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U.S. In Danger of Losing Earth-Observing Satellite Capability

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the well-that's-embarrassing dept.

NASA 258

New submitter crazyjj writes "As reported in Wired, a recent National Research Council report indicates a growing concern for NASA, the NOAA, and USGS. While there are currently 22 Earth-observing satellites in orbit, this number is expected to drop to as low as six by the year 2020. The U.S. relies on this network of satellites for weather forecasting, climate change data, and important geologic and oceanographic information. As with most things space and NASA these days, the root cause is funding cuts. The program to maintain this network was funded at $2 billion as recently as 2002, but has since been scaled back to a current funding level of $1.3 billion, with only two replacement satellites having definite launch dates."

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AC In Danger of Losing First-Posting Capability (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917521)

nah, that's alright bitches, I'm on it.

First post for Jesus. Keepin it real.

Re:AC In Danger of Losing First-Posting Capability (-1, Flamebait)

xmundt (415364) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917735)

Greetings and Salutations;
          Imagine this being said in Bill Cosby's voice - "Riiigggghhhttt" (See his tale of Noah and the ark).
          I would think that this sort of remote monitoring would be high priority, considering the recent economic losses suffered by American Citizens caused by the increased severity of storms that hit the country. The fact that it is likely that the energy for those storms came from global climate change is not relevant (I suppose).
            Of course, the fact that the people that have been hurt have NOT been part of the 1% may have an influence on the level of care that the government has, too.
            Pleasant dreams
            bee man dave

Re:AC In Danger of Losing First-Posting Capability (5, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917777)

We don't need no fancy satellites -- I bet they were dreamed up by some liberal thinker at a UNIVERSITY.

Jesus and the Bible tell us everything we need to know about climate changes, and that's that the world is going to burn. Judgment Day is approaching and those who aren't saved are going to burn to death forever.

USA! USA! USA!

Re:AC In Danger of Losing First-Posting Capability (1)

rekees (1420453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917879)

Jesus will save us, stop worrying.

Re:AC In Danger of Losing First-Posting Capability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918235)

Jesus will save us, stop worrying.

Not all of you. Read your bible.

Important to remember: (0, Flamebait)

fredrated (639554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917537)

The right hates science and it's conclusions, and the problem with these satellites is that they promote science and the conclusions scientists reach.

Re:Important to remember: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917583)

The left hates grammar and punctuation, and the problem with these apostrophes is that they punctuate the contractions and plurals that grammarians love. xo, Grammar Nazi

Re:Important to remember: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917587)

It is worse than that. There is a group of people in the US Congress who just hate anything that the "other side" supports. It does not matter what it is they will work against anything that they think the other side wants to support. They care more about the success of their party than they do the country they swore to serve. The sad thing is that it has gone on long enough that two such groups have formed. We just have a bunch of obstinate dick heads now due to gerrymandering and an absent media.

Re:Important to remember: (5, Funny)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917617)

There is a group of people in the US Congress who just hate anything that the "other side" supports. It does not matter what it is they will work against anything that they think the other side wants to support.

There are 536 people in this 'group'.

Re:Important to remember: (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917863)

There are 536 people in this 'group'.

Give or take a handful of independents who are likely fed up the apparent inability of either majority party congresscritters to not act like spoiled fucking children.

Re:Important to remember: (3, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918105)

You're not really right about the independents in Congress: Joe Lieberman is probably the ultimate spoiled child. He lost in the Connecticut Democratic primary back in 2006, went whining to the national Democratic leadership, and convinced them to back him rather than the guy who was ostensibly their party's candidate.

The other independent is Bernie Sanders. Like him or not, he definitely sticks to his socialist positions. He's willing to make deals with strange bedfellows though - for instance, he worked with Ron Paul on the Fed audit that uncovered trillions of dollars going to major banks.

Re:Important to remember: (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918245)

Hence the phrase, "give or take." Also, use of the word "likely."

My avoidance of definites was deliberate.

Re:Important to remember: (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917925)

Actually, 538, one of which doesn't get to do much unless ther'es a tie.

But I get your point. It's such a big problem that we can no nothing about it.

If only aerospace had more profit potential. Then the Government would be much more interested.

Re:Important to remember: (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918077)

I dunno. The Democrats *did* pass Romney's health care plan.

Re:Important to remember: (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918129)

That was on the state side. His plan was not a federal plan.

Re:Important to remember: (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918179)

The really sick thing is the first time I remember hearing the mandate as a serious proposal was by some Republicans offering an alternative just after Hillary released her healthcare proposal in the early 90s.

Warped world, that Washington.

Re:Important to remember: (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918155)

Bullshit. The Dems wasted a lot of time trying to reach out to the Republicans by supporting their ideas. The individual mandate, end of life counseling (now called death panels), cap and trade, the DREAM act... all of those were Republican ideas that they turned violently against as soon as the Democrats supported them.

The whole reason NASA is even being cut is because the GOP took the country hostage last summer over the debt ceiling. Nevermind that most of the debt comes from the wars they supported and the tax cuts they demanded.

Re:Important to remember: (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917597)

I think it is the Left that is big on NASA cuts, as NASA is under mostly military spending. The problem is a failure to educate the public about the importance of these areas, If you leave it to average voter they will see NASA as a waste of tax payer money, because the government does nothing to really explain the importance to the general public. It was easy during the Cold war where we can go In Your Face USSR... But now our greatest enemies cannot even get a missile to go a few hundred miles, it seems less of a priority. Why does big business have control much greater then the government... It is easy, they know how to market to the average Joe.

Re:Important to remember: (3, Insightful)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917743)

Funny, I've always seen it as the "fiscal conservatives" want us to quit "wasting" money in space so instead things have to be billed under the military to get anything done.

Find me a liberal who opposes NASA funding based off of it going to military purposes, cause I think you are full of shit.

Re:Important to remember: (5, Insightful)

Grelfer (2580321) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917955)

That may be so, but very few Republicans these days are fiscal conservatives. Many more are only social conservatives, like Rick Santorum: ready and willing to tell other people how to live their lives.

Corporations, on the other hand, get free rein.

Re:Important to remember: (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918199)

It is very difficult to look at the Bush presidency - some of it including control of both houses of congress - and come away with a feeling that the Republicans represent fiscal discipline.

Re:Important to remember: (2)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918147)

Fiscal conservatives want us to quit wasting money. Space has nothing to do with it other than it is one place that can be cut easily. If you ask most conservatives, we would rather spend money on space exploration than social wellfare programs. Unfortunately, those programs can't be cut without much pain to the folks who need/want to depend on them.

Re:Important to remember: (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918081)

I think it is the Left that is big on NASA cuts, as NASA is under mostly military spending.

Odd... If NASA were military, someone would just say it's to fight the TERRORISTS! and it would receive unlimited funding.

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/hqlibrary/ic/faqs.html [nasa.gov]

Is NASA a part of the Department of Defense?
 
NASA is not a part of the Department of Defense, nor of any other Cabinet-level department. NASA's administrator reports directly to the White House.

Re:Important to remember: (5, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918215)

Seriously? The LEFT is against NASA? Bush tried to kill the Voyager programs for a measly $4 million/year in savings. The 2 single farthest things we've ever sent into space sending back data we won't be able to reproduce for literally 40 years and he wanted to kill the program for that little bit of savings.

The LEFT is all about funding NASA, the problem is the RIGHT's obstinate blocking of anything related to INVESTMENT in our future. Why don't we have a Shuttle program? Yet give out more than NASA's ENTIRE budget to the oil industry EVERY YEAR?

The LEFT is not the problem.

On a more rational note, gerrymandered districts are a major problem on both sides of the aisle. But that's a more fundamentally broken part of our government.

Re:Important to remember: (2, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917721)

The right hates science and it's conclusions, and the problem with these satellites is that they promote science and the conclusions scientists reach.

The right doesn't mind science R&D (i.e. the fraction of research that private companies can get an immediate ROI on.) It's just the pesky fundamental research with no foreseeable application and no quarterly profit that gets them upset; but without the fundamental research, there are no more breakthroughs.

Re:Important to remember: (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917969)

I am a fairly conservative guy with some libertarian leanings.
I love the stuff NASA used to do. I want to see NASA attempting the things that no one else can.
I want to see people become ok with risk.
I also believe in spirituality. Some type of God that I do not understand very well.
I believe that the teachings of Jesus were good.
I think that the temperature of the earth changes. That the climate has and will change.
I believe that at some point the earth will not support humanity and that we need to have permanent space colonies.

The left seems filled with hatred for the right. Truly spiritual christian types do not have a lot of time or room for hate.

Most of the hate I see comes from smelly people that that majored in Womens studies with a minor in Ethiopian tribal art and screaming about having student loan debit and no good prospects for a job.

You want higher education? Get a reasonable loan and work. Study something that can pay. Then take a bath.

Re:Important to remember: (3, Insightful)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918141)

Truly spiritual christian types do not have a lot of time or room for hate.

You seem to have a lot of room for ad hominem, though. Nice troll.

A perfect example (5, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917551)

of Short-Sightedness.

The anti-science crowd will soon be racking up an impressive body count - including their own voting-against-their-own-interest constituencies in hurricane and tornado country.

Re:A perfect example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917873)

of Short-Sightedness.

The anti-science crowd will soon be racking up an impressive body count - including their own voting-against-their-own-interest constituencies in hurricane and tornado country.

Wouldn't the bulk of such voters (stupid, short-sighted, Bible-thumping, penny-pinching bean counters) sort of be dead due to hurricanes and tornadoes before they realized what was going on and could vote for The Other Guy(tm)?

Hey, wait, that's the entire plan! Those In Power(tm) are projecting that the stupids will gain intelligence in time, so they're going to make sure they're all dead before they can vote for The Other Guy(tm)! The long con! Brilliant!

Re:A perfect example (5, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918123)

A perfect example of Short-Sightedness.

No doubt the free market will step in and launch satellites that are better, faster, and cheaper.
But you'll have to pay for it.

But there's a silver lining to this cloud!.
At least people will stop blaming the government for not predicting hurricanes and tornados!

Correction.... (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917553)

Public and Scientific earth viewing satellites are dwindling. The military has plenty of money to launch all they need.

Re:Correction.... (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917595)

It's still worrying that civilian instruments in space are dwindling. Sure, the military-industrial complex has Congress in their pocket, but science is not a top priority for military satellites.

Re:Correction.... (5, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917647)

You must've missed the article the other day where the Secretary of Defense called Climate Change a threat to national security.

http://www.rttnews.com/1877434/climate-change-a-threat-to-national-security-panetta.aspx?type=usp [rttnews.com]

obtroll is ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917755)

Why does the Secretary of Defense hate 'murika ?!!!

Oh, that's right, because 'murikans are stooooopid. How else can you get them to consistently vote against their own self interest?

Re:Correction.... (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917699)

It's even more worrying that civilian instruments are declining with respect to militarism. If it were just cutbacks across the board that caused this, it would be unfortunate. But what we actually see indicates a (continuing) shift in priorities. Military spending is more important to the powers that run the US than scientific spending. Notably, supremacy of the military and disdain for intellectuals are both defining characteristics of fascist states [secularhumanism.org] .

Not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917933)

War is orders of magnitude more profitable than science.

Oops, did I just imply that government is a business with a goal of profit, the exact opposite of what they claim? You're god damn right I did.

Re:Not surprising (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918093)

On an aggregate level, R&D has a much better ROI than war. The problem is that the profits from an investment in basic science are realized by society as a whole, instead of the individuals involved in doing or funding the research.

Re:Correction.... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917999)

Military spending is more important to the powers that run the US than scientific spending.

Military spending has a much higher profit and waste margin.

Re:Correction.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918225)

The military has perfected consumerism. Buy it with the intention of eventually wrecking it...eventually wreck it...but some more.

Re:Correction.... (2, Informative)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918015)

civilian instruments in space are dwindling

Are you sure [techcrunch.com] about [makezine.com] that? [oreilly.com]

Re:Correction.... (5, Interesting)

IDtheTarget (1055608) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917757)

Public and Scientific earth viewing satellites are dwindling. The military has plenty of money to launch all they need.

Actually, that's incorrect. We (I'm a Signal Officer in the Army National Guard that just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan) have several communications systems that use civilian satellites.

So your statement would more correctly read: The military has plenty of money to rent time on civilian satellites.

To head off the inevitable "it's not secure!", we use NSA-provided end-to-end encryption for all of our tactical communications, especially those going over civilian networks. Including satellites.

Re:Correction.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917853)

OPSEC, dog...

Re:Correction.... (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918079)

Did he reveal privileged information? They use satellites to transmit data? Perhaps some people think Navy Destroyers tow a really, really long fiber optic cable, or use a very, very big speaker to transmit through the ocean?

No Problem (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917555)

We'll just outsource it all to India and China.

Re:No Problem (1)

BackwardPawn (1356049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917603)

So when Al Roker says: "And now for your local forcast," I'll get the forcast for Mumbai. How helpful.

Re:No Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917771)

and yet it will be no more inaccurate.

Re:No Problem (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917793)

"Hello, have you tried turning the weather off, then back on again?"

Re:No Problem (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918117)

Nah. "We" don't have to do anything. If monitoring climate change is important, the free market will do a better job at it than government.

Re:No Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918229)

Amen Brother - It's the American way

Like it or not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917573)

A growing percentage of our GDP is going to taking care of senior citizens.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to health care.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to the military.

Either find ways to spend less on the above, increase income dramatically or deal with decreasing other services. Fourth option is a combinationation of the first three. I see no other choices.

Re:Like it or not (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917693)

A growing percentage of our GDP is going to Wall Street billionaires.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to the super wealthy.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to big bankers.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to military contractors.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to maintaining certain industries failed business models.

Either find a way to make everyone play by the same rules, or expect repercussions from the serfs.

Re:Like it or not (2)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917731)

Sorry, just not true.

http://www.econdataus.com/outgdp04.html [econdataus.com]

Re:Like it or not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918241)

Why are the Medicare and 'health' series separated? If they were combined, as they should be, the line would show the dramatic climb the parent claims regarding 'health care.'

The parent is wrong about the military. As the graph shows it has been trending down for half a century. You wouldn't know that listening to the malcontents on the left, however.

Re:Like it or not (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917973)

A growing percentage of our GDP is going to taking care of senior citizens.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to health care.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to the military.

Either find ways to spend less on the above, increase income dramatically or deal with decreasing other services. Fourth option is a combinationation of the first three. I see no other choices.

Stick it on the credit card. Easy!

Re:Like it or not (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918217)

A growing percentage of our GDP is going to taking care of senior citizens.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to health care.
A growing percentage of our GDP is going to the military.

Either find ways to spend less on the above, increase income dramatically or deal with decreasing other services. Fourth option is a combinationation of the first three. I see no other choices.

You've done most of the heavy lifting for me so thank you for that. My solution would address all three issues you cited simultaneously.

Reinstate the draft for anyone over 65 and put them on the front lines of any major conflicts.

Many will see the humor...many more will be appalled at the notion...but the truly "touched" will be marketing this to their representative.

Simple solution (4, Funny)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917575)

This is a simple problem to solve. All they have to do is label the satellites as "anti-terrorist", or something like that, and they'll get all the funding they need.

Re:Simple solution (5, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917701)

Congressman: So this satellite...

NASA: The "A-TOP" Anti-Terrorist Observation Platform, sir.

Congressman: It says it's for observing terrorists, but it looks like it's for monitoring the weather...

NASA: It's for monitoring terrorist efforts to use the weather as a weapon, sir.

Congressman: They can do that?!?

NASA: They're very clever, sir.

Re:Simple solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918035)

So you assume that the average congressman can tell the difference between a weather satelite and a high-tech spy device? You might be overestimating them...

A perfect storm! (3, Interesting)

Jhon (241832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917591)

This is the perfect tin-foil-hat scenario!

The "Global Warming Alarmists" will say it's a plot to prevent the study of of anthropogenic climate change by the "Deniers" and prove just how bad it is.

And the "Deniers" will say it's a plot to keep the "Alarmists" evil lie from coming to light.

Pass the popcorn!

Re:A perfect storm! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917703)

The "Global Warming Alarmists" will say it's a plot to prevent the study of of anthropogenic climate change by the "Deniers" and prove just how bad it is.

No, I don't think they will. It might be a side-effect of anti-science zealotry in general, but I don't think there's a compelling need to allege a conspiracy to explain this happening.
The argument you present from the other side also seems implausible, as the satellite data has been some of the most damning. On the other hand, who am I to guess at the motives and behaviors of a group I am not part of.

Re:A perfect storm! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918167)

Yeah, great. We'll be able to pop that popcorn without an artificial heat source.

The answer is to CUT TAXES (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917607)

1. Cut Taxes
2. ????
3. Jesus Comes

Re:The answer is to CUT TAXES (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917749)

Jesus will only come back if you also end all corporate regulation. It's in Revelations somewhere.

Re:The answer is to CUT TAXES (4, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917795)

I noticed there's no profit in that.

Re:The answer is to CUT TAXES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917861)

Too funny. My kingdom for a mod point.

Re:The answer is to CUT TAXES (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918065)

Not your kingdom. God's kingdom. And yes, a mod point.

Re:The answer is to CUT TAXES (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917887)

1. Cut Taxes
2. Legalize Prostitution
3. Jesus Comes

Adam Smith (1, Insightful)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917609)

Perhaps the GOP-dominated Congress will soon suggest the Miracle of the Market place for all weather satellites. Not only hire them to build and launch, give them a sweet no-bid contract to run the service (behind a paywall, of course). Hey, it's worked so well for the Prison-Industrial complex, right?

In the interest of corporate profits, the Invisible Hand is now the Invisible Middle Finger.

Re:Adam Smith (3, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917719)

"Perhaps the GOP-dominated Congress will soon suggest"...

Congress has been DNC dominated from what? 2008 until 2010? STRONGLY dominated? And the GOP had slight majorities before then... This report is from 2007 with just a recent update...

Your dig at the GOP just doesn't sound reasonable...

Re:Adam Smith (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917837)

Yeah, but the Dems bow down to any 'nuclear' reaction by the GOP. So it's the GOPs fault!

Re:Adam Smith (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918101)

"Perhaps the GOP-dominated Congress will soon suggest"...

Congress has been DNC dominated from what? 2008 until 2010? STRONGLY dominated? And the GOP had slight majorities before then... This report is from 2007 with just a recent update...

Your dig at the GOP just doesn't sound reasonable...

That depends on your definition of "domination." The time period you list did include a majority of Dems; however the filibuster allows the minority party to dominate anyway.

Re:Adam Smith (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917851)

It's not your fathers GOP anymore. The Tea Party folks insisted on cuts, and they got them, including funding for tsunami warning systems and weather programs. This days before the Japan quake and tsunami, as I recall.

Shipping, airlines, agriculture, the military, all depend on accurate weather forecasting.

We'd have never made it to the moon if these guys had been around back then, and if they have their way, we'll soon be losing passenger planes, cargo ships, and wars.

Panem et circenses (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918063)

It's the decline of the holy roman empire 2.0
The US is rapidly becoming a has-been, and at this point it may be irreversible. The tea-party and other opportunists wanting bread and circus are just a symptom of the decline, not the cause.
Once people are more interested in preserving what they have and not risk wasting anything than taking a risk at investing in the future, then the decline has already started.

Re:Adam Smith (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918221)

WOW, when Obama proposes cuts to NASA and Congress agree to them, it's the Republicans' fault and none of Obama's. I get it man!

Makes sense (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917643)

After all, the money to pay for F-22s that have never flown a combat mission and cost a year's salary to fly for an hour was FAR more important than trivial things like weather forecasting.

But just you wait and see what gets cut to pay for the F-35s!

Re:Makes sense (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917817)

Don't knock the F-22. It's a great plane--as long as the person flying it doesn't need oxygen, anyway.

Re:Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918219)

Here's a great workaround for the oxygen anomaly. Hook the friggin' pilot into an oxygen tank! No, that's too simple of a fix! Shit needs to cost serious money..

short on detail (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917649)

I wouldn't be surprised if 6 new sats designed and launched between now and then could actually do the job of the 18 mission the TFA mentions . TFA was long on hype and short on details.

 

Re:short on detail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917865)

6 new sats while probably can get more detailed information about an area, definitely can not cover the same amount of area as 22 can. I bet many of these sats are in Geostationary orbit by need for constant updates in info meaning you just can't drop the number of sats so drastically.

Geometry (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917915)

I wouldn't be surprised if 6 new sats designed and launched between now and then could actually do the job of the 18 mission the TFA mentions .

The number of satellites required is more a function of geometry than technology: In close, there's only so much surface visible and only so much area covered per day. Farther out, there's more area covered (albeit at lower resolution) but less per day goes under the eye.

Barring SF-novel grade technology that can count pubic hairs from the orbit of Uranus, there's only so much that you can do to counter those constraints.

Big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917659)

Commercialize this service and let there be a fiduciary value applied to the data and sell it. I am 100% for outsourcing the federal gov to private corporations as much as possible.

Funding? No (0, Flamebait)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917691)

This is a perfect example of wasted funding. Tens of billions wasted on ISS. More on manned mars extravaganzas. More on developing their own heavy lift capacity (for what I don't know) instead of letting industry figure it out. NASA has and has had more than enough funding.

Re:Funding? No (3, Interesting)

jheath314 (916607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917911)

Much like the early voyages of discovery that put America on the map were a waste, right? Why waste money on exploration when there are petty tribal wars to be fought?

NASA's budget is a rounding error compared to the military's budget, and yet I would put "landing a man on the moon" far higher than "My Lai" on the list of things America can be proud of. If exploration of space is a waste, then count me and millions of others as an ardent supporter of that kind of waste.

Re:Funding? No (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918003)

Yup. Now that companies have their own satellites it would make more sense to privatise weather stuff. NASA is there for the long term research that is too risky for the corporate sector. You know, Mars missions, Moon missions in '69, that kind of thing.

Re:Funding? No (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918239)

Yes, spending money on one of the nation's biggest technology incubators is a poor use of taxpayer dollars.

State funding for scientific research is something that should only happen in "communist" China and Socialist Europe. I'm sure private industry will step in as soon as the heavy hand of the state stops meddling in the highly competitive weather satellite markets.

Our government should get back to doing the things it does best, like telling citizens what to do with their bodies.

It's only natural... (1)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917745)

It's only natural that as regulations, unnecessary wars, and spending for giveaways rise, less money is available for other purposes.
It's only natural that as repeatedly denied, government funded science scandals occur, the public loses faith in government funded science
It's only natural that as government spying increases, people lose interesting funding anything global with surveillence.

Basically, we're f&*$#d.

Re:It's only natural... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39917921)

It's only natural to see Tom Jones Cry --
when he hears what you've done to his song

I find this curious (2)

funkylovemonkey (1866246) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917767)

While I've heard a lot about how NASA is undergoing drastic spending cuts, I haven't found any hard numbers for it. In fact, a cursory look at wikipedia and NASA's own published budget shows the opposite; NASA's current budget is actually historically above average. It is certainly higher then it was for most of the 1990s and 1980s. In fact according to wikipedia the average budget of NASA has been 15 billion, and yet it sits at around 17 billion today, actually increasing from 15 billion to 17 billion in 2007 and maintaining that level of spending for the foreseeable future. This seems to be backed up by NASA's own numbers (http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/622643main_FY%2013%20Budget%20Presentation.pdf). So my question is, what are we really talking about here? What am I missing? They only way that NASA is getting less funding right now is if you take it as a percentage of Federal spending in general, but that's more a sign that Federal spending has ballooned the last ten years rather then NASA not being funded. Is there really a NASA budget crisis, and if so why are they having time operating despite ending the fairly expensive shuttle program and despite receiving more money then they have historically since the space race?

Re:I find this curious (1)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918013)

How do the numbers look accounting for inflation?

Re:I find this curious (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918197)

The problem isn't the NASA budget as a whole, which as you point out is doing all right by historical standards, particularly given the larger budget situation within the government. The talk of cuts has more to do with allocations within NASA.

Specifically, SLS (the new heavy-lift to nowhere rocket) and James Webb Space Telescope are eating everyone else's lunch. Planetary Science and Commercial Cargo/Crew development, along with Earth Science, are the programs suffering from this.

SLS is the real tragedy, because its 2+ billion/year funding is so senseless. NASA can't build it to meet the congress-specified requirements within the congress-specified funding, and doesn't know what they would do with it if they could build it -- it would be capable of launching very rarely and at an excessive cost. The only people who want the thing built are the lawmakers, thus its nickname, the Senate Launch System. Amusingly, its been described as a 'backup' to commercial development, which they want to cut from $800M/year down to $450M/year to pay for it, and require NASA to pick a winner now (which the government is notoriously bad at). The money is a complete waste because it will certainly be cancelled by a new congress long before it ever gets anywhere near being built.

The other killer thats causing budget cuts across the science division is James Webb, the next big space telescope. This one isn't quite as depressing because at least its likely to be useful when completed, but its been incredibly mismanaged as the costs have ballooned from less than $2B to more than $8B. In order to keep it alive, much of the rest of the science division has suffered.

Ultimately, when they speak of 'budget cuts' for NASA, its cuts for internal programs, and the blame can be laid largely on micro-management by Congress.

I think we have identified the problem (1)

overshoot (39700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917797)

The U.S. relies on this network of satellites for ...climate change data

'Nuff said.

They don't need that much (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917847)

It's been demonstrated that the cost of launching small shiny objects into space has dropped drastically. The Mars rovers (Opportunity and Spirit) continued operational cost has cost under a billion dollars total (and that's including the projected 5th mission for them).

Yet, they were launched in 2003 - before Xprize, before UAVs and the many long-run high altitude planes/UAVs, and a myriad of other advancements. They weren't just a payload and delivery system, they were multiple payloads with multiple delivery systems.

Considering an amateur can go from nothing to a satellite in space for a fairly paltry sum (under $100k), and you can build some fairly impressive optics and com gear for a lot less than you could 10 years ago. There is absolutely no reason it should cost as much today to do the same thing we were doing 10 years ago. Moores Law applies here too. Just as a sysadmin today is expected to be able to do what would have been considered be absurdly complex/expansive things 10 years ago, a developer is expected to have more 'resulting output' than 10 years ago due to better tools, and so on. I mean, shit.

I can build a UAV for under $500 with a more capable, diverse 'monitoring' pattern than the first generation of prototype UAVs made by the big military contractors (post-Gulf War, early aughts) now, and look where the actual military UAVs are: they look like something out of a Cyberdyne future.

Re:They don't need that much (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917937)

YOU aren't Boeing / Lockheed / Northrup-Grumman , et. al.

THEY need lots of money for this sort of thing. Government regulations, security, terrorism and all that.

YOU shut the fuck up. THEY will protect America!

E.T. = Extra Terrorists (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39917961)

Maybe if NASA said they can use them to track terrorists, they could divert some funding from the DoD.

Re:E.T. = Extra Terrorists (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918189)

In all seriousness, Paul Krugman among others have theorized that a credible threat of extra-terrestrial invasion would in fact do wonders for the world:
1. We'd stop focusing on hating other people, and start focusing on hating those evil aliens. It would go a long way towards making peace on earth possible.
2. World governments which are currently acting mostly as a brake on the economy would start employing absolutely everybody to design and build new weapons designed to stop the invasion. Think along the lines of what the US did in WWII only about 25 times as massive.

NASA isn't NASA any longer (-1, Troll)

andyring (100627) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918011)

Apparently everyone forgot that NASA doesn't exist any longer. It's now MASO - Muslim Aeronautics and Space Outreach. How could we forget that? It's what our Dear Leader decreed after all.

Re:NASA isn't NASA any longer (3, Interesting)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918119)

Apparently everyone forgot that NASA doesn't exist any longer. It's now MASO - Muslim Aeronautics and Space Outreach. How could we forget that? It's what our Dear Leader decreed after all.

Massive flamebait. My god what happened to you as a child?

Duh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39918083)

Do you really think this is by accident? "Starving the Beast" is the conservative methodology for killing things they don't like. Got satellites all up in God's face doing elitist science stuff like providing data to scientists who insist on saying blasphemous things like humans are changing the climate or polluting the oceans? Well, there's an easy fix for that; kill the funding. The Republicans want this outcome. Why do people not see this?

Who needs a satellite? (1)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 2 years ago | (#39918275)

We can just install WeatherPro on the iPhone! Right?
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