Originally Posted by YelloJeep
So are you saying that we shouldn't even attempt to evaluate efficiency? Are you suggesting that since they have different "objectives" then it isn't fair to try to evaluate? What ARE you suggesting?
Well, how about this: Should the RIAA be allowed to write and enforce copyright laws? They have lawyers that are quite knowledgable in the field, and the entire industry would gladly pay them to do so.
Oh, check out this picture:
Couple of College kids (MIT) took these pictures for about $150. How much do you think the government would spend?
NASA's solution would have allowed real-time streaming of those images, with the ability to stabilize the camera sufficiently to allow for high-resolution imagery of specific objectives, It would have included wide-spectrum image recording, from well below infrared through ultraviolet. It would have operated continuously for several years, if not decades.
If the government's objective was to get a few crappy, un-aimed low-resolution images from way up high like that, I'd be asking why the hell they were doing that instead of putting up a useful imagery satellite.