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562 comments

A better idea (1, Troll)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924560)

How about paying the government deficit that is about to default in a month so humans can habitat Earth first

Re:A better idea (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924644)

How about paying the government deficit that is about to default in a month so humans can habitat Earth first

Because if man is to survive as a species, we must leave this planet. To leave this planet, we must advance the state of the art. To advance the state of the art, we must spend money on human space exploration/colonization.

Deficits will never go away, and neither will the fact that the sun will eventually incinerate the earth.

Re:A better idea (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924694)

How about paying the government deficit that is about to default in a month so humans can habitat Earth first

Because if man is to survive as a species, we must leave this planet. To leave this planet, we must advance the state of the art. To advance the state of the art, we must spend money on human space exploration/colonization.

Deficits will never go away, and neither will the fact that the sun will eventually incinerate the earth.

I agree that we need space exploration but as an Australian I am not going to demand that it be funded by US taxpayers. The fact is that Mercury, Gemini and Apollo were funded by the cold war and this funding is long gone. It was gone in the early 1970s and its not coming back. Fortunately a lot of good research and development was done in the 1950s and 60s. Launches are cheaper and more reliable now. Maybe the gap has been closed and exploration money can come from private sources. I think that is the only way space exploration will get beyond flags and footprints.

I hate to say it but nationalism and religion were the drivers of exploration in the past. Maybe this will happen in space.

Re:A better idea (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924800)

Maybe the gap has been closed and exploration money can come from private sources.

Nope. Outer Space Treaty makes it impossible to recover the costs of exploration, since you're not allowed to actually claim anything up there as belonging to you.

Note also that the relevant government is required by that Treaty to authorize and provide supervision to any private party going into space from their soil.

For that matter, any activity in outer space can be blocked (at least temporarily), by ANY signatory to the Treaty at their discretion.

Re:A better idea (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924860)

Then we are not, realistically, going anywhere.

Re:A better idea (1, Insightful)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925018)

Would you rather the Moon and other celestial bodies be carved up by megacorps?

Re:A better idea (2, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925088)

Would you rather the Moon and other celestial bodies be carved up by megacorps?

Yes. I want a Solar System so valuable that business is willing to invest serious money in its exploitation. It's the kind of universe in which humanity has a future.

Re:A better idea (2)

Stupendoussteve (891822) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925096)

As opposed to sitting here while governments bask in bureaucracy? Say what you will about commercial interests, unless there is a war on commercial interests have been the driving force of many discoveries and innovations, not governments.

Re:A better idea (2)

CarsonChittom (2025388) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925080)

Nope. Outer Space Treaty makes it impossible to recover the costs of exploration, since you're not allowed to actually claim anything up there as belonging to you.

What you say is, of course, true. However, it's worth pointing out that pretty much every country has a history of ignoring its treaties when it's in its own best interest and when it thinks it can get away with it.

Re:A better idea (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924698)

The timescales involved are so different it is mind boggling. By starting to defend now against an event that will not happen for millions of years, you're diverting huge amounts of resources into it that could be used to position us better to do the same thing in a few years.

Re:A better idea (4, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924986)

You mean an event that will not happen for millions of years as in 2029 and 2036 [nasa.gov]? Just because the likelihood is low doesn't mean it won't happen tomorrow. Frankly, humans themselves are a *lot* more likely to make Earth uninhabitable and a lot faster than a million years.

Re:A better idea (2)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925022)

How about something catastrophic [wikipedia.org] that is actually due *now* by geologic standards?

Not all world changing events come from above...

Re:A better idea (2)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925156)

Then we're already screwed. I don't feel compelled to send some government selected Aryan to populate space.

SHRINK: Why were you up in the tree?
YOSSARIAN: Because I don't want to fly any more missions.
SHRINK: Hmmm. But we're at war fighting against a danagerous and ruthless enemy.
YOSSARIAN: Well, while I'm getting shot at here, there are lots of guys back home, going out with girls, drinking and having a good time, and I don't see why I shouldn't too.
SHRINK: But what if everyone felt that way...who'd fight the enemy?
YOSSARIAN: We'll then I'd be fool to feel any different....

Re:A better idea (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925126)

Another aspect to the diversification argument is that there are plenty of large scale disasters that would be less harmful and easier to weather with an economy enlarged by a space presence. Global-scale economic messes happen at least once a decade, maybe more often. The more of your economy that doesn't depend on real estate financial instruments and hedge funds (or whatever the fad is this time) then the better your economy can weather these man-made train wrecks.

Re:A better idea (4, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924784)

Because if man is to survive as a species, we must leave this planet. To leave this planet, we must advance the state of the art. To advance the state of the art, we must spend money on human space exploration/colonization.

Deficits will never go away, and neither will the fact that the sun will eventually incinerate the earth.

If your worried about the sun going nova, then take a couple of deep breaths and relax. We've got time. Although I strongly support the space program, we would do better as a species if we realized that we're NOT getting off this rock anytime soon and we'd best spend some energy keeping what we've got habitable.

Supporting the space program could be done without materially increasing the deficit (NASA takes up some tiny fraction of the US budget at present). But it really bugs me when congresscritters put up stupid bills like this one. You get all sorts of earmarks and pork embedded in it, you get NASA (or whatever organization) pulled in all sorts of usually contradictory ways. You get things changing from year to year. If someone came up with a bill that funded NASA with x% of the Federal Budget for 50 years, maybe I could go for that but the current bill is just grandstanding and appeasing his constituents.

Re:A better idea (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925112)

Given the historical location of much NASA activity, and the introduction of the bill by the senator for Florida, it would probably be more efficient to pick out the parts that aren't pork than the ones that are.

Re:A better idea (2)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924804)

How about paying the government deficit that is about to default in a month so humans can habitat Earth first

Because if man is to survive as a species, we must leave this planet. To leave this planet, we must advance the state of the art. To advance the state of the art, we must spend money on human space exploration/colonization.

Deficits will never go away, and neither will the fact that the sun will eventually incinerate the earth.

Why must we leave the planet? Nothing is going to happen to it. The Earth is a lot tougher than we are, and will be here for a long long time, so "man is destroying Earth" isn't a reason. Are you betting on the mother of comets or asteroids hitting?

As far as deficits not going away, uh, yes, they can. It's just a matter of will. In fact, I say to you that, one way or the other, deficits are going away soon. Because either we're going to get our fiscal house in order and cut our budgets, or we're simply going to default, declare the debt null and void (with all of the hellishness on Earth that entails), and start over. We don't really have much of a choice otherwise. It's either fix it or go all Tyler Durden and blow it all up for a fresh start.

Re:A better idea (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924880)

Why must we leave the planet? Nothing is going to happen to it.

Other than vaporize when the Sun goes red-giant, you mean?

There really isn't a good reason why humans should not outlive the planet. Or the Sun, for that matter.

But we can't do the former without moving into space, and we can't do the latter without moving on out to the stars.

Re:A better idea (2)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924964)

GP's concern with a nova or supernova seems to me to be displaced - but I am betting on that mother of all asteroids. Somewhere out there, I'm quite certain that there is a rock on a collision course with the earth. It may or may not be large enough to "destroy the earth" - but it doesn't need to be that big to "end life as we know it" on earth. There is evidence of previous rocks, one of them in Siberia, one in the Gulf of Mexico, that were truly devastating, with global implications. Other less devastating rocks have hit the earth many times. "Less devastating" is a relative term, of course. Many rocks have hit the earth with enough force to destroy any one of our modern day cities. The fact that we had no direct witnesses to the events leads many of us to dismiss the very idea of it ever happening again.

Imagine, one morning, waking up to news that Hong Kong had been obliterated, and the resulting seismic activity had generated tidal waves that pretty much eliminated all the coastal cities in China, Korea, Japan, and much of the rest of the Pacific. Or, put that rock on Manhattan, or Paris, or - any city that is dear to you.

It really isn't a question of "if" such an event will happen, but "when" it will happen. And, please, don't even try to make us believe that NORAD or any other agency is ready and able to deflect a rock fifty or a hundred miles in diameter. That made an alright movie - but it isn't happening in real life, in this day and age.

Re:A better idea (4, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925046)

The Earth is a lot tougher than we are, and will be here for a long long time, so "man is destroying Earth" isn't a reason.

If you mean that the pile of crushed metal is still 'technically' a car sure we aren't destroying the earth. We are destroying the environment we absolutely need to survive. That's pretty much what people mean when "we're destroying the earth".

Re:A better idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925086)

Space Nutter detected. Religion-like arguments detected! No rational basis given for beliefs! Ignorance of material and energetical limits!

"Deficits will never go away, and neither will the fact that the sun will eventually incinerate the earth."

But what about the universe itself? And what about the fact you won't live long enough anyways to see the results of your "efforts"? You are full of self-important romantic nonsense about things that no one else normal cares about.

Re:A better idea (0, Troll)

msauve (701917) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925100)

Hey, great. You send your dollars to the Space Foundation, or whoever. I choose not to, 'cause the sun isn't going to incinerate the earth in my lifetime, or the lifetime of anyone I'll ever know. Don't presume to use the force of government to make me contribute to your cause, unless you're going to contribute to mine, which is funding my retirement account.

Re:A better idea (2)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925140)

RE: "leave this planet"

ha! the human race is doomed to this star system, we as a species will never get beyond this solar system, its a HUGE waste of money & resources & manpower to even try,

Re:A better idea (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924706)

LOL? You do realize money is a pretend construct that we don't need to live.

Re:A better idea (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924738)

Money stands for human effort. When you borrow money, you take the product of someone's effort in exchange for a promise to repay that effort. You'll either have to work real hard in the future, or piss someone off by defaulting on your promise of devaluing your money (in which case no one will take it any more again).

Re:A better idea (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924776)

Money has no intrinsic value. It only stands for what you want to imagine it stands for. If ildon chooses to ignore that artificial construct, arguing that your construct is "real" doesn't make little green pieces of cloth any more valuable to him.

Re:A better idea (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924806)

ildon may be self sufficient, but the United States Government is not. It needs money to get people to do things for it, and it needs people to believe the money they get will get other people to do things for them.

Re:A better idea (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925024)

It is much much worse than just not paying for things.

The government holds much of the world's wealth in bonds and the tax payers end up paying for it on interest. If it defaults we could expect a 16% interest like Greece and many Grandma's 401ks and even your home mortgage will be effected. This is because the banks have money in bonds paying for the deficit and will have to raise rates and deny loans to people and businesses that hire if they lose money. Your 401k may even have companies that have a certain percentage of your savings in bonds.

No bailouts will be possible again this time as the republicans have control and the people will refuse it. A depression will come next as we still never fully recovered from the crash of 2008. Government spending only hid it.

So people will starve if it defaults and people will lose jobs. Bad indeed. Over 1 million people starved to death in the 1930s. Something to think about and I do not think the average citizen is informed enough about how serious this problem is.

Re:A better idea (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924966)

Money is what other people imagine it stands for.

Case in point if I am starving and mentioned money is not real to the cashier at a grocery store she would laugh at me and show me the door.

Now if I have lots of it I can buy a shelter, car, or hell anything I want!

Money is real and represents time in economics. People work for you producing if you have it making you dinner or building your house. If you need money you are the one producing for somebody else in exchange of it.

Yes, you will die without it. You also do not have to work and can consume more with it.

Re:A better idea (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925114)

I'm not arguing that money can't be used to buy things or that it isn't essential in the modern world, I'm just supporting the argument that it has no intrinsic value, which it doesn't.

Re:A better idea (1)

ildon (413912) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924896)

No one is going to be unable to inhabit earth just because a government runs out of it. Worst comes to worst you can just grow some crops and hunt some small game. You're not going to fall over dead just because you're $10 trillion in debt. Unless someone murders you over it, I guess.

Re:A better idea (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924730)

How about telling your representatives [popvox.com] what you think?

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924852)

Because they don't listen to us unless we have "Inc", "Corp" as a last name.

Or: (2)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925002)

Or AARP, or AIPAC, or NRA, or SEIU or AFLCIO etc. Yes, those are nonprofits and or unions, but I don't think that was what you were implying.

Just have money or organzation that can help with elections and they'll listen.

Re:A better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924922)

Ok. Then let's just repeal the Bush tax cuts. Problem (almost) solved.

Re:A better idea (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925116)

It's sad that we don't have this attitude toward everything else. It's only when it comes to extraordinary scientific exploration that we adopt the frugal mindset of having to pay for things before we try to do more things.

And why would we... (1)

Tinctorius (1529849) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924586)

... want to live on the moon if we can't even properly live on Earth?

Re:And why would we... (1)

Hultis (1969080) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924624)

Maybe because we can't live on Earth? Once we've depleted the resources on Earth or destroyed it in another manner we need to be able to spread to different planets and give them the same fate (no, I don't think we will have learned our lesson by then).

Re:And why would we... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924660)

no, I don't think we will have learned our lesson by then

Even if we make our existence on Earth perfectly sustainable, the sun will eventually go red giant.

Re:And why would we... (1)

Hultis (1969080) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924752)

Granted, but considering the staggering amount of time before that happens we will likely have mastered a whole lot of technology that can easily be transfered to space technology even if we don't invest in space tech per se. Enough to colonize other planets anyway.

Re:And why would we... (1)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924756)

Going to the moon or other planets does nothing to prevent it.

Re:And why would we... (1)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924870)

Going to the moon or other planets does nothing to prevent it.

No. But developing the technology to go to other planets gives some chance of surviving it.

OK, so the moon itself won't help much... but the tech to live on the moon might be helpful for living on other planets.

Re:And why would we... (1)

dccase (56453) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925106)

> No. But developing the technology to go to other planets gives some chance of surviving it.

If we can develop to live on the dead rock of the Moon, that tech would let us live here no matter what we do to the planet.

Pave the Earth

Re:And why would we... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924836)

Even if we make our existence on Earth perfectly sustainable, the sun will eventually go red giant.

Just a tip - DON'T use this as an excuse not to balance your checkbook.

Re:And why would we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924820)

What exactly is this lesson you speak of?

Re:And why would we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924692)

Seems to me like we're doing a pretty good job of living here on Earth. Most of us don't have to think about survival, we're multiplying like hell and we spend most of our time worrying about unimportant issues like what we think our overlord humans should do with our "money".

Re:And why would we... (1)

CapOblivious2010 (1731402) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924902)

Seems to me like we're doing a pretty good job of living here on Earth. Most of us don't have to think about survival, we're multiplying like hell and we spend most of our time worrying about unimportant issues like what we think our overlord humans should do with our "money".

Seems to me like we're going a pretty BAD job of living here on Earth. Most of us have no idea what it takes to survive, we're overpopulating the planet like hell, and we spend most of our time worrying about American Idol.

The fact that we're interested in what our "overlord humans" do with the substantial fraction of our labors that they lay claim to is the only ray of hope.

Re:And why would we... (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924996)

"we're multiplying like hell"

More than enough reason to explore and colonize space. You should look at a culture in a petrie dish sometime. The organisms consume all the resources available, then start producing the very poisons that will kill off the culture. That's us. We're over crowded already, and it's only going to get worse.

Re:And why would we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924726)

go back? We never went there in the first place!

Re:And why would we... (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924932)

What does this even mean? We're living quite well on earth. This is the height of human civilization. Why not keep pushing to greater heights? Yeah, I get your point that we could take all the money for manned space industry and buy rice and send it to all the starving people on the planet. That's very noble and all...but we're always going to have these kinds of problems on earth. Diverting money from the manned space program for humanitarian purposes isn't going to change much. Population control is going to be the only thing that will bring those problems (including global warming) under some kind of control.

Re:And why would we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925102)

Here's how we can solve all the problems on earth:
a) Stop procreating.

The problem is that there are so many countries out there that just have rampant birth rates, willingly taking yourself out of the procreation cycle does nothing. Similar to climate change laws, it requires cooperation of all the countries out there, to set population density targets and "feed yourself first" laws.

This would lower the stress on the environment, and most importantly, remove the tension from welfare states between the have and have-not's.

Some countries that have high incidents of female infanticide (http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html ) may actually solve this problem in their own countries by doing nothing. By doing nothing, over the course of a century, it would return the population into balance.

On the other side of things, countries like Japan which their overall population is in decline may send themselves as a race into extinction, much like how blondes have.

But the huge problem is the USA. Every one American is responsible for a lot more stress on the planet than any one person anywhere else on the world. So the solution, is clearly to halt all immigration, no matter how qualified someone is, and only accept population trades (eg like "Cap and trade" climate agreements) between countries with the same climate footprint. So maybe allow 10 East Indians, but India has to accept 50 Americans in trade.

It's silly, would probably work in theory if everyone agreed. However will never come to pass and I think thermonuclear warfare is going to cull the population instead.

Re:And why would we... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925006)

... want to live on the moon if we can't even properly live on Earth?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana_fallacy

Rovers and robots (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924588)

Why waste the money on transporting meat bags to the moon? Send rovers and robots.

Re:Rovers and robots (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925154)

Because that's the point. We don't send rovers and robots to the Moon because we're all that interested in the science. We're not as a whole. We're doing it because some day, we'll have a lot of people in space and whatever we do on the Moon, whether it involves people directly or not, will support that.

Umm... (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924592)

How does this advance the Republican goal of balancing the budget?

Re:Umm... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924626)

How does this advance the Republican goal of balancing the budget?

Rep. Bill Posey, Republican of Florida has a plan for Florida's budget.

Re:Umm... (0, Flamebait)

Spewns (1599743) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924646)

How does this advance the Republican goal of balancing the budget?

Since when is that the Republican goal? See: military/war/offense spending.

Re:Umm... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924890)

Since a "socialist" got elected to office. Economics are not the Republicans' strong suit. They worship the guy who slashed taxes so much in the early 80s that he had to go back and reraise them almost every single year he was in office, but a Democrat wanting to let George Bush's tax cuts expire to help bring down the deficit they caused? Oh hell no.

Re:Umm... (4, Insightful)

ildon (413912) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924742)

This is local politics. Need to keep the money flowing into NASA to keep the constituency happy, regardless of your party affiliation. Plus NASA's budget vs. the entire budget is close to nothing. Just like that recent budget "cut" the republicans were bragging about was like less than 1% savings on the entire budget. I guess you could say the victory is that it didn't go up, but whatever. Still seems pretty crappy.

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924802)

Wrong question. The right question is: Which budget will be perfectly balanced by this bill?

Re:Umm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924948)

Come on, this is just trolling.

Let's go to the moon.. NO.. MARS!!! (2)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924594)

Oh ya... it's getting close to election time again. This is just the first gentle tug of it's grandstanding gravitational pull into the singularity known as US elections.

Fool me once... (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924872)

Oh ya... it's getting close to election time again. This is just the first gentle tug of it's grandstanding gravitational pull into the singularity known as US elections.

Fool me once...shame on you! Fool me 8 or 9 times, shame on me.

Re:Fool me once... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924990)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YxChiuA398

What a surprise! (1, Insightful)

Nebulious (1241096) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924606)

He's from Florida. Quit bringing down the space program so that your district can keep leaching off the system, leech.

Re:What a surprise! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925150)

How dare someone who represents Florida's best interest take steps (no matter how late) to improve the state? Who cares if it is in the interest of the nation or world at all?

I am sure that a lot of people, even in other countries would support more space programs, and Florida has the most famous and one of the best launching points in the world.

NASA's budget is pathetically small for the gains it has given, even compared to other programs. They would be happy with millions compared to others that can not breathe without a billion attached to their budget.

I am reminded of... (0)

Le Marteau (206396) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924612)

"Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys." P. J. O'Rourke

Re:I am reminded of... (1)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924942)

And it's even more addicting. They really pitch a fit when they don't get what they think they're supposed to get. Here locally they're bitching about the end of an "occupational tax" that years ago was supposed to be temporary and recently ruled illegal. So, they've shut down our convenient satellite courthouses to get our "attention" for the need for another tax increase. Assholes all.

Money to a politician is like crack to an addict.

On Spending (4, Insightful)

Warbane (2034760) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924618)

While I'm firmly of the stance that we need to drastically reduce spending (almost) across the board, this is the type of project I wish money would go to if it's going to be spent.

Trying to be ambiguous as to not divert the discussions focus, but spending on an endeavor that will ultimately benefit the entire nation as well as be a boon to science seems like a better use of funds than programs heavily favoring a specific subset of the nation. (Take that how you will, I have no particular program in mind.)

Unfunded mandates (2)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924758)

I'm guessing it's like the last 'humans should go the moon and then to mars' effort ... a mandate with no funding attached.

The folks from Florida complain because they're seeing the shuttle program shutting down, and don't know what to do ... but because of the requirement to keep the shuttle going, and no funding to cover it, many other NASA projects were shut down years ago to cover the costs.

Yes, there should be requirements to do interesting things, and that helps to drive people, but getting humans into space is expensive, and when there's no funding to cover it, lots of other programs are going to get cut in its place.

Or maybe that's the point -- more funding for manned space flight could mean less funding for climate change research and other politicized science.

(disclaimer : I'm a contractor at a NASA center, in an area that's human space flight, but is critical enough for human space flight that some of our tasks were classified as 'essential' for the possible budget related shutdown)

Re:On Spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924766)

While I'm firmly of the stance that we need to drastically reduce spending (almost) across the board, this is the type of project I wish money would go to if it's going to be spent.

Sorry, once you start the "we must drastically reduce spending" ball rolling, everything gets chopped. Your friends are out in the streets protesting and they should get their way. They (and you) should get their way until the country is wrecked and you lose everything you value.

Until that happens - until the idea is completely discredited and you lose the option of changing direction - until it's shoved so far down your throat that you and the rest of the country chokes on it, you don't get to have any pet projects.

Re:On Spending (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924898)

If I look at the US income, it looks like the problem is not the spending (despite the incredible ridiculous huge military budget) it is an income problem. The imbalance between ownership and tax is in no Western country that big. You really should start to tax the rich. Or run your country into the ground. Right now US politics have chosen to do the latter.

Re:On Spending (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925054)

If I look at the US income, it looks like the problem is not the spending (despite the incredible ridiculous huge military budget) it is an income problem. The imbalance between ownership and tax is in no Western country that big. You really should start to tax the rich. Or run your country into the ground. Right now US politics have chosen to do the latter.

Or cut spending. As I see it, the crowd that wants us to increase taxes is currently outspending revenue by 10% of US GDP (that is, the 2010 US GDP in current dollars is roughly 15 trillion USD, while the current deficit (for FY 2011) is estimated as of January to be roughly 1.5 trillion USD). There have been similar deficits for the previous two fiscal years. I don't understand why fiscal responsibility is such a difficult to comprehend topic.

But why should I let taxes rise when the purse holders overspend by so much? They'll just spend more. It's not like there's a certain level of spending that buys you "civilization" and anything less is a fail. This is a case of the political parasites taking everything they can get. I'm not fool enough to go with that.

There needs to be a serious effort to restrain spending before I'll get on board with any tax increase.

Corruption or selfish voters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924634)

Probably both.

Good luck in third world USA... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924658)

Good luck with this happening, now your schools are filling up with useless third world scum who are too stupid to even know how to program a computer.

Can anybody here SERIOUSLY tell me that they believe an all BLACK NASA could even launch a firework rocket? Or what about an all MEXICAN NASA?

Don't tell me, I'm a 'racist', 'hater', 'evil', etc.etc.

I'm sure your children will be so grateful to you, for the legacy you are leaving them, due to your arrogant refusal to even THINK about the consequences of the ongoing invasion of your country, by the third world...

you ain't going back to the moon ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924680)

you seppos ain't going anywhere.

Let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924708)

Bill got a nice campaign contribution from and/or he owns stock in a company that builds moon rockets.

generate some habitable area on earth first? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924814)

so we'll have some oxygen, tang etc.. left to send on with the chosen astralknights in 2025. disarm. tell the truth. legislate. scared?

teepeeleaks etchings keys to greener patures (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35924910)

scratched out in blood soon after our 'explorers' arrival, by the genuine native americans, the etchings offer insights into alternative definitions for colonization. the natives stil to this day have no words in thier language to describe their discovery, & conversion to dogmatic beings, & still recovering from the experiences of 100's of years ago.. the related feature film, unrepentant, saves some of the translational barriers, & will never ever be shown in any theater near any of us, ever. the natives also relate that there was no pollution, weapons, money, commerce, religion, killing, coveting (everyone had enough) & nearly no sickness etc... prior to our arrivals.

Look at the co-sponsors - Oink! (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924828)

All the co-sponsors have major NASA operations in their states. Rep. Rob Bishop has repeatedly tried to save ATK Technology in Promontory, UT, the exclusive manufacturer of the solid rocket boosters used in the space shuttle program and the biggest employer in his district.

Re:Look at the co-sponsors - Oink! (4, Informative)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925138)

The largest employer in his district is the Weber County School District, but otherwise I'd have to agree with your position on Rob Bishop. The guy is a sell-out, and is partly responsible for a $3 billion earmark (nearly the only one in the current budget) for the "SLS" launch system (often dubbed the "Senate Launch System") to essentially restart under a new name the Ares V project.

It is useful to note that the ATK plant was in his Utah State House of Representatives district before he was elected to his current seat in Washington, thus has a rather cozy relationship with the people in that company as well as many neighbors who work for them as well.

One legitimate issue that needs to be addressed is in terms of how to keep domestic production going for the Ammonium Perchlorate [wikipedia.org], which is a vital chemical needed for general defense purposes. That is the primary chemical used in solid rocket boosters, and is used for most of the ICBMs in the arsenal of the United States (as well as the missiles in submarines). Right now, those missiles aren't being built, so there is a need for at least somebody, somewhere, to be using this chemical so that the factories making this rocket fuel can keep going for when the ICBM fleet needs to be refurbished for the next generation (the fuel is unstable and does need to be replaced periodically).

My personal solution to the problem: Rather than disguising a NASA program as something other than a make-work jobs program to keep the factory workers at these chemical plants employed, why not simply get into the business of making 4th of July fireworks and literally give these "missiles" to every city in America for their annual celebrations? $3-$4 billion would make a whole lot of fireworks, and it could at least be enjoyed for pure entertainment purposes by most Americans if they want to see their tax dollars literally burned up every year. You could even keep rocket developers busy, where they would be able to "test fly" their designs on a regular basis. That is much more to say that to have a bunch of rocket developers design a vehicle that will never fly due to an eventual shift in priorities, political parties, and mismanagement that usually accompanies most NASA rocket development projects.

This is just a money grab (5, Informative)

fredmosby (545378) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924850)

This bill is an attempt to revive the failed SLS space launcher based on space shuttle parts. Here's the relevant text in the bill:

(3) The 111th Congress, in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010, called for the development of a heavy lift capability of greater than 130 metric tons consisting of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to pursue exploration, yet fell short on explicitly stating a clear destination.

(4) The 112th Congress has reaffirmed this commitment to the development of a heavy lift capability.

A few months ago a senator from Utah tried to get NASA to stop looking for alternatives to the SLS (such as SpaceX) by citing the 130 ton requirement. Now they're trying to pass a new bill with stronger wording to force NASA to spend money on the SLS, which happens to be built in their states.

Would be even more impressive... (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924908)

... if he didn't have a purely selfish agenda because it would just happen to directly benefit his state/district economically long before we'd even get there, and even if it gets cancelled later and we don't.

Two birds, one rocket. (1)

eclectro (227083) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924952)

Here's an idea, we can launch all of our seniors to the moon and get rid of our Social Security and Medicare spending deficits. Call it "Use Space to Make Space" program. Maybe redefine AARP as the "Astronaut Association for Retired People."

Re:Two birds, one rocket. (1)

falken0905 (624713) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925034)

I am a senior citizen and I'm all for going somewhere else to escape the world all of you youngsters are going to inherit. However, I'd really prefer Mars to the moon. The moon is just too freakin' close to earth and likely to be destroyed or seriously pummeled with debris when you youngsters finally blow it up.

why (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 2 years ago | (#35924988)

in order to promote exploration, commerce, science and United States preeminence in space

Translation: "to restart the space race, bring in jobs to my home state, and billions of dollars in spending to defense contractors."

Re:why (2)

Theolojin (102108) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925128)

Translation: "to restart the space race, bring in jobs to my home state, and billions of dollars in spending to defense contractors."

I realize this is /. and is, therefore, reactionary to anything with an (R), but is it possible, even a little bit possible, that this Congressman really supports technological research? Could it be possible that he is more knowledgeable about such things precisely because he is from Florida and is therefore better educated about the United States' space program (being genuinely concerned for his constituents)? Is it possible that his motives are genuine and not simply political?

Oh, wait. This is slashdot.

From a Republican? (5, Funny)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925008)

A socialist like Kennedy wanting to get to the moon by a socialist government program, I can understand. But a Republican? Surely we should just wait until GE or Boeing just picks up and goes with private money and objectives. It will be much more efficiently run, and no taxpayers will be robbed to give a (literally) free ride to socialist astronauts.

After reading all my Pournelle and Niven in the 70's, I've been waiting 40 years for the power of free enterprise to get me a ticket on the Pan Am Space Clipper. I'm not sure what the hold-up is; probably, the corporations are still too highly taxed.

Re:From a Republican? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925144)

Fuck you! You should have been reading Heinlein [wikimedia.org] in the 50s. Get off my lawn!

Re:From a Republican? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925152)

Private enterprise is actually where we want this sort of thing to eventual move over to. You think we will get to people regularly leaving the earth thru government programs?

When a government official needs a car do they spec out something for Lockheed or GE to build by hand as a one off? No they go to one of the major car manufactures and buys one off a car lot.

The shuttle was supposed to be that. It didnt work as soon as one blew up (hey who knew ridding several thousands tons of lox was dangerous?!). As soon as they worked out that the design was flawed and they had to rip the whole thing apart every flight to fix cracks, then fixing those cracks was not an easy job.

Things like spacex contests have motivated someone to start building these companies. But until something everyone wants is found out there it will be a bit of 'ho hum' and dedicated space science missions.

This bill is nothing more than job protection. It could have come from either side of the hall. Politicos do that. They try to protect jobs. It makes for good press at election time. Write him and ask how he is balancing the budget with that mess. I give you permission to.

Smoke and Mirrors ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925014)

Poor Rep. Mr. Posey Repub. of Florida does not realize that NASA is not just the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida.

A very bad missperception of geography and the actual day-to-day functions and contractual obligations of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Department of Commerce.

"The path to Hell is paved with good intentions." and the vast monies of the tax payers of the United States of America are financing the effort.

I'd rather pay (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35925042)

for another moon landing than pay for your asthmatic kids medicine. Leeches.

It's a great idea (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 2 years ago | (#35925044)

We could open up a bunny ranch and a big casino on the moon. It'll be the hottest tourist destination in the galaxy.
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