Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Space exploration seems hardly worth the investment compared to the return. While NASA has produced a number of inventions and discoveries which have improved our quality of life, we remain quite a ways away from floating houses on the moon.

Space exploration without the ability of faster-than-light travel seems a bit like masturbation to me. A great bit of fun, but ultimately pointless. At least masturbation doesn't cost 1.5 billion taxpayer dollars every time you fire off into space. (heh)

But when they release the most amazing pictures you've ever seen, and you can't help but gawk awe-struck as the vastness and beauty of the universe comes into brilliant relief, if only for one shining moment; you can't help but wonder if it just might be worth it.


blogagog said...

I used to work for a guy who was part of that giant particle accelerator they almost built in Texas. He said something to me that stuck (he also said a hell of a lot of other stuff that didn't):

"When you try to achieve something you are not technologically capable of achieving, you are forced to create new technology. It will probably lead to things you hadn't considered."

He was right. Think how the study of radar to predict German attacks in the '40s led to microwave ovens. Or how metallic layer applications led to sputtering which unintentionally led to integrated circuits (microchips).

I say let them keep wasting money. I'd even be willing to drop a tenth of a percent of my income to support it. Much like Bell Labs in the days of old, you never know what they might discover/create.

Anonymous said...

The fact that at that scale each pixel is about 30 light-years across is kind of mind fucking me right now, fantastic image, thanks for the link.

Fletch said...

I agree blogi, but the investment is just SO much! Plus most of the initial inventions that lead to others were out of necessity.

I guess you can't really put a price on the intangibles that are created by NASA. How much would Gudis pay to have his mind blown? How much would I pay to for that awe-struck moment?

I don't know. But I DO know that I'm going to go stare at that picture some more. (make sure you click it to full size, and zoom in so you can see all the other galaxies in the background!)