Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wasting More Tax Money on Useless Space Exploration

In any effort to capture the public's imagination so that they are sympathetic to wasting billions upon billions of dollars - Japanese yen - for continued space research, the folks at NASA and NASDA (Japan's own version of NASA) are always trying to do something to make space travel exciting and fun and not, I repeat not, a cover for sending rockets and satellites into space for military purposes.

It doesn't matter that we are taxed out to the limit or debt at over 200% of GDP, space exploration is exciting and fun so we must do it. It is not a waste of money like other things the government wastes money on. This one is different. Really.

That some dead-enders and party-poopers would claim that those Communications Satellites we keep sending up have military uses and can - and are - used for spying. We deny that completely. 

Ah! Space travel. I remember the heady days when I was a kid and it was rumored that the USA spent several million dollars developing a ball point pen while the Russians used a pencil... The story is not exactly true but it illustrates what might be going on behind the scenes...

We do know that, for example, Japan spent $78 billion dollars on 212 some environmental programs in 2010 concerning Global Warming that were all miserable failures.

Now, we find out that Japan is going to send up a robot that can use Twitter.... reports:

A report said that Japan will launch a robot resembling a human being that can is so like a human that it will even use Twitter.

According to the report, on, the robot is the result of a collaboration between the University of Tokyo, Dentsu and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency.

This robot is some clever robot, because the report suggests that it will be kitted out with a camera and look closely at the faces of human beings to see if they’re getting stressed out. It will then, presumably, tweet this information down to this planet. (emphasis mine).

It is all a little bit 2001ish but it’s going to be with us soon, because says that a prototype will be on the next space shuttle later this month.

The article ends with a humorous question that I like but think doesn't go to the logical conclusion:

There’s a case, isn’t there, for not bothering to send humans into space at all, just robots and caseloads of defunct mobile phones. 

The ending should say, "There's a case, isn't there, for not bothering to do any of this at all as it is just another huge waste of taxpayer monies that we don't have. For one, the government can't even repair potholes in the streets on time and within budget. What's makes anyone think the space program is not a huge waste of money? And, two; if space exploration were profitable and useful then private industry could and would do a much better job and it wouldn't put the burden on taxpayers."

"Danger! Danger! Dr. Smith has gone mad! 
Must Tweet! Must Tweet!"

Some people will argue that "Someday space exploration will yield great results and be very profitable. Oh really? Where is the evidence for that kind of thinking? Supposedly we've been doing this, at least in America, for over 40 years and we've lost hundreds of billions of dollars. 

Just when is this going to be profitable?

Also, we don't even understand our own planet; we have more than 1/2 the planet starving; we have problems of pollution; wars; running out of energy; etc. etc.... I'm not saying that the government should do something about those problems. No! I think the government should just get out of the way. 

But if someone wants to take the argument that we need to explore space for the "benefit of mankind" then I will counter that there are many more efficient ways to achieve such ends closer to home. 

Or are photos of comets that pass by the earth all that important to our daily life?

Anyhow, ploys like sending this stupid robot up in space "that can use Twitter" (as if important messages about astronauts help would be left to an Internet service that is often down and certainly not private) or picking a Japanese to be captain of the International Space Station are all media tricks to pull at people's emotions and get those people to approve of this waste of money and to support it... 

Seriously, if they want to capture the imagination of people for space travel, we'd best leave it to private organizations and hope that someone makes more movies like Star Wars or TV shows like Lost in Space or Star Trek.

The government-run space program should be killed immediately. 

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1 comment:

Andy "In Japan" said...

It truly is a total waste of money, but at least no one has been tortured, maimed, or murdered as a result. The same can not be said for the USA government's wasted money on military adventures in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Serbia, Sudan, Croatia, Kosovo, Haiti, Kuwait, Panama, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Korea, Nicaragua, East Timor, and so on and so on...