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Proud for once ....

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default Proud for once ....

Post by Chilli-head on 12th November 2014, 4:53 pm

... to be human.  It is things like this that, for me, make human existance have a purpose:

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Quite how I reconcile this idea with my normal green and sustainable leanings, I am not quite sure Question
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th November 2014, 2:50 pm

Yes, it's a remarkable achievement to have something whizzing along for 10 years & land it on a rock millions of miles away.
I find it difficult to get excited about this type of research with the massive cost involved as I can not see any practical application that will help the current or future state of the world. I hope that there is one.
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Post by Chilli-head on 14th November 2014, 11:08 am

The nature of science is a search for knowledge and understanding, not solutions for immediate problems.  But without knowledge and understanding you can't solve problems.  It particularly irks me that whenever there is a "big science" story on the BBC, there will always be rush of comments to the effect of "What good does it do ?  We should spend it on healthcare / feeding the starving / ..."  Without science there would be no healthcare, and a lot more people starving.

So much has been gained by the sciences of the vey big and the very small.  Consider a current problem (sorry for the pun)  - a child swallows a button battery.  The effect of the electric current on wet body tissues will quite likely cause terminal bleeding.  Using our understanding of quantum tunneling, a rather special coating is in development that only conducts electricity under the pressure of the battery contacts, and not in the gut.  Without the abstract understanding of quantum mechanics, which was most likely very expensive to verify, we would not know where to start.

Should Earth be threatened by a large impact from space, the ability to land something on a comet might suddenly have a very interesting application, no ?
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Post by freebird on 14th November 2014, 11:43 am

Thank you CH for putting a different perspective on this for me. I was of a similar, non-excited, view as Dandelion, but you've just helped me look at the bigger picture.

I think my biggest concern about any type of space travel/research is just human condition that causes us to take something over, bleed it dry and move on. I feel strongly that we should be learning to live within our means in the place we call home. However, your comments put a different slant on that for me now - doesn't change how I feel, but can see that, without trying, we can never know.
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Post by Dandelion on 16th November 2014, 3:44 pm

Chilli-head wrote:

Should Earth be threatened by a large impact from space, the ability to land something on a comet might suddenly have a very interesting application, no ?

That was what occured to me when we heard the news: it could have interesting applications. I assume that the science needs a bit more refining and honing, but it's a start.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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