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NASA Ends Plan To Put Man Back On Moon

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the tax-dollars-for-earthlings dept.

Moon 460

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Times Online: "NASA has begun to wind down construction of the rockets and spacecraft that were to have taken astronauts back to the Moon — effectively dismantling the US human spaceflight programme despite a congressional ban on its doing so. Legislators have accused President Obama's administration of contriving to slip the termination of the Constellation programme through the back door to avoid a battle on Capitol Hill."

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The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561576)

...in the long term, at least.

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (2, Interesting)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561610)

It looks like the U.S. will never get back to the space. I just wonder why they waste so much money on projects they abort soon.

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561626)

Yep. All the money is now focused on things to serve the Earth (like a TV relays, spy pictures, or weather data) or serving wealthy earthlings who want to go into something almost zero gravity for a short stay. There's nobody interested in paying for Moon or Mars projects anymore it seems.

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (3, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561742)

There's nobody interested in paying for Moon or Mars projects anymore it seems.

Why be interested in that, when you can keep fighting in silly wars that no-one can win, when you can keep bailing out finance sectors and car manufacturers even though their business models clearly got them into trouble in the first place.

Sorry, my rant toggle must have been on, and I didn't notice.

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (2, Funny)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561806)

Don't forget the funding of that idiot "Blair" on "NASA Edge."

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (4, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561744)

Yep. All the money is now focused on things to serve the Earth (like a TV relays, spy pictures, or weather data) or serving wealthy earthlings who want to go into something almost zero gravity for a short stay. There's nobody interested in paying for Moon or Mars projects anymore it seems.

No one is interested in the Moon unless we'll build a base there. No one wants to pay for another trip back to the Moon if we're just going to plant the flag and come home again. Been there, done that.

Do something new and different, or don't go at all.

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561628)

Jobs for locals and the 'thanks' that flows back into the political system. Loss of face? Dual use tech might also keep the cash flowing and skill set in place..

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561722)

Well, we decided that there might be another bank or car corporation that the US government wants to buy or just give money too. The citizens will bitch and moan about raising taxes so abandoning projects that millions have already been spent on just to reserve the other couple million for political capitol seems to be the going plan.

Re:The U.S. then cedes space dominance then? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561882)

It looks like the U.S. will never get back to the space.

I don't quite understand how "Not going to the moon" translates to "Not going to space."

Space is a lot bigger than just the moon. Also wasting money and time trying for human transport to the moon is...a waste. It would be much better used trying to, I dunno, try different things?

I just wonder why they waste so much money on projects they abort soon.

See, I don't get this. It's like saying "Well, we've tossed in billions upon billions of dollars down a hole with no end in sight already, why don't we just toss a few billion more in there?"

They're stopping the program since it's a *waste of money* that's taking away from other viable programs. I don't understand why people want the government to keep throwing money at the same outdated plan in the vain hope that, somehow, with enough money, you'll hit some magic point where the money spent actually becomes economically sound.

Man, shit. Give me 10 million dollars ever year and I'll show you a productive space program. Trust me. I'll always project completion 5 years in the future.

Look for the upside (0, Troll)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561580)

Hey, look at the upside. Now when the usual suspects use the tired argument, "If we can put a man on the moon we can do X." just look at em and say "But we CAN'T put a man on the moon anymore. Our might forebearers could do that but we can't. Morons like you traded all that for a welfare state."

Re:Look for the upside (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561602)

riiight.... because skipping around on the Moon is sooo much more beneficial to society than giving medicine to poor sick people. Oh, wait... I just realized you're a fucking parrot moron. Forget what I said... going to the Moon is stupid. Give me medicine.

Re:Look for the upside (-1, Flamebait)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561650)

Loserboy nerd, you want medicine you PAY for it. Any society that gives priority to simply plug holes that should not be there in the first place will simply turn backwards and fade away. Setting yourself higher goals makes it simpler to take on the other challenges.
Skipping around on the Moon means technical challenges that foster technological progress. It means more scientists, more engineers, more skilled jobs that cannot be outsourced to Bumfuckay and will stay around for at least a couple of decades, and the indirect benefits of the research and development will find their way into the market, adding to the country's competitivity.
Besides, the money spent by NOT going anywhere anymore is peanuts compared to the pork-barrel shit that's going on. If you're so determined to get medicine to the poor sick people, why don't you give away all the money you don't need to survive? Hey, that's a good idea: let's tax you to the point that you only have money to eat, pay the rent, and go to the movies once per year. The rest goes to the poor.
Shit on your own face, my excrements are too precious for that.

Re:Look for the upside (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561776)

Ah, I see you're one of those people that are self made. No one helped you, it wasn't luck, it wasn't fate, just you alone against the world with the same exact starting point as anyone else. All your blessings you gained for yourself, and none came any other way, huh.

The poor still pay taxes, dick wad. Taxes payed for the Apollo Missions. I'll bet anything the poor outnumber you sophisticated science-types about a million to one. Also, I think they'd rather have $2 worth of free antibiotic than whatever fantastic discoveries await you on the Moon at a cost of trillions (but, oh, man, tang and microwave ovens made it sooo worth it!).

Then again, you have a point... those poor engineers and scientists... what WILL become of them if we DON'T go to the Moon? They certainly can't advance science on Earth, certainly not if medicine is socialized!

Hey, IQ22, keep up the good work for humanity. We're all counting on you.

Re:Look for the upside (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561798)

Good thing most people in power haven't historically shared your worldview, or we'd still be debating whether it's worthwhile to move out of the caves.

Re:Look for the upside (2, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561894)

nice exaggeration... you are comparing the Earth to a cave... and leaving the Earth is as simple as walking out of the cave unafraid.

My point is the rather severe problems we have should be attended to before we shoot the Moon. If it was as simple as walking out of a cave, that'd be another story. but it's not like that at all, and your metaphor is not well received.. If you can't imagine yourself in a less fortunate position, there is something wrong.

Re:Look for the upside (2, Informative)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561864)

The poor still pay taxes, dick wad.

No they don't. [ntu.org] . Bottom 50% earners pay less than 3% of total taxes collected. Bottom 47% pay nothing [cnn.com] . Top 5% pay 60%.

Re:Look for the upside (5, Insightful)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561964)

federal income taxes != taxes

gas, state and local sales, state income, property, &c

thanks for playing

Re:Look for the upside (1)

frinkacheese (790787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561784)

Yeah but he is not a troll, he is just telling the truth. In the US you have kids with leukemia with parents unable to afford the best treatment, but hey you it's OK because you can go to the moon! In the UK we have our kids looked after and getting the treatment they need but no moon..

guess what I would rather have.

Re:Look for the upside (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561844)

Duh! the moon is ours britfag, care to spend a dime on those kids teeth?

10 USAUSAUSA
20 61 STATE!!!!!1
30 goto 10

Re:Look for the upside (2, Insightful)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561846)

I liken the attitude, the irresponsible attitude, to really really wanting to go to Disney World. You want to go so bad, you rationalize the cost, even if you can't really afford it. That is the issue. We can't afford it. Discovery is not a right or a necessity, it is a luxury. If the return on the investment was actually knowable, or even if Apollo had been a remotely profitable investment, it might not be so clear cut. But as it is, whatever discoveries await us on the Moon will still be there when we can finally afford it. Discovery is not going anywhere. In the meantime, the neighbors' kids are hungry and sick. Yes, that is EVERYONE'S responsibility. If you disagree, save up your cash, and please go live on the Moon. And don't come back until you understand... it's not me against you, or us against them, or everyone for themselves... we are all in it together. The world would be a better place if these space cadets would read and understand Kant, or MLK, or Ghandi, rather than trying to find the most expensive way imaginable to kill themselves.

Re:Look for the upside (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561946)

> If the return on the investment was actually knowable...

I know the US was the undisputed tech leader during the NASA era. We aren't anymore. Correlation doesn't always mean causation but in this case it almost certainly does.

> Discovery is not going anywhere. In the meantime, the neighbors' kids are hungry and sick.

Uh huh. By that 'logic' we wouldn't spend a dime on any R&D until we had made the world a utopia where nobody was ever wanting for anything. But of course we don't have the wealth to even attempt such a thing and the sort of socialism needed to try would destroy the world's productive economies. R&D is the way out you fool. We can argue whether we should be spending our R&D on space, safe nuke plants, green bullshit or whatever but saying R&D can't happen until we have heaven on Earth is a sign of a unserious person.

> Yes, that is EVERYONE'S responsibility. If you disagree, save up your cash, and please go live on the Moon.

No it isn't everyone's responsibility. First off, care to explain why society shouldn't be telling prospective parents "If you can't feed em, don't breed em!" I don't object to private charity to help those who have the unusual/unexpected happen to them but I do object when the State trys to do it. For they always make things worse, creating an entitlement mentality such as you exhibit.

And if we could, many of us WOULD go to the moon to escape the sort of civilizational suicide folks such as yourself represent. But we can't. After all, even Columbus's three ships (fully equiped and manned) represented the sort of inventment few private sources could have managed and space, for now, is a lot bigger job. Of course the potential rewards are equally greater if we but had the imagination to seize it.

Going to the moon and then losing the will to plant a colony will almost certainly be remembered as the moment our civilization failed. It would be like Moses leading his people to the Promised Land, them looking over the mountain and saying, "Nah, too hard we are going back to Egypt."

Re:Look for the upside (5, Funny)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561624)

I vote we just send you to the Moon... with no health insurance.

Re:Look for the upside (0, Redundant)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561654)

Um yea, Can I go with him. I have a feeling it will be a lot better up there then what is to come down here.

Re:Look for the upside (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561726)

yes, go. by all means.... if you really think the sky is falling. We can use the air.

Re:Look for the upside (4, Insightful)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561698)

Social insurance and spaceflight are not mutually exclusive.

I imagine if you swap two wars for a space program, we could be halfway to Mars by now (at least).

Re:Look for the upside (-1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561778)

To put things in perspective, some figures from 2009 budget:

NASA: $17 billion
Welfare (SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment): $1.9 trillion

We could have a decent space program for rounding error money in entitlements budget. Medicare alone wastes $60 billion [senate.gov] a year in overpayments and fraud.

Wars are a different matter, you gotta fight wars.

Re:Look for the upside (5, Insightful)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561852)

Umm...things like Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment aren't real welfare, just social nets. People paid into SS, Medicare and Unemployment and that is why they get them, true welfare programs, like Aid for Families with Children go to people who never really paid into them.

Re:Look for the upside (0, Troll)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561944)

Not really. The money you put in is just another tax, the money you get out is just another welfare payout. How much you put in has very little relation to how much you get back: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCdgv7n9xCY [youtube.com]

Re:Look for the upside (4, Informative)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561872)

Wars are a different matter, you gotta fight wars.

Only if they are defensive wars against other nation states who attacked you. The problem with the US policy is that it attacks others "preemptively" (the very same official reason given by Hitler when he attacked Poland and by Japan when it struck at Pearl Harbor) or attacks nations in pursuit of amorphous non-state entities and on other, flimsiest of excuses all the while pursuing a thinly-veiled strategy of global domination.

In this context "gotta" apparently is a result of a supremacist attitude and total disregard for anything but greed and thirst for power, very like that of a typical citizen of Ancient Rome who too would believe that the Empire just "gotta" expand into those "barbarian" lands to bring "civilization" in exchange for a slight payment of loot and slaves.

In modern times the US exacts a different kind of payment for exporting of its "civilization" but on the altar of its self-declared superiority, the dead just keep piling up all the same.

Re:Look for the upside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561878)

Wars are a different matter, you gotta fight wars.

Oh, man! That was a good one. You really had me going there. For a second, I thought you actually believed that people who don't jump through every single humiliating hoop placed in their path but somehow manage to still get money are fraudsters! I even had time to draw the conclusion that you were implying that nonworking poor, elderly, & disabled people taking government money is 'criminal' or 'wrong,' but that nonworking managers, bosses and bureaucrats taking workers' money is not, before I realized that you were joking!

Man, this internet thing is hard!

Re:Look for the upside (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561890)

Wars are a different matter, you gotta fight wars.

Or what happens?

Troops overseas are always questionable if they are draining more resources than they are gaining.

The variables are so numerous that nobody can know, and anybody that does claim to be able to analyze all the possible outcomes, is pulling the answers out their rectum.

Switzerland has survived for a very long time without fighting a war, they do have a defense force, and a military, but they don't piss a substantial portion of their GDP away on munitions and such.

I urge you to consider that maybe, not having so many troops abroad would improve our boarder security, and allow us to allocate more resources to R and D, business development, social programs, the arts, and improved education systems. Just a thought. and maybe the wars are the best thing for the country, but it is still unlikely that the foreign wars "need" fought, even if it turns out to be the most advantageous course of action for the country.

Re:Look for the upside (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561918)

Social insurance and spaceflight are not mutually exclusive.

I imagine if you swap two wars for a space program, we could be halfway to Mars by now (at least).

ok, I'd go for that. I wish we could do that.

Re:Look for the upside (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561704)

I believe what you meant was you traded that for giving all your money to China, health insurance companies and greedy doctors.

Re:Look for the upside (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561804)

Traded it for a welfare state? Last I checked communist Russia had a manned space program, as does communist China. More communist countries have put people in space than capitalist countries, and pretty soon ONLY communist (and formerly communist) countries will be able to put people into space. We're the only ones who can't seem to pay for both the general welfare, and a manned space program.

Re:Look for the upside (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561880)

Communist Russia? Did I miss something? Say what you will about Russia today, but true communism hasn't existed there for some time now. The only true more-or-less communist countries left are Cuba, N. Korea and China. Russia has embraced capitalism for better or worse, mostly they have adopted the worst parts.

Welcome to the 21st century. Enjoy your stay.

And before you say I don't know what I'm talking about... how many times have YOU been to Russia?

Re:Look for the upside (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561842)

Morons like you traded all that for a welfare state."

$738 Billion was spent on "National Defense." Compare that to NASA's budget.

Re:Look for the upside (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561906)

NASA needs to look at the weather report in the morning, and not when the lunar is in view. This might be cloudy without a chance of meat.

A little part of me dies here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561606)

As a young Canadian whose intended career path would have hopefully ended up with spaceflight on a NASA craft, I want to thank NASA for crushing the dreams of children everywhere.

Re:A little part of me dies here (0, Troll)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561672)

Thank your own fabulous country for not having a manned space program, instead of dreaming to hitch a ride on someone else's spacecraft. That will teach you not to rely on others.

Re:A little part of me dies here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561728)

...one that said fabulous country's manned space program helped build. Idiot.

Are we smarter or stupider? (-1, Troll)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561612)

There's debate over whether we got a man on the moon, but this is more or less proving that with today's workforce we can't seem to do it. Commercial space efforts are springing up... but they're only focused on bringing money-making payloads like satellites and tourists into zero-gravity or a spot relative to the Earth, but not anywhere close to the moon.

Meanwhile, as this planet becomes less inhabitable, the idea of humanity continuing on the moon or Mars is gaining popularity... but who's going to fund development of such places? If the USA isn't funding NASA and the USSR isn't around to fund a competitor... just who's going to pay the bills?

So, are we smarter for not falling for another moon hoax, or stupider that we lost the ability to do something that was accomplished by our previous generation?

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561674)

the idea of humanity continuing on the moon or Mars is gaining popularity

Really? Maybe if enough people BELIEVE...

Seriously, there is no place on Earth as deadly as the surface of the Moon or Mars. There is no place on Earth that costs as much as a hundredth, maybe a thousandth of the cost of just getting to the Moon, much less Mars, much less staying for any period of time.

These people you speak of... you really think they have any idea of what they're proposing? I'm all for fantasy and imagination, but at the end of the day, no matter how bad the Earth gets, it's exponentially more comfortable and practical than any other place in the Solar System.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561730)

Seriously, there is no place on Earth as deadly as the surface of the Moon or Mars. There is no place on Earth that costs as much as a hundredth, maybe a thousandth of the cost of just getting to the Moon, much less Mars, much less staying for any period of time.

The same could have been said of America or Australia from the perspective of Europe, before colonisation.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561912)

um... your numbers are WAY off. Sure, pre colonization period, probably god awful expensive to move to America. But, even with inflation (heh), it doesn't even begin to match the relative cost of space exploration.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561986)

Pretty sure there were air, water, animals and plants in the Americas and Australia before Europeans got there. I heard a legend once that there were even indigenous people!

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (2, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561732)

> but at the end of the day, no matter how bad the Earth gets, it's exponentially more comfortable and practical than any other place in the Solar System.

While you are correct as far as your limited imagination goes, ponder these notions:

1. One medium size nickel-iron asteroid has more metal content than pretty much everything we will need for decades. Space has a LOT of resources and there isn't any sort of ecology to worry about despoiling. So do YOU care about the environment? Or are you a poser interested in the egoboo of recycling your plastic Walmart bags? Or perhaps a pave the Earth nutjob? (See how easy it is?)

2. The one thing space has is space. Something we have run out of here, there aren't any places to go here and start over. Yes there are barren hellholes almost as hard to colonize as space but you won't escape the long arm of civilizatrion ANYWHERE earthside. A frontier is a great social relief valve, allowing a certain personality type to be a useful asset instead of a bomb waiting to go off.

3. Sooner or later Earth is doomed. If we are still all here when that happens we go extinct.

4. Resources expended on space exploration has a hell of a lot more useful economic benefits than warehousing losers in housing projects.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1, Insightful)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561886)

Sooner or later Earth is doomed. If we are still all here when that happens we go extinct.

Sometimes I wonder if that would be a bad thing.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561970)

> Sometimes I wonder if that would be a bad thing.

Then give yourself a Darwin Award and get the hell out of the way of those of us who actually give a damn. But of course you won't do it anymore than than asshat Peter Singer (look up his latest NYT column) will off himself. No, your type would want to be the last one out after you make sure all the useful people are killed off.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (3, Interesting)

catmistake (814204) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561982)

I take issue with 2, 3, and 4.

2. There's lots of space at the bottom of the ocean. It's a lot less dangerous, and a lot cheaper, too. See my point? Space is a barren hell hole that makes the barren hell holes on Earth a paradise. I don't know what you've heard, but... Space... it's not a nice place.

3. You are mistaken... wrong headed here... it's humanity that is doomed sooner or later, not Earth. Earth is a rock. Matter can neither be created nor destroyed. Even after the Sun novas, there will still be Earth... just quite a but different than it is now... maybe not all in one place either. People are what matters about Earth, and little else (my cats, too!).

4. The point of housing those that can't afford it is not about economic advancement. It's about being human. You should try it.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1)

mweather (1089505) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561818)

Seriously, there is no place on Earth as deadly as the surface of the Moon or Mars.

Wait till WW3 happens or an asteroid hits. Then other planets aren't going to look like such a bad place to live. If we stay here, we go extinct.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561740)

There's debate over whether we got a man on the moon

Why wouldn't the USSR say anything about it being fake? Unlike today, back then both the USSR and the USA put a lot of effort on their space programs.

Sending humans to space is generally a bad idea and, AFAIK, is only done for propaganda purposes. Humans aren't fit for space. Maybe in the ISS it's worth it, but not for Moon/Mars missions since robots should be able to do a better (can stay there for years making a huge collection of rocks) and cheaper job.

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561808)

Maybe in the ISS it's worth it, but not for Moon/Mars missions since robots should be able to do a better (can stay there for years making a huge collection of rocks) and cheaper job.

"Can," assuming, you know, dust devils consistantly clean off the solar panels, don't crash on landing, don't get stuck in dust a mear half inch thick, don't get buried under a sheet of ice, and are free of mechanical defects.

Humans were able to bring back hundreds of pounds of moon rocks. How much have Mars landers been able to bring back? Heck, how much have moon landers been able to bring back (hint: this one's a non-zero answer)?

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561904)

How much have Mars landers been able to bring back?

As much as their mission required them to. They may not have full labs there, but they can still send useful information. In my opinion it's better to send a few bots from time to time than to send a dude there once, or twice if we're lucky.
If we're going to colonize the Moon, bots will have to build a base there first (remember that it has no atmosphere, so the base will either be heavy or underground, so it would be unlikely to come pre-built).

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561928)

Humans aren't fit for space

Humans aren't fit to fly from Australia to Europe in 20 hours at mach 0.8 but somehow we manage to make it routine and safe.

(the satay sticks with peanut sauce in MAS business class are absolutely FTW).

Re:Are we smarter or stupider? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561760)

There's debate over whether we got a man on the moon

Buzz Aldrin ended that debate. Does he have to end it again? Can I have your WGS84 coordinates please?

Good (3, Insightful)

jacks smirking reven (909048) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561618)

At this point in US space travel's history it seems like we're in a transition period. The old technology has finally caught up with itself and now without the Shuttle we must pay the penance for its mistakes and not having proper plans afterwards. Rushing into a new manned programmed for what seems like no good reason other then to just do it will be a waste of money and take awy from developing tech. Spend the next 10 years using robots for science (the area NASA/JPL does very well with) and develop new propulsion, energy, life support etc for a new manned directive in the future. In the meantime let commercial ventures work out some new low cost delivery systems. Any plan for a moon base would involve robot systems paving the away ahead before humans regardless so let's focus those funds long term rather then making a couple of special interests happy.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561660)

The problem is, with whatever-will-replace-the-Shuttle system scrapped... we've got nothing capable of docking at IIS left. There's a few contractor projects in development so that problem will be solved shortly, but right now there's a void. If we can't maintain IIS without serious help, then just how are we going to build anything on top of that project? Some plans for a moon base would use IIS as a staging area... but if that project goes the way of SkyLab... just what is NASA exploring again?

Re:Good (3, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561696)

The problem is, with whatever-will-replace-the-Shuttle system scrapped... we've got nothing capable of docking at IIS left.

I don't think IIS is involved. Its the International Space Station.

Re:Good (1, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561710)

IIS is really the USA/Russia space station. (Take two countries and call it International?) Anybody else who wants to use it has to rent a seat on the Space Shuttle or a Russian ship to get there... and with us about to scrap the Shuttle program, what's left?

Re:Good (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561738)

So what do the initials IIS stand for?

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561816)

So...the Japanese and Europeans have NOT built modules attached to it?

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561700)

I don't think you understand. There will be no development in propulsion systems or energy or life support capable of carrying man because we have effectively seen manned flights ended. If the entire idea was simply scaled back to what you were saying, I don't think there would be much objection, but the problem is that this has essentially ended the concept so the development will not take place. Other agency might work on things they have no directive for or programs to use it with, but NASA has been very careful to get the most out of it's money in the past and will do so in the future. They won't work on things they aren't supposed to be doing.

And yes, Propulsion systems, energy system as well as life support systems get certified in different ways depending on if man is involved in the flight or not because of more stringent requirements for manned flights. This is so we can't make joke about lost crews like the one about the shuttle crew all having dandruff- their head and shoulders washed up on the beach.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561786)

The problem is in the current climate any new ship will just be a giant clusterfuck, as every little piggy politician will be lining up to have some shuttle widget added to it so they can bring home the bacon. I mean, did you SEE Constellation? What a mess!

The only reason we were able to make it before was the greedy little piggies were willing to STFU to a point so we could beat the Ruskies. With no Ruskies to beat the piggies would be feeding before you even laid out the first drawing, and frankly wouldn't give a shit if we blew 100 billion on it and the thing couldn't get off the ground, as long as the bacon, along with some nice kickbacks...errr...campaign contributions, ended up in their fat pockets. Sorry, but at least with small robotic probes there is less for them to feed upon.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561866)

Not really. They can pack the pork on robotic missions as well. The key difference might be the amount of pork which can be piled on to a single project. But without the extras of manned flight, there is bound to be more projects so it will likely equal out.

Even so, keeping the goals and projects but extending the time line would continue getting the work done. I would prefer my tax dollars going to NASA for manned flight then some of the other places it goes.

NOT Good (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561856)

Spend the next 10 years using robots for science (the area NASA/JPL does very well with) and develop new propulsion, energy, life support etc for a new manned directive in the future. In the meantime let commercial ventures work out some new low cost delivery systems.

As an astronaut has said recently (I think it was Armstrong himself), you cannot say "develop technology for next 10 years". Technology doesn't appear out of nowhere. Any technology developed is to get to some goal, be it digging a well or landing on the Moon or Mars. If there is no goal to land a man on Mars or to have long term presence on the Moon, then such technology will not be developed. It's as simple as that.

We currently have our multi-core, 64-bit processors and 8+GB of RAM in our computers at affordable prices only because of AMD and Intel rivalry for the almighty dollar. If AMD never existed, Intel would never needed to develop the technology they currently use. We would have our Pentium Pros and we would have to be happy with them, as a step up in performance would be the Itanics. Goals and an attempt to reach such goals is what drives technology and development, not mere attempt to "we want technology".

But then who needed that useless Apollo program anyway, eh? NASA was one of the only major purchasers of early silicon chip technology. Without that money for that "special interest" of silicon chips lasting 10-15 years, well, modern CPUs would have been a pipe dream. Definitely no PCs today and everything that they encompass.. Apollo program payed for itself 1000x over just through their funding of the early silicon technology.

Good Riddance (5, Funny)

PiAndWhippedCream (1566727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561620)

Unless we can set up a colony there, it just isn't worth it.

The moon, you see, is a harsh mistress.

YEAHHHHHHHH!

Re:Good Riddance (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561706)

Unless we can set up a colony there, it just isn't worth it.

The moon, you see, is a harsh mistress.

But what if they start throwing rocks?

Re:Good Riddance (2, Funny)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561908)

he moon, you see, is a harsh mistress.

The wife is worse when she finds out you have a mistress.

NASA never cared for the moon. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561622)

They were forced into this at gunpoint by bush. With an administration which is less insane they can start dismantling what they never wanted in the first place. Bush's madness all but destroyed NASA's science program.

space stations (1)

mogness (1697042) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561630)

Ya, I mean, it's kind of sad, but lets not forget we now have people living in outer space on the ISS. I don't think we're losing any scientific benefit we might get from a trip to the moon.

Good (4, Interesting)

Your Anus (308149) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561636)

Constellation, particularly Ares, was a boondoggle that was years behind schedule and was never going to get us there. Now we can work on Mars and do it in a feasible manner. Commercial companies like SpaceX can handle the LEO stuff, and maybe even heavy lift. Also, it gets rid of ATK, who should have never gotten another contract after blowing up Challenger.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561702)

If nothing else, the Constellation program will have served the useful purpose of distracting ATK and other folks who were milking the program away from the shuttle long enough for that obsolete program to be shut down gracefully. Management at ATK has been hinting that the company will virtually shut down without Ares or the shuttle. Memo from Free Enterprise to ATK management: if you depend on a single customer to sustain your company, you deserve to go bankrupt.

Re:Good (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561762)

Constellation, particularly Ares, was a boondoggle that was years behind schedule and was never going to get us there.

Now we can work on Mars and do it in a feasible manner. Commercial companies like SpaceX can handle the LEO stuff, and maybe even heavy lift.

Also, it gets rid of ATK, who should have never gotten another contract after blowing up Challenger.

I think we agree on the ultimate aims here, but private companies aren't ready to man-launch yet... Elon Musk has openly said he'll need hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies to get SpaceX's products man rated.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561834)

Isn't that a fraction of what NASA has cost? Seems like the better option if we're looking at it from a cost perspective.

Re:Good (1)

PeterBrett (780946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561952)

I think we agree on the ultimate aims here, but private companies aren't ready to man-launch yet... Elon Musk has openly said he'll need hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies to get SpaceX's products man rated.

Don't forget that SpaceX has already developed and successfully launch two families of launch systems from scratch for less than half of the cost of the Ares-1X launch (which didn't actually contain any actual Ares-1 flight hardware).

At the moment, it seems that giving a couple of hundred million to Musk would be a far better use of it than frittering it away on the congressmen's bacon breakfast that is Constellation.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561810)

I would agree with you except for the fact that these projects are always VERY long term focused and 90% of the time the real benefit is from the side projects that get developed at the same time. (Freeze dried food is huge business.)

Private industries simply don't have the money, let alone the willingness, to make this kind of investment. Imagine if you went to Boeing and told them "I want to develop a solar powered, stealth fighter-bomber with an estimated completion date of 2030." They'd laugh your ass outta the room.

An easy solution (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561638)

If Congress is really mad that the Obama administration is shutting down the moon program, then there is a simple way they can handle the situation. They can vote to fully fund NASA's programs. So far, all I hear from Congresscritters is lip service. If they really want to send humans back to the moon, then show us the money. Talk is cheap. Space hardware is not.

Re:An easy solution (1, Informative)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561694)

Veto overrides are rare things in the United States Congress. They require two big super-majorities, and with most everything in the Senate going 59-41 on technical votes to block straight majority votes right now, the idea of getting 67 of them to agree on anything seems out of the realm of reality. Try again when there's 67 of a kind there.

It's all about money. (2, Insightful)

centuren (106470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561640)

People act like any measures taken now determine the future of the American space program forever. The budget is what it is. If NASA needs to focus on less expensive methods of exploration, that doesn't mean it will be that way forever. If it's a major setback, that's unfortunate. It doesn't change the financial health of the country, however.

Re:It's all about money. (3, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561676)

If not us, who? If not now, when?

There's a "use it or lose it" concept with government money. If your project fails, it's likely to never get funded again. If the project comes in under budget, the amount it didn't need gets subtracted from next year's budget. Basically, if there's no funding for it now... it's pretty easy to assume it may never be funded again.

Been there, done that. (3, Insightful)

penguinman1337 (1792086) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561646)

I really don't have a problem with this. We've already been to the moon several times and have found that it is, in fact, a giant rock. I really see no reason to go there again without some kind of purpose in mind. For example, constructing some kind of permanent base there.

The problem with political oversight (3, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561652)

This is a symptom of the "winner gets the spoils" approach to administration in the US. Every administration is supposed to set new policy in every direction, which comes from the system where every new President appoints his people to jobs all over the executive. This frequent revision of policy makes sense for short-term issues, especially ones central to the election (say DOJ anti-drug projects or FTC business regulations) but is an absurd way to manage scientific and engineering projects which naturally have timescales much greater than 4 years. Having every president retask NASA (or the agency of your choice) leads to enormous waste as projects are cancelled and new projects are started so they can be cancelled by the next administration.

Highly biased article (2, Informative)

Silm (1135973) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561666)

The article and the information within don't add up. If you want a screaming article about the end of the Constellation program, direct your anger at NASA's budget, fewer then 1% ( about half of that, actually ) of the federal budget. Don't go insulting NASA. All the voices against it in this article are biased. Why do they want to keep it? Not because they support the system. They want the jobs in their district. Really, they dont care about the program at all. At a time like this, you have to ask yourself- what is NASA? A job programme, or an exploration agency? Constellation is a waste. It had to be cancelled. It was unsustainable. Even if NASA got one rocket right now ( from santa ) with all the research done - THEY COULD NOT SUSTAIN IT. It is too expensive, way more expensive then even the shuttle. Compare this: After 9 nine billion spend on the Constellation program. How much is there in orbit? After half a billion spend on a new family, SpaceX falcon have had succesfull launches, into orbit - And faster! There is something wrong with constellation and / or Nasa management. You HAVE to scrap or fix it. This cancellation could be seen by industry insiders from years away. It ended right after the beginning, when the funding was slashed by congress

Re:Highly biased article (5, Interesting)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561828)

Yep. There's a reason why some folks referred to Ares as Porklauncher I.

I cringed when I heard Alalbama Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, say the launch of Falcon 9 as a display merely replicating what "NASA accomplished in 1964." I guess he forgot that Ares IX didn't even accomplish that -- nor even equalling the accomplishment of the 1960 flight of Mercury-Redstone 1A. Ares IX took an extra shuttle SRB (not the actual 5-segment solid booster planned for Ares I), avionics from an Atlas V, and a leftover roll-control system from a Peacekeeper missile. This Frankenrocket was topped with a fake 2nd stage and capsule and was a suborbital plink.

Falcon 9 had a fully new 2-stage rocket with all the pieces -- engines, avionics, control -- in place except a payload, and it achieved orbit to within a high degree of accuracy on its first flight. And the whole Falcon 9 development program came for less than the cost of JUST the Ares I Mobile Service Tower [spaceref.com] .

The sooner the Constellation work ends the sooner NASA can start spending that money on something that will get us somewhere.

Re:Highly biased article (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561888)

And the whole Falcon 9 development program came for less than the cost of JUST the Ares I Mobile Service Tower [spaceref.com].

This makes me think that NASA might not be the right organisation to build deep space vehicles.

Re:Highly biased article (1)

sohp (22984) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561992)

I wouldn't be quite so sweeping -- NASA as mismanaged today, shoveling money at contractors more interested in a jobs program and congressional pork than a space program -- certainly is the wrong agency. Right now politically-minded upper level managers cut from the corporate CEO cloth run the show. It could be done by a NASA driven by engineering considerations the way it was until the Space Shuttle program came along.

Re:Highly biased article (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561922)

At a time like this, you have to ask yourself- what is NASA? A job programme, or an exploration agency?

Neither? It's a space agency. They should be finding ways to make a profit in space as well as explore and research.

Oh, the irony! (3, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561668)

[blockquote]An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from The Times Online:[/blockquote]

Isn't it odd that these days, more and more, Americans have to find out what their government is doing from foreign newspapers?

It was too easy (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561678)

Going to the moon now would have been Apollo all over again, with little to gain. The moon has been done and we should leave it to commercial and new scientific activity now.

If we, as a species, want a project of comparable difficulty (compared to Apollo from the 1960 perspective) then we should send a human crew to Titan.

But the problem is how to fund it. The cold war and the US taxpayer funded Apollo. The Soviet people helped in their own unique way, by showing how not to do it. A new space program would have to be a global exercise, with contributions from many countries. If we decide to have just one war less then finding the money should not be a problem.

For a couple of decades we have been avoiding an important question: why do we want human beings to go into space? We should think hard and come up with some answers pronto.

Re:It was too easy (5, Insightful)

KDN (3283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561800)

"The moon has been done?"

Hardly. The moon is the next logical stepping stone to everywhere else we want to go in the solar system.

  • To go to Mars, we need to know the effects of long term duration of humans in a low (NOT ZERO) gravity environment. We have 1G on earth, and zero G at the ISS. What happens with Mars gravity? We have no idea. Where is the nearest place to test that? The moon.
  • We need to see the effects of long term radiation exposure does to humans in space. The ISS is protected by the earth's magnetic field. Where can we test this, and get back fast if there is a severe problem? The moon.
  • We should test robots that can build a shelter remotely in a hostile environment. The earth will do at first, but to test in a low gravity and low atmosphere environment, you need the moon.

Maybe the US will wake up when China lands a man on the moon.

Re:It was too easy (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561840)

...but then you gave a few examples which have nothing to do with going to the moon. The idea of stepping stones comes from our recent experience on Earth where the places we were going to already had resources we could use (air, water, food). Space isn't like that. The rules are different. If you want an analogy imagine us as the first humans leaving Africa, but going to Antarctica instead.

The moon was a logical step which we have gone beyond. There is no point going back down a 2km/s gravity well for the sake of putting soil under our feet.

Re:It was too easy (1)

jayveekay (735967) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561976)

...we should send a human crew to Titan.

But the problem is how to fund it.

Fund it the way the other trillion+ dollars in spending over revenue is funded: Borrow the money from China. When China eventually asks for the money back, print a few trillion dollar bills and hand them over. Jokes on them, very few stores will be able to cash a trillion dollar bill.

Probably for the best (1, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561682)

I don't think the case for visiting the moon (and Mars) is compelling enough for the current economic climate [crooksandliars.com] .

Just shoot another one. (5, Funny)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561690)

They should just shoot another Moon landing footage on a studio lot in Burbank. That should be enough for another 40 years of national bravado.

Except this time we'll do it in 3-D and put it on Pay-Per-View with heavy product placement. Doritos Moonwalk? Why Not?

Re:Just shoot another one. (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561860)

Truman Burbank is alive and well and living in Fiji.

Re:Just shoot another one. (1)

Macrat (638047) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561936)

The studio is busy filming silly episodes of "NASA Edge"

Error in article header (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32561748)

Back?

beginning of the end (0, Flamebait)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561826)

The US is no longer a super power. We're no longer a nation of thinkers and doers, instead we've made ourselves into an entitlement society. We tax those that work and innovate and we subsidize those that do not work and only consume. We're doomed if entitlements aren't eliminated, they are the tools of enslaving individuals disguised as progressive freedom.

Re:beginning of the end (2, Interesting)

Barrinmw (1791848) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561892)

So according to you, the millions of people who currently want jobs but can't find them don't deserve to live? I mean, its not like there are people who do want jobs but have been unemployed for over a year.

Re:beginning of the end (3, Interesting)

IgnoramusMaximus (692000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32561966)

Absolutely! Particularly enslaved are those unable to work due to, say, debilitating diseases! If only you could convince them to die of starvation quietly, they would truly cast off their yokes of slavery and croak totally free! No?

And then there are those poor over taxed "innovators" like, say, Bill Gates, who wouldn't know innovation if he tripped over it, fell down the stairs pulling it behind him and if it landed on his face with a bone crunching impact. Poor tax molested Billy and his bunch of jolly henchmen! I mean just think how many more poorly thought-out rehashes of technologies and ideas invented in 1960s could we have if he paid less then zero in taxes (since near $0 is what Microsoft and many other pan-national conglomerates already manage quite handsomely as it is)! The mind boggles!

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