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The 1969 moon landing, left, and the science council director. A small step for mankind? The 1969 moon landing, left, and the science council director.

Head of science council described historic 1969 moon landing as ‘useless’

'Western science has produced the most dazzling and perhaps the most useless advances'

The Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, was “useless,” the current head of the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) said in 2015.

Presenting a paper at a conference organized by an indigenous education center in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, María Elena Álvarez-Buylla said that “western science has produced the most dazzling and perhaps the most useless advances, like the arrival to the moon.”

The remarks of the scientist, who became Conacyt director last December, circulated on social media this week in the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the spaceflight that first landed humans on the moon.

A report published today by the newspaper El Universal refuted the Conacyt chief’s claim, pointing out that man’s arrival on the moon has in fact left a significant legacy of technological and scientific advances.

Astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission and subsequent Apollo missions to the moon left scientific instruments on the satellite including a solar wind spectrometer, seismometer and laser reflector, all of which provided valuable information about the origin of the moon, earth and the solar system.

El Universal also said that microchips used in modern-day technology such as cellphones are “direct descendants” of the integrated circuits used in the Apollo Guidance Computer, which was installed on each Apollo spacecraft.

In addition, the newspaper noted that the biomedical system used to monitor astronauts’ vital signs on early space missions has been adopted by hospitals, adding that the first mission to the moon acted as a trigger for further study into space medicine.

The science council chief said that under the “globalized neoliberal capitalist system companies use scientists and their science, our science, and dictate what and what not to research . . . . This is what I call the advances of the hydra of science in disguise.”

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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