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NASA Funding Boost, But No Shuttle Extension in Obama Budget

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the layoffs-hitting-the-astronaut-industry-too dept.

NASA 133

adeelarshad82 writes to point out that details have been provided for President Obama's proposed $18.7 billion in funding for NASA in 2010 (up from $17.2 billion in 2008). Quoting: "The budget calls on NASA to complete International Space Station construction, as well as continue its Earth science missions and aviation research. Yet it also remains fixed to former President George W. Bush's plan to retire the space shuttle fleet by 2010 and replace them with the new Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, which would fly astronauts to the space station and return them to the moon by 2020. The outline does make room for an extra shuttle flight beyond the nine currently remaining on NASA's schedule, but only if it is deemed safe and can be flown before the end of 2010."

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fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019363)

fp

Ares or DIRECT (2, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019381)

Did they say anything about ditching Ares and going to DIRECT [directlauncher.com] ?

Re:Ares or DIRECT (5, Insightful)

TopSpin (753) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019637)

No, "they" said nothing about that meaningless debate. Administrations generally don't design rockets in the federal budget.

Prediction: the heavy lift Ares V or its moral equivalent (Ares IV, DIRECT, yada yada...) will never be built. I will refer back to this in half a decade and you will acknowledge my brilliance.

The new budget commits only to Orion and it's launch vehicle (Ares I). That's the bare minimum necessary to replace the Shuttle in its LEO ISS crew transport and resupply role. Finishing Orion and Ares I is the politically easy thing to do because without it Obama would have to explain the end of US manned space flight, which is politically difficult.

Ares V, on the other hand, is several years down the road and a much bigger commitment. What's been done to-date can be dropped and quietly swept under the rug. It's not a 2012 issue and after that it doesn't matter, just as long as the NEA gets its dough.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019851)

Finishing Orion and Ares I is the politically easy thing to do because without it Obama would have to explain the end of US manned space flight, which is politically difficult.

Nope. They'll likely cancel Orion along about 2013. The Dems have never been terribly thrilled by "spending money in outer space", and this is their big chance to end it. If they wait till 2013, it'll be forgotten by the next presidential election (and Obama won't be running then anyway).

Yeah, those damn dems (4, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020123)

They would never get us to the moon, or put up the ISS. Instead, they would do something like build the Shuttle.

Re:Yeah, those damn dems (4, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020753)

They would never get us to the moon, or put up the ISS. Instead, they would do something like build the Shuttle.

Politicians only want power - for themselves and for the country. Back then Shuttle was a major military project (or at least it was sold as such.) If anyone told Congress that the STS will be used to fly school teachers to LEO (and kill everyone about every 50th flight) the program would have been dead. At that time manned spaceflight was seen as something that only superpowers can do, and if the USSR sends people and stations to LEO every other month you couldn't just sit on your Moon laurels. Besides, STS was presented as a "space bus", something that can fly every other week and practically for free.

Today the understanding is completely different. First of all, military does not want manned deliveries of their hardware, neither up nor down. Secondly, LEO proved to be just a place devoid of any particular usefulness except to a couple of scientists. Thirdly, having (or not) a manned spaceflight capability today will not affect USA's standing (whatever that is, considering the financial crash etc.) China and India and even NK can send rockets and people up, and who cares any more? Military might of a country is now determined by automated weapon delivery systems (ICBMs and antimissiles, for example) and, as always, by nuclear submarines. ICBMs are related to manned flight vehicles, but only in part, and that technology can be retained and improved without worrying how it affects people on board (who are not there.)

So I am not so sure that Obama - or any other president, to that matter - will not abandon spaceflight. There are very few voters on LEO; most voters keep their nose to the ground. When economy crashes and burns, when sky high taxes rob people of their wages and their homes, when nobody can afford to risk it all and open a business, when homeless people and armed gangs roam the streets, hardly anyone will question the president why he hasn't shot a hundred billion dollars of *their* money into the air for no gain to them, the voters. A single statement like "I decided to disband NASA, close all its projects down and transfer their funding into the new Emergency Assistance Fund that helps you personally" will do the job. Remaining 0.03% of population (scientists and /.) will be summarily ignored.

Re:Yeah, those damn dems (4, Interesting)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021051)

"A single statement like "I decided to disband NASA, close all its projects down and transfer their funding into the new Emergency Assistance Fund that helps you personally" will do the job."

Ahhhh....yes. The end of the dream. Let me make a prophecy here; When America has lost its dream. America is lost. For that which was the hope of the world will have fallen. Not for a hundred years will a nation rise and say, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." You have already lost the "among". So long, thanks for all the fission.

Re:Yeah, those damn dems (4, Funny)

bitrex (859228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021209)

The problem is that while America is now swinging more socialistic, we don't have the national unity to care about the fate of America any longer. Maybe we could try some kind of combination of nationalism and socialism? I've heard that this was tried before and that they had a pretty good rocket program.

Re:Yeah, those damn dems (2, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021701)

Maybe because the stench of corruption is thick in the air? When was the last time YOU saw a politician and didn't think "I wonder who payed him off"? We just don't get politicians like Teddy "Trust buster" Roosevelt anymore. There is no way they will bite the hand that is stuffing their pockets full of money. I have tried to teach my boys not to give up and to vote but both have made it clear when they turn 18 they won't bother. Why? Because both have seen how little the will of the people mean when compared to lobbyists.

The last straw for my oldest was this last election. He was really looking forward to our home state getting a lotto because he and his friends would get to qualify for low or free tuition for college and he wants to become one of those "doctors without borders" and travel the poorest neighborhoods of the US and abroad giving medical treatment. But the lobbyists from the gambling boards of the next state over as well as the dog racing industry have poured money into our politicians pockets. Three times we have voted yes to a lotto and three times they have overruled the will of the people. Twice by saying the proposition was badly worded and once by saying it was too vague. Again we voted for a lotto. Are we going to get one? Nope, it looks like they are going to go for the "badly worded" excuse even though we used the same language used by other states in their propositions.

After seeing everyone's vote ignored thanks to payoff my oldest said "what's the point?" and sadly I couldn't give him one. Because it is pretty clear to anyone who has eyes that the corruption of our elected officials by corporate interests has gotten so rank and obscene that they don't even bother to hide the payoffs anymore. Just look at DMCA and Sonny Bono act for the *.A.As, the amount of money flowing into Wall Street at this very moment, hell I am sure the good folks here can come up with a thousand more. How can we expect anyone to give a shit about America as a nation when it has so obviously been taken away from us? You might as well just get what you can before they've stripped everything good out of it and burned it to the ground for the insurance.

Re:Yeah, those damn dems (2, Insightful)

edumacator (910819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022245)

Encourage your boys to run for office. We still have the final say, and if we had people run for office who don't want to be there, but see the importance of changing the system, we could get ourselves out of this mess. Too often though, we the people become apathetic. It's understandable, but still sad.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (4, Insightful)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020647)

Dems have never been thrilled about 'spending money in outer space'"

Uhm... Do the initials "JFK" and "LBJ" ring any bells for you?

Dems have done plenty for spaceflight as well, and both sides like to use it as a chopping block when they need to cut spending, because voters are generally too short sighted to see the benefits.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022409)

Uhm... Do the initials "JFK" and "LBJ" ring any bells for you?

I think I've heard of them. Wasn't "JFK" the guy who invented "trickle down economics"? Or at least the one who used it to justify the largest taxcut in American history?

And "LBJ". Hmm, he's the guy who closed an important airforce base (important, in this case, in having capabilities that weren't duplicated anywhere else), which by an amazing coincidence was in the only congressional district in its particular State to vote against him, right?

For what its worth, I think that Kennedy's moonshot was misguided - we should have stuck to NASA's outline - low orbital flights to learn our way around the environment, followed by space station, followed by flights to the moon, followed by base on the moon, followed by flights to Mars, etc.

Alas, the plant-the-flag six times exercise we did was completely wasted when we didn't go back....

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021647)

The problem is the shuttle has had it, it is a flying POS that was never meant to last 1/4 this long, and Orion is being designed by committee. And I can't remember if it is Aries or Orion, but isn't one of them going badly enough that the engineers have put up their own plans against the wishes of their superiors? Yeah, that doesn't sound too good.

How do we save it? Simple, bypass the whole damned thing and bring back Apollo. How you say? We don't have the plans, nobody knows how to build it or what the fuck to do you say? Even simpler- The Russian Soyuz is a modern version of Apollo and built like a freaking tank so just buy the damned thing and be done with it. I'm sure the Russians would be happy to sell us a couple along with the plans for a nice fat check, after all it looks good on the front page of Pravda. And it would allow us to bypass the bullshit, take our time if we still want Aries and Orion, and finally put the shuttle out to pasture without leaving us screwed out of manned space.

In short, this would solve all our major problems without costing nearly as much as it looks like Aries/Orion is going to cost and with certain results. They have done all the R&D and have tested the ship plenty of times in space and we can reap the rewards of their hard work. But IMHO from the looks of things if we stick with Aries/Orion we are going to end up stuck on the ground or hitching a ride from the Russians anyway, and if we keep launching that ancient shuttle it IS going to kill another crew and then the public will demand the end of the shuttle, and with it a good chunk of the NASA budget will be gone. Soyuz would give us results right now for a whole lot less capital. And with the economy as it is I'm sure the Russian space industry would like a big fat American check so it is a win/win.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (2, Informative)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021849)

Ares V is Apollo all over again. Apart from a slight change in scale of a few parts and the more modern materials, it's identical in almost every respect.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022433)

The Russian Soyuz is a modern version of Apollo and built like a freaking tank so just buy the damned thing and be done with it.

Soyuz isn't a modern version of Apollo. It lacks many of the capabilities of Apollo (the obvious one is not enough deltaV to enter orbit around the moon, then to go back to Earth)). It's also much smaller than Apollo, and thus not really suitable for extended length missions.

That will depend (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019903)

If SpaceX (or one of the other space companies) commit to building a heavy heavy lifter, I am guessing that you are correct. Remember that Musk wants to build a new version of Merlin that approaches the F1. He has always said that the issue is how to get it paid for. Well, if Ares V is dead, then my guess is that he will probably throw money at it (or let some others invest their money). Likewise, I could see l-mart or boeing deciding to take this on ASSUMING that the feds back away from a heavy lifter.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020303)

I will refer back to this in half a decade and you will acknowledge my brilliance.

You'll have to get in line. This has been a known failure mode since they announced the Ares program back in 2005 and I imagine there have been similar predictions made that day. As I see it, the numerous engineering problems of the Ares I have been nails in Ares V's coffin. In theory, it's still possible that Ares V will be built at some later day, but I don't see who is going to support it. DIRECT looks like it'd still be viable, but I agree with you in that I don't see any heavy lift projects instigated by NASA for the next couple of decades.

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020873)

I will refer back to this in half a decade and you will acknowledge my brilliance.

Only if the definition of "brilliance" is officially changed to "ability to state the obvious"!

Re:Ares or DIRECT (1)

bsane (148894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019663)

Lets hope not

Good To See Grownups In Charge (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019453)

No idiotic talk of planting a flag on Mars.

* Continued funding of robotic exploration of everything outside of the Earth/Moon

* A focus on the meat and potato tech that is fundamental to our long term presence in space. Orbital construction, long term living in space, space science, space manufacturing, long term maintenance of equipment in space

* An eventual permanent base on the moon

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019641)

"Continued funding of robotic exploration of everything outside of the Earth/Moon"

The grownups are also bringing back Earth science [nytimes.com] .

As for the shuttle, Hubble, ect, I always feel like I'm betraying an old freind when I trade in my car but the smell of fresh leather more than compensates.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (3, Informative)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019907)

As for the shuttle, Hubble, ect, I always feel like I'm betraying an old freind when I trade in my car but the smell of fresh leather more than compensates.

Even for multimillion to billion dollar vehicles, they eventually wear out and replacement becomes the safer and more economical choice.

There was talk on the radio today about Obama potentially canceling the F-22 - but said cancellation would put something like 90k people out of work.

A couple points that I think was missed is that 90+% of the expenses for the F-22, R&D, setting up manufacturing, have already been met. Shutting down acquisition of the planes wouldn't actually save you much money. Not even $23 million per plane canceled. Meanwhile, maintenance costs for F-15s and F-16s are starting to skyrocket due to age. One of the selling points for the F-22 is that it's supposed to be much, much easier/cheaper to maintain.

Consider that old '88 chevy. Parts are getting hard to find, the seats need to be reupholstered, the exhaust system is shot; the engine needs a rebuild, cylinder 4 only gets half pressure, etc...

At some point, it'd actually be cheaper to buy a new car.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (2, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020343)

Another point in favor of the F-22 is that virtually the entire F-15 fleet was grounded last year because of unanticipated structural failures, requiring examination and recertification of each plane before it could be brought back into service.

The simple fact is that the F-15 and F-16 are now at least a generation out of date. The main aspect that keeps them in the lead when it comes to US forces against most other nations is that the US has such an overwhelming AWACS presence. However, other nations are rapidly catching up, having learned from the last 20 years of US warfare how critical AWACS functions are in the modern theatre of war. One-on-one, there are several planes from other nations that are matches for -- or superior to -- the F-15, -16, and -18 (including the Super Hornet), and that's not going to slow down. The F-22 is currently the main hope for maintaining a qualitative edge over other nations. The F-35 will help, but in case of large-scale operations against a country with a decent air force, it will be the Raptor clearing the way for the JSF's strike capabilities.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020959)

virtually the entire F-15 fleet was grounded last year because of unanticipated structural failures

Are you talking about the cracks in the frames? I recall that some were discovered long before that but I can't find the Google links.

The F-22 is currently the main hope for maintaining a qualitative edge over other nations......

That's true, but we don't need it right now. It'd make much more sense for the Air Force to use that money to produce more MQ-1's, MQ-9's, and RQ-4's (unmanned aircraft) given that, like it or not, we're gonna be in the Middle-East for awhile.

...in case of large-scale operations against a country with a decent air force...

The cold-war days that gave us Airwolf [youtube.com] are long-gone. Yes, there's gonna be plenty of bitching from the alpha fighter-jockeys, but fuck'em -- they're becoming obsolete. The United States has by far the best Air Force in the world, and such a FUD plea for more shiny toys is just greedy and insulting. Even the DoD is tacitly putting the program on hold [airforcetimes.com] [propaganda warning]

-- and I hate the Air Force ;)

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022005)

In the navy/army by any chance? ;)

However you have a good point. But its not limited to the air force. The US military complex is the last relic of the cold war.

Your example make a good case with the F-22 vers the unmanned aircraft. But the difference is even bigger. You can't just design and build a next generation combat aircraft in a year. For that reason alone there is no hope of another air force pulling out a surprise. (and don't get me started about the eurofighter).

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1)

Nova77 (613150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021709)

I don't think this is the point. The manned planes are already being replaced by UAVs (the F-22 is probably going to be the last major air-superiority aircraft), and in the near future the F-15 and F-16 can be "cheaply" replaced by F-35.
Too bad for such beautiful baby, but when you have a robot that can sustain 15g there's simply no game.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022629)

As long as the robot can be jammed or suborned, you need some sort of backup. like human pilots. Further, F-22 can't be the last major air-superiority aircraft, if it isn't being built in volume.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1, Flamebait)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019743)

No idiotic talk of planting a flag on Mars.

Can I point out something that the parent poster might have missed? Sending people to Mars is actually quite cool.

Now, if we think about this for a second, meat and potato aerospace research is done in many places, spacecraft manufacturers, communications companies, the Airforce etc. Because they actually have to do useful things with the research, the research must therefore be done. On the other hand NASA's purpose is to make Americans feel good about themselves. The idea is to show the national contempt for the universe by lobbing a group of jocks as far out into it as possible then brining them back alive.

Now, with the amount Americans currently spend on entertainment, I think it is quite financially sane to invest money primarily on doing cool stuff. Nobody cares about the ISS, nobody cares about permanent bases, nobody cares about where the next robot is going. But if you stick some airforce guys on the end of a giant rocket and send them to another planet and everyone's going to start paying attention. You can have news coverage, you can have books, you can have documentaries, you can have movies and everyone's happy and entertained.

Not to mention, whichever nation first successfully recovers a crew that has been to Mars is going to feel awesome. Look at the Apollo program, America was having a rough decade with foreign relations, Bay of Pigs, Vietnam etc. but when 2 Americans flew to the moon, everyone generally considered that to be a good thing. Nobody even cared that the rocket was designed by a Nazi, everyone just likes big engines with lots of fire and adventure.

19 Billion dollars is only $6 from every American. I think proper entertainment of this sort is worth $50 per capita. I'm not even American but I would gladly chip in that amount to NASA or any other country's space program putting a serious effort into putting someone where they don't belong and bringing them back again.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (2, Funny)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019769)

Correction: 19 Billion dollars is only $60 from every American. I think proper entertainment of this sort is worth $x per capita (where X > 60). It was mainly just rhetorical anyway.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019801)

I'll pay for the grandparent poster, and 10 other people. Who's with me?

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019779)

"Sending people to Mars is actually quite cool."

Exactly, grown ups...

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (3, Insightful)

Crispy Critters (226798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019845)

Absolutely.

What we don't want is Mars on a shoestring budget. If it comes down to axing robotic explorers, satellites to observe the Earth and the universe, reliable transport for installation and maintenance of said satellites, etc., to fund a Mars mission, then sending a few people to swoosh their feet through the red dust should wait.

Why does no one care about ISS or a permanent moon base? Are they inherently dullsville, or has the space science community done a lousy job selling itself to the public?

Space boredom (1)

AlpineR (32307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022765)

Why does no one care about ISS or a permanent moon base? Are they inherently dullsville, or has the space science community done a lousy job selling itself to the public?

I can't speak for the rest of the public but I can speak for myself. I don't see much space science value in ISS or a manned Moon base. There's some space medicine and space logistics value if you plan to later proceed on to other planets. But I think that's a slow and expensive route to go if the most valuable scientific question to answer is: Does life exist somewhere other than Earth?

You want public excitement for space exploration? Find microbes on Mars. Or find fish swimming around the oceans of Europa. Or find intelligent radio signals from Sagittarius. Or find a habitable planet within a hundred light years of Earth. If I were allocating the budget at NASA I'd rather pour the money into robotic missions for those discoveries rather than putting more footprints and golf balls on the Moon.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019917)

The reason the Moon landing was so captivating to the world was because nothing remotely like it had ever been done before. There was also the culmination of a technological leap unprecedented in history (Wright Brothers to Luna in 60 years).

The world was also watching two superpowers play "Our Nazis Are Better Than Your Nazis" and we won. IIRC, von Braun had plans for a "mega-Saturn" intended for Mars.

Been there, done that. (4, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020021)

Question: I have a picture of the LAST man on the moon in my screensaver - can you name him without looking it up?

While your raking your brain on that, let's go with your entertainment theory and assume people are not interested in science and just want to watch heroics. My prediction is that these people would not be interested in a Mars landing for the same reason they were not interested in the last man on the moon.

Why? - Because it's a rerun, they would simply shrug and say something like "what's the point, we've been to the moon already". The enourmous technological gap between a moon landing and a mars landing would be lost on them because they are not interested in men on Mars anymore than they are currently interested in men on the ISS. I was born the year after sputnik and grew up in the 60's, the Moon landing did indeed make the world stand with their collective jaws on the ground, but for the type of people you are describing the show ended with Apolo 11's return to Earth.

Re:Been there, done that. (5, Insightful)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020325)

Question: I have a picture of the LAST man on the moon in my screensaver

I sincerely hope not! I see nothing wrong with your having a picture of the last man so far to step on the Moon in your screensaver, but I do hope he's not the last man ever!

Re:Been there, done that. (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020475)

Question: I have a picture of the LAST man on the moon in my screensaver - can you name him without looking it up?

Depends, do you mean the last (most recent) person to step on to the Lunar surface, or the last (most recent) person actually standing on the surface? The former was Harrison Schmitt, the only geologist to walk on the Moon, the latter was Gene Cernan, the commander of the Apollo 17 mission (thus the first one out and last one back into the LM).

they would simply shrug and say something like "what's the point, we've been to the moon already"

I recall a meeting of some space advocates debating Moon vs Mars for the next major mission, one of the Apollo astronauts (Buzz Aldrin, I think) was present and said almost those exact words. Several other people immediately chimed in with "no, you've been to the moon, we haven't."

Re:Been there, done that. (2, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020979)

Good points but either way my ass is covered :o

The picture [nasa.gov] is of Cernan but if you look carefully you can see the reflection of Schmitt in the center of his visor.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020221)

No idiotic talk of planting a flag on Mars.

While flag planting is in itself unsustainable, it is still worth noting that the Apollo program, the classic flag planting exercise of early NASA, did greatly advance our knowledge of the Moon and as a result, the origins of both the Earth and the Solar System. My take is that unmanned probes would not have generated the science or the same quantity and variety of return samples. The unmanned program would have had a much smaller price tag however. In history, earlier phases of exploration were highly dependent on flag planting as a component. You couldn't claim territory unless one of your exploration groups visited the location.

The points you mention seem entirely reasonable. If the cost of a flag planting mission to Mars were much lower (at least an order of magnitude), then it wouldn't be such a serious issue. You can do useful work in such circumstances. Even if the effort doesn't generate infrastructure on Mars, it could exploit Earth orbit infrastructure.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (3, Insightful)

tftp (111690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020809)

My take is that unmanned probes would not have generated the science or the same quantity and variety of return samples.

I can offer you an opposite example. Martian rovers are crawling the surface for years now, looking at every rock and every feature of the landscape. They observed martian weather for two seasons, recorded and reported every detail of it. A manned expedition, OTOH, would be able to only set up a camp, visually inspect some places of interest within a circle of couple of miles, do all that inside of a month or two, and hastily depart back to Earth. No way they'd stick around for years, they'd go crazy or die from hunger or suffer accidents, etc. But robots don't have such problems, and once you designed one robot you can make a thousand of them at little incremental cost. Robots are perfect tools for meticulous, boring work 24/7; a human on Mars would be likely able to remain outside only for a few hours per day, with remaining time spent on maintenance of the camp, eating, washing, resting, sleeping, documenting, communicating...

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27021733)

By the time that I discovered that there is a "Robot Exploration v.s. Human Exploration" debate I realized that it would be pointless to argue for robots. The best way for a "robot fan" to win the argument versus the "human fan" is to wait a few years.

Human exploration was the right thing in the days when digital cameras was science-fiction, when fuel cells and high-energy batteries were new and cutting-edge, when computers were the size of a refrigerator, when a big computer memory could store a few tens of kilobytes at best and when programming meant assembler coding.

Low earth orbit space tourism is the near future of human spaceflight. Get a small hotel up there and sell the experience to billionaires. In little more than a century, some little rich brat is going to be bragging to people how he or she was made in space. =)

Humans will still not have visited anything more remote than the Moon.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27021787)

Sorry, my tired self meant to point out that billionaires will have sex in space in little more than a decade.

Over a century from now space shuttles will be the new plane and space-sex will probably be the new plane sex. Except less noisy and less smelly than a plane toilet.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (2, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022487)

By the time that I discovered that there is a "Robot Exploration v.s. Human Exploration" debate I realized that it would be pointless to argue for robots. The best way for a "robot fan" to win the argument versus the "human fan" is to wait a few years.

In twenty years, humans will be sent to Skynet's glue factories, rending (in a visceral way) the entire argument academic? More seriously, as long as humans continue to make the decisions, it makes sense to have an on site human, just to cut the decision delay time. Any technology that can enhance robots can also enhance humans, who I might add, already have a natural advantage.

Humans will still not have visited anything more remote than the Moon.

Why? What secret knowledge do you know that the rest of us don't know?

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (1)

Strake (982081) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021927)

While this is true, the rovers must work slowly to avoid destroying themselves, because of the communications delay. If some obstacle presents itself, the human driver on Earth must have enough time to respond, and "enough time" includes signal travel time, both ways. If the human operators were based on Mars, say, then this problem would be mitigated. Also, one Mars base could potentially suffice to control all robotic rovers on Mars.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (3, Informative)

Spotticus (1356631) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022201)

Not to belittle the accomplishments of Opportunity and Spirit, but in their combined 10 rover years on Mars, they've covered 21km of terrain. Apollo 17 did 34km in 3 days and collected over 100kg in samples. Data from the Apollo missions is still being analyzed almost 40 years later. Manned and unmanned exploration each have their place, but neither trumps the other.

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022441)

I strongly disagree. Let's look at this.

Martian rovers are crawling the surface for years now, looking at every rock and every feature of the landscape.

First, note that the rovers are "crawling". With a several minute communication lag between Earth and Mars, decisions take a while to make. While humans can't look at every rock and feature of the landscape, they don't need to. The bonus to humans is that they'd be able to determine what is interesting, prioritize their investigation, and carry out the investigate without requiring Earth-side support.

They observed martian weather for two seasons, recorded and reported every detail of it.

At least every detail that the rovers could detect. It's worth noting that the rovers have very limited ability to sense their environment.

A manned expedition, OTOH, would be able to only set up a camp, visually inspect some places of interest within a circle of couple of miles, do all that inside of a month or two, and hastily depart back to Earth.

One merely needs to look at the Lunar expeditions to see how wrong this claim is. With a rover, a human driver, and a couple of months, you'd be able to see a lot more than a couple of miles. Further, there are various Mars exploration programs where the astronauts stay longer than a couple of months. But let's stick with the flag and footprints mission profile and assume they only stay a couple of months.

No way they'd stick around for years, they'd go crazy or die from hunger or suffer accidents, etc.

Mars Direct [wikipedia.org] has a good plan that doesn't have these issues.

But robots don't have such problems, and once you designed one robot you can make a thousand of them at little incremental cost.

The annoying thing here is that you're mostly right, but NASA insists on producing one-off designs. You still need to launch them. And someone needs to control them. And is it too much to point out that controlling robots from Mars will be much more effective than controlling them from Earth?

Robots are perfect tools for meticulous, boring work 24/7; a human on Mars would be likely able to remain outside only for a few hours per day, with remaining time spent on maintenance of the camp, eating, washing, resting, sleeping, documenting, communicating...

If robots did work comparable to that of humans, you might have a point. Robots don't. Eight hours of human work on site can be much more useful than 24 hours of robotic work. The question then is how much more useful? My impression is that a flag and footprints mission for a couple of months would probably be less efficient while a longer term mission, where the astronauts stay for a couple of years, would fall on the other side and be more cost effective (assuming very generously that you're willing to pay the price).

Re:Good To See Grownups In Charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27022027)

> No idiotic talk of planting a flag on Mars.

Right, we need to put a man on the sun first.

OCE?AN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019519)

Lets inhabit the ocean before we try space. Why would we leave such an important biosphere unexplored for the depths of hell?

Re:OCE?AN (3, Insightful)

ani23 (899493) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019643)

because the oceans wont protect us from an impending calamity were it to strike earth

Re:OCE?AN (1, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019697)

because the oceans wont protect us from an impending calamity were it to strike earth

More like "because we've already turned them into a huge sewer."

There's 10 million [democratic...ground.com] square miles [boingboing.net] of trash [bloomberg.com] just in the Pacific.

Re:OCE?AN (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019775)

It would float above us, much like the junk in orbit is now.

That which sinks becomes a nice rain of raw material.

Re:OCEAN? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019927)

It would float above us, much like the junk in orbit is now.

That worked out real well for that comunications satellite ...

That which sinks becomes a nice rain of raw material.

... so you'd have no objection to having a constant shower of raw garbage falling on you wherever you go?

We can't just keep treating the oceans as a huge septic tank.

Re:OCE?AN (2, Informative)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020167)

Well, democratic underground and boingboing - with unimpeachable sources like that...

Re:OCE?AN (2, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020337)

... and Bloomberg?

Noticed you left them out when criticizing the sources. Do a serch - you'll find LOTS of related articles from the mainstream.

Re:OCE?AN (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022779)

From the Bloomberg article:

Ocean sampling shows that there are as many as 1 million plastic pieces, each 1 to 2 millimeters across, in each square kilometer (0.4 square mile) in the area, Moore says.

That's up to one piece of very small pieces of plastic per square meter. Doesn't sound like much of a problem.

Re:O?C?E?A?N? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022955)

The problem is that these are plankton-sized pieces of plastic, outnumbering plankton by a ratio of 10 to one, and doubling every decade. Plankton might be floating on the top of the ocean, but they're the bottom of the ocean food chain. If they collapse, the oceans die. If the oceans die, so do we, because the accumulation of toxic gases from decomposition will kill all life on the planet (we've seen this on a smaller scale, where lakes have died, the gases accumulate in solution at the bottom of the lake, then one day, the tipping point is reached, or an outside event causes the waters rise to the surface and suddenly release huge clouds of toxic gases, killing everything and everyone [usgs.gov] for miles around). Another article [wired.com]

1986: A deadly cloud of carbon dioxide sweeps down the slopes of an African volcano, smothering more than 1,700 people.

Volcanoes can kill in many ways, but this one is pretty weird. A volcanic lake in the West African nation of Cameroon degassed violently (you could say it burped, or worse) in the middle of the night. Carbon dioxide is odorless and heavier than air. Most of the victims died in their sleep.

Lake Nyos sits in the crater of a volcano that hadn't erupted in centuries ... and probably didn't actually erupt the night of Aug. 21, 1986.

Re:O?C?E?A?N? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27023171)

The problem is that these are plankton-sized pieces of plastic, outnumbering plankton by a ratio of 10 to one, and doubling every decade.

Doesn't sound like it is happening at the scale of 1-2 mm. Unless there's only one 1-2 mm sized plankton per 10 square meters which I suppose could be true in deep ocean. And I'm unclear why plankton is going to die because of plastic. Seems to me something will figure out how to eat (for real) the problem. It is food, life just needs to evolve to eat it. And algae not plankton are the bottom of the ocean food chain.

Moving on, the lake example is wrong. Lake Nyos had an active volcano pumping CO2 into it. This CO2 upheaval is infrequent but routine for such a lake.

Re:OCE?AN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019899)

Why? Is it mutually exclusive?

Oblig. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019533)

HA! No "shuttle extension"! All you suckers voted for Obama, but I knew he was just more of the same! I bet you wish you were as clever and cynical as I am.

Not enough money. (5, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019547)

But still good.

Anyone suggesting extending the shuttle program is advocating extending a clearly unsafe and inefficient program.

Instead, we should ramp up production to get the new systems in place ASAP. That it was scheduled with a gap in the first place is just shameful. It may be too late to avoid the lost air time, but I'd say we should try, and pay what we have to. The NASA budget is small potatoes, and incredibly important as we become more dependent on orbital systems.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019809)

> "Anyone suggesting extending the shuttle program is advocating extending a clearly unsafe and inefficient program."

Anyone suggesting extending NASA is advocating extending a clearly unsafe and inefficient agency.

This this this! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020819)

If we can't get private industry in space then we don't deserve to be there. NASA must die, by any means necessary.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

Maelwryth (982896) | more than 5 years ago | (#27021083)

Anyone suggesting extending NASA is advocating extending a clearly unsafe and inefficient agency.

Agreed, JPL all the way.....under Pickering...,we may have to resurrect him.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019893)

Anyone suggesting extending the shuttle program is advocating extending a clearly unsafe and inefficient program.

Oddly enough, the Shuttle has had fewer failures per flight than any other manned spacecraft (with the exception of Gemini, which had no failures at all in its ten whole launches). It has also had more launches than ALL other manned spacecraft.

Note, though, that the Shuttle failures have both been catastrophic. Some of the non-shuttle failures (the mercury one where the heat shield came unstuck comes to mind) didn't do much more than give the Mission Control guys white hair.

Re:Not enough money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019941)

Citation needed.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020139)

Some of the non-shuttle failures (the mercury one where the heat shield came unstuck comes to mind) didn't do much more than give the Mission Control guys white hair.

If the vehicle does its job and the crew survives, then it isn't counted as a failure. The Mercury program didn't have a failure during the manned missions since the heatshield incident doesn't count as a failure. This also means that Soyuz is comparable to the Shuttle in terms of safety (especially once you consider the Shuttle's close calls).

Re:Not enough money. (2, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020187)

The heatshield incident on Glenn's flight doesn't count as a failure, because the heatshield didn't actually come loose, and Glenn was never in any danger from it.

One of the switches that detected landing beg deployment failed, causing a false telemetry indication.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022461)

If the vehicle does its job and the crew survives, then it isn't counted as a failure. The Mercury program didn't have a failure during the manned missions since the heatshield incident doesn't count as a failure. This also means that Soyuz is comparable to the Shuttle in terms of safety (especially once you consider the Shuttle's close calls).

With this fairly narrow view of "failure", this is true. Personally, I consider it a "failure" when your Soyuz blows up on launch, even if it tosses the capsule free and the crew survives.

Note that if "failure" includes "doing its job", the Soyuz has had four of them to the Shuttle's two. And the Soyuz had fewer flights than Shuttle.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022565)

Personally, I consider it a "failure" when your Soyuz blows up on launch, even if it tosses the capsule free and the crew survives.

Loss of mission is a failure even if the crew survives.

Note that if "failure" includes "doing its job", the Soyuz has had four of them to the Shuttle's two. And the Soyuz had fewer flights than Shuttle.

The Soyuz (technically the combination of the Soyuz rocket and the Soyuz capsule) "does its job" when it delivers humans to orbit alive, returns them to Earth alive, and doesn't abort a mission due to a Soyuz capsule flaw. I'm only aware of two such failures though there have been a number of close calls.

Re:Not enough money. (2, Informative)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020153)

...with the exception of Gemini, which had no failures at all in its ten whole launches.

No failures on Gemini?

What would you call the stuck thruster on Gemini 8, causing the spacecraft to tumble out of control, nearly killing the crew, and requiring an emergency re-entry?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gemini_8 [wikipedia.org]

You beat me to it. (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020845)

Thanks. Gemini 8 was possibly an even more dangerous situation than Apollo 13.

Re:Not enough money. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022475)

What would you call the stuck thruster on Gemini 8, causing the spacecraft to tumble out of control, nearly killing the crew, and requiring an emergency re-entry?

Forgot that one, I'm ashamed to say.

Counting that one, Shuttle has the smallest failure rate of any manned system. With the exception of the Chinese system, which has been flown twice (that they've admitted to).

Re:Not enough money. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020287)

with the exception of Gemini, which had no failures at all in its ten whole launches).

Eh, Gemini 8 had that near-fatal spin. But whatevs.

Re:Not enough money. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020367)

Anyone suggesting extending the shuttle program is advocating extending a clearly unsafe and inefficient program.

The shuttle's key advantage is nobody else has one and it looks good -- it's going to be harder to keep the non-geek public's attention on NASA when they step "backward" to pure rockets that everyone else has, and instead have the much less flashy real-science front'n'center in the media.

I'm a geek - I'm fine with it. But not having the photogenic big white bird is going to be a PR challenge for NASA.

Great news for C++ programmers (3, Funny)

Stele (9443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019571)

Boost has a very good smart pointer implementation, not to mention an excellent threading and regex package. It's nice to see an organization like NASA supporting it.

Re:Great news for C++ programmers (3, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019717)

Lousy for real programmers. The Boost STL isn't thread-safe. It's "thread-safe" for values of threads where they're all read-only. That is *so* last century.

mod uP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019621)

OF AMERICA) is the 'Yes' to any OVER THE SAME

What NASA needs... (2)

ITEric (1392795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019699)

is to develop a way to eliminate all the space junk orbiting the planet. No I didn't RTFA (go figure :P), but it seems like that would be money well spent. If a flock of birds can take down a jet, all that trash up there has to be hazardous for the space program!

Re:What NASA needs... (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27019737)

[What NASA needs] is to develop a way to eliminate all the space junk orbiting the planet.

Which won't happen until and unless we get a heck of a lot more competent in working in space. No giant Roombas. No magical lasers (with or without sharks). That is such a huge task (volume! volume! volume!) that our puny forays in LEO are just the very beginning of utilizing space.

In order for us to get anywhere near the tech to do that, we have to have a repeatable, sustainable presence in space. That's not what we're getting anytime soon.

Re:What NASA needs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020181)

No giant Roombas.

 
Actually, a few of those babies might come in handy for clearing out the sat collision debris.

Re:What NASA needs... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020251)

No magical lasers

Unmagical lasers seems like a possible route here. And the space junk problem will need to be solved in order to have a space faring civilization.

Re:What NASA needs... (1)

theaceoffire (1053556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020427)

We had a guy come by our College class, and talk about how he was part of a project that had designed a very *VERY* powerful laser to blast space debris from earth.

In the process, they figured out that if they pulsed that laser onto some mirrors pointing to the base of a rocket, they could propel the rocket without carrying fuel or engines on board.

Most importantly, this mode of transportation works in a vacuum as well as in atmosphere...

Anyway, yeah we have the tech to build giant lasers to clear space junk. Just don't fly over it while it is working.

Re:What NASA needs... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022167)

Magical lasers are very likely to be the solution, since affecting the orbit of the stuff in almost any way will achieve our goal and in space you only have to worry about attenuation, not atmospheric loss. It certainly seems a lot cheaper than any other option. You are at least 100% correct in that it won't happen until we get better at doing things in space.

And ain't it just peculiar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27019819)

...the thundering silence from the Air Force about all this? I wonder why they apparently don't give a rip about having humans in space, the ultimate high ground? Ya, they are into robotic craft, etc, but there's still that little thing called man that is quite useful for unusual eventualities that haven't been fed into the program... and those little odd wildcards or "black swan" events happen with an unpredictable but recurring regularity.. ..just sayin'

I have a predication myself: (2, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020007)

once US manned missions stop, they won't continue in the US until funded by private enterprise if ever. The gap between the end of shuttle and the launch of Orion is long enough for people to start asking, "Do we really miss a manned space program? Maybe we should fund education or XYZ or ABC...."

Re:I have a predication myself: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020035)

Quite frankly theres no way in hell thats going to be the response, especially given the Apollo - Shuttle gap was three years longer (1975-1981 (longer than that really, when you consider that there was only the one flight in 75 after the last skylab in 73) vs 2010-2014); keeping in mind this time American astronauts will in all likelyhood remain on the space station with or without American launched transport.

Re:I have a predication myself: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020757)

And people outside of California didn't own computers. Engineers routinely used slide rules. That was a long time ago in another world.

I predict that SpaceX will make the Ares I rocket obsolete within five years of the first manned launch of Ares I.

Obama will not waste the money (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020081)

on anything that doesn't buy him votes.

Re:Obama will not waste the money (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020451)

The only truth I've seen in this discussion.

It's not just Obama and the DemocRATS. It's all politicians of every party. All government is is a bunch of people who crave power and have found a way to get it. Why do we put up with their shit? Enforce term limits by voting the incumbents out in every election. I'd rather have a rank newbie representing me than a lying, cheating, stealing scumbag. And that's what they become when they feel secure in office.

Let's Just Go Private Already (4, Insightful)

TekGnos (624334) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020099)

Orion and Direct are both pretty terrible, costwise. So Direct is a little better. In *theory*. But there are little incentives for the government to be efficient when they build these things. What congress should consider is Space X. Space X is fully private and is so much more efficient than NASA its crazy. And right now if we don't change anything we will use Russian Soyaz rockets to bring our people to the ISS, wasting taxpayers dollars in a foreign country. Even though Space X is 1 for 4, they already won the re-supply contract (pending some litigation) and their capsule is designed to carry people to space. We should cancel government funded efforts and instead contract it all out.

Fucking Moron (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020159)

OMG! Are you a 'teh Private Sector' fanboy???

You fucking stupid piece of shit. Who the fuck do you think NASA has doing all of the actual work of spaceflight dipshit?

Tell you what retard, why don't you hope aboard the Space X launch fiasco and do the world a favor of no longer having to listen to idiots like you babbling about 'teh Private Sector!!!'.

Re:Fucking Moron (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020321)

Well, obviously you work at l-mart, boeing (well, ULA), ESA, or RSA. And I make it a habit to not feed trolls. But, curiosity and all that.

Why is SpaceX a fiasco? What do you base that on? Competition to you? You just do not like that they are making it cheaper than Russia and China?

Seriously, I suspect that I have seen you out here before and you never really answer the question.

Re:Fucking Moron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020747)

"And I make it a habit to not feed trolls"

Then shut the fuck up.

Re:Let's Just Go Private Already (2, Interesting)

mrfrostee (30198) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022247)

[Space X] already won the re-supply contract (pending some litigation) and their capsule is designed to carry people to space. We should cancel government funded efforts and instead contract it all out.

You are contradicting yourself.

Government funded efforts are already contracted out. NASA doesn't actually build rockets. They contract it out to Boeing, or Lockmart, or both (United Space Alliance), or now, Space X.

"Go private" really means that the government stops supplying space money altogether, and allows the free market to decide if space is worth it. Is that what you want?

Re:Let's Just Go Private Already (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022601)

Orion is the space capsule. You probably mean the Ares rockets, Ares I and V.

what kind of boost? (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020345)

Is it a 'mega' boost, or a 'super-energy' boost?

We got 'em all at the 'Frosty Shack'.

I for one... (3, Insightful)

solios (53048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27020771)

... look forward to the day when Space sets the national agenda in the Hearts And Minds, as it did during Kennedy's term in office.

NASA gets 18 billion and change this year.

The DOD got over 400 billion in discretionary spending in 2008.

I called my dad on the anniversary of Apollo 8, We talked about how he'd heard the broadcast in his youth, the state of the space program and the future of manned spaceflight. He's of the opinion that the next boots on the moon will be Chinese. I'd prefer to think otherwise... but he thought Ellen Tigh was a Cylon at her very first appearance... and hey, they need it more than we do.

More money for Space is always a good thing. Look at what NASA has given Americans in terms of national pride and the world in terms of scientific advances.... then look at the price tage of the Joint Strike Fighter and its price/performance ratio compared to current ready-to-fly equipment. Look at the price tag of our post-Clinton "nation building." Tell me the world wouldn't benefit more from NASA being tossed, say... an eighth of the DOD budget.

Hell, for the price of invading Iraq we could be holding national lotteries to see who gets to be on the next colony ship to MARS.

Our only hope as a species is to get off of this rock before we turn it into Venus Junior. The only agencies that can get us there - Roscosmos, NASA - can't even begin to try for lack of adequate funding.

Which, ultimately, stems from lack of adequate political incentive.

In terms of securing a future for the species, every dollar spent on NASA increases our chances more than any 100 million spent on "defense" (from what? Asteroids? Global warming? Some kind of superflu?). Unfortunately, that money isn't going to be spent until every television channel and radio station is broadcasting a "time till The Big Rock hits us" countdown.

It's Watchmen all over again.... and while I'm grateful that Obama has bumped the NASA budget.... he's no Ozymandias.

Re:I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27020999)

"but he thought Ellen Tigh was a Cylon at her very first appearance"

Thanks so much there, pal. That's another series I don't need to watch now.

This is so depressing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27021223)

The politicos are all completely short sighted and frankly too fucking stupid in most cases to understand the importance of manned space exploration.

You want to see economic stimulus? Actually start working on a permanent moon base and the means to get there on a regular basis, like a SSTO plane. This would employee millions of people in many high tech sectors, and there are lots of benefits to industrial activities on the moon and in orbit

Hell, people complain about the defense budget. We've given the thieving bastards on wall street a lot more than the defense budget, and we gave (it's not a loan if there is no intent to pay it back) more than NASA's budget to two mismanaaged auto makers.

Bush was an asshole, Obama is an asshole, and the next guy will likely be a pandering asshole too. Personally I give the human race 1 chance in 3 of surviving in any meaningful way for more that 50 years zt this rate. As a group we apparently lack the ability to move forward and grow, instead we huddle together and waste time watching American Idol and wondering who is fucking who. That's apparently more important to most people than the future of the race.

Fuck it. I'm going to bed

/ end rant

Bollocks!!! (2, Insightful)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27022967)

Oh, sure, we can DOUBLE (yes you read that right, DOUBLE as in TWICE as much as last year) the amount of money we give to "foreign aid" and get not so much as a thank you in return but allocate more money to NASA to keep shuttles working, nope, not yours. DOUBLE?!? DOUBLE??!?!?!? Yeah, that'll bring down the deficit. *bangs head on keyboard*

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