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NASA Money Crunch Means Trouble For Spitzer Space Telescope

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the infinite-desires-finite-resources dept.

Space 107

Scientific American reports that an ongoing budget crunch at NASA may spell doom for the Spitzer Space Telescope, the agency having "taken stock of its fleet of orbiting astrophysics telescopes and decided which to save and which to shutter. Among the winners were the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Kepler planet-hunting telescope, which will begin a modified mission designed to compensate for the recent failure of two of its four stabilizing reaction wheels." Also from the SciAm article: "Until JWST comes online, no other telescope can approach Spitzer’s sensitivity in the range of infrared light it sees. The Senior Review report noted that Spitzer had the largest oversubscription of any NASA mission from 2013 to 2014, meaning that it gets about seven times more applications for observing time from scientists than it can accommodate. ...'The guest observing programs were very powerful because you get people from all over the world proposing ideas that maybe the people on the team wouldn’t have come up with,' [senior review panel chair Ben R.] Oppenheimer says. 'But it’s got to be paid for.'"

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107 comments

Of course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086141)

They don't have any money to spend on telescopes, but plenty for Muslim outreach and climate change doomsaying.

Re:Of course (3, Insightful)

mmell (832646) | about 2 months ago | (#47086217)

Would you prefer Muslim population control and climate change denial?

Guess it doesn't matter which side of the aisle you're on - somehow or other, space exploration just seems to drop right out of the equation, doesn't it?

Re:Of course (1)

basecastula (2556196) | about 2 months ago | (#47086443)

"space exploration just seems to drop right out of the equation, doesn't it?" That is the crux of the argument. At this point in time, large portions of the population just do not care about space exploration or research because there are more tangible topics that dominate their thinking.

Re:Of course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47087037)

Could you describe this "exploration" exactly? We know the solar system is mostly empty and we can take pictures of the rest just fine from right here.

Oh, you mean YOU want to be in the rocket and spin around the upper atmosphere, right? THAT's what you guys REALLY mean by "exploration"?

Re:Of course (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 2 months ago | (#47090063)

There's a probe called New Horizons on the way to Pluto right now, largely because we can't get decent pictures from here. Even with Hubble, the best we get is a fuzzy blob a few pixels in size.

Then there's the Cassini mission that provided information about Titan that could not have been obtained without dropping a probe into its atmosphere.

There was Galileo, which provided a wealth of knowledge about the Jovian moons that we could not have gotten by taking pictures from here.

Magellan provided radar mapping of the surface of Venus that is completely obscured from view in visible light due to permanent clouds.

And, of course, there is the science being done on Mars that requires a physical presence.

Re:Of course (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087051)

"space exploration just seems to drop right out of the equation, doesn't it?" That is the crux of the argument. At this point in time, large portions of the population just do not care about space exploration or research because there are more tangible topics that dominate their thinking.

Such as having food on the table every day. That's a constant topic at the city kennel for animals, because there is always more animals than money to feed them. And animals that don't find an owner adopting them sooner or later get put to death. Those that do get adopted, do so being neutered. It's like the right to freely breed and the right to food on the table are human rights that should apply even to animals like cats, unfortunately there is no amount of money in the entire universe that's able to keep up with the ability of these cats to reproduce. With a government supported unlimited food supply two cats can very quickly grow to a population of 100 cats, and if there is still enough food and space, to 1000 cats, then 100,000, etc. The ability of lifeforms to breed is tremendous, and in absence of self control, or forced population control such as euthanasia and neutering, it's always the external lack of resources put a limiting factor on population size. Having food on the table is a constant topic with people on welfare too, but when it comes to humans, you cannot apply euthanasia and neutering to control the population, so instead you have to support an ever increasing government debt, so the welfare manna falling from the sky keeps falling. You cannot tell people to not have kids. You cannot allow people to starve. What you can do is let people freely breed out of control, and keep increasing the government debt over it. Eventually this leads to cutting other things such as NASA or the military, to keep up with the ever increasing load, but eventually the whole system collapses financially. You can have things like China injecting more money into our economy, increasing our debt even further, but that's like instead of having 100,000 cats from 2 cats, now you'll have 1 million, then 10 million, then 100 million, you're simply postponing the problem and making it worse, the fundamental question being the setup of unlimited resources provided to unlimited breeding capacity. It's hard to preach self control to people, as whoever practices self control gets quickly drowned out and outvoted by those who don't, in a democracy, so instead you have territorial struggles in jobs by those who maintain some kind of self control sense, and try to keep those who'll breed out of control irregardless of available resources and sooner or later outvote them in their localities, away, and those who're kept away keep shouting no fair, I demand a job, it's a human right to have a job, it's a human right to have food on the table, it's a human right to breed out of control irregardless of available resources. In places like India there is still a struggle between the muslim and hindu population, and AIDS is not that prevalent because both stay monogamous but with huge family sizes, playing chicken against overpopulation issues, and neither one can relent, because the other one will outvote them in elections if they let the other ones get ahead. Instead there is a lot of fingerpointing and criticizing of how some people have over 10 kids and they are miserably poor, by those who don't, while they too are trying to get over 10 kids to "stay in the game", to retain their voting power. See under a monarchy those who disrespect resource limits don't end up automatically dominating those who try to keep things in balance, like it happens in a democracy. The royalists know this very well, and they are actively working to exacerbate the problems even further, until people realize how many different things are wrong with a democracy, and how right nobility and serfdom, masters and slavery, or bourgeoisie and proletariat, are. They are also actively exterminating the middle class, now that we no longer have to worry about a communist threat, so we not longer have to fuel and maintain a strong middle class in our democracies to counter that threat, and it can be time to bring back monarchies to their full power. To that all I have to point the finger to is the 100 years war that decimated and halved the population many times over, over a simple issue: who the next leader should be, we don't have a population decline every time we change presidents in a democracy, but there are massive population declines when monarchs are unable to produce a heir, or their heir gets shot down in the open street, like it happened in WWI.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47087097)

But it's not all bad. The invention of the paragraph was a big step forward.

Re:Of course (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087111)

I think of whatever is left over after supporting the SS of elderly over 65 (that's a lot of baby boomers, and hospital charges are out of control), 80% of my taxes should be spent on military (and I include NASA with the military here), 5% on roads, with the remaining 15% on miscellaneous, while things like education can be done by private schools (I used to be a big fan of public education). Instead of welfare with people under 65 (optionally 60 for women) sitting home twirling their thumbs, everyone needs a plot of land of about 7 acres (which is not enough for a family of 4 with farming methods practiced by the Irish potato famine immigrants), with very low property tax, to grow their own food, and get off the back of the government, and be happy even in the absence of an economy. Then those who breed out of control then starve themselves, unlike in a city, where you can't really say to someone if nobody gives you a job you shouldn't have any kids, you can't sort of exterminate someone directly like that, but if they have a plot of land, they get some sense or idea of what even a resource limit looks like. The issue becomes how to fairly distribute land, and who to take it from, and how(gov't invest eminent domain money into land purchases hoping not to pay welfare later?) do we take the population levels of today as basis, tomorrow, or 20 years ago, or 100 years ago, or even 200 years ago, and then issues such as during slavery people couldn't really breed according to their abilities to take care of themselves, and their population might have been kept artificially low, so where is a fair balance of the competing racist populations of white, asian, black, hispanic, native american, muslim, and even inside white populations of jewish, irish, italian, hunky, german, slavic, etc., how you gonna allocate who gets what to make things fair? Btw urban farming is a joke - a 5 sq ft garden or a garden in a ceramic pot of 1/4 sq ft is not enough to feed a person for a whole year.

Re:Of course (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087125)

Jefferson had this idea that the "yeoman farmer" is the backbone of a democracy, and democracy cannot be trusted to city dwellers, because they are not self sufficient, not independent voters, their vote is controlled by those who can give them a job. A city, and urbanized population is undemocratic at its core, because of basic necessities, dependence on the elite for those basic necessities.

Re:Of course (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | about 2 months ago | (#47088063)

Jefferson had this idea that the "yeoman farmer" is the backbone of a democracy, and democracy cannot be trusted to city dwellers, because they are not self sufficient, not independent voters, their vote is controlled by those who can give them a job. A city, and urbanized population is undemocratic at its core, because of basic necessities, dependence on the elite for those basic necessities.

Jefferson's idea of the "yeoman farmer" was the slave holding Southern plantation owner, being one himself, not the moderate family farmer you might be thinking of. Jefferson was more attuned to old style feudalism than democracy.

Re:Of course (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47089339)

According to http://www.merriam-webster.com... [merriam-webster.com] a yeoman is

:a person who owns and cultivates a small farm;
specifically : one belonging to a class of English freeholders below the gentry

The gentry is the nobility. So a yeoman is a small farmer, a free man, not a serf living on a noble landlord's property, and a lot of farmers in the US South were large farmers, with large plantations. Washington was a yeoman, when the war for independence was over, he told the others he was going back to his farm. King George to this said that Washington is the greatest man alive, as the top military person, he could have been emperor of the US, like Julius Caesar, instead he handed over power to an elected body of government. He was eventually recalled as president, and started the tradition of changing presidents every 4 years. Btw, Isaac Newton was also a yeoman farmer, and the small income he derived from his farm let him devote his time to what he devoted it to. The term yeoman farmer in general does not mean slave keeping plantation owner, though in the South plantations dominated as farms. And yes, a lot of the early founding fathers were hypocrites, proclaiming all men are created equal, but only freeing their own slaves upon death, and one of them said they will be punished badly in afterlife for their hypocrisy, I can't track it down right now who.

A whole lot of people have a good side and a dark side to them, people like Michael Jackson, or a lot of catholic bishops, and probably a lot of stars and politicians too, like Bill Clinton. The tabloids keep track of such things in detail. I sit here and bitch about a lot of things, sounding like I'm sitting on a high horse, but it's not like I don't have issues, or a darker side to me. Though some of the darker side stories about celebrities are invented, and do not have basis in reality, like the one at http://urbanlegends.about.com/... [about.com] or I'd put even Michael Jackson or the catholics bishops in that category, false allegations, but you can never be absolutely sure about these things.

Re:Of course (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47089367)

By the way there used to be a tradition of tricking people on slashdot to go to goatse.cx, and you can do a google image search on "goatse.cx lolcat" for some giggles on that gere theme. Some of the things some people do, if not in reality, with photoshop, I tell ya.

Re:Of course (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47089507)

By the way some people who can exist off the land without any government welfare support are the Mursi tribe of Ethiopia, cattle being their main resource limitation to their population, as men have to buy their wives with cattle, before they can marry, https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] , while the bushmen of the Kalahari desert in Namibia/Botswana used to be similarly self sufficient in the desert for 25,000 years, but now that they learned of modern ways to live, they don't want to go back to the old ways, but still want to live well http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] That's what everybody wants in the world, to live well.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47087663)

New feature in Open Office - remove Paragraphs and line feeds.

Re:Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47087755)

Dear God! Please learn how to use paragraphs. Having one big spew on he page is nearly impossible to read.

Just find any K-12 English book and read the first few chapters. Using paragraphs properly is one of the most basic writing skills, so I'm sure it will be right there near the beginning.

And please kick your English teacher in the groin. He/she didn't teach you anything.

Re:Of course (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | about 2 months ago | (#47088071)

Blame it on Slashdot. To actually use paragraphs in this outdated composition system you have to insert commands in your text.

Re:Of course (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 2 months ago | (#47090073)

Tapping Enter a couple of times is inserting a command?

I learn something new every day.

Re:Of course (1)

SuperTechnoNerd (964528) | about 2 months ago | (#47087325)

Because it's a part of the larger anti-science sentiment going on thees days. People are so convinced they know all they will need to know, and science is evil and an unnecessary waste of money.

Re:Of course (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 months ago | (#47086263)

Just to clarify AC, 'They' is not NASA. You must be referring to the government.

http://climate.nasa.gov "Unstoppable decline". (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47086733)

Unfortunately, "they" IS NASA. See for example http://climate.nada.gov/ [nada.gov] , where you'll tabloid-style headlines like "Unstoppable Decline". Unfortunately, since NASA is part of the executive branch, they ultimately answer to the president. If they want to keep their projects going , they have to keepthe boss happy. The boss like stories about global warming^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H climate change, and the boss, Barak "my Muslim faith" Obama likes stories of happy Muslims, so NASA gives him climate change and Muslim outreach.

That's the current political situation - to avoid being ordered to spend more money shutting things down than they cost to run, you've got to give the boss what he wants.

Re:http://climate.nasa.gov "Unstoppable decline". (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086813)

I love me some trolling

NASA: "forememost, to reach out to Muslims" (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47086745)

NASA head Bolden told Al Jazeerathat when he became the NASA administrator, President Obama charged him with three things: "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"

So yeah, according to the head of NASA, the foremost mission of NASA under Barak Obama is to make Muslims feel good.

Re:NASA: "forememost, to reach out to Muslims" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086973)

You're right. The glory days of NASA was when it was white male dominated. I agree with you that we should return to those halcyon days.

Say WHAT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47089293)

Why are you bringing skin color into this?

"Muslim" is NOT a race, and has NOTHING to do with skin color. Muslim is an ideology - a belief system people CHOOSE to adopt. Whether a person agrees or disagrees with ANYTHING pro or con "Muslim" (or "Islam" or "Islamic") that person is NOT making a judgement about race or skin color. It is a well-documented FACT that Obama's NASA administrator went on Al Jazeera and procaimed that president Obama had tasked him with Muslim outreach and making Muslims feel good about themselves (as an important goal of NASA). Nowhere in ANY of that was SKIN COLOR.

Why are you bringing gender into this?

The previous poster said absolutelty NOTHING about gender.

I presume you are an overly-sensitive Obamabot - when ANYBODY points out a documented FACT that exposes the complete stupidity of the current president, his most-rabid suppporters foam at the mouth and screech that the critic is a "Racist" or "Sexist" or a "Homophobe". It's a cheap, sleazy tactic designed to shut down any debate and distract third-parties from noticing the facts. If you can point to the spot in the previous post where the writer mentioned skin color or gender please do so, else go hide in shame and know that you've outed yourself as the worst form of disingenuous troll.

Re:NASA: "forememost, to reach out to Muslims" (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087253)

I'm all for engaging the Muslims to feel good about America. In America we have comparatively good racial harmony compared to the muslims bombing the fuck out of each other over being sunny or shia, or even not being related, they are so racist, even their names goes ibn, son of who, they track heredity very closely, and they got severe racism issues over it within their own kind, let alone with people that look different than them. A lot of them do live in the desert, and in the desert it's impossible to live without discipline, and islam provides them with that discipline, and the things we do in America, like watching porn, and wasting resources out of control, they severely criticize that, but wait til they get TV's and watch Pamela Anderson's tits jiggle around as she runs as a lifeguard in "Baywatch", which was the top program on Egyptian tv, because even Muslims are human beings, and like to see tits bounce around, and maybe even some naked Greek or Roman statues that I see on public buildings in the US, while they stick to towel wrapping their own women, like the discipline of islam teaches them. We let porn and even gay male gangbangs proliferate in our country, with criticism about it over here too, and music like https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com] Ms New Booty that tops our charts may be a bit too much for them now. To them women are not for "new booty" fun when you got bored of the same old same old, but to have children with and raise a family, actually raising their own kids and instead of having baby daddy's and baby mommas.

interesting post, blunt yet balanced (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47088371)

That's an interesting post. At first, I thought it was basically anti-Muslim, but then I got to parts such as:

> To them women are not for "new booty" fun when you got bored of the same old same old, but to have children with and raise a family, actually raising their own kids and instead of having baby daddy's and baby mommas.

AActually, that's kind of a balanced view - blunt and not politically correct, but not anti-anyone.

Of course, the question is, is it right that _NASA's_ #1 goal should be reaching out to a specific religious group? I happen to think not, but some disagree. The president says that should indeed be their primary mission.

Re:Of course (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086709)

They could always lease it to ESA or The Canadians for a few years.

you don't even have to make a profit, just break even till the funding is available.

Re:Of course (1)

Shadowmist (57488) | about 2 months ago | (#47088079)

They could always lease it to ESA or The Canadians for a few years.

you don't even have to make a profit, just break even till the funding is available.

It costs money and facilities to run Spitzer. The ESA and the Canadians probably don't have the budget for it.

Hollywood way (2, Funny)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 2 months ago | (#47086161)

Anybody still remember this Hollywood movie "Apollo Moon landing" ? Isn't cheaper to use Hollywood again?

Re:Hollywood way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086509)

You thick? There's plenty of proof that the moon landings actually happened. You just choose to ignora

So... (1)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 2 months ago | (#47086173)

So we won't have super hi res images inside of Rebecca Woodard?

Budget Perspective (5, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 months ago | (#47086175)

In 2014, for example, the total astrophysics division funding was about $1.3 billion

Or about 5 days cost of the Iraq/Afghan wars, or 1/50th the cost of the F-22 program, or 1/33 Larry Ellison's net worth, or 1/58th of Bill Gates' net worth, or 1/2 the cost of a single B-2.

Re:Budget Perspective (2)

mmell (832646) | about 2 months ago | (#47086209)

Yup, that's where our priorities are. And before the flames begin, let me say that here in the US we have the best government money can buy. I truly believe that; we're all very proud of ourselves here.

Besides, what's more important - bombing people who are not like us or exploring space? I think history has shown the answer (hint: even when we spent more on our space program it was only to beat them commie Ruskies to it after they put a satellite and a person into orbit).

Re:Budget Perspective (2)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 2 months ago | (#47086399)

You obviously don't play enough Civilization. You can win the game much earlier if you go for the world conquest win instead of the science win.

Duh.

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087873)

But who wants to live in a world like that, when you, or your nation is alone, with all the other variety RIP disappearing? It's extremely hard to maintain balance in Civilization, and to win via a spaceship, because the natural tendency is for 1 to overpower all the others and emerge as the winner, just like in the business world there is a tendency for monopolies to arise and exterminate all the competition, if nothing else, through mergers with them, but when you go out into nature, you learn that there is something good about the variety of life, about multiplicity of the jungle, compared to one single celled photosynthetic bacteria digesting everything else around it and emerging as a winner, something that may be happening on other planets where life has arisen, and it may be a matter of time before it happens on this planet too, which is why it's important to have a space program, and life in outer space, to at least have some isolated pockets of life should a global infection outbreak erase all higher lifeforms down here on Earth, especially one that's created out of curiosity in a DNA-tinkering biotech lab, and gets out of hand and out of control.

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087975)

In order to live you have to kill, you have to destroy, if nothing else, murder a carrot on your lunch plate, and sometimes you have to kill another human in self defense so that you live, but may decide not to kill 2 others and instead die, or be a kamikaze or suicide bomber killing many but protecting even many more of your nation vs one life of your own, it gets complicated, especially if you follow things like trying to sustain genetic variety and then you have one native american with one kid vs. 100 whites all of the same blood, same genetics, or 100 blacks, and in such cases the 1 but rare native american would outweigh the 100 others, it gets really complicated and eerie if you try to apply algebra to genetics and rights of human beings. Also, I've said this before, in theory there is a way to use solar panels and chemical manufacturing pots to create sugars and proteins and all nutrition out of nuclear, wind or solar power, and live in the middle of a desert without any other lifeforms present in a completely sterile or super-vegetarian of uber-kosher way, not having to kill any lifeforms at all to survive, but there is something off, something of bad taste with that picture, and most people would prefer instead bringing a jungle to the desert and living amidst the jungle, hunting other lifeforms, stepping on bugs, but providing the other lifeforms a way to live too, including protecting species from extinction, even if the Universe, or the cruel and harsh reality, has decided they must go, we, humans, beg to differ, and will spend our hard earned resources to try to maintain variety of life around us, even when our national debt is out of control.

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47087473)

George Carlin has a "Bigger dick" theory of why it's important to bomb people who are not like us. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com] I think he did that gig before the war on Serbia, and we went to war with Serbia just to prove that white people are not racist, they can bomb white people too, with the same size dick, not just brown people, who have bigger dicks.

Re:Budget Perspective (1, Insightful)

GNious (953874) | about 2 months ago | (#47086243)

Better hope that you don't suddenly need more B-2s

Re:Budget Perspective (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086363)

Better hope that you don't suddenly need more B-2s

Don't need any of them. Nor the B-1. I don't think the B-1 was ever used - except for scaring the shit out of the Soviets.

The B-52 is the bomber of choice.

I loved COSMOS (ep.11) last week and how the civilizations, like ancient Sumaria, who valued military conquest ended up destroying themselves.

It's a lesson from history we should take to heart.

See, all these wars we're fighting are slowing eating away at our economy - along with a few other factors like: offshoring, automation [technologyreview.com] , and aging populace. Although, it is quite apparent that our way of life is a life of war - endless war it seems - and war mongering societies do not last very long and peaceful ones are the societies that thrive.

Most of us here are Trekkies or do like the idea of the society depicted in those series. The only way to get there is to stop this primitive non-sense of wars, tribalism and religion - religion is just another form of tribalism; also worshiping an Iron Age god in the 21st century is just ridiculous.

Just some thoughts at 4:55AM where I am.

Re:Budget Perspective (1, Interesting)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47086423)

I loved COSMOS (ep.11) last week and how the civilizations, like ancient Sumaria, who valued military conquest ended up destroying themselves.

I thought religion was the drain of these civilizations, not the military. At least in case of Egypt, cutting off the X-box division otherwise known as Karnak, Inc. was one of the first business decisions by their Roman acquirers.

Re:Budget Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086823)

religion being the cause of the wars predominantly, but it was the wars themselves that drained.

Re:Budget Perspective (0)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 2 months ago | (#47086425)

Scaring the shit out of the Soviets was a worthy task, and ultimately resulted in the transition of much of the Soviet block from the monstrous form of Communism as propagated by the Soviet Union to freedom. Now, with Mr. weak-knees Barack Obama in office, the Russians are going about recapturing the recently free nations, and reconstituting the Soviet Union while BHO guts our military. Sure, we're probably fairly safe, but the free world around us is paying the price. Feel good about that as you go to sleep tonight if you can.

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 2 months ago | (#47086725)

The pro-Moscow government in Georgia came about after Russia invaded it while Bush was in office. There's not really much we can do for non-NATO nations in Russia's backyard. There's a reason that Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia joined NATO, and why Ukraine has considered it so often.

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 2 months ago | (#47089869)

while BHO guts our military.

Guts our military? Are you fucking kidding me? Military spending is literally the highest it's ever been (even adjusted for inflation). In 2013 (2014 budget is even higher, but wikipedia gives comparisons by country for 2013), the US's military budget was $640 Billion. 2nd place was China at $188 Billion, and third place was Russia at $87.8 Billion. Yes, that's right, the US's military budget was over 3 times as much as 2nd place China's, and 7 times 3rd place Russia's. As ridiculous as that sounds, it's not an exaggeration.

Gutting the military? How could you possibly think that? Seriously, where did you get such a preposterous idea? (I'm guessing the answer to that is Fox News).

Re:Budget Perspective (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 2 months ago | (#47086631)

The B-1 was used in Iraq first during Operation Desert Fox and later during the 2003 invasion, and was also used in Kosovo and Afghanistan. The B-52, while still a very good bomber, is showing its age. While the Air Force still has it in the plans for another 30 years or so, it's not what you want to use should you have to go up against any serious air defenses, as they have to be neutralized first. Boeing has proposed several modernization ideas including new engines that would improve fuel efficiency and reduce maintenance requirements, but the cost of that is more than the Air Force wants to pay. They're planning for a new bomber to replace all three existing bombers starting around 2030-2035.

And the B-1 never really scared the Soviets. Before the final one was delivered, the Air Force realized that it couldn't compete with Soviet air defenses.

Warped Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47089583)

"Don't need any of them. Nor the B-1. I don't think the B-1 was ever used" [chop] "The B-52 is the bomber of choice."

Factually WRONG

The B-1A was a supersonic nuclear bomber, aimed (with a nuclear bomb load) squarely at the Soviet Union, that never went into production. The B-1B went into production as a generally subsonic, lower-radar-visibility bomber capable of both nuclear and non-nuclear missions. All the B-1 bombers currently in the American inventory are B-1B models and they HAVE been used in combat - they've dropped bombs in both Iraq and Afghanistan on missions where the ancient B-52's would have been too vulnerable. FYI: the B-2 has ALSO been used repeatedly in combat.

The B-52 design is ancient in aerospace terms and the actual airframes in the US invetory are SO OLD that there have been cases of pilots flying the very same airfame as their grandfathers, and several have fallen apart in mid-air. The sooner they are replaced the better - every one of those aircraft has exceeded its design-life. There's something fundamentally unfair and corrupt about old geezer politicians sending young warriors INTO WAR ZONES in old-run-down equipment their grandpappies used; most politicians would refuse to fly back and forth between Washington DC and their home districts in total peace aboard airliners designed and built sixty years ago.

"I loved COSMOS"

Well, THAT explains a lot ... you get your view of reality from scripted, dumbed-down, entertainment television. Cosmos (both the original Sagan version and the current Tyson version) is a highly-editorialized spin on the subjects it covers by a glamour-boy pop-scientist and given the glossy dumbing-down that is deemed necessary to "educate" the ignorant hicks in flyover country into a particular viewpoint. I'm FINE with that - BUT it's VERY different from a serious exposition, or discussion, of any of the covered material. Try the Feynman physics lectures or something similarly solid.

"it is quite apparent that our way of life is a life of war - endless war it seems"

Actually, that's ALL of human history. The question is NEVER whether human societies will struggle and fight each other - the real questions are only: HOW they'll fight, WHAT they'll fight over, WHICH of them will fight, and HOW they'll fight. Many of the supposedly simple and peaceful cultures and nations have at times either fought or faced eachother in stand-offs (mindful of previous fights). Many countries that pretend to be superior in their "peacefulness" have actually just hidden beneath the military umberellas of bigger more-powerful allies (Some of you guys in Europe will recognize yourselves...)

"Most of us here are Trekkies or do like the idea of the society depicted in those series"

That's just... um... pathetic and SAD.

Star Trek is just ENTERTAINMENT It was sold to the network as "Wagon Train to the Stars"; it was just an episodic dramatic TV SHOW that used space as a different backdrop - it could have been set in the wild west or even in medieval times if that would have made Rodenberry the cash needed to pay the rent. Trek's economics, politics, philosophy, technology etc do not need to make sense or be workable - and THEY ARE NOT. The "Trek" universe is SO FUNDAMENTALLY UNWORKABLE that the series is completely inconsistent on many of these things. You have episodes where the characters refer to their pay, or gamble, and other episodes where they claim they no longer use money. You have transporters that are good enough an entire society routinely uses them to go from place to place, yet they always break down when you need them most. You have a "prime directive" that forbids interference in less-developed societeies and then the heroes of the Federation aboard its flagship routinely do exactly that (usually "justified" by the assertion that the primitives are, well, primitive (the VERY reason they are NOT to be interfered with!))

The silliest bit of Trek is the economics; they claim to be a post-scarcity economy where there's plenty for all and nobody needs money. In such a society, however, where there's universal "plenty" to such a degree that money is no longer needed, there's NO EXCUSE for a federation that has a limited number of starships or a limit on anything aboard those ships. Why does a starship not have a fifty transporter rooms, twenty sick bays, several extra warp drives and a few extra implulse engines, a hundred shuttles in a dozen much bigger shuttle bays, a billion photon torpedoes with a thousand launchers, and a thousand phaser banks? If you need a bigger ship to hold all that then make it bigger! Cost cannot possibly be an issue in a post-scarcity money-free economy! There's simply NO WAY a logical rational person can buy into the Trek universe WITH that post-scarcity, money-is-mainingless claim.

Science Fiction is a great genere of literature and entertainment; frequntly where the most-creative stuff can be found. It is NOT, however, a source of valid models for people and societies in the real world ... AND Star Trek (with the exception of a few episodes) is NOT a good example of Sci Fi.

Re:Budget Perspective (3, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 2 months ago | (#47086699)

. . . how about the money and news coverage for Kim Kardashian's wedding . . . ? The general public just isn't interested in science and space.

Sad, but true. If the general population isn't interested, Congress has no incentive to fund it.

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

antdude (79039) | about 2 months ago | (#47087481)

And that is why they need to put Kim Kardashian's wedding in space! ;)

Re:Budget Perspective (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086943)

Yep, DNC in charge of basically EVERYTHING on the federal level for nearly 6 years and you blame the GOP.

Keep voting DNC and keep blaming GOP for everything they do wrong. You are what is called a "useful idiot"

Re:Budget Perspective (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 2 months ago | (#47087231)

Or about 8 hour' borrowing 3 years ago, or 12 hours' borrowing today.

Congress should grow balls and schedule cuts rather than letting them auto-happen across the board.

They won't. As You Like It.

How about next you discuss (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086183)

Nestle Crunch.

Because it melts in your pocket, not your hand.

Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer. (3, Interesting)

thesandbender (911391) | about 2 months ago | (#47086249)

The vast majority of US Representatives and Senators do not understand the distinction between the Spitzer and James Webb Missions. Nor should they, there primary job is taking care of local and internal politics here. However:

If a lot of people call/email/write in saying "Save Spitzer", they'll have their assistants do some research and run the numbers. Unless one of those assistants is a space/astronomy junkie, the result will come back the same for all parties. Spitzer is "up there" and "doing science".... James Webb costs more and is risky (it hasn't even launched yet)... so back Spitzer. It's the politically "safe" move.

Personally, I don't want to see that happen. If we have to sacrifice Spitzer (and even other projects) to get James Webb... so be it. Astronomy is, after all, all about the very long game.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086385)

Too bad in the comparison graph they won't show Oil Wars in Middle East. Because if they did they'd see that NASA's budget is a hair above zero comparatively. Then they might think: Shit, we could fund a hundred NASAs and colonize the solar system if those Fossil Fuel Robber Barons weren't buying us off.

A shame they won't take a look at what happened in Chelyabinsk and realize that it was 25 times the force of Hiroshima, it just didn't strike ground. Maybe consider that we don't have an asteroid belt, we have a mineral rich missile belt that leaves radiation-free craters. Whomever rules the Asteroid Belt rules the Solar System. Then look at that graph of defense funds vs NASA and realize they've got the columns completely backwards. Congress should declare war on Extinction. At the very least get some eggs out of this one basket with self sustaining biodomes in orbit, on the moon and on Mars.

You're the fool here. You're pissing around with "science" when what got the USA to win the space race was the danger of allowing other nations to have technologically superior vantage. They don't give a fuck about science and understanding. You have to speak in terms of lives and deaths -- Of millions of dead women and children that they could have prevented! You're not playing the scaremongering game even when the Universe really is out to fucking kill us ALL!?

Fuck asteroids, our magnetic field is half a million years past due to fail and leave us vulnerable to cosmic rays and solar flares for decades or more while the poles flip. Learning to survive on the Moon or esp. Mars could actually save the fucking world and you give a damn about insignificant shit comparatively? Some piddling telescope? You know how many of those we can construct at far larger scales if we get a colony setup on the moon? Are you even sentient? Only the religious can accept that this planet may contain the only life in the universe and rest on their laurels like dinosaurs risking extinction for all of it.

Your priorities are all out of whack and your pathetic attempt at politics is daft: PRISM exists because of a far more nebulous and less dangerous threat than what we actually face from space. Life is too beautiful to chance obliteration over some stupid stargazing mental masturbation. Looking at far away shit is important, but it's not anywhere close to how important what we really need is: Colonization, ASAP.

You want a telescope? What we need is a 1000 km radio array to scan the entire sky for threats built by colonists on the moon or in the asteroid belt where the gravity tax is cheap. Not some inverted space microscope that lets you see a pin prick of the universe. Yeah if that's all you have funding for, fine, but the truth is you're fighting over crumbs instead of pushing for what Life needs to Survive.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (0)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 2 months ago | (#47086447)

Whine about the recent wars all you want, but WE WERE ATTACKED, damnit. Wanna sit around and knit after that? If you do, you have to realize that there were many more attacks coming from the same folks that brought us the 1st one, and many 1000's more would have died without our military traveling to the mideast and settling their hash right there. Each new attack would have been a wonder in stealth and ingenuity, and we'd marvel at how stupid we were not to have seen in coming, but we'd have maybe 3,000 more dead, or 30,000 more dead, or maybe even 300,000 more dead if they laid hands on some of the more hideous WMD that we went to the Mideast to preclude coming here. How would 2 tons of Anthrax distributed along the entire east coast on the wind from a launch on the Blue Ridge Parkway grab you? 300,000 dead might be a low number. It was determined that a single anthrax spore that took to the wind in DC traveled to Baltimore and killed an elederly woman during the attack by that nut-job using weaponized anthrax from one of our defense labs. The stuff is absolutely, stunningly deadly.

Instead of whining about our military, which makes a large part of the world safe for freedom instead of enslavement, why not instead do something useful, and support Repeal16 which would repeal the 16th Amendment and thus abolish the IRS, freeing up its 13 Billion dollar budget request for next year. Think we might be able to fund a telescope with a part of that? Save 300,000 trees too, that wouldn't be used for printing IRS forms. No, really, it takes 300,000 trees to print those forms. And the resulting economic boom from abolishing the most harmful source of economic sabotage ever devised by man short of an all-out war would fund the rest of everything else we decide is a good idea for a long time to come.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086513)

Whine about the recent wars all you want, but WE WERE ATTACKED, damnit. Wanna sit around and knit after that? If you do, you have to realize that there were many more attacks coming from the same folks that brought us the 1st one, and many 1000's more would have died without our military traveling to the mideast and settling their hash right there. Each new attack would have been a wonder in stealth and ingenuity, and we'd marvel at how stupid we were not to have seen in coming, but we'd have maybe 3,000 more dead, or 30,000 more dead, or maybe even 300,000 more dead if they laid hands on some of the more hideous WMD that we went to the Mideast to preclude coming here. How would 2 tons of Anthrax distributed along the entire east coast on the wind from a launch on the Blue Ridge Parkway grab you? 300,000 dead might be a low number. It was determined that a single anthrax spore that took to the wind in DC traveled to Baltimore and killed an elederly woman during the attack by that nut-job using weaponized anthrax from one of our defense labs. The stuff is absolutely, stunningly deadly.

Instead of whining about our military, which makes a large part of the world safe for freedom instead of enslavement, why not instead do something useful, and support Repeal16 which would repeal the 16th Amendment and thus abolish the IRS, freeing up its 13 Billion dollar budget request for next year. Think we might be able to fund a telescope with a part of that? Save 300,000 trees too, that wouldn't be used for printing IRS forms. No, really, it takes 300,000 trees to print those forms. And the resulting economic boom from abolishing the most harmful source of economic sabotage ever devised by man short of an all-out war would fund the rest of everything else we decide is a good idea for a long time to come.

The IRS are the ones who deal with collecting taxes, abolishing them would probably annihilate your entire budget but 13b dollars is quite a bit to do that, maybe you guys need to send the GAO at them?

What other terrorist plots are you referring to? Beyond the war-drum thumping of "THE TERRORISTS ARE COMING TO STEAL YOUR BABIES" I didn't hear much of any planned, attempted or successful terrorist attacks on USA soil other then from domestic terrorists. And we all know how the WMD in the middle east turned out, a whole lot of nothing, just an excuse to invade Iraq (did you guys leave it in a better state then what it was before the invasion?)....

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 2 months ago | (#47086563)

Oh, you didn't hear of any planned terrorist attacks after 9-11? Well, Mr. Deep Thinker, do you suppose that it didn't happen because Pvt. Smith and Pvt. Johnson were OVER THERE blowing the sh** out of UBL's training camps and various minions?

As for abolishing the IRS, there are OTHER things to tax besides income. We did it before 1913, and can do it again. It would result in an economic boom of Biblical proportions. The mast great leap forward was from 1865 - 1900, known as the gilded age, when the economy expanded by 400%. Then in 1913 we made the 2nd biggest mistake in US History, right behind slavery, by passing the 16th Amendment authorizing Federal income taxes. We've not advanced in like fashion since.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086839)

Hey dumbass, 1865-1900 was the rise of industrial technology, it had nothing to do with taxes. And also it was a horrible shitstorm if you weren't in the top 1% with working conditions that could generally doom you to an early and painful death in your 30's. People were still dying of just plain bad water as well, you really want to go back there? I think you'd last roughly 2 minutes before you wanted to come crawling back.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (3, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 2 months ago | (#47086701)

Are you aware that federal income taxes were collected long before the case (Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust) that basically triggered the adoption of the 16th Amendment? They go back to 1861. The issue in Pollock was not that the income tax was unconstitutional (the income tax on wages was decided unanimously to be constitutional in 1880 and held to be an excise tax in Pollock), but that taxes on income derived from property (rental income, stock dividends, etc.) were direct taxes (as opposed to indirect taxes on wages) and so had to be apportioned by state populations. It then spent the next decade doing contortions trying to fit various taxes challenged after the Pollock ruling as excise taxes so as to not deprive the federal government of revenue from many other sources.

The 16th Amendment merely allows taxes collected on all income, whatever the source, to not be apportioned by state populations, taking the issue out of the courts' hands completely. Repealing the amendment wouldn't end the income tax or the IRS, but instead justify a larger bureaucracy to ensure that income from direct taxes was apportioned properly, or else a rush to the courts to challenge pretty much every tax and a resumption of the judicial contortions to keep them in place.

And you really should get up to date on your recent history. While I'm not sad to see Saddam Hussein gone, there were no unconventional weapons found, save for a few old artillery shells buried more than a decade before. He really had dismantled his programs, but tried to make it look like maybe he didn't in case Iran got the bright idea of starting a new fight.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 2 months ago | (#47086785)

I wish that I had mod points to mod your post as funny. It was a good laugh to start my day.

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | about 2 months ago | (#47088793)

It was determined that a single anthrax spore that took to the wind in DC traveled to Baltimore and killed an elederly woman during the attack by that nut-job using weaponized anthrax from one of our defense labs. The stuff is absolutely, stunningly deadly.

And, this, my fellow nerds, is why we are at war with science in this country.

Yes, it is to prevent the next anthrax attack. Because what else could we possibly do to combat terrorist attacks by our very own scientists? Nothing, I say. It is war, or we just surrender. You wouldn't want to surrender, would you? Why, then we'd be no better than the damned French! [wikipedia.org]

Me? I'm going to DARPA to get some funding so we can win this war! The first thing I need is a telescope -- to show the people just how wrong these "astronomers" really are...

Re:Endorse James Webb. Do NOT even mention Sptizer (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47088207)

You sound like me.

A few little notes: a huge (I'm talking a whole building, possibly a stadium size) rotating (at the correct speed, 9.8 m2/s= g=omega^2 x r) metal cylinder could provide artificial gravity, by centrifugal force, when you walk on the inside surface. If it's triple walled steel or titanium, maybe some aluminum too, with many relatively small cylinder units connected, then when a tiny meteor hits going 20 miles per second, it won't leak suddenly if there are vacuum spacings between the walls that need to be filled and pressurized before they leak rapidly too, and there is time to evacuate to the next cylinder, while you lose air pressure, and then you can take like a week to patch the holes. The more layers and obstacles for the meteor, the more it can disintegrate, and possibly not penetrate the last layer, depending on size of course. Transparent glass domes as you imagine simply won't cut it from the gravity or meteorite resilience point of view. You have to have the spinning cylinder a certain large size before the gravity at your feet is not much greater than at the top of your head, and you don't get dizzy. Still, climbing up a huge ladder into the center of the cylinder lets you experience free floating, and maybe it'd be fun sleeping there, as long as you don't wander off slightly, then get blown by the rotating wind, then smack hard to the floor when you get very off center, so you might have to fasten yourself to a central metal bar if you go to sleep like that. A reality show could make such a thing profitable, especially with meteorite hits, losing air pressure in some units, losing power, losing recycling systems and running low on oxygen that has to be hauled up from the Moon or Earth, and the shit piles up because some systems failed, losing rotation by two opposingly rotating cylinders getting jammed and everything floating up into the air, there are lots of neat things to play with and make it interesting. It could be a cross between star trek and reality shows, possibly with a commander, and replicator-like food dispensers for no money, while on a small scale, or even like deep space 9, if it grows larger, with politics, deceit, trade and bribing.

Mars is too friggin far and not that much bigger than the Moon. Also solar power is less there. It's a waste of money going to Mars, it's called a planet, but it never held an atmosphere, and there was probably never any flowing water on it - ice maybe, subliming directly into vapor, and its gravity is not strong enough to hold water vapor from escape velocity at its temperature. The first priority should be setting up a Moon base, mining stuff on the moon and shooting the cargo with a cannon or rollercoaster into outer space orbit, to manufacture space stations from, including building size rotation cylinders. Long term we might be able to convert Venus into livable space, if we could get it to rotate by smacking artificial comets made out of stuff like Ganymede by smacking other artificial comets on a near collision course with Ganymede, into Ganymede, or if that's too dangerous, doing it little bit at a time, with small asteroids and comets. But it's really hard to catch a comet, install Tsar bomba explosives on it, and adjust its track to where it accurately collides into Venus, instead of a near collision, and such near collisions where a little change can compound into dramatic changes, may be very rare.

What exactly would the funding cover? (3, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 months ago | (#47086253)

What exactly would the funding cover?

It seems that a private consortium could operate the instrument, given its oversubscription ratio, and thereby have enough funding to run both the subscription selection process and the ground station equipment (or build their own), and that the real problem here is that NASA is in between the people who want to use the instrument and the instrument itself, and are using it as a means to blackmail outrage out of the people who want to use the instrument, in order to obtain more funding for NASA.

Am I missing something? Why, other than they have the code keys, is NASA involved, once the instrument is up there in orbit, so long as there are parties willing to pay the freight for the ground stations in exchange for observation slots? I know it's a little harsh to turn around and say "NASA, you're fired as caretakers of this instrument", but is that any less harsh than shutting it down so that no one has use of it, unless they get the funds they want?

Re:What exactly would the funding cover? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086561)

lol.

You do not understand how these telescope missions are funded, or, apparently that it costs millions simply to keep a space telescope running once it is up. The scientists who want to use Spitzer do not, and can not, pay for it out of pocket. There are no parties willing or able to pay for anything related to telescope operations, other than NASA itself. The oversubscription indicates its scientific usefulness and relevance, not some economic market model potential.

In fact, it is the other way around. Astronomers get the observations "for free" after stringent selection, and then *get extra money from NASA* to be able to analyze the data. I.e., most of the bureaucracy and red tape is already taken out and much of the funding goes directly to the end user. This is a standard and efficient model.

NASA is not therefore "in between the people who want to use the instrument and the instrument itself", it is funding all operational costs of the telescope+instruments, maintaining the data archive, providing technical support to users, *and* provide them with funding to analyze the data.

Re:What exactly would the funding cover? (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 months ago | (#47087371)

No, NASA - aka the USG - is the sugar daddy to the astro researchers. There hasn't even been thought to seeing what it would take to operate a project independently. In fact, maybe if these projects were done privately from start to finish they would not see multi billion dollar cost overruns time after time.

Re:What exactly would the funding cover? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47087995)

In fact, maybe if these projects were done privately from start to finish they would not see multi billion dollar cost overruns time after time.

You are probably right as they would just run out of money an not be completed.

Re:What exactly would the funding cover? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47088925)

Yes, because private industry, especially today, is famously farsighted and well known for spending decades of time and billions of dollars and inventing whole new manufacturing technologies in order to seek knowledge.

People really need to get over this delusion that capitalism and the free market are a powder that comes in a bottle labelled "Smith's Magic Awesome Powder" that you just sprinkle on anything to make it better. If only because Smith himself said that this is not the case...

Re:What exactly would the funding cover? (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 months ago | (#47086883)

Am I missing something?

Pretty much everything.

Re:What exactly would the funding cover? (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47088275)

Maybe NASA could start begging for money like PBS and Wikipedia do, and email photographs of latest captures to donors as thanks, and if lots of people donate a few dollars, that could add up to a few hundred million, and help keep stuff in operation, even if not enough to create and launch new telescopes.

Don't worry (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 2 months ago | (#47086259)

The chinese probably have a Spitzer of their own on the drawing board. Should be up there in a few years.
The military industrial complex doesn't need science, well, not astrophysics anyway.

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086571)

no. the chinese have not.

and it typically takes 15-20 years from drawing board to launch for space telescopes.

these are not off the shelve facilities.

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47088133)

UhH, pretty sure all you need to do is 3D scan it with your google phone and 3D print a new one with the makerbot cloud app.

It's the future.

Re:Don't worry (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 2 months ago | (#47088321)

The Chinese may look smaller and weaker, fragile than whites and blacks, but they built the Great Wall, and also the US Trans Continental Railroads west portion, through the grueling treacherous mountains, the hard part, the eastern portion through flat terrain being piece of cake comparatively. They are good at an love to build large projects with backbreaking work, and they have the stamina to accomplish them. They are like masochists when it comes to working, pervertedly getting off on the pain and suffering involved

How about (2)

rossdee (243626) | about 2 months ago | (#47086281)

getting some funding from some billionaire or corporation, and they get to have their name on the telescope rather than a former governor of New York or an olympic swimmer...

Re:How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086321)

or theoretical physicist
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman_Spitzer

cry wolf? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47086305)

Every time NASA has a budget crunch, they look for the most popular program they have an suggest that's the first one to go. How many times was the Hubble mission in jeopardy? I'm all for giving NASA more money, it's one of the few things government does that doesn't involve screwing one group of people or another, but I've heard them crying wolf far to often to come running this time.

Re:cry wolf? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086591)

No. NASA followed the ranking of facilities in the Senior Review report that were set by an external non-NASA advisory panel composed of prominent scientists.

Although scientifically Spitzer was rated as excellent and unique, given its somewhat lower ranking in the report and the comparatively large cost of the extended mission, it is vulnerable to shutdown.

NASA has said in the official response to the Senior Review: "The Spitzer project is invited to respond with a request for a budget augmentation to conduct continued operations with reduced operations costs. The response requesting a budget augmentation, if submitted, will be considered during the FY 2016 budget formulation process. If the Administration proposes additional funding for Spitzer in the FY16 Budget, the project will be able to seamlessly continue operations in FY15"

So it is not done yet. This is not cry wolf, it is NASA putting pressure on Spitzer administrators to submit a modified slimmed down budget compared to the one originally proposed.

I am not from the US (4, Interesting)

fufufang (2603203) | about 2 months ago | (#47086315)

I find it extremely sad that the US has recently lost the ability to conduct human spaceflight. I also find it extremely sad that the funding for NASA is still under threat. I don't know what to say really... I hope the future exploration of mankind doesn't depend on countries with questionable human right record like Russia and China.

Re:I am not from the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086417)

You could say that you hope the US wakes up before the fall of Rome is repeated yet again.

Re:I am not from the US (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 months ago | (#47086449)

I hope the future exploration of mankind doesn't depend on countries with questionable human right record like Russia and China.

It always has. The US only developed its space programme so quickly because it wanted better ICBMs and got into a somewhat imaginary race with Russia to the moon. I'm not saying its a bad thing, only that conflict with Russia was the major driving force.

The only way I can see NASA being well funded again is if China starts sending people to the moon. They don't have to land, just orbiting should be enough to light that fire.

Re:I am not from the US (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47087175)

I agree the space race was an ICBM development/demonstrator program, but that means China going to the moon will not re-ignite it, since we have no need to re-develop ICBMs. Even if China beat us to putting a man on Mars, it wouldn't have any direct security implications.

Re:I am not from the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47087763)

You sure about that?, How about the Chinese develop the ability to launch weapons from the Moon, or Mars, pretty much without any fear of retribution?. They can pour almost endless resources, both money and people, to achieve the colonization of space, and after that, how about sterilizing the earth, waiting a few decades and then going back to harvest everything?, Too sci-fy to you? The chinese are playing the long game, and the only thing that keeps all I said in the realm of sci-fi, is that we haven't put enough resources into the research of said technologies, if China starts doing it, the rest of the planet can be very much worried, since you don't know when a well funded chinese cientist will come with some revolutionary development and then we are hosed.

Re:I am not from the US (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 2 months ago | (#47088025)

How about the Chinese develop the ability to launch weapons from the Moon, or Mars, pretty much without any fear of retribution?.

China is still on Earth and therefore can be the target for retribution.

They can pour almost endless resources,

Even if that is true it is still not enough to colonize Mars.

ICBMs came first, then NASA/space (1)

thrich81 (1357561) | about 2 months ago | (#47089677)

"The US only developed its space programme so quickly because it wanted better ICBMs". The other way around. The first space launch boosters, both US and Soviet, were almost all military ballistic missiles first. First US satellite was launched aboard an uprated and modified Redstone IRBM with upper stages stuck on. First US manned mission was launched aboard a Redstone IRBM. First US manned orbital mission was launched aboard an Atlas ICBM. First US two-man missions (Gemini) were launched aboard a Titan II ICBM. These were all OPERATIONAL military ballistic missiles by the time NASA got around to using them. The Saturn launch vehicles which NASA eventually developed and used for Apollo started with Saturn I as a military project, but when the military developed smaller H-bombs as warheads for their ICBMs they gave up gave up the Saturn family to NASA as no one could think of a military use for that much payload. The military did eventually want bigger launchers for their satellites but the Air Force developed their own heavy lift boosters, starting with the Titan III and then Titan IV which were cheaper than the Saturns. NASA never did much launcher development directly utilized by the military until the Space Shuttle came along as a joint project and the military abandoned that as soon as it became apparent how unsuited for the mission it was.

Re:I am not from the US (-1, Flamebait)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 2 months ago | (#47086455)

Keep voting democrat, and our scientific capability decline will be further assured.

Re:I am not from the US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086891)

go back to world nut daily

Re:I am not from the US (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 months ago | (#47087139)

USA destroyed human rights that used to be protected under its Supreme law - the Constitution. That is incidentally the reason for the huge collapse it is experiencing in the economy - out of control government.

Individual freedoms ( actual human rights) are attacked on every front in the USA ( and the rest of the world) on a daily basis via the private property protection destruction - the class warfare and the collectivism - politics of envy and welfare state. There will be no significant progress in any useful field (useful for the people)if therr is no individual freedom.

Re:I am not from the US (1)

rhodium_mir (2876919) | about 2 months ago | (#47088853)

Wrong. Complete destruction of individual freedom [slashdot.org] happened on March 1, 1781. Once government is established there can be no freedom. Everyone is either a tyrant ("government employee") or a slave.

Re:I am not from the US (0)

currently_awake (1248758) | about 2 months ago | (#47087667)

Manned space flight is a huge drain on NASA's budget. If you got rid of the space pork like manned space flight and the space station you'd have enough money to fund the real science.

Then there'd be no reason for the unmanned stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47089739)

There's no valid reason for a non-manned portion of NASA's (space) budget. (in your scenario)

There is positively NO REASON to send probes to look at mars (for example) if man is never going there; Mars is NOT Earth and all the government-grant-funded Mars "investigators" at JPL aside, studying Mars as a way to understand Earth is far less efficient than spending the money directly studying Earth. Mars has no impact on Earth, so it's not valid to study it for THAT either. The rest of the solar system (other than the Moon and the Sun) is even less important to probe, absent the idea that man will eventually expand his presence into the solar system.

There's no reason for NASA to spend tax dollars looking beyond our solar system. Anything beyond our solar system cannot be reached by any manned vehicle within the next thousand years, and by then it's likely the US and its "dollar" will be distant memories. The American taxpyer will NEVER get any value from such missions beyond interesting pictures on a few websites and in some books. We could make interesting and spectacular fake pictures in photoshop that would entertain the masses just as well in those books and web pages (and even label them as "artist concept") and save BILLIONS of tax dollars while not harming society one tiny bit. Stuff beyond our solar system simply does not affect us now. Our distant descendents can pay to study that stuff if THEY deem it valuable and have the better tech to get there.

As for NASA's unmanned missions to study Earth from space, that ought to be shifted to NOAA (whose actual agency mission that is). Yes, NASA's charter mentions studying the Earth's environment BUT that was in the context of manned atmospheric (and space) flight. NASA is supposed to study the atmosphere as part of understanding flying through it, NOT as part of weather/climate forecasting effort.

NASA's aviation work should continue, but we've under-funded it for so long it's essentially moribund - I suspect we spend more money maintaining facilities at Ames, Armstrong (formerly Dryden), and Langley and paying administrators, managers, secretaries, HR people, etc than we spend on actual research into improvements in flight.

Look, I GET it - NASA is a sugar daddy for a class of scientists who want to spend their careers in prestigious narrow studies where nothing's on the line. Nothing's cooler than swaggering into a party (like "captain obvious" in those TV ads) and saying "why YES, I AM a rocket scientist" and answering the occasional question by a "little person" (i.e. a taxpayer without a PhD) with lots of field-specific terminology plus the words "light years" or "pulsar" [grin]. And it's also really nice to have a job where you can be completely right or utterly wrong and nobody gets hurt (because it does not really matter). As a bonus: it's nice to get a career where you get congress to buy-into your mission (like a probe to an outer planet) and you then spend 15 years on it before going on the lecture circuit and writing books and taking a professorship. It's great work if you can get it. The unmanned space science community needs to get a grip on itself however, and realize that if it ever succeeds in convinving the public to kill-off manned spaceflight that cash will NOT move over to JPL.... it will shift into social welfare programs and the public will then lose interest in (and stop funding) the more esoteric stuff. When you poll people, they DO support things like Hubble and Cassini, BUT whe you dig deeper you see that they do BECAUSE they think we're going out there someday. Mars landers are cool BECAUSE we're gonna colonize the place "some day". Moon probes are cool BECAUSE we're gonna have moonbases "some day"

Re:I am not from the US (2)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 months ago | (#47088145)

Manned space flight still takes up a huge chunk of NASA's budget [nasa.gov] . $3 billion for ISS operations alone in 2014, a lot more than the $1.3 billion allocated to astrophysics (from what I can tell, roughly half of that $1.3 billion is development of the JWST).

Anyhow, the U.S. didn't lose manned spaceflight capability because of budget problems at NASA. It lost it because our Senators inserted too many provisions requiring NASA to use certain designs and/or parts contractors. It was engineering design by accounting committee in the worst possible form. NASA, rightly IMHO, balked and refused. The engineers in this country are capable of great things, but not when Senators take the engineering decisions out of their hands and force the design to be based on who contributed most to political campaigns, rather than on sound engineering principles.

Bible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47086905)

I figure this is due to the Bible humpers in Congress. If you can't beat science, defund it.

Re:Bible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47088411)

The Democrats wasted $5 billion dollars on buying and crushing old cars, a good number of which probably would have transitioned to salvage yards by now anyway. They also wasted $120 billion on dozens of crony projects that immediately went bankrupt. And now they want $16 billion more for another round of picking losers. And since when does a public company lose $10 billion of the taxpayers' money on their IPO, but there are no congressional hearings, and no arrests and convictions of the thieving conspirators? Oh wait, maybe it's because the thieving conspirators are the Democrat President and the then Democrat Congress.

Seems to me that the Democrat religion of corruption hates science far more than anyone else.

Darwin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47089811)

See? It's easy to use a completely wrong subject line.

President Obama is the reason; he is the one that proposed the new smaller budget for NASA. Each year the President proposes a budget and while those budgets rarely become law.... they DO become the starting point for the negotiations. As a general rule, Obama always proposes increasing spending in most of the government but cutting NASA (in 2010 he proposed eliminating the manned stuff entirely). This is excatly what he promised the teachers unions on the campaign trail in the spring of 2008 - a 5-year suppression of NASA to offset increases in federal education funding.

If President Obama gave a damn for NASA he would have given them a shot-in-the-arm as part of his approx $800 Billion stimulus bill in 2009. He borrowed more money in one year than any president in US history - and did NOT boost NASA (just 1 or 2 billion of that would likely have had us flying our own manned vehicles again by now). Hell, Obama has DOUBLED food stamps (from about $40 billion per year to about $80 billion PER YEAR) during his years in office (even though unemployment has NOT doubled). NASA gets less than $19 Billion per year for ALL activities.

If the president wanted more money for NASA, all he'd have to do is ask for it (PARTICULARLY with the current "Russian engines" PR scandal). Instead, he keeps trying to create a "wedge issue" by proposing LESS spending - and then relentlessly trying to poke congress in the eye by shifting money from the "SLS rocket and Orion capsule" they want to fund, over to the "commercial crew" program he pretends to want as the only way to "get free of" the Russians. I said "pretends" because he never properly funds it; He COULD fund both properly if he'd just ASK for the cash, but he appears to be one of those guys who is just fundamentally incapable of compromising with anybody. He always runs around claiming to be interested in compromise, but then he always has a reason why he CAN'T compromise with this person or that person; in Obamaworld, apparently you only "compromise" with people who agree with you 100% (which BTW sorta defeats the whole concept of "compromise")

Automate their operations (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 2 months ago | (#47087179)

NASA should automate their operations so that it requires less manpower to manage these instruments.

Re:Automate their operations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47089019)

I'm sure that the idea of automation has never occurred to the organization that designs things which have to operate themselves for years in extremely hostile environments with no possibility of maintainence.

I feel like a broken record to repeat this rant but, Jesus fucking Christ people - Do you think that if the solution to Nasa's problems could take the form of a single sentence they wouldn't have thought of it? Just because you have no concept of the complexity of what goes on doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Stop stupid mars missions (1)

Lawrence_Bird (67278) | about 2 months ago | (#47087379)

and you have a ton of dough for everything else. There is no good reason to send men to mars. I'm not even sure there is a good one for establishing a base on the moon, the "lesser" challenge.

NASA should sell Spitzer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47088015)

Sell Spitzer, and other units that are too expensive to support. There are probably some private groups that could afford to operate a spaceprobe (just not the building and launching of one)

Hell, China has money, and it's not like China has the capabilities to return the satellite to Earth to study the technology. If not sell, then rent it to China as a "wet lease" (operated by NASA, operations completely paid for by China)

Or some other second tier country that wants the prestige of a space program without the expense of building and launching one

Webb, the money vacuum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47088235)

Until Webb is completed, it will continue to suck up money from the rest of NASA. There is much resentment within large parts of NASA outside of the Webb program because they have seen their programs gutted so that the money could be moved over to Webb, since Webb has become "too big to fail." Damn the torpedoes, full-speed ahead!

Just reallocate some NSA funding (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | about 2 months ago | (#47088757)

I am sure the NSA needed quite the budget to be able to record Everything from Everyone, Everywhere.

Perhaps some of that NSA funding could be reallocated to NASA instead.

I've solved the budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47088907)

Why don't we take all of the all of the welfare money that we waste on lazy people, tell the worthless fucks to get jobs, and give the money to NASA?

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