Friday, 5 August 2011

Planet Jupiter - some questions

Today Nasa is sending a rocket to Jupiter. Juno will do a quick circuit of Mars, back for a once around Earth to give it an extra boost, and then away. Amazing! Mind blowing!

It’s an impressive rocket by anyone’s standards. Once it’s on its way, all its power will come from the Sun and it’ll be travelling at 160,000 mph. Incredible!  Nigh-on unbelievable!

The down side is the cost... $1.1 billion! 
Yes that’s $1.1 billion!

So here are my questions:

1.  Do we really need to know what lurks beneath the clouds that shroud this gassy, mysterious planet?

2.  As a writer does this sort of exploration inspire your writing of other-planetary worlds or does it detract from the mystery?

3.  And is it just me or does $1.1 billion dollars sound like a lot of money to spend when there are so many financial problems in the world, so many people starving, so many communities struggling to survive, so many charities desperate for donations, so much still to be done here on Earth?

I felt I had to add a note here. This post has almost caused a domestic. Mr A has asked me to say that he thinks it is well worth every dollar as it’s furthering our knowledge of our world and the Universe. What do you think?

The inspiration for this blog was brought to you via Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday and the letter P. 



  1. I tend to come down on the side of Mr A on this one. Prior to writing my novel I had started a home learning degree in geosciences and was thoroughly enjoying it, but with not having enough time to write and study I had to choose one. I hope to return to the study one day.

    I do think science is an important investment. It truly is amazing.

    It's funny reading this post today as I read a new report out that there are further signs of water on Mars which means the likely hood of there being life is increased. It won't be life as we expect it to be, it will be some micro-organisms that can survive in hostile environments. We know these things exist, just look at those that live off the black smokers in the oceans.

    It is a lot of money and money that could be used elsewhere, but I'm not sure, with the size of the debt, that a billion dollars would actually make much of a dint. Science is critical to our survival. I think it should be invested in.

    great question!

  2. As a writer I think it's inspiring but as a person I think we need to sweep our side of the house first before we start sweeping the neighbor's.

  3. Just watched the launch live on TV. A great achievement in the making.
    Sorry Rosalind but I'm with Mr A as well.

  4. Hey- I'm also with Mr. A- thing is that a good part of that one billion was spent employing people. While I understand your pov and it makes sense, on the other hand, I'm all for employment and scientific achievement. Cheers~

  5. Hi Rebecca, it's fascinating that you've studied geosciences. I don't pretend to understand all the scientific background of this subject. This point of view was a gut reaction, a result of seeing two articles sitting side by side, one about the launch and the other about babies starving. That can't be right, surely.

    Hi Amanda, thanks for your comment and, yes I do agree with you.

    Hi Bob, a great achievement agreed, but at such a cost!

    Hi Nancy, the problem with the employment issue is that they've just made even more people redundant from the space shuttle programme. I think I'm right in saying that this programme involves less man-power.

    Oh dear, I do seem to have started quite a conversation here, don't I.

  6. I'm goin' to straddle the fence with this seems that it is good to explore our universe to learn and advance as much as possible but it's even better if there aren't people going hungry, etc. which that 1.1 billion would take care of. The rocket has its "ups and downs."

    Thanks for stoppin' by aprons & Old lace.

  7. I've always been in favor of space travel BUT with the economy in so much trouble, it might be a place I would cut back for a few years.... that is, if I had anything to say about it. Ha.

  8. it is awesome to think, write, and do space travel using our imaginations.

    wow, love your big appetite..
    stunning entry.

  9. I don't know if the knowledge is worth 1 billion. I agree with you on this. as there's already so many problems in the world. with so many smart scientists, why can't they figure out how to lower the cost?

  10. Hi Aprons and Old lace, it is tempting to straddle the fence because there are obviously good outcomes from space exploration. A rocket has its 'ups and downs'! Like it :-)

    Hi Manzanita, we are in big trouble with all our economies and the problem is you and me don't seem to have any say at all.

    Hi Jingle, thanks and I agree that space travel blows your mind.

    Hi Lissa, I like that take on it. Let the scientists work out a way of reducing the costs AND of feeding the world while they're at it!

  11. Hi Ros .. I can see where you're coming from .. but the money has been spent! I think we learn much from scientists researching how to do these things .. research, investigation, inventors, entrepreneurs .. always turn up unexpected things .. which lead others and us in different directions. The human mind needs to explore ..

    Good 'P' for planet .. don't let the domestic spoil your weekend! Happy times - singing in the rain by the sound of it .. Hilary

  12. I'm with you on this one. I'm all for research - we'd never progress without it - but feel at the present time there needs to be a more tangible benefit in view. Let's work out how to feed the world we've got adequately before we go looking at new ones. Ideally, yes, it would be wonderful to know what's out there, but not right now. Mind you, I'm not so naive as to believe that if they didn't spend the money on this it would be transferred to tackling poverty. But how can they tell us there's no money left for schools, houses etc and then find this amount?

  13. I hear what you say about so much needed here on earth, but sometimes we have to reach beyond and look further. I'm with Mr A. Sorry!

  14. Hmm... good question. On the one hand I'd love to know what's going on in Jupiter. And I think that it's good for humanity if we can spread our horizons a little.

    On the other hand... there are the costs involved and given the current situation in the US, I have to wonder...

  15. I don't know... I suppose that logic could have been applied to any past expeditions, and then I wouldn't be writing this because the New World wouldn't have existed! :)

    On a serious note, I think there's a balance that does need to be made.

  16. Oh, sorry - I should clarify that the New World still would have existed, of course, just not as we know it. Rule Britannia et al.

  17. The problem is that there will never be a time when we have the money to spare.
    I don't believe any government or country will ever be able to say. "OK we have no poverty, all the schools have all the equipment they need , the army doesn't need anything , prices are at a reasonable level and everyone's happy with the tax rates - so let's spend money on space research."

    It just wouldn't ever happen if we wait until we can afford it.

    The question is, is it a good investment or not?
    If it is then we may as well spend it now.

    Are we any better off for having sent men to the moon and continuing space research.
    Have we learnt anything that benefits our life here?
    Or is it research for research's sake ?

    As you can see - I don't have any answers - just more questions :)

  18. Personally I think it's exciting. It does cost an awful amount though. They must have been able to justify it somehow. The knowledge they gain might benefit us all.

  19. Hi Hilary, don't worry. Mr A and I never have real domestics. We just agree to disagree.

    Thanks Anabel, you've expressed what I wanted to say so perfectly.

    Hi Pauline, it's great to explore but how can we ignore all those people in such dire need on our planet?

    Hi Talli, (I knew what you meant lol) it's all about striking up the right balance and I don't think we've done that.

    Hi Ann, I wonder if anyone has a satisfactory answer to your excellent question 'are we any better off for having sent men to the moon'?

    Hi Lynda, It may be exciting but if we could feed more starving children instead I know which I'd choose.

  20. I'm kind of leaning on your side, Rosalind even though I also find it so amazing to be exploring Jupiter.
    A billion dollars is so much money!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Your posts are always so interesting!

  21. Perhaps Mr A should read Manzanita's post about the Retrograde last week to clear up this domestic dispute! Julie

  22. I'm on Mr A's side. On earth, we spend so many billions on wars, we waste food, water, resources...all of which cost us billions again. Our growth as a species depends on explorations like this one--and I think the money is well spent :)

  23. I think it's an amazing exploration...


    There are so many problems here...

    I almost feel like it would have served the American people better to have delayed it.

    Thanks for a perfectly thought provoking link to Alphabe-Thursday's letter 'P'.


  24. Maybe those billion dollars spent will help stimulate the economy a bit. I mean, NASA has to pay its workers, and someone needs to build all those parts. The money is going to people who will hopefully spend it on the things they need/want, so it will funnel down to many people eventually. But I am not an economist, so what do I really know? :D