Set your alarms: Curiosity rover reaches Mars tonight

posted at 6:31 pm on August 5, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

It’s been eight months and a staggeringly long journey through the void of space, but tonight the wait is finally over. NASA’s Curiousity Rover is, as you read this, on its final approach and will enter the Martian atmosphere at a blistering 13,000 miles per hour at approximately 1:30 AM on the east coast. (10:30 tonight on the left coast.)

Mission control engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles acknowledge that delivering the one-ton, six-wheeled, nuclear-powered vehicle in one piece is a highly risky proposition, with zero margin for error.

But on the eve of Curiosity’s rendezvous with Mars, JPL’s team said the spacecraft and its systems were functioning flawlessly, and forecasts called for favorable Martian weather over the landing zone.

After a journey from Earth of more than 350 million miles (567 million km), engineers said they were hopeful the rover, the size of a small sports car, will land precisely as planned near the foot of a tall mountain rising from the floor of Gale Crater in Mars’ southern hemisphere.

Personally I’ll be happy if it just touches down in one piece anywhere on the surface and can deploy its cameras and antennas. Hitting the precise base of that mountain from this distance makes the prospect of knocking a golf ball for a hole in one in Las Vegas from Staten Island look like a cakewalk. I know it may not be this interesting to everyone, but I’ve been nervously following this story since before the launch and, frankly, I wonder if there’s even a fifty-fifty shot that they’ll pull it off.

In case you somehow haven’t seen it yet, the following Sci-Show video contains the NASA simulation of how the landing will be achieved, assuming they make it.

This three stage maneuver relies on air braking, the biggest supersonic parachute ever deployed, a detachable rocket powered descent module after that and a (wait for it…) sky crane. And every one one of them has to fire in sequence at precisely the right moment – all without any human control or input – or Curiosity will turn into a $2.5B crater in the surface. If they manage this feat, I think NASA will truly be “back” and looking like they can do almost anything. If they crash, I seriously doubt they’ll see much significant funding for some time to come.

I don’t know about you, but I’m setting my alarm and I’ll be watching. CNN is claiming they’ll be covering it live, along with the Science Channel. But just in case they drop the ball, you can tune in on your computers to the NASA TV feed. Engineers and astrophysicists will be offering analysis and taking questions leading up to the big moment. Cross your fingers and toes, kids. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.


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But what does this have to do with getting Obama re-elected? Isn’t that all government officials are concerned about these days?

I do find it hypocritical that the jug-eared Kenyan who killed the space shuttle and has no interest in any space other than that between his ear holes, is out there taking credit for what the JPL did here.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM

$2.5 billion for this unnecessary waste. And of course, some “conservatives” are fine with it.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:03 AM

I do find it hypocritical that the jug-eared Kenyan who killed the space shuttle and has no interest in any space other than that between his ear holes, is out there taking credit for what the JPL did here.

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2012 at 7:51 AM

No Obama fan here, but the decision to end the Shuttle program was made during the Bush administration following the loss of Columbia.

What the Obama administration cancelled was the Constellation moon program, though not the Orion manned deep-space vehicle which was started as a part of that program and is still under development. The current plan calls for manned missions to near-Earth asteroids in the 2020s, followed by a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s.

This is in addition to low earth orbit missions to ISS to be carried out using commercial vehicles when they’re ready. At current rates of progress that could be as early as 2016 if the funding is maintained. SpaceX is actually targeting 2015 for flights of the manned version of their Dragon spacecraft.

DarkCurrent on August 6, 2012 at 8:14 AM

Someone go wake up Shirley Jackson!

hillsoftx on August 6, 2012 at 8:16 AM

$2.5 billion for this unnecessary waste. And of course,

some “conservatives” are fine with it.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Ssys the mindless idiot who supports government waste endorsed by the jug-eared Kenyan. How much has bailing out the UAW pension funds cost the American taxpayers?

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2012 at 8:18 AM

$2.5 billion for this unnecessary waste. And of course, some “conservatives” are fine with it.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:03 AM

One helluva attaboy and flag wave you’ve got there.

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Latest photo from Curiosity:

http://goo.gl/Gb5GF

I knew Chuck Jones had special knowledge!

ProfShadow on August 6, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Obama has cut NASA’s space science funds deeply killing future planetary missions. Meanwhile in the well funded Earth Science department NASA climate scientist James Hansen has just released another ideological diatribe posing as a scientific paper blaming the hot summer on Global Warming. NASA has got its priorities deeply askew. November needs to come faster.

philw1776 on August 6, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Images can be found here;

Should get some color pics this week.

plutorocks on August 6, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Ssys the mindless idiot who supports government waste endorsed by the jug-eared Kenyan. How much has bailing out the UAW pension funds cost the American taxpayers?

Happy Nomad on August 6, 2012 at 8:18 AM

It will be a bold, brave new day when you begin to think for yourself. I don’t support government spending, and I do not support Obama. You’re not exactly familiar with libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism, are you?

One helluva attaboy and flag wave you’ve got there.

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 8:20 AM

Oh, look who’s enamored with seizing $2.5 billion from the private sector and destroying jobs just so he can wave a flag in the name of jingoism, er, patriotism.

Here’s some critical reading material for you “conservatives”:

Economics in One Lesson

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Obama has cut NASA’s space science funds deeply killing future planetary missions. Meanwhile in the well funded Earth Science department NASA climate scientist James Hansen has just released another ideological diatribe posing as a scientific paper blaming the hot summer on Global Warming. NASA has got its priorities deeply askew. November needs to come faster.

philw1776 on August 6, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Hard to believe Hansen still works with Nasa with his flakey science reports.

Hope he read the recent report of palm tree spores found in Antartica which confirms a warmer period without human influence.
But, we already new that./

plutorocks on August 6, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM

You are a hoot, D! The new definition of conservative is ostrich. What a team player!

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM

You are a hoot, D! The new definition of conservative is ostrich. What a team player!

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 9:08 AM

What lovely plumage you have.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:59 AM

I would say “bless your heart”, but you are just as much of a stupid moron as the others who would prefer failure. Just to fit your ignorant political beliefs.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM

What lovely plumage you have.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:10 AM

Thanks, NASA made it for me with your money.

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Thanks, NASA made it for me with your money.

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Not just mine, but money from businesses that could’ve been used to purchase more material, hire more workers, invest in their business, develop new product, etc. You do understand what happens when money is taken out of the private sector, don’t you?

This is supposed to be a conservative site, isn’t it? So where are the conservatives?

But the tragedy is that, on the contrary, we are already suffering the long-run consequences of the policies of the remote or recent past. Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore. The long-run consequences of some economic policies may become evident in a few months. Others may not become evident for several years. Still others may not become evident for decades. But in every case those long-run consequences are contained in the policy as surely as the hen was in the egg, the flower in the seed.

From this aspect, therefore, the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:22 AM

This is supposed to be a conservative site, isn’t it? So where are the conservatives?

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:22 AM

We’re here. You are too stupidly willfully blind to see.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Thanks, NASA made it for me with your money.

Limerick on August 6, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Dante donated his lunch money to NASA? How kind.

MelonCollie on August 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Where do you think the Mars rover money is spent? Did they stuff $2 billion into it and send it to the Martians?

And if it’s anarcho-capitalism you prefer, why don’t you move to Somalia and get into the AK-47 buisiness?

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

MelonCollie on August 6, 2012 at 9:39 AM

dante thought he was buying a birth certificate decoder ring.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM

dante thought he was buying a birth certificate decoder ring.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Really. Poor Dante. All he had to do was pay a native Arabic speaker twenty bucks, hand him his BC, and tell him “what’s this say in English?”

MelonCollie on August 6, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Where do you think the Mars rover money is spent? Did they stuff $2 billion into it and send it to the Martians?

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

My link above addresses your fallacious argument, Mr. Big Government Spender.

But here it is again.

Economics in One Lesson

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:48 AM

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Here is what is supposedly a conservative website that is absent of conservatives. And the ones calling themselves conservatives, are taking the exact opposite positions and trying to argue their merits. A mix of congnitive dissonance and ignorance, unfortunatley.

This is upside-down bizarro world.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Economics in One Lesson

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Chapter 1: “What Dante knows about economics”

(this page intentionally left blank)

MelonCollie on August 6, 2012 at 9:51 AM

This is upside-down bizarro world.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Ya’ got that right. Just imagine a world full of dantes with very few sane people.

Dante’s Asylum…

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Someone go wake up Shirley Jackson!

hillsoftx on August 6, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Did you mean Sheila Jackson Lee or Shirley Q Liqueur?

rihar on August 6, 2012 at 10:08 AM

This is what REAL science looks like. This is not the pseudo-science of man-made Global Warming or so much other silly nonsense promoted by so called mainstream science…. the Mars rover landing is REAL SCIENCE!

Congratulations to the NASA Team !! Job well done.

Axion on August 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM

$2.5 billion for this unnecessary waste. And of course, some “conservatives” are fine with it.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Yeah, thanks, now go back to your video games…

What a great scientific moment, one of the few programs that the government is involved in that I don’t mind putting money into.

We have gained so much as a society since Kennedy (about the only thing worthwhile he did) through us headlong into the space race.

This has created more for our American society than all of the “giveaways” that has come from the liberal mindset (Republicans included).

What it has provided militarily, may never be known for decades…if you think all of this is just for a few rocks, think again.

If you think the Hubble telescope was to just look at the stars, think again…if you think every launch into space is just a bunch of science junk, think again.

This kind of thing makes countries like China and Russia know, we have advanced far beyond what they think they know…if we can land a “car” on Mars, with precision, they know we first deploy this capability in our military…and nothing strikes fear like the possibility of us dropping a 56 Buick on their capitol…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

This is what REAL science looks like.

Axion on August 6, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Physics doesn’t play well with fuzzy logic.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

This is upside-down bizarro world.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:50 AM

You mistake conservatives for libertarians…you should really spend some time reading and a learn’in before you’ll open your mouth (metaphorically)…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Hate to tell you, but government dominance of the space industry has probably slowed down progress in this area by decades.

All you have to do is look at your cell phone in your hand, and how quickly it has developed since the Telecommunications Act of 1996. How much has happened since and how little happened prior?

We’d probably be shuttling people back and forth from the moon if risk adverse NASA and the government weren’t standing in the way of progress.

lorien1973 on August 6, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Hate to tell you, but government dominance of the space industry has probably slowed down progress in this area by decades.

lorien1973 on August 6, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Yes and no.

Non-government concerns would need a reason to go into space.

There is nothing up there that they cannot get cheaper down here, for now.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Where do you think the Mars rover money is spent? Did they stuff $2 billion into it and send it to the Martians?

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Excuse me, but isn’t that the same argument advanced by progressives in support of government spending on various projects?

It has to do with the velocity of money. Whenever government touches money, it slows the economy. Why? Because government doesn’t pass the money to companies that create products desirous by consumers. It passes money to fringe companies or crony companies and tends to perpetuate a government economic bubble, in which companies don’t have to improve themselves for the lack of competition inside the bubble.

It’s always better to privatize. More efficiency, more growth, stronger economy.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 10:33 AM

You mistake conservatives for libertarians…you should really spend some time reading and a learn’in before you’ll open your mouth (metaphorically)…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM

So deficit spending is good? Blowing budgets – and that’s putting it knidly in this case- is good? It’s not waste if we get cool pictures?

No, I am not confusing libertarians and conservatives. YOU are confusing conservatism with fiscal irresponsibility and big government cheerleading.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Here is what is supposedly a conservative website that is absent of conservatives. And the ones calling themselves conservatives, are taking the exact opposite positions and trying to argue their merits. A mix of congnitive dissonance and ignorance, unfortunatley.

This is upside-down bizarro world.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Absolutism in any pursuit is a sure way to tragedy. There is a perfectly valid argument to be made for shared allocation of resources for many things, even in a conservative worldview. What company is likely do to something like this, i.e. the direct pursuit of abstract knowledge? And how much of modern science can be attributed to such?

The answer is none and much, respectively. If you’re not a troll, you know this in your heart, and in your mind.

Big Science is important. It has yielded many things we take for granted today, and all of this transitions almost immediately into the private sector. Discovery has some fun, exceedingly trivial examples.

ctwelve on August 6, 2012 at 10:38 AM

You mistake conservatives for libertarians…
right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:21 AM

dante is neither conservative, nor Libertarian. dante is a nutball pursuing a fantasy.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 10:40 AM

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 10:32 AM

It’d probably start with tourism. Then go from there.

And, it is. With Virgin Atlantic, etc.

lorien1973 on August 6, 2012 at 10:42 AM

We’d probably be shuttling people back and forth from the moon if risk adverse NASA and the government weren’t standing in the way of progress.

lorien1973 on August 6, 2012 at 10:24 AM

You’re both right and wrong.

I’m all for private sector dominance in space development. It’s where a vibrant future lies for us. But, this is pure science on a fairly large scale. Private industry isn’t going to be doing this in space for a long time to come. Even private industry, for the time being, will benefit from government contracts or prizes, much like the early aviation industry did.

trigon on August 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Not just mine, but money from businesses that could’ve been used to purchase more material, hire more workers, invest in their business, develop new product, etc. You do understand what happens when money is taken out of the private sector, don’t you?

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Ummmmm, you don’t quite understand the role of NASA, you do know that everything, most everything and everyone who worked on this project was bought, made in the U.S.

Here are a few items that have made it to market, into the hands of private business from NASA:

Satellite TV
Kevlar
GPS
digital watches
Efficient batteries
Water reclamation
Medical research (Nitinol for braces, insulin pump from the Mars rover)
Laser surgery
Electronic ignition
Carbon fiber (it’s practical use)
Fuel efficient engines
Better weather forecasting
Electronics, speeded (if that’s a word) up the evolution
Mineral and mining exploration
Heart pump, came directly from the pump used for fuel (so far over 1,000 people have been kept alive waiting for heart transplant)
Aerogel, keeps homes more efficient insulation
Even the common (now) titanium frame for glasses, that most every eye wear manufacture produces, from the space program.

When the Apollo program was defunded, the money went to social programs…they defunded a program that worked, that actually put people to work, and provided products for private enterprise, and replaced it with a total failure…so you have to ask, since gov. never gives back the money…what better use will they put it to?

Good grief, I hate waking up Monday morning and schooling you kids…you guys just need some basic schooling and education, it’s embarrassing to read your comments…sheeesh!!

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

dante is neither conservative, nor Libertarian. dante is a nutball pursuing a fantasy.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Worse…and uneducated nutball…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:45 AM

You’re both right and wrong.

I’m all for private sector dominance in space development. It’s where a vibrant future lies for us. But, this is pure science on a fairly large scale. Private industry isn’t going to be doing this in space for a long time to come. Even private industry, for the time being, will benefit from government contracts or prizes, much like the early aviation industry did.

trigon on August 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

This ^^^

DarkCurrent on August 6, 2012 at 10:48 AM

No, I am not confusing libertarians and conservatives. YOU are confusing conservatism with fiscal irresponsibility and big government cheerleading.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Pal, you are not very educated, that is obvious…
I used to have a VP of finance that used to always state…we can’t afford to go to that convention, we never get a return…we can’t afford to do that marketing, we don’t get a return…
And he was right, on paper we never got that return from that initial investment, we never wrote enough orders at a convention to pay for our marketing, our TV advertising, which ever ad we ran never paid for itself…but the accumulation of marketing, advertising, we tripled our profits and volume, while he was whining about “ROI”…

Dante, spend a few years in the real world, and learn how it actually works.

What we have gained from the Space program, compared to our social programs is a fool hardy comparison.

And remember…the government never gives back the money…so where do you want the money to go?

Social programs or Apollo? That one is in the record books…

Now pick up a book and start reading…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:50 AM

On the topic of commercial development:

I suspect Elon Musk of SpaceX plans to someday personally ride a Dragon on an Apollo 8-like trip around the moon. I understand the vehicle has a heat shield significantly more robust than required for return from LEO and capable of safe return from the moon.

DarkCurrent on August 6, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Here are a few items that have made it to market, into the hands of private business from NASA:


Kevlar

Good grief, I hate waking up Monday morning and schooling you kids…you guys just need some basic schooling and education, it’s embarrassing to read your comments…sheeesh!!

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

I didn’t take the time to check out your list, but here’s the history of Kevlar:

Poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide – branded Kevlar – was invented by Polish-American chemist Stephanie Kwolek while working for DuPont,[6] in anticipation of a gasoline shortage. In 1964, her group began searching for a new lightweight strong fiber to use for light but strong tires.[6] The polymers she had been working with at the time, poly-p-Phenylene-terephthalate and polybenzamide,[7] formed liquid crystal while in solution, something unique to those polymers at the time.[6]

NASA-driven, you say? History disagrees with you.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Ummmmm, you don’t quite understand the role of NASA, you do know that everything, most everything and everyone who worked on this project was bought, made in the U.S.

Here are a few items that have made it to market, into the hands of private business from NASA:

Satellite TV
Kevlar
GPS
digital watches
Efficient batteries
Water reclamation
Medical research (Nitinol for braces, insulin pump from the Mars rover)
Laser surgery
Electronic ignition
Carbon fiber (it’s practical use)
Fuel efficient engines
Better weather forecasting
Electronics, speeded (if that’s a word) up the evolution
Mineral and mining exploration
Heart pump, came directly from the pump used for fuel (so far over 1,000 people have been kept alive waiting for heart transplant)
Aerogel, keeps homes more efficient insulation
Even the common (now) titanium frame for glasses, that most every eye wear manufacture produces, from the space program.

When the Apollo program was defunded, the money went to social programs…they defunded a program that worked, that actually put people to work, and provided products for private enterprise, and replaced it with a total failure…so you have to ask, since gov. never gives back the money…what better use will they put it to?

Good grief, I hate waking up Monday morning and schooling you kids…you guys just need some basic schooling and education, it’s embarrassing to read your comments…sheeesh!!

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Not a fan of Dante, but are you saying none of these accomplishments would have been created without a government program?

So you guys are Keynesyians as long as there are spaceships involved? Have to agree…you guys are not being consistent.

ClassicCon on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

We’d probably be shuttling people back and forth from the moon if risk adverse NASA and the government weren’t standing in the way of progress.

lorien1973 on August 6, 2012 at 10:24 AM

I have to agree here. As magnificent as the Shuttle was, it was a mouse built to government specifications, and it held back commercial space activity. Now see at how SpaceX and others are quickly catching up. Government should not be in the spaceliner business, it should be buying tickets from the spacelines.

The government’s role in space should be as a trailblazer, undertaking the high risk activities and exploration. This supports both science and lays a foundation, ultimately, for our survival as a species. For we must spread the seeds of Earth far and wide, or else we will surely become extinct.

For our friend Dante: As right2bright said, you mistake conservatives for libertarians, and conservatives in general support the Constitution. The Constitution allows taxation to support the common defense and promote the general welfare, among other things. Basic research and exploration most definitely promotes the general welfare as well as helps provide for the common defense.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

NASA-driven, you say? History disagrees with you.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Pal, you don’t understand, many things were “invented”, but some were refined and put to practical use.

This is what drives me crazy about posters, they have to take a few words and analyze them. Instead of stepping back and seeing the big picture.
No, in my list NASA didn’t invent carbon fiber, nor did they invent titanium, nor did they invent the actual heart pump or the insulin pump, or the insulation, or memory foam, they did not invent better batteries, they didn’t invent better non-scratch optics…other companies created these products to meet the demand of the agency…sheeesh, you guys…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Stayed up to watch Nasa’s live feed… Tweeted like crazy while it was going down. Very cool… That is all…
-
Oh… and congrats to all involved.

RalphyBoy on August 6, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Absolutism in any pursuit is a sure way to tragedy. There is a perfectly valid argument to be made for shared allocation of resources for many things, even in a conservative worldview. What company is likely do to something like this, i.e. the direct pursuit of abstract knowledge? And how much of modern science can be attributed to such?

The answer is none and much, respectively. If you’re not a troll, you know this in your heart, and in your mind.

Big Science is important. It has yielded many things we take for granted today, and all of this transitions almost immediately into the private sector. Discovery has some fun, exceedingly trivial examples.

ctwelve on August 6, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Here you are presenting the progressive, big government view. “No one is buying electric cars. The government should sieze controlling interest of an auto manufacturer to fix the market.”

“No is building solar panels. We must prop up companies since demand is absent.”

“We wouldn’t have abstract knowledge without the government.”

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

The government’s role in space should be as a trailblazer, undertaking the high risk activities and exploration. This supports both science and lays a foundation,
ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

We see several companies now being developed with private equity to begin space exploration…none of them could have developed the systems that are so complex on their own.

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:59 AM

Ummmmm, you don’t quite understand the role of NASA, you do know that everything, most everything and everyone who worked on this project was bought, made in the U.S.

Here are a few items that have made it to market, into the hands of private business from NASA:

Satellite TV
Kevlar
GPS
digital watches
Efficient batteries
Water reclamation
Medical research (Nitinol for braces, insulin pump from the Mars rover)
Laser surgery
Electronic ignition
Carbon fiber (it’s practical use)
Fuel efficient engines
Better weather forecasting
Electronics, speeded (if that’s a word) up the evolution
Mineral and mining exploration
Heart pump, came directly from the pump used for fuel (so far over 1,000 people have been kept alive waiting for heart transplant)
Aerogel, keeps homes more efficient insulation
Even the common (now) titanium frame for glasses, that most every eye wear manufacture produces, from the space program.

When the Apollo program was defunded, the money went to social programs…they defunded a program that worked, that actually put people to work, and provided products for private enterprise, and replaced it with a total failure…so you have to ask, since gov. never gives back the money…what better use will they put it to?

Good grief, I hate waking up Monday morning and schooling you kids…you guys just need some basic schooling and education, it’s embarrassing to read your comments…sheeesh!!

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Thank you for continuing to make my point. You do it so well.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:00 AM

I’m all for private sector dominance in space development. It’s where a vibrant future lies for us. But, this is pure science on a fairly large scale. Private industry isn’t going to be doing this in space for a long time to come. Even private industry, for the time being, will benefit from government contracts or prizes, much like the early aviation industry did.

trigon on August 6, 2012 at 10:43 AM

So? Is this reason to seize billions and trillions from the private sector and to hobble it?

I strongly urge you to read the link I provided above. Here it is again:

Economics in One Lesson

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Do you actually believe the stuff you write?

Or, are you AP’s prototypical anarchist birther sock puppet nutball?

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

For our friend Dante: As right2bright said, you mistake conservatives for libertarians, and conservatives in general support the Constitution. The Constitution allows taxation to support the common defense and promote the general welfare, among other things. Basic research and exploration most definitely promotes the general welfare as well as helps provide for the common defense.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

Then if you supported the Constitution as you claim, quit making the “general welfare” argument of the progressives and actually learn what the Framers meant.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Pal, you don’t understand, many things were “invented”, but some were refined and put to practical use.

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Look, my arrogant pal… let me quote your words back to you:

Here are a few items that have made it to market, into the hands of private business from NASA

Kevlar did not get into the hands of private business or to the market via NASA. In fact, NASA has nothing to do with Kevlar making it to market.

Does NASA use Kevlar today? Yes.

Here, I’ll help you read up on it:

http://www.google.com/search?q=nasa+kevlar

Have enough spine to admit when you’re wrong, pal.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

$2.5 billion for this unnecessary waste. And of course, some “conservatives” are fine with it.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Same thing was said about the Apollo program. Even though $10 was returned to the economy for every $1 spent through new technology development.

Johnny Alamo on August 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

I strongly urge you to read the link I provided above. Here it is again:

Economics in One Lesson

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I read it once. It had a laugh, or two.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

learn what the Framers meant.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

dante knows. He channels them frequently. Especially on birther issue.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

“No is building solar panels. We must prop up companies since demand is absent.”

“We wouldn’t have abstract knowledge without the government.”

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

I am going to say it one more time…it won’t help because you are not very bright….

No one is saying “prop” up a private enterprise, we are saying some things are so complex that it takes a huge effort to create these “ideas”…

The railroad, our foundation of our mobile society would not have been created without Government subsidy…you would say that was a waste of money.

All of the products refined by the space program, goes into the private sector to be used to create businesses and capital.

No one on this site is saying the gov. should start those businesses.

You have got to learn to discern, learn to analyze, learn to comprehend what is being said…you are obviously the result (assuming you are finished, and I doubt it) of public education. You only look at the small details, not the big picture…and that comes from education and experience.

Good luck on finding both…you have a ways to go.

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Not a fan of Dante, but are you saying none of these accomplishments would have been created without a government program?

So you guys are Keynesyians as long as there are spaceships involved? Have to agree…you guys are not being consistent.

ClassicCon on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

The spinoff argument for the space program is somewhat dubious, since in theory all those spinoffs could be created by private industry. In fact, a lot of those spinoffs were created by private industry in support of NASA contracts. But spinoffs are not why we explore space.

But the real purpose of space exploration is to support our survival as a species. We will not last if we remain exclusively on Earth.

And for our anarcho-capitalist libertarians: Give it perhaps 100 years, and the Solar System will be open for business, and capitalism will have access to essentially unlimited resources. And it will be very difficult for government to tax the asteroid miners.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Even though $10 was returned to the economy for every $1 spent through new technology development.

Johnny Alamo on August 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

That is an entirely fallacious claim.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

And it will be very difficult for government to tax the asteroid miners.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Landing fees.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I am going to say it one more time…it won’t help because you are not very bright….

No one is saying “prop” up a private enterprise, we are saying some things are so complex that it takes a huge effort to create these “ideas”…

The railroad, our foundation of our mobile society would not have been created without Government subsidy…you would say that was a waste of money.

All of the products refined by the space program, goes into the private sector to be used to create businesses and capital.

No one on this site is saying the gov. should start those businesses.

You have got to learn to discern, learn to analyze, learn to comprehend what is being said…you are obviously the result (assuming you are finished, and I doubt it) of public education. You only look at the small details, not the big picture…and that comes from education and experience.

Good luck on finding both…you have a ways to go.

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

You continue to make my point.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

That is an entirely fallacious claim.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Writes the 0bama fellating fallacious sockpuppet.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:11 AM

You continue to make my point.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

You are trying to make point?

Does it have a birth certificate?

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

The railroad, our foundation of our mobile society would not have been created without Government subsidy
right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Why not?

ClassicCon on August 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Have enough spine to admit when you’re wrong, pal.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:04 AM

You little fool, if you want to call names…look at my whole post, the whole thing.
Do you think I believe that NASA invented titanium, or the practical use?…do you think I believe that NASA created water reclamation, or the refinement? Do you think I believe that NASA created mining and exploration, or the refinement…sheesh, I listed a dozen things that NASA didn’t “invent”, I guess I have to list each one and it’s history for guys like you.
I expect a poster to read the whole post and put into context…not pick out a sentence and run around the barnyard crowing about a quick overview of some products that have been refined and brought to market by private enterprise.
…and next time just ask for a clarification, instead of an accusation.

Or read the whole post…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Landing fees.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Only where such fees can be enforced. Space is big, there’s a lot of places to land.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:15 AM

Not for the finished products. Or to resupply.

Those fees will be passed on to the consumer.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Why not?

ClassicCon on August 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Because no one had enough money, enough incentive to build a railroad of over 1,700 miles of railroad track in 1850…that’s why.

Could it have been, maybe, 20-30 years later…maybe. But at the dawn of manufacturing in America, it was created at the right time…

The problem came from regulation, not Government investment…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

You have got to learn to discern, learn to analyze, learn to comprehend what is being said…you are obviously the result (assuming you are finished, and I doubt it) of public education. You only look at the small details, not the big picture…and that comes from education and experience.

Good luck on finding both…you have a ways to go.

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:06 AM

You continue to make my point.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Exactly, I am glad you understand how far you have to go…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:19 AM

Is the dante nutball gone?

Can we get back to how awesome the complicated (to say the least) landing was?

Looking forward to the color images to come later. And the prospecting.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

You little fool, if you want to call names…look at my whole post, the whole thing.

… invented … created …

Or read the whole post…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Yeah, I did read the whole post, pal. You made the ridiculous and easily dismissed claim that “Here are a few items that have made it to market, into the hands of private business from NASA.”

NASA had nothing to do with Kevlar making it to market or into the hands of private business, which was your initial assertion. NASA’s role in that was zero. Much less, of course, invention or creation. You’re wrong and so you twist your own words now because, I guess, then you wouldn’t live up to your moniker.

You’re not credible.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Not for the finished products. Or to resupply.

Those fees will be passed on to the consumer.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:17 AM

All of which will ultimately lead to a space-based Tea Party (of the Boston type), which will spark a revolution, leading to a Declaration of Independence from tax-sucking Earth.

Just give it time, it’ll happen!

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Here you are presenting the progressive, big government view. “No one is buying electric cars. The government should sieze controlling interest of an auto manufacturer to fix the market.”

“No is building solar panels. We must prop up companies since demand is absent.”

“We wouldn’t have abstract knowledge without the government.”

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

No, I’m not. Learn to read. A car is a tangible product, which generates a program of directed research in the course of its production. The company is concerned with solving a very specific problem to fill an identified need. This is what companies are good at. Governments should have little (if any) involvement in this process, as a general rule.

What companies are not so good at is expanding the horizons of human knowledge, since we almost never have any idea what we would learn in the pursuit, nor how the knowledge may be useful. This is a role best left to research institutions, some private, some public, many a strange hybrid of the two. Everyone recognizes potential benefits here, but investors can be very difficult to attract, because abstract research is by definition very risky, even if it is ultimately very useful. This is where a government can be useful, especially under the General Welfare powers of taxation. I learn more towards “directed and lean” here, but again, there’s room for argument amongst intelligent people.

But you’re trolling, and I’m feeding you, so why do I bother with an intelligent response at all? Hope springs eternal, I guess.

“No one is buying electric cars. The government should sieze controlling interest of an auto manufacturer to fix the market.”

That was folly, and continues to be folly. Perhaps the shock of a GM failure would have been nasty, but we’re learning that may happen anyway. The conservatives and the libertarians were right the first time.

“No[body] is building solar panels. We must prop up companies since demand is absent.”

You like strawmen don’t you? I don’t recall ever endorsing such a position. Solar panels should compete in the market freely. They have their uses, but I don’t think large-scale power generation is one of them. This is again a specific product, not a broad research mandate.

“We wouldn’t have abstract knowledge without the government.”

That’s a pretty awesome statement there. Did you actually think before writing it? ‘Cuz I’m pretty sure I would never write such an idiotic thing, or ascribe it to anyone else.

ctwelve on August 6, 2012 at 11:32 AM

ZenDraken makes a fair point about the idea of space exploration for the benefit of the survival of the human race. I would liken that to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase. In effect, it’s purchasing exploration and territory. That certainly would seem to fall into the purview of government.

That would be the chief difference between NASA and every other government program that the progressives would urge.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Because no one had enough money, enough incentive to build a railroad of over 1,700 miles of railroad track in 1850…that’s why.

Could it have been, maybe, 20-30 years later…maybe. But at the dawn of manufacturing in America, it was created at the right time…

The problem came from regulation, not Government investment…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM

Another faux conservative arguing for government interventionism into the marketplace, seizing money from the private sector for its own purposes, including propping up its cronies.

No different than Solyndra. And look who’s using the progressive syntax: “investment”.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Curiousity rover reaches Mars; Muslims feel better; NASA celebrates success

BobMbx on August 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Can we get back to how awesome the complicated (to say the least) landing was?

Looking forward to the color images to come later. And the prospecting.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Good idea.

Can’t wait to see the movie when the Mars Descent Imager data is all received and put together. That’s gonna be cool.

DarkCurrent on August 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Looking forward to the color images to come later. And the prospecting.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Sorry, color cameras were scrapped in favor of the more artistic black and white.

BobMbx on August 6, 2012 at 11:39 AM

I would liken that to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Agreed, and the Lewis and Clarke expedition was the Apollo program of that time.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM

That’s gonna be cool.

DarkCurrent on August 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Oh yeah, too bad we will already know the ending.

I was hoping that would have been transmitted in real time.

Oh well, bandwidth…

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Agreed, and the Lewis and Clarke expedition was the Apollo program of that time.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM

So I would ask Dante if Jefferson himself was unconstitutional in the Louisiana Purchase.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

No different than Solyndra. And look who’s using the progressive syntax: “investment”.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

So you think NASA and Solyndra are the same? Really? That’s the your logic, that is what you believe? You think the railroads and Solyndra are the same? Good grief…
HAHAHAHHAHA! More stupid than I thought…

BTW, learn some history, you think all that land given to the railroads was “private” owned land? Pal, it was…oh nevermind, the conversation with you is over, you are not very well informed, to say the least.

Please, I beg you, don’t continue to embarrass yourself, pick up some books and read before posting on something you have no idea…what are you 20 years old or something? Still washing dishes? Flipping hamburgers?

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:46 AM

So I would ask Dante if Jefferson himself was unconstitutional in the Louisiana Purchase.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

How ’bout not. Why give the nutball another excuse to off on one of his rants?

He is trying hard to be one troll thread wrecker.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 11:49 AM

Agreed, and the Lewis and Clarke expedition was the Apollo program of that time.

ZenDraken on August 6, 2012 at 11:41 AM

Except, the Apollo program was discontinued and the money went into the “Great Society”.

The feds used Lewis & Clark to continue to survey the U.S. land, I am pretty sure no honest historian would say that was a waste of time and money, surveying the U.S.

It is the basis of land ownership to this day…Washington was brilliant as a land surveyor as well as Jefferson.

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 11:51 AM

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Not a fan of Dante, but are you saying none of these accomplishments would have been created without a government program?

So you guys are Keynesyians as long as there are spaceships involved? Have to agree…you guys are not being consistent.

ClassicCon on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

NASA was essentially a military ballistics nuclear missile research effort to counter the Soviet threat initiated by Sputnik and the 1959 crude delivery of a vehicle onto the surface of the Moon by Russia.

All spin-off benefits in the computer and materials fields are just gravy on top of this rational survival program.

That the government helped in their creation should not be denied, but that they were all primarily defense industry devices and processes and discoveries needs to be emphasized.

Would that all national defense efforts paid off so well in civilian and business applications.

profitsbeard on August 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Hitting the precise base of that mountain from this distance makes the prospect of knocking a golf ball for a hole in one in Las Vegas from Staten Island look like a cakewalk.

Not really, Jazz, since the spacecraft has the ability to correct its trajectory, a Saturn or Delta rocket has significantly more push than your puny golf swing, and your ball ‘launch’ hasn’t been calculated by a friggin’ supercomputer. Other than that, yeah, they’re just the same.

GWB on August 6, 2012 at 12:02 PM

ZenDraken makes a fair point about the idea of space exploration for the benefit of the survival of the human race. I would liken that to Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase. In effect, it’s purchasing exploration and territory. That certainly would seem to fall into the purview of government.

That would be the chief difference between NASA and every other government program that the progressives would urge.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

I don’t see how that’s a fair, or even relevant point, not the least of which it is debatable that it’s purpose is for the survival of the human race.

The point of discussion is that it seizes billions from the private sector that the private sector could have used to strengthen itself, whether in salaries, investments, expansion, product, what have you.

I don’t see it comparable at all to the Louisiana Purchase.

So I would ask Dante if Jefferson himself was unconstitutional in the Louisiana Purchase.

beatcanvas on August 6, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Perhaps, allthough I haven’t really given it any study. I don’t see what that has to do with the discussion.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 12:03 PM

NASA was essentially a military ballistics nuclear missile research effort to counter the Soviet threat initiated by Sputnik and the 1959 crude delivery of a vehicle onto the surface of the Moon by Russia.

profitsbeard on August 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

IIRC, on that you are mistaken.

The US could have launched a satellite before Russia if they had used military hardware.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I don’t see how that’s a fair, or even relevant point,
Dante on August 6, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Of course you wouldn’t.

I don’t see it comparable at all to the Louisiana Purchase.
Dante on August 6, 2012 at 12:03 PM

See above

Perhaps, allthough I haven’t really given it any study.

Dante on August 6, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Which is probably what you should post for every subject.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Not a fan of Dante, but are you saying none of these accomplishments would have been created without a government program?

So you guys are Keynesyians as long as there are spaceships involved? Have to agree…you guys are not being consistent.

ClassicCon on August 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

No I didn’t say that, and if you read what I posted you would know I never said that, so why do you put words in my post that are not there? Which is why you think we are not being consistent, you can’t read.

What I stated was they initiated the development, it was a kick start.

No, I don’t think that the scratch resistant light weight glasses we have now would have come from the free market, at least not as quickly.

And no, the idea of the implanted insulin pump would not have come as quickly, or the heart pump.

Certainly mineral detection would never have progressed at the rate is has…and sometimes, timing is everything.

What use would Luther’s bible be without the advent of the printing press? It still would have been hand written and not gotten into the hands of the people…but the times was exquisite.

The push for space, came at the right time, just before the push for computers, energy, etc….the two worked hand and hand.

Like the railroads, if they had come 50 years earlier, or 50 years later, the effect on our society would have been dramatic.

What if the German’s had developed the jet fight 10 years earlier? Would the war have turned out the same??

If we didn’t have the atom bomb, how many more soldiers would have died invading Japan…massive deaths from a society willing to die for their “god”.

And so the space program comes at a time when we are “placid”, and it can give a kick start to another round of inventions and creativity.

No, the gov. is not the end all, or the beginning, they are an assets to be used as that. To consolidate information, programs, which than can be spun off into the private sector.

What we don’t do, is get rid of the “dead” assets, and allow the viable ones to grow…Apollo program, case in point.

Money taken from them and given to failed social programs…

right2bright on August 6, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Utopian Libertarianism is just as absurd as Utopian Liberalism.

MaggiePoo on August 6, 2012 at 12:45 PM

What is about as sad is it gets is that you think the 0bama regime had anything to do with this.

cozmo on August 5, 2012 at 8:32 PM

Getting your news from the Daily Kos does nothing to keep you informed:

NASA Chief: Next Frontier Better Relations With Muslim World

I’m glad those people beat the odds, especially as there were so many things [too many IMHO] that could have gone wrong:

Mars rover Curiosity: ‘Picture-perfect’ landing during risky mission

Shouts of joy and relief went up from relieved controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena as a signal arrived at mission control at 10:32 p.m. PDT, confirming that the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity had survived a perilous descent and landed intact.

“Wow. It was picture perfect. It almost seemed dreamlike,” said NASA Ames geologist David Blake of Los Altos, creator of a $40 million tool on Curiosity that will do extensive soil analysis of the planet, critical to understanding the possibility of Martian life, past or present.

As the rays of a late afternoon sun illuminated the frigid Martian landing site, elated and slightly amazed mission controllers reported that the one-ton nuclear-powered spacecraft had completed all its automated landing tasks – surviving a frightening entry through the planet’s thin atmosphere, dubbed “Seven Minutes of Terror.”

Good for them. I hope the rest of their mission goes as well as the landing.

DannoJyd on August 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Getting your news from the Daily Kos does nothing to keep you informed:

DannoJyd on August 6, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Nope. I have the historical knowledge of this program.

What does the muslim outreach from 0bama have to do with this mission?

Better yet, how has 0bama influenced this mission?

That was your claim after all.

This cover still doesn’t make up for your earlier stupidity.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 12:54 PM

MRO takes picture of Curiosity hanging from the parachute.

plutorocks on August 6, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Link

plutorocks on August 6, 2012 at 1:06 PM

plutorocks on August 6, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Very cool, thanks.

cozmo on August 6, 2012 at 1:08 PM

My pleasure cozmo.

Worlds largest space parachute 52′ diameter deployed at Mach 2.2 creating 65,000 lb. drag. 80 lines 150′ long holding onto Curiosity.

Amazing the chute only weighed 120lb.

plutorocks on August 6, 2012 at 1:24 PM

A video I complied a few years ago. I took the image at 0:21, stole all the others.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPN1XbM113o

DarkCurrent on August 6, 2012 at 2:07 PM

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