Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wait a minute

In my examination of Obama's potential administration, I found myself dealing with a fog of
speculation, pinned to rather few eractual facts. Furthermore, I noted, the groundwork for many of the events that are likely to happen is being laid by events that are happening. I decided that trying to keep up how the policies and personell of the new Administration are likely to shape up was probably not the best use of my limited time, especially as I'm developing the ability to keep and discuss current events from a different perspective. I'll keep watching, but it won't be my principal focus.

Most of my effort has gone to the construction of the knowledge base I describe on my Independent learning blog. After several false starts in the past year, I'm approaching a point where I can keep track of of them. With that as a starting point, I can start discussing events from the broader perspective I've been looking for.

One subect I've found interesting is the discussion of space technology. The recent visible imaging of planets around two fairly nearby stars is something I used to read was probably impossible, and it's quite a feat for the adaptive imaging technology that's been used to locate them. India has launched a , so far, highly successful lunar exploration mission, and China recently had its third manned spaceflight. The launch of endeavor to expand the International Space Station also represents progress. There are moreUS missions in progress and shortly scheduled. It seems to be an optimistic time of progress, but I have some concerns.

One is that the US seems to have lost or to be losing its lead in Space technology. The Space shuttle is scheduled to be retired in 2 years, and the US will be dependent on Russian technology and resources for about a 5 year gap. And that's in the best case, assuming continuing funding for NASA and no huge cost overruns or technacal delays. If Russia continues its show of belligerence, I am not certain this is such a wise strategy for the US. The US went from suborbital projects to a moon landing twelve years, and it seems that NASA has become such an ossified bureacracy that, in spite of nearly 40 years of progress in space flight technology, it could not duplicate the feat.

The private programs that are actually building and testing craft that may, in a couple of generations worth of technology, face a heavy burden of regulations. I hope the US in general and the economy in particular don't crash and take them down with it as I fear they might, but I'm no better at predicting the future than the next man.

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