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Bill In U.S. House Plans Manned Mars Mission

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the won't-pass-but-hey dept.

Space 399

maddogsparky writes " has a copy of a bill laying out a roadmap for NASA to send a manned mission to Mars by 2022. Highlights include an manned asteroid landing, building a research outpost on one of Mars' moons and actually providing funds to start mission planning."

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First Postage! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533886)

w00t - fp. yay


egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533926)

Its come to my attention that Slashdot's very own Jon Katz, is a registered sex offender in several states. I believe that given the number of underage readers on Slashdot, a disclaimer should be attached to all of his posts.


ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533939)

didn't you know? the alleged "geek compound" has always been a seedy front for a full scale NAMBLA chapter.

Fucking luddites (0, Offtopic)

mangu (126918) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534125)

This week, over 600 people died in India as a consequence of the worst heat wave ever recorded. This warming is a consequence of the use of fossil fuels.

The nuclear power industry has a safety record never matched by any other human activity: just *one* fatal accident in more than 40 years of commercial activity, with 31 deaths in the immediate aftermath and 9 more deaths of cancer in the region (Eastern Europe) in the following decades. This means that, during this week alone, non-nuclear power has killed 15 times more people than nuclear power has killed in all history.

Yet, those fucking luddites with their scare-marketing tactics have convinced Humanity that nuclear power is a terrible thing which must be avoided at all costs. Nah, Humanity has a looong time to learn before a reasonable percentage of us know enough science to be able to make any rational decisions.

I'm all for Democracy, as long as it's about things that can be decided by common sense. When it comes to science and technology, we need some sort of meritocracy, or blind fear of the unknown will send Humanity back to the Middle Ages.

Re:Fucking WOG's (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534141)

Who cares about a bunch of dune coons. Maybe if they took those rags of the tops of their heads the heat wouldn't have got to them.

slysdexia (0, Flamebait)

drDugan (219551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533888)

when I saw, I first thought it
must be Damn slysdexia.

I mean jesus, MARS? we can;t even get back
to the moon.

Re:slysdexia (1)

Pahroza (24427) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533897)

We could get back to the moon if we wanted to, I think it's more of a "been there, done that" mentality. If we can explore something new instead of rehashing where we've already been, then it's a great step. Once we've moved forward a bit, we can go back and see what we might have missed.

Re:slysdexia (1)

sniggly (216454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534161)

Spectacle is a waste of money. It would be more interesting to develop technology (robots, etc) that would carve dwellings on the moon.

Seems to me it would cost much less to set up a permanent colony on the moon and really achieve a next step in human spacetravel that way than to send a few people off to mars just for the spectacle.

Re:slysdexia (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533911)

we never made it to the moon you boob. it was all a vast and deep penetrating conspiracy [] with key hitters such as RMS [] and the mexican government.

on NOT getting to the moon (2)

drDugan (219551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533935)


this intrigued me too for about an hour. None of the "evidence" that we never made it to the moon is convincing at all. this is despite the fact that there would be NO WAY to pull off such a "vast" conspiracy.

rage away

NB -- parent is already at -1, So I will quote:
we never made it to the moon you boob. it was all a vast and deep penetrating conspiracy [] with key hitters such as RMS [] and the mexican government.

All the evidence I need... (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533961)

CowboyNeal : Neal Artmstrong DONT you see MAN! OPEN your EYESSSS1

wo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533890)

2022... wow lets not get too far ahead of ourselves hehe

Shotgun (4, Funny)

ManDude (231569) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533894)

I call shotgun!

Re:Shotgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533905)

I'm not working right now, I could take some time off to train for this mission. I'm there!

Re:Shotgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534073)

I'm not working right now

Of dourse you're not. You're living in your parent's basement.

I could take some time off to train for this mission

Well, in a low gravity situation, you'd still be a lard-ass, you just wouldn't weigh as much.

Re:Shotgun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534154)

I know I'll get modded down as offtopic (so I'm posting as an AC), but that has to be one of the funniest comments I've ever seen.

Heard this before (5, Interesting)

jthomas2 (102083) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533896)

Sounds good, very reminicent of the National Space Commission report except that had more emphasis on return to the moon versus Lagrange points.

(Of course I know a little bit about Lagrange points, r.html,

We do have some stuff to publish soon.)

Well, as always, I'd like to believe.

-Jay Thomas

10 Bucks... (1, Funny)

Mrdzone (562353) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533900)

Who wants to bet that on the end of this bill some idiot is going to add a clause that all our web traffic has to be monitored. I can see it now "We are finally going to mars better make sure we konw what people are talking about online."

Re:10 Bucks... (2, Interesting)

snilloc (470200) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533956)

First, nice sig

Second, that couldn't happen in the House because of rules about the germaneness of amendments. A Senate version could have all sorts of "Christmas tree ornaments" (as Bush-41 sometimes called them) because they have no rule about amendments being germane.

Not to be cynical..... (3, Insightful)

Rebel Patriot (540101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533903)

but this will probably turn out like that manned space station we were going to be using in 1980. Plans for it were drawn in what, '64? The logistics of this are unreasonable and currently impracticle. Self-sufficient environments on other planets will remain the realm of science fiction for years to come. The largest problem to overcome IMO is distance. The distance between Mars and Earth is phenominal. Like the English who first came to America, this would be almost doomed to failure. There will be many Roanokes before one Jamestown.

Just my $0.02.

P.S. First post?

Re:Not to be cynical..... (1)

lazelank (454849) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533960)

this is true. honestly we really have to be able to take risks, that no one in today's society wants to take. everyone is so worried about getting blamed if something goes wrong that they are overly cautious (ever seen a little kid riding a scooter - they're covered w/ a helmet knee gaurds, elbow gaurds and full body armor.. its ridiculous). the apallo astronauts took risks, the mercury astronauts took risks, the wright bros took risks, we've got to take a risk -which means we have to be able to deal if something goes wrong.

-meh.. i don't know what i'm talking about i'm only ~17~

Re:Not to be cynical..... (2)

Rebel Patriot (540101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534001)

the apallo astronauts took risks, the mercury astronauts took risks, the wright bros took risks, we've got to take a risk -which means we have to be able to deal if something goes wrong.

I agree whole-heartedly that we need to be able to take these such risks, but really, what boon would we receive from a small, self-contained dome on Mars that needs resupply every so often from Earth? What could possibly justify the risks?

Assuming some one answers that question satisfactorily (sp?), we'll have to figure out some way to do this enormous feet. History is filled with instances where grit determination, hard work, and a vision achieved great, seemingly miraculous things (Great Pyramids, anyone?). However, this will require much more than grit determination, hard work, and vision. It will require technology that simply does not exist in this day and age. There is no quick way to relay information from Mars to Earth, much less water, food, and oxygen.

Re:Not to be cynical..... (5, Interesting)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534080)

I have to say I disagree that the logistics are unreasonable. We made it to the moon 33 years ago - a third of a century - before we even had modern computers. Getting to and from mars is simply a matter of scale... it takes longer and takes more thrust to get back off the surface. But that doesn't remotely mean it can't be done. The distance is phenomenal, yes, but in space distance just becomes time. Possibly the biggest logistical problem is medicine ... in the apollo program there was a maximum return time of about 4 days... if someone gets sick you can get them home to go to a doctor. For Mars, that's not an option because you're 6 months away with limited opportunities for orbital transition. But there are a *lot* of people working on this very problem, even while NASA hasn't yet made concrete plans for a mars mission.

Take a look at some of the plans invented by groups outside of NASA, most notably Robert Zubrin's Mars Direct [] concept. I'll spare you going into detail but this plan has so many fail-safes it's ridiculous. The entire thing uses more-or-less existing technology.

Meanwhile, there are two experiments already running to study the difficulties of having people live isolated on Mars for an extended mission (many months until the next launch window floats around). Check out the Mars Arctic Research Station [] and the Mars Desert Research Station [] (site temporarily down?). All this research and work is already being done, independantly of NASA. (usually is a great reference... at the moment it seems to be undergoing maintenance or something. Bad timing.)

Technologically, it can be done; I think there's little question about that. As for the policital will and the money, that's a different issue. But maybe this bill shows that there is some interest after all.

Personally, I put my money on commercialization of space being the primary driving force in the next 20 years. The profit motives and the opportunities of space tourism and potentially near-earth asteroid mining will outstrip anything the US government will deliver in the near future.

Re:Not to be cynical..... (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534158)

Isolation my ass, try doing a six month cruise in a nuke sub submerged most of the time with not even a window to stare out of.

Redundant, and toothless (3, Interesting)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534088)

Redundant: In 1969, Vice-President Spiro Agnew committed the United States to a manned Mars mission by the year 2000. That beats this bill by 22 years. [As a side note, the Vice-President has traditionally been the administration's point person for space activity. That is why Apollo mission responsibility shifted from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to Mission Control in Texas (Lyndon Johnson's home state) as soon as the Saturn V cleared the launch tower.]

Toothless: There are no penalties for failure to execute. If the mission is not completed on schedule, NASA bosses should be looking at some hard prison time. Otherwise, what's the point?

'Nuff said.

Re:Not to be cynical..... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534135)

The logistics of this are unreasonable and currently impracticle. Self-sufficient environments on other planets will remain the realm of science fiction for years to come. The largest problem to overcome IMO is distance.

Distance? What part of self-sufficient didn't you understand? The distance is irrelevant (except for travel; If delicate probes can get to Mars, then so can people) to the fact that you're supposed to be self-sufficient.

While Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series (Red Mars, Blue Mars, Green Mars, Purple Horseshoes... no wait I made that last one up) is pretty fantastical and highly speculative in terms of what we will actually find when we get to Mars and do some serious work there, and extrapolates a lot of technology that may not be practical any time soon from current trends, the basic ideas are sound, which is the whole point of sci-fi. You need to send a lot of equipment ahead and drop it on Mars to wait for people to show up and do something with it. You need a LOT of hardware to achieve self-sufficiency. You will definitely need to bring a certain amount of mass to achieve self-sustaining food crops. That is a seriously nontrivial problem.

This is one reason the ISS is so important, though of course it is a very different situation. You can be sure that the ISS will be doing a lot of experiments related to closed-cycle living. They will be keeping close track of what has to be brought up and what can be sustained on board, because it costs an awful lot to put mass into orbit. I don't think we'll be putting a colony on Mars any time soon, but it's definitely worth thinking about, and I do think that if we spent enough money on it, we could do it in the very near future.

Open Source? More Like Openly Racist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533908)

The Open Source movement, otherwise known as 'Free Software', has been a topic of considerable debate on the Internet's most controversial site. The majority of this debate has centered around the technical merits of the software, with the esteemed editors argueing against adopting Linux by employing the full depth of their considerable intellects, and the other side hurling death threats and similar invective. This has allowed many who would not otherwise receive quality information about Open Source software to be made aware of many of its ramifications, but one issue has been left alone: The overt racism that is deeply embedded in the movement.

Allow me to explain.

Alan Cox; Richard Stallman; Bruce Perens; Wichert Akkerman; Miguel DeIcaza.

What do you see in this list of names? Are there any African-Americans on it? Absolutely not, none of those names sound like one a self-respecting black person would have! No Maurice, no Luther, no Lil' Kim. There are many other lists such as this, you can see one here. Flip through each page, do you see anything other than white faces? Of course you don't, because Open Source and its adherents are ardent racists and they absolutely forbid access to the sacred 'kernel' by any person of color.

Lets look at another list, this time a compendium of the companies using Linux. Are there any black owned companies on that list? Nooooooo. How about these companies? They all have something to do with Open Source software, any of them owned by an African-American? No again. Here is an extensive collection of photographs from a LUG (Linux User Gathering) meeting, more can be viewed at that link. What is odd about these pictures, and every other photograph I have ever seen of a LUG meeting, is that there is not one single black person to be seen, and probably none for miles.

More racist overtones can be found by examining the language of Open Source. They often refer to 'white hat' hackers. These 'white hats' scurry about the Internet doing good, but illegal, acts for their fellow man. In stark contrast we find the 'black hat' hackers. They destroy the good works of others by breaking into systems, stealing data, and generally causing havoc. These two terms reflect the mindset of most Linux developers. White means good, black means bad. Anywhere there is black, there is uncontrollable destruction and lawlessness. Looking further we see black lists that inform other users of 'bad' hardware, Samba, an obvious play on the much hated Little Black Sambo book, Mandrake, which I won't explain except to say that the French are notorious racists. This type is linguistic discrimination is widespread throughout the Open Source culture, lampooned by many of its more popular sites.

It is also a fact that all Unix 'distros' contain a plethora of racist commands with not so hidden symbolism.

It can hardly be coincidence that the prime operating system of choice of the 'open source supremacists' - Linux, features commands which are poorly disguised racist acronyms. For example: 'awk' (All White Klan) , 'sed' (shoot nEgroes dead), 'ln' (lynch negroes), 'rpm' (raical purity mandatory), 'bash' (bring a slave home), 'ps' (persecute sambo), 'mount' (murder or unseat nubians today), 'fsck' (favored supreme Christian klan). I could go on and on about the latent racist symbolism in Linux, but I fear it would take weeks to enumerate every incidence.

Is there a single unix command out there that does not have some hidden racist connotation ? Suffice it to say that the racism pervades Linux like a particularly bad smell. Can you imagine the effect of running such a racist operating system on the impressionable mind ? I don't have to remind you that transmitting subliminal messages is banned in the USA, and yet here we have an operating system that appears to be one enormous submliminal ad for the Klan!

One of the few selling points of Open Source software is that it is available in many different languages. Browsing through the list I see that absolutely none are offered in Swahili, nor Ebonics. Obviously this is done to prevent black people from having access to the kernel. If it weren't for the fact that racism is so blatantly evil I would be impressed by the efforts these Open Sourcers have invested in keeping their little hobby lilly white. It even appears that they hate the Japanese, as some of these self proclaimed hackers defaced a web site with anti-Japanese slogans. Hell, these people even go all the way to Africa (South Africa mind you, better known as White Africa) and the pictures prove that they don't even get close to a black person.

Of course, presenting overwhelming evidence such as this is a bit unfair without some attempt to determine why these Open Sourcers are so racist. Much of the evidence I have collected indicates that their views are so deeply held that they are seldom questioned by the new recruits. This, coupled with the robot-like groupthink that dominates the culture allows the racist mindset to continue to permeate the ranks. Indeed, the Open Source version of a Klan rally, OSDN (known to the world as Open Source Developer's Network, known to insiders as Open Source Denies Negroes) nearly stands up and shouts its racist views on its demographics page. It doesn't mention the black man one single time. Obviously, anyone involved with Open Source doesn't need to be told that the demographic is entirely white, it is a given.

I have a sneaking suspicion as to why their beliefs are so closely held: they are all terrible athletes.

Really. Much like the tragedy at Columbine High School, where two geeks went on a rampage to get back at 'jocks', these adult geeks still bear the emotional scars inflicted upon them due to their lack of athletic ability during their teen years. As African-Americans are well known for their athletic skills, they are an obvious target for the Open Source geeks. As we all know, sports builds character, thus it follows that the lack of sports destroys character. These geeks, locked away in their rooms, munching on stale pizza and Fritos, engage in no character building activities. Further, they interact only with computers and never develop the level of social skill that allows normal people to handle relationships with persons of color.

Contrasted with the closed source, non-geeky software house Microsoft, Open Source has a long, long way to go.

Re:Open Source? More Like Openly Racist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533984)

there are almost as many "Minority" Linux Users as there are "Sexually Experienced" Linux Users.

(obviously, I'm not counting goats)

Not a wise investment. (2, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533910)

In this day and age we need to be thinking about things like making sure there is enough money going into welfare, war on drugs, war on terrorism, enforcement of gun laws, etc and not on crazy stuff like going to mars. I hope this bill is struck down as it might be damaging from investment into the social programs of this country.

Wait Until Every Other Problem Is Solved? No Way! (3, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534030)

In this day and age we need to be thinking about things like making sure there is enough money going into welfare, war on drugs, war on terrorism, enforcement of gun laws, etc and not on crazy stuff like going to mars.

Yeah, alright, we'll just put science on the backburner until every other problem is completely solved. Gees. I got news for you: we're always going to have big problems here on Earth. You need to watch a little less Star Trek. I'm all in favor of social programs but we need to fund science as well.

Now, I'm not an expert on space and, to be honest, I didn't even read the Mars proposal, but the idea of "hold off on the space stuff until we fix problems on Earth" is one of those things that really grates on my nerves. This bill should be judged by the scientific benefits of the Mars trip alone. The fact that there are so many other needy non-space causes shouldn't enter into this.


Re:Wait Until Every Other Problem Is Solved? No Wa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534068)

Fuck you! No one ever needs to watch less Star Trek! That is the way it's gonna be. Well, without Chronowerx, the Euenics wars, and so on. If Star Trek was a person, its name would be Nostradamus. bizatch. Just kidding. :-P

Invest this (-1)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534076)

Welfare is already well-provided-for because the US Government borrows money from Social Security Trust Fund and borrows money from the Department of Fish and Game. Notice how I used the word "borrows" in the above sentence without any implications of the US Government re-funding the Trust Funds they "borrowed" from. The War on Drugs is a farce and can only be compared to prohibition, outright failure, costly, and violates people's inalienable rights, constitution, bill of rights, and articles of the constituion. The war on terrorism is realy a lie too; this is just the US Military doing what they are ordered to do and instead under the guise of the "War On Terrorism" which has resulted in politicians stealing more US Citizens and American Nationals' unalienable rights et al.

An my feature comment: Enforcement of Gun Laws is unconstitutional, is illegal. A gun is property that has been vested unto a soveriegn citizen that is not allowed to be regulated as opposed to a regulated militia [empasis adds the militia is pointed-out as the militia hosted and sponsored by the body politik].

America(USA) and the United States are dirty places; I agree. Why people try to dictate to others how to live other than by peace and harmony through their own freedoms granted by God is beyond me and is within the realm of evil.

uh oh... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533912)

Research bases on Mars' moons, are they crazy? Haven't they played Doom!?

flying cars (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533915)

I think we need flying cars before we should take Mars exploration seriously.

no really. flying cars. everyone knows the future is upon us when we all have flying cars.

Re:flying cars (2)

Ooblek (544753) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533975)

People can't drive in the rain, and you want them to fly?!?! Yikes!

I can just more gunman rampages in lawyers offices on the 10th floor of a high-rise. They just fly the car through the window when they seek the ass-licking lawyer walk into his office. A whole new definition of stalking.

Most people can't even... (0)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534040) in two dimensions, nevermind three.
Imagine the disaster that would be.

Re:flying cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534069)

Why did you guys at /. mod it as 1. I mean what? It was actually a not bad funny comment. Why not 2 Funny? Are you guys SOOOOOO serious that you can't actually laugh at that?

I mean let's look at it this way...the /. ratings are REALLY like this:

1 - Blech. Idiot. Stupid. Forget this dude, he has like ZE-RO clue about what he's talking about.
2 - OK. Well I acknowledge it exists, or at least I got a smirk out of it.
3 - Hmmm..not bad, needs some work, but at least it's not disasterous
4 - Woah, I had to read the whole thing...and think about it.
5 - This is actually good. Pirsig would be proud (let's drop Ken Wilber for a while and the whole NOOOOUUUUUUUUU SPace junk. Wel ALL know where he got his junk from).

But of course you're going to look at this and 1.

Re:flying cars (2)

Restil (31903) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534140)

Well, at least someone is throwing their hat over the wall for the good of mankind.

They've given a deadline. :)


"It would take an act of Congress to ..." (5, Interesting)

Etcetera (14711) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533916)

One of the problems with these various large scale concept/projects is that things can flounder forever in the planning stages.

For those of you familiar with large bureaucracies, everything lies in the funding. By forcing the funding of something and laying out a defined timetable, this bill would IMHO stand a good chance of actually causing this to become a reality. (Technical delays notwithstanding.)

I agree, this probably won't pass... but it would a very clear signal, a strident first step, and a more exciting two decades if it did.

So write your Congressmen, damnit! =)

Clinton said (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534150)

Our previous pres. said that NASA was going through a test. NASA was bloated, innefficient etc. and the budget cuts were to see if NASA could get their act together. Just before Clinton left office he mentioned in a speech that NASA had passed the test and would be getting lots more funding to do stuff like go to Mars. So this bill isn't totally off the wall. There is a reason for its existence.

But will it pass?

Rep Lampson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533918)

I'm an intern in Rep. Lampson's office (mostly doing web page work, tallying up email opinions, etc).

He's a cool guy, and definitely one of the few that "gets it." I've talked to him about the benefits of Open Source, and we're currently migrating most of our office server infrastructure to OpenBSD. If the uptime keeps up (it will!), he'll suggest it to his coleagues!

Re:Rep Lampson (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533996)

does he ever ask you to stand in any poses for a long time. say bent over a trash can or picking up a pen? have you noticed him...smelling lately? is his hair starting to get long? Does he use emacs? Has he ever asked to "see your kernel"?

Re:Rep Lampson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534058)

Now that you mention it, yesterday he asked if I left any of my ports open.

Re:Rep Lampson (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534071)

CAUTION: If he asks to "perform a port scan" or tells you he wants to "probe for linux" you must turn and run at once! do not look back. Install a fresh copy of Windows 98 and forget you ever heard of "Open Sores".

If we donate money.... (2, Funny)

neuroticia (557805) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533919)

If we donate money can we maybe send off a few of the slashdot trolls on the space shuttle? I think Mars would suit them well.

You're the troll (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533955)

Duuuuude, you're goin' to mars!

Re:If we donate money.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534046)

Yeah, and we will just tell them that the other two ships will be following them...


Re:If we donate money.... (-1)

ElCagado (575762) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534053)

I am a meat spigot! []

Re:If we donate money.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534093)

I can see it now:

- Trolls land on Mars
- Trolls hurry outside, pushing past each other.
- One Troll manages to push past other Trolls and erects a flag. Flag is a piece of white cloth with the following text:

"F1r57 p057!"


good deal (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534126)

One can only hope that they sent Natalie Portman along on the trip to help with the erection.

A message from Linus Torvalds: Please Read (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533921)

Hello Slashdotters, Linus here. Over the last 10 years we have done a great job in making Linux into an amazing operating system. We still have a ways to go if we want to defeat Microsoft, but I have no doubt we will get there if a major problem is dealt with.

This major problem is Richard Stallman (aka RMS). For years he has been the thorn in Linux's side. First, it's bad enough that he insists that everyone call Linux, GNU/Linux, as if he had anything to do with the initial creation or naming of Linux.

That isn't the biggest problem. The biggest problem is his appearance and attitude. The guy admits to being a goat fucker [] . Who is going to take someone who says that seriously? Stallman hasn't bathed in decades. Who is going to want an operating system from someone who hasn't bathed in 20 years? As much as any of us may hate Bill Gates, he takes a shower every day, and that helped Microsoft be in the position it now is in. I am taking a shower every day to help Linux. Are you?

Stallman plucks dandruff out of his hair while he talks to you. That alone has got to turn you off Linux.

Stallman can't even clean up after himself [] . This is equally true in his code just as much as he leaves used condoms all over the place. Frankly, his homosexual behavior and sex with goats that leaves all of these used condoms all over the place is simply unacceptable and makes Linux look like a joke. Please don't take this the wrong way. I have nothing against homosexuality (although having sex with goats is just plain sick) except when it interferes with Linux.

In conclusion, I am tired of Dirty GNU Hippies like Stallman causing problems for Linux. He must be stopped at all costs. I call on the Slashdot community to rise up and reject Stallman. Do it for Linux!

Importance of slashdot in regards (4, Insightful)

x-empt (127761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533941)

In general the /. community is interested in the Space Program and the benefits it provides to the technology community.

As this Bill progresses it will be important to have the Slashdot (dare I say "geek" crowd) write their representatives and encourage the support of this bill.

Please keep the Slashdot editors informed on news regarding this Bill so that more people can read about it on Slashdot and in turn write their Senators to support it.

Seriously, the /. crowd is numerous enough to put some good pressure on Congress to do something right.

Read the bill, it makes note of some serious issues facing the Country's space program and it's future years down the road... such as no MAJOR challenging missions after the ISS "Alpha" is assembled.

Not Senators... House of Representatives... (2)

x-empt (127761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534144)

Yeah, the Senators aren't involved in this ... its in the House. So write your House Representatives. No need to mess with the Senate governed by Palpatine... it will just backfire. Lets make sure Natalie Portman gets the office of Senator after her terms of Queen are up!

Re:Importance of slashdot in regards (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534170)

As this Bill progresses it will be important to have the Slashdot (dare I say "geek" crowd) write their representatives and encourage the support of this bill.

But one could also say it's important that the geek crowd try to get this killed. If you want more geeky-valued things, you can get ten (a hundred?) times the bang per buck by diverting the money into something else. It's not even a science vs bleeding-heart-feed-the-hungry call; it's cheap productive science vs expensive risky science.

BTW, I'm an old fart and it's probably ok to ignore me. I just wish you people would postpone the money-flushing until 30 years from now, when I'm retired and leeching money from the government instead of putting money in. Then you can pay your 80% FICA withholding to buy my diapers and your rocketships, and I'll be too senile to worry about the economic consequences.

clutch (-1, Offtopic)

fuckforce pumpernick (579895) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533943)

my co worker was just telling me that the term "clutch" when used in the derrogatory sense means when the sphincter is in the process of going back into it's original shape after it was stretched wide learn something every day, I guess. --fuckforce pumpernick

Write your congressmen (1)

O.F. Fascist (198664) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533945)

Remember to write you congress men and whatnot to make sure they vote for this.

I definately feel we need some sort of goals on what we are going to be doing in space, and need to start planning to achieve those goals.

Guess What (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3533948)

Almost everything NASA has done for the past 20 years has been geared toward getting our sorry butts off this planet, on onto Mars, and eventually out of the solar system.

Planetary and eventually galactic exploration is the single most important task facing humanity today.

Yes, more important than terrorism. More important that saving babies. More important than really good wine.

Getting off the planet and spreading out is the key to human survival. Alas, I doubt our idiotic politicians will approve the kinds of funds needed for this stuff.

After all, we have over priced, completely unnecessary military stuff to buy, not to mention all the money we have to spend enforcing Christian morality on the populous. (Consensual Crimes, etc.)

The only other thing I could possibly consider nearly as important as manned space exploration is the development of hydrogen energy technology. (Fusion, pure fuel cells, etc.)

GREAT! (1)

pyrrho (167252) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533954)

finally, a new flavour of Tang!

gee-wiz (1)

lingqi (577227) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533964)

the first (two) words out of my mouth when i saw the article was "holy sh**"... thought i'd share that.

while, yes, there will be a ton of technical challenges, but then the technology base from it will propel everything to a whole new level -- asteroid mining / zero-G manufacturing (for things like aerogels) / etc. so even if in the end we don't get to mars, this is still a very good opportunity for science to advance; this is, by the way, exactly how we have teflon today =)

but damn... i wanna go

Re:gee-wiz (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533990)

this is, by the way, exactly how we have teflon today

Sorry, but no. Try DuPont's history of Teflon [] page. 1938 was waaay before space travel was practical. That said, there are plenty of other advancements that have come out of the space program (like Tang!), so next time pick one of those rather than something that has no relation at all.

Not until there's a reason. (3, Insightful)

nesneros (214571) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533965)

As much as I long to see a person set foot on mars within my lifetime, I feel like we shouldn't even bother unless we're going to give a compelling reason to go. We went to the moon long before we had any plan or reason (other than "beat the russians"), and look how far that's gotten us.

Personally, I consider "research terraforming" to be the best of all possible reasons, and I think now is as good a time as any, but I don't see a bulk of the population realizing anytime soon how valuable another livable planet would be to the future of the human race.

Re:Not until there's a reason. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534020)

Where its gotten us? NASA has developed a lot of everyday things and lots of technologies that have improved our everyday life. In fact, NASA even publishes annually what your taxpayer dollars are going to here []

unless you were being sarcastic, in which case you should completly ignore my comment and shoot me.

Hemos (-1)

AnonymousCowheard (239159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533970)

Puppet-pal Hemos: Hey Puppet-pal Timothy, did you know that the Hoo-nited-states are gunna git on top of Mars?

Puppet-pal Timothy: I-just-heard-that-today too, Puppet-pal Hemos

KronkTaco: Me no like ship on mars. Last ship saw blow up an' nice lady teacher die

Major*Neal:ahh, that's a verry unhappy day, KronkTaco. To lighten your day up, how 'bout I start a poll to the people of the great land of Liberty, America, on what they think

Ratman Michael: (just walks in) Heya guys, you haven't payed me for the web services (slishslish) And besides, there hasn't been much action lately on the TV. Does it need to be fixed again? Where are all the criminals I get to help fight? I wanna see some action. grrr I'm ready. I mean, first the boiler last month, then the toilette seat, the blender.. oh i'm waitin' for a super-hero challenge.

Van Troll: Dudes, can you like Imagine? I mean, a BEOwulf cluster of my golden Internet Axes?

Twenty years away?! (3, Insightful)

dstone (191334) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533980)

If the U.S. had a competitor in this race for Mars like they did for the moon in the late 60s, they would have a man there in a few short, focussed years. So, um, can we maybe pretend there's a competitive nation and get on with it?!

Re:Twenty years away?! (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534004)

Psst - US Gov't: I heard Osoma Bin Laden and Sadaam Hussein are building a space ship so they can colonize mars...

Re:Twenty years away?! (4, Funny)

Servo5678 (468237) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534024)

So, um, can we maybe pretend there's a competitive nation and get on with it?!

And in other news, the president announced today that members of Al Qaeda have been spotted on Mars. "We're going to find them and smoke them out of their canals," the president said.

Mars isn't the question (2, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533982)

It isn't even the answer.

We aren't at the point where Mars makes any kind of sense. It's a bit like Columbus discovered America and now we've been to American 6 times and everyone is saying- hey we've never been to Antartica! Antartica is the next step! It's the future of mankind!

Even that is pushing the analogy too far. Antartica is a lot more habitable than Mars. Mars has no atmosphere- well just 1% of earths- it's a vacuum; the lightbulbs in your house have more gas in them. Sure we can live on Antartica, or Mars, but we can't thrive there right now. We have the technology, but the economics aren't there- it's gonna cost hundreds of millions per person. That's no way colonise anywhere. It's pure flags and footprints. We go, we plant the flags, we come back. That's it. Yeah, it'd be glorious. But so what? It leads nowhere.

We need to mine something that isn't at the bottom of a gravity well. Mining something at the top means you can slide it downhill to LEO, or towards Mars. Until we have mining, Mars is out of reach for practical settlement; as is most of the solar system for that matter.

Phobos or Deimos- yes. The moon- maybe, a NEA or a comet, yes. Mars? Later.

Write your Representatives, NOW! (1)

hkhanna (559514) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533994)

Go here [] and find out who your House Representative is (if you don't already know) and write him/her! This is the first time in a long, long time that I have seen a really good-intentioned bill come out of Congress. For once they are doing something for the people. Hell, they even say:

The United States captured the imagination of the peoples of the world and inspired a generation of young people to enter careers in science and engineering when it successfully landed humans on the surface of the Moon in the years 1969 through 1972.

This one is truly by the people and for the people. Don't let this one perish from this Earth. (couldn't resist, sue me ;)

Write your Reps by postal mail, now!


Do we really want it? (1)

ilyag (572316) | more than 12 years ago | (#3533997)

Really, why send humans to Mars? The cost and time needed to send humans to Mars are enormous. Apollo program costed NASA 2 million dollars per year for seven years. A program to Mars may cost ten times as much. And, what can humans do on Mars that robots can't? Is it really worth it?

The only real reason I see to send people to Mars is press. Maybe, people will actually vote to pay NASA money if they will go to this project? I don't think so, however. Cold war is over, so US doesn't feel that it needs to prove it is the best any more. I'm also not sure if there will going to be much reaction - imagine if people will think "Well, we've already been on the Moon, who needs Mars now?" Finally, again, is it worth the money and effort?

It would souch nicer to see more cheaper robots out there... Send a craft to Pluto while there's still time [] ... Send robots to Mars - how much cheaper it is to return Martian soil with a robot than with a human... How great Mars Pathfinder was. Not much public attention (or money for NASA), though... *sigh*

Or, maybe they can persuade Bill Gates to be the first space tourist to Mars in 20 years for some $20 billion now?


Re:Do we really want it? (2)

Papineau (527159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534051)

s/2 million dollars per year/2 billion dollars per year/?
I know there's been inflation since then, but 2 million wasn't that big back then... it certainly is not anymore.

I second your proposition for M. Gates. Now, who will try to convince him? :)

Boo! (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534002)

I say lets solve some earthly problems. Sure the technology coming out of this will be cool but alot of it is just "tons of money to build esoteric specialty equipment".

I'd rather see the money spent on say, I dunno, shaping up jobs or school. I mean sure you can't invest all in school [what is an educated person todo?] but spending billions on sending 3 people to Mars is probably a lot less useful then say funding ~10k valid research grants ort using the money to invest in businesses that are struggling to make meet ends-odds.

Or how about use the money to fix up branches of the government like the UPSO :-)

Or how about donating all the money to Canada?


Re:Boo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534147)

This is *the way* the Gov. "shapes up jobs" and "school". It's called the Corporate Welfare plan. When the Gov. spends, defense contractors are collecting. So are the contractor's employees, then the employee's grocer, banker, and so on. Each in turn. It's life in the 21st century US.


The trouble is...

The total tax load in the US now exceeds 50% of income, for almost everyone. (Fed, state, local, sales, property, fuel, phone, cable, insurance, etc., etc., ad nausum, freaking, etc. Oh, Don't forget the "allocated taxes" bundled into every thing you buy, too.).

Now, all that money is already spoken for, economically speaking, job creation and maintenance. So, to do this, they'll have to come looking for more, much more, or dislocate existing bases of employment.

Of course, they could just print it. Inflation always make for a great time, too.

How about this... (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534006)

Personally, I would like to see space exploration start happening, and continue happening. Let's be honest: The moon missions, while probably the most significant and arguably the most complex engineering feat in human history, basically was "Wow! We made it! Now what??".

Instead of throwing all this government money into the sh**hold where we know it will probably never come out, let's give tax incentives to get private companies into space. First company to mine an asteroid gets a 20 year tax moritorium! Same deal for space-based factories!

The key is that space has to pay for itself. If we depend on the government to put men into space, then men in space depends on the whims of budgets and politicians. The only way to get there and stay there is to have an economic incentive to stay there.

Re:How about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534108)

Do you know how much money it would cost a private company to build up the infrastructure to get a mining "probe" to an astroid? A fuck of alot more than a 1000yr tax moritorium. Taxes breaks are only absorbed as less of a loss for a company, not as profit.

Re:How about this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534124)

Tax moratorium, huh? That's a neat idea, but let's face it: it's a dirty sneaky rat-bastard trick. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

There isn't any real difference between giving someone a tax moratorium, and giving a government program the money. It's still taxpayers paying more and getting less, and it's still "depending on government to put men in space", just well-disguised and indirected.

Your "space has to pay for itself" is really what hits the mark, and there is nothing government does can influence the actual value of space, in any way.

woo (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534012)

Great, maybe congress can infuse a little enthusiasm into NASA, whose lofty goals involve a few decades of launching incrementally better satellites.

About that research outpost... (2)

Papineau (527159) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534016)

Just make sure nobody tries to do inter-dimensional space travel over there. You never know what Hell will do... and I don't want my rabbit to die.

Waste of good research $$$ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534018)

This money would better be spend on other projects that could help people.

I have an idea. How about we spend it on something that will kill most of us . . .
(cancer, heart disease)

I see a pattern here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534091)

Anything done by anonymous gets a score of 0 or -1.

Finally... (1)

numbuscus (466708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534023)

...something coming from the Dems that we can support. Now, I know Rep. Lampson has an agenda (bringing the pork home), but I vote the we begin contacting our Reps and Senators and try to get this thing pushed through. Only with a serious show of geek support will this thing survive.



It'll be dead before it hits the House floor. Some idiot-fool will try to stick an anti-abortion or anti-missle defense rider to it and it will die in committee. Sorry, I'm a little cynical these days.

What's really needed is nuclear propulsion (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534025)

Good bill. It's always refreshing to see politicians work toward dreams in science, technology and exploration. The time table for this bill may need to slow down a bit to be realistic, but what is really needed to make the human Mars exploration and the further exploration of the solar system after Mars practical and economical is the development of nuclear propulsion, something that has always been a political hot potato.

Without nuclear propulsion, a manned mission anywhere farther than the moon will always take too long be too costly and have a much too small margin of error to be acceptable.

Re:What's really needed is nuclear propulsion (1)

citanon (579906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534138)

I absolutely agree. Here is an article from [] about nuclear propulsion.

Re:What's really needed is nuclear propulsion (1)

citanon (579906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534167)

Here's Nick Lampson's homepage. []

10 years later (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534026)

originally NASA planed the first humans landing on mars by 2012. looks like we will be delayed 10 years. Now think back to 1980 and contrast the technology, and then extrapolate to 2022.

Rally around this mission (-1, Troll)

ksuMacGyver (562019) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534043)

Maybe Americans can rally around an effort to go to Mars instead of seems like that is the only thing that brings Americans together nowdays.

It would be nice to see a non-violent (less violent =) way for bringing Americans together...

Old People (2)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534052)

In 2050 we will hear old people complaining
"We can put a man on Mars, but can't make a car that works right"

can S you H spot I the T nostalgia? (-1)

Chinese Karma Whore (560174) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534055)

Utterly useless programs making crappy news on slashdot!
Can't the open-source community do *anything* right?
Kiss my ass if you don't agree with me. I'll explain to you simply how open-source can clean up its own mess

Today i make a proposal to the open-source community
Open source programs are too lightweight and useless
Really, I mean, programs like gcc have such limited functionality when compared with visual c++
Very few open-source applications are really worthy (perhaps the kernel, maybe ssh)
All of the others really *suck* though
Let me tell you why: they're so shoddily written! my cat could code better
Don't let lightweight programs destroy the open-source movement!
Start turning the separate programs into monoliths, thereby increasing functionality, speed, and ease of use!


Why Mars? (1)

dmiller (581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534059)

Mars is interesting and romantic, but mankind's future in space is really going to be driven by the availablility of resources.

The mention in the report of a manned return to the moon and a first manned trip to an asteroid is (IMO) far more exciting than a trip to Mars.

A long-term, manned presence on the moon would be more useful than the ISS (and probably far cheaper too). Apart from the resources available, there is a lot of basic science to be done on the moon's formation and the role it had in Earth's past.

No as difficult then as now. (1)

incom (570967) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534067)

The constuction and launching of ships from a completed ISS would save alot of the cost of escaping the earths gravity well, and this isn't even taking into account what other technologies may be available by then.

Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534074)

This will not happen.

Here's how to save money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534083)

Simple... send people to Mars, but don't bring them back! Much less expensive, they get more accomplished (since they're staying a lot longer). Question is, who should we send? Congressmen, lawyers, or Microsoft Marketing execs?

If Osama Bin Laden spent some of his... (2)

SIGFPE (97527) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534087) on funding an Islamic space programme maybe we could get another space race going. That's the only way we're ever going to see any more manned exploration.

Why go to Mars, if there is no point to the ISS (2)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534090)

If manned spaceflight were that cool, we would be talking about all the nifty things we could add to the ISS right now. The fact is, there is not enough science up there that requires human beings to justify the cost of sending them.

Now, getting costs down is smart. We should be investing our money in cheap methods of getting to orbit. That is the kind of thing that will pay off. Once space is cheap, a hell of a lot more space science is justified.

how much? (2, Funny)

Profe55or Booty (540761) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534116)

how much do you think it'll cost for some billionare to get a ride on this?

This won't work (2, Insightful)

DietFluffy (150048) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534117)

Even if this bill passes, which I doubt it will, a simple act of Congress cannot possibly restore NASA to its former glory. Space exploration is no longer a top priority for the American people, now that the cold war is over. Once thought of as essential for national security, NASA is now suffering due to budget cuts.

The public might still think that space exploration is "cool," but few would be willing to sacrifice other government programs or accept a tax hike in order to free up money for NASA. If the public doesn't care, why would politicians care? NASA won't win you votes at the ballot box.

sure it will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3534169)

Come on, if someone running for election said that they would get someone on mars, they would get some serious votes.

Moon first moon first (1)

Devilzad (85311) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534129)

Will they ever learn that we need to build a dry dock in orbit, then a moon base first?

Even if this passes (2)

jchawk (127686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534133)

Here's the problem that I see. Even if this bill passes it is only the first step in the grand scheme.

The bill would offer -

$50,000,000 for fiscal year 2003.
$200,000,000 for fiscal year 2004.

This would be used for planning, etc. . . This is only a small fraction of what it is going to take to develop the needed equipment/technology to get there.

They are shooting for 2020? Even if this bill does pass that leaves 16 more years for congress to de-rail or bury this project in favor of something else (see military spending, tax breaks, etc. . .).

I agree that this bill is a start, but it certainly doesn't offer a lot in the way of a long term commitment from the American government. If only there was a way to get a president involved maybe he could get the American people excited about the space program again.

Election year, dammit. (2, Insightful)

Dyslexic (112) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534142)

What the /. community seems to be missing is, that 2002 is a (re)election year. Many Senators/Reps are proposing bills that would never actually get passed (for instance the ludicrous Constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages [] ).

Every politician is looking for their ticket into the next term, and it looks like Rep. Lampson is going for the space angle. Hell, he may be even trying to capitalize on the ATOC sci-fi brouhaha (it wouldn't suprise me, knowing how the political system works in the USA).

With an administration that has been chopping NASA's budget left and right, this has very little chance of actually taking place.


Funding & Testing (all in one) (2)

Rui del-Negro (531098) | more than 12 years ago | (#3534160)

They could use space tourists. First, charge them a ludicrous amount for the trip. Then use them as beta-testers for the life support systems. Even the animal rights activists would be happy.

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