Saturday, July 23, 2011

A busy morning

But I'm going to try to find time soon to say something about:

This could be a mistake, argues Paul D. Spudis in “The Case for Renewed Human Exploration of the Moon.” In his study, Spudis argues that Moon exploration could reinvigorate the space program and provide a starting point for future research missions. Spudis suggests using the Moon as a testing ground for new technologies and strategies. He says the Moon’s geological make-up can teach us more about other planets and Earth’s own history. And since it has no atmosphere and a dark sky, the Moon could serve as a better home base for astronomical observation. Furthermore, Spudis specifically makes the case for human exploration, rather than just unmanned missions. As an example, he argues that trained scientists can give context to the evidence they collect, whereas robots just pick rock samples at random. He writes, “[Robots] cannot undertake scientific study, make new observations and let these observations guide subsequent work and iteratively apply the lessons learned to an evolving conceptual paradigm […] Although significant gathering of data can be done with robots, conducting science in space requires scientists.” While Spudis is realistic about the political and financial hurdles, he maintains there’s only one way to prevent NASA’s demise: “We must return people to the Moon.”
from TNR

There are trigger issues in which the GOP no longer reflects the thinking of mainstream Americans of either party. In Tuesday's charade as the House put the Tea Party debt legislation to a vote, what we saw was an example of the kind of coalition voting common in Europe, where separate parties arrive at an agreement to govern. There are now essentially three parties in Congress: Democrats, Republicans, and the Tea Party. Reasonable Republicans with a sense of the possible do not subscribe to the Tea Party's implacable ideology, but they feel they must deal with it to placate its zealots. They are essentially in a coalition with a third party.
from Roger Ebert

And of course, this.

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