welcome addition to the fund of human knowledge. Astronomers find space fascinating and it must surely be healthy to see them pursue their curiosity. There are huge resources spent on other activities, such as football, fishing, motor racing and Olympic games that don't add much to the human condition in quantifiable terms but many people seem to feel all the better for them (hammer) .

I also think it's important that science has some glamorous flagship projects to attract high calibre researchers. It's true that most breakthroughs are as a result of monotonous, grinding work, not spectacular adventures. However, I'm confident that these obscure researchers must take great heart from seeing their peers receiving critical acclaim.

I've got my own budding little star gazer out in the back yard as I type, together with his copy of 'Astronomy Now' and a pair of binoculars (which are about as much use to him as they would be to Patrick Moore :) ). He's managed to arrange a trip to London on 5 February with his new pals from the Birmingham Astronomical Society to buy a proper telescope at a big conference in Kensington Town Hall. It'd be politically dangerous of me to express an opinion that didn't support space exploration. Right now I'm trying to convince myself that several hundred pounds spent on a new telescope is a wise acquisition :roll:.

Gill
 

Noel

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Putting aside the joys of telescoping, gotta agree that it's a total waste of money firing billions of dollars into the ether or wherever. So we got teflon and velcro, big deal. As I may have heard recently, 12 months worth of the US defence budget would wipe out world poverty. Space exploration money would sure as hell make this planet a better place to live in, more so for the 30k kids dying on a daily basis.
So, there you go.

Noel
 
G

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I for one belive that when we as a race stop trying to enlarge our knowledge we will start to regress. I'm sure there were lots of people who thought the Wright brothers were wasting their time and money along with lots of other inventers/explorers.If we did not stretch our minds we would become cabbages.I am older than most members of this forum but I like to think that by using my brain I will prolong it's functionality for longer.
 

Midnight

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This afternoon at work, I'm stood at a vice, metal-bashin, and enduring commentary on the Liverpool v's Man U game... I got to asking... exactly how much money is running around on that pitch right now??... couple of hundred million?? I've no idea personally... zero interest in the game... but it struck me... how would you justify that someone totally ignorant about soccer?? What would the conversation be like...??

No way.....???? HOW MUCH..???

yea... I'm serious...

Woahhh..... that's incredible...

Isn't it just....?

ummmmm....... what do these guys have to do to be worth that much...??

huh.???

You know.... what do they do..??

Ohh... they um.. kick a ball....

say whaa...??

they kick a ball......

no wayy..... you're serious... right..??

mmhmmmmm.... and sometimes they hit it with their heads too..

just the one ball..??

huh...??? of course it's just one ball... what kinda game would it be if there's more than one ball....???? duhhhhhh..!!!!!!!!!!

wait... this is a game right...???? people really think that playing this game makes them worth that much...??????

uh huhhhhhh....

woahhhhh......



Am I the only guy who finds the concept of giving these primadonnas the equivalent of 2 years salary every week in wages... offensive to the point of being obscene....???


<gettin serious...

Space programs may be kinda silly in and of themselves, but the spin off benefits from them gradually filter down... think about it.. somebody has to build these things, and they're nae exactly low tech... new power cells, new metals, new computer languages, new machining methods, new electronics... and a host more besides... in time, these things become absorbed in one way or another into day to day living for Joe Public... Take the evolution of cordless tools for example, brought to a whole new level through the need to develope maintainance tools for the Hubble telescope... who benefits?? WE do...

So I'm still wondering... other than provide pointless blurb for newspaper back pages... and provide excuses for standing around talking when ya should be working, what exactly does soccer..."do"...????
 
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Anonymous

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Soccer. Well there's another universe to explore beyond the one I'm talking about ;)

Totally obscene that these varmints get paid enormous sums of money. If they enjoy playing footer so much I think they should be pleased to pay to join in! But 50 grand a week and up to devote yourself to 3 hours a week in front of the punter? Err.....

And they are allowed to enjoy special tax arrangements which the rest of us can only leer at. Beckham for example got paid by Man U thru his own limited company, and yet he wasn't subject to the dreaded IR35 tax brought in 4 years ago which says the contractor is actually an employee of the client he works for - and that the Ltd company is just a tax saving sham. This was even if the contractor had multiple contracts running in parallel (which no employee is allowed to do), but I don't think Fergie would have been too happy if Beckers had said "I'm going to play for Arsenal this weekend guv".

Andrew
 

Scott

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Speaking as a professional navigator I'm all for the astronomy and space exploration thing. If man hadn't pursued his fascination with the heavens over the last few centuries I probably wouldn't be doing what I do now.

Maybe in the future some Buck Rogers type geezer will be making the same argument about what the scientists and astronauts are doing now. Who knows!

.....and hopefully soccer will be extinct by then!

(light blue touch paper and retire :) )
 
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The thing that really worries me about the space exploration thing, and I am a broad supporter of the concept (just not sure why this little rock floating in space was considered such a marvel!), is that the US will land on everything first, stick their flag on it, and then claim it and everything buried there is theirs.

Andrew
 

tim

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Just heard on the news the sounds and seen the pics - brilliant... but thats it, the batteries have run out. 7 years of planning and 24 hours of batteries :shock: for heavens (literally) sake.

Anyway, must dash - have to try on my new uniform for the fancy dress party........ :D

T
 
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Noel

One cannot argue that one area of endeavour should be forsaken for another. All are imortant. At it's most basic level, your argument cannot be defended as any government that ceases to spend in one area will undoubtedly spend the savings in another area that someone disaproves of - most likely killing more innocent people in distant lands with new more powerful weapons.

Science in all of it's guises is the most important thing we have and have ever had. Without visionary scientists, we would not have 30K kids dying but 300,000,000 per year from every disease known to man (and some we don't know about).
It does not matter whether the science takes place space or earth or in what discipline, as long as we fund and progress, the human race stands a chance.

The european space agency has achieved something remarkable and undeniably valuable as it helps us to answer the most important question, who are we and where do we come from?

Ohh, but I am biased as I am a scientist and I do look at the stars and wonder.......

Mike

How on earth did you manage to listen to a whole 90 minutes of such a hellishly boring pursuit? :shock:
 

Drew

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Even the probe to Titan might allow us to learn something valuable about our own little ball of mud. I know it costs an astronomical amount for these shots (pun intended) :) . But I really do think it is important that we as a race should keep pushing the boundaries. After all if we hadn't been persistant, curious little pippers we would still be ground huggers in caves, waiting for someone to invent the wheel.
Each step we take is a step away from the nursery out into whatever is waiting for us out there (cue the stirring music and everyone retching).
I honestly believe that "out there" is where humanity belongs.

Drew

apologies for the rant earlier about the cancer research Philly :oops:
 

Midnight

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How on earth did you manage to listen to a whole 90 minutes of such a hellishly boring pursuit?
I drowned out as much as possible with the hacksaw and squeeky file... started to panic when it came to deburring tho... fortunately security came along and switched off the boom box in question... rest of the shop was deserted...
Drilling the holes while listening to the cricket was... civilised....
 

froglet

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I always find the "the money could be better spent here on earth" arguments levelled against the space program funny coming from westerners when we as a group fritter away huge resources every year on totally trivial things. For instance we spend £1200 per capita every year on alcohol in the UK, thats 70 billion pounds a year on getting pineappled, or on a lesser scale the amount of money the hobbyists on this forum spent on tools last year. Now I'm not against drinking ( the main reason for this rant being I've just drunk large quantities of whiskey) and I am certainly not against buying tools but if we're going to point the "does it benefit mankind" searchlight at the space programs of the west we should point it at everything else we do as well.

I for one would like to applaud the people at ESA for what is a truly awesome achievement, although I think part of the problem with things like the landing on Titan is that you need a reasonable physics grounding to appreciate just how amazing and awe inspiring such an event really is!

Graeme
 

Noel

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Tony, I understand the thrust of your argument and agree that without scientific endeavor we as a race and planet earth would not have made the advances and improvements that we have today. But my point was that it's does not require rocket science to eradicate poverty, control diseases that no longer exist in the developed world, provide sustainable agricultual resources etc, etc. It requires just two elements - funding and a global determination.
And if funding and a determined and sensible strategy was applied using methods that the aforementioned scientific endeavor developed many decades ago, especially in disease control, the world would be a better place. River blindness, malnutrition etc, etc does not need to be an everyday occurrence.
The science is there to make vast improvements. The will to do so is not. Politics and a lack of interest from the richer nations is failing those that have a right to survive.
Sure, I'm generalizing, but you get my point.

Noel, tired and off to bed.
 

Alf

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Drew":2s76jxis said:
I honestly believe that "out there" is where humanity belongs.
I think "out there" may eventually be mankind's only hope of survival. At some point, and it seems to be more likely every day, the Earth will be uninhabitable. Even if we stop mucking it up, the natural ebb and flow of these things will see to it. Mankind has got awfully good at surviving, and I can't see us suddenly going "oh well, that's it then. We had our go; we'll die out now." Nope, we'll be looking to pastures new (to muck up :roll: :wink: ) and that means space travel. Every bit of information we learn could be vital. And anyway, maybe the more we see of "outer space" the more we'll realise just what insignificant little squirts we really are, which may be no bad thing. :roll:

Oh, and the issue of charities investing in land and such while still asking for more has two reasons. One; if you stop asking for more money, even for a moment, it's incredibly hard to get up momentum again. The RNLI is in a similar position, amongst others. Secondly; if you get it right you can actually increase the donations you've been given by wise investment, just as you would with your own income (if you had any spare!). My old man had more than a bit to do with a charity that's largely running on the investments made years and years before. Without them it would have been unviable 'cos it's not the sort of cause that resonates with the general public any more. With them it's close to celebrating it's 250th anniversary, and still helping those who need it.

Cheers, Alf
 

Steve Maskery

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HandyMac":2pgji6y7 said:
The thing that really worries me ... is that the US will land on everything first, stick their flag on it, and then claim it and everything buried there is theirs.

Andrew
Did anyone hear the prog on R4 recently about this very issue. Apparently some bloke walked into a Register Office in LA and claimed ownership of the Moon. He was serious, on the grounds that that was exactly how ownership of land in the US was claimed when it was stolen from the indiginous Americans by the Settlers.

Apparently the UN passed a Charter a few years ago which said that no Nation could own Space or anything in it. They forgot to extend that to Individuals...

So he is now selling it off, at something like $18 an acre (or square foot - can't remember) plus, of course, $3 Lunar Tax. Planning a Lunar Parliament this year. Anyone who owns a piece can stand and vote. The idea is to have systems in place before it does get colonised.

He also sent a demand for rent to NASA for parking one of their tin cans on the Sea of Unbelievability. I think he said they had not yet paid.

I thought he was bonkers to start with, but by the end of the program, I was thinking of investing...

And just in case you think I'm making all this up...
www.moonshop.com

Cheers
Steve
 
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Steve

For a friend at work's 34th birthday last year, myself and another friend 'bought' her a square meter of Mars!! :D She got a lovely certificate.
For xmas I got her a book on astronomy and her husband bought her a telescope to 'see' her square metre :lol:

Noel

I really do understand where you're coming from and agree to an extent. My only caveat is that space exploration and understanding is underfunded and the funds dwindle each year forcing short cuts in test and development (challenger disaster etc.) - more money for health, aid and expanding knowledge and less money on war and weapons is my take.

The need for more money on reseaching health - this was bought home to me early 2004 when you will remember I had a cancerous growth removed :shock:

By the way, I finally received my all clear from the consultant and was discharged in december :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
 
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