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Returning to the moon?

From Mercury to Pluto and beyond. . .

Postby greeney2 » Tue May 26, 2009 2:48 pm

When you think about it, we haven't made much technological progress in the last 40 years;


Not true at all, just look at the Aircraft of today and of the the 60's. Lazer and GPS technology. Computer technology. Communications technology. Tremendous technology has been gained in 40 years.
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Postby Heiko » Tue May 26, 2009 3:02 pm

All of which can be classified as improvements on base technology in existence 40 years ago, and some new uses for old base technology. Not new technology. Computers still use transisters. GPS is just radio signal triangulation and teh time it took to get the programing done. Aircraft have improved avionics (computers) and better engines, but they are still jets using fossil fuels etc...

With the exception of biotech and medicine (and even that is mostly improvement). Nothing really NEW in wide use today. I could well be missing something, and probably am, but for the most part, most of what we are using today looks much the same as it has for the last 40 years, just more of it, sometimes cheaper, and sometimes more efficient.

I know there is work being done in breakthrough technologies for energy and propulsion and artificial intelligence, but most of the money does not go there.

As far I can tell, anyway.
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Postby CodeBlack » Tue May 26, 2009 3:47 pm

That's what I've been saying. Real technological change took a nosedive in the 1960's. I think it began in the late 50's. Was the space program at fault? Or was it the changes related to the removal of JFK and the installation of the modern left wing?
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Postby Heiko » Tue May 26, 2009 5:35 pm

I don't know. It looks like there was still allot of momentum through the 60's, but you're probably right; momentum from pre-60's breakthroughs and enough resolve to put it all together and get a few humans to the moon. Then no follow through.

Yes, moon shots were/are expensive. I think NASA had a budget nearly ten times bigger than it is today (a whopping 5% of the federal budget at the time). But that's still peanuts compared to the rest of the budget, of which defense consistently accounts for more than half, and social programs (medicare and social security, primarily) account for a little over a third. NASA's budget today is something like 0.53%. I doubt that in reality, shaving a percent or two off of the two big ones to beef up spending on space makes cost a valid argument.

Just my opinion, but I'm pretty well convinced that "wings", whether left or right, get installed as a herding/steering mechanism as needed. Having a "wing" to blame stuff on is just the mechanism for installing them. Control goes back and forth with the money that funds campaigns and the manipulation of public opinion. The agenda seems to stay stay the same regardless of who is "in power", based solely on the end results, and can be called what ever you want.

So maybe it was changes made by the installation of a modern left wing. That doesn't answer the why. Why would there be such an illogical opposition, or at least apparent opposition, by whoever, to the real technological advances that would be the inevitable result of a concerted, well funded space program, that would really only impact the rest of the budget by tiny fractions?

Why didn't we go back? Percival is right. The Russians, the Chinese, the Indians and to some extent the Europeans all appear to be serious about space. The US program appears to be in danger (again) of being stalled over budget arguments in spite of Obama's campaign position. :lol: What's really going on?
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Postby Dark-Samus » Wed May 27, 2009 2:11 am

When you think about it, we haven't made much technological progress in the last 40 years;


Uhmmm where have you been during these 40 years? :lol: ;)
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Postby Heiko » Wed May 27, 2009 2:21 am

I take it all back. Xbox 360 is a vast improvement over Pong.
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Postby Dark-Samus » Wed May 27, 2009 2:35 am

:lol: :lol: :lol: :mrgreen:
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Postby greeney2 » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:30 pm

Actually a great example, from the days of Pong to today, just look at how that evolved. The first shuttle flights were before the 286 computer, just imagine the Apollo missions, cell phones were not invented yet, and we all still only had 3-7 TV channels, and a few people had only HBO.
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Postby Heiko » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:10 am

greeney2 wrote:Actually a great example, from the days of Pong to today, just look at how that evolved. The first shuttle flights were before the 286 computer, just imagine the Apollo missions, cell phones were not invented yet, and we all still only had 3-7 TV channels, and a few people had only HBO.


Great example indeed.

Today, because we are so much more technologically advanced, I can watch documentaries of moon landings from almost 40 years ago on the history channel (and Discovery, and the Learning channel, plus "The Right Stuff" and "Apollo 13" on 4 different versions of HBO, Cinimax, Showtime, Flix, Starz Encore, and the gay perspective on the space program on Logo), all in several different languages, only one of which I can speak or understand. Then I can call (or Text, now THERE"S a communications advancement!) all my friends on my super advanced Cell Phone and let them know that I'm busy siting on the couch watching documentaries about these old moon landings on TV ( I think they called it something else in the 40's, 50's and 60's because it was so primitive) and how fascinating it was that they were only broadcast on three channels at the time instead of our super advanced version of Television with 500+ channels. I could also mention that in those days, I would have had to GET UP off the couch and pick up a wired Wired Phone to call them, (and wouldn't even be able to send a text message instead of talking! They had to use this different, primitive technology called a Telegraph to do that 40 years ago!).

When I get tired of that, I could watch, on my choice of 15 or 20 - 24x7 news channels (only three sources of bullshit on TV back in the day!) the latest news on how the 30 year old Space shuttle program is finally being canceled without a replacement, in spite of the fact that it has computers that are thousands of time faster than they were when it was first launched back in the 70's, and therefor must be flying to low earth orbit thousands of times better than it did back then. Then I could verify the facts by Googling it on the Internet and sorting through thousands of articles to discover that the core computer system of the Shuttle is a 500k chip set that you could buy for $20 at a garage sale, and is 0.005 percent as powerful as my XBOX 360 because, hey, it's not like the shuttle has to produce Power Point Presentations, play MP3's or realistically simulate blood spatter or anything computationally heavy like that.

So now that I'm really bored, I can get on to my favorite Internet forum and argue about how our technology is so much more advanced today than it was 40 years ago, (primarily because I can use my 2.5ghz personal computer to do this, many thousands of times more powerful than the computer that landed us on the Moon), and how life changing that is.

And then, instead of hopping into my flying car with the self contained, clean energy source and on board self navigation system that will take me to the tropics for the weekend with technology spun off from the space program, I can get on my XBOX, powered by the same central coal burning technology we have been using for a hundred hears, and run a simulated battle for the future Independence of the Mars Colony with lots of really cool blood spatter, terrain deformation effects and life like physics.

This saves me from having to put fossil fuel that I can't afford in my internal combustion ground vehicle (with the high tech computer system, thousands of times more powerful than the shuttle, that adds nearly 5 miles to the gallon to my mileage) and spending three or four days driving to some place nice, or even to the airport to take a fossil fuel powrd Jet (did they have those in the 60's?) and spending nearly the same amount of time jumping through security hoops. There IS progress, after all.

So, yeah, I take it all back. All this technology is absolutely breakthrough and fundamentally different from anything we had in the 60's, we can do so much more with it, and it has improved our lives so much as to make the world almost unrecognizable. How could any one argue otherwise.

I'm going to go kill some corporatist fascist oppressors on the Mars Colony on my XBOX now before I start to cry.
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Postby CodeBlack » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:41 am

All a matter of perceptions I guess but most of what you mentioned is the development of a given set of technologies, all of which have existed for a long time. Yes, cellular is somewhat new but miniaturization is not new technology and that is most of what gave us IPhones and XBoxes. The internet could be construed as new but that is simply the application of a existing technology to satisfy the obvious needs to connect computers and have them be able to talk to each other.

Satellites and cameras (old tech) plus the internet gave us Google Earth. Websites, forums and blogs are just clever usage. Airplanes don't fly any faster or higher (just the opposite in fact).

But just to give examples of real technology:

UAVs (weapon)
Electric Rail Guns (weapon)
EM Weapons (weapon)
Kevlar & Carbon Fiber (developed for military & police, but now race cars, aircraft, spacecraft)
Aerogel (??, is slowly finding civilian uses as insulation)
Infrared Detectors (developed for military & police)
Directed Sound Generators (weapon, but now coming to consumers for home entertainment & adv.)
Phased Array Radar (developed for military, might be useful for meteorology)
Colliders (?? probably for MIL, offshoot of nuclear weapons programs, CIVs get no benefits from)
Robots (mostly driven by MIL/Police/GOV usage)
Less than lethal weapons (weapon)
Stealth (weapon)
Space Telescopes, e.g. Hubble (?? fear of aliens)
Communications Satellites (GOV mostly, developed by Arthur C. Clarke and my college electrical engineering professor)
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