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Hubble - Worth the money?


lw24
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Hi all,

Some people I know have probably never seen a Hubble image. Even those who have, have never appreciated its true value and worth, or recognised why it was taken, and what it's a picture of. If you mention how much it costed to get Hubble 'up there' (so far it's costed 10 billion dollars), many people are then put off by the prospect on sending another telescope into space (James Webb, for example).

Me? In my view, it was, and will continue to be one of the best investments mankind has ever made.

It's easy to appreciate the true beauty of the images produced by Hubble, but I think there's more to it than that. These images are helping us to finally gain an important understanding, of not just our nearby stars, or neighbouring galaxies, but of everything. The universe contains everything, and to not explore and find out everything that we can explore and find out would mean we're not fulfilling our potential as an intelligent, advanced civilisation. Hubble gives us that opportunity, as the James Webb Space Telescope will; to step outside of our small bubble, and start to unravel information that will only prove to be invaluable for the future advances of our species, civilisation, and planet.

So, what do you think?

Edited by lw24
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I couldn’t agree more, data from Hubble has contributed to so many different discoveries in many different fields.

Generally, I don’t think the average Joe on the street has any idea how much of the science and technology they rely on and use every day came about as a result of various space programmes.

I just hope they don’t pull the plug on the James Webb and it ends up in space, where it belongs.

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What I imagine is how much we would be able to do if we could only find a way to stop blowing each other up.

How much would we be capable of and learn then from that..!

But we may not have had the rocket yet if it wasn't for technological advancements made during the wars. Although that isn't justification for having a war mind!

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i am a physics teacher and i find myself trying to justify the spending that has gone into "space" each day that i teach.

Biologists will say it should all go on cancer research, chemists on renewable energy etc, kids... on more benefits so they dont have to work!

Personally id love to see more spent! is a shame that soooo much money is spent on conflict. Would be crazy to see that money spent on space travel! would be on mars by now!

I will keep doing my bit to promote space through teaching! have sent 80+% of my students off to do physics degrees after todays results so there is some hope!

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Take vitamin supplements for example. Study after study has shown they tend to reduce life expectancy if taken without a clear medical need, but people still spend billions on these pills every year.

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My opinion is that is worth it. Much can be learned... but i can only imagine if more of those scientists dedicated themselves to study new material for recycling or ways to spend more energy or ways to bring free energy to all, then we could be better. This applies to the military as well, of course.

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Take vitamin supplements for example. Study after study has shown they tend to reduce life expectancy if taken without a clear medical need, but people still spend billions on these pills every year.

I haven't seen any such studies, and i somewhat doubt if they're true or more than just consequential.

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i guess there are studies out for everything :)

10 bil the cost of hubble? doesnt seem tooooo bad for what has been learnt from it.

how much are the premiership football players combined wages for the year?

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i guess there are studies out for everything :)

10 bil the cost of hubble? doesnt seem tooooo bad for what has been learnt from it.

how much are the premiership football players combined wages for the year?

Is that the cost of hubble, plus the cost of all the repair missions?

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i am a physics teacher and i find myself trying to justify the spending that has gone into "space" each day that i teach.

Not a single cent, penny or Euro has gone into space...it all was spent on Earth- providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of people; giving people the impetus to educate themselves*; developing new industries; providing livelihoods for thousands of familes. Is there really a better use of tax-payer's money and governmental focus????

The Americans public spend $90 BILLION per year on tobacco and $97 BILLION per year on alcohol. There is $313 BILLION spent each year treating tobacco and alcohol related illness. $68 BILLION is spent on illegal drugs.

The 2010 defence budget was $685 BILLION.

^^Is that use of public and private money not better spent elsewhere? And it puts the relatively minuscule requirements of NASA into perspective.

*I can't remember the exact statistics, but the space program in the USA generated thousands of new graduates. People were inspired by it and young people wanted to be part of it. It caused a massive surge in science and engineering degrees

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i love the stats. the usa defence budget numbers are ones that my a-level pupils pull out when we discuss this.

Will be interesting to have a read back through this in a few days to see how peoples views end up!

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cost of the iraq and afghan wars

FY2011 Obama administration proposes around $159.3 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

human lives cost of iraq and afghan

Casualties in Afghanistan:

Afghan troops killed [1] 8,587

Afghan troops seriously injured [2] 25,761

Afghan civilians killed [3] 8,813

Afghan civilians seriously injured [4] 15,863

U.S. troops killed [5] 1,140

U.S. troops seriously injured [6] 3,420

Other coalition troops killed [7] 772

Other coalition troops seriously injured [8] 2,316

Contractors killed [9] 298

Contractors seriously injured [10] 2,428

Journalists killed [11] 19

Journalists seriously injured [12] unknown

Total killed in Afghanistan 19,629

Total injured in Afghanistan 48,644

# Casualties in Iraq:

Iraqi troops killed [13] 30,000

Iraqi troops seriously injured [14] 90,000

Iraqi civilians killed [15] 864,531

Iraqi civilians seriously injured [16] 1,556,156

U.S. troops killed [17] 4,414

U.S. troops seriously injured [18] 31,882

Other coalition troops killed [19] 318

Other coalition troops seriously injured [20] 2,296

Contractors killed [21] 933

Contractors seriously injured [22] 10,569

Journalists killed [23] 142

Journalists seriously injured [24] unknown

Total killed in Iraq 900,338

Total injured in Iraq 1,690,903

i will say no more!

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I'm with the general consensus on here. The money spent on Hubble has been vitally important in growing our understanding of the universe and what makes it so complicated/fascinating!

To be brutally honest, I hadn't heard of the James Webb telescope until the Horizon programme on BBC2 on Monday (15th August... iPlayer if you missed it) but they should absolutely get that thing where it belongs!

... In an effort at remaining neutral, aren't we all moderately biased toward any sort of space programme :)

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I'm not here to defend my country's record in terms of the recent wars it wages...it is not defensible. As we contemplate how many billions to pour into the war machine, we argue about how deep to cut safety net programs to folks who don't have a job. As the last few weeks have shown, sometimes it is embarressing to be an American......

But on the other hand, the Hubble Space Telescope shows what this country is capable of on the positive side. IMHO, there is no greater piece of scientific hardware than this magnificent scope...nor was there a greater space mission (outside of Apollo) than the efforts to fix the wounded Hubble. We have gained so much knowledge from the Hubble, that was simply not possible before. You get much more bang for the buck with unmanned space science than with sending astronauts up there....let's just hope they don't hack the Webb, like some are threatening to do....

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I think although the emphasis is always on "tangible" (or financial) benefits, the greatest achievement of science is [iMO] in fostering multi-national collaboration. At least Europeans [and others too!] have (mostly) stopped killing one another at a rate of "several 9-11's per week" now. Science is no universal panacea, but it's doing better than quite a few other things... :)

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Very good point Macavity... I remember a point in the previously mentioned Horizon programme when one of the guys working on the James Webb 'scope said there were multiple countries working together to make it successful (I forget the figure but it was in the tens, it wasn't just 3 or 4)!

Anything that brings countries together (especially in the environment of scientific development) has to be positive!!

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I haven't seen any such studies, and i somewhat doubt if they're true or more than just consequential.

I'm fairly sure there's a lot of research showing that vitamin supplements are largely useless unless you have a clear medical need though. I believe Ben Goldacre discusses it in his Bad Science book.

James

Edited by JamesF
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