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To not understand why we can afford to send Tim Peake into space whilst we are cutting essential services for UK citizens?

(159 Posts)

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Destinysdaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 19:10:37

Just that really. I don't get it. Apparently we have no money for the NHS, police, care for the elderly etc but we can blow a shed load of money on this? Think the Gvt's priorities are skewed really badly. I have nothing against space exploration but surely basic needs should be met first? Or am I just naive...?

ScOffasDyke Tue 15-Dec-15 19:13:50

(Very)basic needs are being met. Scientific funding, and research, are also important. As is arts funding, and sports. YABU

Naoko Tue 15-Dec-15 19:14:54

He's not just off on a jolly. He's employed by the European Space Agency and astronauts on the ISS conduct all manner of important research that will have applications on Earth in the combating of disease, symptoms of ageing, physics and biology among others. They don't just sit up there admiring the view.

Destinysdaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 19:19:20

But is it really a priority right now? Shouldn't ' austerity' apply to everything?

SaintEyning Tue 15-Dec-15 19:20:24

If you are curious, Google the strategic defence and security review 2015, and do a search for space. You will find all sorts of reasons why this government invests in space and contributes to the ESA. As well as the UKSA and the catapults that promote space tech. Not saying I agree - Brian Cox had some interesting stats on the cost of space exploration on the Today programme this morning and it's less than you might think. I was surprised and I work for the government in this area!!

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 15-Dec-15 19:22:07

He's been in training for 6 years or so. You could argue it would be a huge waste of time and money if his mission was cancelled now. Plus I would imagine that the contracts and financial commitments have been in place for a long time, and it would be difficult or impossible to not pay now.

And all the other stuff that PPs have said about research and so on.

SwedishEdith Tue 15-Dec-15 19:24:50

YABU. Imagine if an experiment in space leads to a significant discovery in healthcare development and lower costs for the NHS?

You need to invest to progress in knowledge.

silverstreak Tue 15-Dec-15 19:26:24

This is why I love Aibu! It's this sort of question that might occur to me, which I might be vaguely aware is completely unreasonable for all sorts of intelligent and well founded reasons which I completely lack the time or motivation to research for myself, that gets summarised so succinctly and effectively on here! smile

Good Aibu Destiny and well-parried so far Dyke & Naoko!

silverstreak Tue 15-Dec-15 19:27:57

Yeh and all you other geeks guys!! Fascinating post! grin

titchy Tue 15-Dec-15 19:29:42

We only contribute £60m to the ESA. The UK's GDP is £2 trillion.

VulcanWoman Tue 15-Dec-15 19:30:19

What about India and their space program!

OfaFrenchmind2 Tue 15-Dec-15 19:33:05

AIBU: or why short-term hollow satisfaction is paid by destroying long-term progress.
Yabu OP.

EponasWildDaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 19:33:16

astronauts on the ISS conduct all manner of important research that will have applications on Earth in the combating of disease, symptoms of ageing, physics and biology among others.

Imagine if an experiment in space leads to a significant discovery in healthcare development

But isn't new found knowledge shared world wide? Why do 'we' have to have someone up there? Do nations which can't afford to send an astronaut get told they cant have a look? Is TP a scientist?

<maybe being idiotic>

meditrina Tue 15-Dec-15 19:34:03

Actually, YANBU, to a certain extent.

It was one of the last actions of the last Labour Government in March 2010 (all done by Mandelson, and commitments drawn up in such a way that the subsequent administrations could not renege on). And they must have known how tight the money was by then.

But space is important, and I think it is going to be worthwhile, so simultaneously YABU

SaintEyning Tue 15-Dec-15 19:34:07

Austerity doesn't mean that the government stops spending money on everything except the basics. It re prioritises what it spends from the money it raises. Some space tech is really vital in responding to or preventing natural disasters, tracking crimes like oil bunkering in poor countries and helping farmers plan ahead. Not all about defence and security!

Tamponlady Tue 15-Dec-15 19:34:23

Your a arse op many applications that have been invented for space have practical uses on earth

1.The hand-held vacuum cleaner

2.Air-cushioned trainers

In the early 1980s, a process known as “blow rubber molding” was used to produce space helmets. Using this technology, former Nasa engineer Frank Rudy pitched an idea for an in-trainer shock absorber to the Nike Corporation. He envisaged a trainer with hollow soles filled with shock-absorbing material to cushion the impact of running. Rudy’s idea included a pad of interconnected air cells and the resulting trainer was called the Nike Air.

3.Firefighter breathing apparatus

Before 1971, the average weight of breathing apparatus was more than 30 pounds. Carrying the extra weight was so physically grueling that some firefighters opted to attack flames without any equipment. However, engineers at Nasa adapted the life-support systems used in spacesuits for use by emergency services. Four years later, experts had designed apparatus that weighed a third less and offered better fit and visibility.

4.Blankets for marathon runners

In 1964, Nasa developed a material capable of reflecting heat very effectively – a thin sheet of plastic coated with a metallic reflecting agent, usually gold or silver in color. Used as a blanket, it reflects about 80 per cent of the wearer’s body-heat back to them. It’s used to keep accident victims warm, and by marathon runners after the finish.

5.Safer runways

Nasa researchers discovered that cutting thin grooves across concrete runways reduces the risk of an aircraft aquaplaning after landing. Excess water drains along the grooves, increasing tire friction in wet conditions. The expertise has been adopted by airport operating authorities around the world.

6.Pill transmitters

Pill transmitters swallowed by astronauts to check their temperature and blood pressure are undergoing trials to be used as a way to monitor the health of fetuses in the womb. These pill-shaped gadgets can be used to monitor body temperature, pressure and other vital signs.

7.Faster racing cars

Carbon fiber was invented by the British in the 1960s (at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough), but was given a boost by its use in space flight. Carbon-fiber-reinforced graphite is used in the nose cone of the Space Shuttle. Strong, light and heat resistant, it is found in everything from tennis rackets to Formula One racing cars

8.The roof of the Millennium Dome

A flexible yet durable Teflon-coated fiberglass material was developed in the 1970s for use on astronauts’ spacesuits. Teflon-coated fiberglass is now used for the roofs of many buildings worldwide, including the Dome in London.


It may seem strange, but the green movement owes a debt of gratitude to the rockets that blasted off into space. Efficient solar-power technologies – in which silicon crystals grown in a laboratory convert light into electrical energy – were first developed by Nasa in the early 1980s. The same technology is now widely used by companies manufacturing solar panels.

10.Personal storm warning system

11.The most impressive soundbite of all time

Neil Armstrong setting foot on the moon on 21 July 1969 was one of the most historically important moments of the 20th century. His proclamation, which was heard by radio audiences around the world – “that’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind” – remains one of the most famous statements ever uttered.

12.Better sunglasses

Nasa invented a special coating using a form of diamond-like carbon to protect its astronauts’ helmets from being scratched by space particles. A modified form of this substance – which decreases surface friction and therefore reduces scratching – has since been used by many sunglasses manufacturers, including Ray-Ban, since 1988.

13.First detailed map of another planet

In 1971, the Mariner 9 probe arrived at Mars and beamed a total of 7,329 images of the planet back to Earth. It provided the first global map of the surface of the Red Planet, including detailed views of its system of canyons and volcanoes, Valles Marineris.

14.The potential to preserve priceless art

After being first tested by Nasa, “polyamides” – incredibly strong and heat-resistant polymers – have been researched by the J Paul Getty Trust, which has discovered that one in particular may protect bronze statues from corrosion.

15.Car crash technology

“Explosive” bolts that can be remotely detonated to destroy them were used to free the Space Shuttle from its rocket boosters on blast-off. The technology has been adapted to create quicker and more powerful equipment to cut people out of car crashes. The cutters employ the same pyrotechnic “power cartridges” used on the Shuttle.

16.Longer golf shots

Wilson – one of the world’s biggest golf ball manufacturers – has improved the performance of its golf balls by implementing technology used to test the aerodynamics of the Space Shuttle’s external fuel tanks. These balls have a variety of specially configured dimples, which the company claims makes them travel further than conventional balls.

17.Plane wing-tips

Ever seen the vertical tip at the end of an airplane wing and wondered what it is? It’s a called a winglet and was originally developed at Nasa’s Langley Research Center. The winglet produces a degree of forward thrust (to help the plane in take-off and flight), operating much like a boat sail, and reduces wingtip drag. The winglet has been in service since the 1970s, and is found on all types of aircraft.

18.Freeze-dried meals

Nasa developed freeze-drying technology for the food carried by the Apollo missions. After the process, the product retains 98 per cent of its nutritional value and weighs just 20 per cent of its original weight. Snacks based on this technology are exported by Nasa to many countries, with sales running to several million pounds a year.

19.Baby food

Through Nasa research on algae (which it was hoped could generate oxygen in space through photosynthesis), it was found that certain algae contain two essential fatty acids present in human breast milk. These acids play an key role in infants’ mental and visual development. A synthetic ingredient that contains these acids is now added to baby food in 66 countries.

20.Warmer feet

Battery-powered thermal boots used by skiers are adapted from designs developed to keep astronauts warm during the Apollo space programme. Rechargeable batteries are worn inside the wrist of a glove, or the sole of a ski boot, and heat is generated by a small electrical circuit.

21.Increased understanding of the beginning of life

In 1995 the Hubble Space Telescope beamed images of the “Pillars of Creation” – columnar clouds of gas found in the distant Eagle Nebula – back to Earth. As well as being some of the most impressive images of space, these pictures changed scientists’ understanding of the beginnings of life in the universe.

22.’Anti-gravity’ treadmill

British marathon runner Paula Radcliffe has a stress fracture to her left leg, but aims to compete in the Beijing Olympics. She hopes to achieve this by training on a special “anti-gravity” treadmill developed by Nasa to help astronauts exercise in space. The machine operates in a high-pressure chamber which, in effect, cuts the weight of the user.

23.Hang gliders

In 1957, Nasa began testing various forms of wing for its Gemini space capsules. The wings’ simplicity of design, ease of construction, along with their capability of slow flight and gentle landing characteristics, was picked up by hang-gliding enthusiasts. The hang glider the enthusiasts designed became the most successful in history and formed the basis for the more streamlined hang gliders used today.

24.Straighter teeth

Nitinol, an alloy used by orthodontists to wire teeth braces, was tested in satellites that needed to spring open after being folded into a rocket. Nitinol is durable and springs back into shape after bending.

25.Heat-absorbing sportswear

Athletes can perform more strenuous activity without becoming overheated, thanks to new sportswear inspired by the cooling systems used in astronauts’ spacesuits. The clothes have packets of heat-absorbing gel positioned near parts of the body where the most heat is emitted.

26.Heart surgery

Bypass surgery is not the only means for doctors to deal with a blockage in the coronary artery. Nowadays, precise lasers can be used to clean arteries with extraordinary accuracy, while not damaging the walls of blood vessels. The lasers were originally developed by Nasa to monitor gases in the atmosphere of the Earth.

27.Life support for patients

Project Mercury, the first US human spaceflight program, which ran from 1959 to 1963, developed sophisticated monitoring systems to track the physiological status of its astronauts. The same technology is used today in intensive care units and specialist heart units.

28.Medicinal light- emitting diodes

The light-emitting diode (LED) technology used in plant growth experiments on board the Space Shuttle has led to the development of hand-held LED units used for the temporary relief of muscle and joint pain, as well easing the symptoms of arthritis, stiffness, and muscle spasms. It is that hoped use of LED technology will spread to aid bone-marrow transplant patients in the near future.

29.Artificial limbs

Robotic technology has been used to create more dynamic artificial limbs. New foam technology – used as a shock absorber by Nasa – has brought about more natural-looking prostheses and has helped reduce wear and tear.

need I go on

Justanotherlurker Tue 15-Dec-15 19:35:14

He was chosen by ESA, the U.K. doesn't fund the manned mission flights.

The 10% we do contribute helps not only keep people in jobs but supports our role in advanced engineering and science.

Tamponlady Tue 15-Dec-15 19:35:22

And I for one am glad they happened upon hart surgery who knows what else they might come up with up there

OfaFrenchmind2 Tue 15-Dec-15 19:40:31

Great post Tamponlady, good to remind people that actual progress does not always come from the mundane, but also needs extraordinary application before trickling down to the rest of the world.

Tamponlady Tue 15-Dec-15 19:47:54

One op most of these application directly save life's

Are we going to keep having if we have no money how can the Tory's afford loo roll in the hous of commons type threads yawn how about if we had no money why did gorden brown sell the gold at its lowest price

specialsubject Tue 15-Dec-15 19:50:08

awesome list!!

that's why. And because science is important and makes stuff happen.

we also fund the arts; doesn't produce anything concrete but is the sign of a civilised and intelligent society.

Tamponlady Tue 15-Dec-15 19:57:23

I would challenge that we find art therapy in mental health places and in prisons very very valuable indeed

MrsWembley Tue 15-Dec-15 20:10:31

What Tamponlady said ^^


Seriously, so many useful things (and indeed, lifesaving things) have been discovered through research that wasn't actually being looked for, who knows what the experiments that he's taking part in and spent years training for!

Don't be an arse, OP, and do some research yourself about what proportion of the gdp is actually being spent and how many useless projects have been funded by previous governments too.

MrsWembley Tue 15-Dec-15 20:12:45


were not being looked for

how many things might be discovered


Destinysdaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 20:15:41

Jeez people don't have to be so bloody rude and abusive, I was only asking! Guess air cushioned trainers and faster driving cars are more important than the care of our elderly, children and disabled people then?

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