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Interestingly, Van Allen (of the Van Allen Belt fame) now questions human spaceflight:

Space Science Pioneer Van Allen Questions Human Spaceflight

The quick no-bullshit translation of this kind of crap is ALWAYS the same:

“Please spend more money on my kind of programs!”

I just sat in on a NASA talk about robotic exploration. Now, it’s true that

a robotic probe can do a great flyby of a moon. But when it comes to

actual planetary science, the quote went:

“A robotic probe can do in an afternoon what a human geologist

can do in 45 seconds.”

What really irritates me about the kind of evil we’re encountering

in the anti-space-exploration movement is its upending of basic

human values. Your tax dollars, my tax dollars are going to fund

both space exploration and space science. But space science

is fundamentally USELESS unless it serves some human goal.

In other words, if we’re not going to GO there, don’t waste my

money futzing around taking PICTURES of there, because,

“at the end of the day”, all you’re trying to do is kill human

spaceflight so you can keep taking money from me to pay

for your comfortable academic chair.

Get a life.

-the Centaur