A non-profit organization called “Mission Centaur” is looking for help from private institutions willing to fund their project that will send a miniature telescope to Alpha Centauri in hopes of finding another “Earth”.
Such a landmark event would be akin to a new Apollo moon landing: advancing technology in our daily lives and boosting public morale for science funding—something I think many of us would agree on.
Because of the size of the mini-telescope, the cost is dramatically reduced, making the project much less costly than the Hubble or Kepler telescopes.
Also when the satellite is not viewing the star system’s exoplanets, it will be open to the public for stargazing—making more astronomical advances likely.
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NASA’s Potential Partners: SpaceX, Bigelow Aerospace, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, Virgin Galactic.
Featured article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/miniature-space-telescope-could-boost-the-hunt-for-earth-proxima-video/
Possible Earth Proxima (“Proxima-b”): http://www.space.com/33834-discovery-of-planet-proxima-b.html
Sponsoring the space frontier not only advances all fields of science (including astronomy, physics, geology, atmospherics, chemistry, and even biology), but it also brings technology to our doorstep. Technology which NASA has created and/or advanced includes:
- Laser eye surgery
- Artificial limbs
- Ingestible toothpaste
- Fiberglass guitars
- “Tempur-Pedic” foam
- Water purification
- Baby food
- Landmine removal
- Anthrax detection
- Solar panels
- Fire retardant materials
- Sports equipment
- Stadium roofs
- Building software
- Freeze-dried foods
- Reflective insulation
- Roadway traction
- Aircraft parachutes
- Voltage control
- Sewage treatment
- S.O.S. Beacons
- Pollution clean-up
- Earth monitoring satellite
These are called “spin-off technologies” because they use the same type of technology and research NASA has made. These advances have bolstered the economy, improved people’s health, improved creative arts, and made recreational activities more enjoyable. More importantly however, the exploration of space brings a culture of discovery in which all the previous advances naturally follows.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be NASA which is funded for all these things to happen (as space exploration is becoming more privatized), but there should be incentives for people to be interested in investing into such a field. Science (like any ambition) always progresses faster when it is a means to an end rather than an ends itself.
After all, all of these things impact the Christian life. Studying more about nature improves our appreciation for how God created everything. And, technological advances help us be better stewards of His creation (as He has called us to be). Already Church organizations have used this tech to improve worship and service experience at home and helping the needy in 3rd world countries afar.
See a longer version of the senate hearing here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmKlA_UnX8c)
Interactive flash animation – http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/nasacity/index2.htm
http://fora.tv/2009/02/04/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson_The_Pluto_Files (Interesting to note, Republican presidents have historically spent more on science because they know the economic return rate. See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7Q8UvJ1wvk)