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White House Wants Devastating Cuts To NASA's Mars Exploration

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the carl-sagan-grave-spin-powerful-enough-to-drive-generator dept.

NASA 422

The Bad Astronomer writes "The White House released its proposed NASA budget for FY13, and while much of it remains the same from last year, one particular program got devastating news: Mars exploration got a crippling $226 million cut, more than 38% of its budget. This means killing two future missions outright and threatening others. The reasons for this are complex, including huge cost overruns on James Webb Space Telescope and the Curiosity Mars rover, but it also points to a political lack of valuing science in America." A followup to news from before the budget was released, this has details on the actual proposed cuts and re-allocations.

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It's a good thing the military is still funded... (4, Insightful)

antido (1825442) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031395)

Because who needs progress in science?

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031427)

Be glad there is such a thing as Military Science, or there'd be no funding at all. (except for profit driven industrial research)

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (2, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031593)

Space exploration is where most of our military science came from in the first place.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031829)

So we had no military science before the 1950's?
RADAR - military science from the 1930's (no space exploration there - but it was done by the Brits)
Computers - military science from the 1940's (no space exploration there - but it was done by the Brits)
Nuclear power - Rutherford was playing with this in Manchester, England (damn, Brits again) he split the atom in 1917
Advanced maths - parabolic trajectories - that was Galileo in the 1500's (Italian)
Ironclad ships - 1800's (French)
Screw propellor - 1810's (Brits again)
Jet engines - 1930's (Brits again)

So what military science have we got since the space program.
Stealth - low radar & low visible profiles were worked on since RADAR was invented.
'digital camo print' - continual development from existing designs & theories (see dazzle camo)
SCRAMJET - continued development from Jet
laser - not space based
pulse jet - development from existing tech
hovercraft (damned Brits again) and not space based

Space based stuff
GPS - space based progession of existing radio beacon systems.
ICBM - space based (although space is a development from this rather than the other way round)
Satellite comms - progession from existing radio comms systems
satellite recon - progression from existing plane overflight photography
memory foam mattresses - I sleep well at night :-)

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032099)

I think you'll find that's the other way around.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031477)

Because who needs progress in science?

The 50%+ who are in love with government hand-outs and have forgotten how to provide for themselves are dependent. Cut them off and they're also desperate. Think "political suicide" desperate at best, "rioting in the streets" desperate at worst. So politicians are afraid to cut the real excesses which are the entitlement programs and they are afraid to fix the fucked-up tax code where 46% pay no income tax at all. If you must view that through your political lenses and get offended and hypersensitive, so be it, but it's the truth about why this situation won't change. When a nation gets into this kind of dependency hole for the sake of political power it's hard to get back out, just ask Greece.

It doesn't matter how you feel about the poor and how to best care for them. It doesn't matter when we can't afford to do it anymore, then no one gets much of anything you see. So they cut science to be seen "doing something" about the ridiculous debt that is now about equal to GDP.

Politics got us here. After all people will vote for the guy who gives them free money. Then they'll be scared of the guy who says maybe all that free money costs too much and his career goes *poof*. Something more reasonable than politics is the only way out.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (3, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031663)

...afraid to fix the fucked-up tax code where 46% pay no income tax at all.

Riddle me this, Batman:

What percentage of the total pie of income does that 46% who pay no taxes make?

Answer that, and you'll understand why the people who aren't so upset about that particular factoid see you as the one seeing a distorted world through a "political lens". (As it happens -- the Tax Policy Center, who made the 46% estimate, has a much more level-headed assessment [taxpolicycenter.org] ).

s/pay no taxes/pay no income taxes/ [nt] (2)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031675)

Blugh. Not the same thing at all, as the TPC paper explains.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032177)

When median income is around $32k and sitting at home on your useless ass pays you around $32k us tax payers are SCREWED. http://www.hawaiifreepress.com/ArticlesMain/tabid/56/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/6076/Average-Federal-Aid-Passes-Average-Disposable-Income.aspx

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032215)

EVERYONE should pay something. Even it it's just $10.

Better would be if everyone had to write a check to the Feds each month. Withholding hides what's happening to your income.

Someone may owe only $6000, had $7000 withheld and they are happy to get $1000 back as if it was a gift. If they had to write a check each month to the Feds for $500, attitudes on taxing would change overnight.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032243)

Oh look it's this lie again. Payroll tax. Sales tax. The "46% pay no tax" myth comes from income tax only.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (5, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032249)

"What percentage of the total pie of income does that 46% who pay no taxes make?"

Riddle me this, Blindman:

What percentage of that 46% who pay no taxes would have voted differently had they been paying to the system even a MINIMUM of 1% of their income? And what if that 1% were tied to the highest tax bracket at a 1:5 ratio such that if you want to raise the highest tax bracket from 35% to 45%, you'd need to raise the lowest from 1% to 3%?

Think of how the masses might yowl for more responsible government spending and vote for people who enforced the spending of their money. Think of how differently this huge voting block might vote if it meant THEIR taxes would go up so they could get "more stuff".

Taxing the "rich" more fairly shouldn't cause us to ignore taxing EVERYONE at SOME rate so we're ALL invested in the system.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (3, Insightful)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031489)

No kidding. I mean that 225 million savings is going to go oh so far!!! As somebody who tends to be in the center of politics I have to say that I am completely disappointed in Obama. He has turned out to be a poor example of a president. Yes yes blame the congress and house as well. I think what bothers me the most with him is his lack of leadership. Yes you can argue that the Republicans are trying to call him out. BUT a great leader like Regan, or Clinton just stared down other politicians. Obama makes bold statments and then backs off in a major way. There is compromise, but there is also taking a stand and setting a clear path.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (4, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031527)

Maybe you think this about a luddite Obama, but it's more about the fact that the government is squeezed in all quarters. The deficit roars, pension and public programs liability soars, there are huge pressures to keep taxes down in the face of an economic recovery, and it's not a wonder that Mars trip funding gets a heel on the garden hose.

This isn't about leadership, this is about revenue. Go tell your friends that the government is nearly broke and needs real funding. Then, bills assuaged, we can dream about Mars and beyond. Until then, the piggy bank is empty, as in no dough.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031679)

I'd tell you to cut welfare. It's a zero return on investment. It's the biggest waste of tax payer dollars that there is. The supposed poor are living high on the hog while everyone else suffers for them.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032077)

Or, you know, the better part of a trillion dollars our country spends every year on shit to blow stuff up.

Actual defense is one thing, but we're way the fuck out of control. One Ohio class submarine costs us $2 Billion. The replacement cost is projected to be between $4 and 8 billion per unit (SSBN-X).

You could forego one new submarine and launch all the Mars probes you can dream up, for a decade.

Priorities, bud. Ours are a little fucked up.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032173)

But for a bit of luck, you're off welfare. Don't be so quick to judge.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (2, Insightful)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032367)

What about the people who use welfare to get back on their feet and become productive members of society again? I guess they don't exist in your Randtopia.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

walkerp1 (523460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031715)

This isn't about leadership, this is about revenue. Go tell your friends that the government is nearly broke and needs real funding.

I gave you all I had, and you tossed it in the trash. You tossed it in the trash. Yes you did.

All apologies to (for?) Bruno Mars

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032151)

It isn't about revenue, either. The government has... lots of money.

It's about spending. I.e. the government having absolutely no self-control over it. Spending went up 16% from 2008 to 2009, and in recent years has been nearly a quarter (~24.4% of the US GDP), compared to closed to a fifth over the preeceding 40-odd years (~20%). A government that spends 3.5 trillion doesn't have a revenue problem.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032327)

Sadly, you're wrong. There's a Libertarian-ish meme out there that purports this, but indeed, there's a revenue problem of horrific size. The outflows of money are huge, despite how much money the Fed has printed. There must be real work done to surfeit the GDP; raw materials and work applied is the crux of the economy. From there, it becomes more complex.

We are a larger, and more complex economy than most people realize. We have far too many US corporate products sequestered offshore, instead of being taxed and brought home. But this only scratches the surface of the problem; we have a very contentious political system right now, and we've ground to a halt with infighting and K Street bribery of the Legislatures.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (4, Insightful)

atrizzah (532135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032225)

There's only so much a person can expect Obama to do. The reality is that there is a massive movement in this country that is opposing social investment (taxes) for any purpose. If we're not willing to pay extra to balance the budget and increase our investment in our own future, then the real funds we can invest in ourselves decrease as more of our tax revenue is devoted to servicing the debt. I don't think Obama ramming any sort of increased spending down the GOP's throat is a winning strategy, and without tax increases or spending cuts on untouchable programs, there's really no other way. He could stare the GOP down, as you say, but the GOP's politicians have no incentive to back down. Their sole goal is to set the man up to lose the re-election bid, and failing that, they're at least going to stonewall everything he does to make him appear ineffective.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (2)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032329)

Put anyone in the White House and it'd be just as much of a clusterfuck. The real disappointment is how fucking stupid US politics has become. It's embarrassing. From the declaration of independence to the current shit-pie? What a fall.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (3, Informative)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031567)

It's more lucrative to blow people up, than explore our solar system.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

JockTroll (996521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031607)

More reasons to explore the solar system: put more people around it, so you can blow them up later. Killing talibans and pissing on their bodies in Afghanistan is lame, killing talibans and pissing on their bodies on Mimas, on the other hand...

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (3, Insightful)

Spinnakker (2574173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031639)

... that's right, because NASA is the only group that creates technology useful to the general public. Oh wait, I think a few people ride jet airliners, watch TV or receive phone calls distributed by satellites and use called the Interweb or Webernets... I forget exactly what that last one is called...

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032369)

It's called the Weberwebs, and it's awesome.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031709)

Tell that to the people of Jacksonville who were told that the plans to move a carrier group to the area have been put on hold for at least 5 years, possibly indefinitely. No, the real culprit would be the massive social programs that consume more and more of the budget each year. Why? Because there are more civilian low-income votes than any other group. Nice try.

Re:It's a good thing the military is still funded. (2)

bjdevil66 (583941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032223)

Doesn't the military drive some science/research forward?

Yes, the military needs to be trimmed back SOME (including some overseas base closures that should've probably happened when The Wall Fell over 20 years ago, but the military should remain strong.

This whole cutting rinky dink Mars programs is a waste of time. The real issue is cutting back on the trillions going into social services (social security, medicare, etc.) while not raising revenue. The social programs were started when we had a huge industrial base, a middle class (especially after the Depression and WWII), and a top 1% that paid taxes at much higher rates. Now there are more sucking on the social services teat than ever, upwards of 50% of Americans pay zero taxes (many of which get refunds when they never actually had a penny withheld), the top tax rates have all fallen way down, and even the capital gains tax is at only 15%.

We can't have our cake and eat it too forever. Why won't a president just come out and say, "We're broke. We need to make real cuts," and be done with it? We're going to add ten TIMES the entire state budget of Arizona in interest only payment obligations forever, until it's paid back... and nobody's doing anything to stop it.

Confused (5, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031399)

Didn't we just read a story yesterday that indicated some fairly substantial increases in overall research funding? It seems to me that this indicates a preference for certain research programs over others, not "a political lack of valuing science in America." I mean, you can quibble about which programs got the axe, or say that the overall raises in funding were insufficient, but to point at one research project among the hundreds or thousands that the federal government funds; and use that alone as evidence for a failure in will hardly seems reasonable. It sounds to me more like "My favorite program got cut! Americas hates teh sciences!!!1!one!"

Re:Confused (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031445)

Or he could have simply cut some entitlement program and left NASA's budget intact. But that would make too much sense.

Re:Confused (0, Troll)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031497)

Train the welfare people to be astronauts, combine the budgets, cut out administrative overhead and build a permanent Mars colony all in one. Except it would be populated by folks who just want to live on welfare because working is hard (the ones who should be on welfare likely wouldn't be able to make the journey, leaving just the ones who are on welfare and should not be).

Re:Confused (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031719)

Except it would be populated by folks who just want to live on welfare because working is hard

Perhaps you don't remember back when Clinton instated a 2-year limit on the amount of time people could spend on welfare without working, and a 5-year lifetime cap?

Re:Confused (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031859)

Nope. I was in primary school then. However, I know people that have lived off the system for 20 years and continue to do so.

Re:Confused (1)

bejiitas_wrath (825021) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032139)

But a Mars colony would have to work hard to be able to survive at all. Read the Red Mars, Green Mars books and you will gain a greater appreciation for the challenges faced by a Mars colony. I just read Hammer of God last night and that book mentioned that aspect as well. Sadly we will never see a Mars colony like Underhill anytime soon. I would love to be amongst the First Hundred, but that will not happen for a very long time yet. The world would be better off if people gave up the mind numbing television and read books instead.

Re:Confused (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031669)

NASA's budget was left close to intact, at $17.7 billion, down from about $17.75 billion this year. The main change wasn't overall funding for NASA, but reallocating where the money is spent within NASA.

Re:Confused (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032319)

Your facts do not answer the main point of the OP: the US should dismantle it's few remaining safety net programs. Admittedly that point has nothing to do with this story, but the mods apparently do not see that as a problem.

Re:Confused (2)

fedos (150319) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031863)

Such as corn and oil subsidies.

Re:Confused (1)

atrizzah (532135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032267)

Yes...cut the social safety net that millions of people rely on to fund pet projects for engineers. What could be bad about that?

Re:Confused (4, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031553)

Didn't we just read a story yesterday that indicated some fairly substantial increases in overall research funding? It seems to me that this indicates a preference for certain research programs over others, not "a political lack of valuing science in America."

My thoughts exactly. This post sounds too much like partisan drivel intended to smear Obama. I mean, it may be a shame to cut spending on a specific space exploration program. Yet, to go from some spending cuts to it also points to a political lack of valuing science in America, even after Obama asked for increasing public investment on research [slashdot.org] , is a bit too much to swallow.

Re:Confused (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031699)

The summary is far from partisan it is written from someone who wants mars exploration and does not want the funding for it cut. That some other project got funding does not matter if it is not something you value.

Re:Confused (5, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032217)

The summary is far from partisan it is written from someone who wants mars exploration and does not want the funding for it cut. That some other project got funding does not matter if it is not something you value.

It's one thing to criticize how a specific project is being funded. It's an entirely different thing to claim that reducing the funding of a specific project "points to a political lack of valuing science in America." One someone accuses the administration responsible for this specific spending cut of being responsible for "a political lack of valuing science", while ignoring historical funding increases in other areas, then we are way beyond criticizing a specific project and well into dishonest partisan bickering.

Re:Confused (1)

elkstoy (930915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031763)

Why is everything a political smear? Regardless of the political candidate you support, nobody is perfect and everyone does not hold the same values. Cuts need to be made; we are not living in our means. Cut it. Then we can worry which economic theory will restore the health of the U.S. so we can not only move forward with current plans, but expand astronomically. (I couldn’t resist the pun)

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031559)

Because 1% is really substantial. That'll keep up with inflation.

Re:Confused (4, Insightful)

john82 (68332) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031581)

Keep in mind that this is the President's proposed budget. It's up to congress to actually spend money. And although they haven't got off their collective lazy butts to pass a budget, they've had no trouble spending (or wasting) money.

What we do have is direct evidence of the President's lack of commitment to a manned space program. He doesn't want to come right out and say that given the romantic attachment Americans have to the history of the program. Still, at every turn this President has paid lip service to the notion of a manned program and then cut the legs off when he thought no one might be looking.

And to the parent, this isn't quibbling. It's a statement of fact.

Re:Confused (1)

PlatyPaul (690601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031757)

Is this a bad thing? I mean, romanticize how you will, but is it really better to put human (or even robot) footprints on Mars than to push the telescope programs? 225,000,000 km or 2.25 x 10^20 km - we can't live there (yet).

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031915)

Except these cuts are to robotic exploration, not manned. The robotic Mars exploration program is being cut in favor of the James Web Space Telescope and the manned space programs, SLS and commercial crew. It's too bad we can't get an increased budget to cover these expenses, but these are the times we live in. Most Americans seem to have little interest in space exploration.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032015)

Maybe Apple could fund the program in exchange for having Mars terraformed to took like an Apple through a telescope?

Re:Confused (1)

LehiNephi (695428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032037)

It's also worth pointing out that the House of Representatives has passed a budget. It's the Democrat-controlled senate that hasn't taken up a budget for about three years now. Proposing a budget in today's political climate is just an invitation for your opponents to demagogue you in the media. Easier to threaten to shut down the government and then pass a Continuing Resolution rather than the constitutionally-demanded full budget.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032365)

It's an election year. Don't let facts get in the way. That would be Un-American. Like Congressman Paul Ryan's plan to save Medicare.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032081)

The President's position on the manned space part of the program is perfectly understandable. And he shouldn't lie to people about it. Robotized exploration is another matter however. The manned space program is going nowhere and Mars target is just a big joke to entertain less clever ones and dig into their pockets. Seriously, there is no point to go to Mars and even the Chineses won't spend a penny on it, neither the Russians and the Europeans.

Robotized missions are producing much more technology readily usable here for the humanity's good and wealth. If a space program is to be funded, this is where the money should go.

Re:Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032107)

The House passed a budget. Several over the last three years or so. It's the Senate that's the problem, where the last time they voted on the President's proposed budget it was shot down 97-0.

So go bitch to Harry Reid (D - Nevada), Senate majority leader.

Re:Confused (5, Interesting)

Coriolis (110923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032117)

Manned space exploration != Mars. Obama wants industry to handle LEO, and NASA instead to focus on solving the hard problems of manned deep space exploration (with the implication that he expects industry to ride their coat tails to the Asteroid Belt). This is perfectly consistent with his stated goals.

To put it another way, if we needed to leave the planet in a hurry, Mars is utterly impractical. It will take centuries to terraform it, if it's even feasible. On the other hand, if industry can be persuaded to work out how to knock the kinks out of ground to LEO travel, and to learn how to build safe long-term habitats (for instance, hotels) with materials gathered from deep space, then we might just stand a chance.

Re:Confused (3, Informative)

zrbyte (1666979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031837)

This [sciencemag.org] and this [sciencemag.org] should clear up the confusion. NIST got a huge boost of funding, as well as renewable energy programs at the DOE.

Obama must not think he can buy votes here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031403)

What's the difference between Barack Obama and a drunken sailor?

When a drunken sailor runs out of money, he has to stop spending.

We still have the Russians (3, Interesting)

muttoj (572791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031413)

This means that the joint venture between Europe and the USA will be cancelled. The next mission will be a joint venture between Europe and Russia? Or perhaps the Chinese?

Re:We still have the Russians (3, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031693)

It's probably up for grabs whether the Europeans will soldier on; they're having their own problems. Joint venture between Russia and China, perhaps.

Don't Forget ---- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031957)

BULGARIA!!!

We've got BULGARIA!!! :-\

That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in cost (5, Insightful)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031481)

California taxpayers alone are on the hook for $21.8 billion for the fiscal year of 2011 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I mean really...we can't find $226 million from all national the taxpayers to fund cutting edge science? Science that will have an everyday impact on our lives once NASA's technology becomes consumer grade. But we can steal $21.8 billion in one year from one state alone to fund the wars? Wonderful.

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (2, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031491)

Why waste money on science that Americans will ignore anyway?

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031537)

They'll stop ignoring it once it turns into the next must-have appliance, like a refrigerator or microwave oven.

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (1)

elkstoy (930915) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031835)

Uhhh, I think it is safe to say that almost everyone in the U.S., even the poverty stricken, have those appliances. We are not India, where they know REAL poverty.

Ahem (1)

fireylord (1074571) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031849)

So you're saying that NASA invented modern refridgerators, and the microwave oven?

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (3, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031519)

There is nothing to shoot at and no people to make enemies of on Mars. Launch a radio transmitter their that broadcasts fundamentalist Islamic hate messages back at earth and we will be on Mars inside of 2 years.
Sadly my cynicism seems to think that as a species we are going to sit here in the grave of a planet we are digging, kill each other, and slowly be choked to death from our own shit and effluent which we so handily ignore.

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031541)

Somehow my dumbass has used the wrong thier twice on /. this morning and I know better. Maybe I should just shut up.

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (3, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031609)

their their, all better now.

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (1)

sensationull (889870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031627)

Nice thought, you are quite right though. Either that or put a torrent site up there, thirty days and the lawyers would invade. Mars habitat... done. All it will take is a few MP3s and a movie or two.

Re:That's a few weeks if not days of Iraq War in c (2)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031895)

There is a time for everything. Getting off this planet is a long way off, and delays to the first manned mission will be a blip in comparison. We might not have a suitable colony for large population transfers for hundreds of years, regardless of when we do the first launch.

For that reason, I support focusing on problems now, and let the universities/private funding mature/progress the technology to get to Mars reliably in the mean time.

It is very much the computing/long thought problem. We progress in technology at such a fast rate (NASA is a contributor, but a small player in the grand scheme)that by the time we do design and start doing something productive in space, we probably could have done it faster, cheaper, and safer if we had waited anyways.

As for us killing ourselves off... That fate transcends distance barriers if it is in our nature.

statist alert (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031551)

we can't find $226 million from all national the taxpayers to fund cutting edge science?

As a long suffering taxpayer and patriot, the answer is clearly no. If you want to fund a mission to mars, go ahead and write a check, but stop stealing from the mouths of me and my children to fund an incompetent government that just claims the innovations made by PRIVATE individuals as its own. In the future, you should do some basic reading [amazon.com] before asking such questions.

Short Answer (1)

EXTomar (78739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031935)

The short answer is yes we can afford it but the current climate of unnecessary and dangerous austerity just to make small numbers even smaller is not going away any day soon. Those on the other side have to pick their fights and decided that for a number of reasons "Mars Exploration" isn't one they can back.

The wars aren't the real problem (0)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031965)

and they never have been. They are a red herring.

Its a classic LOOK OVER THERE move.

So, please get off this war crap.

The real problem is... we are spending money we don't have and bitching about where this funny money is being spent instead of the fact we are spending it.

Obama has increased spending by 25% since he took office, the graphs are right here http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/president-obamas-spending/ [cato-at-liberty.org]

Even if he did allocate that two hundred twenty six million dollars its not money we have, its money your children or their children will pay.

We will have DEFICIT spent that few hundred million before the day is out many times over.

People need to get a clue, we cannot afford this reckless spending. People in the press were having cows over Bush's three hundred and four hundred billion dollar deficits and now that we have in excess of trillion dollar deficits all I read about is how drastic the cuts are!!!

What cuts?

Really people, get real. There ain't going to be any money for NASA or much else down the road unless we get spending under control. Don't look to tax your way out of it either, you could confiscate 100% of what is made over 250K and not pay this years deficit spending.

Sometimes I really wonder if intelligent people post to /. anymore especially after what I see rated insightful. Our budget deficit is almost higher than the budget of Germany.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_budget_by_country [wikipedia.org]

Going to Mars is an ego trip (0, Troll)

Mononoke (88668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031493)

Yes, I know we would advance technology by solving the problems inherent in making the trip, but there is still plenty to explore (and plenty of science we don't yet know) here on Earth that can be done with much less money.
Mars exploration makes good headlines, but it's not the best use of our limited budgets for science and exploration.

Re:Going to Mars is an ego trip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031651)

On the other hand, this is a president that has backed adverts decrying the falling math and science capabilities of US students.

Hm.. Gee, Mr. President, I wonder why the kids might not give a shit about math and science.. since their nation's leader doesn't give a shit about those subjects either. Its hardly like this funding cut is going to divert the funds to other science research. Its going to go to pay the bills that the ever expanding creep of power generates.

Re:Going to Mars is an ego trip (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031729)

Don't confuse manned missions with robotic missions. Manned missions are expensive, dangerous ego trips, not the highly-successful robotic missions are not. I assume you are talking about manned missions to Mars; otherwise, you have not been following the recent discoveries on Mars. JPL (not their evil masters, NASA) is on the verge of some major discoveries about the origin of life and the pervasiveness of the life in the galaxy.

Re:Going to Mars is an ego trip (1, Interesting)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031751)

We need to get off this planet...

Seriously, if we moved most of industry to the Moon. We wouldn't have the environmental poisoning we have now.

If we had small colonies elsewhere, we could re-populate the earth in case of a cataclysmic impact.

We spend trillions on welfare and war, and how meaningless will those expenditures be if the human race goes *poof*

Just saying...

Oh, it's not a matter of if, only of "when" a big asteroid will hit the earth. Our excuse is "it only happens xxxxx number of years....so we're safe".

Well, it could happen tomorrow. And in truth, we're probably closer to the end of that xxxxx number of years.

Re:Going to Mars is an ego trip (-1, Flamebait)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031753)

So it makes more sense to pay for weapons and welfare checks? Lets just do away with science altogether, I mean whats the point when we can use that money to house and feed anchor babies and later blow them up like target practice.

pretty lame to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031513)

the mars stuff is pretty amazing science atm. pretty lame to be cutting that out now. there are many more things that should be getting the axe before the science and technology research. these things are what really change our lives down the road and make things easier for us. pretty sad imo.

Private sector does it cheaper, faster, better... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031531)

Honestly a lot of what private sector has done comes on the back of NASA engineers but companies like these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_companies are able to do it many order of magnitudes cheaper. If it was 20% you wouldn't hear much about it... but they are able to do it upwards of 80% cheaper so far. Lets assume they are way off their numbers (which so far it doesn't look so) they still can do it half as cheap. The reasons for this is that NASA has gotten comfortable with the outsource this, or throw money at it method for it's large projects (not insulting the good projects here). Government contractors charge so much more for things the costs explode.

It's time to lean up NASA and it's going to hurt but if we want to get to Mars some day, then we need to make that big machine vastly more efficient. This is the first step.

Budget Overruns (2, Interesting)

olsmeister (1488789) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031535)

Unfortunately, I hate to say I agree with this. The scientific community needs to figure out a way to generate realistic budget predictions AND STICK TO THEIR BUDGETS. If you cannot do this, nobody wants to risk funding future missions / projects. I get the distinct feeling that they lowball their estimates intentionally upfront, knowing that they will be able to go back to the trough later on once the government has that initial investment made. Private business has learned throwing good money after bad is rarely a good idea; government is apparently just now getting the idea. The scientific community needs to become more responsible in this regard.

Re:Budget Overruns (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031805)

"Unfortunately, I hate to say I agree with this."

You think that's bad? You should be he one who has to read it!

I want to go to mars as much as the next guy... (2)

vw_bob (117531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031579)

Ok, so I want to see us explore mars and space in general. I want this a lot. I think it's important, interesting, exciting, and more. And I really wish we weren't in the financial situation we are in the US, but we are. I don't think this is a matter of the administration valuing space exploration less, but more of a reflection that we can't continue spending recklessly forever.

Mars, space exploration, and science in general are very important for the human kind and the US' wellbeing in general. But we've got to get our shit in order first. I know that using the family metaphor for government is flawed, however, if I have crippling debt in my household, I need to cut back on the things that might not just be what I want, but also some things that may even be important for the future. I need to focus on making it through the here and now, get my stuff in order, and then start making these types of investments.

So, yes, I am really disappointed to hear about this, but I we really need to be brutal for the foreseeable future in how we spend money. Once that's under control we can come back and pick up where we left off.

They've lost all sense of proportion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031583)

That more or $226million will buy at least half a small mission to Mars. With the exception of the famous NASA space pen, there NOTHING related to human spaceflight that that money will buy. $226million will make NO difference to human spaceflight. It will buy even less on Obama's ridiculous job creation rocket.

Re:They've lost all sense of proportion (3, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031701)

Could it be you are mis-informed?

a) NASA didn't expend the $$$ developing the pen

b) It was needed because of fears that a broken pencil lead could cause damage to sensitive and life-depending machinery.

c) Americans used pencils too, at first. Then when the pen was developed the Russians used it as well...

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp [snopes.com]

I feel betrayed. (1)

dan2550 (663103) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031601)

This was not the candidate I voted for and certainly not the one I will vote for next election. For a man who ran on the promise of hope and change, I expected more. The space race was a huge factor in the technological revolution and gave hope to so many Americans when nuclear war seemed more of a matter of when than a matter of if. We need that same hope today. I desperately wish I could be proud to be American again.

Suddenly Newt becomes tempting... (4, Insightful)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031621)

I always find it sad that people cannot see both the benefits of space exploration/colonization, and the need for it.

Seriously, one errant asteroid and all those trillions spent on welfare and war seem pretty stupid.

Human Race....R.I.P.

10,000 B.C. - 2012 A.D.

Re:Suddenly Newt becomes tempting... (1)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031695)

The downside is that Newt would also spend trillions on war. In the actual event, the space-travel funding would probably be cut to pay for invading Iran or something.

Re:Suddenly Newt becomes tempting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031959)

.Human Race....R.I.P.

10,000 B.C. - 2012 A.D.

Good plan.

Expect this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031623)

As long as Americans cannot see that the tax system which floods their market with untaxed goods while taxing themselves highly is a trade war by congress against them, you can expect this to continue.

New technology will always displace the old. Americans have not quit innovating. Now their innovations are made in China and they take out their own market. Until we fix our tax system the game is rigged against us.

That does not mean what you think it means (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39031689)

it also points to a political lack of valuing science in America

Not funding your favorite project/field/etc is not the same thing as the whole country not valuing science, histrionic-boy.

Or... (2)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031777)

...but it also points to a political lack of valuing science in America.

Or it could mean that the government is finally trying to be fiscally responsible and cut this portion of NASA's budget to deal with the "huge" cost overruns on the James Webb Space Telescopen and the Curiosity Mars rover mentioned in the summary.

Re:Or... (1)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032307)

Hey, this is slashdot. Stop trying to make an argument that makes sense.

This is to fund manned-mission pork in Houston (3, Insightful)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031815)

This is just another attack on the highly successful robotic missions of JPL by the fly-boy, mannned-mission bureaucrats in Houston. Manned mission are expensive, pork-barrel stunts that have achieved almost nothing scientifically while the JPL robotic missions have been hugely successful (Voyage, Cassini, Opportunity, etc.) and, compared to manned missions, inexpensive. So guess where the cuts are to be? The robotic missions, of course. That is because NASA is run by ex-pilots / astronauts who think Star Wars was a documentary. The Planetary Society was created to stop such bleeding of robotic mission to pay for cost-overruns of manned missions; I just re-upped my membership. Join is you want to stop this insanity.

Pander to the holders of the purse strings (2)

Mobius Evalon (1625187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031833)

The country has three concurrent wars for oil going on, and to fund it they probably spend more than NASA's entire yearly budget in a few months. Add to the mission goals the intent to research and build a giant continent-vaporizing laser, or allude to the presence of crude oil on Mars, and watch your funding skyrocket.

In all seriousness though, there does seem to be a significant lack of interest in the sciences whenever there isn't a clear end result of return on investment. It's no big secret that the almighty dollar makes the world turn.

The biggest problem (2, Interesting)

Pengel the squib (300408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031867)

The problem as I see it is that Americans, or at least American politicians, would rather pander to the portion of the religious right who claim that evolution isn't real, the rapture is near, the Bible contains everything man is meant to know, and science is an instrument of the Satan. It isn't just the right either. The only way I see the US getting into science is if there's money in it. We have been shutting down basic science for years in favor of things like biotech that make big money for business. Not that I have a problem with biotech but come on, if the basic science is done elsewhere then the engineering will follow. You can't just keep suing everybody for "stealing" your 20 year old ideas; you need to keep coming up with new ones. That's where basic research comes in.

So... mars = all science (1)

Whatanut (203397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031891)

Yesterday there was an article about the budget expanding it's investment into science. Today, we report that NASA funding is being cut. So the conclusion is the US hates science?

I don't get it... Hate on them all you want for cutting NASA funding. But it's not a blanket "We hate science" thing...

Interesting comparison (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39031975)

Whenever a story like would come across /. 4 years ago, we would have endless posts about Bush being an idiot, etc. Now, I can't find a single one saying anything about Obama.....

Re:Interesting comparison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032273)

exactly. i look at these articles specifically to find any hint of the same crap that was given to bush.... it's not there. in fact there is still pretty much nothing but blame the republicans and religious right etc.

nothing but apologists for obama. first it was wait and give him a chance, he just got in office. bush hosed thing sup so bad obama cant' fix it over night.

now it's yet another excuse about evil republicans etc. ... Y.A.E.A.E.R

This is NOT about devaluing science (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032047)

In fact, Obama calls for spending a lot more money on NIH and NAS. The issue here is that republicans have called for cuts to private space development in hopes of pushing the monster SLS. To do that, the neo-cons will fund russia to the tune of .5B a year from 2015-2018 as well as pay 20-30B for SLS development which will finally launch 70 tonnes to LEO in 2020 (yes, it is already 2 years late).
OTH, NASA wants the economical approach so that they can make a great deal more launches in the future. As such, NASA is cutting several missions that will cost billions, but is spending money on getting human launch going by 2014. However, with that, they will also be able to put red dragon (spaceX's dragon) on Mars with a 1 ton payload of equipment for .5B. So, should NASA spend several billion to get one mission to Mars, OR should they spend money today to be able to get a number of CHEAP missions to mars a year earlier?

I do not like seeing NASA's budget cut, HOWEVER, kudos to Bolden. He is doing the right thing in getting ECONOMICAL private space going.

Contact your representatives! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032051)

I contacted my senators, and congressman, you should too.

Too obvious? (1)

netwarerip (2221204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032169)

We have too much capital invested in finding even more ways to probe Uranus.
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