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U.S. Satellite Programs in Jeopardy of Collapse

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the hold-a-bake-sale dept.

328

smooth wombat writes "A committee of the National Academy of Sciences, headed by Richard Anthens, has warned that 'the vitality of Earth science and application programs has been placed at substantial risk by a rapidly shrinking budget.' The list of Earth-observing satellite programs affected is a long one and includes satellite programs which observe nearly every aspect of Earth's climate. A delay in launching a replacement satellite or the disabling of a current satellite without a replacement could mean that data necessary to monitor or predict an upcoming event would be severely restricted. For its part NASA says that tight budgets force it to cut funding for all but the most vital programs. 'We simply cannot afford all of the missions that our scientific constituencies would like us to sponsor,' NASA administrator Michael Griffin told members of Congress when he testified before the House Science Committee February 16."

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328 comments

Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (5, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865702)

$400 billion for the Iraq war. All of it pissed away and probably actually hurt our efforts on the war on terror. By comparison, NASA's budget is only $16 billion per year.

That's not right (1, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865737)

It's guns and butter. You just make some token gestures of restraint on the butter side so you don't scare off the people who really count: the lenders.

A time honored variant of this is that you have your bullets shipped in butter cartons, pay for them out of the butter budget, then sweep the details under the Rug of Aggregation.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865738)

Not only the $400B, we have to keep paying into the future - soldier's benefits aren't cheap plus the soldiers wounded are a long-term (rightfully so) expense as well and veteran's benefits make up a significant portion of the yearly budget and is not part of the military budget itself.

All of that, so we could show the world how awesome our toys are. Oh, and spreading democracy throughout the world.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (5, Insightful)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865784)

That will not be a problem because Bush keeps cutting Veteran's benefits, to the tune of over $14 Billion since he took office.

Support our troops indeed.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (4, Informative)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865890)

Yes, you're right of course. I read somewhere yesterday (but now can't find the link) that when you factor in the cost of looking after veterans and all the additional costs, the war comes to about $1trillion - $2.2trillion over the long term.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865923)

Not to mention the costs of the wide variety of perks that we're having to hand out to other countries to either gain their support for the war or to win back their trust. I shudder to think what kind of "incentives" we must be giving to countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. to keep their support. Hell, look what the UAE support is already costing us.

The least successful war in U.S. history is probably going to be the costliest too.

-Eric

Eh? (5, Insightful)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866068)

The least successful war in U.S. history is probably going to be the costliest too.

Least successful war? I nominate three others...

Vietnam, which we LOST. Many more allied casualties than this war, war aims not achieved, one million Vietnamese dead.

Korea, which was a DRAW. Also many more casualies than this war, war aims not achieved, barely held on to S. Korea, lots of Koreans dead.

The War of 1812, which we LOST. Washington DC sacked and burned to the ground. More American casualties than this war, and signifiant homeground damage due to British invasion. Oh yeah, and it made Andrew Jackson the indian-killing moron a war hero.

I might also mention the American Civil War, but at least a few good things came out of that one. Also some bad things, like one out of three American males dead. But hey, who's counting?

If you calculate the cost of these wars in constant dollars, some of them, particularly Korea if you include reconstruction (which I assume people are including in the Iraq cost), approaches the current cost of the Iraq War. It is likely that before the end, the Iraq War and reconstruction will end up costing more than Korea, but not by much.

Now, I think that the Iraq War is an expensive and miserable failure, same as the next guy, but hyperbole really weakens the case, don't you think?

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865932)

Oh God that's just the START of it! Have a look at history people. Have a look at post war Europe or even Vietnam again. The real costs of war haven't even begun yet.

For starters....

Medicare for the next ten generations of freaks that will be born to all those poor guys coming home with their bodies full of DU dust.

Social service, psychologists, domestic courts and police costs to deal with with the abuse, alcoholism and drug dependency of seriously damaged vets.

Soaring crime from disaffected vets who fought for their country and now cant afford to eat.

Ongoing economic fallout from the other five and a half billion inhabitants of Earth who will now longer buy American products and educate their children to do the same.

A huge blow to self esteem for each and every American for losing another war, which will surely lead to yet another one within a decade.

Suffering from terrorist reprisals.

Humiliation of having the president tried at the ICC for war crimes and hung.

Bush has fucked you so good you don't even realise how much your backside is gonna sting in the morning.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865745)

Putting satellites into orbit is science interfering with God's domain.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (5, Informative)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865842)

These NASA cuts are just the tip of what coming up.

Americans have spent way too much money;
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&si d=amz.HoNLRL_0&refer=us [bloomberg.com]

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (4, Insightful)

pubjames (468013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866093)

Wow.

What I don't understand is why there isn't more alarm in the USA about this situation. From my studies of economics I have come to understand that we don't really understand economics - for every economist that says the debt in the USA is a big problem, you can find another that will say it's not a problem at all. Conclusion - we don't know. However, as a biologist I do understand that graphs like this one generally indicate that a big change is about to happen:

http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/history.gif [brillig.com]

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (1)

UU7 (103653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865862)

If you can't see it, it's not there.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (0)

paul.tap (717722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865866)

In the old USSR age, the states in Eastern Europe also were known as satellites. So spending cleary has increased. Or does it mean that the US will be on the losing side after all...

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (2, Funny)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865895)

Darn. I missed my opportunity to drop the green flag on the bush bashing because NASA has to have a real budget.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (1)

XMilkProject (935232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865916)

Nearly $300 billion a year in foreign aid. All of it pissed away and probably actually hurt our efforts on the war on poverty. By comparison, NASA's budget is only $16 billion per year.

* Look, I can make completely unsubstantiated statements too! *

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866077)

Cite for your figure?

I find $19,705 million for 2004 (cf France with $8,473 million).

source [oecd.org] , found via [globalissues.org]

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (0, Troll)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865917)

Cost of missing 6 weeks worth of ocean surface temperature, a quarter's loss of micromeasurement of ocean surface levels, or a year's worth of rainforest acreage photographs: pretty much nothing.

Cost of leaving a dictator in power: (excerpts from: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_pr eview.asp?idArticle=3889&R= [weeklystandard.com] )
"Four months before Saddam's fall, Human Rights Watch estimated that up to 290,000 people had "disappeared" since the late 1970s and were presumed dead. The Coalition Provisional Authority's human rights office estimates that 300,000 bodies are contained in the numerous mass graves. "And that's the lower end of the estimates," said one CPA spokesperson. In fact, the accumulated credible reports make the likely number at least 400,000 to 450,000. So, by a conservative estimate, the regime was killing civilians at an average rate of at least 16,000 a year between 1979 and March 2003."
(Of course, any numbers of killings do not include many thousands of cases of torture, rape, amputation, branding, and other atrocities committed by Saddam's regime that stopped short of death.)
[Furthermore,] U.N. economic sanctions were also killing civilians. Critics regularly claimed sanctions caused 4,000 to 5,000 Iraqi children to die per month from poor nutrition and health care. UNICEF attributed some 500,000 unnecessary deaths to the sanctions in the 1990s. The sanctions remained in place as long as Saddam's regime refused to comply with international requirements. Liberation made it possible to lift the sanctions almost immediately--thus saving approximately 60,000 lives a year, if we use UNICEF's numbers.


Meanwhile in many sections of Iraq, people have their first clean water, their first reliable electricity, their first real sewer system, ever. Hundreds of schools, dozens of hospitals exist where no service was available for at least 20 years.

Yeah, what *were* we thinking? We should have saved the money and spent it on satellites!

I know it's TERRIBLY fashionable among some circles to be against the war. But I think your throwaway comment that the money was 'pissed away' is somewhat hyperbolic, if not a downright lie.

Just mod me (troll) now.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (2)

bogado (25959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865924)

Nasa, with those damn satelites controling how the wheater is on the globe predicted that there will be warmth and that the enterprises and cars should controll their emissions. Advising that combustible fuels should not be used anymore. All those things are bad, in the point of view of the Bush Administration, why would he give money to those satelites?

I am certainly not surprised.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (5, Interesting)

God'sDuck (837829) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865937)

Has anyone raised the point that the current NASA director may actually have some very smart advisors? Six months ago NASA was doing the worst possible thing (economically) but the best for short-term job-security: kowtowing to Congress and saying "Oh yes great leaders we will do more with less." Now, someone had the bright idea, and the balls, to stick it to Congress, and announce cancellation after cancellation -- which doesn't mean the programs will actually *be* cancelled. This could all be a massive game of chicken, in which NASA releases press release after press release hitting constituency after constituency until 51% of congress has people set to be directly harmed by the cuts (lost jobs, lost revenue from satellite services, etc), and actually hands over the cash to save the programs. The director will piss off his bosses and may lose his job, but he'll save his organization.

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (1)

sledd_1 (464094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865972)

It's fairly common knowledge that the Aerospace and Defense spending is expected to collapse at the end of this administration. Bush "never saw a bill he didn't like", so has managed to rubber-stamp every budget increase that came across his desk.

What isn't common knowledge is when said administration will end :)

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (1)

BlindRobin (768267) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865981)

Silly silly rationalists. There is no need to worry your little science addled heads about the future.

The end times are upon us.

Re:How can you mod this comment down??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866026)


Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns.
(Score:2)
by (arg!)Styopa (232550) on Tuesday March 07, @09:13AM

Cost of missing 6 weeks worth of ocean surface temperature, a quarter's loss of micromeasurement of ocean surface levels, or a year's worth of rainforest acreage photographs: pretty much nothing.

Cost of leaving a dictator in power: (excerpts from: http://www.weeklystandard.com/Utilities/printer_pr [weeklystandard.com] eview.asp?idArticle=3889&R= [weeklystandard.com])
"Four months before Saddam's fall, Human Rights Watch estimated that up to 290,000 people had "disappeared" since the late 1970s and were presumed dead. The Coalition Provisional Authority's human rights office estimates that 300,000 bodies are contained in the numerous mass graves. "And that's the lower end of the estimates," said one CPA spokesperson. In fact, the accumulated credible reports make the likely number at least 400,000 to 450,000. So, by a conservative estimate, the regime was killing civilians at an average rate of at least 16,000 a year between 1979 and March 2003."
(Of course, any numbers of killings do not include many thousands of cases of torture, rape, amputation, branding, and other atrocities committed by Saddam's regime that stopped short of death.)
[Furthermore,] U.N. economic sanctions were also killing civilians. Critics regularly claimed sanctions caused 4,000 to 5,000 Iraqi children to die per month from poor nutrition and health care. UNICEF attributed some 500,000 unnecessary deaths to the sanctions in the 1990s. The sanctions remained in place as long as Saddam's regime refused to comply with international requirements. Liberation made it possible to lift the sanctions almost immediately--thus saving approximately 60,000 lives a year, if we use UNICEF's numbers.

Meanwhile in many sections of Iraq, people have their first clean water, their first reliable electricity, their first real sewer system, ever. Hundreds of schools, dozens of hospitals exist where no service was available for at least 20 years.

Yeah, what *were* we thinking? We should have saved the money and spent it on satellites!

I know it's TERRIBLY fashionable among some circles to be against the war. But I think your throwaway comment that the money was 'pissed away' is somewhat hyperbolic, if not a downright lie.

Just mod me (troll) now.

--I am just asking??? ---

Re:Guns or butter? Bush chooses guns. (1)

slashdotnickname (882178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866082)

$400 billion for the Iraq war. All of it pissed away and probably actually hurt our efforts on the war on terror.

Let's see how "insightful" you'll be 20 years from now, with a democratic Iraq flourishing for all its people and not just the few tyrants that its past was full of. Then let's see how other countries are doing. Most are currently run by a few, but even now we're starting to see Arabic people from all over that region becoming bolder in their demands for more freedoms. $400 billion is nothing when you consider the long term positive effects that this temporary chaos will eventually have on that region, and the world for that matter. Of course, when you're cheering for the wrong side, it's easier to imagine it all going wrong and being a "waste of money".

Oh dear... (5, Insightful)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865703)

The first thing I thought when I read the title was that, yet again, people were cancelling missions because they had no "obvious benefit" or some such nonsense, completely missing the point that science for science's sake has often lead to many of the greatest breakthroughs in science history.

However, I realised that they're not just cancelling missions that are trying to learn more generally, they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

What ARE the Americans playing at? This seems to me to be a very foolish course of action, these problems will not go away if we're blind to them...

Re:Oh dear... (1)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865732)

they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

In other words, missions which are directly hurting Bush's biggest sponsors.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865755)

I didn't want to be the one to say it, but it does seem rather convinient...

Re:Oh dear... (0)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865733)

weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

Yet I haven't seen proof that any of these things are avoidable or even a problem. You're saying it is ok to rob from me to pay others to do research that I'm not interested in. If you think these issues are so important, why won't people voluntarily pay to research them, as we do in other sciences?

You also say that public research brings advances to society, but I don't believe that, either. The greatest advances in society happen in competitive marketplaces when businesses see a consumer need to be filled. NASA doesn't have consumers, and it creates needs out of thin air.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865770)

So what your basically saying is:

"There has been no proof for global warming, so we shouldn't look for or research global warming".

I rest my case...

Re:Oh dear... (5, Insightful)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865782)

Because vaccination was discovered and promited by a businessman...oh wait, no.

The Beethoven Corporation brought us a lot of great music...oh, wait, no.

I'm so happy businesses created this Internet thing that we're using...crap, no, they didn't do that, either.

I'm sorry, I'd like to provide more examples, but I think this is the stupidest thing that I have ever read.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865976)

Without business, vaccinations wouldn't have been mass produced, you wouldn't be able to buy a Beethoven CD, and the Internet would have been something for universities and the military, not the general public.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

moe.ron (953702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865788)

Yet I haven't seen proof that any of these things are avoidable or even a problem. You're saying it is ok to rob from me to pay others to do research that I'm not interested in. If you think these issues are so important, why won't people voluntarily pay to research them, as we do in other sciences?

You also say that public research brings advances to society, but I don't believe that, either. The greatest advances in society happen in competitive marketplaces when businesses see a consumer need to be filled. NASA doesn't have consumers, and it creates needs out of thin air.
You say this as if the American public was given a list of stuff they wanted there tax dollars to pay for and chose the Iraq war over scientific research. This isn't about people deciding not to send that monthly check of $50 to NASA for aerospace research, this is about our government taking our money out of NASA's hands and placing it in the hands of defense contractors and war profiteers.

Also, the greatest advances in society happen in the open market place where you constantly have to worry about stepping on other people's copyrights and patents? Cuz most of them on my list are from garages, university basements, and government funded non-profits.

NASA doesn't have consumers? Never eaten Astronaut Iced Cream?

Re:Oh dear... (1)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865871)

Use a road lately? I am sure roads do not interest you personally all that much, but hey, you know, private corporations could do them better and charge us to drive on them!

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866008)

The greatest advances in society happen in competitive marketplaces when businesses see a consumer need to be filled.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

Re:Oh dear... (1)

luna69 (529007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866073)

> You're saying it is ok to rob from me to pay others to do research that I'm not interested in.

I see.

So it's "robbing from you" when taxes are used for fundamental research, but when my tax money goes to help the government kill people who don't look like I do across the ocean, it's "national security", eh?

> You also say that public research brings advances to society, but I don't believe that, either.

That may be the funniest, stupidest thing I've EVER read on /. And I've been here for a long time. Congrats.

Re:Oh dear... (0, Flamebait)

HanzoSpam (713251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865757)

The first thing I thought when I read the title was that, yet again, people were cancelling missions because they had no "obvious benefit" or some such nonsense, completely missing the point that science for science's sake has often lead to many of the greatest breakthroughs in science history.

NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Not a word in there about science.

If the scientists want an exclusive space program, let 'em pay for their own. This ain't it, no matter how much they might wish that to be the case.

Re:Oh dear... (3, Informative)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865958)

NASA = National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Not a word in there about science.


That has got to be about the dumbest fscking argument I've ever seen. Do you actually think that counts for something? Here's something called a fact. Watch out. This might hurt.

Quoted from the law which created NASA and guides it's purpose. http://www.nasa.gov/offices/ogc/about/space_act1.h tml#POLICY [nasa.gov]

DECLARATION OF POLICY AND PURPOSE
Sec. 102.(d) The aeronautical and space activities of the United States shall be conducted so as to contribute materially to one or more of the following objectives:

            (1) The expansion of human knowledge of the Earth and of phenomena in the atmosphere and space;


Sounds like science to me. Back under the bridge you little troll!

No, the reasoning is clear (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865813)

What ARE the Americans playing at? This seems to me to be a very foolish course of action, these problems will not go away if we're blind to them...

Well, the reasoning is pretty clear, if you accept one premise: anything the private sector might the government ought not do. By this way of reasoning, government weather monitoring, morally speaking, tantamount to theft of potential profits from private parties.

I'd posit, I hope in an impartial way, that acceptance of this precept is the greatest difference between the conservative and liberal theories of governance.

An alternative precept is this: the government should do any activity where, on the whole, the public benefits more from government participation than government non-participation. This is a liberal viewpoint. To represent the conservative viewpoint fairly, conservatives don't say this is false, but it is true only in a tautological sense. They believe that in any case where the private sector participates to some degree in an activity, public sector participation a priori impledes the progress of the public good. This means it is never the case that government activity in spheres the private sector is interested in does the public good, people of a conservative bent can hold both premises consistently.

Of course, these are caricatures of liberal and conservative thinking. Most thoughtful people don't reason exclusively from first principles to specific situations, but make allowances for exceptional circumstances.

In any case, while one might violently disagree with government policies of the left or right, the stupidity if it exists doesn't necessarily lie in the process of reasoning, but the first principles from which that reasoning proceeds.

Re:No, the reasoning is clear (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866058)

So now I'll have to subscribe to some monopoly to get a tornado warning?

I guess it's better to let the private sector take on vital services like this. I'm going to start a wellfare company, a police business, and a judicial corporation. Maybe I could get some pointers from the petrolium, pharmaceutical, and insurance industries about how to be fair, too...

-@

Missions value exaggerated (2, Interesting)

amightywind (691887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865852)

science for science's sake has often lead to many of the greatest breakthroughs in science history.

We are talking about observational science here. What great breakthroughs have EOS missions ever produced?

...they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

It doesn't sound like the GOES weather satellites are effected, just some of the more specific Earth Observing System missions. Strange that the scientists quoted in the article don't make the distinction. The EOS boondoggle has survived for almost 20 years and sucked untold billions out of NASA's budget. It is about time it got called to account. How do these rather specialized space missions help to "avoid natural disasters?". We already have realtime imagery of hurricanes and still people don't get out of the way. Satellites can't predict earthquakes, tsunamis, or volcanic eruptions. As for global warming, I am sure the state of the art will progress without a few extra missions. Government scientists have too much invested in the hysteria to let it go.

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865878)

...so America is responsible for giving everyone in the world information on what our rock looks like from outer space, but when they ask us for help on the ground itself, we just get mocked for the next ten years?

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865883)

The government is seeking to put their fingers in their ears and babble incessantly until global warming goes away. One way to avoid global warming is to make it impossible to measure. No measurement, no warming, no problem. Ok, now ready for the next election to be fought on "moral" grounds. I would rather have had an a-moral yutz like Kerry than an immoral murdering SOB like Bush and his treasonous (yes treason -- declassifying the identity of a CIA operative should still be considered treason) sidekick Cheney.

Re:Oh dear... (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865912)

Who needs to monitor for natural disasters when for only a few trillion more dollars we'll be building a city on the moon! Now there's a real priority!

Re:Oh dear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866042)

However, I realised that they're not just cancelling missions that are trying to learn more generally, they're cancelling missions that have immediate and obvious benefits: weather monitoring to try and help avoid natural disasters, studying global warming and suchlike.

The Administration has been saying that they had no warning about Katrina. Why that isn't true, by golly, they'll make sure it is this season!

Also, global warming is a myth. A scifi author told Bush so. See the Administration has been saying that 9/11 was completely unimaginable, but then they read these cool shoot 'em up novels by Tom Clancy. After finishing Sum of all Fears, or perhaps even reading page 1 [amazon.com] of Executive Orders, they found an attack suspicously similar to 9/11! So they've obviously learned their lesson and decided to read more books without pictures.

Get a bigger budget easily.... (2, Funny)

ZiakII (829432) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865705)

Just lie and say you're using that money to come out with some military weapon...

Re:Get a bigger budget easily.... (1)

moe.ron (953702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865838)

Just lie and say you're using that money to come out with some military weapon...

Or a satellite capable of finding oil reserves miles below the Earth's crust! :D

Re:Get a bigger budget easily.... (1)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866039)

Not sure why you are marked as funny, as this is what the space program did before.

OUTGOING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865713)

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A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (-1, Troll)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865714)

I know that NASA is a romantic lover of most slashdot readers, but I welcome any and all cuts that happen. I wish these cuts weren't performed so that the U.S. can finance its imperialism, but it is a start.

NASA has a 50+ year history of boondoggles including a recent billion dollar launch of a golf cart to the moon. I'm not sure I could find where in the U.S. Constitution Congress is allotted the money or power to launch golf carts for a billion dollars. All I really see is a slow moving, red-tape laden bureaucracy that gets little done with the massive amount of money it is given. Look at the $60b ISS for more of your money lost to cronyism.

Half of NASA's US$15b budget goes to these scientific satellites. The common response from slashdot readers is to the need for these satellites in advancing commercial applications, but no commercial application is really advanced efficiently without there being a commercial need to be filled. With Burt Rutan and Paul Allen's drive to create commercial viability in space, I'm seeing almost no need for NASA anymore. In fact, I believe NASA and the federal regulations on space flight are both keeping private competitive markets from blossoming.

The U.S. is bankrupt -- more bankrupt than any country in history. A great majority of the citizens of the State are so far in debt that there is no likelihood of escaping it in their lifetimes, so the citizens push the debt off to the next two generations. Your parents are destroying our futures, and we're destroying the futures of our children, because of outrageous and unconstitutional programs such as NASA.

Let's look at NASA for what it is and ignore the science fiction fantasy: NASA is a theft program where our elected officials rob money from citizens to pay for a boondoggle program that none of you would likely pay voluntarily. I don't see any public interest achievements in NASA, and I definitely don't see why NASA or the U.S. government needs to be handling any scientific research.

If you're afraid for the climate or the environment, donate your money voluntarily to commercial or not-for-profit businesses to create research wings. Asking me to pick up the tab for your toys, against my will, is really not acceptible anymore to me. I've looked at the budget, and it seems to be one big cash cow for Boeing and other corporate cronies that have received billions over the decades.

It is time to just end the program entirely and leave it up to a competitive marketplace. There are enough billionaires with money to spend, let them finance these toys strictly for ego.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

ChowRiit (939581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865739)

Maybe if you guys spent the money on something like, I don't know, a national healthcare system, or something sensible, we wouldn't mind. However, invading other countries, against international law, and to no demonstratable benefit, is NOT a more productive use of your money.

Companies will only research what is commercially viable. The true breakthroughs come from science for science's sake, and this can't be done without funding.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865750)

National Healthcare is not acceptable to me -- there is no mandate or power to Congress to provide it. I would rather cut government spending (and the defense budget) 90%, and give U.S. citizens the power to trade with everyone. The most loved countries in the world are those that openly trade without tariffs, embargoes or warmongering.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866075)

If the US can do what us aussies have (largely) done and eliminate all forms of protection, it would be a very good thing for the world at large.

Us aussies dont need to pay farmers to produce because our farmers are good enough that they (except in times of natural disasters like floods or drought) dont need subsidies to stay in business.

US farm subsidies cause more total output of various crops to be produced than would otherwise be the case which drives prices lower and hurts unsibsidised farmers. In the ideal world, there would be no subsidies, tarrifs, embargos or other trade barriers and everything would be produced by the countries most efficiantly able to produce it.

If that means that some hillbilly farmer cant produce unsubsidised produce that is cheaper (when all the costs are taken into account) than an australian farmer, so be it.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (3, Insightful)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865754)

I'm not sure I could find where in the U.S. Constitution Congress is allotted the money or power to launch golf carts for a billion dollars.

Without even being American, I'm pretty sure that if you restrict the government to only the things expressly allowed in your constitution, you'd end up with being fifteen acres of the poorest hippies ever to own a printing press. You _are_ aware, are you not, that things like highways, fire brigades, the CDC or indeed a standing army are not covered by that constitution of yours?

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1, Troll)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865774)

You _are_ aware, are you not, that things like highways, fire brigades, the CDC or indeed a standing army are not covered by that constitution of yours?

You _are_ aware that our 9th and 10th Amendments allow for the States and the People to perform these powers themselves? Why should someone in California pay for a highway in Illinois? Why should someone in Miami pay for a fire in Denver?

The Federal government has no ability to perform efficiently, which was why we had the Constitution in the first place. Give the states the ability to provide competitive service with one another, and they'll compete to attract the best citizens.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865796)

You _are_ aware that our 9th and 10th Amendments allow for the States and the People to perform these powers themselves?

But does it ever state that _somebody_ has to provide for any of it? And that includes any kind of military capability, of course. So if say, California and New York, decides they will not finance a war by a disagreeable president, it's quite ok for them to withold that money, I guess.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865809)

"The Federal government has no ability to perform efficiently, which was why we had the Constitution in the first place. Give the states the ability to provide competitive service with one another, and they'll compete to attract the best citizens." This bit of regurgitated "libertarian" thought puts me in the mind to paraphrase P. J. O'Rourke: Economic conservatives rail on about how the government doesn't work, then get elected and work hard to prove it.

It's funny, to me at least, how many everyday folks get suckered by a self-serving ideology of wealth-holders. Then again, I've always had a sick sense of humor.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (2, Insightful)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865814)

I hate to tell you this, but not everything is a business, trying to generate profit.

Or, to put it differently: Do you feel that it's okay for your wife to sleep around so that she can find the most efficient lay?

Seriously, you need to go to China. I'm not saying this in a 'get the hell out' sort of way, but they have a government very much like the one you seem to want; no restrictions on business for the most part, very little taxation, cheap labor...

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (3, Insightful)

CronoCloud (590650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865881)

Why should someone in California pay for a highway in Illinois? Why should someone in Miami pay for a fire in Denver?

Because the one thing you rugged rocky mountain individualists, Randroids, and libertarians in love with your own wallets don't understand is that we aren't just Californians or Illinoisans. We are not a Confederacy, no matter how much the Dixiecrats running the country want that to be.

We are Americans, E Pluribus Unum. Helping Californians helps me. If I help pay to fix earthquake damage in California, they help pay to fix tornado damage here. That way neither of our economies is overly strained. And that benefits us all.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865821)

I'm going to leave your NASA kicking and go for the paragraph that turns you from ontopic, but misinformed into an out & out troll.

If you're afraid for the climate or the environment, donate your money voluntarily to commercial or not-for-profit businesses to create research wings. Asking me to pick up the tab for your toys, against my will, is really not acceptible anymore to me....

Climate & environmental research is not a toy. Perhaps its not appropriate for it to be in NASA, but without research of this sort, US agriculture (and by extension, the US economy and presumably you) would suffer.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865841)

I know that NASA is a romantic lover of most slashdot readers, but I welcome any and all cuts that happen.

Oh no, nigga! It's on now! You done blaspheme the sacred cow!

Golddigger? Try Booth Babe. (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865869)

Well, the moon program was an exercise in national prestige.

Which doesn't automatically mean it's a boondoggle.

At the time it was conceived, we were engaged in a great struggle over the future direction of civilization. The Cold War. While munitions (which I think we can all agree are legitimate government expenditure) were used in this struggle, the ultimate weapon of the struggles was national prestige. 132 billion in 2006 dollars spent over the course of a decade is not an unreasonable to get a decisive advantage in this area. By contrast the Vietnam war cost four times as much, not counting the downstream costs of dealing with maimed soldiers; it was a much worse investment.

Subsequently, one can argue that the resources put into the program were only sufficient to maintain our decisive advantage in this area. Since our lead was insurmountable, there was not much competition, and the coherency of the effort suffered accordingly.

Today, I question whether national prestige is really on the radar screen at all; US "hard power" is so great, it may well be that many disdain "soft power" issues like scientific and technological prestige.

NASA is imperfect, but they have contributed (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865902)

This characterization of NASA as a taker without ever giving back is unfair.
Let's look at NASA for what it is and ignore the science fiction fantasy: NASA is a theft program where our elected officials rob money from citizens to pay for a boondoggle program that none of you would likely pay voluntarily. I don't see any public interest achievements in NASA, and I definitely don't see why NASA or the U.S. government needs to be handling any scientific research.
NASA's mission has lead to many breakthroughs and inventions [about.com] , This is quite unfair. My concern about NASA isn't whether they are currently overfunded but vision, i.e. whether they (or any other research organization) have enough guidance and support to take on exciting missions that are feasible but still advance the state of the art.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (4, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865921)

"Asking me to pick up the tab for your toys, against my will, is really not acceptible anymore to me."

So move elsewhere. Or work to get someone else elected.

I never drive, I only use the trains. I therefore think that all funding for highways should be cut. I mean, private industry will pick up the slack, right? Anyone who drives can choose to send a few bucks to their favorite highway maintenance organization, right?

"A great majority of the citizens of the State are so far in debt that there is no likelihood of escaping it in their lifetimes, so the citizens push the debt off to the next two generations."

Personal debt has more to do with people not spending within their means, and being ecouraged to enter into bondage with the credit companies. It doesn't tie in so well with government debt, you are conflating the NASA budget with Social Security, etc.

"I don't see any public interest achievements in NASA, and I definitely don't see why NASA or the U.S. government needs to be handling any scientific research"

Then open your eyes. Or read more history of science. One of NASA's roles is to create new markets -- for example, without NASA, there wouldn't be a market for commerical satellites.

"It is time to just end the program entirely and leave it up to a competitive marketplace. There are enough billionaires with money to spend, let them finance these toys strictly for ego"

What competitive marketplace? There is no market yet. Government has always acted to open new markets, which is what NASA is all about.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865985)

So move elsewhere. Or work to get someone else elected.

This country (the U.S.) was built around personal responsibility and freedom. Neither of your "answers" there cover either. Why should I move when I live in a country that is based on freedom? I'd rather see solutions to downsize the federal government and let the states adapt. I don't believe in democracy, so voting is counter-intuitive and against my morals, although I do vote [blogspot.com] .

I never drive, I only use the trains.

The trains by me are funded by force -- the average rider pays a few dollars, and the taxpayer pays almost $10 more to cover the bureaucracy of the trains. Many trains originally were privately run, but the cronies found ways to get government to foot the bill. I believe cars are way more efficient and cheaper once you factor in the true costs of the train system.

It doesn't tie in so well with government debt, you are conflating the NASA budget with Social Security, etc.

They both tie in together. People live beyond their means, so they don't want to save for the future. The government welfare programs are overbudget, so the government inflates the currency, pushing the costs onto future generations while robbing the current citizens of the value of their savings and investments.

One of NASA's roles is to create new markets -- for example, without NASA, there wouldn't be a market for commerical satellites.

I don't believe that at all. We went from the telegraph to the telephone, and I do believe that satellites would have naturally evolved in a competitive market. Of cousre, we'll never know, but I see most human invention coming out of a profit motive. NASA has a profit motive as well -- for the cronies who provide overpriced and inefficient contract work.

You and I tend to never agree, but I appreciate your opinion, FWIW.

Re:A pretty golddigger is still a golddigger. (1)

Dr. GeneMachine (720233) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866079)

The trains by me are funded by force -- the average rider pays a few dollars, and the taxpayer pays almost $10 more to cover the bureaucracy of the trains. Many trains originally were privately run, but the cronies found ways to get government to foot the bill. I believe cars are way more efficient and cheaper once you factor in the true costs of the train system.

Who exactly do you think pays the upkeep for your "cheaper and more efficient" road system? The Highway Fairy?

There they go again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865726)

That's one place more where Bush taketh. I don't believe voting for democrats will fix anything either, only by voting and making third big party would.

How about some socialist party? Every country needs it as much as they need the others. It all comes down to working together. Reps and dems aren't everything you know.

Who needs climate data anyway? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865728)

After all, the current US administration ignores and even harrasses scientists who don't conform with their mantra that there is no global warning anyway.

What else did you expect? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865734)

>>The list of Earth-observing satellite programs affected is a long one and includes satellite programs which observe nearly every aspect of Earth's climate

Don't worry about that pesky climate change thing. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

More questions (4, Insightful)

WinkyN (263806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865744)

From TFA:

"The agency's proposed 2007 budget request contains $2.2 billion for satellites that observe the Earth and sun, compared to $6.2 billion for operating the space shuttle and International Space Station and $4 billion for developing future missions to the moon and Mars.

"We simply cannot afford all of the missions that our scientific constituencies would like us to sponsor," NASA administrator Michael Griffin told members of Congress when he testified before the House Science Committee February 16."


So, we might be losing the ability to track dangerous weather systems, monitor volcanic activity and study the effect of humanity on the planet due to the demands of "scientific constituencies"? What exactly is a "scientific constituency"? The reporter/editor should have clarified this.

Or is this more of a situation where the sexy projects (travel to the Moon and Mars) are taking precedence over real science? And why doesn't that surprise me?

Re:More questions (3, Informative)

gclef (96311) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865861)

NASA's scientific consitituency is the scientists that make up NASA's grant applicants. Basically, it's the group of folks who are qualified & likely to win NASA research grants. It's an obvious statement that NASA doesn't have the funding to run *all* of the programs that people want to run, so his statement is a massive understatement of the problem.

The problem has been that NASA is not only declining to fund new satellite programs, they're also cutting funding for existing ones, and going back on promises to fund projects already underway. (Some commentary from Nature on the subject is at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v439/n7078/fu ll/439768a.html [nature.com] ...unfortunately you need to subscribe to read it. The short version is that more than one sattelite program has learned from a press releasese that their funding was being cut...sometimes years after they'd started building based on earlier funding, and just weeks after being promised this wouldn't happen.)

"Scientific constituencies" (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865892)

n. pl. constituencies
  1. The body of voters or the residents of a district represented by an elected legislator or official.
  2. The district so represented.
  3. A group of supporters or patrons.
  4. A group served by an organization or institution; a clientele: The magazine changed its format to appeal to a broader constituency.

ie. the voters and/or lobbyists. Add 'scientific' in there, and he's most likely talking about groups like the American Geophysical Union [agu.org] and the American Astronomical Society [aas.org]

ps. There's a thing called a dictionary [reference.com] for when you find words that you don't understand.

Well, of course! (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865758)

All those pesky earth-science satelites keep on reporting that the globe is heating up and stuff. Why would we want to hear that? That doesn't fit with our politics at all!

Re:Well, of course! (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865793)

Maybe it's just that if we cannot see huricanes comming, Bush could not be responsible of knowing it when he does nothing to prevent casualties.

Re:Well, of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865825)

NASA uses Earth observation satellites. That budget gets cut..
However the People (lawmaker paraniod mode )observation satellites budget is probably up about 10,000 percent!

Re:Well, of course! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866022)

And in light of 9/11 , keeping an eye on our enemies is just as important, Lets just see to it that we use it for keeping an eye and ear on our enemies I think too many people have a misconception:
  Earth observation satellites does not describe what exactly on earth the satellite is looking at !
It's not just weather and crops folks!!
Think about that!

Re:Well, of course! (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865837)

That's what I was thinking, too. Of course, there's also been a push in recent years to curtail or eliminate government-funded weather forecasting in favor of letting the private sector do it. After all, there's no short-term profit in knowing whether the polar ice caps are melting.

Solar Storms (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865759)

Just in time for solar storms to distroy our sattelites [sfgate.com] . Won't some kind soul out there please get me off this crazy planet? I can brew beer in trade, or show you where the more tasty humans are!@!!

Re:Solar Storms (1)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865959)

Actually, the solar observing projects haven't (yet) been cut completely--

STEREO [nasa.gov] is set to launch this year (but no one knows when, due to problems with a battery used in the system to destruct the third stage of the rocket in case something goes wrong)

SOLAR-B [nasa.gov] is set to launch this year as well (it's a joint JAXA [isas.ac.jp] project, though)

SDO [nasa.gov] should be on track as well

That's not to say that these projects aren't hitting financial problems -- STEREO's delay is a problem, as it costs more to keep the spacecraft in storage on the ground than it does to track them in space.

Not another coincidental funding cut (-1, Troll)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865761)

Oh, I'm sure ExxonMobil and all President Bush's other oil sponsors will be so upset.

More efforts required (2, Insightful)

poeidon1 (767457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865771)

from the US government to involve the private sector in space. There are hell many millionaires who would pay anything for nice moon or space trips. That should generate more than enough revenue than what NASA would need.

Re:More efforts required (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865844)

Yes, it could bring money, but: -Most of it will be spent in the confort of those tourists. -They hate science anyway, so the extra money will more likely go to the hype missions.

This FP foPr GNA2A (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865772)

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Military vs. Scientific Satellites (5, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865773)

The funding will come, unfortunately it is all how you classify it.
A scientific satellite to help observe global warming? NOT in this administration! They don't even want to acknowledge that global warming is happening, let alone help observe it.

If this upsets you, I suggest you vote for a President that actually cares about Science.

Re:Military vs. Scientific Satellites (1)

moe.ron (953702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865827)

The funding will come, unfortunately it is all how you classify it. A scientific satellite to help observe global warming? NOT in this administration! They don't even want to acknowledge that global warming is happening, let alone help observe it. If this upsets you, I suggest you vote for a President that actually cares about Science. I tried and his name wasn't even on the ballot! :(

Re:Military vs. Scientific Satellites (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865947)

If this upsets you, I suggest you vote for a President that actually cares about Science.

He cares about science. Just look at how hard he and his cronies have worked to make sure our bright young biology students are aware of "divergent views on evolution."

Maybe his sky-god can pay off our huge national debt one day too.

-Eric

Glad we have our priorities straight (4, Insightful)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865776)

Cost of war in Iraq: 245.727 billion [nationalpriorities.org]
NASA's 2006 Budget: 16.656 billion [nasa.gov]

Glad to see my government has no problems blowing 14 years worth of operating expenses on something that by all appearances will never have a positive outcome, while letting vital programs for all of earth collapse.

Re:Glad we have our priorities straight (-1, Flamebait)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865853)

16+ *BILLION* dollars?? And they're complaining they aren't getting enough money? I'm sorry, but I think that's more than plenty for what they need to do. If they'd just get rid of those expensive shuttles and invest in new launch hardware based on modern technology, they'd have plenty of money; but that would mean they'd need to lay off entrenched administrators.

NASA delenda est.

Makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865783)

Why place a satellite in space to observe a global warming that does not exist anyway ?
These are not data you are searching for. [Waves hand.]

Talk about speaking from both sides of one's mouth (5, Insightful)

GReaToaK_2000 (217386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865804)

Hmmmm... Let me see... There's this...
"the desire to explore and understand is part of our character," President Bush Wednesday unveiled an ambitious plan to return Americans to the moon by 2020 and use the mission as a steppingstone for future manned trips to Mars and beyond. [cnn.com]
AND
President Bush's Jan. 14 speech painted broad brushstrokes of his plan to put humans back on the Moon and send them to Mars. [space.com]

Oh but that was back in 2004, right, trying to get more "techies" to vote for him...

And NOW, as most of us have always know is TRUE color...

Disgruntled members of a congressional oversight committee objected Wednesday to a White House budget plan that threatens to cripple NASA's unmanned space programs and Earth and aeronautics research, President Bush's plan instead emphasizes sending American explorers back to the moon by 2018. [chron.com]

Budget cuts for 2002 [house.gov]

Elsewhere there is talk of a 1% increase in NASA's budget for 2k7 but this is NOTHING compared to the slash to the budget that Bush dealt NASA when he first took office because he "needed" that money for the military we would later use to attach the middle east...

Hmmmm... Nice Logic! Instead of looking FORWARD back then... and looking into alternative fuels, the future, and Space ... We (he) was in it for his Oil buddies. Now that he is a LAME DUCK president he can virtually spout off about whatever...

But that's ok, it's obvious at this point that most Americans have a short attention span and don't really delve deeply. At least the "red" ones.

Re:Talk about speaking from both sides of one's mo (3, Insightful)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865845)

The hilarity of Dubya talking about Mars landings and moon bases, all while mismanaging the federal budget and slashing science programs, was a welcome distraction at the time. I remember thinking, "This guy believes that humans are biologically separate from the animal kingdom, and that at least two-thirds of his constituents are going to Hell after they die, and now he's on the side of science?"

I just wish this expectation of failure made acceptance of the President's failures easier to deal with. Perhaps soon we can put a government in power that works to make America competitive in the science and information-dominated industries of the 21st century, rather than a government that pays lip service to this concept.

Bush increased NASA funding overall. (4, Informative)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865870)


I should really write this out as a form letter and paste it in pre-emptively to each NASA thread about budget, since it always turns into Bush-bashing.

The Bush administration has increased funding every year for the past several years. The President of the US does not control how NASA's budget works. Sure he has made a push toward manned space flight being revamped, but why would you complain about re-vamping an outmoded inefficient system?

It is the head of NASA who makes the budget the way it is. There is never enough money to do what you want to these days, no matter who is in charge of the country or what party they belong to. Michael Griffin has a hard job, and what he is saying is true, we need more science money. I am not disagreeing. But this notion that Bush has cut funding is folly, and shows up in every thread.

Guns and butter indeed.

kulakovich

Re:Bush increased NASA funding overall. (4, Interesting)

forgotten_my_nick (802929) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866065)

Not calling you a liar but can you back up your assertions with some sources? The reason I ask is another 5 point poster has already posted details and appear to be completly opposite to what you are saying.

More Climate Fear Mongering (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865887)

The sky is falling! Oh Noez!

The earth is heating up internally!



We as humans are out producing the worlds volcanos in greenhouse gases - we have to be stopped! Someone help us plz!

Give us money!

Umm ok. So all of you liberal wackos....you sound no different than the conservative wackos to me.

It is waste, not politics (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865928)

The Iraq war and even budget cuts have nothing to do with this. These satellite programs aren't getting cancelled because the budgets are being cut, they are getting cancelled because they have long since exceeded their budgets and then some.

The US satellite industry has self-destructed. At one time, not very long ago, if anyone in the world wanted to launch a satellite, they went to the US. Now, they go to the Europeans. Why? US companies didn't want to bother with little commercial satellites. They wanted contracts in the $billions. Even if these big government projects fail and get cancelled, they are still more profitable than the commercial contracts.

Increasing funding won't do a thing except waste more money. We need to stop measuring our performance by how much money we spend! How about measuring by how effective we are?

Eventually, of course, the government will wise up and stop bankrolling these billion dollar boondoggles. They will just buy data from the European and Asian satellites. But, of course, that won't happen until at least next quarter, so party on!

And now for something completely different. (0)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865931)

"Sir, he's entered the world code. That'll shut down the entire planet."

"You push that button, and everything we've invented for the last 500 years will be gone. We'll have to start all over."

long pause

"For God's sake, don't do it, Snake!"

"Call me Plissken..." click

Remember... (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865936)

...All this is a product of Mr. Bush's [mis]management or the lack of it. I feel saddened and helpless since I cannot do anything significant about it now.

Thank You Mr. President.... (2)

F. Bester Tester (928245) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865952)

I, for one, am glad that you aren't worried about monitoring the status of the earth when there's a dead planet like Mars beckoning to be "explored." Beside that, we all know you can't possibly subsidize new, profitable, romantic business models on the back of programs that yield nothing but information (that might provide a counterpoint). We, all of us, accept that it's simply a matter of priority. If the investment does't lead US to a more competitive, hegemonic postion internationally, then it really isn't worth supporting.

That's why we support your tax cuts to the wealthy; they make the best decisions (while they are sitting around the pool talking to their stock brokers). I know it might seem unfair to the people who are born into such a world, but that is largely irrelevant to those that believe 16 fiscal quarters is a lifetime are bent on preserving a class structure that ignores the nature of anything but the balance sheet.

I'm saying that the people who put you at the helm shouldn't regret a thing. We should all be thankful that we have a leader who has our best interests so firmly in his grasp. The team with which you have surrounded yourself is professional & well schooled in the theories of upper management that have made this country what it is today. Even if it turns out they were grossly in error, we can all have faith that God will sort it out after the rapture!

Long Life to you Duh-ba-ya!

- nbsp; ) So you live to see what your policies help to accomplish! (

Is it that time of the year already? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14865986)

The annual, NASA's budget is in jeopardy and we're going to shut down the Hubble project. We're going to lose all of our weather satellites. We're not going to be able to do any science because of all the Homeland Security / CIA / Secret Government Agency / Bush is the Anti-Christ spy satellites that the budget has been diverted to.

It's another plea for awareness so that Congress can make sure that the NASA pet projects that have gone on for years can continue. Of course there isn't any money in the budget. We've supported projects well past their life cycle because there is percieved benefit. Take for example the Mars rovers. They were supposed to be well finished by now, but since they continue to move around up there, the program continues and takes up some of NASA's budget. Is it science? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Is it interesting and as a tax payer would I vote to support it? Sure. I like to look at the pretty pictures as much as the next geek.

This is the same story from a different angle that came out last year when NASA spoke before Congress about budget concerns. The same story occurred the year before that. The same story will occur next year. Academics will always be begging for money to support their projects. Politicians will never just hand it over when they have their own pet projects to support.

Could some one explain to me wh;y? (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866011)

I'd think that all these weather/ Earth monitoring space equipment would fall under NOAA and their budget and not NASA. NASA needs to be completely rethought out from the ground up. I agree it was a good idea for the 1960s just to bring the money/people/power together to create a space program. But come on it's 2006 and where are we? Let's see do we a LEO space station, lunar colony, Mars colony, asteriod mining, constant weather monitoring for every planet in our solar system? Um no?

What does NASA do that directly benefits the average US citizens? What launch and monitor weather and science stats? OK. I'd agree NASA should design and fund newest bleeding edge of space R&D. They shouldn't be responsible for running that entire system for the public good though. Global weather monitoring sounds like a NOAA function anyways. Personnally, I'm still out on the opinion of global warming, but I've not seen any new data for about 6 years or so. (Last I took a serious look at it, it seemed that all the qualified scientists were using "global warming" as an excuse to fund every Earth monitoring idea that they came up with. Everyone wanted to just monitor it because well, it all depends on time scale and we don't have enough data to really judge things by. I'd personnally think that we should have weather/Earth monitoring as a "small" on going expense. It's just something that needs to be done and benefits everyone.

Do you concur, I concur... (1)

headGasket (119022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866027)

it's definitely in terrific jeopardy of collapsing.

Dubai Space Ports World (http://www.dspw.ae) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866064)

I think a reasonable solution would be to have the cash rich, reputable, business savvy Dubai Space Authority manage our commercial (and [ok fine] environmental) satellites. You know they're going to get that ports deal approved. When money talks bullshit walks... or something like that. This country needs foreign investments like a bleeding messiah. I bet $1 that Dubai will continue to rescue us from financial dissolution into the future. We love to talk about the 'billionz' we spend .. yet it's all borrowed money. Reputable, cash rich, business savvy arabs (or maybe they're not savvy for doing this) try to save our ass and we bark at them like rotten dogs. I guess people prefer to die in dignity than be helped by those whom they perceive to be inferior .. or scary... either way xenophobia is going to assure that our infrastructure will die in pieceS. I say we open up space for foreign investments. China is launching 26 satellites this year, while we stab our friendly arab financial supporters in the ass. Say what you want bozos.
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