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NASA May Drop Ares I-Y Test Flight

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the other-people's-money dept.

Moon 203

Matt_dk writes "Just one week after the first test launch of the Ares I-X rocket, NASA says it may decide to cancel a follow-up launch called Ares 1-Y, which wasn't scheduled until 2014. Reportedly, program managers recommended dropping the flight because, currently, there isn't funding to get an upper stage engine ready in time. Depending on whether the Obama administration decides to continue the Ares I program, this decision may be moot. Earlier this week Sen. Bill Nelson said Obama may make a decision on NASA's future path, based on the report by the Augustine Commission, by the end of November."

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To whom it may concern: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29998760)

First post.

Suck it long and hard,
Anonymous coward.

Re:To whom it may concern: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999480)

I love sucking dick, thanks for your first post. Fuck, I'm horny! Time to jerk off to Rob Malda porn woop!

More proof... (-1, Troll)

ktappe (747125) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998764)

...that Obama is really a conservative, not a liberal. A liberal would have spent money on space exploration without a second thought. I really wish we would someday get a leader who is interested in science and the future of our species.

Re:More proof... (3, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998794)

...someday get a leader who is interested in science and the future of our species.

Future Leader: Let's use science to process people into Soylent Green!

Re:More proof... (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998952)

...that Obama is really a conservative, not a liberal.

I hope you're joking...

I suppose in some very liberal circles, Obama is conservative ... if you use "conservative" as a "relative" term. But you usually don't use it in a relative term without stating what it is relative to. A conservative democrat? A conservative republican? Conservative conservative?

Anyway, Obama seems to be more "populist" than anything. He won based on his popularity and charisma, not so much his liberal or conservative policies. From my viewpoint, Obama is very liberal. But then, I'm very conservative. So there you have it.

Re:More proof... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999374)

Bah, his reasoning is wrong anyway. A conservative, as defined in this era, would happily spend money on the project because they would see a potential military/commercial gain from the results. A liberal, as defined in this era, would not want to spend the money because it doesn't do anything to further their socialist agenda and spread the wealth.

Re:More proof... (2, Insightful)

lennier (44736) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000202)

Yes, since when did 'conservative' start to mean 'dedicated to spending as much as possible on massive military buildup and wars of world domination', anyway?

And when did 'spreading the wealth' become un-democratic?

Re:More proof... (1, Troll)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000770)

Yes, since when did 'conservative' start to mean 'dedicated to spending as much as possible on massive military buildup and wars of world domination', anyway?

After World War Two, the Old Right that was anti-war (World War One and Two) began moving in a more interventionist direction.

The Democrats of the era were already in favor in foreign intervention. Before Pearl Harbor, FDR was waging pretty much an undeclared naval war on Germany to help the Allies. Wilson before FDR engaged America in WWI. Truman jumped into Korea, and Kennedy in Vietnam (though it was in the planning stages, IIRC, in the Eisenhowever administration).

The rise of the neo-conservatives provided the spark to twist the Old Right from non-intervention in economy and diplomacy into an evil legion that pretty much approved of any war put before them. Prior to this point, IIRC, the Old Right called before Pearl Harbor for students to sign up to oppose the draft in case of US intervention in Europe. IIRC it was supposed to be the largest anti-war movement in US history, but it was totally destroyed by Pearl Harbor. Odd how they forgot their roots so quickly; the transformation likely began in this era, and I believe this transformation became more or less complete around the time of Vietnam, where many on the American left became anti-war (save for those such as Johnson). There still were (and are) those who follow the tradition of the Old Right in this era, opposing the war, but they were pushed to the sidelines of the conservative movement.

War mongers such as William Buckley became highly influential on the Right, and Republican presidents that were influenced by this new pro-war tradition cranked up the bellicosity. The US military was thus dispatched to Grenada, to Iraq, to Lebanon, and to many other places. Liberal leaders began to pick up some of the anti-war slack, but, just as with the Old Right, they haven't been totally effective. And not all of them have been converted, either. Bill Clinton, for example, began US interventions in Somalia and Serbia. He continued the bombing of Iraq, and also bombed Sudan and Afghanistan half-heartedly a few times after the embassy bombing in Kenya. Returning to a neo-con, Bush engaged the US in yet more war. While he was president, the anti-war movement sprang up. It was mostly confined to liberals, but there were also libertarians amongst their midst.

With Obama's election, the anti-war movement has (sadly) died down amongst the liberals. I still hear libertarians denounce the wars, but I now hear fewer liberal voices amongst them. Conservatives call for the expansion of the war into Iran and, on the furthest fringes, Pakistan.

Re:More proof... (2, Insightful)

radtea (464814) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000278)

A liberal, as defined in this era, would not want to spend the money because it doesn't do anything to further their socialist agenda and spread the wealth.

The problem is that "liberal" and "conservative" as defined in the US have no substantive policy differences, just different talking points that the American media sells to American consumers as profound and fundamental differences in policy, to the extent that when members of your two nominally different poltical parties do exactly the same thing those actions are universally believed to have different meanings.

When a "conservative" runs up a massive budget deficit it's to keep America safe. When a "liberal" does exactly the same thing it's because they're growing government power to promote their socialist agenda.

When a "conservative" bails out a business it is "saving the American free enterprise system" (still don't understand that, but that's what "conservatives" say.) When a "liberal" bails out a business it's to reward their friends in Big Labour and promote their socialist agenda.

When a "liberal" says we must "spread the wealth" it's furthering thier socialist agenda, but when Sarah Palin said it--which she did!--it's "conservative" government support of the common man, or Real Americans, or something.

I've put the above examples in conservative-interpretive terms because conservatives are the dominant political and cultural force in America today, as suggested by Obama's continuance of almost all substantive Bush-era policies on killing people around the world and looting the national treasury in favour of Big Business. But one could just as easily put a liberal-interpetive spin on them: "conservative" spending is "supporting the military-industrial complex" while "liberal" spending is "providing jobs for our hard-working men and women" (in the military-industrial complex.) And so on.

No actual policy ever changes as presidents and congreses come and go: the single-party oligarchs and keptocrats change the window-dressing and continue to amass power and loot, and the nattering idiots that populate American political discourse continue to steadfastly quibble with each other as if the two wings of the Party were the least bit different from each other in any substantive sense.

For your own sake: wake up, people. Please.

Re:More proof... (2, Interesting)

SECProto (790283) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999432)

Actually, conservative is always used in a relative sense - see for example the Conservative Party of Canada. While they are quite conservative relative to most Canadians and Canadian political parties, they really would not be branded as such south of the 49th.

Sad, but kind of Accurate (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999000)

Far too many ppl think that NASA and other RD programs do better under conservatives, but Nixon, reagan, and W were by far the worst presidents WRT NASA, or any spending on RD programs. To be fair, reagan did massive cuts in civilian programs (nsf, nasa, nih, etc), but he did increase funding to DARPA (not as much as the cuts).

Re:Sad, but kind of Accurate (4, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999848)

Well NASA sure as heck isn't raking in the funding under Obama either. And don't go saying he'll be giving more funding to have NASA do Earth Science either because of his stance on Global Warming, because he isn't doing that either.

All I see right now is liberal special interest groups getting waaaayyyy more money than NASA is even asking for showered on them and NASA continuing to get the shaft from this administration just like they did from the last one.

I am sick of hearing how science can now breathe a sigh of relief because Obama's in the White House. They won't be doing anything at all unless they get some real funding pretty soon.

Space program != science (3, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999046)

I really wish we would someday get a leader who is interested in science and the future of our species.

Have you seen his energy initiatives? You can pursue science and "the future of our species" without spending billions on pie-in-the-sky space projects.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a space junkie. I like Battlestar Galactica just like any other red-blooded American geek. And if we were overflowing in riches right now, I'd say let's go for it.

But the practical fact of the situation is that space exploration is only one miniscule part of science, and it is very, very expensive. Yes, you make engineering discoveries, and some of it is really glamorous on the 6:00 news. But if you're looking for bang for your buck, let's be honest. You can pursue science that is much cheaper and which has much more immediate gains by investing in stuff like developing alternative energy, beefing up our computing infrastructure, etc.

Just because money isn't spent on the stuff that you personally think is neat doesn't mean that it's not being well-spent or being put to productive use.

For example... (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999232)

I'm going to break Slashdot etiquette by replying to my own reply, but this is the kind of thing I'm talking about.

If you were president, and you had the choice to, say, send a manned mission to Mars to collect some dirt and maybe begin the steps it would take to, if we're lucky and very, very good, colonize the planet a century or two from now, or roll out a national energy infrastructure that will get us off of fossil fuels today, thus keeping our own planet from boiling away (and most likely discovering a lot of very useful stuff that would make such a manned Mars mission much cheaper, safer, and more practical when we DO do it), which would you choose?

Some people are still under the misguided notion that we don't have to make such choices, that we can just do both. That's one of our problems with science initiatives today. We're trying to do everything, and we end up half-assing it all and nothing gets done.

Personally, I'd rather just not have a space program (well, nothing much more than putting satellites in orbit now and then) than spending billions on the white elephant of one that we have today.

Re:For example... (5, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999296)

We're going to get the worst of both worlds: no manned space exploration program and a white elephant "green" energy infrastructure that won't be good for much except making the investors who started the Chicago Climate Exchange richer.

Re:For example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999712)

I hope you learned your lesson Parent. Saying the space program is a white elephant is insightful, while saying green energy technology initiatives are a white elephant is heresy and therefore trolling ;)

Re:For example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30000050)

Probably some GE or Goldman Sachs employee got mod points.

Re:For example... (4, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999678)

As the price of fossil fuels rise the market will fund alternative energy sources. For the market to fund the steps towards colonizing the solar system the price of space travel must fall. The first will happen in spite of what anyone does. The second requires someone who can spend money without expecting a profit to do the initial work, ie taxpayer dollars ie government.

Re:For example... (4, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999820)

Our population rises exponentially. No matter how green our technology gets we ultimately have 3 choices.
Extinction.
Kill our excess children.
Expand out into the rest of the solar system and beyond

The only thing really up for argument is how long we have until we have to make the choice. The thing about that third choice however is that if we don't start it soon enough there won't be time before we have to choose between the other two.

That being said.. Let the market push green technology. Have you been watching the price of oil? There are fortunes to be made! There are many fortunes to be lost before we colonize space. There is too much technology to be developed yet so the market isn't going to do it. We need a money source which isn't required to justify itself by earning a profit to develop space travel technology. We need it to be cheap enough that corporations start shipping people off world to look for resources they can turn into money. The only source I know of is tax dollars.

Re:For example... (4, Insightful)

Again (1351325) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000042)

Our population rises exponentially. No matter how green our technology gets we ultimately have 3 choices. Extinction. Kill our excess children. Expand out into the rest of the solar system and beyond

Well that's a false trichotomy if I've ever heard one.

We can also slow our population growth to 0 by using birth control.

Re:For example... (3, Interesting)

donaggie03 (769758) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000650)

It isn't a false trichotomy if the antecedent remains true. You falsify the antecedent by changing the rate of population growth by making everyone use birth control. GP would have been a lot closer to correct if he said "IF our population rises exponentially, then . . " Of course that's all just semantics about logic statements, and people could argue both points . . i.e. is it likely that we as a population will ever be able to change our growth rates, using birth control or otherwise? Maybe, maybe not. People who argue no have that previous trichotomy to work with. People who say yes have a whole lot more options. Some other options would be to wipe out large populations through, plague, war or genocide. Or sexual segregation. All women are physically separated from men. But then you run into another problem. A lot of people would consider any method of population management as being inhumane. Not because you are trying to manage the population, but because inhibiting a person's reproductive rights or starving them or killing them are all bad things to do. If this logic holds, then you cannot control the population growth, which means the original antecedent remains true, which means GP was correct. Now wasn't that fun?

Re:For example... (3, Interesting)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000540)

Or, world population growth trends might just continue and the world population will stabilize. Last week's Economist has an article [economist.com] that discusses this trend. The article projects that world population will reach 9.2 billion in 2050 and stabilize at that level. Of course, it's just a projection, but that's all anything is for the 2050 time-frame.

Birthrates drop as people become more wealthy and some of the poorest areas of the world have the highest birth rates. The notion that the solution to excessive population growth is to put the "excess" bodies on space ships and send them to live somewhere else is absurd - the cost of the launch alone likely exceeds the total cost of caring for the kid here on earth for the rest of their lives.

The supply of humans, like rabbits, is nearly unlimited - only the resources to provide for them are limited. It might make sense for some reason to send a few prime "breeding pairs" (human and/or non-human) to populate other celestial bodies - for example, if one believes that forms of life on Earth are unique enough in the universe and superior in some way to other life in the universe that it's important for some moral, ethical, or religious reason to preserve and propagate Earthly species even after the Earth is uninhabitable (having been baked to a crisp by our sun for example). But, doing so won't have a measurable impact on Earth's human population.

Re:For example... (2, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999924)

Um, if _I_ were President, I would immediately put a stop to the Treasury handing out any more TARP money and fully fund NASA's budget.

There that wasn't so hard.

And yes, it is what I would really do if I were President. I believe completely that the TARP program was one of the worst things my Government has ever done.

Re:For example... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30000002)

".. billions on the white elephant..."

If you knew what the hell you were talking about with regard to what the U.S. Budget ACTUALLY spends its money on, you would have a heart attack right now,and save /. the time of reading your banalities.

You know what happens if we drop NASA and keep space exploration strictly private? You and I lose, the Corporations win ( and probably at 3x the actual cost), and China surpasses the US technologically.

Yes. We SHOULD completely drop all government funded space endeavors. Thank you for suggested we plateau the adventuresome spirit our species once had. You are truly a fore-thinker and futurist.

Re:For example... (2, Interesting)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000160)

I partially agree with what you're saying.

One one hand, we could get more scientific value out of launching 5 or 6 Mars Science Laboratory type projects (or 12+ MER-type projects) per year than a few Shuttle or Ares missions. The human spaceflight program does produce useful science, but it's very, very expensive compared to unmanned missions.

Note that I said science, not engineering. The human spaceflight program does far more for developing our ability to build and survive in space than an unmanned program could. But we need to evaluate just how important that ability is.

On the other hand, NASA's budget is tiny compared to the DOD or many, many other programs. Compare, for example, the cost of the F-22 program, which is equal to about 6 years of Space Shuttle missions.

Re:For example... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30000246)

In the spirit of breaking Slashdot etiquette, I am going to request that parent and gp are modded down. I honestly can't believe they've actually been modded so high.

If you think $18 billion per year is going to roll out a national energy infrastructure that will get us off of fossil fuels TODAY, then you are sorely mistaken. In fact, suggesting a dichotomy between our space program and energy R&D is just plain stupid. There are dozens of other more wasteful, less beneficial government agencies/programs that would be much more fitting for your silly hypothetical, but that's not even the proper argument for increasing energy R&D funding.

Some people are still under the misguided notion that we don't have to make such choices, that we can just do both. That's one of our problems with science initiatives today. We're trying to do everything, and we end up half-assing it all and nothing gets done.

Who is "we"? The scientists/engineers working on the space program aren't the same ones working on renewable energy (although the space program is responsible for several advancements in the field). The fact is we can, have been, and will continue doing both. Suggesting that "nothing" gets done is ignorant.

And so long as I'm an AC, your mother and I had intercourse last night.

Re:For example... (1)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000340)

Some people are still under the misguided notion that we don't have to make such choices, that we can just do both. That's one of our problems with science initiatives today. We're trying to do everything, and we end up half-assing it all and nothing gets done.

Can't we, though? NASA's 2008 budget was about $17 billion -- less than we spent in three weeks in Iraq the same year.

Re:For example... (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000682)

I would place the energy problem far ahead of the one regarding space travel. Lets face it, this idea that we can totally %$%$ up this planet and then just fly off to another one is absurd. Lets focus on fixing things here. Too often here on slashdot, I see people both promoting insane things like space travel, which will never be feasible for more than a few people adn who wouldnt survive well on these other planets, and destructive technologies like GMOs which are literally causing a global ecological collapse. Its our moral obligation to take care of this planet. Many of these same people are all gung ho for every dangerous technology which could totally ruin this planet including the vast array of chemicals which are causing cancer, various diseases, even causing a collapse of maleness and various male birth defects and reduced sperm counts, just to name a few. GMOs have been proved to cause cancer, damage the liver and kidney. This technology is truly dangerous, and could totally destroy this planet and ruin our food supply. The fact is it cannot be done safety and is just not worth the risk. The risk is much higher than weith selective breeding because we are circumventing the safeguards in natural conception, and will never fully understand the complex multiple functions of genes. There is an ethical issue here. Science has helped us understand nature, but a part of the deal was that we were not going to redesign and restructure nature. The GMO technology allows a few elites to impose their agendas on everyone. Nature does not have an agenda but scientists certainly do. GMOs are just too risky and really need to be banned. Many of the chemicals, such as those used in plastics and in farming have been proven to cause an array of physical degenerations. it is quite possible that we will, with our technology, end up causing a deevolutionary collapse, into a deformed, mentally retarded, physically impaired species, due to the cumulative GMO damage of the tons of chemicals, GMOs, radioactive waste that we are poisoning ourselves with.

Re:Space program != science (5, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999844)

I'm am going to play the false dichotomy [wikipedia.org] debuff card on your fallacy and add an alternative perspective to the game. From the way you presented your comment it sounded as if you were saying that we have the choice to either invest in useful cheaper science here on the ground, or invest in expensive fluff science up in space. I would assert that we can, and should do both. The federal government annual budget is not a simple pie that is divided into a few equally sized proportions. It is made up of thousands of expenditures on everything from federal employee wages to excessively expensive arms contracts to student grants for college assistance. If we cut spending on some of our more absurd money sinks that are not as valuable to science as say, alternative energy and space exploration, we could easily afford to fund useful science like alternative energy and space exploration simultaneously.

If you take an hour out of your day (really, you have plenty of time left in your life, you can survive 1 hour) to do some poking around over at USASpending.gov [usaspending.gov] you will see figures pop up like the fact that the top five federal contractors this year were:

1 LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION ... $29.748500571 Billion
2 THE BOEING COMPANY ... $18.231538802 Billion
3 GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION ... $12.318737574 Billion
4 NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION ... $11.900713440 Billion
5 RAYTHEON COMPANY ... $11.156782353 Billion

Now you may already know this, but if not, another hour of research won't kill you, but each of those companies is very diversified in the types of products the provide to their customers. They work on everything from appliances, to housing, to spacecraft. However, a little more research and a little intuition will show you that these companies are, above all else, arms developers. And the majority of their contracts coming from the federal government are those dedicated to developing the new, powerful, absurdly capable weapons that would have been useful in the Cold War, which ended ~20 years ago. If you add up the total monetary value of the contracts provided to these five companies for FY 2009, you see that, together, $88.356272740 Billion (with a B) was awarded to companies that are essentially developing technology to fight a war that fizzled out 20 years ago. Now of course, neither economics or politics are as simple as I am making this out to be, but it does illustrate a point. While these companies probably are also getting plenty of money for advancing science and engineering in general, the mass majority of the spending by the federal government is spent ramping up what is already the most powerful and capable military in the world right now.

Suppose, for a second, that the war-machine lobby groups could be quelled long enough that the exorbitant level of funds being diverted to arms development and obscure wars on ideas (terrorism, drugs, etc.) could, instead, be cut significantly and diverted instead to, as you put it, meaningful science pursuits. We could, quite easily, save money on a federal level AND fund space exploration (manned and unmanned) AND fund alternative energy AND fund stem cell research AND fund computer infrastructure development etc. Instead, however, we have allowed our federal government to be infiltrated and overtaken by corrupt, greedy, selfish corporate interests. Thus, rather than funding valuable, civil science and tech, we have a government whose spending levels are out of control. A good amount of that spending goes towards funding wars that are sketchy at best, and a dormant lion of a military that needs nothing more than a twitchy trigger finger on its leash to free an unholy uproar of annihilation and chaos.

In short, our current priorities are the only thing that keep our country from properly funding the sciences that both you, and I, find valuable simultaneously

Re:Space program != science (3, Insightful)

Apocryphos (1222870) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000212)

The fact that there is this kind of money to be spent is rather dependent on the overwhelming power of the US military at this point.

As long as the US is The Superpower, their money will hold value no matter how much debt they go into.

Divert the funds into what you describe sure, but if it doesn't yield marketable results quickly, the US would end up in trouble.

Re:Space program != science (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000416)

Perhaps my original scenario presented was a little extremist, though that was not my intention. I am aware, at least somewhat, of the complicated international relationships that keep the U.S. in the position it is in today. I also understand that it is important to maintain our supremacy if we want to continue to be the big kid on the block with the hardest stick. While I did say that the U.S. should cut and divert funds from it's war machine, which is prone to the interpretation that I meant ALL funds, what I meant to say was that the funds should be cut to an extent. The level of spending on America's military that should, in my opinion, occur, should be a level that allows America to maintain whatever position of power it wants in the world, but does not require it to bloat its military to unnecessary levels. Projects like the ABL, the F-22, THAAD, and so on are hold overs from a period where we were preparing for WWIII. We can and should, in my opinion, cut military spending to 'reasonable' levels (yes I know this is subject to interpretation).

The bottom line is that our military spending is bloated even if we want to maintain the advantages we have over other countries. We should reduce said spending, not cut it entirely. That was what I originally meant to get across and I do realize that I was not particularly specific in that manner. Forgive my lack of particulars.

Also, before I get dinged for it, I do know that the ABL and F-22 programs have been cut, somewhat, but those cuts so far have just been a very minor chip off the iceberg...there are dozens of other bloated contracts to consider...

Re:Space program != science (1)

codemaster2b (901536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000754)

You raise good points, but let me question one of your assumptions. First lets suppose that we do in fact spend $88 Billion on our military annually. You are right to refer to our military as "a dormant lion of a military that needs nothing more than a twitchy trigger finger on its leash to free an unholy uproar of annihilation and chaos", in fact, most militaries are. If you ever studied the Roman Empire you might remember that the biggest problems in government happened when the the military had nothing to do. If they weren't needed, could you cut military spending? Um... no. Because soldiers like to get paid. If they don't, things like government coups happen. I seriously doubt we are completely immune to this. So, basically, since we have a military, we must maintain it and feed it money so it doesn't turn around and gnaw our faces off.

Re:Space program != science (1)

WayGoneDoug (1199867) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000236)

There are good, species preserving reasons to continue developing our launch capabilities. As I said in my blog: One of the things that has been obscured by all the hand wringing and arm waiving about global warming is the existence of a threat to our planet that is very real and could arise suddenly. That threat is from non-planetary bodies within the solar system: asteroids, comets and other celestial wanderers. While the world's politicians and tree-hugging blowhards rail about the damage climate change might cause, a symposium was held in San Francisco to address a problem that actually could end life on Earth. For the full story see http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/forget-global-warming-sky-really-could-fall [theresilientearth.com]

Re:Space program != science (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000596)

And if we were overflowing in riches right now, I'd say let's go for it.

But the practical fact of the situation is that space exploration is only one miniscule part of science, and it is very, very expensive.

The correct statement is "space exploration is only one miniscule part of science, and it is ridiculously cheap."

At the moment, the whole NASA budget-- research, robotic exploration, human exploration, aeronautics, all of it-- is less than half of a percent of the federal budget. Too small to even see on the pie charts. That's cheap cheap cheap.

Here's my proposal. Let's fund NASA with five percent of the US military budget [wikipedia.org]-- that is, for every dollar the military gets, a nickel goes to NASA. This will have the result of roughly tripling NASAs funding. Sound good?

Re:More proof... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999078)

Manned space flight != science.

Not that it isn't worthwhile as a human endeavour.

Sure, let's spend money on science, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that manned space flight is an efficient way to do space science.

Re:More proof... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999278)

Manned space flight != science.

Not that it isn't worthwhile as a human endeavour.

Sure, let's spend money on science, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that manned space flight is an efficient way to do space science.

Agree, especially your second line. The point of manned space flight isn't the science, the point of manned space flight is to get us out into space, where infinite resources are available for the patient race. Science will be done in service to this goal. The goal itself is one of very long term economics.

Re:More proof... (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999204)

Another comment from another guy who doesn't understand anything.

In other words, how are those low low deficits from Republican presidents working out for you?

Re:More proof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999230)

You're calling him a conservative? Wow. I am not sure he could describe a conservative (smaller government, less taxation, less spending, less private sector involvement, and the ability to make military decisions rather than ignoring the bloodiest month in Afghanistan).

Considering the trillion dollars spent toward our deficit with no honest gain (car sales and house sales that correlate directly with government money are not honest gains), I'd say it points more toward his own incompetence than an unwillingness to spend.

After all, what decision has he made other than to wastefully spend money? It certainly hasn't been anything dealing with Afghanistan or Iraq.

I'd say the chances for NASA are good, in terms of getting funding, but in terms of getting funding for useful projects, I'd say they are probably not going to do so well.

Re:More proof... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999454)

It's been a long time since a Republican could describe (much less act like) a conservative, either.

Re:More proof... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30000768)

...Considering the trillion dollars spent toward our deficit with no honest gain (car sales and house sales that correlate directly with government money are not honest gains), I'd say it points more toward his own incompetence than an unwillingness to spend.

The economic melt-down and the subsequent financial bail-out both started before Obama took office.

Whether this was spent "with no honest gain" depends on whether or not--as was hypothesized at the time by many economists--the economy was about to go into a liquidity crisis and subsequently drop into depression equal to the great depression if immediate action was not taken. (The current belief is that the great depression could have been averted, had the government not been too timid in its actions).

Now, I don't know whether this was really just about to happen, or if it was just doomsaying. What are the chances-- five percent? Fifty percent? 90 percent? And, at what point should you act?

Maybe it was a crisis that we would have come out of anyway. But it seems to me that, if there's even a modest chance that the spending averted another great depression, it's an "honest gain" to me.

(And before you say "well, so what-- they all deserved a depression"-- go do some research on what the Great Depression was really like. It was not a camping trip.)

Re:More proof... (3, Interesting)

kevinNCSU (1531307) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999568)

I'm not sure not spending money on space flight in a conservative philosophy as I at least would consider space abilities to be very much in line with providing for the national defense. There's a lot of overlapping technology and abilities in that realm and most conservatives don't have a problem with the government spending money on programs that are huge boons to our technology/industry/defense sectors. I've lived in both New York and conservative North Carolina and I've never heard any backwoods Conservatives down there complaining about spending money on NASA. But I have heard a lot of saved the world through government programs liberals complain about spending money on space flight when we could be feeding people instead. In reality I think there are people on both sides of the fence that support it and people on both sides of the fence that don't

Either way the one thing we POSITIVELY want to avoid is anyone managing to label supporting space exploration as a "liberal" or "conservative" policy and having party lines drawn on the issue as that way we'll never get it done. Space Exploration isn't something we can accomplish during the time span that one party is in power, it has to be a common endeavor supported by the entire nation.

Re:More proof... (1)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000024)

I wonder if thats not part of the problem. Currently everything Washington does is spelled out in US/THEM terms. NASA is not well defined in those terms, so it gets left in the cold while those in power fund only the things that are ideologically theirs....

Which, by the way, is a horseshit way to run a country....

Internal Interest (5, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998796)

I wonder if NASA is going to be able to keep up internal interest on these projects with the way their budget keeps getting cleaved. Hell, I wonder how they managed to keep people onboard, what with a 5 year delay between test flights.

Re:Internal Interest (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29998836)

Because there's still plenty of work to do in the meantime. Just because a test flight isn't going to be scheduled doesn't mean the vehicle development will stop. The same thing happened with the Shuttle in the 70's. Ultimately, NASA decided to have the first test flight be manned/crewed (considered by many to be the single most hazardous test flight ever conducted -- John Young and Robert Crippen are studs forever).

We might see the first "real" test of the Ares-I happen during the first crewed flight.

Blew Your Wad Too Early (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29998840)

Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications. I think we would have been better off spending that money on cool space toys or at least getting Afghanistan right the first time.

We will be paying for the George W Bush's disastrous presidency for a very long time.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29998874)

And you'll be paying for the errors of your bank managers for even longer.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (4, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998926)

We will be paying for the George W Bush's disastrous presidency for a very long time.

Don't worry, we aren't paying for it. Our putative children (and their children) will be paying for it. We just put in on the big VISA card in the sky.

Ka-Ching!

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999040)

or at least getting Afghanistan right the first time

or why not just get the hell out of deciding whats good for other cultures and peoples ?

Dont blame George W, you been at this for the last 50 years ....

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (3, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999236)

or why not just get the hell out of deciding whats good for other cultures and peoples ?

Too be fair that particular criticism applies to a lot more than just one country. The list of nations that are not guilty of that now or in the recent past is quite small.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (0, Troll)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999054)

Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications.

Over what, eight years?

We just spent almost a trillion in one year as a "stimulus" that has apparently helped nothing... and if it has, very little and it's really hard to tell and it appears that a lot of it is being wasted. As one economist put it, it's like taking a trillion out of your left pocket and putting it in your right pocket; no net gain. And the current administration is trying to say that it's working, but that higher unemployment is still on its way... so the economy is getting better and employment is getting worse. *scratches head*

But pardon me for interrupting your hate-Bush-more-than-anything-else party. Just wanted to mention that the current administration appears to like spending more and spending faster... and seems to like it a lot more than the previous administration... to the extent that while promising to get rid of wasteful spending, I haven't heard of a single spending cut - only dramatic increases that appear to have done negligible good...

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999182)

Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications.

Over what, eight years?

We just spent almost a trillion in one year as a "stimulus" that has apparently helped nothing...

... and you conveniently overlook that it was the Bush administration that encouraged and started the stimulus spending before Obama took office.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (-1, Offtopic)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999274)

... and you conveniently overlook that it was the Bush administration that encouraged and started the stimulus spending before Obama took office.

I am a conservative and feel that Bush was a rather moderate Republican. He made mistakes and I disagreed with him a lot. And I did not overlook that he liked spending - he did, far more than I thought he would, actually. But to say that Bush is a "big spender" and "wasted" in comparison to the current administration seems to be a ridiculous statement, even from a simple look at the traditional positions of their respective parties.

It seems that Obama is still enjoying some amount of popularity based on Bush's current unpopularity... which, IMO, is an absolutely horrid reflection of the current American voter. To vote someone in simply because you hated the previous person is pretty stupid. You'd think people would want to vote someone in based on their positions, policies, history, and honesty... not based on the "other party's previous candidate."

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (-1, Offtopic)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999378)

But to say that Bush is a "big spender" and "wasted" in comparison to the current administration seems to be a ridiculous statement, even from a simple look at the traditional positions of their respective parties.

I don't think that Obama has caught up yet if you compare the federal government's total unfunded liabilities before and after Medicare part D, but of course Obama has made rapid progress so far this year and he's well on his way. It seems like no one will believe that the government can't spend forever without limit until the credit card finally gets declined. Our only hope is that this happens as soon as possible.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (1, Interesting)

JWW (79176) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000114)

The unfunded liabilities of universal health care will make Medicare part D look like pocket change.

I know the US is spending too much money, but for stories like this it pisses me off because the US government couldn't be farther from funding the things I'd like to see it fund or not fund for that matter.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999780)

Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications.

Over what, eight years?

We just spent almost a trillion in one year as a "stimulus" that has apparently helped nothing...

... and you conveniently overlook that it was the Bush administration that encouraged and started the stimulus spending before Obama took office.

That was complete theft from the people to the banks, but it is important to remember that both Obama and McCain were in favor of it. You can find a clip of Obama on the Senate floor urging people to support it.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999256)

keep rooting for a Great Depression

that's what you and your lot's retarded sense of economics would lead to

thankfully, the grownups have taken over running this country

or, should I say, thank God

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999340)

thankfully, the grownups have taken over running this country

Ah yes. Reid and Pelosi, Axelrod, Gibbs, and even Obama at times, definitely act like grownups. Especially when they cry about Republicans not being bipartisan and then - for the first time in the history of the rule, I believe - push a bill out of committee without the quorum of two minority group members.

Actually, IMO, it seems most Senators - on both sides - act more like three year olds than what "grownups" are supposed to act like.

I guess the 70s was the conservatives' fault and the 80s and 90s were the liberals' fault? Meaning the unemployment and inflation in the 70s, and the rather good and rising economy of the 80s and 90s.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000078)

Ah yes. Reid and Pelosi, Axelrod, Gibbs, and even Obama at times, definitely act like grownups. Especially when they cry about Republicans not being bipartisan and then - for the first time in the history of the rule, I believe - push a bill out of committee without the quorum of two minority group members.

Just on this topic, ignoring the bailouts and all that, the Republicans have taken on a very simple strategy in the last six months or so: Block *all* proposals coming from Democrats. Period. How the hell can you possibly expect the Democrats to fulfill their promises of bipartisanship if the Republicans do everything they possibly can to hijack the democratic process?

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000272)

How the hell can you possibly expect the Democrats to fulfill their promises of bipartisanship if the Republicans do everything they possibly can to hijack the democratic process?

But the Democrats won't listen to or accept a single change to bills from Republicans, apparently, unless it is one that the Democrats all approve of in the first place.

In other words, the bipartisan effort in the Obama administration/current Senate goes something like this: Hey, why don't you just agree with us and be bipartisan?.

And if they don't agree, they are being "partisan." Or racist, for that matter.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (3, Informative)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000652)

But the Democrats won't listen to or accept a single change to bills from Republicans

The Republicans aren't proposing simple changes. Once again, their approach is simple: our way or the highway. That's it. Meanwhile, the Democrats have been folding on some of their core proposals in order to get things moving (a public healthcare option being the most glaring). There has been *no* attempt from the right to work toward a bipartisan solution. NONE. The Democrats can hardly be faulted for that kind of uncooperative, even childish behaviour.

Worse, in cases like healthcare, the Republicans are actively blocking measures that over *60%* of the US population supports. If that isn't pure, unadulterated political brinksmanship, I don't know what is.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000760)

As an aside, I happen to think this whole idea of bipartisanship is, at this point, completely absurd. Since the last election, the Republicans have clearly chosen to swing even further to the right (one need only see the NY-23 election to see that), latching on to the extreme right-wingers like Sarah Palin. As such, I simply don't think there *can* be any kind of bipartisan effort between the Democrats and the Republicans, simply because they're so distant ideologically. Meanwhile, the Republicans are really interested in one thing at this stage: tearing the Democrats from power. And if that means blocking any and all attempts and meaningful reform, then so be it.

In fact, I would go so far as to say they've concluded that it's in the Republicans' best interests to ensure that *nothing* the Democrats want gets passed, as if the Dems can show any success on the issues that people actually care about (healthcare, the economy, etc), it'll only solidify their hold on the political ground they've gained during the last 4 years. Much like our good friend Rush Limbaugh, I really believe the Republicans hope Obama and the Democrats fail and fail miserably, regardless of the consequences it may have for America.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (3, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999538)

We just spent almost a trillion in one year as a "stimulus" that has apparently helped nothing... and if it has, very little and it's really hard to tell and it appears that a lot of it is being wasted.

So, wait, let me get this straight... it's "really hard to tell" if the stimulus has done anything. But, despite that admission, in the very same sentence, you claim it has "apparently helped nothing... and if it has, very little".

Uhuh.

Yup, definitely a clear, unbiased, level-headed analysis, there...

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (2, Informative)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000376)

Because there is always evidence for anyone's point, these days, and you can find economists that say the stimulus hurt and the stimulus helped the economy.

But I haven't read any that said it helped very significantly.

If you asked me what I actually thought - in my non-economist and "my macro-econ class boiled down to really complex terms for really simple ideas"-mindset opinion - I would tell you that I think it did nothing good and, if anything, some amount of bad. All it seemed to do to me is put the US government even further into debt. I know, we can't get rid of all debt ...

... but according to wikipedia, [wikipedia.org] the US is around 90% of GDP in debt (estimated for 2009; 70% in 2008). Also according to wikipedia, [wikipedia.org] there are very few countries even above 70%. Above 70% are Hungary, Israel, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Belgium, Bhutan, Egypt, Sudan, Greece, Seychelles, Italy, Singapore, Jamaica, Lebanon, Japan, and Zimbabwe.

I read the "you don't get it, we need debt, too" comments a lot on Slashdot. My response is ... they don't get it; we don't need THAT much debt, unless we want our economy to look like the economy of the ones I just listed. The only "good economy" - and actually, the only real "world power" - that I see in that list is Japan.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999662)

when the economy gets better while unemployment rises. It means the wealthy are earning much more than when only one of those conditions are true.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000360)

But if the economy gets worse while unemployment sinks, that's communism and clearly worse for everyone.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000716)

clearly. ;)

But if the economy improved with unemployment going down, what would we have to complain about? We can't be happy without something to complain about, regardless of what side of the fence is stuck up our behind.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (4, Informative)

Aereus (1042228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999900)

Our national debt went from 4 trillion to over 8 trillion during Bush's tenure in what was supposedly very good economic times. The economic policies pursued during that same administration led to the greatest economic meltdown the country has seen in 80 years. The stimulus package planning was begun under the Bush administration, and finalized in the early months under Obama in order to partially mitigate the poor choices made by our banks and Wall Street.

A number of recent economic markers are pointing to the economy starting to be on the way up again -- I would say that 12-18 months turnaround on this depression is fairly quick compared to recessions of the past. FDR's economic policies in the 30s may have been shocking back then, but Americans expect far more "socialist" programs out of their government nowadays. Not spending any money certainly wouldn't lead to less unemployment, and very likely would cause the depression to last longer as the banks are still hesitant to do any sort of major lending -- which leads to companies hesitant to do new hiring.

To be fair, W and reagan's (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999102)

were about the same. Both ran up monster deficits for no real reason. Both had economic bumps up front, so, I could not blame them for that spending. BUT, once the economy turned, they both increased the debts and threw money away. Between their debts, invasions of other countries, stealing of American rights, etc, the American dream is about to be the American nightmare.

Re:Blew Your Wad Too Early (-1, Offtopic)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999666)

Too bad we spend a trillion dollars invading the wrong country based on obvious lies and fabrications. I think we would have been better off spending that money on cool space toys or at least getting Afghanistan right the first time.

We will be paying for the George W Bush's disastrous presidency for a very long time.

There really is no reason for us to be in Afghanistan either [washingtonpost.com], but the media and White House has framed the debate on whether we sould "stay the course" or add more troops. That is the exact stupid debate we had about Iraq a few years ago. Our only support is from local warlords who don't care about our laws and are only loyal to us because we give them taxpayer money and allow them to engage in the drug trade. Even the NYtimes admits [nytimes.com] that the Presidents brother is in charge of a lot of the drug running and is on the payroll of the CIA.

The Afghanistan War was never about getting Osama bin Laden. The FBI still doesn't list 9/11 as one of the reasons why he is a Wanted person because they have no proof he was involved. The only "proof" is a video released in December 2001, supposedly found in a house in Afghanistan which supposedly had bin Laden admitting to being involved in the plot. The US media were the only ones to not question its authenticity.

Why can't people get past the obvious shell game being played?

Government Fail. (2, Interesting)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998884)

So Bush initiates Project Constellation, and at a time when it's barely started, after lots of time and resources have been plown into structuring the project, it's on the verge of being shut down?

Well, if it's shut down, at least we saw some cool flames at the back of a rocket!111 Durr...

Re:Government Fail. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999560)

Beware: In C++, your friends can see your privates!

wtf is C++?????????????/

Re:Government Fail. (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000392)

Sunk costs don't matter for deciding future policy, only costs to complete it matter. When analyzing whether or not something should be done, you have to consider whether or not the remaining cost is worthwhile.

The Augustine Report, on which any policy decision is likely to be based lays out the options and considers the completion costs on a 'stay the course' direction. And the only place where significant sunk costs may be wasted is on Ares 1. Ares V hasn't been significantly developed, and all options presented by the committee keep Orion on the table, since CCDEV options are only good for LEO missions. And considering that Ares 1-X, a shuttle SRB with some simulators stacked on top cost $450M (more than all of SpaceX, designing LVs from scratch), I don't have trouble believing that going back to the drawing board with a shuttle-derived system or an EELV may be cheaper.

Discontinuing a flawed plan despite sunk costs is very responsible, as long as a well-thought-out plan that learns the lessons of previous failures replaces it. Let's hope that better decisions are made this time.

5 years? (2, Funny)

methano (519830) | more than 4 years ago | (#29998918)

It will take 5 more years to get another one ready for testing? Clearly someone else (yea, I know, the nazi) was running things back in the old days when they went from speech to stepping on the moon in about 8 years.

Re:5 years? (4, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999074)

Back then they were able to link landing on the moon with beating the Russians, which at the time virtually guaranteed as much money as you could possibly want to accomplish the goal. Having the goal set by a president who was later assassinated, and carried on by his VP who basically set himself up to be the guy who would carry on JFK's legacy, didn't hurt either. Of course, after that goal was reached, NASA's funding was slashed, and they've been unable to accomplish much in the way of manned exploration since then.

Now, if you could somehow link landing on Mars to beating the terrorists, we could get all the money we need to get this thing done quickly. Until then, though, they can only do things as fast as their ever-shrinking budget will let them.

Re:5 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999184)

Our new moonbase will be able to instantly detect and neutralize any nuclear weapons. Thanks to its lack of serious atmosphere, it can much more easily recognize radioactive elements at a distance of 10 miles.

Re:5 years? (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999198)

--Now, if you could somehow link landing on Mars to beating the terrorists, we could get all the money we need to get this thing done quickly. Until then, though, they can only do things as fast as their ever-shrinking budget will let them.--

You gotta watch out, those terrorists will be on Mars any time now. We gotta get there first so they don't pull any suicide attacks there.

Re:5 years? (1)

Ceiynt (993620) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999284)

Or link landing on mars with helping American's find jobs, or getting Detroit back on it's feet, or keeping your bank open.

Re:5 years? (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999344)

Wait a minute.... I want to be clear of the linkage you are drawing here... ...you want the people responsible for bringing us the "K" car in charge of manned spaceflight?

I mean, that'll make spaceflight cheap and all, and I'm all for that, but roadside service centers in space are mighty scarce. And you know what they say about vacuum - it sucks.

Re:5 years? (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999306)

Back then they were able to link landing on the moon with beating the Russians, which at the time virtually guaranteed as much money as you could possibly want to accomplish the goal.

Of course, after that goal was reached, NASA's funding was slashed

 
That's what the urban legend would have you believe, but as usual, the reality is much different.
 
In reality, NASA's peak funding (during the Moon race) was in 1965 - and was slashed dramatically in '66/'67. (Before the Saturn V even flew, it's production was already capped!) By the time Apollo 11 landed, four missions of the planned sequence had already been cut and the program was starting to run on fumes.

Re:5 years? (1)

rainmaestro (996549) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000256)

Yup, and even at the peak of funding, it only comes about to about 2x the current budget, adjusted for inflation.

NASA never had a *monster* budget, they found ways to do a lot with a little, and cut a lot of corners in the process.

Re:5 years? (1, Funny)

bencoder (1197139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000326)

NASA never had a *monster* budget, they found ways to do a lot with a little, and cut a lot of corners in the process.

You mean like faking the moon landings entirely? ;)

Re:5 years? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999368)

So, maybe it's easier to talk the Chinese into a manned mission to mars and then get the US to join the race.

Ares should be funded and continued. (1)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999116)

Cancelling Ares I in my opinion would be pretty foolish, especially after so many resources have been invested into it. Its like, they barely funded the project, so that it struggled to produce, and then after they produced a working system, they decide to kill it off. I know conservatives babble on about private space and so on but I am doubtful that those would be as capable as Ares or that they would be any cheaper. More likely, the American tax payer would likely end up spending millions on some wealthy CEOs salary just like what happens with health care now. The problem with NASA not having enough funding can be solved by making sure it is properly funded rather than spending it on these stupid wars.

It has been said that Obama is not a liberal as a liberal would usually support the national space program instead of wars, along with a single payer health care, and I agree. We will be paying for Bushs mistakes for a while, and now (conservative) Obamas, and the rotten corruption of the conservatives lack of regulation on the banks and the financials, which are throughly republican and conservative, but after years of trying to kill of social welfare programs and the space program, are the first to line up for a huge government handout for their OWN mistakes. The irony, is, the people who have been denied social welfare because they lost their jobs, lost their jobs because of the mistakes of the wealthy elites, including those who totally screwed up GM and so many other American companies and have massively offshored the US jobs offseas, and are taking billion dollar bonuses while they continue to drive the US econom into the ground and screw US workers. Then we reward them with huge bailouts and welfare for the rich!

Re:Ares should be funded and continued. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999836)

*popcorn*

More of your liberal conspiracies.

Obama might also increase the funds, no? (4, Interesting)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999146)

Change you can believe and stuff? What better than a daring scientific project of national proportions to catalyze the United States, to unite the minds and the hearts of all the people, to inspire them, to give them hope and a vision?

During the Apollo missions America had a dream larger than life, a vision that propelled her forward for decades to come. The creativity, genius and overpowering enthusiasm that this country showed was what, I think, eventually broke the USSR - the Star Wars "threat" was so much more frightening to the Soviets, because they (the old gard, anyway) still had in mind the Apollo missions and thought that these crazy yankees might just pull this off!

America is now just a shell of its former self - a gigantic trade and budget deficit, a country wholly subservient to foreign (mostly arab) oil, and almost bought out by the Chinese government.

You want a stimulus, one that will really stimulate all the people, all their endevours, all their emotions? Give NASA more, much more money, and tell them to dream big!

Better (2, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000338)

What better than a daring scientific project of national proportions to catalyze the United States, to unite the minds and the hearts of all the people, to inspire them, to give them hope and a vision?

How about a project of national proportions to get us off of fossil fuels, or at least completely energy-independent, today, and for a fraction of the cost of whatever you have in mind?

How about a project of national proportions to beef up our computing and telecommunications infrastructure so that every American has pretty much instant, real-time access to, well, pretty much everything?

Or for that matter, how about a massive funding effort of national in medical research, with the end goal of something like a cancer vaccine, maybe even a cure, or other goals such as extending the quality and quantity of life in general? That would certainly captivate me.

I love sci-fi, I love sci-reality, I've been a space junkie since I was a kid, and if I had the chance to go to Mars, I'd sign up tomorrow. But I'm also practical, and I realize that there are a lot better things that we could spend a lot of money on than the space program.

Maybe "change I can believe in" means "we're going to stop spending billions of dollars on white elephants and put that money to more practical use." If so, consider me on board. I don't want the space program to die any more than anyone else, but I do think that as a country, we have much higher priorities that we should concentrate on.

Re:Obama might also increase the funds, no? (1)

mewsenews (251487) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000516)

America is now just a shell of its former self - a gigantic trade and budget deficit, a country wholly subservient to foreign (mostly arab) oil, and almost bought out by the Chinese government.

You've answered your own question about why America will not return to her glory days. More NASA funding would be nice, but the country is still embroiled in Iraq and the economy is still reeling. The government owns General Motors. The shining beacon of individual liberty and "can-do" capitalism has been forever tarnished.

The whole program should be scrapped (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999234)

The design is inherently unsafe, segmented SRB's. Cost per manned launches estimated to be about $1 billion, the test launch cost $500 million. That's about the same as a shuttle launch, epic fail on controlling cost, Falcon X claims to be able to do that for 1/10 the cost. Just another example of government waste. Oh yeah the SRB's are extremely harmful to the environment when compared with liquid fueled rockets. The private sector can and will do this better for less money and much greater safety.

Re:The whole program should be scrapped (4, Interesting)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999460)

The saddest part is the test launch of the Falcon 9 has been sitting on the pad since JANUARY. It's been tied up in paperwork ever since. If I had my tinfoil hat handy, I'd say it was tied up solely to make sure the Ares launch happened first. SpaceX has demonstrated their competence with a successful payload delivery to orbit on board a Falcon 1. Not giving the go-ahead for the Falcon 9 smells of excuses, to me. Canaveral is built to handle rockets that size, and the Canaveral range officers have a fine understanding of rockets that size. They know how to use an abort button if necessary. There isn't any danger to anybody, anywhere, whether it works or not. The hazards are to Elon Musk's wallet and to certain pork barrel charity-for-engineers NASA programs. Playing politics has crippled space efforts more than any launch fatalities, anywhere.

What does NASA have against the Falcon 9? (1)

Baldrson (78598) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000736)

Ares payload: 25,000 kg.
Ares status: Years from flight.


Falcon 9 payload: 29,610 kg.
Falcon 9 status: Countdown on hold pending paperwork.

Making Hay (3, Interesting)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999370)

The summary is trying to make hay. There are other tests already on the board between now and the 2014 Ares I-Y test flight. Project managers simply decided that the objectives of that particular test fly could be achieved by other means (test flights) thereby saving the program unnecessary expenses. A very helpful thing considering their already tight budget.

Nay-Sa should get out of the way (1)

dloyer (547728) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999544)

NASA is paralized by its own size and poltical bagage.

Space should be explored and public money should go to help fund it, but by people not afraid to try new things and maybe die in the process.

People are going to die, while exploring space, just like every other new environemnt. I dont see anything wrong with that. It is still worth doing.

OldMilitantBastard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999590)

Maybe it's time to merge NASA with the Military again, just like in the glory days.
NASA might have a chance to a bigger slice of the green pie.

Merge NASA with DoD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999766)

Let NASA compete for a bigger slice of the green pie.

People just don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30000766)

It's not about war (why some responses seem to think it is...) it's not about the money really - it's about politics.

The government in just a matter of a couple of weeks dedicated $700 BILLION (with a B) to TARP without question. But they want to cut NASA's budget which is only $17.2 Billion. What did / would TARP get us? Hopefully a bandaid over a problem until the economy works itself out. What would NASA get us?

NASA is very good about sharing inventions with the world. To answer that you need to look at what NASA got us economically over the past few decades:

Joysticks - developed for the Apollo rover, helped spawn a whole generation of consumer video games
Kidney dialysis machines
GPS Navigation
Satellite TV
Temperpedic mattresses (and shock-absorbing helmets)
Automotive insulation
Firefighter suits (based on space suit technology and NASA developed insluation)
Smoke detectors (developed for MANNED SPACE FLIGHT & Skylab!)

And much much more...

That small investment created thousands of scientists and inventors, spun off no doubt hundreds of new small businesses opened by former NASA employees, and provided entire new markets of consumer products. Most importantly, it helped us thrive as a technological nation, with a drive to invent and produce that drug us out of the industrial age and into a tech and service market.

Not to mention, NASA's budget is about one half of one percent of the Federal budget. In cold-war days it was 5.5%. It's like saying "Well now that gas has gotten so expensive, we're not buying any for our family anymore" - despite the fact that how much you spend on gas as a percentage of your overall budget from two decades ago has actually gone down despite the "price" increase.

We're talking about refusing to fund innovation here. NASA is a huge machine of innovation that also happens to explore.

Full article here: http://www.ossramblings.com/is_nasa_too_expensive

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