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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

nasa sucks

In "It's the Earth, Stupid", Gregg Easterbrook points out that a government agency is pursuing a boondoggle rather than accomplish something useful:
At this point, the shuttle exists almost solely to service the space station, while the station exists almost solely to give the space shuttle a destination to fly to. Two space shuttles have exploded on national television. Yet the program drags on owing to the desire of aerospace contractors, and members of Congress who represent shuttle districts, for launches that cost nearly $1 billion each. The shuttle has operated just once since the Columbia loss in February 2003. It may or may not fly in 2006. Most experiments conducted aboard the space station could be done at far less expense by automated probes. "Life science" research on the astronauts themselves is the sole mission that requires people to be present, but even this boils down to billions of dollars spent for astronauts to take each other's blood pressure. As Gar Smith has written, the space station represents "one of the biggest boondoggles since the Pyramids."
I used to be pretty excited about the space program, but as I became more libertarian over the years, I grew completely disenchanted with it and think the whole thing should just be canceled with the assets sold off to the highest bidder. That's assuming anyone would want to buy the white elephants that NASA owns, of course.

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