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Armstrong, Cernan Testify Against Obama Space Plan

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the future-is-boring dept.

NASA 411

MarkWhittington submitted a story about the first man to walk on the moon testifying yesterday that President Barack Obama's plans to revamp the human space program would cede America's longtime leadership in space to other nations.

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So... (1, Insightful)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196136)

Of all the things that Obama is doing, am I the only one who feels that him killing NASA really struck a nerve? It's literally the only thing he's done that made my blood boil.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196172)

But we have to do it. How else will we have money in the budget to bail out bankers and pay for their billion dollar bonuses?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196634)

Or pay for the war he didn't start.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196884)

And has failed to stop.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196200)

What do we gain from manned space flight that we wouldn't gain, in a far cheaper way, from unmanned missions?

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196238)

a media event!

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196272)

International prestige? Further scientific understanding of the effects of microgravity on the human organism? The foundation for eventual space colonization? The laundry list of scientific breakthroughs and advancements in consumer technology that have come from the space program? Jobs?

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

keithjr (1091829) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196384)

Everything in your list can be accomplished by unmanned exploration, except for the effects of microgravity and astronaut jobs. We'd generate even more (useful) jobs if we focused an R&D effort on replacing our archaic technology.

Re:So... (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196420)

replacing our archaic technology.

Step one would be replacing our current shuttle. Even if the plan to colonize Mars is scrapped for the next few decades, there is no reason to cancel the Constellation program.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196858)

Sure there is, it is a total boondoggle to keep the shuttle contractors rolling in cash. A fresh design would have been something, not another shuttle derived POS.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196534)

Really, unmanned missions bring the same amount of international prestige and goodwill as manned ones? I don't think so -- the United States gained more in this department from a handful of moon shots and space shuttle rides for friends/allies than it has from all the robotic missions combined.

Re:So... (1)

coolsnowmen (695297) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196808)

That is because they were huge firsts; a "leap for mankind". Another general maned mission to the moon or to earth orbit isn't.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196340)

What do we gain from manned space flight that we wouldn't gain, in a far cheaper way, from unmanned missions?

Colonization of other worlds is clearly impossible without manned flight.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

the gnat (153162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196446)

Colonization of other worlds is clearly impossible without manned flight.

Colonization of other worlds (which ones did you have in mind, by the way?) is clearly impossible without technologies that don't exist on Earth right now and won't exist for at least another few decades. Spending many billions of dollars on chemical rockets isn't going to get the job done.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196564)

Colonization of other worlds is clearly impossible without manned flight.

Colonization of other worlds (which ones did you have in mind, by the way?) is clearly impossible without technologies that don't exist on Earth right now and won't exist for at least another few decades. Spending many billions of dollars on chemical rockets isn't going to get the job done.

Indeed, no question about that. But I could argue that putting a small, permanent, self-sustained human outpost on the Moon or Mars is possible with technologies currently available. Borderline possible, but still.

Re:So... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196918)

Incorrect. Colonization of other worlds with an INSTANT human population is impossible without manned flight. Colonization via other longer term means can be done with several seeding launches.

Creating life forms that can thrive in the target environment is far easier than terraforming it. we just gotta wait for them to evolve and call home.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196382)

Humans in space? Colonies on other worlds? Ending the cosmic equivalent of having all of our eggs in one basket? We're one natural disaster away from complete annhilation of our race. I'd kinda like to have at least a few people offworld just in case.

All this talk of "Unmanned missions are just as good!" is pretty unconvincing when reports come back that the latest rover mission may be failing because it's stuck on a 3 inch rock and can't wiggle it's way off . . .

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196544)

I wonder aloud if space exploration isn't an excuse not to fix the mess we've created here on good old planet Earth. I've read sci fi since I was a kid, and there's a lot of future scenarios where humans now live offwold because Earth died of this, or that or radiation in a post-nuclear holocaust, etc.

It's my personal belief that we have to fix the problems now, discuss them, and introduce population controls that cut down on resource damage until we can determine the nature of the problems we face (without glib one-liners).

What makes anyone think that subsequent out-migration to habitable planets will work, when we can't get this one right?

Re:So... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196658)

They likely won't really work any better. Personally, I think shitty conditions are human nature. THAT's not what I'm worried about though. I'm moreso worried about the things out of our control. An asteroid/comet impact. A supervolcano. Things like that. Things that would wipe out a society regardless of how perfect it might be.

To put it into computer terms, no amount of debugging and coding guidelines are going to protect you from a disk crash (or a flood, fire, etc). You want your data to survive that, you better have some redundants copies in place - ideally in varied locations.

Re:So... (1)

Verteiron (224042) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196686)

The idea is to spread humanity out to avoid extinction, not to have some sort of SimEarth-style mass exodus from this planet. Ideally, we should be focusing on space exploration AND trying to fix our problems here at home. Odds are good that the things we learn from one can be applied to the other at some point.

Re:So... (1)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196646)

reports come back that the latest rover mission may be failing because it's stuck on a 3 inch rock and can't wiggle it's way off . . .

I think I read somewhere that the rovers accomplished in six years what an actual human geologists (or areologist in this case) could do in an afternoon. Robots are great, but they are very slow.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196854)

That's funny, if we send humans to Mars that could be all the time they have to spend. Robots just need sunlight, we humans need much more logistical support. Robots also just need one way tickets.

Re:So... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196776)

All of *my* eggs will always be in one basket. It does me no damn good to have someone walking around on another planet. No, as cool as it is (and yes, it's very cool) it's a *massive* waste of money that could be redirected toward, oh, I don't know, science education, basic research grants, 10-times as many unmanned flights. Besides, the dangers inherent in manned flight hold us back from trying things. I mean, look at our early Mars record: we kept throwing things at Mars and only a few landed nicely. Eventually, we hit a couple jackpots with the current rovers. Prestige? Bullshit! Let's do some *real* science, damn it!!

Re:So... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196824)

Just consider the logistics of getting humans to Mars and back again vs. the comparative ease of sending Spirit and Opportunity.

Now consider the expense of a manned mission to Mars, vs. more robots. For the cost of a human mission we could send thousands of disposable robots. Robots crawling all over Mars doing science and terraforming. Just imagine it! Think of the awesome amount of data we'd be streaming in.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196408)

What do we gain from manned space flight that we wouldn't gain, in a far cheaper way, from unmanned missions?

The flexibility and ability to respond to unanticipated events / situations. Human beings can respond to things outside of the programming of a machine and can make decisions on the fly. Unmanned probes just don't do well then. And commands from earth can take way too long to get there and are often based on inadequate information. It's not hard to figure out. Manned spaceflight is more expensive and, of course, risky, but it has an obvious upside. The interest generated by manned spaceflight in science shouldn't be underestimated either.

Re:So... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196410)

Experience to assist in the transition to humans living in space over the long term. Being stuck on this speck of dust called Earth is an evolutionary dead end.

Re:So... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196430)

There has yet to be a rover created that can dupliate what a person can do.

You either get a lot of kit stuck onto an immovable lander or a little kit jimmyrigged into a tiny rover (that's barely mobile to begin with).

Re:So... (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196444)

What do we gain from manned space flight that we wouldn't gain, in a far cheaper way, from unmanned missions?

Just off the top of my head - medical advances based on the requirements for sending humans through space for a prolonged period of time. There are plenty of other spin-offs from the space program. I really shouldn't have to go into them to satisfy the willfully ignorant.

Re:So... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196570)

Since the singularity is near, it's more likely that human expansion into space will proceed through machine bodies. Research on the effects of microgravity is worth doing, but I don't think it completely settles the debate.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196556)

Experience.

Re:So... (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196578)

Dude...you are gonna get a flamestorm for that comment. Last time I even hinted that NASA was a waste of money I was hate-modded on every comment I made in following posts for a month. Let the fanbois have their Star Wars fantasy.....

Re:So... (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196732)

Thank you!

Robot exploration, all the way. Think Spirit and Opportunity x 1000.

Re:So... (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196872)

Ahh yes, Spirit, the rover now stuck thanks to a half-inch of dust...

Re:So... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196270)

That's a ridiculous question, the article in which you are responding to suggests that Armstrong feels the same way.

Either way, no, it doesn't bother me that much. I'd much rather see the money pit that is our current space plan go into getting better schooling

Re:So... (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196294)

I'd much rather see the money pit that is our current space plan go into getting better schooling

Opposed to the money pit that is the IRS, National Defense budget, etc.?

space shuttle era NASA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196458)

is an awful waste of money and astronauts and Bush compounded the problems and Obama is just trying to set things right, no matter what racists like the above accurately named "Spazz" thinks.

Re:So... (2)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196490)

I'd much rather see the money pit that is our current space plan go into getting better schooling

Why do you assume the problem with our educational system is a lack of money? Washington DC spends more per student than any other "state" but has one of the worst public school systems. Perhaps the problems with our schools have something to do with misplaced priorities (we spend more money on "special needs" kids than the gifted kids that will actually be running this country in a generation), an entrenched culture that's resistant to change and the intrusion of politics from all levels of government into our schools?

The first point annoys me the most. I've seen gifted kids that are literally bored out of their mind with the classroom curriculum. Many schools lack advanced programs for these kids so they sit in the classroom daydreaming while "learning" stuff that they already know. Meanwhile we spend thousands of dollars on the special needs kids, some of whom don't even need to be in those programs to begin with but wound up there anyway because the school district gets more money for a special needs kid than a regular one.

Who was it that said it's a wonder that curiosity survives a formal education? He or she was dead on with that observation.....

Re:So... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196916)

Those gifted kids will not be running the country ever, that kind of power is inherited or gained through connections not being gifted. Gifted kids will do fine anyway, why spend even more on them? If anything get them out of highschool and on to real education as fast as possible.

Re:So... (3, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196284)

Me personally, I give a flying fuck about space. (For now, and here's why)

We're fighting 2 wars we can't win due to the rules of engagement and the enemy's "tactics".

We're HUGELY in debt, each and every one of us.

The government's solution is to spend even more fucking money.

So yeah, Space can piss off right now, IMO. Let some other fucking country "take the lead" while we fix this broken fucking country.

Re:So... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196624)

Space and defense are intertwined. Letting another country gain the lead in space would mean losing our ability to defend ourselves. At least, that's the traditional thinking. Ever notice how space exploration initiatives are generally closely related to a country's military plans?

Re:So... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196728)

If we continue on at our present rate, there won't be a country needing to be defended.

Re:So... (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196856)

Yes, and unmanned drones are how we will maintain air superiority. We can lead just as effectively with unmanned space exploration.

Re:So... (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196912)

We can lead just as effectively with unmanned space exploration.

Until the rover gets stuck in a sand pit, or the 8 minute delay between the controllers and the rover causes them to drive into a ravine on accident.

Don't try to substitute human instinct with a machine.

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Yaos (804128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196320)

He's not killing NASA, he's increased their budget by quite a bit.

Re:So... (3, Informative)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196392)

He's not killing NASA, he's increased their budget by quite a bit.

He's only killing NASA's next shuttle plan (and the plan to go to Mars), something they had been working on since their current one began falling apart and proving to be obsolete. FTFA:

Neil Armstrong has renewed his criticism of Barack Obama's space vision, insisting that the president's decision to scrap Constellation and head off to Mars was "poorly advised".

Re:So... (4, Informative)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196362)

Obama didn't kill NASA, he killed Ares which from what I've seen, wasn't going very well. It's sad that 40 years after we got to the moon the first time, we haven't made much progress in developing a good vehicle to return. Not that the moon is really where we should be going at this point. The asteroids and Mars are better targets due to their long term potential to fuel space based industry and such. NASA needs to go a different direction than it was if we are to have any progress. NASA should be focusing on operations farther out from Earth like Mars, the asteroids etc not a taxi service to LEO.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196592)

s/ Ares, Constellation /g

Re:So... (3, Informative)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196466)

Of all the things that Obama is doing, am I the only one who feels that him killing NASA really struck a nerve? It's literally the only thing he's done that made my blood boil.

'Killing NASA'? You know what makes my blood boil over this is people who act like they know what they're talking about. Obama has not 'killed NASA' - he's increased their budget. One thing he HAS done is killed a ridiculous program started by Bush. While I'm not a big fan of Obama's support for NASA in general, Constellation was a badly-planned program from the get-go. It's unfortunate that Ares was kept, but that would've been a political nightmare due to the number of lost jobs.

Re:So... (5, Insightful)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196516)

Killing NASA by increasing its budget certainly counts as change though. Most of the earlier presidents focused on improving NASA by decreasing its budget.

this is why the govt will always get bigger (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196524)

Come on, what is the value of this 'space leadership' bullshit? If he is talking about military applications, the United States and Soviet Union looked into this stuff for a long time. As for actual weapons, it is cheaper to use a semi ballistic missiles. It is of military value to be able to shoot down satelites, which the missile defense program has already demonstrated/could be made better. As for science, robots, with the help of humans on earth, is much cheaper, albeit slower.

I think Obama did the right thing by hurting a large portion of the manned space program.

Re:So... (4, Informative)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196532)

Of all the things that Obama is doing, am I the only one who feels that him killing NASA really struck a nerve? It's literally the only thing he's done that made my blood boil.

He's not killing NASA. Far from it, in fact. From TFA:

Mr. Obama is actually proposing to increase NASA's budget, but he wants to terminate the $108 billion Constellation project, which the United States has already spent more than $10 billion on. Instead, the administration wants to outsource many of NASA's current manned exploration programs to private spaceships and focus on developing a new heavy-lift rocket for eventual manned flights to a variety of deep space targets, ultimately including Mars.

Obama just wants to terminate one particular project that he feels is going nowhere and has become a money sink. You may disagree with his decision but it's still not "killing NASA."

Killing NASA? I think not. (5, Informative)

Larson2042 (1640785) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196540)

Constellation would have done more to kill NASA than anything in Obama's new plan. Constellation was already over budget and behind schedule. If a fully developed Ares rocket had been dropped in NASA's lap, it wouldn't have been able to afford to operate it. So what do you think the next admin would do with NASA if it had been allowed to continue, accumulating delays and going further and further over budget?

The new plan is the best chance NASA has had in a long time to get back on its feet and stop languishing in LEO. Developing the higher technology needed to go beyond LEO and the moon is what NASA should be concentrating on. Let commercial companies deliver stuff to ISS and LEO.

(One a side note, it seems to me that almost everyone who hates Obama's plan forgets that there would have been just as long, if not longer, gap in US human spaceflight ability WITH constellation. We're not exactly losing a whole lot by giving commercial companies time to produce their human ferrying ability, as opposed to giving NASA time to work on Ares-1)

With NASA buying rides at a few tens of millions each vs. billion+ per launch [wikipedia.org] there will be a lot more money for accomplishing things besides putting stuff into orbit on a rocket with a NASA logo on it.

So I'm all for the new plan. My biggest worry is that congress will screw up the whole thing trying to protect their pork.

Your kidding right? (0, Flamebait)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196648)

NASA is insignificant compared things he has done and not done.

DADT is still the law of the land.
We poured even more people into Afghanistan
We still have Guatanamo Bay
We have deficit spending that is simply unbelievable, its beyond stupid now
We sitting around watching Iran build the bomb all the while apologizing to them and also ignoring them slaughtering their people
We have a Justice Department who wants to not to read Miranda rights to people it calls terrorist.

Do I need to go on?

Hell, NASA is a rounding error in our budgets. It would be paid for in one Senator's pork many times over.

Damn, no wonder this guy got in, people are stupid

and this all Obama has done to make your blood boil, damn your a great little sheep.

Re:Your kidding right? (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196864)

I think you're too quick to judge based off of one comment. I have been unhappy with all of those things, but I saw them as business as usual. He's constantly been reinforcing the thought that I regret even thinking that he would be different than all the others.

I was proven wrong within his first few months of office. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Re:So... (-1, Offtopic)

WheelDweller (108946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196662)

[I know I'm a heretic to this liberal, big-government crowd, but while I'm still here, it's important you guys get some truth. I'll be modded down, but that only shows how "open minded" you guys are.]

Let's see:

Nationalization of the car companies, yanking people's life savings and giving it to the unions didn't tick you off? You, the taxpayer are now going to pay for those sky-high union pensions.

It ain't over: every time a union pension can't be paid (the worker invested $30,000 for a $3,000.000 payout!) from a city, state, or EU member nation, YOU'LL BE ASKED TO PAY FOR IT. It's already happening, now. It's a part of Greece's problems.

Just like Spain, the myth of "Green Jobs" being created by doing LESS will make sure jobs are hard to find for quite some time. "Green Jobs" are a lie.

He's taking over the internet the way he took over the healthcare industry, which was damaged in the FIRST PLACE by congressional meddling. You guys think it's a win against Comcast- it's a win against YOU. Mark my words; I'm nearly 50 and I've seen this before.

Bush was a progressive, like Obama, but at least he wanted to actually FIGHT the war we're in. With as much as he spent in 8 years, Obama has spent more IN JUST ONE YEAR. And, we're on the hook for about $3T/year for healthcare. It's a disaster.

He wants to institute Cap-and-Trade so that he can decide which companies get to live, and which ones will fail.

He's ending all the school loan programs, so if you're a friend to the big government, YOU can get a school loan. Congress made the guarantees, so colleges had no reason to lower costs...so you're suckered.
He's growing a housing monopoly, too. Only one place to go to get a home loan- the big government. Everyone else is getting shut down because of another congressional disaster, the Community ReInvestment Act that forces banks to lose $200,000 when a person of color goes into a bank and must be given a loan, EVEN IF HE HAS NO JOB.

Legalized bank robbery. 150 banks closed last year, it's ahead of schedule, this year.

He wants everyone on welfare, with a handful of multi-billionaires to be the only "private sector", just like every other socialist nation.

Notice I never mentioned skin color. I don't care. It's no concern that my president is black; my concern is that he's RED.

But because he wants to screw up NASA too, NOW you get angry?

Turn off the state-run media. MAKE YOURSELF listen to Limbaugh. You'll quickly learn he's color-blind, non-homophobic and has a lot of good, historically proven ideas. What you know of him are lies.

Most important you'll learn to stop voting for people causing the problem!

Re:So... (0, Offtopic)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196814)

It's literally the only thing he's done that made my blood boil.

Your blood didn't boil when he reversed himself on FISA and voted for telecom immunity? It didn't boil when he reneged on his "no tax increases for people making <$250,000" promise and signed legislation containing tax increases on medical devices, tanning salons and tobacco? It didn't boil when he doubled down on our failed Afghanistan policy?

bzzzt ... try again (2, Insightful)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196832)

him killing NASA really struck a nerve

Except that he isn't killing NASA. If you RTFA you'll see that his proposal is for NASA to go to Mars, and get out of the business of low-earth lifting.

In other words, he is supporting the outsourcing of some of what NASA currently does. Why his predecessor didn't propose the same is beyond me.

Re:So... (0, Flamebait)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196924)

Yeah I'm sure all those families who've lost loved ones do to NASA's incompetence, really feel sorry for NASA....

Get a grip douche bag.

and? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196148)

dont we have bigger issues than who has the biggest space penis??

Re:and? (5, Insightful)

MadCat221 (572505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196242)

There will always be issues that people think are more important than space exploration, things that they think must be taken care of before it. If we wait until they're all taken care of, then we'll never get around to it.

Re:and? (4, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196456)

Indeed. People seem to be of this braindead mindset that governments must solve problems in a serial fashion. The most important one goes to the top and everything else must wait it's turn.

Newsflash - if the system worked like that as soon as "world hunger" or "world peace" floated it's way up there nothing else would EVER see the light of day.

The reality is that if you want to get anything done, you have to work on problems in tandem. Yes, we have a deficit, yes, there are starving children in the world, but those problems will actually get WORSE if you focus exclusively on them at the expense of everything else.

Re:and? (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196256)

Better yet, why spend money to send people when we can send machines and do science?

There is zero _urgency_ to send humans, we need robots on earth and in space much more than we need humans in space, and robots don't (unlike humans) impose a prohibitively costly burden. Let other countries eat the R&D, then do what China does to us and enjoy the fruits of other peoples research.

Re:and? (1)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196442)

Better yet, why spend money to send people when we can send machines and do science?

There is zero _urgency_ to send humans, we need robots on earth and in space much more than we need humans in space, and robots don't (unlike humans) impose a prohibitively costly burden. Let other countries eat the R&D, then do what China does to us and enjoy the fruits of other peoples research.

I believe that colonization of other planets can provide the humanity with a way to survive major cataclysmic events on Earth. Of course we should utilize robots as much as possible, but not as a replacement for human space travelers.

Re:and? (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196702)

I hate this argument. Firstly, while it sounds logical, it really isn't. There are always other things to spend money on. 59% of the US budget goes to social programs, 21.5% goes to defense, 8.5% goes to pay interest on the debt. NASA gets .58%, and of that manned space is a fraction. Do you really think that taking a fraction of .58% and putting it somewhere else, line the Doe wil materially help? Keep in mind that the DoE gets .82% of the budget.

it's not a dick measuring contest. It's about exploring our boundaries and pushing our limits to make life better for everyone. I don't think NASA is the panacea of discovery that a lot of hard core supporter think it is, but I'm pretty sure that tiny fraction of the US budget that NASA gets every year has produced a lot more innovations that improve everyone's daily life, per dollar spent, than the 59% that goes to social programs.

Re:and? (1)

BuR4N (512430) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196836)

China ramping up its space presences , US is winding down its program. What message does that send to the rest of the world do you think ? NASA have been one of the most effective PR machines selling the US brand to the rest of the world for more then 40 years now.

Buzz Aldrin (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196168)

Buzz Aldrin disagrees.

Re:Buzz Aldrin (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196506)

Buzz Aldrin disagrees.

Mod AC parent up! The media is acting like all of the former astronauts are against Obama's plans to scuttle the back-to-the-moon plan. But others disagree with Armstrong. Aldrin, for example, thinks we should just go on to Mars.

So what? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196206)

Really, so what if it does? It's time to scale back government's involvement in space. Forcing people to pay for something should be seen as a temporary crutch, not a permanent solution. The permanent solution arises when people start to volunteer their money for these things, and if you look around, that's exactly what's starting to happen.

As opposed to every other NASA proposal since 1970 (5, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196212)

...which has been overambitious and underfunded.

We haven't had a decent space plan since getting to the moon. We have had some lofty goals, but never proper commitment or funding. We've also had changing directions every administration or so.

Perhaps the worst thing about Obama's plan is that it is a little more in line with reality instead of wishes?

Re:As opposed to every other NASA proposal since 1 (4, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196276)

We haven't had a decent manned space plan. Galileo, Cassini, Spirit & Opportunity, and plenty others worked out very well.

Re:As opposed to every other NASA proposal since 1 (1, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196322)

Apparently this is a troll because someone disagrees with you.

+1 Inconvenient Truth, IMO.

Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (-1, Troll)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196232)

He is just a attention-loving has-been. It is just like him to be an attention-whore.

Frankly, I am tired of him popping in all the time on TV inserting himself into every little debate.

Obama should looking into his tax records and see if there is anything in there to shut him up. You know if he is crazy enough to disagree with Obama that he MUST be up to something.

Allowing him to be heard like this is a serious mistake; people can be so easily confused - we must manage what they hear.

Re:Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196312)

I really hope your being satirical.

Re:Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196462)

asperger much?

Re:Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (0, Troll)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196478)

Armstrong has a financial interest in keeping Ares alive.

Re:Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196582)

[citation needed]

Re:Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196632)

The parent may be a bit over the top but really why do we care what Neil Armstrong thinks? Yes he is a celebrity but has he ever run NASA? A government? Yeah didn't think so. So when a duly elected politician actually tries govern this guy comes out of the wood work and we are expected to take his opinion as meaningful? I am having awful recollections of Jerry Seinfeld trying to get me to trust Windows during this whole thing. We can raise taxes to 100% of income and still have to slash the budget or slash the budget to just Defense, Social Security and Medicare and still have to raise taxes but we quibble when someone gets half a clue starts cutting failing programs (NASA's manned space flight program was significantly over budget and severely behind schedule was it not?). NASA does much more than manned space flight and our government does much more than NASA... really get the bigger picture and start letting failing programs fail.

Re:Who the HELL does Neil Armstrong think he is?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196822)

Obama should looking into his tax records and see if there is anything in there to shut him up. You know if he is crazy enough to disagree with Obama that he MUST be up to something.

He doesn't have tax records, they agreed to never to make them pay taxes again after saving the planet from that huge asteroid.

Who cares about old racists? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196246)

NASA needs to die, these people are just whining because their former employer is on the chopping block and because their latent racism tells them to disagree with what the black man says.
We got problems here on earth, but Whitey wants the moon!

Re:Who cares about old racists? (1, Insightful)

KDN (3283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196424)

What is it with this administration that everyone who disagrees is a racist? Was it not Hillary Clinton who said that disagreement is a fundamental principal of a democracy?

Unfortunately racism is alive and well in the USA. But to call everyone who disagrees with you a racist is to cheapen the entire civil rights movement.

Re:Who cares about old racists? (1, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196716)

Was it not Hillary Clinton who said that disagreement is a fundamental principal of a democracy?

You didn't get the latest memo, did you? Dissent is only patriotic when the other party is running things. Once your party seizes all the levers of power, that same dissent becomes un-american [abcnews.com] and grassroots opposition movements are nothing more than racist astroturfing operations.

The question nobody can answer for me (1)

ADHVfFsvjLIViaglKlqo (1766800) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196344)

Where in the Constitution is Congress granted the power to create and fund an organization such as NASA? I challenge you who disagree with me to quote the section that grants them such power

For those who are unaware, the Constitution gives very limited and specific rights to Congress.

Re:The question nobody can answer for me (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196720)

For those who are unaware, the Constitution gives very limited and specific rights to Congress.
Yes, Article 1, Section 8.

Of course, it also spells out very limited and specific things Congress can NOT do in Article 1, Section 9.

Plus there's that troublesome general welfare clause.

Course, I'm guessing you're a strict constitutionalist, so you would not be opposed to, say, abolishing the FDA?

ASTRONAUT FIGHT! (5, Informative)

buback (144189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196348)

Buzz Aldrin disagrees

Neil Armstrong Vs. Buzz Aldrin Over Obama's Space Plans
CBSNews URL: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20002451-503544.html [cbsnews.com]

Who do you think would win in a fight, Buzz Ald(I won't even finish the question)

Re:ASTRONAUT FIGHT! (3, Funny)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196754)

Buzz Aldrin was on Dancing with the Stars... Neil wins by default.

First man to walk on the moon* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196374)

*(sound stage)

(ducks)

No seriously if somebody else sends a man to the moon and they find no evidence of us being there.... just hypothetically... what would that mean to the U.S. and to the world?

Re:First man to walk on the moon* (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196746)

That would make for an interesting book, but if the technology got to that point and there really was nothing there then either there would be a cover up (e.g. "An accident occurred and one of the lunar satellites deorbited on the site of the original Apollo landings, more at 11:00.") or it would be far enough in the future that nobody would really care that much (e.g. "They did it to prove a point during the Cold War, this has no impact on us today."). Or for that matter, they could do what happens these day, you hear a sound bite and that's the end of it.

Re:First man to walk on the moon* (2, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196862)

If someone landed on the moon and found no evidence, it would mean that either
a) they were looking in the wrong spot or
b) somebody beat them to it without anyone knowing and stole the evidence that has already been seen by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and other countries' observations, or
c) something even weirder happened to the landing sites, possibly involving aliens, wormholes, and time paradoxes.

Seriously. The idea that there is no direct evidence of the moon landings and we can't be sure they happened until more people land on it is re-tard-ed.

NASA needs to go (4, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196522)

Like any bureaucracy, NASA existed only as long as it pleased its political leaders. The result is a space agency that's known for stunts.

Put a man in orbit. First! {Grab genitalia and grunt here).

Put a man on the moon. First! (Grunt repeatedly here).

Seriously, if NASA's main missions now were spaced based power, Zero G industries, low-grav hospitals, a satellite based internet, a space based mirror climate control system, or any of *thousands* of practical, profitable, useful projects, would we even be having this discussion?

Instead, NASA is all about Texas and Florida political pork, controlled by politicians and shaped to *their* ends. Market based solutions, as bad as they are, would still be better than techno-military welfare that we can't afford.

Re:NASA needs to go (1)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196714)

Put a man in orbit. First! {Grab genitalia and grunt here).

Not to disagree with your post in general, which is rather insightful IMHO, but NASA was not the first to put a man in orbit. The Soviet Union beat them to that.

Obama is actually thinking logically (2, Insightful)

duckintheface (710137) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196554)

The only reason for manned flight is to get to a place worth colonizing. The only place worth colonizing is Mars. All other missions can be done better, cheaper, faster, with robotic craft. So Obama has it exactly right. There is no reason to go back to the moon (Bush just wanted to use it as a military base and didn't even make progress with that). Armstrong is an old guy who was trained as an engineer and made one flight that put him in the history books. That doesn't mean that he knows much about the long-term space policies we should follow. And you notice that he is still thinking of space as a playing field for international competition rather than cooperation. This is the '60s talking.

One lone protester (5, Interesting)

CompressedAir (682597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196576)

As I came back from lunch today, I saw a single retiree-looking gentleman standing on the corner of Saturn and NASA Rd. 1 with a sign protesting the Obama plan. That's here at JSC, home of the astronauts.

I dunno, maybe more people will join him once work lets out. As someone who works in this industry, I still remain on the record saying that the current plan is the best one NASA has had since the Shuttle was a dream given form*.

* Not quite the form it should have been, though.

Good riddance (1)

Raconteur (1132577) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196604)

The manned space program has gained us what, exactly? The strongest argument that the first man on the moon can make is that we might lose our precious bragging rights. I say good riddance to a bad program. Unmanned missions are far less expensive and vastly more useful in obtaining the data we might need. We only need to send men into space to repair the things we sent there, and the fact we sent them there so we wouldn't have to go there is the epitome of irony.

it makes no sense to send people into space... (3, Insightful)

deander2 (26173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196688)

it makes no sense to send people into space... until we know of someplace we can permanently stay.

robots are faster, more accurate, more durable, can stay out there virtually indefinitely, and are 3-20 orders of magnitude cheaper.

from a scientific perspective, low-earth-orbit (the only place we're sending people) just isn't that interesting. virtually all space-related scientific data comes from unmanned probes and robots.

until we're talking about settling another planet/moon, people in space are just tourists. so why is the government funding it?

Things cost money! (2, Insightful)

Canadian Window C'er (1772648) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196722)

Look guys, do you know that the Government will spend $1.60 per dollar it takes in in revenue this year? That works out on a $4 Trillion-some budget to be ~$1.4 Trillion dollars of additional debt.

The future?
$1 Trillion each year in the red. Nevermind the unfunded liabilities of medicare and medicaid.

That means:
You have to CUT! lots of spending has to be cut! If you want those programs to go ahead regardless, then send in a cheque and help them fund it! Just my opinion, Regards

Visionary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32196762)

While these men are heroes, I find it difficult to reason their logic. NASA has not been able to produce a successful launcher since the days of Apollo. Apollo was executed because it was driven by cold war politics - not science and exploration. In today's world, NASA simply does not have the budget or political motivation to execute an Apollo style program.

Furthermore, I would argue the United States government has never developed a "successful" launcher. I define 'success' as a launcher places a significant payload into orbit, reliably, safely, and is most importantly *financially sustainable*

Armstrong, Cernan, and Lovell have ignored the financial question in their criticism of Obama's new budget.

I believe Obama's budget is a truly visionary budget for NASA - for the single reason that it focuses on launcher cost reduction. Market competition (even if spurred with government incentives) is the only way to lower costs barring the development of some fantastically new technology.

And besides, without a significantly lower cost to orbit, none of our collective spare-faring dreams will become a reality.

Testify? As in under oath? (4, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196772)

Did anyone think to ask him under oath if he actually walked on the moon? Just sayin ...

Wild West Moon (1)

drumcat (1659893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196880)

Get the unmanned stuff right, get the cost down, innovation up, and then human flight might make more sense... Or, let the moon be the Wild West, and let commercial interests drive that.

What do I get? (2, Insightful)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196914)

Armstrong and the other astronauts got to walk on the moon. What do I get for billions of dollars thrown at more human spacetravel? Nothing.

I'll take the robots and the science instead, please.

Better to send the money into space (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32196920)

than into the pockets of the already wealthy.

It's just sad to see all the money spent on "saving the economy" going to waste while we could've used it for so many better things.

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