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NASA's Bolden: No American-Led Return To the Moon 'In My Lifetime'

timothy posted 1 year,14 days | from the how's-the-heart? dept.

Space 233

MarkWhittington writes "A clash over the future course of American space exploration flared up at a recent joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board. In one corner was Al Carnesale of UCLA, who headed the recent study issued by the National Research Council that found fault with the Obama administration's plan to send American astronauts to an asteroid. In the other corner was NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, who has been charged with carrying out the policy condemned by the NRC report."

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233 comments

Harsh mistress (0, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383563)

Obama said it [nasa.gov]:

... I just have to say pretty bluntly here: Weâ(TM)ve been there before. Buzz has been there. Thereâ(TM)s a lot more of space to explore, and a lot more to learn when we do. So I believe itâ(TM)s more important to ramp up our capabilities to reach -- and operate at -- a series of increasingly demanding targets, while advancing our technological capabilities with each step forward.

1st time ever I agree with Obama, there is no reason for government to spend money on a manned Moon mission. Of-course I would just dismantle all government programs, but that's a different story.

You can see my sig for a pretty good reason why USA cannot afford anything like the Moon program probably for a very very very long time.

Re:Harsh mistress (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383599)

Including defence?

Re:Harsh mistress (1, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383611)

Defence is not what USA does, it's not what USA has been doing since the end of WWII. Yes, including what passes for 'defence' nowadays, shutting down all military basis around the world, brining all troops back to America, getting rid of 90% of offence spending. Of-course legitimate defence is what Congress is authorised to collect taxes for in the first place, it's actually an appropriate role for gov't as per the Constitution (which I disagree with, by the way, I don't think central gov't should be running defence!)

Re:Harsh mistress (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383959)

The USA has never done defence, only defense (occasionally).

Re:Harsh mistress (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384067)

Yes, we must listen to someone who can't spell "bases". As usual, a thoroughly thought-out and coherent post by roman_mir. Hey that reminds me, I gotta empty the litter box, it must be full, it sure stinks enough in here...

Re:Harsh mistress (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383623)

Actually, no, we can't see your sig, you insensitive clod.

Only logged in members can see sigs.

Re:Harsh mistress (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383647)

Well yes and no. Yes in at this moment there really isn't a point, we simply don't have the tech to make going to the moon worth doing right now. Back then it was more about beating the USSR so the fact that they couldn't do much more than pick up a couple hundred pounds or rocks and doing a couple of basic experiments was fine, no reason for the flag waving today. If China or India want to blow a pile of money to say they did it? Knock yourselves out, been there and done that. As for the no part we know that Helium 3 is found to be plentiful there and since helium 3 looks like it might be good for fusion reactors in the future WHEN we can set up a base THEN it would be worth going, with a permanent base (most likely all robotic) one could make the case for the trip.

Frankly the one thing I see NO point in though is "meatbags is spaaace!" because the amount of resources you have to use to get a fragile meatbag into space with today's tech? Really not worth it. The robot doesn't need food, air, water, toilets, can be powered for decades with an RTG, its just better to send a machine to do it. Does that mean we shouldn't work on making new engines capable of moving us meatbags out there? Of course not, but as of right now with the tech we have the machines are just a better choice.

Re:Harsh mistress (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383779)

That all depends on what you use the meatbag for. People tend to forget that meatbags are still one of the most advanced machines on Earth (and you can always augment a meatbag, once robotics and cybernetics gets to that point). Sure, the robot doesn't need food, air, etc, but those aren't really that significant of needs. They're just mass in the end.

In exchange, you get capabilities that aren't reflected in robots, such as on site decision making and complex on site study of surface characteristics and high maneuverability even in a bulky space suit. The Moon incidentally is the only place where such capabilities don't shine due to its closeness to Earth.

Ever wonder why even forty years after the end of Apollo, that no one from the US government dares go back to the Moon? Aside from the "Been there. Done that." attitude so common in space advocacy and the public, it's because you can't top the manned activities (all from only two man-weeks on the Moon!) with a few robots, even forty years later. Instead, it'll take an extensive though not necessarily manned effort to do better.

Re:Harsh mistress (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384087)

A manned exploration for the purpose of establishing a settlement is one sound reason. There is yet much to learn about mankind's physical and psychological ability to exist outside of Mother Earth for extended periods, and a settlement on the lunar surface would help advance technology for a Martian adventure. Breaking the gravitational fields of both Earth and Luna in advance of a trip to Mars is obviously a terrible waste of fuel. Breaking gravity from Luna alone is practical enough to be considered.

Re:Harsh mistress (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384353)

Time to unleash Neil Tyson on this fellow.

Re:Harsh mistress (1)

rossdee (243626) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383757)

We need a D. D. Harriman . (yeah, I know its a different future history but still RAH)

Re:Harsh mistress (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383895)

elon musk is him. We will be on the moon by 2020.

Hello, editors (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383581)

It's traditional for the summary to contain more pertinent information than the headline, not the other way around. Just sayin'.

Re:Hello, editors (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383607)

Only matters to those three or four people who read beyond the headline anyway. ;)

Re:Hello, editors (0)

roman_mir (125474) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383645)

The way I see it if the first 12 letters don't do it, nothing will. It should be enough for everybody.

Re:Hello, editors (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384371)

The way I see it if the first 12 letters don't do it, nothing will. It should be enough for everybody.

The first 12 letters are: "NASAsBoldenN". I assume you are including the space, but if so why exclude the special characters which results in "NASA's Bolde". On /. you will have better luck with "first thirteen characters" or something like substring(0,12). Preferably, you would leave your political rants to an appropriate forum and not troll with cryptic, condescending remarks.

Lets go to Disneyland! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383587)

"Carnesale, noting the conclusions of the NRC report, added that a great deal of enthusiasm existed for a return to the moon."

A great deal of enthusiasm exists for going to Disneyland, that's not a science reason, it's a marketing reason.

You know how to do that (put men on the moon), its been done, you don't have a reason to send men to the moon, the Bush idea of sending men to mars with a stopover on the moon was idiotic, and was rightly scrapped.

Make progress or die.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383631)

In an era of decreasing budgets, marketing is key to build support to perform any activity. If it's a choice of getting funds to return to the moon because the public is receptive to the idea, or getting nothing because the count of people interested in asteroid exploration is about 12 ...

There are actualy several fundimental reasons to return to the moon, not the least of which being the establishment of a launch platform there that could ease exploration of deeper space.

I actually waffle quite a bit on where I land on this topic, and I've not been convinced by anyone's conclusions either way, so I wont put forth more than that.

Enthusiam among NASA contractors (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383683)

"because the public is receptive to the idea, or getting nothing because the count of people interested in asteroid exploration is about 12"

Public? Who said anything about public? NRC is from the National Academy of Sciences, and unfortunately that's been corrupted by lobbyists:

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=National_Academy_of_Sciences

" not the least of which being the establishment of a launch platform there that could ease exploration of deeper space"
That's completely false. You'd waste energy breaking moon gravity. When Bush suggested sending men to mars with a stopover on the moon, he was being an idiot. The moon stopover would simply increase the fuel needed, delay the trip, and add a lot of dangerous unnecessary complexity. But then he never really wanted that, because he didn't fund it. It was a soundbite just after the successful unmanned mar mission, to get some of the kudos from that, but he set the schedule so it would be long after he was out of power.

Re:Enthusiam among NASA contractors (0)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383955)

....and unfortunately that's been corrupted by lobbyists.

You mean, the public?

That's completely false. You'd waste energy ...blahblah

I think that I mentioned that no one has convinced me of anything....

Re:Enthusiam among NASA contractors (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384497)

And just a little more fuel for thought; the public is who the government is supposed to work FOR. If the public doesnt want it, the government shouldnt even be attempting to ram it down our throats. But you are obviously one of those elitist pinheads that thinks you and a small group in Washington are better equipped to tell everyone everywhere how to live their lives.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384235)

There are actualy several fundimental reasons to return to the moon, not the least of which being the establishment of a launch platform there that could ease exploration of deeper space.

I think this is ultimately futile in the near term. The only thing we should be doing on the moon right now is figuring out how to get robots to semi-autonomously manufacture habitats and simple materials from local resources. We simply can't afford to bring all that stuff with us. We should be trying to figure out how to live off the land out there. Sending a bunch of robots to build our habitats in advance is the only practical way we put people in space until some cheaper way to get a lot of mass into orbit is devised. Chemical rockets just aren't efficient enough to do the job.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384293)

An "era of decreasing budgets"? What the fuck are you smoking? Have you seen the bullshit that we are spending and proposing to spend money on, and how much? Please go look! There are no decreasing budgets, no matter what the propaganda machine is telling you! It is simply not factual.

I get your point, but put the blame in the right place man. They would rather beef up FEMA, DHS, TSA, etc.. so that they can make good slaves of people than spend money on the betterment of society. You just buy into the bullshit that they are saving money by doing so.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (2)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384477)

I all honesty, you are 100% right about the budgets. I still have this naive hope that Americans will wake up and recognize that a SIXTEEN TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT is unbelievably irresponsible and that taxes will never close a gap that huge.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383713)

A great deal of enthusiasm exists for going to Disneyland, that's not a science reason, it's a marketing reason.

The original moon missions were justified with marketing as much, or more. It wasn't about the science, it was about getting one up on those filthy Russian Commies.

You know how to do that (put men on the moon), its been done, you don't have a reason to send men to the moon

There's more than one way to skin a cat. Just because you don't personally see a reason to send men to the moon doesn't mean there isn't one.
We would benefit greatly from establishing a permanent lunar base in a variety of ways. Yes, going there isn't all that difficult- but staying there is.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383965)

A great deal of enthusiasm exists for going to Disneyland, that's not a science reason, it's a marketing reason.

Let's put an amusement park on the Moon. We can call it the Happiest Place Orbiting the Earth.

Re:Lets go to Disneyland! (-1, Flamebait)

djmartins (801854) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384487)

Their idea of "progress" is to put a worthless affirmative action monkey in charge of NASA. Going to the moon again is something NASA is not technically capable of due to the lowering of standard to cater to the darkening of the technical field in the US.

That's what you get... (0, Flamebait)

Le Marteau (206396) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383605)

... for electing Obama.

Check out what Obama want's Bolden to do. Direct quote from Bolden:

"When I became the NASA administrator, (President Obama) charged me with three things," Bolden said in the interview which aired last week. "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

Their "foremost" task is to make Muslims feel good. He literally said that. Yet he still heads NASA

Thanks, jackasses, for electing Obama.

He's retired (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383701)

" Yet he still heads NASA"

Nope, he's a retired army man. And why does NASA have an anti-muslim stance anyway? Why shouldn't they inspire children? Why shouldn't they expand international relationships to include muslim nations? Why not?

Fox News would be proud of you.

Re:He's retired (0, Flamebait)

Le Marteau (206396) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383751)

" Yet he still heads NASA"

Nope, he's a retired army man

He is the current Administrator of NASA. http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/summer/home/bolden-soi-quote.html [nasa.gov]

Fox News would be proud of you.

You are a fucking retard. Whenever you, and the likes of you, encounter someone who dislikes Obama, it's the old "product of Faux News" slam. It's ridiculous by now... I'm sure it makes you feel better to spout such trite idiotic lines, but any thinking individual can see that you are simply an unthinking fucking retard.

Maybe it's just another political fundraiser? (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384173)

Settle down. Since we've rung out the towel that is the American tax base, we're borrowing all we can already, and we lack the political will to cut ANY spending... NASA would have an easier time picking ticks off an angry bobcat than getting a significant budget increase. Perhaps they're angling for some riyals?

Re:He's retired (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383767)

And why does NASA have an anti-muslim stance anyway? Why shouldn't they inspire children? Why shouldn't they expand international relationships to include muslim nations? Why not?

Because NASA's role is aeronautics and space, not public relations and making people "feel good."

Your question is based on the illogical premise that NASA is anti-Muslim. It is not anti-anything; its purpose is to promote human activities across the solar system and to expand scientific knowledge.

Your loaded questions are non-sequiturs based on illogical reasoning. Similar questions along this vein would include, "Why is Obama anti-science?" or "Why does Obama impede progress?"

Re:He's retired (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384137)

One of NASA's major roles has always been public relations and/or propaganda. Why do you think the US went to the moon in the first place? It was to inspire Americans and scare Soviets.

Re:He's retired (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384273)

One of NASA's major roles has always been public relations and/or propaganda. Why do you think the US went to the moon in the first place? It was to inspire Americans and scare Soviets.

That's a negatory, G.I. NASA's role has been space exploration and expanding scientific knowledge about the Earth. Administrations may use that as a vehicle for propaganda and inspiration, but that is not one of NASA's core competencies, and it never has been.

Look at the military. The infantry platoon does not care about politics or winning hearts and minds; its sole purpose is to seek out, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire maneuver. Public relations / propaganda is higher up in the executive branch, and unfortunately when they try to repurpose these tools beyond their scope, it proves ineffective (infantry platoons trying to negotiate tribal politics, NASA trying to play United Federation of Planets wrt Islamic science).

Re:He's retired (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383929)

Nobody is saying they shouldn't do those things, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's foremost task should be to expand United State's scientific and technological knowledge in the fields of space and aeronautics. The fact that all three of his primary tasks are essentially PR outreach programs with three different groups is telling; it seems to point that President Obama sees NASA as more of a good PR machine than the top-tier place for science and engineering that it once was.

Re:He's retired (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384187)

The long-term strategic interests of the United States are most cost-effectively served by building goodwill to the US throughout the world. If that means we use NASA as one such vehicle to deliver outreach and some long-term interest in people moving to and supporting the US, why not? Money not spent bombing the Middle East is money that can go to NASA and other pure science programs which don't necessarily have immediate practical applications (but are frequently of the most value long term).

Re:He's retired (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384313)

He was not told to stop anti Muslim anything, and I don't believe for a second that NASA was anti Muslim. If you do believe that, then shame on you.

Your question "And why does NASA have an anti-muslim stance anyway?" is a straw man argument, as is the rest of your bullshit.

Re:That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383711)

Re:That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383721)

What is wrong with inspiring people with science? Science is one of the best ways to bring disparate people together too, you just have to look at the nationalities of those working at the LHC to see that.

Re:That's what you get... (1)

Feyshtey (1523799) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383999)

If you want to argue that there is value in an organization for that, fine. Do so. See if you get support for it. But that's not what NASA is. NASA has never been a humanitarian effort, nor a social effort. It's mission has always been and should always be, to advance aeronautics and space sciences.

What Obama did by making such a ludicrous statement was the equivelent of saying that The Department of Education's primary mission is to advance nutritional standards, or that the IRS' primary mission is to study the effects of welfare in the inner cities. There might be a loose association with these other agencies and the suggested mission, but that's not what those agencies are designed to do, equipped to do, or tasked with.

Re:That's what you get... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383733)

Sadly there was no real alternative to electing Obama.

Re:That's what you get... (1, Interesting)

bondsbw (888959) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383841)

Sadly there was no real alternative to electing Obama.

I'd like to see the Modern Whigs [modernwhig.org] gain support, if for no other reason, because one of their goals is to reform the electoral process to reduce the ill effects of our plurality voting system.

Re:That's what you get... (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383855)

I hear that pathetic excuse a lot. I voted for Romney because there was such an alternative. I thought it was better than voting Libertarian that election cycle which was yet another choice.

Re:That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383923)

Well you know, you can donate your money to the rich even when romney isn't a president. Go ahead.

Re:That's what you get... (1)

speedlaw (878924) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383973)

I got George Bush lite....but it was still better than a vulture capitalist. Anyone notice that the core republicans stayed away, letting him take the fall alone ?

Re:That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384417)

We see this argument a lot on /., and it seems quite popular, but when we apply it to for example global leader/superpower/hegemon, and say something like "there's no real alternative to the US", there's often a lot of push back by fellow Slashdotters.

Is criticizing the "best of the worst" acceptable in one situation but not in the other?

Re:That's what you get... (4, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383799)

Several people replied with a question they thought was insightful but which was rather a non-sequitur. They wanted to know what was wrong with NASA inspiring children or expanding international relations. The answer is "Nothing." The problem is that none of those three things should be NASA's primary mission. NASA's primary mission should have something to do with the Aeronautics and/or Space. We have another agency that is tasked with expanding international relations, as a matter of fact that agency was established for the express purpose of managing the U.S. government's foreign relations. It is the State Department. If NASA is going to make foreign relations one of its primary goals, it is going to make itself redundant. Reaching out to Muslim nations also falls under the rubric of the State Department and NASA doing so is redundant. We also already have an agency that has one of its primary focuses as inspiring children to get into science and math (or at least it should). That is the Department of Education. Once again if NASA starts making that its focus it becomes redundant.
I will repeat, the head of NASA should see his primary missions as being involved with Aeronautics and Space, not foreign relations or education (although both of those may be secondary or tertiary objectives).

Re:That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383815)

Sounds suspiciously like what Reagan had NASA do with the Russians. However, we know that everything Reagan did was great therefore Reagan either didn't do that, or he did and did it better. Either way, science and peace are not valid ways to reach out to the rest of the world (unless your Reagan). We need to bomb them some more till they love us. Commodus was the hero of Gladiator by the way.

You have a point, though. Remember when we spent trillions sending some Saudi prince into space as a "Payload Specialist?" Man, Obama is such a fucktard for trying to reach out to the Arabs this way. It's ridiculous! Of course, that was the Bush administration so here's you "peep peep peep." Obama said he wants to engage the Muslim world in science while Bush gave away pony rides on the Space Shuttle. Viva la Bush! Fuck Obama!

Face it, it's better to engage the middle east, a historically significant scientific hub, with science rather than violence. They won't change over night, but at least give them some reason to interact and develop instead of flinging poo.

Re:That's what you get... (1)

bondsbw (888959) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383893)

1) The Saudi prince flight was about a deployment of a satellite, and the prince was a trained representative of the Arab Satellite Communications Organization. He gained that role politically, of course, but are you judging the Arab world in who they decide is or is not an astronaut? I would say it's just a different culture; the blame you place on the Reagan Administration is unfounded.

2) There's a difference between Arabs and Muslims. As I said, Saudi prince officially represented Arabs. He is also Muslim.

3) Nobody has said that we shouldn't help Muslims, or that we should exclude Muslims. What we are saying is that Obama specifically targeted Muslims; take that how you will.

Re:That's what you get... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384023)

The Bush administration put him on the flight for political reasons. To chum up with the Saudis. Now you blame Obama as if we've never used NASA as a means of reaching out to the mid-east. If you really think he was there because he was the best of the best or some shit other than political gain I've got a bridge to sell you. He might be a great astronaut, but that still doesn't mean he needs to be hitching a ride with us. We put him on board as a political ploy to get buddy-buddy with Saudi Arabia. And hey, it's not that big of a deal. He didn't ruin anything. He was probably well trained, but that's not the point. The point is previous administrations, Republicans just like you, used NASA as outreach to foreigners. Bush did it as outreach to Muslims just like Obama, but only now you have a problem with it?

I used Reagan as an example of using NASA to reach out to our enemies/previous enemies/non friends. Reagan used NASA to reach out to Russians. Reagan used NASA to reach the Russians just like Obama is using NASA to reach the Muslim world. Though, probably not as much. What I am saying is that Reagan specifically targeted Russians; that that how you will. I'm not saying it's a bad idea; you are (but only in the case of Obama, Bush and Reagan were fine to use NASA as outreach). Except you ignore Reagan's use of NASA in attempt to hate Obama. I think the idea is fine. Reagan achieved some decent results (how much is directly attributed to NASA outreach cannot be exactly quantified).

The bottom line is this, the Obama administrations goal of using NASA as outreach is not new. Reagan did it with the Russians. Bush did it with Saudi Arabia/Muslims, and now Obama has continued that trend. Maybe his problem was admitting it? I don't "blame" any of these guys; I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy of claiming Obama has whored out NASA as if it's never been done before. It has. The issue shouldn't really be should we use science for outreach, it should be is it working.

Re:That's what you get... (1)

teg (97890) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384391)

... for electing Obama.

Check out what Obama want's Bolden to do. Direct quote from Bolden:

"When I became the NASA administrator, (President Obama) charged me with three things," Bolden said in the interview which aired last week. "One, he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math and engineering."

Their "foremost" task is to make Muslims feel good. He literally said that. Yet he still heads NASA

Thanks, jackasses, for electing Obama.

That is no direct quote from Bolden at all - that is a myth [nasawatch.com].

Priorities (4, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383615)

Let's remember:
"Mr Bolden said: "When I became the Nasa administrator, he [Mr Obama] charged me with three things.
"One, he wanted me to help reinspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering.""

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7875584/Barack-Obama-Nasa-must-try-to-make-Muslims-feel-good.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Unless there are muslims to assuage on the Moon, we're not going back.

Re:Priorities (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384727)

Byron York, a conservative columnist for the Washington Examiner, characterised Mr Obama's space policy shift as moving "from moon landings to promoting self-esteem"

Um... that's not actually a shift.

Half colonized double planet (1, Troll)

An dochasac (591582) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383621)

Look at this little planet Earth, its moon is HUGE. Only Jupiter and Saturn have bigger moons. Luna is nearly as big as Mercury, half as big as Mars but its home planet hasn't colonized it. Obviously there's no intelligent life there. Let's claim them both for the queen of the galactic empire.

Obama's plan is beyond daft. Asteroids are unstable, there is no place to hide from cosmic radiation or Bremstralung X-rays from solar wind. A mission failure in the lunar capture plan could lead to a global disaster. Could Columbus and Magellan have discovered the New World before they had ever sailed the Mediterranean? Could the Polynesians have found Hawaii and New Zealand if they weren't already experienced navigators amongst the nearby islands of Polynesia? What if the first of England had decided to capture Sumatra and bring the entire island home for the British crown before the British Navy had ever ventured as far as Ireland, would you have considered that to be a good plan? Its better than Obama's plan.

Re:Half colonized double planet (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383717)

A mission failure in the lunar capture plan could lead to a global disaster.

The Moon has already been captured so no reason to capture it again.

Oh, you mean the global disaster that would be caused by the somewhat bright light and perhaps even slight noise (we must steel ourselves to consider worst case here) that would come from a tiny asteroid dissipating way up in Earth's atmosphere?

The greatest burden to humanity would be the possibility of an unmanageable swarm of 911 (or equivalent) calls, thousands even. This will probably completely overwhelm our delicate emergency infrastructure. It might even be a worse disaster than the average Manchester football game.

Would obtaining an asteroid be worth that terrible, fearsome risk? I... I... just don't know.

Re:Half colonized double planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383761)

Man City, or Man United?

HALF(?) colonized (1)

Sloppy (14984) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384379)

You need to take a second look at Earth if you think our "double-planet" is half-colonized. We can relatively trivially colonize the interior of the Sahara or Antarctica or the oceans, for an insignificant fraction of the cost of colonizing Luna.

To me, by suggesting the most expensive option, you seem to be talking about economic waste.

If you're going to advocate such waste, and that it be done compulsorily (i.e. funded through government) then I'd like to be persuaded that we're already in a post-scarcity economy. Show me our robot butlers, flying cars, closed-due-to-lack-of-sales strip mines, and nearly 100% unemployment rate, please. When we have those things, I'll believe there's no limit to the extravagance we can bear. Until then, though, colonizing the places I mentioned above, is way more sane.

I'm not convinced asteroid mining is profitable either, but at least on the face of it, it's not as guaranteed to be a net loss, as lunar colonization is.

Re:Half colonized double planet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384547)

Maybe we can think about it this way:
Choice A
1. China/India go for Moon colonizing tech
2. USA/ESA go for deep space tech
3. Steal each other's tech (gonna happen anyway), expand on all fronts.

Choice B
1. Everyone go for Moon colonizing tech
2. China/India decides it's cheaper to steal tech anyway
3. China/India leap ahead of everyone in actually colonizing Moon using the money they saved
3a. Still no deep space tech.

they're just talking about government programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383637)

NASA is not the only, or even the best, way for Americans to return to the moon - or go anywhere else. If there is value, there will be private exploration and exploitation. NASA will never provide real opportunity for Americans to go to space...for political reasons all they can conceive of is sending a few carefully chosen representatives of NASA...and what NASA represents doesn't have much in common with the rest of us.

So why should we care what the political do to NASA? NASA is not the future. NASA isn't even much of a past.

Re:they're just talking about government programs (1)

Pecisk (688001) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383671)

Sorry to burst your Rep bubble, but private has been pouring insane amounts of money and they still can't get their launch right more than the NASA. Also while there's no real resources starvation on Earth initiative to go and explore for private money won't be enough - they will better rage costly war than trying to mine Moon. They never really plan in long term.

Only hope is that new initiative of mining asteroids. But it is also at least 20 years away, and probably will grab some gov grants along the way anyway.

Re:they're just talking about government programs (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383941)

and they still can't get their launch right more than the NASA

NASA has no launch vehicle. And the few attempts to develop a replacement for the Space Shuttle have all failed hard.

Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

rpbird (304450) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383649)

We're not going to an asteroid, we're not going to Mars, and we're probably never going to the Moon, either. NASA is a toy of the executive branch. Every prez comes up with a hot new "plan" and it never gets past the the planning stage. Bolden will be out on his ass looking for work in less than four years, maybe sooner, and NASA will be back to square one - again.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

Pecisk (688001) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383663)

Well, for last ten years NASA have been regularly on chopping block thanks to Republicans - but it is also institution about which general voting public don't care, and that's why it's first causality in austerity chill which like it or not will come anyway.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383817)

Well, for last ten years NASA have been regularly on chopping block thanks to Republicans

And thanks to the Democrats as well. Keep in mind that current debt as a fraction of GDP jumped up by 25% during the Democrat dominated Congress of 2009-2011.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

Pecisk (688001) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384107)

Sorry, but check your facts first - current debt was built in by budget created by Bush Republicans.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384167)

Sorry, but check your facts first

I did. Imagine that. Maybe you should actually look at the debt accumulated during the Obama administration than make empty claims.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384263)

Just keep squeezing that stone, I'm sure you'll get blood from it someday.

I mean do you want to start with how the expenditure of Iraq and Afgahnistan was moved to being "on the books" for the Federal government under Obama (despite, you know, still being real money being blown away by Bush) or the GFC finally unfolding at the terminal stage of Bush's term and thus Obama (and said Democrat congress) inheriting the choice of "bail out the banks go bankrupt" or "let 90+% of Americans go bankrupt".

From your tone I assume you think we should've just let the banks go under, which is an easy sentiment when you foolishly believe you wouldn't have lost money.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384397)

was moved to being "on the books"

Which is completely irrelevant to debt growth. Off the book spending contribute as much as on the book spending.

From your tone I assume you think we should've just let the banks go under, which is an easy sentiment when you foolishly believe you wouldn't have lost money.

I take it you have no idea what "moral hazard" is.

Re:Nothing's going to happen in any case (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384349)

Stop blaming Republicans! This whole mentality of "them" vs. "us" is ludicrous! Look at what both sides have done and it's easy to see that it's the same team! As long as you buy into the BS of "them" and "us" nothing changes for the better!

Challenging (1)

Pecisk (688001) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383651)

It's difficult question - we could do manned missions again, but what's practical reason behind this? Research? Basics can be covered by robotics - probes, rovers, satellites. What would be more important though that NASA and others would work with research how to make actual flight to Mars (or return to Moon) as painless as possible. If that results in actual mission after let's say 10 years - I don't really mind, because sometimes it's better than once and right. NASA is still light years ahead of anyone else in the world anyway.

Gave up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383685)

So that is why we had 180 plus chineese "spy's" working in NASA?

Re:Gave up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383709)

With NASA's "affirmative action" plans giving distinct advantages to those of non-Caucasian ethnicity, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of different nations are represented there...

This Just In... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383691)

The United States, which presently has no human space flight capability, isn't sending men to the moon in the foreseeable future!

I know you're shocked, so I will pause for a moment to allow you to recompose yourself.

. . . .

NASA's manned spaceflight program is over (5, Interesting)

ErnoWindt (301103) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383771)

What Bolden is simply acknowledging is that NASA's manned spaceflight program is over. Sure, they're still recruiting and training astronauts, but that's so they can keep the ISS manned until it is retired. The future of manned space flight, including space stations, Moon bases and interplanetary and interstellar travel will belong to private industry. NASA will focus on scientific missions. There's nothing wrong with that - it represents the evolution of the space industry. Billionaires like Elon Musk can build, launch, and return space capsules today. Fifty years ago, Musk's approach would have been highly unlikely, if not completely impossible. The US government will help fund and provide frameworks - think DARPA's development of the Internet and now the 100-year starship project and the humanoid robotics initiative. Along with its own research and development, private industry will take the frameworks and ideas DARPA is developing now and leverage and exploit them in unimagined ways, just as with the Internet.

Re:NASA's manned spaceflight program is over (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384013)

"Billionaires like Elon Musk can build, launch, and return space capsules today. Fifty years ago, Musk's approach would have been highly unlikely, if not completely impossible."

2 words - Howard Hughes.

Devils advocate, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43383873)

Is the end of manned space flight really a bad thing? For the cost of 'putting a man on Mars' we could probably send a fleet of orbiters and landers to a dozen worlds in our solar system. Why does it continually seem necessary to push the goal of having a select few people get boots dirty on another world when we could have a dozen times the science and exploration payoff keeping them safe at home and sending ever more advanced rovers and orbiters to gather data?

Re:Devils advocate, but... (2)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384139)

Is the end of manned space flight really a bad thing?

How are people going to get into space, if they stop going into space? The idea driving our exploration of space is that we will eventually be there. Get rid of that and there really isn't much reason to do anything aside from some commercial and military-based Earth-facing activities. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge just isn't that valuable.

Sure, we could explore a dozen new worlds that would never matter to us rather than extensive manned expeditions. But what would be the point?

Re:Devils advocate, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384311)

Can you describe what it will be we are "exploring" if someone is 0.1 Earth radii up? If we are exploring Mars by proxy by sending machines, what will the human floating around low earth orbit accomplish? He'll get the signal a few milliseconds before? Do you understand the size and scale of the universe? The nearest star is Alpha Centauri, at 4.7 light years away. In between is a harsh deadly vacuum many cubic light years in size. What will a human accomplish there, never mind the fact that he wouldn't live long enough anyways to get there with real actual technology?

So if you are all about "exploring", Alpha Centauri is 4.44644835 × 10^13 kilometers away. Low Earth orbit, is say 600 km up.

So you are 0.00000001% closer! Wow! We're totally gonna see better that way!

Re:Devils advocate, but... (1)

khallow (566160) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384389)

There are a lot of things closer than Alpha Centauri. For example, there's our entire Solar System. Now, why someone would ignore Mars and talk about Alpha Centauri is beyond me.

Re:Devils advocate, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384483)

So please tell me, how is someone in low earth orbit helping to "explore" Mars if we already have machines on Mars? I also notice you conveniently brush aside my numbers. I know you space loons don't like facts when they show how ridiculous your fantasies are. The entire solar system is a few planets in a huge volume of NOTHING. How many more pictures of dead rocks or frozen wastelands do you need, and how will having humans floating around a tin can help?

Fine (1)

waddgodd (34934) | 1 year,13 days | (#43383887)

If Mankind won't return to the moon in your lifetime, don't think this can't be fixed relatively quickly

It's clear what we must do. (4, Funny)

mcmonkey (96054) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384029)

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden must be killed.

Then we can go back to the moon.

Re:It's clear what we must do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384157)

What is so important about some test pilots in rubber suits bouncing around on a dead, hostile radiation-blasted rock? So important that you think it's worth killing someone over?

Fuck the moon. Mars too. (3, Insightful)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384003)

Sorry, but there's nothing useful in either place AND they're both at the bottom of another god damned gravity well. Orbital stations for spaced based solar would at least be *useful*. Satellite based internet would be useful. Is there something wrong with useful? Why is it that when we talk about space exploration, it always descends into some dick-waving "me there first" macho-chimpanzee rant.

We know how to get into space. We know there are useful and profitable things to do there. Can we just get on with it please?

The moon is useless and if there's life on Mars, it's not going anywhere. We can wait.

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384113)

"Sorry, but there's nothing useful in either place"

The Space Nutters will skin you alive.

" AND they're both at the bottom of another god damned gravity well."

Oh no, god damn gravity! Keeping our bones dense and water and atmosphere where I need them!

"Orbital stations for spaced based solar would at least be *useful*."

Too bad they don't *make sense*, and we can't build them anyways.

" Satellite based internet would be useful."

No, it wouldn't. We can get ridiculously cheaper and faster internet with just fiber and cable everywhere. I know, it's at the bottom of a gravity well which the sci-fi authors of your childhood made fun of.

" Is there something wrong with useful?"

Is there something wrong with putting solar panels in the desert, or using fiber optics? You have a nostalgic 1970s view of space and technology.

"Why is it that when we talk about space exploration, it always descends into some dick-waving "me there first" macho-chimpanzee rant."

You didn't mention a single thing about "exploration", just a series of knee-jerk geek sci-fi fantasies with no basis in fact.

"We know how to get into space. We know there are useful and profitable things to do there. Can we just get on with it please?"

We already are. The satellites we do need for communication and observing and navigation are all already there. They're also fully automated because electronics got so much better so fast that the fantasies of the early Space Age are laughable.

"The moon is useless and if there's life on Mars, it's not going anywhere. We can wait."

Space isn't going anywhere either, and neither is the species. It was all a daydream.

As for "exploring", what is it exactly you think you'll be "exploring" when you are 0.1 Earth radii up? What will that change?

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (3, Interesting)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384829)

Is there something wrong with putting solar panels in the desert, or using fiber optics? You have a nostalgic 1970s view of space and technology.

Yes, I also have a 1970s nostalgic view of physics, as in, land area is limited and the energy falling on it is limited and by multiplying the two, you get available power and THAT, as they say, is IT.

However, before you squeal with delight and tell me how *much* that is, please expect that you'll also need to calculate and exclude land and sea areas that are not currently supporting food crops or working ecologies, as well as areas without significant weather, or property rights problems. Oh, and do exclude land with other other instalment, theft or maintenance problems (e.g. Brooklyn, Antarctica). Oh, and don't forget those line losses for your little desert energy-topia.

If you ever want to get more solar energy than what's available on earth, it's lots of space, Mylar mirrors and microwaves.

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (1, Informative)

Teckla (630646) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384161)

Sorry, but there's nothing useful in either place AND they're both at the bottom of another god damned gravity well.

The whole point is having two homes in case of an extinction level event happening (asteroid, nuclear war, plague, etc.).

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384219)

And there we go. The usual religious argument. Space as a kind of heaven, a reward for the species. Two homes! Oh my! All the comforts of home, but in space! Too bad there isn't a single place in the Solar System besides the Earth that even comes close to being a home for us! How will you prevent nuclear war and plagues in the second home, exactly? You think human nature will magically change in your second home?

Please, you're a child.

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384419)

Show me a self contained environment which is completely self sufficient in the Arctic, underwater, or in Death Valley before rambling on about space colonies.

Speaking of which, how does a post nuclear/asteroid/plague event render Earth less hospitable than Mars or the freakin' moon?

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (1)

rubycodez (864176) | 1 year,13 days | (#43384429)

we can't build a hollow tin can big enough to serve that purpose in the next century; we can't travel to any such place either in the next century.

the only possible benefit to space exploration in the near term would be for resources, by automated system.

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384573)

The moon is useless

You mean, What good is a new-born baby? [americanheritage.com]

Re:Fuck the moon. Mars too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384687)

But we already know that babies grow into adults, it is a directly observable fact, and it's also fun to make babies, something you might find out yourself one day. We have never observed a dead hostile rock host life.

can ho hung phat (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384413)

What ? http://thegioitaisan.com/chung-cu-can-ho/can-ho-hung-phat.html

wishing on a ramjet (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384539)

I am hoping the SLS gets killed, so there can be work on a mach 5 launch airplane that launches Falcon 1s.

Well then, he's left us no choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#43384663)

We have to make sure he has as short a lifetime as possible.

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