Friday, June 06, 2008

When We Left the Earth

Sunday at 9 PM the Discovery Channel asks, is this the end of the United States' space program? Or more to the point Will we continue to fund the space program? Gary Sinise narrates the Discovery Channel's miniseries "When We Left the Earth" and deals with some very real and vexing questions and problems with the United States space effort. When We Left Earth traces the 50-year history of the Space Age in the United States, and is packed with footage from NASA's archives that is getting its first public showing. Reporters who have seen the series already say that the over-riding message of the series: Human space exploration is worthwhile, even necessary. At the same time dealing with critics of the manned space program (who) argue that robots outstrip the abilities of humans for less cost and risk. (which in part is true, but one has to only look at Hubble and as one reporter said, "without a manned presence, Hubble would be a floating piece of junk.)

From the IO9 story: NASA is now in the process of winding down the shuttle program; no flights are scheduled after 2010. What comes next, a new generation of spacecraft known as Constellation, will not be flying until 2015 at best. In the middle is a gap that will be filled by buying seats to the space station aboard the Russian Soyuz capsules. That period to come will test the nation’s commitment to spending the billions of dollars it takes to send humans into space and keep them safe from start to finish. It will test the notion that we need to send people into space at all.

The IO9 article

The Discovery Channel's Miniseries page

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