It is often asked “Why spend money on space when we’ve got all these problems on Earth?” An eloquent response to this question was recently given by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in a talk at the University at Buffalo. You can view his 5-minute answer on YouTube. Tyson is host of the PBS series NOVA scienceNOW and director of New York City’s Hayden Planetarium.


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3 thoughts on “Why spend money on space….?”

  1. I think this topic is important enough to get text space here, not pointers to remote and possibly inaccessible resources. Stephen Hawking appeared in the news recently saying if we don’t go out to space then we will cease to exist — which reality isn’t any far step at all from what anyone who looks at today’s news can see directly. For which reason, I hope you’ll delete the pointers, include resources, and begin a text thread on topic of space settlements and of why we’re not there today when it was in the Apollo time, so easily doable.

    Martha Adams [2010 Aug 11]

  2. For best effect, this speech should be given in front of the T-rex skeleton at the Museum of Natural history. There was a creature who was only concerned with what was going on at ground level, never imagining death from the skies.

  3. I see McEnanly’s point, but Pournelle scooped him a few years ago with his comment, “The reason the dinosaurs aren’t here today is they didn’t have a space program.”

    Which is good as far as it goes, which I think is not far enough. I noticed in space oriented meetings at MIT, small attendance where of all places, I’d expect wall-to-wall attendance. I think I see a national malaise reflected here: America once could do space and today it can’t. Good sf TV productions like Max Headroom, Babylon 5, and to a degree, West Wing, are absent today like they never happened. It
    is something about today’s America and I think *right here* is where it could get a badly needed exposure and discussion.

    Getting out to space with settlements and an economic network, is doable and once when we were started, …we stopped. In recent history, America went from zero to Luna in under ten years. It looks like from that start, America can’t do it again in *50* years. Who around here can change this deadly pattern and how?

    I see a lot of words around but none of that amounts to real progress. How about some movement? A *program*? *Now*? How about, at the least, some thinking and discussion about what has gone wrong in America that brought us to this supine failure? ??

    Titeotwawki — Martha Adams [2010 Sep 04]


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