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NASA Considers Abandoning ISS

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the okay-who-took-my-parachute dept.

Space 543

mbstone writes "MSNBC is reporting that NASA is threatening to mothball the International Space Station unless Russia coughs up its share of the money for maintenance and support missions. NASA is now making "contingency plans" to leave the station unoccupied for as long as a year. What I want to know is, why a contingency plan? Didn't NASA already have a plan in place? Are U.S. taxpayers going to pay millions extra to develop new mothballing equipment and procedures that could have been designed-in at far less cost?? Also, I would be glad to house-sit, I use very little oxygen."

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If NASA is serious (3, Funny)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767760)

If NASA is serious then some of us are going to get very tired hearing about how the Russians are sending every boy band member into space.

Re:If NASA is serious (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767774)

With the current failure rate of russian rockets, that might be a very Good Thing (TM)

Skylab II - (FLAMEBAIT!) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767944)

They should just let that stupid special olympics in space come crashing down. It's been a camel from day one, kowtowing to every country to get them to "contribute" and the politicians stuffed it with as much useless pork as possible.

The great American empire should have an orbital battlestation ^H^H^H^H solar power satellite worthy of its might. If we had actually heeded our great NAZI leaders like von Braun and Reagan, Mars wouldn't be the red planet today.

Re:If NASA is serious (3, Funny)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767812)

I'll only get tired of it if they keep bringing them back from space.

Or they could use them to test re-entry angles ... "whoops - that one's too steep!"

Re:If NASA is serious (2, Offtopic)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767875)

Hrmm... I've always wanted someone to settle the question - "What happens to the human body when exposed to space". I mean, all the scifi shows show something different happening. So, we have some pratical use for those boy bands after all

Exposure to vacuum (1)

Napalm Boy (17015) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767991)

Almost certain I remember having this discussion on what would happen first among many possible horrible deaths upon exposure to a complete vacuum (i.e., do you asphyxiate before you freeze to death?).

The answer my friends and I came up with was that the most likely thing to kill you first was the lack of pressure causing your blood to boil off, which would happen relatively quickly: a few seconds after exposure, at best.

Of course, if anybody wants to volunteer to see if I'm right, knock yourself out. =)

Re:Exposure to vacuum (2, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4768019)

I disagree - If I am not mistaken, the pressure difference your body (14 lb/sqr inch) and space (~0) would cause you to explode almost instantly. Just like when they drag up samples from near the bottom of the ocean, sometimes they get the hollowed out remains of what was a deep sea fish, exploded by the difference in pressure between its natural habitat and ours.

Re:If NASA is serious (0, Redundant)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767824)

Sending them isn't a big deal, it's bringing them back that bothers me.

Re:If NASA is serious (1)

cudaboy_71 (620256) | more than 11 years ago | (#4768007)

we should have written off the ruskies from the get go. this whole project finally got going in earnest right about the time the russian economy went through the floor.

from the beginning the U.S. was *loaning* the russians miliions and millions to hold up their end of the project. then, they have the nerve to sell *their* seats (paid for by yours truly) to the highest bidder and pocket the cash.

this has all the flavor of loaning uncle ivan the money to make rent and then seeing him throwing down vodka out of a paper bag on the corner two days later.

i'm not in favor of shitcanning the whole project. we shouldve just seen this coming for a long time and been prepared to suck up ivan's slack.

Dangerous? (2, Funny)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767763)


I hope none of those space-moths make it down here, they sound like nasty little blighters.

Re:Dangerous? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767791)

Sod off you paki loving wanker!

BUH (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767766)

BUH

BAH? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4768008)

BAH?

Boot the Russians Out (-1, Troll)

RY (98479) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767772)

Evict the Russians if they are not willing or able to pay, rent the space out to someone who can like Pepsi.

Re:Boot the Russians Out (1)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767807)


Yeah, lets have another Taco Bell target in the Pacific. Then we can get
on with the unmanned stuff and do some real science.

Re:Boot the Russians Out (5, Informative)

foistboinder (99286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767866)

Evict the Russians if they are not willing or able to pay,

Unfortunately, it's the Russians that provide the Soyuz spacecraft (the only means for escape if soemthing goes wrong) and the unmanned Progress spacecraft. The ISS could not operate without either of these (especially the Soyuz).

It's time we go kick some Ruskie ass (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767773)

You know, we let them off easy with the whole peaceful end to the cold war. They owe us. Perhaps we should just skip over the Russian government and go to the real people with the power in that country: the mafia.

10th post !!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767775)

prolly not.....I got the 'slow down cowboy' thing. Humpfff.

Why not lease it out instead? (2, Interesting)

Chastitina (253566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767777)

Just think of the market for music video and movie productions, not to mention overpaid entertainers.

"C"

Re:Why not lease it out instead? (4, Interesting)

pVoid (607584) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767847)

Everyone seems to talk about leasing and renting, and letting unqualified people live on the ISS.

Think of it this way: would you ever leave your workstation, your baby, to be used by your computer illiterate aunt while you were going on a summer vacation?

I'm personally happy they don't lease it out.

As for mothballing, moth ball away... given the current economic trend of the world, the space program makes little sense anyways. Things have to be fixed down here before they can be sent up, IMHO.

WRONG! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767980)

"Things have to be fixed down here before they can be sent up, IMHO."

If more people had the same wrong-headed attitudes as you, we wouldn't have moon cities or the solar power satellites that freed us from dependance upon the kill-crazy Saudi Muslims.

oh, wait...

commercialism (5, Interesting)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767778)

Wouldn't this be a good time to allow the private sector in on this? Why should the governments get all the fun up there? I can't help but think tourism and a private sector push into space will do for space industries and the like what the governments of the worlds could not: enable living in space- make it a reality.

Re:commercialism (1)

Trusty Penfold (615679) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767832)

The IIS isn't very big though.
You can't take 1000 people there at $10000 a head. NASA would need to find, say, 10 people willing to pay $1000000, and they're a much more rare.

Re:commercialism (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767931)


You can't take 1000 people there at $10000 a head. NASA would need to find, say, 10 people willing to pay $1000000, and they're a much more rare.

If they'll take a cheque from me and promise not to try cashing it until after I land, can I go?

Re:commercialism (5, Funny)

vlag (552656) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767965)

You've got Microsoft on the brain. It's not the IIS, its the ISS. There is a huge difference. One crashes and is susceptible to worms. The other can't crash and the worms are experimental. Can't remember which is which.

Re:commercialism (4, Interesting)

pfdietz (33112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767838)

The private sector doesn't want anything to do with manned spaceflight, unless a government is footing the bill. It's simply not even close to profitable, breathless nonsense about microgravity manufacturing or space tourism notwithstanding (those Russian tourist flights would not make economic sense unless ISS resupply were paying for the lions share of the launch.)

Re:commercialism (5, Insightful)

rppp01 (236599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767927)

500+ years ago, Portugal and Spain sent groups of people to 'find a better way' without knowing whether or not it would be profitable. They went on hunches and rumors. Chris Columbus ran into what became America. England sent companies over to colonize in the 'name of the king'- but those companies were looking for profit. Look what happened from there. Most failed, but a few took hold, and here we are now-
I think it can be profitable, it just requires companies to think long term on the prospects of moving to space.

Re:commercialism (3, Insightful)

pfdietz (33112) | more than 11 years ago | (#4768000)

This is the old, tired analogy of spaceflight with exploration of the new world. Like any analogy, it depends on a real similarity existing between the two concepts being compared.

But space exploration isn't just moving over to a new continent that is already supplied with air, water, soil, and exploitable inhabitants. The Spanish achieved a net profit in a time shorter than the 'space age' has already existed.

Moreover, technology advances faster these days than it did then, so commercial interests *should* have shorter time horizons. The appeal to 'long term thinking' is often a refuge for ideas that just can't offer a competitive ROI.

you're right.... (1)

caino59 (313096) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767953)

not one private party [slashdot.org] is interested in manned flights...

there is absolutely no interest [slashdot.org] obviously..

and there's no reason [slashdot.org] to try anyway...

caino

Don't touch my .sig there!

Re:commercialism (2)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767937)

The only problem with letting the private sector into the manned space flight business is that it will then become nothing more than a commercial profit-making enterprise. And as soon as profits become a priority, I can't help thinking that safety, training, etc is going to go down the drain.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that it shouldn't happen in the future en mass, and I am in favour of the Russians leasing a seat on the Soyuz to qualified people for non-commercial gain.

Re:commercialism (1)

aster_ken (516808) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767995)

I have found that NASA's dedication to safety is one of the main things holding them back. Imagine, if you will, that the Spanish government spent as much time and money on making sea-travel safe in the 1400s. Mr. Columbus and friends would not have ventured to sea due to ridiculous costs and the need for government sponsorship.

Re:commercialism (3, Funny)

DeadVulcan (182139) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767956)

It's just so darned expensive that probably only giant companies could even consider the whole field. Companies like... Oh, God. I just had a horrible thought:

Microsoft Space Station.

Just imagine it in that insidiously friendly font they always use... *Shudder*

Russia (3, Insightful)

nogoodmonkey (614350) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767779)

Russia seems to be more concerned with sending tourists to space than contributing funds to the further the space station. I guess NASA was just helping them construct a Motel 6.

Re:Russia (1)

c.derby (574103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767842)

i'm sure that their main concern with "sending tourists" is the revenue that they generate (at $1M+ a pop).

Re:Russia (1)

c.derby (574103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767957)

I did some checking [spaceref.com] and it seems that the rumored cost of a trip is $20M or so.

Re:Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767848)

If Russia has spare seat in the Soyouz isn't it better they get someone to pay $100M to use it. Rather than have the launch cost nearly the same but with $100M less in funds.

Re:Russia (5, Interesting)

simong_oz (321118) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767855)

Yeh, of course it was Russia that cancelled the module which would have allowed 6 astronauts to be up there conducting experiments 24/7 ... which was one of the main reasons to build a low orbit space station.

Re:Russia (2, Insightful)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767935)

Russia has its politics and budgets too. Throw in a struggling economy and you have some reasons why they might be balking on payments. They just anounced too that they will not be providing the Soluz life boats in the near future. (article in Aviation Week).

We may get a choice, Russian participation in the space program or security for their stockpiles of weapons grade neuclear material. You choose.

space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767781)

well, nice try

Was I the only one... (4, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767783)

...Who read that as "NASA Considers Abandoning IIS"

Now I *know* I've been reading slashdot too long.

Re:Was I the only one... (1)

mt2mb4me (550507) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767916)

just as guilty. I was like, yea, linux, then I was like umm, yea... nasa, or russia or something, really, either way it seems like a lose lose situation.

Re:Was I the only one... (1)

monadicIO (602882) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767918)

Wow! It was only after I read your comment (and wondered what was so mod-points-funny for a loooooong time) that I realised that it was not IIS.

BTW, I wouldn't be surprised if we see that headline sometime soon too.

This post should also have "informative" mod points!!

MOD PARENT DOWN (-1, Offtopic)

redhotchil (44670) | more than 11 years ago | (#4768013)

this man is a homersexual

Re:Was I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767969)

nah... if you'd been reading /. too long you would of gone on a rant about how linux/apache is better without even reading the post. a misread heading wouldn't stop a REAL slashdotter...

BTW posting using phoenix. nice wee browser...

Haha (2)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4768001)

Ok, I must concede - that is the truest thing I have ever seen on slashdot.

Re:Was I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4768015)

Maybe the Russian government should abandon IIS so they can afford to pay their part.

Charge people 100 Million a week to live on there. (5, Interesting)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767790)

Thats all they need to do.. I am unsure what the cost of launching 6 people up there a week is, but god knows there are some rich people who would pay that amount to live up there for a week. Minus the idiots that expect OTHERS to pay for them (*cough*lance bass*cough*) instead of rightfully paying their own passage and cause a lot of stupid money problems. If yer not gunna pay it yerself out of yer own pockets, dont bother signing up! Hell, Bill Gates could independently finance it all if they stuck a big ugly Windows logo on it..

Re:Charge people 100 Million a week to live on the (3, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767823)

Your idea gives the phrase "crash prone" a whole new implication.

Nah, just charge them 100 thousand - but.... (5, Funny)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767917)

Charge them 100 thousand to visit the space station - then charge them 100 million to get back. :-)

First flight - Michael Jackson, Rosie O'donnell, Jack Valenti, and Hilary Rosen.

Still believe in that thing? (4, Funny)

Yoda2 (522522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767792)

I recently watched the IMAX Space Station 3D move and not only did it convice me that the entire space program is a hoax, but that this so-called "Russia" place is too.

Re:Still believe in that thing? (1)

Yoda2 (522522) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767833)

Did I mention that I'm not a strong speller?

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (2, Funny)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767854)

"How can you judge something if you've never been there, that's what they do in Russia." --Bart Simpson

Re:Still believe in that thing? (2)

deego (587575) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767873)

The reason they are abandoning this plan is for the same readon they abandoned their recent project to debunk the moon "hoax"---fear that people will find out the READ truth.

Re:Still believe in that thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767886)

If you had watched it on a decent home cinema set-up with a flat screen you would feel differently! :-)

Also at New Scientist (5, Informative)

singleantler (212067) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767794)

More at New Scientist [newscientist.com]

It would be a great shame to lose the manned presence in space, even if the amount of research they have been able to do is heavily restricted by having a very small crew up there at any one time. The crew is limited by the size of the escape module - currently a Soyuz. It looks like it'll be 2012 by the time the planned NASA replacement escape craft is ready, so they're going to have to come up with something different in the meantime, or the ISS isn't going to fulfil anywhere near it's potential for research.

Paul.

For what it is worth (4, Insightful)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767904)

(this is not a troll)

I think (1) for the space station is costing us, and (2) what it is costing us to put their asses in space, and (3) for the potential benefits of a larger crew, it would be more than worthwhile to station a larger crew there, even if there is no way for them to escape in case of catastrophe. I mean, look at Mir - all the shit in the world happened to them and they never had a fatality.

Re:Also at New Scientist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767952)

what's wrong with a few parachutes?

ISS Costs (5, Insightful)

ProfBooty (172603) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767797)

Is this really a bad thing. Considering that the astronauts on board spend 85% of the time doing station upkeep. The science value of the mission is questionable. If NASA got the proper funding to go with the original plan of 7 astronauts, I could see the value of maintaining the station as valuable science could be preformed.

Shut it down for now, until more money gets passed to make the ISS valuable. Perhaps NASA should redirect more of its money from the ISS to new propulsion technologies (nuclear etc) to reduce lift costs (yes I know you probably wouldnt want to do a launch from the ground to LEO with nuclear rockets, but perhaps other avenues could be approached).

Re:ISS Costs (2, Informative)

CrazyDuke (529195) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767902)

"Perhaps NASA should redirect more of its money from the ISS to new propulsion technologies (nuclear etc) to reduce lift costs (yes I know you probably wouldnt want to do a launch from the ground to LEO with nuclear rockets, but perhaps other avenues could be approached)."

Things like this? [space.com]

Just abandon it for good (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767961)

ISS serves no purpose. It is too close to the earth to serve as a base for constructing a future space telescope. It is expensive. The residents of the space station do nothing but sit up there and take pictures. I know this sounds jaded but we are basically going to spend about $500 billion dollars on this thing for no reason whatsoever. I would rather put that money into nanotech, quantum computing or alternative energy - tech that could actually improve life on earth.

Use very little oxygen? (1)

chopkins1 (321043) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767798)

Yes, but do you use very little food or water?

Re:Use very little oxygen? (2)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767911)

"Yes, but do you use very little food or water?"

Funny. I have a feeling you'll get a job writing for Will and Grace.

Re:Use very little oxygen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767960)

I have a feeling you'll get a job writing for Will and Grace.

Just to be clear on this - that's an insult, right?

This is a blatant attempt... (1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767802)

... by NASA to get more funding. I say good for idea. :)

Perhaps.. Europe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767968)

You may be right about that, and I think that it's time that the European Space Agency gets more involved.. Costs shouldn't be a problem for the EU.

Cant get blood from a stone... (2, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767803)

Did they really think Russia had any cash to piss away on the space station in the first place?

I mean, buying or creating the technology is one thing, but maintaining and supporting it is another.

That's why russian submarines end up at the bottom of the ocean (or sold to a cocaine smuggler), and their nuclear plants meltdown and irradiate hundreds of square miles.

They may as well ask Eithiopia to cough up their share.

What... (1)

drblunt (606487) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767809)

no one put up the obligatory "In Soviet Russia..." joke, yet?
*sigh*

Re:What... (2, Funny)

mcflaherty (569388) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767920)

Well, ok...

In Soviet Russia, SpaceStation abandons You!

What about the science!!! (0, Funny)

selectspec (74651) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767815)

If they abandon the station for a year all of the vegitables will die!

hmmm (1)

Rubbersoul (199583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767819)

In Soviet Russia ... O this is just to easy ...

Conspiracy (0, Troll)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767827)

Right. Like we are supposed to believe that there were ever astronauts on the space station in the first place.

"Yeah, we're, uh, 'demanning' it, yeah, yeah, that's the ticket, yeah."

Another example... (1)

fxcrxsherplus (621810) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767841)

NASA is making itself look stupid here. They already have many projects that are "contingent" on the ISS being occupied. Who was the genius that counted on Russia to pay its bills in the first place? If the future of the ISS (and any other space exploration for that matter) is going to be "contingent" on Russia's financial prudence... geez.

Re:Another example... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767900)

I wonder if you could de-orbit ISS and send it to Mars instead ? Could the structure stand any acceleration like that ?

Steve

First hand experience (5, Interesting)

Alomex (148003) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767844)

I attended a meeting of one of the ISS partner nations. In exchange for their contribution they are allotted space in "lockers" to run their experiments. They had a hard time finding any research institution or private interest who wanted to use the locker (the price was around $10,000 per pound). Apparently there is not much current scientific need for a zero gravity environment.

They were willing to let you fly merchandise if you wanted to, so you could buy a space pen, or perhaps fly your uncle's ashes to outer space.

I left the meeting thinking that the ISS should never have been built, and this comes from somebody who is enthralled about space exploration.

I agree. (2)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767970)

It was originally planned for what, 15 million, and then thens to congress and beuracracy, is up to 50 billion i think. Anybody remember what skylab costs? Im guessing a few retrofitted boosters would have been much cheaper than this thing. ANyone know why this option wasnt used? IT seemed like we had a perfectly functioning concept, and threw it a way for new high tech gadgets that suck.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767850)

ISS abandons NASA!!!

Devil's Advocate... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767853)

Ok... ponder this for a moment. Maybe this isn't a bad thing?

As long as the station lies dormant and routine maintence takes place, what is the worst that could happen to the ISS? The potential benefits are that we would be saving both American and Russian space program dollars that could be used on other projects. I'm sure we could still send up missions to add additional modules to the ISS, just leave the station uninhabited for a few years.

Maybe this sort of refocusing of our uses for the space station and immediate priorities is what is actually needed right now to give both American and Russian space programs a little bit of budget breathing room?

-James

I thought that it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767856)

had basically been mothballed. The 3-man crew that was up there was doing nothing but house-keeping chores 24/7. I'd read that between cooking, cleaning, maintenance, etc., they had no time for doing, um, space station stuff or whatever they are supposed to accomplish for um-teen billion dollars.

Weren't they supposed to have a crew of 7 by now doing real science and space manufacturing?

What a waste. Do it right or don't do it at all. Abandon ship. Do over!

The real question (2, Funny)

OmegaGeek (586893) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767857)

I too would be willing to housesit, but only if there is a broadband connection. And no limit on traffic!!!

Better living through elasticity.

Quitting is easy... (3, Interesting)

citking (551907) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767864)

I think that abandoning this project now would be an enitrely awful decision.

Sure, Russia owes us money...but why can't we just finance them for a while? Someday, perhaps, they'll be able to pay.

Another concern: How are the people going to feel who have put a lot of time and effort into this project? The shuttle launch was delayed twice, causing our astronaut on board to miss Thanksgiving. Shall we reward her by telling her that the last 6+ months she spent up there was all for naught?

My suggestion: Keep at it until it is finished. We should have known from the get-go that Russia is a broke country and we should have foreseen the fact that we will need to support them until circumstances change.

NASA's ISS plan (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767867)

1. Build space station
2. ???
3. Mothball it!

You use little Oxygen (0)

slashuzer (580287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767870)

Also, I would be glad to house-sit, I use very little oxygen."

While this is obviously a light hearted comment by the submitter of this story, most people have no idea of just how much Oxygen they use. Even if you take into account that the Oxygen sent up is concenterated and then diluted for "human consumption".

America is suffering from a loss of vision (0, Funny)

Adam Rightmann (609216) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767874)

At one time, America had a vision of it's destiny, to continue to grow, spread and become a full fledged country. Sadly, in the last few decades America is becoming an insular, introspective cowardly nation.

If you ever read classic science fiction from the 1950's, you can feel America's pulse, we were going to conquer space, we were going to colonize orbit, the Moon, Mars, we were going to spread humanity through the Solar System, and eventually the galay. Somehow, in the last 30 years this changed.

Nowadays, Americans want comfort and safety, real heroism is lacking. We'll spend millions on designing a better recliner, with built in cat5 ports and a refrigerator. We'll spend millions on keeping people from smoking cigarettes, ignoring the fact that God gave people free will to decide for themselves. And then, because the budget has been spent on frivolous mandates like family-destroying welfare, we'll give up on space.

I, for one, blame the permissive 60's. Too many baby boomers ruined their mind on hallucinogens, and lost the courage and faith of their forefathers. Now, unless they're guaranteed 100 percent safety and comfort, these boomers won't have anything to do with it. Take NASA's money and spend it on Social Security so I can still rock to the Doors and drive my SUV when I'm 80. Greedy bastards.

What can we do to reclaim America's spirit? I don't think it's a coincidence that America's only Catholic president got us to the Moon. Yes, when you're involved in the True Church [vatican.va] , you know that despite all your efforts, Death will get you, so it's better to be in orbit and die in a meteor shower, or die of a pressure suit leak on the Moon, than cravenly hiding in a planned retirement home.

America, let's get back to the Moon, let's go to Mars, and let's bring the Jesuits!

Re:America is suffering from a loss of vision (2, Interesting)

I_am_God_Here (413090) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767985)

Did you just call the hippies of the 60s greedy? Have you read "The Greatest Generation"? It was about the WWII era people. We went from the greatest generation to perhaps the worst. And yes polititions of today are wimps and coward compaired to 50 years ago.

Just relax one party is in power now and hopefully we'll have a vision soon(for better or worse).

Actually we could have been to mars by now but the moon was doable quicker so we did that instead. It was Kennedys fault we didn't get to mars. He decided we had to beat the russians to the moon. Meanwhile Von Braun wanted to get to mars but was told his dreams were to big and his plans were foolish by politicions.

Europe? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767878)

Why doesn't the European Space Agency jump in to become the most important partner of NASA in operating the ISS? Unlike the Russians, the EU can easily come up with the needed money.

The Problem with the Space Station (5, Insightful)

pgrote (68235) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767884)

As many people have commented the space station has been a huge black hole of money.

For each win we've had there we've suffered many setbacks.

85% [wired.com] of their time is required for maintenance.

Very little hard science has been done due to construction delays and retrofitting many of the parts.

Even the science [floridatoday.com] they have done hasn't been much.

Russia may be a joke about contributing, but they have the right idea on raising money. Send people who can afford to millions up there to fund further development.

Quit making this political (1)

jobugeek (466084) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767891)

How hard is it to tell them, if you don't have the cash then you don't get to play? Fine, so the US pay for the Russian share. Next time Russia wants to send up some people for tests, then we charge them $500,000.

Question (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767892)

Was anyone else concerned when the original ISS station plans were brought forth, that the US was *expecting* the ex-USSR to foot some of the costs? Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't they broke?

mothballing? Is that like... (3, Funny)

gosand (234100) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767893)

Is mothballing like teabagging? For some reason, this reminds me of the joke...
Two guys are sitting in a bar, and one says "you know, I kind of like the smell of mothballs."
The other guy replies "How to you get their little legs apart?"

I hate when nouns are turned into verbs.

Of course they'll pull out. (-1, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767903)



George "Adolph" Bush needs all the money he can muster for his pet War on Terrorism and to train the jackbooted brownshirts that march in the Homeland Security office.

Lets generate money! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767914)

Turn it into a Big Brother location!
or a Expidition Robinson variant

That would generate enough money!

ISS has completed its poltiical mission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767926)

ISS never had a scientific mission, but a political one - get the Russians engaged in bilateral scientific work in order to keep scientists from going to work for a bad-guy nation.

NASA either considers this mission over or no longer practical in its current form.

ISS is a meaningless money pit. Its neato to think of a giant space station floating around up there...but in reality that is all it is doing. Its just a tin can floating around with people in it. All of the science that ISS was supposed to do can be achieved through other less expensive measures. There's just little motivation for having a permanent manned station at this point.

NASA needs help! (4, Insightful)

PlatinumCursor (611961) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767929)

It really is a shame that the governments of the world just don't take space seriously. The future of humanitry rests in the stars, and unimaginable amounts of research can be conducted in space. If only governments would realize that spending money on the future (space), is so much smarter than on the present (military).

NASA is a great program, the best space program in the world. This is something the U.S. should be proud of. But continuous system failures and project cutbacks are tarnishing the image of NASA. NASA needs more funding, its running as on a diet of death, and soon, if the trend continues, our kids might not ever know of a U.S. space program. Send a letter to your senators/representatives today, tell them that NASA is not only the best space program in the world that needs more funding, but the best hope humanity has towards working for the future, instead of worrying about the present.

Just stick a couple of antennas on it... (2, Funny)

TheMidget (512188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767936)

... boost it to a 36000km orbit, and sell it to SES Astra as a replacement for their failed 1K satellite!

Tax payer's response (1)

CrayzyJ (222675) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767963)

I am all for Research, but as a taxpayer, I have never really liked the idea of the ISS. As others have already noted, the cost to knowledge ratio displays what a huge waste of money this is.

Personally, I'd rather tax money go towards internal problems: homeless, child health care, you know the list. We already pay TOO much in taxes, and I think a real cost benefit analysis should be done with the ISS.

Re:Tax payer's response (4, Insightful)

Winterblink (575267) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767989)

Before looking at high taxes, it might be worthy to look at how much of taxes goes towards massive military expenditures as opposed to the others you listed in your post. The space program costs start to look like a drop in the bucket then.

Galactic law states... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4767967)

Squatter's Rights! It is mine!!!!

Salvage rights (2, Interesting)

BigGar' (411008) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767988)

If it's abandoned and I can get up there, can I claim it under international salvage rights laws and sell off the pieces? It's only 20 million to get there should be easily able to make that back. Sell it as a weekend getaway with the best damn view on the planet, a steal at $500M.

Doh!m (1)

oniony (228405) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767994)

Maybe they should send it back to Earth, sell it to the UK and we can place it next to our dome.

http://www.glasssteelandstone.com/UK/England/Gre en wichMillenniumDome.html

Like NASA is any better themselves (5, Informative)

FlemLion (572837) | more than 11 years ago | (#4767997)

I think NASA should look more closely in the mirror first. Their own statement that they are delaying or canceling the CRV (Crew Return Vehicle) is what has put into question the whole viability of the ISS in the first place.

If it was not for the Soyuz that's attached there now, the ISS would not be inhabited at this time. What do they want now, have the Russians cough up a second Soyuz, so at least a crew of six could stay, because they are not up to their part of the CRV?

And by the way, this is no treat at all for the Russians, they were the first to suggest this, when NASA started complaining about the CRV.

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