Dissin’ Manned Spaceflight

Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg criticizes the manned space program.

The International Space Station is an orbital turkey,” said Steven Weinberg, a particle physicist at the University of Texas at Austin and a co-recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize in physics. “No important science has come out of it. I could almost say no science has come out of it. And I would go beyond that and say that the whole manned spaceflight program, which is so enormously expensive, has produced nothing of scientific value.

Um… Mr. Weinberg? Was the purposed of manned flight ever about science? I don’t think so.
We went to the moon (and did the other thing) because it was ‘ha(r)d’. Remember? Not to learn stuff. We went because of the cold war, sometimes for military benefit and sometimes to fix and maintain national treasures. If there was any science done (big if), I thought it was a bonus, not a purpose.

Whether or not that’s a good thing is perhaps debatable, with the results of the debate changing over time. Regardless, I’m not convinced that it’s been a bad thing, exactly.

Explore posts in the same categories: politics, Space

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