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well you could say that they would create something similar if they were something else and that might be true but without the funding and supply of such a project they wouldn't be able to have the freedom of a living to develop these things. There's also a great deal of cross-collaboration in these things - if they aren't working in science or are working in smaller projects the chances of coming up with something spectacular are almost certainly lower.

One of the main things coming out of Apollo etc IIRC was the computer development of chips for the project. Large advances in microchips and material science filtered out to the outside world. Whilst industry might have got there as well, I'd say almost certainly it would get there slower, due to the very nature of business - a business looking at short term profit is far less likely to allow their researchers the time and space to create a bigger, more long-life project with its associated spinoffs.

Early research is expensive mainly because you don't know what the right solution is - it could be any number of different options and until you pick it you don't know, so there has to be a lot of investment without too much pressure on results immediately or in every route as a lot of them will be blind alleys - but without checking, you'll never know whether they are the right one or not.

by darrkespur on Thu Feb 21st, 2008 at 03:17:08 PM EST
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