In The Space Station has a leak… Chuq writes:

bq. Can we just admit [ISS] was a complete and absolute mistake, cut our losses, and hope it doesn’t hit someone when it falls out of orbit and lands somewhere? The Space station isn’t a scientific expedition, but a political one, and one aimed more at pork barrel funding than scientific advances.

Sadly, I’m beginning to adopt this opinion myself. ISS-the-dream was really cool; ISS-the-reality, not so much. The program has been cut back too far; there really isn’t much useful science being done, and I suspect much of it could be done more cheaply in other forms. Short duration experiments were working just fine in the Shuttle microgravity missions. Our robotics are getting good enough that many other experiments could be launched in small, un-manned capsules.

I’m just thinking off the top of my head here. I think a manned presence in space is important; but maybe it’s time to separate _that_ from space science, and do each one separately in a slightly more cost-effective manner…

posted at 12:28 pm on Sunday, January 11, 2004 in Science and Technology | Comments Off on The ISS

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