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Now that I've quelled your anti-religious rant...
As it turns out, if you RTFA, the purpose of the program is to discuss individual experiences and get perspectives. Nothing in the article says anything about obtaining facts. If you want facts, you should stick to books.
Hold on, now. While I made mention of the Apollo 11 landing in my post there, my opinions on manned spaceflight in general should not be compartmentalized in the Apollo program. There are plenty of unexplored possibilities in manned spaceflight that go beyond simple (and I use the term "simple" loosely) moon landings.
But it was a colossal scientific failure.
Well, I would argue that not all things require a scientific or monetary purpose to avoid being "pointless." By your reply it sounds like you were impressed by the technological feat and awed by the accomplishment, at the very least. That hardly sounds "pointless" to me, if the program captured the hearts and minds of the American public (to say nothing of the rest of the world).
The one contribution it has made - fixing the Hubble - could have been finessed more cheaply and effectively simply by building and launching more Hubbles.
NASA was under extreme pressure to fix the current Hubble to avoid the political fallout of its initial failure, so time was a factor in their decision to repair instead of relaunch. It took a long time to build Hubble in the first place; if they'd taken the time to assemble another one, they'd miss their window to fix the mistake in the public's eye and regain their trust; failing to do that would almost certainly have cost them funding in the future. I'd say that from NASA's political standpoint, they made the right call. Unfortunately, the correct political decisions aren't always the most financially sound.
I don't know what reality you're living in, but automated systems are expensive; especially since we're not talking about experiments done purely on machinery or electronics. A lot of STS-107 mission's experiments were in the fields of life science and earth science.
So the space program not only killed seven people, but needlessly killed seven people.
No one put a gun to their heads and forced them into orbit. They knew the risks of their jobs and accepted them eagerly. You insult their memory by even talking about their accomplishments being "needless".
Or lets take the Hubble repair missions. A repair mission on the Hubble costs a billion dollars plus. It would be cheaper just to strap a new telescope on a rocket and just launch a replacement instead!
Would it? The risk (in both time and money) involved in launching a brand new, unproven telescope doesn't even come close to the cost associated with maintenance on a time-tested, working telescope. Not to mention how long it took to build Hubble in the first place.
It's about doing something simply to show that it can be done, like the explorers of centuries past. I suppose some people find that concept unimportant or even boring.
I would say that those people are unimportant and boring.
The moon, Venus, and Mars are good places to start. NASA has a "Near-Earth Object" program (http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/) that may be of interest to you.
Also, while man-made objects aren't necessarily directly related to astronomy, the International Space Station is also quite visible with the naked eye; I'm sure a telescope would make the observation much better. Again, this depends on your location and when the ISS will be visible there.
This is what happens when you put a politician in charge of anything. The only thing they think we need to do is lead our drab little lives. Go to work, be a good consumer, pay our taxes; all so they can live fat and happy on top of the world while we spend our lives toiling away, chained to the desk of some office job. Sound fun to everyone?
To hell with politics and to hell with Obama. I knew there was a reason I didn't vote for him.
They've actually talked about deorbiting the IIS in 2016 (there's a previous article on
that's all vaporware
They said the same thing in 1976 about the Space Shuttle.
As for paper vs. electronic records, hospitals keep both. The point is that paper records take a lot longer to manage, and if they can safely do so, it's in everyone's best interest for them to send patients to other hospitals in order to get caught up on paperwork. If their paperwork keeps piling up, the chances of losing important data increase by a large margin, and that's bad for all parties involved.
No, I say that Methodist made the right call here.