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Space Scientists Looking To Crowd-Fund Planetary Exploration

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the sign-me-up dept.

NASA 90

The Bad Astronomer writes "The White House budget for NASA in 2013 is bleak, with big cuts in many areas. None is worse hit than planetary exploration, which got slammed with a 20% reduction. Several top-notch space scientists have taken matters into their own hands, looking to create a privately-funded alternative for space exploration. Called Uwingu — Swahili for 'sky' — they're hoping to get seed money to create a program which can generate millions in donations to explore our solar system. Astronomer Pamela Gay has more info at her blog, Star Stryder."

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Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (3, Funny)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834509)

Considering that SETI couldn't even raise [discovery.com] $2 million a year, I'm thinking we need to offer more incentives on this one. A $1 billion donation gets you a nice tote bag. $2 billion gets you the mug.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834559)

Probably because SETI's idealistic venture has lost steam.
I donated my time back in the 90s to find ET, but damn it all if the little grey blob never visited my house and ate my butterfingers.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834631)

You could download SETI on Steam?

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835109)

You could download SETI on Steam?

Actually, something like Steam might be the solution - especially if you could get a nice SETI hat.

Name fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835933)

My desire for a SETI hat with Swahili on it is something less than zero.

It doesn't bring space to mind.

It brings to mind a bunch of superstitious natives sitting on logs with ants crawling up their asses. Similar to characterizing space exploration as a "search for Jesus."

But hey, Ubuntu was able to be given away for free in spite of its idiot name, so what do I know. Maybe they'll be able to give the SETI hats away for free.

Oh, wait.

Swahili (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40837157)

The whole thing was fine until the "Uwingu" name, and its Swahili origin
 
It's getting tiresome to read so many things in the same foreign language - as if Swahili is the only legitimate foreign language in this world
 
How about the Persian language? How about the Vietnamese language? How about the Tahitian language?
 
To me, the use of yet-another-Swahili-word shows the lack of imagination, and/or the laziness therewith, of those 'scientists' in charge
 

Re:Swahili (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40837737)

What? You're not thrilled at the prospect of space probes with alliterating adjective-animal aliases?

Re:Swahili (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#40837943)

What is wrong with Latin or Greek? Those names used to work fine.

Re:Swahili (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40839825)

There is nothing wrong with Latin or Greek, or for that matter, Sanskrit.

It's just thtat if they think they truly and absolutely need a word from a foreign language for their new fangled project or it would never fly, why can't they just pick a random word from a random language - including Latin, Greek, or Sanskrit - instead of putting up yet-another-Swahili-word

It is beyond tiresome at this point

I dunno about you, but this yet-another-Swahili-word project has become very turn-offish for moi
 

Re:Swahili (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40839901)

Names are for ape-level stuff where you can count everything with your fingers.

Astronomy itself is now too advanced to bother finding nice nameplates with uplifting symbolics for shitloads of new objects found every week.

Re:Swahili (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40839443)

> How about the Persian language?

Persians aren't noble savages. They're just rug makers.

> How about the Vietnamese language?

Vietnamese aren't noble savages. They're just fast-food makers.

> How about the Tahitian language?

Tahitians aren't noble savages. They're just dancers.

The only way way we can prove how global and non-racist we are is by using a word from those lovely noble darkies down in Africa. Their customs go back over 10000 years, you know!

(I normally receive approval from my anthropologist g/f for posts like these, she didn't give it to this one, so I suspect I've overstepped some line. I know the above will be misinterpreted, but I have to post it just in case *one* person gets the payload behind the presentation.)

Re:Swahili (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40839839)

If I can have a word with your anthropologist g/f, I would tell her to not that stand-offish

I'm sorry, but this "Swahili this, Swahili that" thing is really getting on my nerves lately
 

Re:Swahili (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40840613)

It's just another fashion. It will pass.

Re:Swahili (1)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40839693)

How dare you stand against this beautiful buzz-trend???
(that was sarcasm, by the way)
Yeah, I whole-heartily agree. It's some sort of "we heard of this Swahili language, therefore we're smart, therefore you should trust us" thing. Project Sky isn't good, we need project Uwingu because it sounds mysterious, sci-fi-ish and generally makes people say "Oh, shiny!".

Re:Swahili (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40839871)

Or another one of > 1000 other African languages. After all, Swahili is a lingua franca destroying small languages.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834995)

I donated my time back in the 90s to find ET, but damn it all if the little grey blob never visited my house and ate my butterfingers.

They were Reese's Pieces you dope. There is a bucket near the door, be sure to drop your geek badge in it on the way out.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836649)

I donated my time back in the 90s to find ET, but damn it all if the little grey blob never visited my house and ate my butterfingers.

They were Reese's Pieces you dope. There is a bucket near the door, be sure to drop your geek badge in it on the way out.

Damnit, he must be the one who screwed up SETI by putting out the wrong bait.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (3, Interesting)

Flipstylee (1932884) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834727)

I like what SETI is doing, but we're talking actual science here, the kind that allows us to learn.
In order to conduct science, we need to fund it. Rant aside, this is important enough that i for one will contribute to the cause. AstronomyCast FTW.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835189)

Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

Here's why - Space exploration pushes the limits of our scientific and technological prowess. "Challenger," "Spirit," "Opportunity," "Virgin Galactic," "SpaceX," "Voyager." Those names are what a good space program should sound like. "Uwingu" sounds like the ookings of a gorilla resting on his haunches and chewing on a grub in the midst of third-world filth. It evokes action of a primate Uwinging / from tree to tree / but only in between / poo flinging. Shit, I could make a rap song from that last verse.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835473)

"Space exploration pushes the limits of our scientific and technological prowess"

A common myth. Actually, WAR pushes those limits, followed closely by natural talent and curiosity of people. THEN you can toss things into the upper atmosphere. Do you dispute that?

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836603)

"Space exploration pushes the limits of our scientific and technological prowess"

A common myth. Actually, WAR pushes those limits, followed closely by natural talent and curiosity of people. THEN you can toss things into the upper atmosphere. Do you dispute that?

Printing press? Light bulb? Telephone? Photography? Flight? Anti-biotics? The transistor? Etc...?

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836707)

"Printing press?" That was invented because of space, clearly.

" Light bulb?" Space.

"Telephone?" Also space.

" Photography?" Low Earth orbit.

" Flight?" Yup, space too.

"Anti-biotics?" Oh space.

"The transistor?" For sure space!

Wow, you got me. None of these things was invented by natural talent and curiosity, and none of these inventions was improved by wartime.

In case you're dense, which I suspect you are, you are a clueless dumbfuck.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836859)

Now THAT is comedy gold.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835593)

Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

My thoughts exactly. Swahili for 'sky' ???

You want to appeal to my wallet? Start by naming it something from a civilization that at least got as far as indoor plumbing.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836191)

Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

My thoughts exactly. Swahili for 'sky' ???

You want to appeal to my wallet? Start by naming it something from a civilization that at least got as far as indoor plumbing.

Racist prick.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836751)

Ethnocentrist, not racist per se. The same comment could be applied if the word were specific to....West Virginia for instance. Just sayin'! Lol

Racism? No: fact. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836889)

It's not racist if it's fact, fool. You're so buried in politically correct stupidity you're no longer able to tell the difference between an advanced civilization and the users of the Bantu languages, who aren't exactly the poster children for space exploration, or technology, or even any kind of advanced thinking at all.

They at least might have gone for the Arabic that Swahili derives from -- the Arabs at least have a stake in modern technology, what with algebra (actually al-jebr) and so forth.

But of course that's not politically correct on the other side of the coin.

Gee, how about calling it "Donations for Space Exploration"?

Nah. Just not politically inebriated enough for the clueless hordes.

Re:Racism? No: fact. (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40845167)

Rrrrrrrracist!!

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40837199)

Uhhh...how EXACTLY is that racist? Is it true only if the skin color is correct? African tribal culture frankly has changed much in the last thousand years so naming deep space exploration using a word from African tribal culture makes as much as much sense as naming your new supersonic aircraft after Quaker culture.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40839625)

I'ts not racist - just simple minded...

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40849385)

Again how EXACTLY is it simple minded? whether you choose to accept it or not African tribal culture is just that TRIBAL and thus primitive, hell it hasn't really changed much in thousands of years, so naming an ultra high tech project after a culture that frankly probably doesn't even have words for deep space or high tech is more than a little...dumb.

Again its just more politically correct horseshit with no basis in reality, otherwise why not name it after Quaker or Mennonite? Because the PC police have put African tribal culture in the "noble savages" meme, just as they did with Native American for awhile. But pretending reality isn't reality if the skin color is the correct shade is just as dumb and just as racist if the shade is dark or light, its still bullshit.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850779)

"You can't object to that, that's political correctness." The age-old defense of the racist.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851911)

"Throwing the racist insults" the age old defense of the PC police. Again I gave you CLEAR and CONCRETE reasons why using a TRIBAL culture reference for a HIGH TECH project is stupid...did you give ANY rationalizations why it isn't? Any counter examples? hell anything other than insults?

Nope because the PC police have ONLY insults because their bullshit is just that, bullshit, its just as fucking racist to say one culture is "better" because they are dark skinned as it does to say one if better because they are light. again its a classic "noble savages" PC horseshit, just as we went through in the late 80s with all the "Native Americans are wise and spiritual" horseshit.

Horseshit is horseshit and the ONLY racists here are the PC police pulling the noble savage card, which is just as fucking racist as calling them heathens.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40839925)

The Culture [wikipedia.org] would probably name its far fetching projects like Your Momma or Object in a Rear View Mirror.

Mod parent troll (2)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836179)

"Uwingu" sounds like the ookings of a gorilla resting on his haunches and chewing on a grub in the midst of third-world filth. It evokes action of a primate Uwinging / from tree to tree / but only in between / poo flinging

You are a disgusting, disgraceful, half-educated racist motherfucker. Just thought you should know.

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (-1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836661)

Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

"Uwingu" sounds like the ookings of a gorilla resting on his haunches and chewing on a grub in the midst of third-world filth.

Doesn't it say it's from a Swahili word?

Re:Donate $2 billion, get this free coffee mug (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40839501)

"Challenger," "Spirit," "Opportunity," "Virgin Galactic," "SpaceX," "Voyager." Those names are what a good space program should sound like.

Those names sounds like "Uwingu" to anyone who doesn't speak English.

They sound like a bad Hollywood movie to me, perhaps NASA is trying to get an image that doesn't imply that they waste immense amount of resources and deliver crap.

is this what the uwingu project is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40873455)

This uwingu project only talks about a project but doesn't say what it is. I googled 'uwingu' and found multiple versions of their trademark application which says that "UWINGU is providing a website featuring online technology that enables users to name both features on the surfaces of bodies in the solar system and solar system bodies themselves." Isn't that already the responsibility of the IAU? Are they working with the IAU?

They'd better crowd-source it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834655)

They'd better crowd-source it... send me to Mars already !

Priorities (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834719)

It's obviously more important to provide food and healthcare for deadbeats who don't want to work to earn their living.

Re:Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865849)

You've got that the wrong way around. It's obviously much more important to provide tax relief and governmental donations for a few people who made bad choices and lost billions, but it's not at all important to look after the people who paid for those donations or lost their jobs as a result of those previously mentioned poor choices.

Correct me if I'm wrong... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834745)

Isn't this what the stock market is good for? You know, funding an operation with lots of people in a fairly transparent way?

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (4, Insightful)

squidflakes (905524) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834767)

Private capital is rarely transparent and often has more strings attached than most people realize. Also, the ROI on space exploration projects is so low and spread over such a long time period that no private capital group in their right mind would ever fund it, let alone convince other investors.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (4, Interesting)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834939)

You're assuming its an investment, not a donation. A decent planetary science mission will cost $500M in NASA dollars. Take out federal procurement and the endemic requirement growth and you can imagine a worthwhile mission for $300M.

As Ed Lu (B612 Foundation CEO who is launching the Sentinel mission) pointed out in a recent talk, this is an equivalent amount to a new wing in an art museum -- not insignificant, but not impossible. The conversation he had with a fundraiser went like this:
    Fundraiser: "So you can really launch something into an orbit around the sun???"
    Ed Lu: "Of course. You can really raise $300M in donations???"

A science mission won't return a monetary investment, and no one should expect it to. This doesn't mean that you can't fund it as you would other public works projects.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835113)

Yeah, and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle. You space religion types really are disconnected from reality.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40865881)

If your aunt had balls, she'd have been fucking your arse not sucking your cock.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836013)

A science mission won't return a monetary investment, and no one should expect it to. This doesn't mean that you can't fund it as you would other public works projects.

But there should be some form of return for such form of sponsorship direct from the public. For example, use and prominent display of public domain tools, like GNU-Linux, etc. Advocacy for the public domain nature of the Web and advocacy for net-neutrality. Get to work with Tim Berners-Lee, who launched the Web while at CERN (a public institution) and other prominent scientists and advocates of the public domain like Lawrence Lessig.

Get it right and that in itself will help funding and do good for all of us, on top of the science!

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (2)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836133)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but...

I am at the University of Cambridge, where outreach activities are quite valued among academics. The Raspberry Pi originates from here, among other educational interesting ideas. I could suggest of few names to help form a committee. Contact me.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835263)

Private capital is rarely transparent and often has more strings attached than most people realize.

The same can be said of public capital. The difference is that the owner of the private capital chose to make the gift. While the owners of the public capital had pretty unaccountable people making that decision.

Also, the ROI on space exploration projects is so low and spread over such a long time period that no private capital group in their right mind would ever fund it, let alone convince other investors.

Again, no more reason for public funding either. It's only in the twisted, pollyannish world of politics that lack of usefulness is a reason to fund projects.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40837341)

Private capital has some big weaknesses. It isn't available for anything but the most immediate and sure returns. And it isn't enough for big projects.

As an example, you would have thought a transcontinental railroad was a no brainer. Took about 7 years to build and start earning a return. But that's too long and too much risk for the market. The companies could not find buyers for their stock. They had to rely on huge government land grants for the bulk of their costs, and that still wasn't enough. They resorted to financial trickery (which goes a long way in explaining the market's reluctance to invest in them), ludicrous levels of optimism, and plain old stiffing of creditors. Even on those matters in which they were dealing squarely, they had to fend off constant accusations that the whole thing was just a gigantic scam, that they meant to build only the easy part of the railroad, take their government loans and run. Didn't help that one of the builders thought the best way to make a profit was to build the track as long as possible in order to secure more government loans. The railroad was absolutely worth building, and as fast as possible even though that greatly increased costs, but it was a messy affair, with one of the companies, the UP, going bankrupt a few years after the rail was completed. Private enterprise was simply not up to the job, not by itself.

We have many very practical things we could do. For instance, the US could really use some high speed passenger rail lines. Yet we seem unable to build them. A bigger project is a tunnel under the Bering Strait, and rail connections to both ends. It stretches our capabilities, but we could do it if we had the will. It would be very valuable. Then there's projects like the space elevator. We do not know how to build that, assuming it can be done at all. It will take much research, an area in which private enterprise is weak.

There are many things for which private capital is unsuited.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40837629)

Private capital has some big weaknesses. It isn't available for anything but the most immediate and sure returns. And it isn't enough for big projects.

Neither of those is a weakness of private capital. There are plenty of examples of long term thinking with private capital even in the areas of science. A lot of current universities (most by number of colleges though probably not by number of students these days) in the US were created through private funds. Some modern research is being funded by private means as well.

Frankly, I think it's great news that even space-based research is starting to consider private funding.

As to your continental railroad, so what if it took a few more years to build a railroad with purely private funds rather than public? As you note, the use of public funds ended being an opportunity to scam.

We have many very practical things we could do. For instance, the US could really use some high speed passenger rail lines.

I thought you were going to speak of "practical" things. The US already has a form of high speed passenger rail. We call them "airplanes".

My impression besides is that one needs gullible European taxpayers to run a proper high speed rail. The US is sadly deficient in that resource.

Then there's projects like the space elevator. We do not know how to build that, assuming it can be done at all. It will take much research, an area in which private enterprise is weak.

I'm not getting a sense of what practicality your things are supposed to have. It seems to me a better approach just to let the current space launch market prove or as the case may be, not prove its effectiveness. Then one can build better infrastructure possibly including space elevators at some point. Or we can squander vast amounts of public funds on things like space elevators and hope that works better than fusion.

As to "research", claiming that private enterprise is "weak" at research implies someone is "strong" at research. Who would that be?

Obviously, the prime candidate is publicly funded research. The problem is that despite the vast sums that are thrown at it, it really doesn't do that much. Probably it's most notable use is to socialize research risk from businesses (to be honest, socialization of risk is a task at which government and public funding excels).

But that doesn't seem particularly useful to me. It just seems to me that we spend a lot more for the outcome we get than in the old days when private sources funded a far greater share of such research.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836735)

Stock market stopped being about investment when speculators were forced to participate on threat of theft of their wages (401k laws and the like). Those who actually understand how to invest and know the details of the company(its books, its workers, the market in general, etc) are absolutely dwarfed by the vast number of people who participate because they will have the money they throw in stolen from them otherwise. Even those who do become skilled at engaging the stock market are not good at investment these days, because they have become skilled at making earnings on a system of speculation. They are adept at negotiating the waters of sloshing money, not spotting productive entrepreneurs. The direction these mechanisms take when speculation is the overwhelming primary driver is not pursuing investment, but chasing bubbles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OF87sMjYlws

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40838295)

Even those who do become skilled at engaging the stock market are not good at investment these days, because they have become skilled at making earnings on a system of speculation.

Speculation is a form of investment and everyone who invests, engages in some degree of speculation (minimally, that what they invest in doesn't tank).

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#40838681)

No they are distinct. Well it depends on which definition you are using of course, actual investments don't exist in the real world since nothing guarantees return of principal (governments go bust on occassion).

But the usual useful definition would be speculation is buying something because you expect it to be worth more in the future (or selling something because you think it will be worth less in the future). Whereas investment would be something that promises a interest payments or dividend payments over time without any expectation or price changes.

So given dividend levels in recent times, everyone in the stock market has been speculating.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841713)

No they are distinct. Well it depends on which definition you are using of course, actual investments don't exist in the real world since nothing guarantees return of principal (governments go bust on occassion).

Indeed. Hence, my argument that investment is speculation and vice versa.

But the usual useful definition would be speculation is buying something because you expect it to be worth more in the future (or selling something because you think it will be worth less in the future). Whereas investment would be something that promises a interest payments or dividend payments over time without any expectation or price changes.

And here we see the speculation of investment. The promise of interest or dividend payments is the expectation. You invest or speculate because you expect by the action to result in more wealth for you in the future.

Further, there is no neat division of the two ideas even along the lines you mention. For example, you might value a dividend paying stock higher because you speculate that its dividend payment will grow over time. That means you're making an investment by your definition, but paying a little premium for it due to speculation on your part.

The primary reason I post on speculation versus investment is that for some bizarre reason, speculation has a negative connotation to much of society, while investment does not. This usually extends to speculators doing bad things to a market while investors do good things.

For example, claims that oil is higher than it should be due to speculators. Those accusers are ignorant though of the fact that, if you really do perturb a market away from what it should be, then you lose money, possibly a vast amount of money, if the market is as big as oil. The symptom here is the cure. Those speculators are losing big, if the accusers are right.

But there's the rub, if those speculators are so wrong, then where are they coming up with the money to keep losing it? OTOH, if the speculators are right, then the price of oil should be higher. And the real problem is that the accusers want to deny a bit of reality. Either way, speculators are getting wronged by a lot of people who don't understand their role or what benefits they provide.

I will donate! (1, Interesting)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834753)

Only if I recieve a souvenir from another planet.

But then again, if everyone was to demand a souvenir in return, it might be easier if NASA became a business that sold space souvenirs.

Re:I will donate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835091)

Incentives in general would be a good idea. And honestly I'm surprised there isn't something set up like this already. This is far more important than anything else the government is wasting money on currently. All it would take is a few super-rich to empty thier change drawers to fund NASA.

Kickstarter (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834853)

So what do I get for contributing to their Kickstarter?

Don't forget about rover Opportunity! (2)

redizhot (2692045) | more than 2 years ago | (#40834891)

Planetory exploration, our eyes where we can't reach yet, here's a great piece on the rover Opportunity, who's still collecting valuable data that is no doubt shaping the future of planetory exploration as we know it. http://www.frequency.com/video/sciencecasts-first-extraterrestrial/53770551/-/4-196655 [frequency.com] Little guy still chugging away. :) I feel the returns on these explorations will pay out big dividends years down the road, but not if they don't get the funding. I think privatization will be a great way to get the money needed as the commercial potential of these future space businesses could be an enormous jackpot, with the right technology and the right deal. I'm not sure how governments don't see that potential.

Step #1.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834927)

Find a better and more memorable name. Seriously, names are important. They need to be memorable, easy to spell and hopefully represent what you do. This name, I've already forgotten and have no clue how to spell had I simply heard it. You can't go to the moon (or stars) on a rocketship that nobody can spell let alone fund.

Re:Step #1.... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835251)

That was my second thought. My first was "millions...hey, that's kind of cute, and off by a several orders of magnitude."

Re:Step #1.... (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835365)

Couldn't agree more. Wish I had mod points.

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40834985)

Make it tax deductible like religious organizations of course...

And the free-market folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835069)

Piss their pants in excitement. Dismantle the public sphere, sell it at a loss, use it for private industry, sell it back to the public at a profit.

Re:And the free-market folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40836675)

What the heck are you gibbering about?

Have a 'dry' day. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835145)

  • $100 billion. 2010 liqueur&bear sales in the United States.
  • $19.9 billion. 2010 liqueur&beer sales in Canada.

So if every drinker in these two countries countries were to donate a single days spending on spirits to this program they would raise almost $330 million dollars.

Re:Have a 'dry' day. (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835281)

And have a good fraction of three hundred million people who should be drunk walking around stone cold sober? You, sir, are putting us on a collision course with certain destruction.

Re:Have a 'dry' day. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40841691)

  • $100 billion. 2010 liqueur&bear sales in the United States.
  • $19.9 billion. 2010 liqueur&beer sales in Canada.

I had no idea that bears were such a popular consumer item in the US.

Open source (2)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835467)

Just curious. If someone at NASA put out some requirements for a small subsystem how many people here would work on helping develop it in their spare time? I've tried to make this point. There are some things that can be crowd sourced. I think the public could get involved if the ITAR stuff could be avoided.

For example let's say a bracket was needed to hold a sensor. NASA could post the mass, size and Interface for the sensor and list the shock and vib requirements. Then let whoever wants to submit a design with analysis. Then the responsible engineer could review them and pick a design.

Re:Open source (2)

erice (13380) | more than 2 years ago | (#40835925)

Just curious. If someone at NASA put out some requirements for a small subsystem how many people here would work on helping develop it in their spare time? I've tried to make this point. There are some things that can be crowd sourced. I think the public could get involved if the ITAR stuff could be avoided.

For example let's say a bracket was needed to hold a sensor. NASA could post the mass, size and Interface for the sensor and list the shock and vib requirements. Then let whoever wants to submit a design with analysis. Then the responsible engineer could review them and pick a design.

Or he could design it himself in less time than it takes to write the detailed specs and vet the submissions.

ROFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40837333)

lol this thread is fiull a funny....i havent stopped laughing

Re:Open source (2)

coofercat (719737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841449)

FWIW, I'd love to see this sort of thing. Even if "the crowd" only ended up designing the hangar they store the rocket in before it goes to the launch pad or whatever, it's still part of the whole picture, and you can't do space exploration without boring things like hangars and brackets.

However, as someone else points out, the specs required would be so detailed you could probably design the thing in less time than writing the specs. There might be some room for crowd sourced testing though ("Hey, we made a piece of this magic rope for the space elevator. See if you can snap it!" ;-)

Re:Open source (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#40846563)

If they only published detailed designs that they were actually proposing to produce, and set up a process of the public "voting up" recommended changes, you would be amazed at what could be done.

Part of a the beauty of a good design comes from inspiration. Problem is, inspiration doesn't work from 9 to 5. Even the most uncreative can have a moment of total brilliance that will change the direction of a large project. The hard part is separating the wheat from the chaff, and testing is damnably expensive. Crowd sourcing the task of vetting designs and proposed changes would give NASA the biggest bang for the buck. A 1000 shade-tree engineers could work on new bracket designs independently, each hoping for the honor of having designed a part that rode into space.

I've nearly completed a homebuilt airplane. I can tell you without a doubt that there is a constant backdrop of intellectual competition among a subset of homebuilders who are trying to invent better/stronger/faster/cheaper/easier/simpler/safer parts/design/techniques. With the right attitude, NASA could have this working for them for almost free.

Re:Open source (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#40849083)

Thanks for the feedback. Part of NASA's mission is to educate. But most of the stuff you see publicly is aimed at younger kids. They gloss over the real work and give a CSI view of engineering.

The university stuff is usually better but most of the process is hidden from public view.

I always thought it would be interesting to have a real open project where all of the work is made available for public review. So many times everyone is so busy review arent that useful. If it was made public there are people that would wlly like to delve into the details. What fun to find an error a NASA enginner made. I would of loved that when I was in school.

One word (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835791)

Kickstarter

So simple. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40835801)

1. get all sorts of people from all around the world
2. throw these people in a rocket
3. shoot rocket towards Mars
4. broadcast the mission as new kind of reality show
5. add the secret ingedient — product placement

Something similar here for a chopper (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836049)

In NZ, we've got the rescue helicopter, funded by a local bank (and painted in their colours, with their name on the side, and always referred to as the rescue helicopter. The bank recently asked for funds, saying that even $20 would get them a clutter-pin, or some such. I suspect the thing will be the same colour, same name though.

Re:Something similar here for a chopper (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | more than 2 years ago | (#40836363)

Not to be snarky, but they should raise the price to $40 so that you can get plural rescue helicopter. You guys are the size of oregon for crying out loud. : p

orbiters for Uranus and Neptune (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40837405)

The specific goals I'd like funded are orbiters to Uranus and Neptune. Those seem far and away the most obvious, valuable, and doable projects no one has yet tried.

Re:orbiters for Uranus and Neptune (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#40838333)

How about asteroid exploration and surveying? A particularly interesting bit would be hitting Jupiter's Trojan asteroids which are clumped together with relatively low delta v between bodies. And being at the Jupiter-Sun Lagrange points, those asteroids may end up being valuable assets a few centuries from now.

Why don't we just crowd-fund NASA? (1)

MOtisBeard (693145) | more than 2 years ago | (#40838839)

I'm fine with the idea of private commercialization of space by companies that have start-up capital to do it, but do we really have to abandon NASA to the budget-cut wolves in favor of private companies that require crowd-funding? NASA is pretty ramped up already; why don't we just crowd-fund NASA?

Re:Why don't we just crowd-fund NASA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40846985)

I'm fine with the idea of private commercialization of space by companies that have start-up capital to do it, but do we really have to abandon NASA to the budget-cut wolves in favor of private companies that require crowd-funding? NASA is pretty ramped up already; why don't we just crowd-fund NASA?

NASA -> USA

Uwingu is not a Swahili word for anything (1)

miano (972548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40839491)

Perhaps they meant "mbingu" which roughly translates to "heaven" or "wingu" which means "cloud". There is no direct Swahili translation for "sky" as far as I know. They should have done a quick check on any of the online Swahili dictionaries such as http://kamusi.org/ [kamusi.org] or http://www.kamusi.co.tz/ [kamusi.co.tz] before erroneously naming their project.

Re:Uwingu is not a Swahili word for anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40873539)

This uwingu project only talks about a project but doesn't say what it is. I googled 'uwingu' and found multiple versions of their trademark aplication which says that "UWINGU is providing a website featuring online technology that enables users to name both features on the surfaces of bodies in the solar system and solar system bodies themselves." Isn't that already the responsibility of the IAU? Are they actually working with the IAU or maybe some African astronomy organization?

Hello home astronomers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40839855)

Tiny light grey text on white. You need a telescope to read her blog.

Swahili for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40840703)

Umuga mbingo wing'tu hili. Translates to "sucker of goat testicles". Which is what I usually say to crowd sourcing.

imho it's not aiming big enough (1)

unami (1042872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841763)

"we need 75.000 for an unspecified marketing campaign for an unspecified project" doesn't sound too inviting to me - how about "we need at least one million people to give us at least 100$ a year over the next ten years to accomplish these awesome goals (insert planned projects here)". "give us 1$ on kickstarter to set up the big money-collecting and to show your interest" (and for your 100$-1000$ / year you get your name on a plaque on the moon, beautiful HD-Video Footage of everyting and a share of the company (which you might exchange to a space-ticket in the future)

Opaque. (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40841849)

Their ideas are so elegant that I can’t believe they haven’t already been done, and because it would take about a week for someone with very modest venture capitol (that part they are missing) to implement the idea well This is where the campaign is asking for your trust and your donations to allow us to setup a new model for funding space, but we can’t give you the details, because if we do the idea is going to get built by someone else and the profit will go somewhere other than to researchers.

This is kind of asking us to take a lot on faith. "Send us your money so that we can do some secret thing that's going to be great. Oh, and I really need money to cover my staff's salary." You're not going to find a more passionate advocate for space exploration than me, but even I feel leery about contributing given the opacity of the enterprise.

My second thought is, if you do successfully create some quasi-third-option (not public, not private) enterprise to do actual planetary exploration, it is by definition competitive with NASA. Immediately, immediately, Ron Paul and all the strict constitutionalists and tea partiers and deficit hawks are going to point to Uwingu and say "Hey, we don't need a federal agency for that! Look, private enterprise is doing it!" It would be just another, better reason to kill NASA by budget cuts.

Re:Opaque. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40873557)

This uwingu project only talks about a project but doesn't say what it is. I googled 'uwingu' and found multiple versions of their trademark application which says that "UWINGU is providing a website featuring online technology that enables users to name both features on the surfaces of bodies in the solar system and solar system bodies themselves."Is this their "elegant idea"?? Isn't that already the responsibility of the IAU?

Budget... what budget? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40844919)

Uh... seeing as the last budget that was passed out of the Senate was in 2009 (800 days ago) and the Democrats certainly don't want a budget vote on record before the November elections-- why bother fretting over "planned cuts"?
http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/just-reminder-its-been-800-days-senate-passed-budget_576441.html

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