Monday, May 11, 2009

hubble's last mission

what your tax dollars can get you when not spent on fighting a war, or propping up banks.

today is the launch of the last ever mission to service the hubble space telescope. since 1990, it has cost taxpayers some $10 billion. that amount seems high, but considering the thousands of people over the past 2 decades that have worked/are working on this project, that figure seems miniscule compared to the $2 billion per week that the war in iraq is costing...or the AIG bailout.

republicans always refer to government spending as 'wasteful', yet strangely they remain silent when it comes to the towering sums the united states spends on its military.

the hubble space telescope and the US Government (via the tax payer) has given the world the most successful scientific experiment in history.

science channel is covering the launch live, beginning at 1:30pm eastern.

so here's to the triumph of science, and the positive side of paying taxes.


Daniel said...

I love the pictures Hubble sends back, don't get me wrong. And I understand it provides 33% of NASA's information at only 2% of the total budget (according to figures from But what are we getting back that's actually applicable to increase our standard of living from sending probes into space? Are there examples from history? I could easily be missing something, so I really am asking.

nutty said...

typical. astronomy isn't a science that explores ways of improving our standard of living.

astronomy seeks to answer the oldest question of them all: where did we come from?
i guess your objection to space probes must include particle physics experiments, which, along with astrophysics, tells us that ALL the atoms in our bodies come from dead stars. don't you want humans to know that? or rather wish that we didn't know it...?

we are only here for a short while. imagine if we had never gone to the moon or even been into space. we wouldn't even know what the earth looks like from above.

hubble's 'pictures' have provided us with no less that a new view of the universe. doesn't that mean anything to you? or are we all so consumed solely with our own well-being?

i for one look forward to the discovery of life elsewhere. even if i am not around.

standard of living is a matter of where you live and perspective.
that's what government and paying taxes is for.

Daniel said...

Well, in a world where everything was free, I'd totally support this science. However, pouring millions of tax dollars into information that has 0 ROI doesn't seem to make much sense when there are other, more immediate problems to be solved with that money. It's not about living in a warm, two-story house with all the food you can eat all the time. It's about building the foundation on which space travel will actually become viable. As it is, we're looking out there without any way to do anything about it. We're in no position yet to find extraterrestrial life (think about what we would be able to do if we found aliens tomorrow... radio to them to initiate peace talks?)

nutty said...

and who gets to decide when that time might be? 100 years ago, we didn't even know that there was anything beyond the milky way galaxy (our home). edwin hubble was the one who gave us a new view of our place in the cosmos.

as far as alien life forms are concerned, why do you assume that they are the ones who should be feared? i would imagine that we pose by far the greater threat, given mankind's proven history.

it would be the greatest irony of all if man's role was to ultimately release all the carbon stored in the earth, sealing his own demise (while working towards a better tomorrow).

anyway, what do you care about what NASA has spent on the hubble? the whole project has cost about the same as a MONTH in iraq. how's that worked out for everyone?
news coverage will move on, but for all those affected, the iraq story doesn't end when the united states pulls its troops out.

however, i do agree that there are many pressing & troubling issues that need tackling, and my support for astronomy doesn't ignore that.