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NASA Faces Rough Road In 2013

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the buckle-up dept.

NASA 132

MarkWhittington writes "With the National Research Council report that concluded that President Obama's plan for a mission to an asteroid has no support, either inside NASA or anywhere else, the space agency faces a decision point in 2013. The NRC suggested that the administration, Congress, NASA, and other stakeholders in space exploration come to a consensus behind a new goal. But the space agency's problems run deep, caused by a lack of direction, a lack of leadership, and a lack of funding."

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NASA's budgets should be 5 years at a time (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437455)

How the hell can you plan a major project when every year you're faced with the possibility of major cuts?

This president is no leader !! (-1, Troll)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437531)

How the hell can you plan a major project when every year you're faced with the possibility of major cuts?

Fact of the matter is this - instead of being the leader of the citizens of the United States of America, Obama chooses to be a crowd pleaser.

Instead of concentrate the limited resource available to make America strong - by spending them on R&D and also space programs - Obama opted for spending the money for welfare to feed the crack addicts and those who are too lazy to work

If I was a president (0)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437615)

NASA deserves 100b a year. Thats still a lot less than the FED gives away to euro banks.

I would tell the Doj/FBI- all pot is legal, let all the people out of prison. All previous records deleted. Base future arrests purely on tax avoidance, so no SWAT team needed, just a letter with a bill due.

Re:This president is no leader !! (5, Insightful)

dnahelicase (1594971) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437653)

Fact of the matter is this - instead of being the leader of the citizens of the United States of America, Obama chooses to be a crowd pleaser.

Instead of concentrate the limited resource available to make America strong - by spending them on R&D and also space programs - Obama opted for spending the money for welfare to feed the crack addicts and those who are too lazy to work

The president doesn't make these decisions. You might think he's supposed to lead by telling congress what to spend money on, but you would be just another person enabling congress to continue to suck. The president is designed to hold back congress from doing crazy stuff. That's why he has the veto power - and nothing more. Congress sets the budget and congress fails when the budget is wrong. There are 535 people with their own leadership structure. When they fail it's not the presidents' fault, no matter who it is.

Blaming the president for Congress' failing through lack of leadership just enables the executive branch to assume more power and the legislative to point more fingers.

The POTUS is not a leader? (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438065)

The president is designed to hold back congress from doing crazy stuff. That's why he has the veto power - and nothing more.

AND NOTHING MORE ???

You mean to say, the role of the POTUS is not being the ***DE FACTO LEADER*** of the USA?

If the position of the POTUS is designed, as you said, "to hold back congress from doing crazy stuff", how come presidents such as Lincoln, JFK and Reagan managed to lead the United States of America to greater heights?

Or to put it another way --- Do you, Sir, really understand the true role of the POTUS?

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438671)

He's a figurehead. And with any luck he's a figurehead with good advisors and a decent script writer or two.

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438693)

All a charade to keep driven by mass media and celebrity worship to keep people away from the lack lustre and boring congress and senate primaries where the real decision makers are elected by the corporations. President and his staff (unelected staff) is meant to be the administrator of the rules provided. Veto should be stripped away and all of the main staff positions should be selected from the senate and the congress. Of course tens of millions of idiot Americans need to start paying attention to the primaries, so they do not end up having to vote for corporate candidate number 1 or corporate candidate number 2 (plus a series of purposefully invisible to main stream media candidates).

Main Stream media in the US continually screams the President the Leader, the President the Leader, only as a purposeful distraction, even though in reality the President is the puppet of the congress and the senate, they decide the Presidents powers.

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438871)

Really? What did reagan manage to do? Absolutely nothing. JFK, Lincoln, Eisenhower, FDR, Teddy, etc. DID do great things. But reagan? Nope. Just ran up a massive defict/debt, while ignoring the fact that the cold war was already over.

And O DID extend unemployment to deal with the disaster that the neo-cons left, but what did he do to support crack-heads while stealing from NASA? After a commision said to kill off constellation, O followed their advice (which was not difficult to see what they were going to say). I am trying to understand why you think that O is to blame for what is going on with NASA?

Windbourne

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (1, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438899)

Even though I am not a member of the Ronald Reagan fan club, I gotta admit this one thing:

Neither JFK nor Eisenhower nor FDR has brought the USSR to its knees.

On the other hand, Reagan did - by playing the "space weapon poker" game that bankrupted the former Soviet Union, which in turn, led to its breakup.

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439161)

You were obviously not part of the cold war warrior back in the 70's or 80's, nor have a decent history background. It was known by '79 that USSR was dead.That is why they invaded afghanistan and why Carter cut all trade with them. You could argue that Carter put in the final nail, but the real work was done during the trumans, through to JFK time frame.
If anything, Reagan prolonged the cold war.
I will say this for him; Carter had cut off trade, esp. ag, with the commies. Reagan restarted it esp. ag. By restarting ag, he prevented the commies from being able to point to America as causing them hardship. Reagan absolutely did NOT bring down the USSR, but it is possible, that he prevented them from using the west as a scapegoat.

Regardless, too many dumb fucks give him credit for what is not his. It was Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson, Nixon, and Carter who brought down the USSR (Ford did not have time to make a difference). Even the commies documents showed that USSR was bankrupted before Reagan, and they knew it. He caused nothing to change in terms of their spending. On the other hand, Reagan did run up America's spending and caused massive deficits/debt. He was, and remains, one of the worst leaders that America has EVER had (though a good argument could be made that Bush II was actually worse).

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438883)

"Or to put it another way --- Do you, Sir, really understand the true role of the POTUS?"

Apparently he does. "And nothing more" might be a slight exaggeration, but not much.

The function of POTUS is to be the head of the executive branch. In other words, he manages the BUSINESS of government that has been mandated by Congress. He heads the executive (functional) departments of government (or appoints delegates to do so).

He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Other than that, no, the position was not really intended as that of "leader" of the country. If the Founders had wanted that, they could have made it a monarchy rather than a republic.

Believe it or not, WE are supposed to be the leaders. Government -- all of it -- is supposed to follow.

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438951)

Believe it or not, WE are supposed to be the leaders. Government -- all of it -- is supposed to follow.

I do understand what you're saying, but then, my friend, the "WE are supposed to be the leaders" thing does not work in the reality.

Take a look around, my friend - Out of the more than 200 governments in this world, which one is led by the people?

Even in countries that have/had/had previously succumbed to chaos - Yemen, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Republic of Congo, for example - the "groups of people" who supposed to be "leading" the countries were/are nothing more than bandits/terrorists.

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438991)

"... the "WE are supposed to be the leaders" thing does not work in the reality."

It has worked, therefore it can work. The fact that our Federal government has become overweening and abusive of its authority over the past century (give or take) does not mean that it has to be that way.

Re:The POTUS is not a leader? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438993)

When talking to liberals its simple. If its a GOP president they are responsible for everything that possibly goes wrong. With Bush it was gas prices, wars, economy, wages, housing, and on and on. Now that a DNC member is president the president is just a figurehead that can do nothing and has no power over anything. Of course you have to forget that statement when they claim that he can't do anything because of all the things Bush did (I guess Bush had a super presidency)

Part of the reason I can't take anything liberals now say seriously.

Re:This president is no leader !! (2)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438667)

Wow. You're so very not right.

The President:

Has veto power, oversees the executive branch, is the Commander in Chief of the US Military (sometimes this doesn't mean that much, but right now we have military action going on all over the place), Is the boss of the top law enforcement officer in the country.

He also is supposed to send a proposed budget for running all that stuff he's responsible for. Now it is correct that congress is supposed to pass a budget that may or may not agree with the one the president proposes.

All in all the President's a very powerful guy.

I will also go out on a limb here and say that if Obama wanted to go to Mars, he could make a strong case for it. It just doesn't appear that he's that interested in space or NASA. It does disturb me however that if Obama said "Mars by 2020!" the republicans would automatically be against it because Obama asked for it (the reverse is also true, see GWB). I'm sick of the parties playing games with NASA.

Re:This president is no leader !! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438929)

"... Is the boss of the top law enforcement officer in the country."

The Attorney General is only the head of Federal law enforcement, which is nowhere near as strong or ubiquitous as many believe. The FBI basically being the top Federal law enforcement agency, and the FBI's numerous incidents of playing Keystone Kops are well known.

Pretty much all the other Federal law enforcement agencies -- customs, immigration, border affairs, etc... are under the purview of the Department of Homeland Security today, which is headed by the Secretary of Homeland Security.

Re:This president is no leader !! (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438941)

"All in all the President's a very powerful guy."

But being a powerful guy is very, very different from being a "leader".

The last President who was worth a sh*t as a "leader" was John F. Kennedy.

Re:This president is no leader !! (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437669)

...crack addicts and those who are too lazy to work

Goldman Smack

Re:This president is no leader !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438861)

Normally, I enjoy many of your postings, but, you are so far off base WRT NASA and O. The fact is, that neo-cons are pushing NASA to waste money on Constellation and now on SLS. Yet, the SLS will not be ready for another decade, and will cost 20-30 B. That is just insane.

Instead, if we spend that money on pushing private space, which is what O is pushing, we can have not only multiple companies launching humans and cargo, but we can have multiple space stations, tugs, fuel depots, etc.

Lastly, it was not O that gutted NASA's budget. It was the neo-cons who insisted that it go down, while pushing more of it into SLS. So, if you want to blame somebody, blame those that voted for the likes of Shelby, wolfe, Hatch, Hutchinson, etc.

Windbourne (moderating).

Re:This president is no leader !! (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438893)

When I say, spend money on space programs, I don't mean spending money exclusively on constellations and/or SLS.

There are many more meaningful space programs out there and we should invest on some of them (I do understand that we no longer have the mean to do whatever we need, but we _still_ need to do something, don't we??)

I do support spending the limited amount of resources that we have on things that can advance our country in terms of technology prowess and in knowledge acquisition skills.

However, what we have today - and I mean, the current POTUS - ain't doing that at all.

Instead of leading USA to a greater height, Obama is leading USA to nowhere.

I'm not a Republican nor a Democrat - I'm an independent who is very sick and tired of all the unnecessary politicking that is taking USA to oblivion.

Re:This president is no leader !! (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439203)

Okay, please tell us what you think that O screwed up WRT NASA?
The fact is, that he continues to push the private space. He actually was pushing for more money on NASA, but it was the God Damn neo-cons that gutted them, not O.

I think that in about 1-2 years, once Falcon heavy is up along with Dragon Rider's first test, O will kill the SLS. That boondoggle is costing us 3-5Billion / year. That is money that should be split into science as well as private space.

So, seriously, you gripe about O, but you are not really saying what he is causing? He has pushed a number of laws and tax changes that encourage manufacturing to come back. He is pushing hard for private companies to expand and take us to places like the moon. Does it not make more sense that NASA lead our companies into a mission for multiple space stations around earth, as well as around the moon? And you can count on it that when private space decides to go to the moon (and they will), that NASA will be there. And it makes great sense for them to contract for services from these companies.

So, again, I ask exactly WHAT is O screwing up WRT Space and NASA?

Re:NASA's budgets should be 5 years at a time (0)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437621)

because the proposed major projects are stupid... send men to an asteroid!? please... the president has been watching too many movies

nasa can't even manage a cost efficient, safe, reliable and regular system for access to low earth orbit... now that would be a much more reasonable goal, and one that they could build a market from to sell services to subsidise more of their efforts rather than merely leeching off the tax payer with little tax payer return

Not only NASA. (3, Insightful)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437457)

But the whole United States is locked in a situation where hope and optimism is starting to get rare.

The Democrats and Republicans seems to be blocking each other as much as possible causing a deadlock. Today it seems like the creationists are taking over step by step.

Re:Not only NASA. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437511)

seems like the creationists are taking over

First the creationists enacted their healthcare law. Now the creationists are proposing another AWB.

Those creationists sure are taking over.

Re:Not only NASA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439047)

In all seriousness the creationists are taking over /.. Creationists hate logic, they despise science, they willfully ignore fact and evidence, all in the name of their religious beliefs without which they cannot survive. Libertarians are no different save that in the 10+ years I've been on /. I have yet to see any other classification of reality deniers approach the intensity of Libertarians' particular brand of willful ignorance.

Re:Not only NASA. (-1, Flamebait)

DorkFish (2796969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438015)

What? LOL! The creationists have had control for a VERY long time. The evolutionists are currently barking loudest, giving the impression that they have the upper hand. For some reason, science accepts certain theories as fact, even without real proof. Sounds to me like the same type of faith over which they berate creationists.

Re:Not only NASA. (4, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438581)

For some reason, science accepts certain theories as fact, even without real proof.

Mod this minus infinity, Bullshit. You seriously misunderstand and misrepresent science.

In science, the facts are experimental results, not the theories. If the results support a theory, then the theory is accepted. A theory can be overthrown or modified by any single contrary experimental result. If two theories explain the same result, then typically the simpler theory wins (Occam's Razor.)

The concept of "real proof" is more mathematical than scientific. One can speak of "scientific proof" as a high degree of confidence, arising from a mass of supporting evidence, that a certain theory or law is correct and is unlikely to be overthrown (e.g., the laws of thermodynamics, the kinetic molecular theory of matter.) But neither mathematicians nor scientists accept anything as established without proof.

Re:Not only NASA. (2)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438687)

I don't think its really an anti-science thing. I think NASA gets yanked around primarily because everyone know what it is and knows (more or less) what it does.

Whats going on here is that the politicians think that when you need to say you're cutting budgets, NASA's a great place to take the cuts. Because people know what it is and so many people don't give a shit about what it does. Politicians like to cut the space stuff precisely because it is visionary and scientific. They put forth a position "we don't have the money for that stuff". Ironically "that stuff" is the stuff that can best motivate the country to hope and dream again. But our current crop of politicians (including the ones who use those words in their slogans) have no idea how to hope and dream for a better future, they'd rather cheat and steal for it.

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

DorkFish (2796969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438931)

I have an understanding of the basic process of science that is only slightly higher than than that of a layman. You have to admit that part of the process doesn't make sense. Occam's Razor is only one of those parts. If the simpler theory wins, probability indicates that the accepted theory may occasionally, in fact, be the WRONG theory. Not often, I admit, but occasionally, you must be willing to admit. If you aren't willing to admit this, then your mind is set, indicating your unwillingness to accept what truly is possible, also disqualifying you from being an impartial party. Science requires impartiality. Without impartiality, I think it is called politics. =)

Given the above, the theory of evolution is, at least in part, absolutely and totally impossible to prove. Obviously, micro-evolution is provable, however, macro-evolution will never be observed. You can't possibly live your life on this planet for billions of years, keep perfect records, and then come back to show us that a zebra turned into a sugar plum fairy. That means that there is absolutely no proof of macro-evolution, so it should be taken only as a possible explanation. Since it is not fact, but a possible explanation, that makes it a theory.

Big Bang Theory (not the show) - there was absolutely nothing, and then nothing exploded. It is absolutely impossible for NOTHING to explode. If there is nothing, then .... Oh, good grief. How many theories, hypotheses, or wild guesses are out there that tell us that nothing happens without something else happening to it. If there was any possible way for you to observe a complete and total VOID (no matter, no dark matter, no electrical activity, no light, ...) for billions, trillions, or quadrillions of years, you would still be observing nothing. Or is that NOT observing anything. It doesn't matter. The way scientists have postulated, without something, there was NO BIG BANG! If there was something, from where did that something originate?

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439039)

Actually, I wouldn't say at all that "parts of the process don't make sense". I'll elaborate further down, but let's get one really important thing out of the way first.

Science is not about finding absolute truth. It's not really about finding what's "right", only what's "less wrong". This distinction is important.

A good example is Pluto. Pluto takes about 248 years to orbit the sun. But we've known of Pluto's existence for less than this period of time. This means that, no, we cannot say without a shadow of a doubt that Pluto completes an orbit of the sun within that period, but we can look at what's done so far, look at where it's going and at what speed, and then work out the rest.

It's entirely possible that Pluto's orbit shakes slightly near the end and does a loop before continuing on. This would be highly improbable but let's say it happened. That would mean that our new theory would be "less wrong". It's not perfection, it has margins of error and mistakes and unpredictable things, but it's less wrong than, say, saying that Pluto's orbit is a square.

Second point is that "theory" is the graduating point of science. We really need a new word because the linguistic definition is roughly equivalent to "educated guess", but the scientific definition (which is what scientists use when they talk in such terms) is "a proposition supported by demonstrable evidence". That is to say, a set of facts we know about the world, which are the least wrong facts we have. When people say "evolution is just a theory", they're really saying "evolution is just a proposition supported by demonstrable evidence". It's a fact. The least wrong thing we know about our universe.

So, moving back to evolution.

Evolutionists -- that is to say, scientists with years and years if not decades of study in the field of evolution and biological science -- generally do not make differentiation between "micro" and "macro" evolution. The only difference between the two is time. Once you have small changes, small changes plus time equals large changes.

My understanding of the theory of the Big Bang, though, is that is it was a super hot, super dense ball of matter. Not really "nothing". And then it blew up. The cause of the explosion is unknown, but it is, again, the least wrong theory we have.

There's a lot of information available here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

DorkFish (2796969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439213)

Since I'm tired, I'm going to make this short.

Creationists, which you mentioned earlier, have been around since, um, CREATION. =)
Evolutionists have been around since ~mid 1800's (Darwin), with a few fringe pockets prior to Darwin's existence.
You said that creationists are taking over, when it appears that you meant that creationists have lost ground but still have significant influence.

Macro-evolution is NOT a fact. Macro-evolution says that I arrived here via over a period spanning a few hundred million years to a couple of billion years, changing from a single celled organism in the water, to multi-celled, to something maybe having fins and gills, to something with foot-like fins and lung/gill variation, to a frog, to a lizard, to a bird, to a walrus, to a Sasquatch, to a Neanderthal, to a human. It can not be proven. It absolutely can not be shown to be a fact. Theories are NOT fact, otherwise we would call them facts. We call them theories because they are the closest thing we can come up with to a potential fact. Since a theory can be overthrown by a single contrary experimental result, they are not fact.

Micro-evolution says that a particular type of bird can change over time to be a different type of bird, but it will ALWAYS be a bird.
You can take thousands of years with one type of dog (say a dingo), breed for particular characteristics, and then come out with hundreds or thousands of different types of dogs, but they will always be dogs, even after billions of years.
Each type of critter might micro-evolve to something that is nearly unrecognizable in comparison to the original form, but they will never evolve to become a completely different animal (lizard to dog, bird to platypus, whale to hyena).
Similarly, humans will change over time, but we will always be human (not considering religion).

I know the super hot, dense ball of matter theory, but where did it come from? The singularity? Where did that come from? It had to come from somewhere. From something. Why is it so hard to think beyond that? Why is it so easy to have FAITH in the theories of evolution or the Big Bang, but it's impossible to believe that God said, "Let it be," and it was. Similarly, why couldn't God have said, "Dude," and then the dude was suddenly standing there?

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439323)

So called macro-evolution can't be "proven" any more than anything can be proven absolutely. Like I went to effort to explain, science does not offer absolute proof because as you pointed out, it's impossible.

Evolution is, however, backed by evidence (go to talkorigins.org to find it out). We cannot "prove" it to absolute certainty, but it is most certainly the "least wrong". It can be shown to be this. If you do not believe there is evidence for evolution, you haven't looked, because there is a mountain of it. And yes -- species do change. For example, google 'fruit fly evolution experiment'. This fact have been shown to hold in laboratory experiments.

As for the questions regarding the big bang theory, the answer to most of this is "we don't really know". That means the theory is less than perfect, as all are, but it is absolutely the "least wrong" theory of them all.

Mild quibble regarding faith. I don't have "faith" in anything. I believe things. I believe that if I hold up a ball and let go, it will drop. I believe this because I have evidence of balls I've dropped before, the mathematics behind it bears out that prediction, and there's all manner of demonstrations we can do to prove that it will, indeed, drop.

Faith is belief that the ball will fall up despite evidence, and if it doesn't, you smile, shrug and say, "God moves in mysterious ways, doesn't he?"

This is why it's easier to believe that Evolution is correct, while a God creating the universe is less likely.

Let me get right to the point: evolution may not be correct. But it's "less wrong" than a magical unicorn farting everything into existence in seven minutes.

Remember: "Less wrong". Less wrong. Less wrong. Less wrong. Not absolute proof. Less wrong.

Less wrong.

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439571)

Before I type another word, I just want to make it clear that I'm 100% on your side. However, I do have a mild quibble about your mild quibble.

Mild quibble regarding faith. I don't have "faith" in anything. I believe things. I believe that if I hold up a ball and let go, it will drop. I believe this because I have evidence of balls I've dropped before, the mathematics behind it bears out that prediction, and there's all manner of demonstrations we can do to prove that it will, indeed, drop.

Faith is belief that the ball will fall up despite evidence, and if it doesn't, you smile, shrug and say, "God moves in mysterious ways, doesn't he?"

Faith is about the belief in an outcome that cannot be determined absolutely from evidence. It does not necessarily mean the belief in an outcome that is contrary to evidence. A few illustrations, with varying degrees of faith required...

(1) I can understand a great deal about how the earth rotates, and have strong evidence that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. There is a miniscule chance that something could happen to the earth in the meantime (e.g., an asteroid hits it and changes its rotation axis) and the sun will rise somewhere other than the east. Yet I will plan my day with the assumption that the sun will rise from the east. My reason says that I'm almost, but not entirely certain of this. My faith lets me overlook the miniscule chance that it could be otherwise.

(2) When I prepare to cross a street at a crosswalk, and a car approaches and stops, my reason says that it is safe to cross because the car has stopped. However, my faith must fill in what's missing. Specifically, my faith in a fellow human who I assume will obey traffic laws and who has the same compassion for humanity as I do, and therefore would not run me over.

(3) When I hear a family member, spouse or friend say "I love you", there is little that my reason can do to support my acceptance of what they say. They are describing how they feel, and it is up to me if I can truly accept what they say is true. I can consider past actions if I have known the person for some time, but for the most part, I have to rely on faith, based on how I feel, not on how I think. Yet I must rely on some small amount of rational observation in order to accept the idea that someone loves me.

The point, I think, is that faith and reason are two sides of a coin known as The Human Condition. One cannot survive with just one. Each fills in what the other cannot supply. Faith uninformed by reason is foolishness. But reason uninspired by faith is paralyzing. With only faith, I would be blind to reality. With only reason, I would never cross the street.

Re:Not only NASA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439121)

You admit to being slightly higher than a layman and this may be the beginnings of shaking off the shackles of ignorance because your comment proves at best a layman's level of knowledge on the subject. Macroevolution has been observed many times; for your edification I suggest talk.origins [talkorigins.org] as a starting point. Evolution is the sole organizing principle in biology, without which nothing makes any sense. It is the inescapable conclusion of 200 years of scientific research.

And if you really want to boil your noodle start looking into virtual particles and the Casimir effect [ucr.edu] . Even nothing is more than nothing in this wonderful, strange, and beautiful universe of ours.

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439425)

No proof of macro evolution? So, you mean that birds coming from the dinosaurs is NOT proof of such? Or that Man came from other primates, which is trivially provable via our DNA? Hell, they have birds that exists on different islands that over time have evolved to the point, where they will not mate.

LOADS of support for it. BUT, until you can prove that the negative of it can not happen, it remains a theory.

Re:Not only NASA. (0)

DorkFish (2796969) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439275)

LOL!!! I knew I would get modded down. It's funny that I was modded down for having a point of view that somebody didn't like, referred to as "flamebait," yet I was merely pointing out facts. After all, the theory of evolution has only been around for a bit over 150 years. Creation? Oh, a few thousand years.

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439687)

What? LOL! The creationists have had control for a VERY long time. The evolutionists are currently barking loudest, giving the impression that they have the upper hand. For some reason, science accepts certain theories as fact, even without real proof. Sounds to me like the same type of faith over which they berate creationists.

You clearly have no idea how science works, but I'll bite. What "certain theories" does science (as a concept I guess, but I assume you mean scientists here) accept as fact with no real proof?

Re:Not only NASA. (2)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438027)

The Democrats and Republicans seems to be blocking each other as much as possible causing a deadlock.

Inevitably. Almost as if the system were designed with that outcome in mind.

Re:Not only NASA. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438193)

The two sides are not equal. The Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") was originally crafted by the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank. Mitt Romney signed a version of the plan into law when he was governor of Massachusetts. One would think then that the Republicans would step forward and work to pass the ACA. They fought it tooth and nail instead. We live in a time when Republicans refuse to support any bill if the Democrats are in favor of it, even if the Republicans or other right wing groups came up with or previously supported it. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) even filibustered his own bill that he introduced just hours earlier when it became apparent that Democrats might vote in favor of it. The biggest problem with government right now is that there are too many radical Republicans.

Summary was pleasant, TFA was garbage. (5, Insightful)

XiaoMing (1574363) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437481)

From TFA (second link):

The dimensions of the train wreck that is the Obama space policy are impossible to exaggerate.

The dimensions of hyperbole in that statement are impossible to exaggerate, too. Reading that second link (possibly written by a very bitter pundit-turned-scientist Rove) was an absolute waste of time bemoaning everything from NASA considering too many options before making a decision, to Mitt Romney losing the presidential race. OP's summary was more educational and less biased than that pile.

Re:Summary was pleasant, TFA was garbage. (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437899)

In Space, No One Can Vote.

Re:Summary was pleasant, TFA was garbage. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438355)

Actually you can [forbes.com] and there is a protocol for that.

Re:Summary was pleasant, TFA was garbage. (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438433)

Obama *shut down* the manned space program. If opposing that is called bias, then I guess I'm racist too?

Re:Summary was pleasant, TFA was garbage. (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439707)

No he didn't. There was a battle between focusing on an asteroid mission or a moon mission. Congress and the prez are fighting that out, but it's ugly.

I agree with the asteroid plan. We already did the moon thing. And there will be budget cuts because there is not enough money to go around.

Un the USA, *everything* is lacking funding ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437495)

... except for the big war and corporate profit machine. In other words: Leeches that mooch on the luxuries and work force of a country, but give nothing back in return but a big fat "fuck you"... and insult the very people that got poor *because* of their corporate greed that has no purpose but itself.

It's just a matter of when it breaks because of a lack of a working country behind it, not if.

Re:Un the USA, *everything* is lacking funding ... (0)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437591)

the country won't break, it'll just change: they'll enslave some, imprison others (big business that), and kill the rest. you're right about the main thing though, we'll all definitely be fucked over. It's called a fascist police state.

Re:Un the USA, *everything* is lacking funding ... (1, Flamebait)

crutchy (1949900) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437643)

heil obama!

Re:Un the USA, *everything* is lacking funding ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438331)

I doubt this, the reality is that Americans are too violent, mean and well armed for the corporations to win overtly. They will try, because their greed has no bounds and then history will cycle again, and the rich will get to watch as their families are ganged raped while their houses burn down around them. It will be a glorious time of cleansing for our nation, and then we get to have another 200 years of prosperity.

Re:Un the USA, *everything* is lacking funding ... (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438853)

Just want to add, Rome fell when it's infrastrtucture broke down (viaducts-water delivery systems, etc) and it's people left. That gradual breakdown took about 300 years after it's money was mostly all looted by the rich and powerful of Rome. Is history repeating itself now?

but the good news is (3, Insightful)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437507)

we'll spend ten times that amount occupying, maiming and killing people who did not attack us on 09/11/2001. because that's important and of lasting benefit to humanity.

Re:but the good news is (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437613)

I was worried Ender would have no targets in his drone

the whole govt is a bunch of murderers (0)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437639)

Medline Albright was asked

"Was it worth kill 500,000 babies in Iraq for the war?"

She said, "Absolutely!!!"

She typical of govt, zero compassion and ends justify the means.

Re:the whole govt is a bunch of murderers (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438927)

And you're a typical rube for believing that...

I'm game (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439359)

Please give us a CREDIBLE link to that. Not faux news, pravda, national enquirer, or Daily Mail; not some blog where you in another name state it; but a video, or an honest news organization which reports that.

Re:but the good news is (5, Insightful)

Sasayaki (1096761) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437649)

Only ten?

Where in the world did you get such a staggering discount? Or are you counting on a massive boost to NASA's funding?

NASA budget in 2012: $3.5-$8.7 billion
DOD (not including the FBI, international affairs, veterans affairs, homeland security, many other things): $707.5 billion

Ten times would be a huge change. I mean, the interest on debt for past wars was $109.1–$431.5 billion itself.

Lemme put that into perspective for you: You're spending about 30x as much repaying the debt for the last wars than you are putting stuff into space.

I'll type it again so it's really really clear.

The budget for repaying the debt, not necessarily the whole debt itself, just the interest on the debt, for Iraq/Afghanistan, is around about thirty times the budget of NASA. The defense budget itself is two to three times *that* amount.

Ten. If only, mate. If only.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States#Budget_breakdown_for_2012 [wikipedia.org]

Re:but the good news is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437783)

Lets keep this discussion fair at least. here [usgovernmentspending.com]

For 2012:
Pensions $805 Billion
Medicare $432 Billion
Welfare (Medial and handouts) $764 Billion
Deficit $1.1 Trillion (Remember how unacceptable Bush's $500 Billion was?)

So yea, we can keep hammering defence and ignore other areas, but that just shows you as a partsian shill.

Re:but the good news is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438305)

All of which makes the NASA budget look even smaller.

Re:but the good news is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438323)

Your link lumps in Social Security (767.5 billion) under "pensions." What's more your link lists Welfare at $431.5 billion in 2012 and you nearly doubled it by lumping it in some poorly defined spending. A fair discussion should have unaltered numbers from a reputable source.

Re:but the good news is (1)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438869)

The cost of Bush's wars get applied to the next presidents budget, btw.

Re:but the good news is (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439413)

Lets keep this discussion fair at least. here [usgovernmentspending.com]

For 2012: Pensions $805 Billion Medicare $432 Billion Welfare (Medial and handouts) $764 Billion Deficit $1.1 Trillion (Remember how unacceptable Bush's $500 Billion was?)

So yea, we can keep hammering defence and ignore other areas, but that just shows you as a partsian shill.

Really? Please show some honest links on those. You will find that the 'welfare' section includes Medicare as well.
Here is a nice pic [federalnewsradio.com]
here is another. [nytimes.com]

The fact is, that the items that YOU hate (wic, medicaid, HUD, etc) are next to NOTHING. If you wipe them out, we would still have about 3/4T deficit. Worse, our costs would rise elsewhere. So, you COULD go after Medicare and SS, but good luck with that. I noticed that even the republicans that voted for the neo-cons expect that THEIR ss/medicare will continue. Of course, none of them want to raise THEIR taxes either.

Re:but the good news is (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437813)

whose numbers do you use? wikipedia says $17 billion for NASA in 2012. I only counting direct budgeted Iraq and Afghanistan "war" costs ~ 160 billion for 2012.

Re:but the good news is (0)

cheekyboy (598084) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437657)

off book accounts
secret black ops
secret drug sales by cia

trillions missing in accounting records

They spend 1000x NASA budget to kill.

dudes, your country has been robbed by the banks and the CIA.

Re:but the good news is (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437685)

Dude your brain has been robbed by too much bath salts.

Re:but the good news is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437681)

I guess on the bright side, they (gov) are thinking long term about something...that is to keep our interests safe in foreign lands. It would be nice if the long term subject changed to space, better life for all and all the rest of the hippy stuff.

Re:but the good news is (1)

rubycodez (864176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437773)

our interests, or certain mega-corporate interests (big oil & other resource, banking cartel, etc.)?

Race Condition (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437523)

There is currently no race condition between competing super powers. Just wait until China shows a 50% chance of actually sending a man to the moon again. Then of course we'll need a charismatic young POTUS to inspire strong protective feelings of our national pride.

Rough Road? (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437589)

Well then, fly!

That way, you'll encounter severe turbulence.

neither party likes them much (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437633)

Despite all the campaign rhetoric. The dems want more social spending. The repubs want more privatisation. NASA is a sitting duck in being fairly large.

NASA has bipartisan regional support (1)

alispguru (72689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438055)

NASA is very popular in certain portions of Florida, Texas, California, Maryland, Alabama, Utah... pretty much any state with a significant NASA facility. All those places have Congresscritters who will push for pretty much anything NASA wants to spend money on.

Individually they're not much, but collectively they can legislatively logroll remarkably well.

LOL (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439341)

NO. It is the republicans (actually, the neo-cons who currently control the republicans) who are fighting against private space. They are the fucks that continue to force NASA to spend money on Constellation and now on SLS. Hell, it is the republicans that told NASA HOW to build the SLS and which companies that HAD to use.

The great news is that in 201[34], Falcon Heavy WILL launch. And once it does, a large cheap cargo carrier is ready to go to space. SLS will be redundant, and more importantly, wasteful. The best thing is, that many of the worse neo-cons (shelby, hutchinson, hatch, wolfe, etc) will be gone or gutted. At that point, SLS WILL die and privatization of launch systems can continue unabated.

Problem with robots (3, Interesting)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437671)

This is why sending robots to Mars, while scientifically interesting, doesn't really help rally the nation. Do you think sending a rover to the moon instead of an astronaut would have created the same excitement and motivation? How far behind would we be with technology had that excitement not lead to all kinds of collateral innovations along the way?

Set a vision for sending a team of scientists and engineers to Mars, within 10 years, with the goal of setting up a basic outpost. Nothing huge or complex, just some FEMA-type structures large enough for storage and manufacturing. Mars has a ton of iron, so there's little reason a foundry couldn't be setup up there.

Re:Problem with robots (1)

arobatino (46791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438283)

This is why sending robots to Mars, while scientifically interesting, doesn't really help rally the nation. Do you think sending a rover to the moon instead of an astronaut would have created the same excitement and motivation? How far behind would we be with technology had that excitement not lead to all kinds of collateral innovations along the way?

There haven't been any manned missions to the Moon in 40 years. We can send dozens of robotic missions to Mars for the cost of a single manned one, making it sustainable.

Re:Problem with robots (4, Insightful)

petsounds (593538) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438519)

There haven't been any manned missions to the Moon in 40 years. We can send dozens of robotic missions to Mars for the cost of a single manned one, making it sustainable.

The American public doesn't give a shit about robotic missions to Mars. Curiosity's complicated landing, yes the public was tuned in because it was drama and the whole jet-powered crane thing was pretty frackin cool. Then most just got on with our lives, the same way Americans stopped caring about the Apollo missions. The public perked their collective ears up again when NASA made a blunder with that "one for the record books" comment and all kinds of people I know were suddenly gushing about the possibility of Life On Mars.

Putting people on Mars and starting a colony, well that's something people can be excited about and identify with. But it's a long-term goal. A shorter-term and ongoing goal that people are invariably excited about is finding life on another planet. The problem is, we keep sending robots to search for long-dead life, not current life. Let's get robots out to Europa and Titan and explore the seas, to Martian caves, and polar regions. Let's make finding existing extraterrestrial life a priority. Because if NASA strives for scientific discoveries that the public cares about, the public is more likely to demand NASA be funded adequately. This kind of thinking might not sit well with planetary geologists who want more rock-hunting missions, but NASA has to play a PR role as much as it focuses on hard science. Making a Twitter account is not enough. Inspiring the public must be part of the primary mission, if for no other reason than self-preservation.

Re:Problem with robots (1)

arobatino (46791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438973)

This kind of thinking might not sit well with planetary geologists who want more rock-hunting missions, but NASA has to play a PR role as much as it focuses on hard science.

Those "rock-hunting" missions (including Curiosity) are providing valuable information on where future missions should look to find life. It may not be as immediately exciting to the general public to work that way, but it's more productive in the long run, and without that, both NASA's results and its funding may dry up.

Besides, it's not true that the public "doesn't give a shit" about robotic missions. Spirit and Opportunity got significant publicity, for years, on a relatively small investment. (Widespread Internet access probably has a lot to do with that.) The latter is still functioning. Curiosity has barely started on its mission, and may well last longer than the others.

Re:Problem with robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439149)

Apologies for posting anon.

Exactly. I believe you'd find upwards of millions willing to go to Mars tomorrow to start a forward base. They don't all need by astronauts. Mars needs bricklayers, too.

Re:Problem with robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439679)

I believe you'd find upwards of millions willing to go to Mars tomorrow to start a forward base.

The easy work is over, then. Now all that's left is finding someone willing to foot the bill.

Re:Problem with robots (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439315)

Wrong. If we are willing to send a manned one-way mission to Mars, we will do more science with that crew than we could do with the dozens of robotic missions that you want to send. In addition, it would cost a FRACTION of the money. The reason is that real expense in manned mission is not the getting there. It is not the surviving on the mars. It is the return trip. Get rid of that, and it is cheap to go.

Re:Problem with robots (1)

arobatino (46791) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439709)

The cost of one-way would certainly be much less than round-trip, but both are speculative, and would probably exceed estimates. We know how much robotic missions cost. The big advantage to having humans on Mars would probably be that they could operate rovers remotely with essentially zero latency, much more productively than from Earth. The rovers could be anywhere on the planet, whereas at least in the beginning the humans would all want to stay together, limiting their ability to explore directly. For that matter, we could have the humans in a space colony orbiting Mars. This would both allow Earth-equivalent gravity from rotation, and minimize the risk of contaminating the Martian environment before we've studied it thoroughly.

The US is Losing Sight Of Fundamentals (5, Insightful)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42437717)

Lack of sufficent funding to (eg) NASA is a fundamental problem, because it shows that The US of A is losing sight of some things which are really important.

I'm not just talking about "more science is good" but a thriving Space Program through NASA pumps something quite literally vital back into the economy.

Confidence In And Hope For The Future.

Almost NOTHING that NASA does is "for today", everything is long term, future thinking, "some day you will thank me for this" work.

Problems with lack of direction (etc) at NASA are mostly a reflection of uncertainty in funding (both current and future).

You can't blame the Captain of a ship that he's not steering anywhere useful when you won't put fuel in his tanks.

Re:The US is Losing Sight Of Fundamentals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439239)

Confidence and hope and pride. A lot of pride.

We forget that, since we've had a space program for roughly three generations now. We take it for granted. "Oh sure, we can go to space." People don't understand what that means, what that feels like. China put a man in space. Then they put two. Then they did docking manuevers. China, a contender for the title of Oldest Civilization on Earth, is now also a spacefaring civilization. The prestige from that is huge. Only two other civilizations have ever done that, in the history of the world: us and Russia. No one else. Ever. And it's incredibly hard and incredibly dangerous, even still. Out of 134 Shuttle missions, 2 of them were smashed to bits, killing everyone on board. That's how hard it is.

Putting people into space, PEOPLE, not robots, is incredibly hard, and doing it successfully is synonymous with high technology, which translates to an advanced culture, in people's minds. Putting robots into space isn't easy either, but it's not important. So you crashland your robot. So what. "Oops, you broke your RC car. Better buy a new one." How many Lunakhod missions crashed? Nobody cares much. But Apollo 13? They didn't even get a chance to crash. They had a problem en route and oh man, it was something. It was something to talk about. It mattered. It still matters. The Tom Hanks movie isn't that old.

If we gave up on NASA now, and gave up on manned space flight completely, the effect would be devastating. We would be telling both ourselves and the world that we can't do it anymore. That we can't hack it. That we've fallen from the pinnacle. That only iPads and American Idol matter.

We don't ever want to say that. Even going around in circles is better than saying that.

FIRST POST! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437719)

Yeah! I am so elite!

Rough Road ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437827)

THAT is an understatement.

However this IS at and by the dirty hands of the 'current' NASA Administration.

If the current NASA Administration are Fools and Idiots and Imbeciles, then why should I care a RATS ASS for their lives, or their Children's lives, their Coworker's lives.

I do not !

Sequestre 'm All, Kill 'm All, Burn 'm All, Evaporate 'm All. Till nothing left ... not even ashes.

X)

direction is clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42437955)

1) buy cheap shit from China
2) Kill more [nonwhite] people so old white guys can surround themselves with their chinese made nicknacks in their wooden houses and say they made it big.
3) "fuck you i got mine, you cant touch me" is still a valid life choice.

kickstarter.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438095)

I love freeze dried ice cream!

There's one planet that may warrant NASA attention (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438151)

It may be a rough road you'll find, but then again you won't
need rockets or runways.

Alpha Centauri (1)

0111 1110 (518466) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438189)

They can't decide what goal to move toward? I have one. Alpha Centauri via pulsed nuclear propulsion and lunar mining and manufacturing. First, a permanent lunar base. Establish some photovoltaics and RTGs. Then a full fledged fission reactor. Some solar furnaces for melting ore. Then design/build some lunar rovers intended for carrying ore and some battery powered mining robots. Ideally some pitchblende or other uranium ores could be found. Locating the settlement within driving distance of such uranium sources would be a good idea. Of course being close to ice deposits would also be nice, but I would guess that both food and water would have to be sent from the earth.

Re:Alpha Centauri (1)

tftp (111690) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438363)

You need to explain to the population of Earth (or to the population of the USA) what exactly they will *personally* gain from all this. Considering that they will get nothing, I just don't see where the budget for this space opera would come from.

This society is not ready for operations in space and on other planets simply because there is no reason to do so, outside of a very far-fetched possibility of the global catastrophe. But even then who will be dying happily, knowing that there are a few Earthlings on the Moon?

That colony on the Moon will not be self-sustaining for a very long time. You could build a far better colony on the bottom of an ocean. If your robots can't operate in water and gather food that just swims by then those same robots probably can't operate 300 Mm away on the Moon, where the spare parts can't be delivered within a few hours.

The problem of purpose will be very severe on the Moon. You probably will have to stock the colony with astronomers, theoretical physicists, and other people who benefit from vacuum or do not care. Nor will they care for human interaction because there won't be much of that in a small group. If the colonists are only tasked with menial jobs of miners and drivers then very soon people will start asking themselves "Why I am here and what I am doing?"

The conditions on the Moon are so harsh that pretty much any malfunction of life support is fatal. But spacesuits and vehicles do not last forever, especially when the nearest spare is on another planet. Go out, tear the spacesuit and die. Go out, break the faceplate and die. Go out, have the battery short out, lose air and heat and die. Do not go out, have a crack in the wall, lose air and die. There are too many ways to die - the colony will be facing some serious attrition, unless they constrain themselves to the insides of a strong pressure vessel. That won't work because the colony has to use outside resources and materials to be partially self-supporting. It may quickly devolve into another reality show, with very real dead bodies. What is the purpose of all this?

I would love too see that but... (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438365)

There is a whole solar system right here that we have not even scratched the surface on. Im down for a permanent lunar base, its the best test testing bed we have for learning to live off the land off world. First thing needs to be general manufacturing capabilities with some science (miners, production engineers as well as science). Re-supply needs to seen as a nicety not as a necessity to be able to move on beyond the current pump and dump, one hit wonder (or failure) we currently use.

What Plan?? (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438227)

As far as I can tell the "plan" has been too almost completely kill NASA and/or cut funding and just let the next administration deal with it. HSP and Science programs alike.

Dont get me wrong, NASA is just about as bad as any .gov agency when it comes to money management, fixed cost spending and subed work to oblivion
NASA subed too->
Lockheed subed too->
Brand x Management->Too x number of small, no name companies, started by former NASA execs and senator sons/former astronauts.

The only real benefit has been the inclusion of new blood commercial entities (most people I dont think understand that COTS is really competition for soyuz, always has, always will.). The only reason they get the fan fare is because...this TAXI service is the only thing NASA has to show for itself after 10+ yrs (Through faults of there own and the govs, I dont plant blame squarely on NASA, there is more then just a linear story to explain the state of things today ).

Disclaimer:
1. Im not bashing spacex, orbital, blue and there acomplishments.
2. Former CSOC contractor, I have insight into the land of crazy known as JSC.

Sorry mean HSF (but I do love hubble : p ) (1)

CaptnCrud (938493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438235)

./blah

eat your vegetables, THEN you have have dessert. (2)

SuperBanana (662181) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438339)

If you're short on money, stop wasting it dreaming about putting people on the moon again, or going to Mars with a human crew.

1)There is no practical purpose in placing humans on the moon; certainly nothing that justifies the tenfold jump in complexity. There wasn't back in the 60's, either - it was done for patriotism and xenophobia.

2)We have real problems right now, like the lack of replacements for aging weather satellites, in an era of accelerating climate change and instability. In case you all hadn't noticed, the last hurricane hit one of the largest economic centers of our country AND our eastern ports. In case you hadn't noticed, the midwest suffered the worst drought since the dust bowl.

I've been saying it for more than ten years, any time Slashdot starts getting romantic about human space flight: Stop eating your dessert and start eating your vegetables.

What's really pathetic is that we make fun of North Korea for lofting a satellite while people starve. We live in a country where 20% of our students go hungry, even more don't have enough textbooks to go around, and teachers are spending personal money on supplies...but hey, they get to watch some video of an incredibly privileged, elite person floating around on a space station doing science that nowhere near justifies its cost (NIH's budget is about 3x the annual spending of the ISS, but yet the NIH manages to fund more distinct disciplines than the number of ISS research projects.)

  Our public transit system is pathetic, our court systems are vastly underfunded, our retirement system is essentially a pyramid scheme, we have a huge homeless population, the world's largest (both by percentage and total headcount) prison population, and we're one of a shrinking pool of countries which doesn't provide health care services for all.

We need to at least get to the point where we're not damaging the environment and climate further, and maybe even starting to restore it. THEN, and ONLY THEN, you can have your rocketships for human space exploration. Don't give me that "we'll use space technology to escape our doomed planet" bullshit - we have a population of 7 BILLION. Even if you think we have any hope of lifting even just 1% of the world's population, how do you morally justify screwing over everyone else to save those 1%? Further, if we can't co-habitate with this planet's ecosystem, why should we just start fucking up another planet?

Re:eat your vegetables, THEN you have have dessert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439129)

Blah blah blah.

First, high technology and space are not vegetables in your limp ass metaphor. They're meat and potatoes.

Second, we are NOT short of money. We're just extremely stupid about allocating it.

NASA's budget for an entire year is 17 to 18 billion dollars. Apple corporation alone has 8 billion dollars in profit in one quarter. They net in profit NASA's entire operating budget in half a year. Fortune magazine has this little list. Perhaps you've heard of it. It lists five hundred companies that size.

We are not short of money. We are incredibly, stupidly, outrageously wealthy. And somehow, thanks to peanut-brained morons like yourself, we can't find the werewithall to spend more than one half of one percent of our federal budget on NASA. That's what that $18 billion is, you know. Homeland Security spends that much on furniture. Meanwhile, the organization that inspired a generation of scientists and engineers, the organization that still manages to inspire children, despite its fumbling ways, gets funded at starvation levels.

It's a travesty. Like your entire post.

Time to start over with a new agency (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438345)

NASA has turned into a disorganized formation of risk-adverse contract managers loosely connected to a rusting theme park playing endless reruns of their glory days. Their big accomplishment these days is dismantling some of the old launch platforms.

They are not the agency that's going to make the next leaps in space technology. Hell, the fricking electric car guy is making faster advances than NASA. Put him in charge. They had their day, it's time to start over.

Re:Time to start over with a new agency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42438557)

Elon Musk IS in charge. Of precisely what he should be in charge of. A rocket company. The only thing wrong with NASA is they keep thinking they should be a rocket company. When they do science, and contract out the solved problems, they do well. When they try to revisit the glory years, they get all confused and stupid. The "electric car guy" is doing what a business does best—optimize production of a machine that is a known quantity. We're lucky somebody like him came along. Somebody with the will to behave like a business, instead of like a parasite. I'm not even sure which is the more appropriate term for his predecessors. Is the United Launch Alliance fascist or communist? Or some strange mix of both? When it isn't being an illegal monopoly, that is. They sure as hell don't behave like a capitalist business.

NASA, if it has to exist at all, needs to do the things that corporations don't want to do. Even though corporations are fucking stupid for not doing basic research on their own dime, that's not going to change any time soon, so some organization somewhere needs to have funding to just... fiddle with stuff. Try stuff that might not work. Try stuff with no product in mind, no obvious use, no goddamn gantt chart. And especially, to try stuff with high technology and the only frontier we have left, in hopes of sparking just a little optimism.

Mars (0)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438423)

Boots on Mars. This isn't rocket science, people.

The Space Shuttle, Please (0)

RudyHartmann (1032120) | about a year and a half ago | (#42438757)

I love space exploration and think it has tremendous potential for mankind. But I have often thought that the Space Shuttle was a kluge designed by a committee. It was also a huge government make work project. Thankfully, projects like SpaceX and private industry is taking over from where NASA blew it. Though there were plenty of hard working and smart people there. In the end they remind me of the DMV or Post Office of space technology.

Re:The Space Shuttle, Please (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439263)

NASA has probes zipping all over the solar system, they shot Cassini through gaps in the rings of Saturn, twice, then dropped another probe on Titan and returned pictures from near total darkness in temperatures cold enough to freeze methane. NASA also recently landed a fucking truck on Mars, in one piece and talking to a NASA satellite orbiting above. While I'm a fan of SpaceX and admire Musk for putting his money where his mouth is, the fact remains they have a very, very, long way to go before they can fill NASA boots.

Re:The Space Shuttle, Please (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42439299)

SpaceX and others are NOT taking over for NASA. They are working WITH NASA to get companies built. Without NASA, SpaceX would still be trying to launch F1 and spaceX would be a fraction of the size. Likewise, without NASA's work, Bigelow Aerospace would not be working towards cheap safe inflatable space stations.
The same is true of SNC's DreamChaser, Boeing's CST-100 (though to be fair, I doubt that NASA is providing tech help, but 100% of their funding, as well as future missions), and others.

These companies are not taking over NASA. They are taking over ground that NASA has tilled, planted the seeds, watered, fertilized, pest control, and it is now time to harvest. All these companies are not just harvesting, BUT, they are getting help in doing it with both tech knowhow AND money..

So, what does NASA get out of it? They get much cheaper future access to space. Not just the ISS, but to mars, moon, etc. When they lost the shuttle, Russia backed us up. BUT, they charge us 65 million per seat. Well, with future systems, we will pay less than 30 million per seat.
Interestingly, when we lost the shuttle, all of our allies were saying that they could do the job. They just expected us to dump our money into their space programs to modify their systems. IOW, none of them were willing to step forward to take it on. They wanted NASA/USA to continue being money bags for it. Heck, we have an idiot out in the space forums who screams that SpaceX would never get off the ground and that it was a waste of money, etc. And yet, it is far less money going into private space than what that idiot (and ESA) wanted us to spend to convert ATV to a human carrier.

In addition, and this is HUGE advantage, we now have MULTIPLE launch systems so that we will NEVER be denied access to space. Note that it was CONgress and various presidents that have been disasters to our space program. They continue to gut work on going forward. They know that if we go too far forward, that there will be choice but to REALLY go into space. Yet, that is exactly what is needed. So, once these multiple private launchers are established along with multiple private space stations, along with multiple customers (nations AND corporations), then we will remain in space. Now, a few nations will spend money to go to a Private space station. But not for years in and out. OTOH, they WILL spend loads of money to be part of a colony on the lunar and/or martian surface. And that is what NASA is helping private space to do.

No plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439569)

Obama does not have a plan to go anywhere in space. He never has, he never will. It is the same rubbish that went on when Bush started his own little moon program.

Neither Bush nor Obama have the mental capacity to even begin to understand that they don't know how these things work. And they're not interested in finding out. Obama is only doing this to get some votes and to look good.

There is no plan to go to an asteroid. NASA will not send people to an asteroid in the lifetime of anyone reading this. NASA will definitely not send anyone to Mars in the lifetime of anyone reading this.

The US government has managed to keep America stuck in LEO for forty years. And they looked good doing it by building really impressive looking machines - even though neither of these (Shuttle and ISS) is much use for anything - at least on in terms of value for money spent. Now they are repeating the same mistakes by starting everything from scratch again, building really impressive looking machines that are, again, not going anywhere.

Orion costs an order of magnitude more than what is necessary for its development. Ditto for SLS. Per launch, SLS will cost more than the Shuttle. It might fly twice per year. At least the Shuttle managed to fly 4 or 5 times per year.

This is really sad. It is a cynical misuse of the incredible amount of experience and talent at NASA and the institutions associated with it. The politicians don't care. Obama doesn't care. They will use anyone to meet their goals of getting elected, even if they waste their talent.

Poor NASA ... boo hoo... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42439875)

Private industry going forward is the only path. The US economy is broke and public employees broke it and the huge coming shortfalls in their pensions will finally break NASA from the public t*t.

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