Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NASA Critique: Big - Dumb - Slow?

Greg Easterbrook goes after NASA. An excerpt:

Here is a set of rational priorities for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in descending order of importance: (1) Conduct research, particularly environmental research, on Earth, the sun, and Venus, the most Earth-like planet. (2) Locate asteroids and comets that might strike Earth, and devise a practical means of deflecting them. (3) Increase humanity's store of knowledge by studying the distant universe. (4) Figure out a way to replace today's chemical rockets with a much cheaper way to reach Earth orbit.

Here are NASA's apparent current priorities: (1) Maintain a pointless space station. (2) Build a pointless Motel 6 on the moon. (3) Increase humanity's store of knowledge by studying the distant universe. (4) Keep money flowing to favored aerospace contractors and congressional districts.


Rowan Manahan said...

Nice one. Seth has a great little riff in The Dip on why we should abandon the space shuttle and start from a blank sheet of paper again.

If a mode of transport does not get safer, more reliable or cheaper going forward, it should be written off as a failed experiment. As ever, I suspect that if we examined the elected representatives who continue to support this, and other, failed experiments there would be strong whiff of barbecuing ... pork.

And hello? Where's our cure for the common cold please?

Michael Wade said...

Thanks, Rowan.

I haven't read Seth Godin's book yet but it's on the list. There are many projects that could use the blank sheet approach.