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Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic"

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the how-to-spot-a-special-interest dept.

Government 555

krou writes "Talking to the BBC at a private function held at the Royal Society in London, former astronauts Jim Lovell and Eugene Cernan both spoke out about Obama's decision to postpone further moon missions. Lovell claimed that 'it will have catastrophic consequences in our ability to explore space and the spin-offs we get from space technology,' while Cernan noted he was 'disappointed' to have been the last person to land on the moon. Said Cernan: 'I think America has a responsibility to maintain its leadership in technology and its moral leadership ... to seek knowledge. Curiosity's the essence of human existence.' Neil Armstrong, who was also at the event, avoided commenting on the subject."

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Children are our future (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467356)

American can, should, must and will blow up the moon [youtube.com] .

USA is almost broke get over it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467360)

/.

Priorities. (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467372)

I'd rather have health care than a trip to the moon for 4 people.

Maybe if we hadn't squandered a trillion dollars on the unnecessary war in Iraq we could afford things like going to the moon again.

Re:Priorities. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467388)

Or if we don't squander all that money on Health Care, we could go to the moon and beyond...

Re:Priorities. (1)

kentrel (526003) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467406)

If we live long enough to get to the Moon...

Re:Priorities. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467458)

There is no correlation between access to health insurance and longevity.

Re:Priorities. (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467564)

Yeah well when you get cancer, reject treatment because after all, there is no correlation between access to health insurance and longevity.

Re:Priorities. (4, Informative)

ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo (1766800) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467660)

The richest people in the U.S. have, on average, shorter lives than those in nations with universal health care. And these people have access not only to the insurance policy of choice, but to the doctors and hospitals of choice as well.

Re:Priorities. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467722)

Mainly because the wealthiest people in the US spend their last years zipping around on jet packs, sky diving through hurricanes, strapping themselves to large quantities of explosives in wacky attempts to break land speed records, hot air ballooning around the world at near-orbital altitudes, vacationing on the Mir, and other wild, risky shit that only the super rich can afford to do.

Re:Priorities. (4, Insightful)

Boronx (228853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467408)

Since insuring everyone can actually save money, we can do both.

Re:Priorities. (0)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467702)

That's not necessarily true, the longer people live,the more money they take from social security and the more people we need to prop up that pyramid scheme.

Re:Priorities. (3, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467752)

It's only a pyramid scheme if America ceases to exist... Also, great outlook there. Let's not keep people alive too long, because that could cost some money!....

Re:Priorities. (0, Flamebait)

corbettw (214229) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467770)

The Congressional Budget Office disagrees with you. According to their estimates, Obamacare will cost an additional $1 trillion over 10 years. In what way is squandering $1 trillion a way to save money?

Re:Priorities. (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467822)

It depends on what your definition of 'sqander' is.

I think providing health care for our own citizens would be a valuable thing.

Iraq has already cost a trillion dollars, and we aren't at the 10 year mark yet. I don't remember one scintilla of debate about how much that was going to cost. Of course at the time Colin Powell was busy waving vials of talcum powder in front of the UN, and the Secretary of State was talking about "proof in the form of a mushroom cloud". That type of fear-mongering tends to shut up anyone worrying about weather the war is necessary, or how much money we're spending on it.

Re:Priorities. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467544)

Or just stop waging unnecessary war that would pay for a trip to the moon AND health care.

That would be too rational though, and the military industrial complex wouldn't be too happy.

Re:Priorities. (3, Insightful)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467422)

I'd rather have health care than a trip to the moon for 4 people. Maybe if we hadn't squandered a trillion dollars on the unnecessary war in Iraq we could afford things like going to the moon again.

This.

A big portion of our bleeding economy is flowing out the giant bullet hole labeled "War against terror." and if we just stopped a _single_ _war_ that we're involved with we'd have a ton of money to put towards all sorts of stuff.

Re:Priorities. (3, Insightful)

dfetter (2035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467464)

It's not just the "War on Terror." It's all the wars. We face no external threats, militarily speaking. It's time for us to discard our empire.

What "empire" (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467558)

We face no external threats, militarily speaking. It's time for us to discard our empire.

And what "empire" is that exactly? Do you demand we let go of Puerto Rico?

Other than that we have a number of military actions in areas where we are supporting democratic governments - Iraq and Iran - that are not in any way part of a U.S. "empire" (for better or worse).

As for the lack of military threats, I suggest to tell that to the people attacking our military and citizens. Perhaps they will stop once they realize they do not exist.

Re:What "empire" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467606)

We have over 700 military bases outside of America.

Solely to defend our borders, I'm sure... :-\

Our military and citizens don't get attacked when they are HERE on our soil much, now do they?

Even the 9/11 commission has doubts as to their own findings, and even Japan knows that 8 of the 19 "hijackers" are still alive.

Wake up, dude.

Re:What "empire" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467640)

Wow, you had credibility until your veered off into conspiracy-land.

Re:What "empire" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467918)

You believe this government, the biggest pack of liars and thieves anyplace? That's the only conspiracy theory that needs a tinfoil hat, the "official" theory. Their own investigative commissioners now admit they think they were stonewalled and lied to. Just go google it up.

Re:What "empire" (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467712)

I know the DoD argues that our nuclear stockpile helps prevent proliferation: our allies feel secure with our protection, so they don't start nuclear programs. If they did start such programs, their neighbors (who may not be allies) would feel compelled to get nuclear programs of their own. How many nukes we need to maintain this stability, and how bad the proliferation would be when we go too low- those points are up for debate. I do think the argument has merit to it.

Along the same lines, our foreign bases may have some use as a substitute for other countries expanding their own militaries, which would reduce neighboring military sizes.

I don't mean to justify our excessive military spending, but I do feel it is justified to have some spending that has no direct benefit to our citizens.

Re:What "empire" (2, Informative)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467656)

People attacking our military might have something to do with us occupying their countries.

Re:What "empire" (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467754)

Lets say do as people like you want, and just pull out of iraq tomorrow.

how long do you think it will be before the minority groups that saddam and his buddies tortured and murdered will be in the same situation. it's called a power vaccum, google that shit.

Re:What "empire" (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467852)

The Republicans didn't seem to mind declaring victory in Iraq and pulling out before George H.W. Bush's first term was up. What you describe already happened once. No one here in the U.S. seemed to care at all when that happened the first time...

It will be a mess, there is no doubt about it, but we already made the mess. Are we to stay there for 100 years to babysit them now? When is enough enough?

Re:What "empire" (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467686)

Maybe if we weren't in their country they wouldn't be attacking?

Re:What "empire" (5, Informative)

ctishman (545856) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467756)

You're thinking of an empire in the 18th and 19th-century sense of the word – a sense that died its last official breath after WWII, when Britain released the last of its official colonies. In that era, when the nation-state was the ultimate expression of power, a colony flew the colonizer's flag, spoke its language, had the colonizer's religion imposed upon it. Going back into the heyday of colonialism, conquest was government-centric; national glory was the cause. With the rise of international business, however, the nation-state itself has been supplanted by the multinational corporation. They do not work for the glory of the nation, but for their own glory. They do not respect the laws of the nation, and do not obey except where those laws are convenient or enforceable. In short, the heyday of the nation-state is over. Let it not be said that the nation-state is dead, though. We're still in the centuries-long transition between forms of cultural organization, so while governments are the only ones permitted to hold the weapons (this, too is changing and will continue to change over our lifetimes), the multinationals' interests dictate where those weapons are pointed and when. This is why the United States has military presence in over a hundred countries in a time of peace. These are the agents of modern colonialism. This is why there are terrorist attacks against our troops and our cities and citizens. Not because they hate our freedoms, but because we are camped out, toting guns, on their land, and have been for a hundred years now.

Re:What "empire" (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467860)

I think dfetter is talking about this empire. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Priorities. (1)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467634)

We face no external threats, militarily speaking.

Resources have been and always will be a great excuse to go to war. Considering the unsustainable growth rate of the human species it is only a matter of time before incredibly populous countries (for example, China) decide that they need to expand. The only thing keeping them from choosing to expand into the US is our military. The only thing keeping them from expanding into Russia is the Russian military. Same goes for Japan and so on.

In addition to large powers like China there are smaller powers that would love to increase their stature. If a country like North Korea didn't fear retaliation, do you think Kim Jong-il would still be content to be just the Supreme Leader of North Korea and not Super Duper Supreme Leader of Asia?

Anyone who really thinks the world has become flowers and rainbows enough that we should just disband the military needs to wake up and look around. While I agree that the US shouldn't be some kind of world police, the deterrent that our military offers (and Russia's military, and the UK, etc) against attack is absolutely important. While a strong military alone won't prevent all war, it is awful nice to have around when a war does start.

Good fences make good neighbors.

It's time for us to discard our empire.

That's cute. Which empire was that again?

Re:Priorities. (1)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467724)

The only thing keeping them from choosing to expand into the US is our military.

That and a GIGANTIC FUCKING OCEAN! The only reason we can afford to fight so many wars is that it is very hard to invade America.

Re:Priorities. (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467828)

Considering the unsustainable growth rate of the human species it is only a matter of time before (...)

Considering that Malthus and his disciples have always been wrong so far, what you are saying counts as an extraordinary claim. And as you know, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What is your extraordinary proof that those who have said what you just said have been *completely* wrong for 200 years, yet now, at this very moment, things are different?

Re:Priorities. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467662)

Personally, as a Republican, I think that you're grossly underestimating the threat our country faces from Islamic extremists, communists, socialists, gays, scientists, atheists, minorities, Mexicans, Africans, African-Americans, Asians, Russians, Palestinians, Europeans, South Americans, Canadians, Californians, hippies, aborted fetuses, 2pac, the New York Mets...

Re:Priorities. (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467788)

We face no external threats, militarily speaking.

One of the most retarded statements on Slashdot in a while. It's like you think it's September 10th, 2001.

Re:Priorities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467856)

NO EXTERNAL THREATS?

What do you call CHINA, they are an economic and mechanized military threat.

In summary: You have no idea what you are talking about.

Re:Priorities. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467568)

I would back off that last bit and say something like "our deficits would be smaller".

Re:Priorities. (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467772)

Yeah, Obama's record-high deficit spending has nothing at all to do with our budget problems. A trillion-dollar healthcare program will definitely give us the money to go to the moon. Have Slashdotters become retarded? You're seriously dismissing space travel and the future of science in favor of some government-run healthcare and all the associated bribes and backroom deals the Democrats made for it?

You lefties are sounding really desperate this year.

Re:Priorities. (5, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467552)

Access to health care is still a big problem in the USA. But huge swaths of modern medicine are the result of human space travel. It's hard to find anything today that isn't in some way reliant on space-related research.

Further Research [nasa.gov] .

I'm not saying that postponing a manned return to the Moon is catastrophic by itself - but we depend on space travel for so much today that scaling back our efforts there amounts to saving pennies today (NASA's budget is a tiny drop in the federal budget!) by throwing away potentially massive results tomorrow. And this is aside from how important exploration is in purely human terms.

Re:Priorities. (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467826)

The Democrats here are just being very defensive because of the doomed fate of their Congress later this year. Any criticism of Obama is always followed with an illogical statement followed by bashing Bush ("I'd rather have healthcare than go to the moon! Blame Bush for spending our money in Iraq!" Ignoring the fact that Obama's healthcare will cost over a trillion dollars for the next decade).

The sad truth is that this administration's obsession with government expansion and spending in the middle of a recession is bankrupting us and weakening us as a superpower in the world. We can't even afford to do space travel, which was once a proud mark on American history. To dismiss it is to dismiss the future of science.

Freakin' India has space plans and we don't.

Re:Priorities. (1)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467862)

(NASA's budget is a tiny drop in the federal budget!)

NASA's budget is about $20B/year. I'd say that is just a tad more than a tiny drop.

Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467670)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable. (A maximum of 65% for McCain is okay. So, European-American support at 55% for McCain is well below this threshold and, hence, is not racist.)

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin color is quite acceptable by today's moral standard.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467796)

I think you missed the part where black voters voted "Fuck You" to the white establishment. This president may not be all that representative but the next black president will be and the more black presidents there are the more there will be debate on the issues instead of just giving the finger to honkies for centuries of oppression. So, a big "Fuck You" wait till there is a Mexican president.

Absolute racist nonsense. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467884)

African-Americans vote 95% Democratic even for the white guys. That's been a fact since the civil rights movement. Going by your logic, any white person who voted for McCain is a racist because they voted for the white candidate.

Take this ignorant bullshit back to stormfront or whatever internet cesspool you managed to slither out of.

Re:Priorities. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467716)

Plus, let's face it, those old Apollo and pre-Apollo astronauts are a wacky bunch of old coots. The ones that aren't out on the ufo circuit are into new age silliness or Republican politics. They're still living in the late 1960's. They're idea of a space program is a "space race" where we "get there" before the Russians and stick a flag in the dirt, take a picture and go home.

In fact, Jim Lovell, who owns a restaurant here on the North Shore just outside Chicago, is a big fundraiser for the GOP. I'm surprised he didn't bring up his beliefs that President Obamat was born in Kenya and is related to bin Laden.

I'd be more interested in hearing what the large and diverse group of people who have worked on the International Space Station have to say about it. At least they've actually done something in space besides sitting on top of a big rocket sealed in a tin can.

Re:Priorities. (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467742)

Yeah, it's not like Obama's health care has been projected to cost $1 trillion over the next 10 years or anything.

Hope you're ready for a Republican Congress in the fall.

Re:Priorities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467844)

So in the fall that $1 trillion will be moved from health care to completely unnecessary military spending. I wonder which country the Republicans will want to "liberate" next?

Re:Priorities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467926)

...which country the Republicans will want to "liberate" next?

The answer is, and always has been: D) All of the above

Re:Priorities. (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467774)

I'd rather have health care than a trip to the moon for 4 people.

Ya, and if Columbus hadn't sailed to the New World he could have given the money to the poor.

Re:Priorities. (1)

angelwolf71885 (1181671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467886)

i would rather have 4 people on the moon then SOCIALISM go back to California and rot please we dont want your progressive bull shit since and education and technologys are FAR more impotent witch NASA dose ALL of those things this comes from a 24 yo who has a congenital heart defect trechollagey of fallot and had a heart attack 1 year ago and had a pace maker put in at the same time and owes $250,000 to the hospital that treated me

Re:Priorities. (2, Funny)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467906)

How ironic. You HATE socialism, so you advocate for a government funded, socialized trip to the moon?

I suppose you also hate the post office, fire department, police department, military, public roads, the electrical grid, etc. etc. etc...

waste of money.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467386)

Astronaut: "I'm outraged! How will people who achieve nothing other than taking part in one of the greatest international pissing matches in history, paid for with taxpayer money, now be famous?! Not in my day sonny! NOT IN MY DAY!"

Re:waste of money.... (4, Insightful)

berj (754323) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467596)

I think you're missing all of the collateral benefits that came from the space race. You're probably typing on one right now.

Re:waste of money.... (3, Insightful)

Imsdal (930595) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467894)

You think he's typing on Velcro? Myself, I am typing on a keyboard. They were around before the space race.

The idea that space exploration is giving us (humanity as a whole) good value for money is, frankly, ridiculous. The billions and billions of dollars spent has of course brought some benefits and some cool inventions. But spending that same money on other kinds of research would with a very high probability have yielded more benefits. But I do agree that it would have yielded less fame to the old whiners from TFA.

Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (1, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467404)

You've got to cut something if the country is too politically polarized to raise enough revenue to cover expenditures. Sending tourists to a dry barren rock seems pretty low on the priority list, especially when robots can achieve the same science goals at a small fraction of the cost.

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467480)

Cutting NASA with respect to the deficit is like putting a bandaid on your finger while ignoring the sucking wound in your chest.

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (3, Insightful)

eclectro (227083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467616)

>Cutting NASA with respect to the deficit is like putting a bandaid on your finger while ignoring the sucking wound in your chest.

Actually not. A little bit of money here, a little bit of money there, an earmark there, another over there, and not before long you're swimming in red ink.

It's unfortunate that the republicans had to piss away the equivalent of moon trip in Iraq that we now need to have this discussion. If people don't like this, they need to hold those people who continue to be loudmouths on TV legally accountable for their decisions (Cheney, Rove).

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (3, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467786)

It got modded troll, but it's 100% true. The Iraq war wasn't a necessary war, at all. It has wasted a trillion dollars, and we have nothing to show for it but a bunch of fresh graves. The money we wasted in Iraq is the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about. 9 billion dollars in Iraq is totally unaccounted for, and the Republican deficit hawks didn't seem to care when it happened and they don't seem to care now. We wasted enough money in Iraq to pay for universal health care, AND a trip to the moon.

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (2, Insightful)

Jon Abbott (723) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467570)

While I agree with you that cuts are necessary, it must be said that Obama is increasing NASA's funding [discovermagazine.com] despite canceling Project Constellation. The cancellation seems more politically driven than anything relating to the federal budget. Even if NASA's $18 billion budget were left the same, it would still be only 0.5% of the total federal budget. The real pork [wallstats.com] can be found in the $901 billion defense budget and the $696 billion social security program.

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467588)

The three largest expenditures are medicaid, social security, and military. Interest on the deficit will soon be right near the top. If it manages to pass, health care "reform" will increase the deficit (it doesn't bend the cost curve and it's only deficit neutral in 10 year span because there are 10 years of taxes and only 4 years of expenses). The difference between Greece and the US is that Greece can't print their own money.

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (1)

bogasity (517035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467714)

Better go look at the budget. Obama's budget *increases* NASA spending while removing its most visible mission. Basically, he plans on creating the next Lockheed or Boeing at taxpayer expense. http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/420990main_FY_201_%20Budget_Overview_1_Feb_2010.pdf [nasa.gov]

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467840)

Worse, it won't even be a "next" Lockheed or Boeing... it will be Lockheed and Boeing getting the big contracts.

Re:Our budget deficits are catastrophic, too (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467854)

Maybe if Obama wasn't spending trillions on failed stimulus programs in the middle of a recession, we'd have enough to go to the moon. Even India is heading there.

You people who try to portray it as nothing more than "sending tourists to a dry barren rock" are idiots. The space program gave us so much of the technology we take for granted today, including the microprocessor you used to type your ignorant posts. It's not just about flying to moon. Think a little.

Politicians and Their Broken Promises (1)

reporter (666905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467858)

During the presidential campaign in 2008, Barack Hussein Obama promised generous funding for many government programs including NASA. According to a typical news report [space.com] of his promises, "Sen. Barack Obama promised not to cut NASA funding and said Saturday at a town hall meeting he will rely on Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and revered astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn to help form his space policy.

'Under my watch, NASA will inspire the world once again and is going to help grow the economy right here in Brevard County,' said the presumptive Democratic nominee, speaking to a crowd of 1,400 at Brevard Community College's Titusville campus.

Obama has changed an earlier position, in which he planned to delay the Constellation program five years and use up to $5 billion from the NASA budget for education."

Like many politicians of all political parties, Obama tells the voters whatever they want to hear. After he wins election, he quickly changes course.

The principal difference between Obama and the typical dishonest politican is that Obama personally hates Western culture and Western civilization. For 20 years, he attended a church which taught that the West is solely responsible for the failure of non-Western societies.

Of course, Japan is proof that Obama (and his church) is wrong. Not coincidentally, Japan continues to aggressively pursue space exploration. According to a recent news article [japantimes.co.jp] , "Despite the recession, the [Japanese] government budgeted ¥344.8 billion for space exploration in fiscal 2009, an increase of 10.4 percent from the previous year."

Re:Politicians and Their Broken Promises (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467864)

Newsflash: NASA's budget has increased since Obama got in office...

spin-offs we get from space technology (2, Interesting)

revboden (1736848) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467448)

How about we explore the forests and oceans first. There's lots of scientific knowledge to be gained right here on earth.

Re:spin-offs we get from space technology (1, Troll)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467548)

How about we explore the forests and oceans first. There's lots of scientific knowledge to be gained right here on earth.

We killed everything in there already. That's why we're looking for new life to kill elsewhere.

Re:spin-offs we get from space technology (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467628)

Scientists aren't competent in everything. There are plenty biologists who wouldn't want to go to Mars for research, and I imagine that people with an interest in space aren't that interested in forests either.

Also, if you neglect a field of research people with experience in it disappear, and are hard to replace later. We can't just forget about space for 20 years until the economy improves. If we do that the people who used to build engines, research rockets, investigate how to live in space, etc, will die and move on, and won't get replaced. Then we'll have to start from zero.

Different research (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467474)

Bringing men to the moon currently wouldn't add anything of value. It was possible in the '60s, doing it now would not bring any advancement. Space money is better spent on research for new propulsion systems and ways to get off the Earth. When that is done, THEN go to the moon.

Why so expensive? (4, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467492)

With modern CGI techniques, surely faking moon landings should be getting cheaper?

Re:Why so expensive? (1)

boudie2 (1134233) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467510)

Certainly cheaper than it cost in 1969 ;^)

Re:Why so expensive? (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467556)

Well, you might think so. However people's expectations for the detail and quality of such has been driven so high by video games and movies that the actual cost not only trends up, but each sequel needs more and more effects to retain interest. Besides, trying to imagine how the monolith will actually work is beyond most screenwriters.

Re:Why so expensive? (1)

Ron Bennett (14590) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467648)

And with better picture quality, as in Hi-Def 3D.

Ron

lots of things we'd like to do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467504)

If we had an unlimited budget, the US could have the world's biggest functioning high-energy particle accelerator running by now.

Oh wait...

It's moral leadership to seek knowledge (0, Troll)

vandelais (164490) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467512)

I think China should explore space and generate the spinoffs from technology.

Their people are smaller, their country has all the money, and they don't have baby boomers sucking the life out of the means to do anything through which Congress might actually forge agreement.

re: "America has a responsibility to maintain its leadership in technology".--It's over. It's not 1997 anymore.

Re:It's moral leadership to seek knowledge (4, Interesting)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467580)

You do realize this argument is really stupid. The basic argument goes that doing something difficult and useless is really helpful because you solve all these engineering problems along the way that are helpful for other areas. If true, then doing something useful and difficult would be much more helpful. Why not develop super efficient engines for various modes of transportation? Why not build great high speed rail that could connect cities at super sonic speeds? Doesn't sound possible? Not really, but neither did putting a man on the moon. Difference is, this one would be something when we were done.

maned space travel = not just now (0)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467526)

Just like it is not now time to launch a rocket to a nearby star, now is not the time for maned space travel. The cost is ridiculous, and the value of Hubble has been exponentially larger. I'd be all for launching larger, more, or different versions of Hubble because the amount of science that has been done with the telescope is amazing. But manned space travel?

Re:maned space travel = not just now (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467576)

Maned space travel - it sounds like the wild, wild west

Re:maned space travel = not just now (1, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467688)

The cost is ridiculous

You people keep on saying this, but it is absolute bullshit. Have you ever tried comparing the cost of manned spaceflight with... well... just about anything else the government does? It is damned cheap.

Why does Obama even matter (0)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467538)

Why can't Congress just have an overall science budget? DOE, NASA, etc. can then figure out how to divide it up, independent of what the politicians think. Otherwise politicians compare astronauts playing golf on the moon against healthcare or their latest pork project (culminating in a celebratory round of golf). NASA should just have to compete against other science efforts.

This not only would insulate NASA somewhat from political agendas, but it would help keep NASA missions to a high standard. Missions with little scientific or technical benefit wouldn't be able to earn funding over more promising research in other fields.

Re:Why does Obama even matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467652)

NASA is a federal agency, not an independent one. Congress can award funding to these agencies, which it has to NASA, however it is up to the executive branch (i.e. the president and the person he puts in power) to decide how that money is spent. So NASA has the funding it needs for this project, it's not going to lower the deficit if we don't go to the moon, Obama just decided we're better off not going there. Its probably because America go their first last time and he feels guilty about it.

They just hate him because he is black!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467566)

The only possible explanation for an opposition to Obama is racism!!!
Just ask Jimmy Carter, Chris Matthews, or Janeane Garofalo.

We need to work on mineing the moon / other places (0)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467578)

We need to work on mineing the moon / other places and not just sending people there.

Re:We need to work on mineing the moon / other pla (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467758)

We need to work on mineing the moon / other places and not just sending people there.

You are going to need to send people there to do that, unless you want it to take 200 years. But I think the US Government is right to cut the apron strings between manned lunar exploration and public funding. There are now threads of private funding for human activities in space. These threads should be encouraged to grow.

Re:We need to work on mineing the moon / other pla (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467904)

the first step to that is cheap earth orbit, and the ability to move HEAVY objects into space. at present i think the cheapest price for getting something into orbit is $20,000/kg the the max payload is only a few tonnes

to successfully mine the moon, you will need to move many 1000's of tonnes of equipment. I know some people on here think mining is just matter of digging a hole in the ground, but extracting minerals is actually a highly involved process.

once you have the cost and pay issues solved, you'll need to have people live up there safely. remote control only will never cut it, at the very least you will require maintenance crews to live up there to maintain the robots. the biggest issue with this is protection from high energy space radiation.

The sad thing is that (3, Insightful)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467622)

if the republicans got elected the same thing would be going on - very little funding to NASA etc... Now, I can't help but wonder if both sides are really just one side... The all have two things in common. They got elected, and they want to stay elected. That's politics 101.

Re:The sad thing is that (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467892)

Not only that, but is my memory faulty that I seem to recall some astronaut(s) saying that going back to the moon in the first place was also a mistake? Buzz Aldrin?

Why does it have to be socialized? (2, Insightful)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467684)

Why don't more private rich guys step up and fund moon missions?

Re:Why does it have to be socialized? (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467764)

Yes, all those private rich dudes who have hundreds of billions to spend on space rockets over the course of 10+ years. All 3 of them.

Not exactly the last (1, Troll)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467692)

the last person to land on the moon

Gene Cernan was the last person to walk on the moon. He was one of the two last people to land on the moon.

Though if you think about it. If landing on the moon inside a vehicle counts then walking on the moon inside a vehicle should also count, so he is still one of the two last people to walk on the moon.

Neil Armstrong, who was also at the event, avoided commenting on the subject.

True to form.

Stop the madness (-1, Offtopic)

approachingZero (1365381) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467706)

Having seen Avatar at least six times I would hope all exploration / exploitation of space cease immediately. Shouldn't the Na'vi and other extraterrestrial cultures have a say in this?

Terraforming the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467710)

Don't everybody get it by now?

Landing men and women and planting flags on foreign planets is for Hollywoord special effects. They're better handled by private industries and on sound stages.

Who cares if there is or isn't life on Mars presently or in the past? Why, we'll make Mars suitable for life instead! And that should be the ultimate goal.

There's no money... it is wasted elsewhere (2, Interesting)

Erinnys Tisiphone (1627695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467738)

Granted, there are a *lot* of wastes in government I would like to see go away before government-funded manned spaceflight, but the US deficit is growing *dangerously* large. If the partisan divide is too great to eliminate anything else, something has to go, at least temporarily, before our social services go completely by the wayside, or much, much worse. I'm not saying that this is anywhere near the best choice. But these days, our country is divided that nothing else can be agreed on. Our politicians are at one another's throats instead of making compromises we need to survive as a nation. In addition, heroism aside, I think that the unmanned and orbital space programs like Hubble, rovers, and the ISS are much more critical for scientific discovery than manned missions. While less of a symbol, they produce immense amounts of useful scientific data. The Bush administration's Mars plans would likely have occurred at the expense of these programs. So there is no good answer. If civilian agencies take up the slack and begin performing the exploration, then there may be some hope.

"Former Astronauts" (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467768)

Yes, some former Astronauts call this catastrophic. All two of them. I think the headline was worded specifically to make it sound as if this was a widespread belief among astronauts, rather than a minority one.

Re:"Former Astronauts" (1)

ZonkerWilliam (953437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467818)

Doubt its a minority, truthfully for every two who state it, possibly fourty keep it to themselves.

Re:"Former Astronauts" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467868)

When Buzz Alrdin said it was a good idea how many does that count for?

www.oyundas.org (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467834)

We face no external threats, militarily speaking. It's time for us to discard our empire.

And what "empire" is that exactly? Do you demand we let go of Puerto Rico?

Other than that we have a number of military actions in areas where we are supporting democratic governments - Iraq and Iran - that are not in any way part of a U.S. "empire" (for better or worse).

As for the lack of military threats, I suggest to tell that to the people attacking our military and citizens. Perhaps they will stop once they realize they do not exist.

Buzz Aldrin has a different view (5, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467848)

It's rather interesting that Buzz Aldrin has a completely opposite view of the new plan:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/buzz-aldrin/president-obamas-jfk-mome_b_448667.html [huffingtonpost.com]

... The President courageously decided to redirect our nation's space policy away from the foolish and underfunded Moon race that has consumed NASA for more than six years, aiming instead at boosting the agency's budget by more than $1 billion more per year over the next five years, topping off at $100 billion for NASA between now and 2015. And he directed NASA to spend a billion per year on buying rides for American astronauts aboard new, commercially developed space vehicles-that's American space vehicles. Other NASA funds will go into developing and testing new revolutionary technologies that we can use in living and working on Mars and its moons. ... For the past six years America's civil space program has been aimed at returning astronauts to the Moon by 2020. That's the plan announced by President George W. Bush in January of 2004. That plan also called for developing the technologies that would support human expeditions to Mars, our ultimate destination in space. But two things happened along the way since that announcement, which became known as the Vision for Space Exploration.

First, the President failed to fully fund the program, as he had initially promised. As a result, each year the development of the rockets and spacecraft called for in the plan slipped further and further behind. Second and most importantly, NASA virtually eliminated the technology development effort for advanced space systems. Equally as bad, NASA also raided the Earth and space science budgets in the struggle to keep the program, named Project Constellation, on track. Even that effort fell short.

To keep the focus on the return to the Moon, NASA pretty much abandoned all hope of preparing for Mars exploration. It looked like building bases on the Moon would consume all of NASA's resources. Yet despite much complaining, neither a Republican-controlled nor a Democratic-controlled Congress was willing or able to add back those missing and needed funds. The date of the so-called return to the Moon slipped from 2020 to heaven-knows when. At the same time, there was no money to either extend the life of the Space Shuttle, due to be retired this year, or that of the International Space Station, due to be dropped into the Pacific Ocean in 2015, a scant handful of years after it was completed.

Enter the new Obama administration. Before deciding what to do about national space policy, Obama set up an outside review panel of space experts, headed up by my friend Norm Augustine, former head of Lockheed Martin and a former government official. Augustine's team took testimony and presentations from many people with ideas on what way forward NASA should take (that group included me). In October, it presented its report to the President and to Dr. John Holdren, Obama's science advisor and a friend and colleague of mine. The report strongly suggested the nation move away from the troubled rocket program, called Ares 1, and both extend the life of the space station and develop commercial ways of sending astronauts and cargoes up to the station. And it suggested a better way to spend our taxpayer dollars would be not focused on the Moon race, but on something it called a "Flexible Path." Flexible in the sense that it would redirect NASA towards developing the capability of voyaging to more distant locations in space, such as rendezvous with possibly threatening asteroids, or comets, or even flying by Mars to land on its moons. Many different destinations and missions would be enabled by that approach, not just one.

But with the limited NASA budget consumed by the Moon, no funds were available for this development effort -- until now. Now President Obama has signaled that new direction -- what I'm calling Flexible plus, containing much of the steps called for in the Augustine report. If Congress agrees, we'll turn over all space taxi services to the private sector and aim NASA at fully using the station -- extended to at least 2020 in Obama's plan -- and spending a billion dollars a year in creating these new private sector spaceships. When the time comes to start building deep space transports and refueling rocket tankers, it will be the commercial industry that steps up, not another government-owned, government managed enterprise. And if we want to use the Moon as a stepping stone in the future, we'll have to join with our international partners for the effort. No more "go it alone" space projects. If you or your children or grandkids ever hope to fly into orbit, these new vehicles are their only hope for a ride to space. ... I know that change can be a scary thing. And I know the forces of the existing Constellation program are already preparing to fight the Obama plan. But I hope when the emotion subsides, my friends in Congress will see as I see the wisdom and strength that this new approach will give our nation's space program.

Step 1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31467870)

Two things need to happen first:
1) we need to ensure that we can grow life on other planets using just energy (nuclear or from the environment) and environmental materials
>There are things we take for granted on Earth like water, and food
>we need ways of making those in an environment that does not provide them: UV+CO2=plants
2) we need some way to automate construction, and the replication of the builders
3) extra: a space elevator (like a space tether) or cheaper propulsion would help a lot

Test 1
Get a biosphere working in a desert (an artic desert)

Test 2
Regrow forests in areas that have been completely turned to sand:
(like the sahara) using dome like structures
(climate controlled environment for plants)

Test 3
Make robots that can replicate themselves from rock and sand in harsh Mars like conditions
(these robots would be programmable as well)

Test 4
Construct these domes utilizing replicator robots on earth, in the sahara or artic deserts

Test 5
Send these robots to the moon and replicate a moon base

Going to Mars will not change the requirements for a sustained Planetary base on Mars. Going to Mars now with a manned mission and back would be prohibitive.
But we will eventually need to go to Mars (Earth will not last forever)
A moon base would be a good start
I think if we can sustain a moon base with a biosphere and a growing population then we are ready for Mars and beyond.

President Hosting Conference On Space Strategy (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467888)

For some reason this only got posted to the politics.slashdot page [slashdot.org] (where it's gotten all of 2 comments), but since I figured others would be interested in learning more I'll re-post the details here, with relevant links included:

The White House has announced that on April 15 the President will be visiting Florida to host a conference [whitehouse.gov] on the Administration's 'new vision for America's future in space,' [space.com] which is focused on developing new technologies and capabilities [parabolicarc.com] needed for sustainable exploration of 'the Moon, asteroids, and eventually Mars.' The White House's plans for reinvigorating NASA are facing vocal opposition from several congressmen in Florida, Texas, and Alabama, due to its outright cancellation of the Constellation/Ares program, which was found to be 'fundamentally un-executable' but is/was an important source of jobs in many areas.

Another moon landing? (1, Funny)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 4 years ago | (#31467896)

while Cernan noted he was 'disappointed' to have been the last person to land on the moon.

I'm sure they could fake another one. The sfx these days are much better than 1969. Avatar looked stunning!

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