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No More Science on the ISS Until Further Notice

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the privatization-is-the-answer dept.

Space 223

Dyna-Soar writes "Discovery Channel News is reporting that NASA is canceling scientific research projects on the International Space Station until construction is complete. This may not happen before 2010 or 2012." From the article: "In addition to beginning development of a new manned launch system, expenses to return the shuttle fleet to flight following the 2003 Columbia disaster and delays completing the International Space Station have left NASA with a projected shortfall of up to $5 billion over the next five years"

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OUTGOING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977263)

HELLO WORLD
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K-BYE

Re:OUTGOING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977416)

08162 08162 28793 28793 13144 13144 34714 34714 32766 32766
11168 11168 49405 49405 21318 21318 23064 23064 57328 57328
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K-BYE

Probably still not enough of a wake up call (4, Insightful)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977264)

If only congress could get the hint and stop castrating Nasa...

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977294)

If only NASA wasn't composed of a massive inefficient bureaucracy...

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977312)

If only Congress wasn't composed of a massive inefficient bureaucracy...

Experiments as NASA Fundraiser? (5, Insightful)

lightyear4 (852813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977322)

NASA could always charge for experiments to be conducted. Plenty of R&D groups would pay up if it were reasonable, and everyone benefits.

Re:Experiments as NASA Fundraiser? (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977582)

NASA could always charge for experiments to be conducted. Plenty of R&D groups would pay up

Who, why? There hasn't been any commercial research done in the ISS at all. Mostly astronomy, using the ISS as a platform, and life sciences, which is really only of interest if you're flying astronauts. None of the "zero-G crystals" and such ever amounted to anything that couldn't be done much cheaper down here.

Re:Experiments as NASA Fundraiser? (1)

StarsAreAlsoFire (738726) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977616)

Not sure they can, actually; as part of Challenger blowing up there was some idiotic law about NASA doing anything remotely commercial being verboten.

Re:Experiments as NASA Fundraiser? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977926)

thanks for the informative post...care to provide a link to back up your claim?

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (2, Funny)

dranomax2 (839611) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977466)

At least we've got China's moon landing to look forward to...

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977594)

castration is performed only ONCE

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (1, Funny)

memeplex (910698) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977600)

The feds should look through their sofa cushions. I'm sure there a piddling $5B in there somewhere.

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (1)

dswan69 (317119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977653)

How does the cost of NASA compare the amount squandered on the military?

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (1)

xSauronx (608805) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977744)

it probably doesn't

Re:Probably still not enough of a wake up call (4, Insightful)

Glock27 (446276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977874)

How does the cost of NASA compare the amount squandered on the military?

NASA is much smaller. Note that some view the money spent on NASA as "squandered". I see value in what NASA does, but I do feel it's a very inefficient organization in some areas (manned space flight being the worst). Now we have the ISS doing nothing useful for 5 or so years... Yeesh that thing is a white elephant.

If Bush were serious about interplanetary flight he'd start construction of a nuclear powered space-only ship, with a hefty lander, using ISS as the assembly plant. I'm pretty sure we could build a low-thrust nuclear design that'd get to Mars in a few weeks rather than many months. That would greatly change the equation in many ways, and would show the utility of the space station concept. It would even make Mars colonization practical.

SpaceX [spacex.com] is doing some great things, and shows the power of private ownership to lower costs. Their newest design, Falcon 9, is impressive with an ability to loft 24 metric tons at a time into LEO, at only $78 million a shot. You could build a massive interplanetary craft with just a few shots... I can't see this approach costing "hundreds of billions of dollars", but then again I'm not a government expert at inflating costs.

Of course our Luddite anti-nuclear "friends" would scream bloody murder about the Mars ship being nuclear, so it won't happen anytime soon, IMO.

then what is the space station for? (4, Insightful)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977265)

Why bother finising the ISS if you are not going to use it to increase scientific knowlegde. I guess filling the pockets of the contractors is the real reason for the ISS, not science.

Re:then what is the space station for? (-1, Redundant)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977271)

finishing (sorry, should have previewed)

Re:then what is the space station for? (5, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977290)

NASA is setting up the ISS to fail. Watch, in a couple of years they'll announce that they will no longer provide funds to get it built, because it won't be serving any scientific purposes for them.

I don't blame NASA, with the Bush administration's promises (to get people onto the Moon and Mars) that NASA has to desperately keep, while in the same breath the administration announces NASA's funds being cut, they're desperate to do anything. This is because the Bush administration is setting NASA up to fail. I won't be surprised if in 15 years time, NASA simply won't exist anymore. I just hope that by that time, there isn't a need for it.

Whilever the American government's greed and paralyzing fear continues to determine it's policies concerning space, America will continue to fall behind other nations. America just better hope the private space industry takes off, with American corporations at the helm, because at the rate it's going, the government will be useless when it comes to space.

Re:then what is the space station for? (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977326)

"while in the same breath the administration announces NASA's funds being cut"

Yes funding is getting cut... you mean like those negative cuts they got the last two years right?

New space race (0, Flamebait)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977336)

With China wanting to start building a moon base in 2017, there is a chance that NASA will live. If they could just have spend the enormous budget which is available for war, we would have had a deathstar circling the sun by now.

P.S. The deathstar idea is to keep inline with the most likely project which would make it through the Bush administration.

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

spongman (182339) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977415)

the big joke is that the government is cutting budgets left right & center while pouring money into their back packets in iraq.

Re:then what is the space station for? (5, Insightful)

Mostly a lurker (634878) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977455)

I won't be surprised if in 15 years time, NASA simply won't exist anymore. I just hope that by that time, there isn't a need for it.
I have felt for a while that the long term future of space research (both commercial and for national prestige) lies in Asia. I think much of the critical materials research will come from Japan, reliable rocket technology from India and China, electronics from Taiwan and Korea, and governmental support for major advances mainly from China.

The US and Europe will increasingly have other concerns, with the political will for expensive space projects generally lacking. While the US will probably be able to claim the "credit" for the militarisation of space, I do not believe the US desire to feed its defense industry with boondoggles like an "anti missile shield" will lead to much useful technology for space exploration, exploitation or eventual colonisation.

Russia, if its economy permits, might remain a power to be reckoned with. Certainly, national pride in its ability to achieve practical results with a lower budget than the Americans is a factor.

Re:then what is the space station for? (2, Interesting)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977524)

If you think about the economics of it, it's a no-brainer. NASA as we know it is bloated like Windows. There are over-priced projects that are sucking it dry with little to know return in knowledge and/or experience. On the other hand some of the recent successes are garage projects, by comparison. Think of Pathfinder. It was pretty much a small project that reaped big rewards. We have probes that are going into extended service (that were not necessarily launched from the shuttle). And how many times do we see stories here on Slashdot about people from University 'X' making a satelite that runs on Linux for chump change? Incidentally, I think all the analogies of moving into an apartment that isn't finished kind of misses the point of the ISS. It is more like moving into a time share that isn't finished.

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977334)

Actually NASA should just come up with some millitary reason for research (death ray flux capacitors and such.) to get money from Congress. In the proposal they should use the word 'terrorism' and 'WMD' as often as possible then they'll have enough $$$ for research, travel to the Moon, Mars and lots of fun parties with naked strippers, ok maybe not the strippers...

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977353)

Why bother finishing the ISS if you are not going to use it to increase scientific knowlegde.

Obviously, the intent is, that once it is actually finished, scientific experiments will resume. They only want to halt experiments while it is still being built.

Still not very smart. Given the time it takes to build it, it makes more sense to try to start getting ROI before it is completely finished. Indeed, if you've got "nothing to show" for years, funds to finish construction might very well dry up completely.

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

Draveed (664730) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977412)

I feel pretty sure that NASA is only finishing the station because of obligations to other nations to do so.

You miss the point (1, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977419)

There is no more science on the ISS because it has been superceded by superior methods and worldviews. Now only Intelligent Design will be studied there. ISS will now stand for "Intelligent Space Station."

The real reason for the ISS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977445)

... was as a welfare program for underemployed Soviet rocket scientists.

After all, the US developed its own ballistic missile technology with the help of recently-unemployed German rocket scientists, and that actually worked out pretty well from an effectiveness standpoint. So with the fall of Communism, it seemed like a good idea to give the erstwhile bad guys something to do besides designing weapons.

Make no mistake, that is all the ISS was ever going to be good for. It performs no scientific role that either couldn't be handled more economically by longer-duration Shuttle flights and robotic spacecraft, or wasn't already handled by Skylab and Soyuz.

Re:then what is the space station for? (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977578)

I can think of a few uses, but they all involve something you science geeks don't seem to be interested in: colonization. The purpose of the space station is to stage fuel and components so you can do missions that require mass that won't fit on top of a single launch vehicle. Without a place to stage fuel and components you can't possibly justify the creation of reusable launch vehicles and you end up with infrastructures like "Apollo On Steroids". All the research that has been happening on the ISS (or should we say, not happening) has been in the pointless persuit of "science" when what the research really should be focusing on is storing fuel in LEO and assembling spacecraft from modules launched into LEO seperately. If you don't do that you can't possibly build a spacecraft that can take 100 people to the Moon. All you can build is fuckin' Apollo On Steriods.

Re:then what is the space station for? (5, Interesting)

chrisuhlik (818537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977601)

The following excerpt was taken from A Rocket To Nowhere [idlewords.com]

The ISS was another child of the Cold War: originally intended to show the Russians up and provide a permanent American presence in space, then hastily amended as a way to keep the Russian space scientists busy while their economy was falling to pieces. Like the Shuttle, it has been redesigned and reduced in scope so many times that it bears no resemblance to its original conception. Launched in an oblique, low orbit that guarantees its permanent uselessness, it serves as yin to the shuttle's yang, justifying an endless stream of future Shuttle missions through the simple stratagem of being too expensive to abandon.

Of course, the ISS has also been preemptively armed with science, but NASA has found much more effective safeguards against potential budget cuts. The station's inordinately expensive modules have mainly come from foreign space agencies, ensuring that even a NASA administrator foolhardy enough to let the thing drop into the sea would contravene a fistful of international treaties. And the station requires a permanent crew, a trick NASA learned from the Shuttle, so that there can be no question of mothballing it or converting it into an unmanned research platform.

In the thirty years since the last Moon flight, we have succeeded in creating a perfectly self-contained manned space program, in which the Shuttle goes up to save the Space Station (undermanned, incomplete, breaking down, filled with garbage, and dropping at a hundred meters per day), and the Space Station offers the Shuttle a mission and a destination. The Columbia accident has added a beautiful finishing symmetry - the Shuttle is now required to fly to the ISS, which will serve as an inspection station for the fragile thermal tiles, and a lifeboat in case something goes seriously wrong. This closed cycle is so perfect that the last NASA administrator even cancelled the only mission in which there was a compelling need for a manned space flight - the Hubble telescope repair and upgrade - on the grounds that it would be too dangerous to fly the Shuttle away from the ISS, thereby detaching the program from its last connection to reason and leaving it free to float off into its current absurdist theater of backflips, gap fillers, Canadarms and heroic expeditions to the bottom of the spacecraft.

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

Ex-MislTech (557759) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977712)

Ppl have said it before to some extent NASA is a jobs program .

Why build shuttles unless u have somewhere to go .

Why build space station unless u have a way to get there .

Some good science has come out of the space station, but some of it could have
been done on the ground .

What was not done on the ground might have been done with robotic control
instruments from earth after just the experiment was delivered via remote control .

I think we stand more to gain from a robotic return to the moon and possibly
mining Helium-3 for the "working" helium-3 reactor in wisconsin .

Helium-3 with a billion dollar a ton return cost would equal oil at $7 a barrel .

http://fti.neep.wisc.edu/neep602/LEC27/IMAGES/fig1 8.JPG [wisc.edu]

Just getting us out of the middle east would be damn nice too .

Not to mention the zero pollution aspect ...

It could be dropped back to earth much like the apollo capsules after a rail mass driver
tosses it off the moon's surface much like NASA planned in the past already .

Sending a rover to mars is hard, sending a robot to the moon should be a bit easier,
and a LOT cheaper than sending a human .

Humans require h2o+o2+food and don't have the best tolerance for radiation .

cryogenics for a robot is an off switch ...

It is just not as glorious and all that macho BS .

If we can get a underground chamber dug on the moon and then use solar electricity over time to
extract material from lunar soil to process and make oxygen, it could be stored in the cave
til we are ready for ppl to arrive .

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/10/10 19_051019_moon_oxygen.html [nationalgeographic.com]

Still alot of issues to work out, but it is cheaper, and nobody dies .

Build a moon base underground, protected from radiation, build ur spaceships and space stations
up there and it is easier to launch from the much weaker lunar gravity, 1.6 vs. 9.8, roughly 600% less .

Here are the lab locations of prominent scientists that have put alot of time and money
into what they think can fix the world's energy needs .

http://fti.neep.wisc.edu/neep602/LEC27/IMAGES/fig2 1.GIF [wisc.edu]

Ex-MislTech

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

Spacejock (727523) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977775)

It's actually going to become the most expensive zero-g brothel the world has ever seen. Advertise a bit and people will be clamouring to join the 223-mile high club.

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977788)

Humm so each space tourist is paying approx $10 million (probably not the real cost however...)
You mean for $30 Million (2 actors, 1 camera man) we could have the first zero G porn?
Ok It'll be the most expensive film of that kind ever made, but I'm sure it would a blockbuster :-) Forget the plumber comming to service her plumbing, the Astonaughts blasting their....

Damn I shouldn't write this stuff while at work!

Re:then what is the space station for? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977833)

it's called the Three Dolphins Club. If you're gunna make a smutty joke, at least do your homework.

No science? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977273)

They might as well evacuate the crew and conduct a little SDI test on this money-sucking white elephant.

Re:No science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977487)

well its probably because all the money is going into the war for terror...

maybe its also cause the death rate in iraq is higher than in vietnam actually and the government now pays 100000$ to the dead kids parents per head... who knows.

Its Actually a Good Move (4, Insightful)

MLopat (848735) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977274)

You'll all probably mod me down for this, but I actually this is a good move on NASA's part. We all realize the purpose of the space station is to provide scientific research, but in light of recent problems plaguing the shuttle program, the safety of the astronauts should be the foremost consideration. Not much point in moving into an appartment building until its been built, and the same thing applies to an orbiting piece of metal.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1, Insightful)

MaelstromX (739241) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977298)

Agreed. Also forgive my naivité but it seems to me like the conditions up there in and around the ISS that researchers take advantage of ("zero" gravity, et al) can be recreated on earth for research purposes, even if it's a bit more inconvenient to do so. It's only a temporary measure and necessary for the long term survival of the ISS (and indeed of the space program in general, as any more injuries or deaths in the near future would be disastrous in light of the recent Columbia disaster).

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (2, Insightful)

FireFury03 (653718) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977327)

the conditions up there in and around the ISS that researchers take advantage of ("zero" gravity, et al) can be recreated on earth for research purposes

How exactly do you create a long term microgravity environment on earth?

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977489)

For short microgravity experiments, you'd be using a sounding rocket. For longer term non-human tended experiments, you'd probably be better off building something like a corona capsule and firing it off on a Falcon I.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (5, Insightful)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977299)

We all realize the purpose of the space station is to provide scientific research...

Bullshit.

The reason it's a good move though isn't safety or anything like that. The cost of the experiments they run is nothing compared with maintaining the station, and the experiments the astronauts are performing are not dangerous at all. The reason it's a good move is because it's the next best thing to scrapping the whole thing and letting the station fall from the sky (which is what they really want to do, but can't because of contractual agreements, international relations, public backlash, embarrassment, Bush, ...)

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977306)

Except it's not about safety, it's about money or rather the lack of it. Well that and NASA inability to send people into space, although I'm sure a few billion to Russia could fix that problem for a while. A better analogy would be moving into a city before every building is finished... because those modules are self sufficient right now. Look at Mir, you don't need a giant ISS to live and work in space.

The real reason US-americans hate the ISS... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977318)

...is of course the "I" part. The alleged lack of science is only a scapegoat (of course it doesn't produce science, since it's only supported half-heartedly). But with the "I" part they can't stroke their jingoistic ego.

So they'd rather waste their money on killing a bunch of sand-niggers because that makes them oh-so-much superior and everyone is only thankful for beeing converted to their superior way of life even if it means being killed like an animal.

Re:The real reason US-americans hate the ISS... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977413)

That is so not fair. I have several pretty good friends who have been stationed in the middle east, and not a single one has talked about going out and killing sand niggers.

The phrase is Hadji Hunting (not sure about the spelling, just learned it word of mouth.)

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (naut really) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977319)

They all volunteered and worked hard to get into that (astronaut) program. Who are you to tell them they can't take the risk? (jeesh more NASCAR drivers have died than astronauts) Heck let's post the risk factor on a display each time and let them go for it. They can quit if they want. Not that I am advocating wasting perfectly good astronauts but once we finish blowing up the rest of the shuttles maybe we can get serious about a real space launch vehicle.

>You'll all probably mod me down for this, but I actually this is a good move on NASA's
>part. We all realize the purpose of the space station is to provide scientific research,
>but in light of recent problems plaguing the shuttle program, the safety of the astronauts
>should be the foremost consideration. Not much point in moving into an appartment building
>until its been built, and the same thing applies to an orbiting piece of metal.

It makes a lot of sense (5, Insightful)

Julian Morrison (5575) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977340)

...if you take building the ISS as a goal.

But frankly, why would you? ISS isn't a step forward to anywhere. It doesn't do anything much other than "showcase international cooperation". The science it was doing was of the "train ants to sort tiny screws in space" variety. Even the Wikipedia article can't muster much definitive purpose, beyond the usual vague claim of technical spin-offs.

They should either decide that it's a tool for a task, redesign and build towards that, or de-orbit the whole junkpile into the nearest ocean. To carry on building for the sake of mere inertia would be nuts.

Re:It makes a lot of sense (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977449)

I agree but I have to also ask what is the point of the whole space program? It's hard to really point at anything that is a direct result of research done in space. I know that the microprocessor got a good leg up from the space program but it could easily be argued that it would have happened about then any way. Yes the space program gave us Teflon. Wait a minute is that it. Just Teflon! How many billions has the space program cost? The problem is the advances they came up with are almost always self serving - which makes sense. In the recent past, however, it doesn't seem to have made any advances. Personally I think that's because risk has become a dirty word so we have to use only tried and trusted technology.

I love space research, have done ever since I was a kid, but this current obsession with flexing the scientific muscle and shooting people into space is just a huge waste of money. I don't see how people are going to do any research that couldn't be done by a machine.

Re:It makes a lot of sense (2, Insightful)

The Wooden Badger (540258) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977473)

The space program also gave us Gore-Tex. I likes the Gore-Tex. Then there's also the probes that have been sent out into space and the space telescopes. I'm pretty sure our knowledge of Physics has been advanced by the space program, but yeah other than that it's Teflon.

Re:It makes a lot of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977691)

I seem to recall Velcro and Mylar as being materials developed for the space program. Why else would someone develop a piece of metal that acts like cloth.

Re:It makes a lot of sense (3, Interesting)

DenDave (700621) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977477)

Well manned spaceflight has always had a portion of national pride involved and well, today's geopolitical situation doesn't really warrant that kind of muscle flexing. In addition, the "feel good" component is hardly relevant to a country who has just proven it's inability to care for it's own people in light of a disaster.

Society as a whole is slowly tetering off balance, not only in the US but the rioting in France shows that Europe is not immune to the decay of the fabric of society. Manned spaceflight is just not something we have the luxury of playing with when the barbarians are at the gates of Rome, I can only pray we don't fall asleep before they make the final charge.

Re:It makes a lot of sense (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977598)

Fuck science. Seriously. The point of Space Station Freedom, before it morphed into the freakin' ISS was to serve as a staging point to build really big spacecraft. Ya know how NASA's new Exploration Systems Architecture Study (aka Apollo On Steroids) is suggesting that we launch people and cargo seperately? Well guess what, that's not a new concept. NASA's recognition of this classical idea has been done with a typical failure of imagination. Here's a crazy idea. Instead of launching one rocket with people on it and one rocket with cargo on it and doing a dock before you send it off to the Moon, how about we send fifty rockets with cargo on em and five rockets with people on em, and have them meet up with some kind of space station, integrate them together and then send them off to the Moon to do something fuckin' useful like colonize the place.

Re:It makes a lot of sense (1)

AlphaJoe (798014) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977737)

I looked at the aforementioned wikipedia article, and it is lame at best, which is something I have discovered about that site. I use wiki as a last resort most of the time.

If you want better info on ISS, go here [astronautix.com] . Or, if you wish, just google "international space station history".

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1)

vinlud (230623) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977345)

but in light of recent problems plaguing the shuttle program, the safety of the astronauts should be the foremost consideration.

It seems to me this is the cause of the current problems with the US spaceprogram, not the solution. I think the astronauts are perfectly capable to understand the inherent risks of spaceflight and to decide whether to go or stay on the ground. Moreover, they could decide to use Russian spacecraft to keep the ISS running its scientific thingy but national pride seems to have won over logic again.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977362)

It seems to me this is the cause of the current problems with the US spaceprogram, not the solution. I think the astronauts are perfectly capable to understand the inherent risks of spaceflight and to decide whether to go or stay on the ground. Moreover, they could decide to use Russian spacecraft to keep the ISS running its scientific thingy but national pride seems to have won over logic again.

When it comes to crew safety Soyuz is a lot better than the NASA shuttle anyway.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (3, Informative)

A non-mouse Cow Herd (67426) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977535)

When it comes to crew safety Soyuz is a lot better than the NASA shuttle anyway.
Not really. Soyuz record in 'fatal accidents per flight' is slightly worse. Both systems have had 2 fatal incidents, but soyuz has flown less flights. Total fatalities Soyuz is a lot less, but so is crew carried per flight.

From a statistical point of view, its pretty much a wash. On could argue that soyuz fatalities happened early in the program, so it is more mature now, but OTOH, Soyuz has also had a lot of close calls, including ones that resulting in mission failure and serious injury to the crew. On the most recent landing they had an unplanned loss of cabin pressure. Many of the other recent flights have also had significant issues.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1)

Jason1729 (561790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977424)

If the safety were so bad you could guarantee 100% it was a one way trip, there would still be no shortage of astronauts willing to go.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (5, Insightful)

Mike Markley (9536) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977405)

Except that nowhere did it state that we wouldn't be sending crew. All it says is that the scientific programs have been cancelled and that they're going to focus on reliably transporting crew to orbit before they try to conduct research. Evidently the ISS is now a multi-billion dollar campsite in space. Maybe we can get a sponsorshop from KOA.

We can't have it both ways (saving money/focusing resources by not conducting research while still expending resources keeping it running), and we shouldn't try. Either fund the fucking thing, hand it over to the Europeans and Japanese and let them worry about it, or deorbit it and be done with it. Or, as they say in some circles: shit or get off the pot.

Re:Its Actually a Good Move (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977740)

So building the station, which requires a lot of EVAs and maneuvering large items, is less dangerous than floating around inside taking data? You really have no idea what the hell you are talking about, do you?

This is just another example of the Bush Administration trying to destroy manned spaceflight. "Hey, let's put a bean counter in charge!" "Hey, let's take all the money away from the scientific programs so we can put it all into a 'Mars' program that we have no intention of ever funding acceptably!" Just as the Republicans are trying to cash starve the government in an attempt to bankrupt it and give themselves the excuse to cut all funding that doesn't directly benefit their base (the oil industry, the defense industry . . . ), they are trying to cash starve NASA so they can take manned space flight away from them and give it to the Air Force.

Great! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977287)

Considering the ISS hasn't produced any scientific results worthy of the name, I don't regard this as any great loss. I'd even go so far as to call it anti-scientific - the one thing the ISS has managed to do is strangle funding for telescopes and rovers that that might send back actual data. The ISS hasn't sent back anything more interesting than a bit more footage of astronauts chasing globules of tang.

Re:Great! (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977488)

Experiments on the ISS has been made to better understand biological effects on organisms (humans, plants, etc) in space.
If we one day want to send more than these rovers and telescopes to space, these things are pretty useful to know.
It has been a useful platform to provide an actual unsimulated environment for these experiments to take place in.

Re:Great! (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977550)

Hang on... Thought occurs:
Space shuttle exists to complete the Space station. Space station now exists to be completed by the shuttle. Shuttle's other useful science missions like servicing hubble are cancelled because of space station. Is this now anything more than a perpetually self sustaning pork mission?
Now I'm all for the idea of building LEO infrastructure, for use as handy stepping points. In the same way as when you settle a new continent, one of first things you do is build a port, we should be building a port up there. If they have admitted this is what needs to happen and so are putting all resources into that in the form of this space station, then great.
However I'm a little concerned this is not the case. Especially after new they're cancelling research into nuke reactors for the moon base:
http://www.space-travel.com/news/nasa-05zf.html [space-travel.com]

So what actually is NASA's goal if they're cancelling all the stuff you need before you get to the moon and all the stuff you need once you're there?
This is beginning to look more and more like apollo 50 years later taking 10 years longer and acomplashing nothing more. And if they can't afford to maintain the space staion how will they maintain a moon base much further away, I just can't see it. Unless they will get the cash once other contries start playing around there too, so until then it's a spiral development program?

Re:Great! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977615)

Fuck Science. Let's stop talking about "science" as the holy grail of the space program. You want science, go look at the cute little rovers and the probe cruisin' around Saturn at the moment. Lots of science. Yah. The purpose of manned space flight should be colonization of the solar system. Go back to the Moon. Go on to Mars. Live there and trade with Earth.

Re:Great! (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977679)

Isn't it amazing that when the world works together, how little is really accomplished? ISS, UN, etc...

Just imagine (4, Insightful)

davmoo (63521) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977291)

Imagine what the station could have been like if our government hadn't wasted that $300 billion dollars bombing the shit out of another nation based on lies about invisible weapons of mass destruction.

Its funny how we can always come up with money to kill, but there's never enough money for science.

Re:Just imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977389)

Are you saying that killing is not a science?

I s'pose you're right. It's really more of an artform.

Re:Just imagine (5, Insightful)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977520)

Imagine what the station could have been like if our government hadn't wasted that $300 billion dollars bombing the shit out of another nation based on lies about invisible weapons of mass destruction.
I have imagined, and it would be exactly like it is now. Do you honestly think that the federal government was intending to shower 10s or 100s of billions of dollars on NASA if we didn't go to Iraq? The answer is simply no. The NASA budget has been tight for decades. Any argument that NASA would be in much better shape if it wasn't for Iraq is simply ludicrous. Let's stay on subject.

Re:Just imagine (1)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977568)

What an amusing non-response. You seem to have missed the key line:

Its funny how we can always come up with money to kill, but there's never enough money for science.

Re:Just imagine (1)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977660)

No, I did not miss that line. My objection to the original parent is same objection that I have to all similar overly simplistic statements. Replace his line with " we can afford to put a man on the moon, but not solve poverty in the US." In my view, both are equally senseless.

Re:Just imagine (5, Funny)

master_p (608214) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977592)

Combine those $300 billion dollars with all the other amounts of money spent by other countries for military purposes, plus all other amounts for stupid things (for example paying athletes millions for kicking a ball), and you get the idea of were money is wasted at.

With that amount of money, we could start building the NCC Enterprise and finish it in 100 years, while in the meantime discovering antigravity and antimatter warp drive.

I am a citizen of the world. Everyday I talk to tens of people from all around the globe, thanks to the internet. I feel silly when the world 'war' is mentioned, because I do not have any real differences with other people. All our differences are artificial, introduced by megalomaniac leaders that want to take over the world, but have no more brain that ...Pinky and Brain.

WE /.ERS MUST START AN INTERNATIONAL MOVE FOR STOPPING ALL PRODUCTION OF WEAPONS OF ALL TYPES OF PURPOSES IN ALL COUNTRIES. THINGS ARE GETTING SILLIER BY THE MINUTE, AND IT IS UP TO US TO SAVE THE WORLD!!!

Re:Just imagine (3, Insightful)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977696)

Imagine what the station could have been like if our government hadn't wasted that $300 billion dollars bombing the shit out of another nation based on lies about invisible weapons of mass destruction.

Better yet, imagine what the Apollo programme could have been like if the government hadn't wasted all that money bombing the shit out of another nation based on paranoia about communism and the domino theory...

Another space programme, another pointless bloody mess of a war. America, Fuck Yeah!

Re:Just imagine (2, Interesting)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977907)

That's really insightful, because the Apollo program was completely funded as a means to plant flags in the dust, and totally not as way of showcasing our ability to deliver ICBM payloads precisely to insanely distant targets.

You know, I found the whole "wow, we're spending money on Iraq" argument insteresting the first time someone brought it up, but... Oh wait, no I didn't think it was interesting then either, because it's idiotic. America spends shitloads of cash on shitsloads of things. Hey, I bet if we didn't have interstate highways, we could spend it on space stations!! Or hey, let's get rid of firemen and just make moon buggies!! We don't need cops: more warp drive, plz!!! Or any other damn thing we spend money on. Except wait, no, we weren't willing to spend money on space in the 1990s when the budget was loose, and we aren't willing to now when the budget is tight. The only time we were interested in spending money on it, was when it looked like there might be some military benefits to doing it. Just shut the fuck up about this shit, and saving it for when it's even vaguely related to the topic at hand.

And I say this as someone oppossed to the fucking war!

Sad that it has come to this (5, Interesting)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977297)

There are two types of critics of the US space program - the ones who criticize them for the horrible decisions they have been making for the last 30 years (starting with decision to go ahead with the STS system) and hte ones who think the whole thing is a waste of money and should be cancelled. The problem is that when the former group speak out, they give the latter group all the ammunition they could want.

Money makes the world go round (3, Insightful)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977301)

I think there will be hotels in space befor they finaly finnish the ISS. ISS will be renamed I-DSS and used to house the minimum wage cleaners for the hotels.

Seriously though, people in a space station are very expensive in the long run and although they provide fascility for micro-gravity research ect alot of this could be achived with and un-maned drone.
People on the moon however I think is a much better idea as with a few basic supplies it could become self sufficiant what with all the free water and an ample back yard to stick solar pannels, make hydrogen fuel and grow food stuffs. Plus the added bonus of hulking great lumps of rock to shield from radiation.

Water on the Moon (1)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977498)

People on the moon however I think is a much better idea as with a few basic supplies it could become self sufficiant what with all the free water and an ample back yard to stick solar pannels

Are you sure about "free water"? Last I checked, any significant amount of water on the Moon was still just a hypothesis. Apollo astronauts found none, the Lunar Prospector found none, and the best bet seems to be that it might exist in some of the shaded craters near the poles.

This is quite important, because transporting water to the Moon (from Earth at least) is likely to be very expensive. In the longer term, chances are it would have to be extracted from the Moon somehow if it's there, or obtainted from somewhere else.

No More US Science on the ISS (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977302)


The correct headline should be "No More US Science on the ISS". Other ISS participants (Russians, Europeans, etc.) are very likely to conduct scientific experiments, even if limited.

Re:No More US Science on the ISS (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977332)

Oh please. No other nation produces any science worth mentioning. I learnt that in highschool!

Re:No More US Science on the ISS (1)

mstefanus (705346) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977410)

"No More US Science on the ISS"

Its because of this [slashdot.org]

Bush trying to go one up on Clinton (2, Interesting)

axonis (640949) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977303)

This is just the Bush adinistration trying to go one up on Clinton with the ISS, also to try beat the Chinese back to the moon.

What we have then... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977315)

...is the most expensive toilet in the solar system.

I mean, seriously, with no research going on and barely any construction between now and 2012, all you have is a group of people eating and shitting, no?

I'm glad to see my tax dollars aren't being wasted on something trivial like curing cancer or developing safe, inexpensive, practical sources of energy.

Smokescreen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977324)

What they really want is to cancel the ISS. It's more acceptable to announce the cancellation only in 2010, when people have mostly forgotten the money that was spent on this.

Oh noes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977361)

Now we will never know whether ants can sort tiny screws in zero-g.

Forget NASA -- We Need Space Vegas! (4, Funny)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977364)

Hey, Golden Palace Casino...
I don't think there's any orbital gambling laws in place.
Why don't you all just be good folks and build us all a Floating Space Casino.

Who gives a rat about NASA science projects when all we really need is booze and floating space strippers? I bet Space Vegas would finally make us an intergalactic empire!

Re:Forget NASA -- We Need Space Vegas! (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977450)

Thank you for your input, Bender! Aren't you around a little early, though?

Re:Forget NASA -- We Need Space Vegas! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977762)

Bite my shiney metal neck! My heads been buried in the sands outside Roswell for 49 years

Where's the science? (5, Informative)

chazR (41002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977379)

A quick search on arxiv.org for 'International Space Station' yields four papers. [arxiv.org]

For comparison, a search for 'Hubble Space Telescope' gives over 200 papers [arxiv.org] .

Not a definitive result, but it seems to indicate that there's not much science being done anyway.

Re:Where's the science? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977397)

Not only is it just 4 results, three of them are on the same experiement.

Re:Where's the science? (5, Insightful)

Thomsen (30383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977493)

A quick search on arxiv.org for 'International Space Station' yields four papers.

For comparison, a search for 'Hubble Space Telescope' gives over 200 papers.


On the other hand a quick search on MedLine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi [nih.gov] for "International Space Station" gives 511 papers, whereas a search for "Hubble Space Telescope" only gives 70 papers.

The low number of papers found at arxiv.org is probably related to a selection bias from that site. In particular, medical sciences seems not to be represented. Similarly, papers related to the Hubble Space Telescope is not well represented in MedLine.

Cancel it now (3, Insightful)

seanellis (302682) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977461)

If the goal is to kill it, then why keep spending the money on construction if it's never going to be finished?

I'd say cut your losses, mothball it now and spend the money on robotic missions to Europa, a prototype asteroid mining mission that actually produces real product (e.g. water for reaction mass), orbiters for Uranus and Neptune, advanced nuclear (ooh, the n-word!) propulsion systems so that deep space missions that don't take decades, and actually get some science done.

I guess it's all a bit moot, though, since by 2020 everyone will be buying elevator tickets from Liftport instead... :-)

Re:Cancel it now (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977642)

You said that S word again. Fuck Science. Stop this space-flight-is-for-science-only bullshit. You want space science? Go fuckin' live there. Oh, you can't, that's the fuckin' problem. That's what we should be fixing.

Good riddance (4, Funny)

varjag (415848) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977470)

The idea of doing science at a tourist resort is ridiculous anyway.

relatively speaking ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977502)

i was not a great discocery to bring fresh fruit
on board a ship in Columbuses times, just
like it wasn't much of a "discovery" to bring
lemon tress, etc ... on a ship sailing around
the globe ...
my guess is that the ISS has made many small
but important "discoveries" for future
long duration manned space flights ... but nothing
bill board worth like "cure to cancer discovered
on ISS" :P i mean didn't the japanese have some
neat-o material research in zero-g with results?!

...from now on it'll be creationism all the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977551)

:P

never getting a flu shot again (2, Funny)

SledgeHBK (148480) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977562)

"I'm afraid I can't let you conduct your experiments here, Dave."

Stop ISS construction (2, Insightful)

TropicalCoder (898500) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977573)

Back before we had space stations, Science Fiction always visualized them as a way point for other destinations rather than just for research. Seems scientific research alone can't justify the enormous expense involved, and that the concept of a space station as a jumping off point is not often considered as necessary.

I would like to offer an alternative to completing the ISS, and Pres. Bush's "Moon, Mars, and beyond". How about we make "The Search for Life" the priority instead? For the price of the ISS, we could have had rovers on all the planetary bodies where there is even a remote chance of finding life, and sample return missions as well. The ISS can be used as is, as a quarantine for the returning samples. Put manned exploration on the back burner for now. At the rate technology is always advancing, when we get back to doing manned missions someday, we will have - who knows - space elevators or whatever to make the job much easier. The advantage of the focus as I propose is that it doesn't call for some mega-construction with mega-funding and attendant mega-bureaucracy. By it's nature, it's done in small steps like NASA's "Smaller, cheaper, faster" missions. Just imagine little rovers on the ground, and rovers in the air, all over the Solar System? Scientists will access and guide them via the Internet. Every university in the world will participate. I think it's a good bet were are going to find some microbes somewhere. Even if we don't, we will have learned a tremendous amount of planetary sciences along the way, much more than we ever would as things stand.

so... (1)

idlake (850372) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977637)

what's the news in that?

Seriously, there has been very little science accomplished on the ISS, at least relative to the enormous amounts of money it has consumed.

Let's face some facts: (4, Interesting)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977645)

1. No more science to be done on the ISS. Who noticed? When compared to the Hubble, where is the outcry from the scientific community?
2. If there's no science to be done on the ISS, why is it manned?
3. If it shouldn't be manned and there's no science to be done, why is it there?

It's a matter of time before there's a Survivor: International Space Station, where the losers get flung out of the hatch and make their own way back by hitching a ride on the next Soyuz.

Finally, a chance for Intelligent Design (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977732)

With "Science" out of the way, that clears the way to complete construction on the ISS and clearly the ISS is too complex to have evolved in place (and we have found no space "creatures" that show intermediate steps), so clearly the ISS is the result of Intelligent Design.
Game Set Match.
Kansas wins!

Think Defense Research (2, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977763)

Clearly it will be converted to DoD R+D work, aka 'black' projects. The administration has never made a secret of their desire to militarize space.

Roger that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977794)

Houston: New rules crew, no more sex in space.
Crew: YOu're breaking up Houston, repeat last transmission.
Houston: New rules crew, no more science or sex in space.
Crew: Roger that Houston, no more science in space. What was that about sex?
Houston: Repeat, no more sex or science in space!
Crew: But... Ok. BTW, Is Red Dwarf still ok to watch?

The ISS is like a big Windows PC! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977797)

Gotta spend so much time and effort maintaining it, there's hardly any time left to actually use it for what it was intended!
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