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O'Keefe Under Fire for Hubble, ISS Decisions

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the everyone's-a-critic dept.

Space 498

chuckpeters writes "The battle over saving Hubble is just starting to heat up! The House Science Committee Democrats released their views and estimates report. Recommendation number two was that until Congress gets better information on the long term costs of Bush's Moon/Mars initiative, NASA's 2005 funding requests should go to existing programs. The House Science Committee has also decided that they want to hear from outside experts on Bush's space initiative. Just as Hubble isn't going quietly into the night, Bush's Moon/Mars plan isn't going quickly into space!"

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498 comments

heil ! (-1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533129)

everybody takes a train near Madrid, NOW !!!
It'll be better for us soon :)

Re:heil ! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533313)

huh?

the repair / maintenance missions are too risky (-1, Offtopic)

phats garage (760661) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533144)

Of course, they've always carried the same risk, but now NASA can't pretend the risks aren't there.

Re:the repair / maintenance missions are too risky (3, Insightful)

turnstyle (588788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533241)

Personally, I think the Mars mission shows the promise of increasingly relying on robotics and AI.

We're better off sending bots unless there's a practical need to send peeps.

Re:the repair / maintenance missions are too risky (1)

mph (7675) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533353)

We're better off sending bots unless there's a practical need to send peeps.
OK, Photoshop experts, you heard the guy. Get to work on a picture of little marshmallow birds in spacesuits.

Re:the repair / maintenance missions are too risky (0)

K1-V116 (754806) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533399)

I disagree. While it's hard to argue with the success of Spirit and Opportunity, they still don't compare to what human researchers could accomplish if they were there in person. Just look at the amount of time it took to debark the rovers from the landers and manuver them into position to take samples or do other research! One suitably equipped human could _easily_ do in hours what has taken these rovers weeks to accomplish....

My god its full of stars..... (1, Funny)

inmodulo (754357) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533146)

... and not just campaign promises

Irish-American officials announced (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533151)

They planned to strip O'Keefe of his Irishness for St. Patrick's day. This also prohibits him from wearing green on the day, forcing him to be pinched endlessly.

Amazing how famous HST has become (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533171)

It seemed like it only showed up in a media once a year or so. Now everytime the Hubble takes a piss (metaphorically speaking), it's front page news.

People always told me NASA has good P.R., but now I see that it's astrophysicists in general who are great at getting attention.

We need Mars (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533180)

I think we need a manned Mars mission badly, and I Am worried the Democrats will kill it just because Bush signed off on the idea. It would be great to keep Hubble but how long can we put off manned space exploration? We have been dragging our collective heels now since the end of the Apollo missions.

Plus, I'd actually like to see it happen in my lifetime.

Re:We need Mars (5, Insightful)

jatencio (536080) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533237)

I would like to people go to Mars in my lifetime as well. However, I do not think we should go so far as to remove research that is good science for fantasies and risks that just do not need to made at this time. The Hubble telescope and various projects should not be scraped in order to go to Mars. I think Hubble's recent deep space images is enough to show that it is still useful and valuable.

Re:We need Mars (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533305)

Your a moron. There is no reason to expend vast amounts of resources for 1 human to set foot on mars. The info from robots is adaquate.

Mars is poliitcal. Bush sucks!

The real purpose of space science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533348)

There is no reason to expend vast amounts of resources for 1 human to set foot on mars. The info from robots is adaquate.

What is the real purpose of space research? To understand nature? Yes, that's the immediate goal but the ultimate goal is to understand nature so that we can colonize other planets.

Info from robots is woefully inadequate for that.

Re:We need Mars (4, Insightful)

Lord Apathy (584315) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533424)

Nice way to start an intelligent conversation there, buckweetie but I'll bite. Your a fool if you think robots are adaquate for anything other than scoping out the place. For instance the current 2 robots are telling us that water flowed on Mars. How reliable is that? Not very, untill a geologists gets to mars and looks at the rocks first hand we'll never know for sure.

Robots don't have intutition ether. Some of the greatest discoveries in sience have been done because a scientist right at the moment decited to do something else. Your robot might be looking at the rock in front of him and miss the fossel beside it.

Re:We need Mars (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533309)

I do not think we should go so far as to remove research that is good science for fantasies

As much as you scientists would hate to admit it:

What makes space exploration go? Money. Where do we get money from? Mostly from the public. How do we inspire the public? With showmanship, fantasies and bold plans - not with dry science.

I think Hubble's recent deep space images is enough to show that it is still useful and valuable.

Yeah. Those images will be really useful when the next (near) extinction level asteroid impacts with the Earth.

Survival comes first - pretty pictures come next.

Re:We need Mars (2, Interesting)

Charles Dart (731692) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533245)

I agree, we need mars. We don't need Bush's dumb-ass moon/mars plan.

Mars Direct! [slashdot.org]

Re:We need Mars (1, Insightful)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533261)

Bush himself will kill it if he's still in office come 2005. It's election year grandstanding, nothing more. Bush is practically anti-science.

Re:We need Mars (1, Insightful)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533274)

Except he won't kill it. He just won't fund it.

Do we? (1)

dingo (91227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533283)

Why do we need mars?

Re:Do we? (2, Insightful)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533297)

We don't need Mars.

We don't need the Moon either.

But Bush needs the votes of the geek community.

Re:Do we? (2, Insightful)

dingo (91227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533333)

Again...why?
What i like the most about our little "community" is that we tend to be intelligent...so lets ask the question...why do we want this? There are lots of problems at home to fix first that should get votes first.

Re:Do we? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533346)

better question: why would anyone intelligent EVER vote for George Bush?

Well, ok. (1)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533410)

We as self-proclaimed "intellectuals" were also curious during our childhoods. What's that in the sky there? How come I can only see it at night? Did we really send a man up there?

It's always been human nature to be curious, to colonize, to conquer. We've overtaken this planet and use every other species either as a food source or we send them to areas of the world we haven't bothered to deforest yet. The problems "at home" (in the US, I assume you mean) are someone else's problems, they don't apply to us because we're happy as long as we have our internet, our porn, our reality TV shows and our McDonalds.

It's sad, but what can you do? Giving a damn about someone else's problems is not conservative policy.

Re:Do we? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533430)

What i like the most about our little "community" is that we tend to be intelligent

PREtend, not tend

We want this because (1)

Mycroft_514 (701676) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533460)

Historically, every dollar spent on the space program comes back into the economy 100 fold.

You want to boost the economy, well here you are.

As for problems to fix here first, fix the economy, and most of them will go away.

Re:Do we? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533474)

The white race needs mars. Its the only place the kikes and the niggers haven't over ran and destroyed with this multicurturism bullshit. Once we get to mars we can set up an advanced society while the rest of you nigger/kike/wetback loving bastards go down the shitter together.

Re:Do we? (2, Funny)

petabyte (238821) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533389)

Easy, its one of the M's in M&M's. Mars and Murrie. I'm certainly not giving up my (black & white M&M's) for some election year stunt!!

Re:We need Mars (1)

Paleomacus (666999) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533284)

I don't see how manned space exploration is that practical. I don't think we should abandon the effort but what does putting a man on Mars get us? Nothing that I can see other than another rock that we can travel to.

I too would like to see this happen in my lifetime but really how important is it? I might just be blind. Why sacrifice Hubble which has been a good source of information? I don't think we should dump things that are fairly reliable just so we can do something that might not gain us much.

Re:We need Mars (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533355)

Yes, we need a manned Mars mission REALLY BADLY! Or else the terrorists are going to win!

You worthless retard!

Re:We need Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533403)

Before we send humans there, don't you think we need to keep practicing? Our track record with unmanned Mars missions isn't exactly impressive.

Re:We need Mars (3, Insightful)

dharma21 (537631) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533454)

Bush: Hey we're going to the Moon and Mars!! NASA: Great, we get more money? Bush: No scrap all the programs that you have currently. Don't know you that we plan on teaching the kids that the Great Lakes are only 10,000 years old and the Grand Canyon was created by God not the Colorodo River?? Who needs this Telescope thing seeing into the past. It can't be working right, The universe is only 10-20,000 tyears old. In other words, it's not a democrat vs. republican things. It's Science vs. the religous right. Good going to the Dems to stop the steamrolling shutdown of good science!

Re:We need Mars (2, Insightful)

chasm!killer (240191) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533455)

Um, how do the Democrats kill it? Take over Congress and the Presidency? That might work, but then if they actually decide NASA should spend money on the space program, they could make everything happen faster.

Don't bet any politician, especially Bush, has signed off on anything until the money actually goes where you think it went....

Of Course (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533183)

The Democrats, no surprise are using the Hubble decision as a political weapon to bash Bush on another front.

I wonder if this story would have gotten the same vitriolic reaction it did if a Democratic President did this.

Well there's the catch. (2, Interesting)

bad enema (745446) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533224)

A Democratic President wouldn't be likely to do this.

I'm a liberal myself, but I will admit this: It is easier to bash a Republican for having ambitions for space programs than it is to bash a Democrat for not having these ambitions.

ATTN: Moderation Abuse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533230)

how does an AC post get modded -1 Overrated?

I thought Over/Under rated was supposed to be used to negate moderations already done to a comment. This appears to be an obvious attempt to circumvent M2 .

I hope the moderator who did this gets banned from abusing his privileges again.

Re:Of Course (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533279)

I wonder if this story would have gotten the same vitriolic reaction it did if a Democratic President did this.

Sure, when the Superconducting Supercollider was killed during 1993, the President was roundly criticized...

Oh wait, when the SSC was killed, it was not Clinton, but Bush who was ridiculed in the media --- evidently because he had dared to support scientific research with tax dollars during his term in office.

Sorry, my bad!

Honestly, I think this is what O'Keefe wanted (4, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533191)

After the last incident he was given safty guidelines, and he is going to stick to them to the letter. If congress wants to bend them, then fine, but they will be making the call and it will be their asses on the line if something goes wrong not O'Keefes'.

Re:Honestly, I think this is what O'Keefe wanted (2, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533282)

you can get a machine to do that, in fact, it only takes a pull-down resistor to lock out options.

o'keefe is just a doorstop. he needs to go.

Re:Honestly, I think this is what O'Keefe wanted (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533312)

You're right, I'm sure.

Some safety guidelines. "Don't do anything risky."

If those were always the rules, we'd all be naked, shivering at night sleeping on rocks in Africa. No, actually, we'd be extinct.

Re:Honestly, I think this is what O'Keefe wanted (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533336)

I have not moved from this location since 1987

O'Keefe (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533200)

Sean O'Keefe is a bean counter(accountant) Bush sent to NASA to trim its budget. Neither of them have any interest in space exploration or science. I saw O'Keefe's new conference on CNN after the Bush announcement and it was sickening watching someone who had no vision, knowledge of or interest in space, dodging questions and avoiding specifics on this supposedly bold new initiative. You would think they would have prepared for this announcement and presented a bold vision, rather than looking like a deer in the headlights not knowing exactly what all this means or being unwilling to admit it.

Having seen the funding timeline for this at the news conference its pretty clear what the plan is. Kill off the space shuttle and the ISS while you divert all the space enthusiasts attention with the promise of bold missions to Mars and the Moon. Of course none of those start ramping up for years and until you've already started killing off space exploration and when it comes time to bend metal on the new projects, Bush will be long gone, no one will want to pay the tab and the conservatives will have managed to kill off the civilian space program. Conservatives love killing off all parts of government not associated with the military or law enforcement.

This is a perplexing dilemna because killing off the space shuttle and ISS is exactly what the civilian space program needs to be come viable again. But when you do it you actually need to have a viable new program to replace it and this new program simply isn't viable.

You get a definitive clue something is wrong because they are going to continue wasting money to finish the completely useless ISS while they kill off the really valuable Hubble. Get a clue. The Hubble, like all the great observatories, is a priceless resource and they are one thing that should survive out of the current NASA along with JPL's efforts.

To me this smacks of the classic, clueless political manuevering and bureaucractic thinking that has been devestating space exploration for the last 30+ years.

+1, Insightful not -1, Flamebait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533272)

Jeesh, I hope I get this in M2...

Re:O'Keefe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533356)

actually i dont think it is 'clueless' more than it is spiteful, shortsided and meanspirited. Bush and neocons know exactly what they are doing. I think those who have been fooled by this slacker incurious George are the clueless ones.

hahahaha ror (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533416)

omfg ror

Re:hahahaha ror (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533463)

ror == "raughing out roud" ??

Agreed, except on one point (3, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533444)

Conservatives love killing off all parts of government not associated with the military or law enforcement.

That's probably an accurate statement about Conservativism. They believe government exists to keep the peace and enforce the law, little more. But the space program is tied very closely to the military, and less directly, to law enforcement. So that part of things doesn't add-up.

I'm sure Bush would want nothing more than a 5 megawatt laser with a phase conjugate target tracking system that could destroy a human target from space. It's the perfect peacetime weapon.

Also, why does kill off the shuttle and ISS make a civilian space program viable? A better idea might be to have NASA assist other companies in developing space-faring gear, and with things such as the X-prize.

If you ever wanted proof of moderation bias, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533475)

This is it. How this Bush-bashing in a space article isn't modded offtopic or troll is a total abuse, IMO. I hope meta-modders will score accordingly.

Now go ahead intellectually dishonest lefties, blow a mod point on me.

Thank the Founding Fathers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533201)

Hurray for checks and balances! Mebbe Bush won't totally screw Nasa over after all...

Bush screwing NASA by setting the goal at Mars?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533253)

What the hell are you talking about?

Do you want NASA to continue wasting untold billions of dollars on flying crap to low earth orbit? Hell, we have been doing since the 60s.

NASA needs a bold new vision, just like the one Kennedy provided. Humankind's future is in the space and Hubble's, no matter how wonderful they are, will not get us up there. The unmanned space exploration mafia has ruled long enough - now it's time for the real explorers.

Could it be? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533202)

Could it be... the first post?!

If I didn't get it, I'll set my pubic hair on fire and - as usual - photos will be posted on the web.

Re:Could it be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533288)

You failed it!

I'll take that link now.

This is election-season politics... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533203)

...by the democrats, but if it saves Hubble, I'm 100% for it. Hubble is the only good thing to come out of the shuttle program. NASA wants to bury that fact is quickly as possible.

HERES THE ANSWER (4, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533204)

Kick ass telescope on the far side of the moon.

The end.

Solution, turn hubble around (-1, Flamebait)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533207)

If hubble can see into the distant past by pointing it to the center of the universe, we should be able to poit it outward and see into the distant future. Given the high visual acuity of Hubble, it should be able to see the outcomes of future horse races. Then NASA can bet on that and gamble to get the extra cash needed to keep it operating.

It make sense, since it all about politics (3, Interesting)

regen (124808) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533223)

I have a good friend who works at NASA HQ. According to her, the whole moon/mars idea is basically a boondoogle to shift NASA subcontractor jobs into Ohio and Florida, two very important states for the 2004 elections.


So it makes perfect sense that the dems are going to want to block it.

Re:It make sense, since it all about politics (3, Interesting)

bravehamster (44836) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533340)

I have a good friend who works at NASA HQ. According to her, the whole moon/mars idea is basically a boondoogle to shift NASA subcontractor jobs into Ohio and Florida, two very important states for the 2004 elections.

So it makes perfect sense that the dems are going to want to block it.


That's one way to put it. Here's another:

One of the side benefits of the whole moon/mars deals, besides increasing the sum of human knowledge, is that it will help the economies of Ohio and Florida and give a lot of people badly needed jobs. Being employed might make some people less angry at the person who began the project that employs them. So of course those short-sighted self righteous democrats are going to block it.

Not that I necessarily agree with either of those viewpoints. But ain't different perspectives fun?

Another way (2, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533366)

That way of looking at it assumes that it's more than a boondoggle. By which is meant, that's it's a serious proposal that Bush actually believes in. Frankly, I'm sceptical.

Re:Another way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533449)

I doubt Bush really wants humans to go to Mars. They might find some scientific evidence that disagrees with the Bible.

Re:It make sense, since it all about politics (1)

amabbi (570009) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533347)

I have a good friend who works at NASA HQ. According to her, the whole moon/mars idea is basically a boondoogle to shift NASA subcontractor jobs into Ohio and Florida, two very important states for the 2004 elections.

I doubt that could be true. The full effects of the NASA vision change won't be felt until probably the _next_ election cycle. At this point, contracts haven't even been made on the vital components of the new plan, like the crew exploratory vehicle and the moon base. There's just no way to know where those jobs will end up. If Bush were really planning to use this to boost his reelection chances in swing states, this would have to be cleared up before the election, which it won't.

Now, as far as Hubble, that might be a different story, since the science telescope research institute is in heavily democratic Maryland.

Re:It make sense, since it all about politics (4, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533457)

The full effects of the NASA vision change won't be felt until probably the _next_ election cycle.
You think the local politicians and business leaders in Ohio and Florida are ignorant of how this program would affect them? They now have a huge incentive to get Bush re-elected. A little extra enthusiasm in this area translates to a lot of extra votes.

Of course, it's always possible that Bush is idealistically pushing this program with no thought of benefiting from it politically. And if you believe that, I've got this bank account you can help me get out of Nigeria...

Re:It make sense, since it all about politics (1)

mveloso (325617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533422)

How is that any different from when NASA was started? I mean, get real - NASA's facilities are where they are because of the influence various Senators had during the old days. How many NASA facilities are there in smaller states (ie: ones with fewer electoral votes)?

The Usefulness of HST (3, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533229)

Apparently, the scientific community think that the Hubble has become limited in usefulness. The new observatory observes infrared and some visible (though not optical blue.) Everything is red-shifted, they say, so visible light telescopes like Hubble serve no purpose.

However, the new telescope cannot be fixed. It will lie in orbit between the sun and the Earth. What if it breaks? Eh? Bad lens? Bad gyroscopes? HST is in orbit and we can fix it. This can be a backup and it still serves a useful scientific role, as evidenced by its recent Ultra Deep Field exposure.

One trick pony (0)

amightywind (691887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533386)

You are correct. For several years now there has been a diminishing of Hubble science. No knock against Hubble. The instrument has been used to its full capability. There is not much more to be got out of it. The recent release of the Ultra Deep Field will yield no greater insights than the original. Worse, the release of UDF data was clearly staged to garner political support. What comes after, the 2,000,000 second exposure Super Ultra Deep Field? I'm am sure the folks at STSCI have more eye candy held in reserve. The real shame for the astronomical community is the delay and poor planning for the Hubble successor. That can hardly be blamed on O'Keefe or President Bush.

Re:The Usefulness of HST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533421)

However, the new telescope cannot be fixed. It will lie in orbit between the sun and the Earth. What if it breaks?

If NGST is destroyed in launch or turns out to not work, an extended-life HST will not fill the gap, at least not beyond a year or two.

Re:The Usefulness of HST (5, Informative)

mph (7675) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533476)

Apparently, the scientific community think that the Hubble has become limited in usefulness. The new observatory observes infrared and some visible (though not optical blue.) Everything is red-shifted, they say, so visible light telescopes like Hubble serve no purpose.
Everything in the world (or orbiting it) is limited in usefulness. Things are built by imperfect humans, with finite resources and finite knowledge. Saying that the scientific community says Hubble "serves no purpose" is a gross, terrible misrepresentation of the astronomers' stance.

I am an astronomer. I do not want to see Hubble decommissioned, nor do I consider it useless. Nor does any astronomer I've talked to. Nor does the American Astronomical Society, the largest professional society of astrnomers. Your statement is simply absurd. HST time continues to be heavily oversubscribed, and numerous papers using HST data are produced daily.

Your argument seems to arise from HST having a planned succesor, JWST, which will be better in many, but not all, respects than HST. That does not make HST useless. Take a look at ground-based telescopes; despite the 10-meter Keck telescopes, the 5-meter Palomar telescope remains a very useful astronomical tool, and so does the 60-inch Palomar telescope, which was recently renovated and automated. HST would not become "useless" even if JWST existed today, and is sure as hell not "useless" with JWST years away.

Nasa's Got it All Wrong (1, Interesting)

myownkidney (761203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533243)

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the more successful of Nasa projects. One could argue that it didn't have a very auspicious start, but the very fact the engineers managed to rectify those inital errors bears testimony to NASA's true potential.

Meanwhile, the Shuttle programme is a MASSIVE disaster. It has cost the lives of 14 people. It has lead NASA to waste Billions. (This is not exaggeration, each flight costs US$500m)

So what programme does NASA scrap?
Hubble of course

Re:Nasa's Got it All Wrong (1)

SlamMan (221834) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533301)

remind me again how they got the Hubbell to were it is, and how they get people up there to service it?

Re:Nasa's Got it All Wrong (0)

myownkidney (761203) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533375)

The Russians have been sending men and material to space for 1/10th the cost of a Shuttle launch using their soyuz modules.

You need a way to get m&m into space, but the shuttle is not the way!

DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (1, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533244)

Look, save Hubble, fine, I agree. But I sense glee that this is a setback for the administration, and there almost seems to be smugness in here that the Mars program may be in danger now.

Do NOT try to kill manned Mars exploration just because you hate Bush. That's pretty fuckin' petty.

If you've got real reasons to oppose manned Martian exploration, fine, then say so. But to root for damage to manned planetary exploration to score points against a politician is lame.

Re:DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533326)

to root for damage to manned planetary exploration to score points against a politician is lame

To root for damage to manned planetary exploration because it's a money-wasting boondoggle is patriotic. Humans haven't improved nearly as quickly as robots have. Robotic exploration of space is the only rational approach.

Re:DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (4, Insightful)

HarveyBirdman (627248) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533354)

If you've got real reasons to oppose manned Martian exploration, fine, then say so.

OK. It would be a resource draining, PR boondoggle that would follow the same pattern as Apollo. We work hard so a few people can bounce around on the surface of another world, and then the public loses interest, resulting in another 40 year setback, and no serious move into space in my lifetime.

We need to start doing the solid, logical, incremental steps into space that we should have started in the 1950's. Orbital industry, solar power farms, something at L4/L5, then a permanent colony on the Moon and THEN Mars. NASA should bend over backward to encourage the private sector. Get serious radical new launch tech, like space elevators and lasers and mass drivers.

Re:DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533357)

"Do NOT try to kill manned Mars exploration just because you hate Bush. That's pretty fuckin' petty."

I don't want to kill it because I hate Bush, I want to kill it because it's a pointless and expensive boondoggle that serves no rational purpose. We've already blown tens of billions of dollars sending government bureaucrats to one barren rock, why spend hundreds of billions sending them to another barren rock?

But then I don't have to worry about that, because as far as I can see, the plan is that once ISS and the shuttle have been killed, the Moon/Mars budget will be cut and NASA's manned space program will die: maybe they'll be allowed to keep the OSP/CRV/CEV capsule or whatever it's called these days and send up an astronaut or two a year, if they're lucky.

There will be a day when it makes sense for people to go to Mars. But those people will be called 'tourists' and they'll be paying their own way on transports far cheaper and more sophisticated than anything NASA is going to come up with in the next few decades.

Re:DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (1)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533414)

But then I don't have to worry about that, because as far as I can see, the plan is that once ISS and the shuttle have been killed, the Moon/Mars budget will be cut and NASA's manned space program will die: maybe they'll be allowed to keep the OSP/CRV/CEV capsule or whatever it's called these days and send up an astronaut or two a year, if they're lucky.

Then the rocket scientists working for NASA will pretty much be forced to go work for third world nations developing ICBM technology.

Re:DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533473)

"Then the rocket scientists working for NASA will pretty much be forced to go work for third world nations developing ICBM technology."

Fortunately, if today's NASA designs their ICBM, it will be fully reusable, cost fifty bazillion dollars a flight, require a year of preparation before launch, and explode in flight 50% of the time (the other 50% will abort just before launch and require another six months of preparation to try again).

Going to Mars makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533467)

why spend hundreds of billions sending them to another barren rock?

I just don't get it.

How can so many brilliant people be so blind to the fact that: THE HUMAN RACE MUST GET OFF THIS PLANET - NOT LATER BUT RIGHT ABOUT NOW!

We are already overdue for an extinction level asteroid impact and the odds won't improve with time.

Re:DO NOT KILL THE MARS PROGRAM (3, Insightful)

applemasker (694059) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533439)

Maybe THIS Mars program should be killed though. I have yet to understand the reasoning behind W's plan to "return to the Moon" first. If there is any reason why this is a necessary, logical precursor to manned missions to Mars, I haven't heard it.

In fact, I would say that while retiring the Shuttle is a good idea, continuing to marry the ISS to the Shuttle isn't. Why not put the rest of the pieces up on ELVs (if you have to, buy some Arianie 5's from ESA), use fewer shuttle flights for "assembly-only," forget about hauling cargo. Simultaneously, launch a Soyuz a month, rotate crews like that, get the darn ISS staffed the way it was designed to be. Enough of this "caretaker crew" B.S.

Oh, and of course, we are killing the STS (in 2010) and ISS (in 2016) to fund this Moon/Mars project, let's not forget that. If allowed, it will become another black hole which will drain funds away from other NASA programs (like STS/ISS has done for the last 30 years). We'll never get Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) or the next generation of Galileo or Cassini-class missions with this project. Nevermind that Americans spend more money on potato chips than NASA in a given year.

Too bad fixing Hubble is "too dangerous," it's one of the few things manned spaceflight can do (and has done) amazingly well.

People are taking W's proposal seriously?!? (4, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533252)

Oh, come on. W's Moon/Mars proposal is less funded than "No Child Left Behind". He wasn't being serious. He was trying to distract everyone from the fact that the deficit was so severe (and set to get much worse if he gets the tax cuts changed to permanent) that he doesn't have room to do anything real. Hence:

W: Where are we going?
US: Mars!
W: When are we going?
US: Real soon!

Why is NASA... (-1)

chmod_localhost (718125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533258)

...so eager to take Hubble down, when it's still contributing so much to astrophysics? The new space telescope isn't even ready for launch yet, and who knows if it will work at first go? I'd rather have Hubble as backup until the new one is working smoothly and flawlessly before even thinking about bringing it down. Capitalism and politics just don't mix well with science.

Re:Why is NASA... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533448)

NASA isn't suggesting that they take it down; they are just not going to spend money keeping it up.

What is wrong with not having "Hubble as backup" ? Is it such a disaster if we don't have the weekly dose of artificially colored pics of distant galaxies for a couple of years ?

I mean seriously, suppose Hubble fails tomorrow. The new telescope won't be up for 5 years, probably 4 times that long, afterall we are talking about NASA here. Who is going to die ? What's the big deal if your daily check of space.com has to have x-prize stories and interviews with Russian astronauts or something ?

I think a serious case can be made that Hubble was a waste of money. "Contributing to astrophysics" doesn't count; let the Church of Sagan buy their own statuary.

It's all pointless anyway -- if you read the article, these are just DEMOCRATS in Congress making some yapping. They have about as much chance of passing anything in Congress as I do.

Whitey on the Moon (-1, Flamebait)

joehill48 (634803) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533264)

Whitey on the Moon

By GIL-SCOTT HERON

A rat done bit my sister Nell with Whitey on the moon.
Her face and arms began to swell and Whitey's on the moon.
I can't pay no doctor bills but Whitey's on the moon.
Ten years from now I'll be payin' still while Whitey's on the moon.

The man just upped my rent last night cuz Whitey's on the moon.
No hot water, no toilets, no lights but Whitey's on the moon.
I wonder why he's uppin me. Cuz Whitey's on the moon?
I was already givin' him fifty a week but now Whitey's on the moon.

Taxes takin' my whole damn check,
The junkies makin' me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin' up,
And as if all that shit wasn't enough:

A rat done bit my sister Nell with Whitey on the moon.
Her face and arms began to swell but Whitey's on the moon.
Was all that money I made last year for Whitey on the moon?
How come there ain't no money here? Hmm! Whitey's on the moon.

Ya know, I just about had my fill of Whitey on the moon.
I think I'll send these doctor bills
airmail special....
to Whitey on the moon.

Copyright Gil-Scott Heron, 1972.

Nice to play the race card (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533289)

So I'll oblige. We could send Blackie to the Moon. All of them. How about that?

Ever reach The Marching Morons, by C.M. Kornbluth?

Mr Mackey Says... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533277)

The Hubble is bad mmmmkay

Dear Readers (-1)

Letter (634816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533296)

Dear Readers,

Leave Georgia O'Keefe alone. She just wants to paint vaginas in peace.

-Letter

follow the money... (1, Troll)

Roger Keith Barrett (712843) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533307)

Has anyone looked into what outside contractors stand to benifit from a trip to Mars?

Does Halliburton have a space division? (Maybe they will charge 20x more than usual for each packet of Tang and freeze-dried iced cream!)

O'keefe (5, Insightful)

USAPatriot (730422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533322)

Listening to O'keefe on a press conference about a month ago, when he addressed the Hubble issue in detail, it all became clear to me: It's pure politics.

After the CAIB, he was blasted, questioned and doubted to no end, so what does a skilled polititian do? cut your losses and move on. Well, he did just that. So now he's gonna follow the CAIB like it's the road to salvation. To the letter.

The CAIB puts forward a number of requirements for shuttle flights, including the ability to service the Shuttle via ISS if something goes wrong...among a host of other "inconvenient" requirements.

O'keefe decided to follow the CAIB to the letter so that means that going to the hubble will "break the laws" of the CAIB (Hubble is in an entirely different, incompatible orbit...still you'd think that being the thing called SHUTTLE it shouldn't be an issue, but it is)

So servicing the Hubble will violate his mandate to play it safest and thus it won't happen because it's "too risky" according to the CAIB mantra.

Re:O'keefe (0)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533404)

"So servicing the Hubble will violate his mandate to play it safest"

Exactly: Hubble is pretty much irrelevant, he just wants to be able to pass the buck if another shuttle is lost. If Congress forces him to fly a servicing mission, that's fine, because they'll take the blame if anything happens.

Though, that said, they didn't take the blame for STS-107, which, AFAIR, was a mission essentially forced on NASA by Congress, not one they planned to fly.

It's an election year (3, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533341)

Bush's Moon/Mars plan isn't going quickly into space!
Which is probably more or less what Dubya wants. He can't actually believe they're going to give him the money for such a huge project. But when they shoot the proposal down, he has great material for his stump speeches. He's the Leader with the Bold Initiative -- unfortunately vetoed by a bunch of unimaginative pork-lovers.

Hopefully the blatant cynicism of this ploy will be apparent to the voters.

Both? (3, Insightful)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533345)

Why does it always end up as "This or That" and never "both"? Hubble or Mars? Why can't they spare the extra 2 or 3% of the military budget and funnel it into NASA... after all, Hubble could potentially be used for military purposes, no? It's this sort of tightwadding of money that causes the managerial problems plaguing NASA today, as money gets yanked around to different places, with never enough left over to get jobs done the right way. As long as this sort of crap keeps up, we'll never get much farther than low earth orbit anytime soon. Just a few decades ago, we had a focus- to get to the moon. We got to the moon. What have we now? A leaky space station with pieces falling off, remnants of an aging and grounded shuttle fleet, and not much of a grand vision to get anywhere. While we do have 2 rovers poking and prodding Mars, America needs to find it's sense of adventure again, the spirit of pioneering that founded this country. Lewis and Clark headed west knowing the risks and found the Pacific Ocean. I've had enough of this safety and political correctness crap. Yes, it's risky, yes, it's dangerous. But how far can humanity progress without taking risks?

Bleh, that turned into a rant pretty quick, but I stand by it, so mod accordingly.

Skip the Moon, Keep Hubble, Go to Mars (4, Interesting)

PateraSilk (668445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533351)

The Moon is interesting enough as a scientific object of study, but why go from one gravity well to another to get to a third? Just go to Mars already! (Sorry, been reading Zubrin.)

Hubble's still doing good science. The Voyagers are obselete but we're still listening to them for that very reason.

What is the big deal? (2, Insightful)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533358)

I know people will mod this as troll -99 but this is a serious question that I hope somebody can answer for me.

What tangible benefits has Hubble provided us? Other then advancing our knowledge of and expanding the "pure-sciences" involved how has humanity improved by this telescope?

It's my understanding that _ALL_ telescopes goal is to see as far back in time as possible. We want to prove or disprove the Big-Bang theory. What if we do prove it. Then what?

Please don't misunderstand me. I feel very strongly that all pure science must be pursued, I just don't understand what the big deal about Hubble is. Let's keep using it untill it disintegrates during re-entry, why invest more money into it?

Re:What is the big deal? (2, Interesting)

barfy (256323) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533461)

The nature of physics, is that the more questions we answer, the more questions we uncover...

The hubble telescope is a unique piece of scientific equipment that allows us to perform experiments that we cannot perform here on earth.

Experiments that lead to greater questions...
Experiments we do not know of yet...
A greater understanding of physics advances us as a society, and a species in ways more profound than anything else...

If you let it burn up, we will have to replace it, or be forever in the darkness of ignorance, because we no longer have the tools to do those experiments...

Re:What is the big deal? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533493)

It's captured a lot of really cool desktop wallpapers.

Election year again... (5, Insightful)

homerjs42 (568844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533367)

I hate election year politics. In an election year the whole political process becomes a zero-sum -- the Democrats want to prevent the Republicans from accomplishing anything that looks good, and the Republicans want to prevent the Democrats from doing anything that could be construed as positive. So who actually is losing in this case? NASA, the taxpayers, and (probably) whoever loses in the election. But all in all it sucks. Lets just divert the government funding for candidates to NASA and maybe we could get some interesting news.

Go ahead, mod me offtopic (It really isn't, though)

What do you want? (4, Insightful)

panxerox (575545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533368)

"Just as Hubble isn't going quietly into the night, Bush's Moon/Mars plan isn't going quickly into space!" And thats what we all want .. right? To dump money into a project that is at the end of it's lifespan, granted the project was wildly successfull. And belittle the project that we all wanted to see succed as kids just because you don't like Bush? The space program is more important than any one president or one project or one election. When I see the democrats talk about the president "wasting money" on the space program I want to scream. Don't get me wrong I have some strong misgivings about Bush's policys and the direction that he's taking the country, but this just goes to show where the Democratic party is these days i.e. anywhere the president isent even if where he is is right. The Democratic party used to be all for the space program, where are they now, they have traded the future of the human race in for a few votes. I know I'm gonna get slammed with negs for this but I don't care this pisses me off.

Space (NASA) cuts across party lines (4, Interesting)

ianscot (591483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533371)

There's a tendency to read partisan maneuvering into stories like this -- that letter from the Nobel scientists recently about the Bush administration short-circuiting the process by which science gets applied to policy is another tempting example. Here we have a Democratic critic of the way Bush's NASA policy is being forwarded, right?

But NASA has always cut across party lines in ways that belie the stereotypes we have about our parties.

For example, Walter Mondale bitterly opposed the space shuttle program in the Senate -- back when Richard Nixon was engaged in OSP-style deceptions about the cost estimates per shuttle flight in order to "sell" the shuttle. Here's an article with some text from a letter [weeklystandard.com] he wrote outlining the reasons for his opposition. Key bits:

  • "...another example of perverse priorities and colossal waste in government spending. There is expert evidence that we can achieve the same scientific and utilitarian goals in space at only a fraction of the billions to be spent on the shuttle."
  • "...there are certainly more sensible ways to create new jobs than by an enormous federal boondoggle."

The author of that linked article, Joseph Rodota, wrote it as an indictment of "a long line of liberals opposed to space exploration."

Hmm. Does anything seem backward about this situation to you? Rodota's talking about "the importance of big ideas" over fiscal responsibilities? Mondale's decrying the senseless cost?

Basically the critic here is saying "Before we put the ax to programs like Hubble, we want to be sure we've made the right choice, and the public will want to see that decision-making process. Sean O'Keefe shouldn't make this one himself without us having access to the process."

This is about killing the shuttle... (4, Interesting)

barfy (256323) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533384)

This isn't about going to mars... This isn't about killing the Hubble per se...

It is about killing the Shuttle,ISS, and to a large extent the last bastion on big federal science...

The argument is that you can't get to the space station if something happens to the shuttle while servicing Hubble.

The way that you kill the space program, (the shuttle and ISS are the major targets. Hubble is just an unfortunate casualty). Is to change the priorities from existing ones that take real money, to non-existing ones that are so expensive that they can be cancelled later.

Hubble may be what saves the space program, is spite of the best laid plans of those that would like to see it killed.

OBRIAN HAS AN ANUS THE SIZE OF THE PENTAGONS DICK (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533420)



OBrian takes the Defense SquirtRod for a little bit of the pie later on.

Time for a regime change.

The cost of space exploration in the 21st century (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8533468)

With the notable exception of the space program back during JFK's administration, not a whole hell of a lot that is spectacular or innovative has happene in space exploration. For god's sake! We put a man on the moon in 1969. Have we been anywhere else? No. Now we are talking about getting a manned mission to Mars going. Nice. But when all is said and done, we know this isn't going to happen as quickly. Not because of the time it will take to get the project going though. Because of all the rampant corporate fascism and cronyism in the current administration. Huge sums of money will be taken from YOU (the taxpayers) and funnelled into this supposed project to go to Mars. That money will make it into the hands of contractors who will claim growing expenses and line their pockets. Then when the Bush admin is thrown out of office or we get a good Democrat back in office, we'll suddenly be hearing news stories saying... "whatever happened to those plans to go to Mars"? There will be scandals involving the contractors who went bust, but not before the CEO grabbed the money and ran off to the tropics. (Bastards)

This is the wrong approach. If we as humans from the planet Earth (not Americans, not Japanese, not French or German or Europeans or whatever you may be) are serious about exploring space, we need to take this into our own hands as one big world project. Like the egyptians who had the pyramids built as a civic project, this should be the same thing. Add to that a sprinkle of the GNU GPL as applied to propulsion development, software development and mission planning, and you have a recipe for a REAL mission to Mars that might actually mean something. Open is way better closed, especially when the project is about furthering the state of humanity.

Hubble being replaced by better telescope (4, Interesting)

shakparl (750460) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533477)

I have a friend that works at NASA Stennis Space Center in MS (who incidentally admins a beowulf cluster for rocket testing), and he says the Hubble is simply being taken down to be replaced by several other, better telescopes, including ones that detect infrared and gamma radiation. Apparently the cost of maintaining it and keeping it in orbit is more than the benefits of putting new ones up, given his brief explanation. Anyone have any more info on this?

If you really care about the HST (5, Insightful)

mveloso (325617) | more than 10 years ago | (#8533487)

If you care about the HST write your senator, don't vent on slashdot. Words here mean nothing, but a cogent, well-reasoned letter to your senator may make a difference.

The last requirement may be a stretch for some readers, but one can always hope.

Find your senator at: http://www.senate.gov/
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