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NASA Slashing Observations of Earth

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the blue-marble dept.

NASA 358

mattnyc99 points us to a new report by the National Research Council warning that, by 2010, the number of NASA's Earth-observing missions will drop dramatically, and the number of operating sensors and instruments on NASA spacecraft will decrease by 40 percent. The report says, "The United States' extraordinary foundation of global observations is at great risk." Popular Mechanics asks an MIT professor what it all means. From these accounts it is clear that the Bush administration's priorities on a Mars mission and a moon base are partly to blame for the de-emphasizing of earth science. Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming.

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translation (0, Flamebait)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641560)

From these accounts it is clear that the Bush administration's priorities on a Mars mission and a moon base are partly to blame for the de-emphasizing of earth science.

Translation: Apparently big oil can't disprove the overwhelming evidence which proves global warming, so they've turned to the only alternative they have. Get Bush to make NASA stop collecting the evidence.

Re:translation (-1, Flamebait)

Evilest Doer (969227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642338)

Translation: Apparently big oil can't disprove the overwhelming evidence which proves global warming, so they've turned to the only alternative they have. Get Bush to make NASA stop collecting the evidence.
And, of course, the raving Bushbots have modded you "flamebait" from the get-go.

Re:translation (0, Troll)

utopianfiat (774016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642694)

And you, as well.
Do raving bushbots have glowsticks? You know, for their raving.

I wonder... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641576)

They keep telling us that there are all these other countries out there -- has anyone proposed that some of the others could possibly do this, since it's so, y'know, important? Neither article quite says that, either.

Re:I wonder... (0, Troll)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641608)

They keep telling us that there are all these other countries out there -- has anyone proposed that some of the others could possibly do this

Whenever you hear the phrase "Lead, Follow, or Get out of the Way", I'm guessing you "get out of the way"?

Nice to see that's the direction America is heading.

Re:I wonder... (2, Interesting)

Mike Rubits (818811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641630)

While your condescending use of an expression is great and all, is there a reason another country CAN'T take this up? You didn't do much to answer the question.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641688)

Yeah, I'm happy to Lead but I'd just like to hear a bit less bitching from the folks who Get Out Of The Way. No one seems to think there's anything odd about the assumption that this can only be done by Americans.

Re:I wonder... (0, Troll)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642036)

Um, because most countries can't do it? Ever heard of the vast space program that Kenya fields? No? There's a reason for that....

Hell, most 1st world countries don't have the budget the U.S. can play with and fritter away on pointless shit, much less important matters.

Re:I wonder... (4, Informative)

Mike Rubits (818811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642174)

Now you're just propping up straw men by mentioning Kenya. China and Russia both have space programs. Many more countries are able to launch satellites. You are very quick to resort to insults and being condescending (was it really necessary to start your post with "Um"? I didn't really think so) rather than discussing the facts. As you seem to now insinuate Earth observation is "pointless shit" I can't quite understand what you're even trying to argue.

Re:I wonder... (2, Funny)

Kierthos (225954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642596)

Wrong on all counts.

1) Yes, I had to start my post with "Um." It is required by my religious doctrine's 1st Commandment, which is "Piss off pedantic morons."

2) I mentioned Kenya as an example. Most countries do not have major space programs, if they even have space programs. Most countries, in fact, have budgets far less then that of the U.S.A, and they typically have to spend it on things that they feel are more important.

3) Because the U.S.A.'s budget is so much larger then most other countries, there is a lot of expenditure on pointless shit, like the bridge to nowhere in Alaska, or that federal funded study of the effect of floor lights in the Senate. We're the ones (not the only ones, mind) spending vast amounts of money on pointless shit.

4) Russia's space program, right now, seems to more focused on lobbing tourists into space, rather then studying the Earth. As for China... who knows? They could be interested in studying the Earth, but I really doubt it.

5) I didn't say studying the Earth was pointless. You're the one that made that assumption.

Have a day. I suspect, no matter what, you'll criticize it enough that it could never be nice.

Re:I wonder... (4, Insightful)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642794)

The US doesn't have the budget to play with and fritter away on pointless shit. We just do anyway.

Re:I wonder... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642414)

So what is NASA? Is it a global resource that only the US pays for but everyone gets to benefit from? Does that give them a right to comment on this US service? Or should they perhaps start pitching in some cash if they want NASA to continue observations?

There exist several space programs throughout the world. If you added them all up they would probably not even have half the budget of NASA on Earth observations (or any other program). Why is this? Does Europe with a $15 trillion economy not have enough money to spare to use $1 billion a year for Earth observations? Or are they just not capable?

I would say that space programs around the world have already voted on how important they think these Earth observations are (with their wallets). Why NASA should follow down this foolish path that nobody else thinks is important is beyond me. And if they still think it is important they can prove it by launching their own missions or helping NASA to launch some.

Re:I wonder... (0, Offtopic)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641622)

Does the Kyoto Climate Treaty ring a bell? The one that the United States declined to ratified [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:I wonder... (2, Insightful)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641862)

Why the hell would we ratify Kyoto? It basically gives India and China a free pass (giving a competitive advantage to countries who are very serious competitors to us), and only slows the increase of CO2 (as opposed to keeping levels the same, or reducing it).

Clinton was right in refusing to sign Kyoto. It was basically a bill that punishes the first world for pollution, while the worst offenders get a free pass.

Everyone sane realizes that global warming is happening, but the problem is the solution seems to be to cripple the first world, without also holding the poorer countries (who are the ones eating our manufacturing sector lunch due to lax work/environmental laws) to any sort of standard. That is why I am convinced that global warming will not be really addressed without some sort of global govt (which will never happen). No matter what the first world does, there will always be some country offering a free pass on environmental/work laws, and corporations that need to pollute/abuse workers will flock there. And the more countries that try to stop that, the more powerful the financial incentive for a country to break tghe "cartel" of countries bound by environmental law. And if you are expecting the UN to do anything about it....well, im sure you can count on a strongly worded letter.

Re:I wonder... (2, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641996)

Actually, it was Clinton who signed the treaty and Bush withdrew Clinton's signature [bard.edu] that killed the treaty. I think the problem with the American perspective has always been "where's the free lunch" instead of making mutual sacrifices to make the world a better place. Global warming is not something that the United States or the World can do alone to solve.

Re:I wonder... (5, Informative)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642216)

Bullshit. Your reference is to an uncited student paper. From Wikipedia:

On July 25, 1997, before the Kyoto Protocol was finalized (although it had been fully negotiated, and a penultimate draft was finished), the U.S. Senate unanimously passed by a 95-0 vote the Byrd-Hagel Resolution (S. Res. 98),[40] which stated the sense of the Senate was that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol that did not include binding targets and timetables for developing as well as industrialized nations or "would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States". On November 12, 1998, Vice President Al Gore symbolically signed the protocol. Both Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman indicated that the protocol would not be acted upon in the Senate until there was participation by the developing nations.[41] The Clinton Administration never submitted the protocol to the Senate for ratification.

So Al Gore signed it as a gesture while stating he wouldnt act on it, and Congress voted unanimously to reject it (in possibly the first and last time Dems and Repubs ever agreed on anything). Its OK, you can still hate Bush for other shit.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642266)

"I think the problem with the American perspective has always been "where's the free lunch" instead of making mutual sacrifices to make the world a better place."

And you completely miss the parent's entire point, which is Kyoto is a stupid treaty, since the worst polluters in the foreseeable future get a free pass on... polluting. There's no "mutual sacrifices" about Kyoto.

Re:I wonder... (5, Informative)

OiToTheWorld (1014079) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642500)

actually the US puts the most CO2 into the atmosphere out of anyone (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CO2_emission)

Which part of those sacrifices were "mutual"? (0)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642792)

India and China didn't have to sacrifice anything. Russia might have technically, but since they got to compare against the pre-collapse Soviet baseline they would have made the "sacrifice" without any special effort. Europe signed up for modest reduction targets and, well, is going to totally miss them (with the exception, at the moment, of the UK and Sweden -- they're on target). Japan blew its target, too. It was the US who everyone was asking to spend trillions ("Not trillions! Merely tens or possibly hundreds of billions! And besides, you're rich, you can afford it!", said the Kyoto fans) to "take the first step to solving this problem".

Oh, did I mention this was the first step? The plan was to shave off about 5%. Some of the environmental doomsayers say we really need to get down to about 50% by 2050. Industrialized countries would have to cut 80%.

Re:I wonder... (4, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642484)

Clinton was right in refusing to sign Kyoto. It was basically a bill that punishes the first world for pollution, while the worst offenders get a free pass.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

1) Clinton signed Kyoto. [whereistand.com]
2) The worst offendors are first world countries (like US, the worst polluter & Australia, the worst per-capita polluter)
3) India/China are not projected to reach the US's level of greenhouse gas contribution for 20 years. Per Capita equivilance is even further away.
4) Kyoto wasn't supposed to be a solution - it was supposed to be a first step. Anyone thinking otherwise is deluded.

Re:I wonder... (4, Insightful)

hachete (473378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642666)

actually,leave europe out of this. What you mean to say that it punishes America. America != all of First World.

The point is, Kyoto was a *start of a long process, which America has successfully sabotaged, mostly because the US government hasn't got the balls to try and persuade it's country to stop running SUVs and the like. With America, we'd probably have some kind of working process and maybe, like with CFCs, some sort of handle on the problem. Without America, we cannot persuade nations like China or India to start reining it on it's pollution.

Re:I wonder... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642768)

But then the rest of the world viciously attacks the US on Kyoto which is the worst thing they could have done if they wanted to get the US on board. It invoked nationalism and the us-vs-them mentality in the US which made the global warming debate shift sharply to the right.

Once the rest of the world decides to treat the decisions of the US as that of a sovereign state then they can possibly get the US into the debate again. Calling Americans idiots and SUV drivers will do exactly the opposite. The rest of the world complains that the US isn't listening, but they aren't either. It might just be that with a population density of about 30 people per square kilometer, effects like Kyoto on transportation will hurt the US drastically more than European countries which have population densities typically four times higher. Do I expect Europe to listen to this little tidbit? No. Nor do I expect the US to listen to Europeans offering their advice after their taunting and harassment.

"Clinton was right in refusing to sign Kyoto" !? (2, Informative)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642686)

He was right until he signed (technically, directed the United States to sign) the stupid thing (http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1997/12/11/kyoto/) , knowing that he wouldn't be there when the Senate said "Hah, this is crazy, no way we're ratifying this" (Gore actually put pen to paper on the document in 1997, after the Senate had passed a 95-0 resolution saying "Notice: we won't ratify anything that harms American competitiveness versus developing nations.") Dubya did the right thing and said "This is inimical to our interests and both parties in the Senate have said they will not ratify it. Accordingly, I'm not going to support it." He was roundly criticized both at home (by Democrats who had no intention of screwing over their own union workers by destroying US industry to make the targets) and abroad (largely by Europeans who proceeded to miss the quotas they had agreed to anyhow).

Kyoto was one of the most cynical maneuvers in the history of environmental politics, which has no shortage of them to compare to. The main supporters either were not affected by it (China, India), would have felt no effects (Russia, because they got to compare their emissions against the old Soviet Union prior to the collapse of the economy -- economic collapse being the ONLY way to make the targets set out!), or just plain lied through their teeth on their intention to go through with the cuts (you know how many European nations hit their targets after four years? Well, there was that economic stalwart Romania. Everyone else said "Uhh... Well... You were going to actually MEASURE pollution? Umm.... DUBYA MADE US DO IT!")

Re:I wonder... (3, Informative)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642760)

You're confounding two issues:

1) global climate change
2) global trade

and you're wrong, too:

"the worst offenders get a free pass"

The USA and Australia _are_ the worst offenders, and neither are signing Kyoto.

Re:I wonder... (3, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642916)

Why the hell would we ratify Kyoto? It basically gives India and China a free pass (giving a competitive advantage to countries who are very serious competitors to us), and only slows the increase of CO2 (as opposed to keeping levels the same, or reducing it).

Of course, you can't lose an economic advantage just because you might SAVE THE FUCKING WORLD. Next quarter's stock prices are the only measure of the right thing to do.

And you're in a much better position to pressure China and India to sign on if you're already in compliance. Meanwhile, the US is still far and away the world's greatest producer of greenhouse gases. Not to mention the fact that much Chinsse industry is produced to order for US customers.

Re:I wonder... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641724)

Hopefully ESA...since the EU if counted as a block has the biggest GDP in the world, I'd expect stuff to get more stuff carried out and led by the EU finally.

Re:I wonder... (0)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641740)

They keep telling us that there are all these other countries out there -- has anyone proposed that some of the others could possibly do this, since it's so, y'know, important? Neither article quite says that, either.

Seems an odd decision for the US to surrender leadership in this area without a fight.

The moonbase and the mars mission are both doomed. The Appolo program was funded for one reason alone, to do something that the Soviets could not. In the wake of the Cuban missile crisis JFK decided to spend the Soviets into the ground. The Appolo program was a good investment on that basis.

There is no long term political goal that has a constitutency large enough to sustain either mission past the end of the Bush administration. Nor is it very likely that the country is going to be building monuments to Bush II.

Manned space missions are adventurism, not science. A landing on Mars is not going to defeat Bin Laden or intimidate the Chinese. The 'international space station' is emblematic more of the futility of the whole project than anything else.

In comparison Hubble has been a goldmine. The only flaw in the Hubble design (the mirror was botched by a contractor) was that it was designed for manned servicing. A design that allowed for servicing by a robot would have been considerably more flexible.

Re:I wonder... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642002)

The future of earth observation is microsattelite arrays. Facing a dearth of information with which to educate new scientists, I imagine major universities will become more willing to pony up for experimental satellite launches rather than disband a college.

Re:I wonder... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642008)

They keep telling us that there are all these other countries out there -- has anyone proposed that some of the others could possibly do this, since it's so, y'know, important? Neither article quite says that, either.

I would rather have other countries show us how it's done rather than tell us how it should be done, but it seems rather unlikely. If they try and fail, they can get laughed at, but if they tell us to try and we fail, they can laugh at us.

The Global Warming Conspiracy... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641590)

Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming.

Someone should whisper in the Bush Administration's ear (located in the rear underneath the belt) that the Iranians are behind global warming. That should get funding for the earth sciences in the right direction.

Re:The Global Warming Conspiracy... (0, Troll)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641788)

You have been warned. Any comment that suggests that the proud an illustrious leader of all the Universe as appointed by God almighty is motivated by self interest or a narrow political ideology WILL be moderated Flamebait no matter how amusing.

...mostly because we're all really scared

Re:The Global Warming Conspiracy... (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642324)

Nonsense. Bush would never believe that the Iranians are behind something as wonderful as global warming.

Prioritites people (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641606)


when a country spends 500 billion a year on the military (more than the rest of the world combined spends) and 8 billion a month on killing^Wliberating people in a foreign land while their own people starve in New Orleans its quite clear where a nations priorities lie and Space and the advancement of the Human race comes way down the list

i wonder how long it will take after this regime has gone to recover from the damage, methinks it will be several decades if ever at this rate

shame, no really a damm shame

Re:Prioritites people (0, Flamebait)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642724)

You don;t get it. Do you? New Orleans does NOT, repeat NOT, have any Oil. If Katrina had hit oil fields in S.Arabia, Bush would have sailed forthwith to rebuild the oil fields with his own bare hands, and in addition would have "requested" his offsprings to help him.

By now, the oil fields would have been rebuilt 3 times over erasing any trace of Katrina.

But alas, the New Orleans people don;t have any oil fields to get Govt, Aid, and hence have to fight Statefarm for money.....

Lesson 101 Bushco Economics: All your oil fields are belong to us.

nice troll, smitty (4, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641610)

Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming.
Can we mark a submission, as -1, Unnecessary Trolling?

Re:nice troll, smitty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641782)

Can we mark a submission, as -1, Unnecessary Trolling?

Of course, that's what tags are for. So we can distinguish the unnecessary trolling from the necessary trolling.

Re: nice troll, smitty (2, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641786)

> > Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming.

> Can we mark a submission, as -1, Unnecessary Trolling?

Unfortunately, it's hard for reasonable people to avoid considering the proposition.

This is the administration that forbade the tour guides at the Grand Canyon from mentioning how old is is, lest they offend creationists.

Personally I think the Moon/Mars mission decision was an attempt to construct a legacy. But like I said, I can't very well prevent the other explanation from crossing my mind.

Re:nice troll, smitty (0, Troll)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642264)

Yeah maybe it was put in a somewhat harsh way.
But really if you want to keep on saying that global warming is not happening or not caused by humans, then you don't want the scientist to get to much data to tell you otherwise if you can keep them from it do you?

I haven't RTFA but I would think the main use of but I would guess climate science is one of the main uses of these data acquired from NASA.

Now I guess I just said it even harsher, so you can mod me "-1 troll" instead if you feel like it ;)

Bandwagon posts are just annoying (2, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642420)

The fact that the number of Earth-observing missions will drop is interesting. The fact that the submitter sees some wierd link between that and the global warming bandwagon is not.

Instead of using the logic of "10 million lemmings must be right", global warming advocates would do well in looking at the underlying scientific knowledge instead. The measurements are scientific and wholly honest for the most part, but the popular interpretations are not scientific at all, and should be ignored by those who value science above advocacy and social posturing.

There is a very wierd popular meme that the fact that a large number of scientists *THINK* that there is a substantive correlation between CO2 levels and the melting ices indicates that there actually *IS* a causal effect. Well, science doesn't work that way. The number of adherents to an interpretation has absolutely no bearing on science, despite the popular feeling that "it must be right".

The simple fact is that the various intrepretations are all within the same error bounds, and manmade CO2 has been demonized for no good scientific reason at all, mainly because of lack of alternatives it seems. Well that's just not good enough. The real demon is our lack of knowledge about what's going on. Blaming CO2 doesn't absolve us.

Anyone who is still wholly convinced by the CO2 agit prop ought to take a look through Earth's history, back to a time when the CO2 levels were hundreds of times what they are now, and yet the Earth was a solid block of ice.

That's one important piece of evidence to the contrary, but when it comes to science, there is a vastly more important issue to consider, and it has nothing to do with observations.

Science is based on mathematical models that are the basis of our theories, and the use of hypotheses derived from those theories by which the theories can be tested. Well, in climatology, those theories are embodied in computational models, our many Global Climate / Circulation Models (GCMs) --- and not a single one of those GCMs predicts the extreme temperature oscillations between glacial and inter-glacial periods that have been occurring with total regularity every 100,000 years over the recent million years of Earth's history.

When the theory doesn't match observations, then the theory is wrong. Yet, people are basing their predictions about the effect of manmade CO2 on those blatantly non-working models.

Well sorry, but that's scientifically invalid.

I have no personal axe to grind either way, being just an observer with a good scientific background. But I take great exception to science being used to underpin political agendas (in either direction) when it is not yet able to model even the most large-scale parameters of climate. That's not science.

Re:Bandwagon posts are just annoying (4, Informative)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642936)

Oh yeah?

Here's something for ya: Empirical evidence. You know, we have a good record of atmospheric composition and temperatures for the past 50-60-70 years.

Somebody tested various models on historical data. You know where you started, you know what happened, and you know the outcome.

Good enough for you?

They tried it [bbc.co.uk] . More here [ucsd.edu] .

If you take this data and combine it with a decade of earlier results, the debate about whether or not there is a global warming signal here and now is over at least for rational people.


But, feel free to post any good rebuttals on this study if you indeed know more than I do.

Perfect (3, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641650)

Nasa creates a market need, market blooms, Nasa leaves market, commercial space companies fulfil market need, commercial space companies bloom. 2010 maybe cutting it a little close, I would rather see a gradual transfer out, but either way I foresee mutual benefit.

Re:Perfect (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642004)

Nasa creates a market need, market blooms, Nasa leaves market, commercial space companies fulfil market need

Exxon is launching Lobbysat II and Bogusat III to prove that there is no global warming. They shaved costs by not including any sensors nor cameras.
       

Re:Perfect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642172)

Yes, because we all know that the commercial space enterprise is gonna explode with the need to look back on Earth.

Fact: We are NOT masters of this planet. We have utilized but a fraction of its available benefits to humankind.

Until such time that we ARE masters of this planet, reassigning priority, and ignoring observation of Earth at any facet is foolhardy. Time will show this, and probably quicker than we realize.

NASA's grand Plan? (1)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642860)

The cynic in me say this is the grand plan of NASA:-

1) Struggle to fly the shuttle with ever reducing $$$$ from Congress
2) Decide on grand plan "Lets go to MARS!"
3) Pull out of Earth Orbital work
4) Let Commercial Companies fund the costs of a Shuttle Replacement
5) Wait until 4) is working. Continue to spend $$$ On Mars Mission
6) "Obtain" all commercially viable space vehicles under the guise of National Security
      "Those pesky terrorists might crash this space plane into the White House"
7) Cancel MARS Mission - there is no life(read voters) there anyway
8) Result, NASA gets a Shuttle repacememnt for almost $0.00

Ironically, much of this sort of thing is discussed in an SF Book I'm reading at the moment
Titan by Stephen Baxter (British Author). Written in the late 1990's. It also includes a second Shuttle disaster on reentry
and the subsequent funding crisis in NASA, JPL etc.
Sounds familiar eh?
In this case, the grand plan is to goto Titan not Mars.

this FP f0r GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641656)

fu3ling internal Over a quality it. Do not share

no wonder (0, Troll)

SUROK (815273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641682)

they have been owned by DIGITALGLOBE everyone can see the earth thanks to digitalglobe now. no body needs nasa

Re:no wonder (1)

Spritzer (950539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641952)

Not to mention ,a href="http://www.spaceimaging.com/gallery/">Space Imaging and Orbimage who merged last year to form GeoEye [geoeye.com] . Remote sensing is well on its way to being a primarily commercial capability.

Re:no wonder (1)

Spritzer (950539) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641980)

grrr..preview preview preview

Re:no wonder (4, Insightful)

robsimmon (462689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641998)

How much of the Earth do you think DigitalGlobe images each year? (~3%) How much does NASA image each day? (>90%). Granted it's at different resolutions, but that underscores the point that NASA's remote sensors have different capabilities than DigitalGlobe's (or GeoEye's). Next question: who buys most of the high-resolution commercial satellite data? (The U.S. government via the Department of Defense(in fact, the DoD and congress forbid NASA from making high-res observations)). Do you think NASA's satellites are better calibrated than the commercial sensors, which is critical for studying long-term trends? Maybe NASA is capable of taking many more types of measurements, with spaceborne radars, lidars, scatterometers, thermal infrared sensors, gravity sensors, etc?

Have you ever tried to buy an acquisition from DigitalGlobe? Do you have $10,000? If you have more questions, read the NRC report itself:
http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11820& page=1 [nap.edu]
or read about NASA's current Earth science research:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/ [nasa.gov]

Re:no wonder (1)

SUROK (815273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642206)

i work for digitalglobe. i deal with hi res imagery daily. google earth at street level is almost all DG coverage

No big loss. (0, Redundant)

Lurker2288 (995635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641710)

Ah, that's all right. The way we're running things here, all those sensors would just end up producing the solar system's first planetary snuff film.

Slashdot tipping over (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641718)

i've been a slashdot fan since 1997. seems like the submissions, and comments, are getting further and further left. wow. seems like there's no centrists any more. or maybe all the conservatives have moved on to other sites. Or maybe they just all got sucked into the big-oil conspiracy vortex.

Not to mention troll bait (but just the fact that certain words ARE troll bait should tell you something) but global warming is just one of them. why is this a Michael Crichton (the Harvard-educated scientist who wrote Coma, Jurassic Park and A State Of Fear, among other things) vs Al Gore (inventor of the Internet) battle? If we're scientists, where is our skepticism? For that matter, where are our manners? Are we unwilling to admit that we might be incorrect?

(..Wait, I forgot. Sorry. Please don't revoke my geek card.)

What I really don't understand is why all the surprisingly non-geek-oriented but heavily political stories are appearing on Slashdot.org. Anyway, back to finishing my TPS reports..

Re:Slashdot tipping over (3, Funny)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641754)

Facts have a liberal bias.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (1)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641892)

Except when it comes to things like economics!

Re:Slashdot tipping over (1)

Plutonite (999141) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641948)

seems like there's no centrists any more. or maybe all the conservatives have moved on to other sites.

Maybe. Or they simply may be lurking around, waiting for a discussion actually worth joining in. Besides, what other sites :)

Re:Slashdot tipping over (2, Insightful)

Max Littlemore (1001285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641988)

I'd like to start by saying that these stories, when posted with summaries like the one above, should be moderated flamebait, or perhaps tagged flamewar for those with tagging abilities.

i've been a slashdot fan since 1997. seems like the submissions, and comments, are getting further and further left.

I've noticed a general shift to the right across society as a whole. Political groups that used to be happy to be seen as left wing are now trying to appear centrist and shrug off the "liberal" tag while groups that once were right wing are now openly fascist in character, if not in name. Once upon a time, insisting on the rule of law was seen as right wing, but now it's considered pinko liberal lefty hippy homo crap to suggest that members of the US administration should be tried as war criminals, for example, becuase they are in power and those in power are the winners who should not be questioned. Might is right and all. Go figure.

So I wonder if the apparent left wing bias on /. is because /.ers are still mostly balanced while the surrounding political climate is changing.

Smarter readers, smarter politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642010)

Hi -

Since slahsdot readers on average are much more intelligent than the electorate as a whole, it is no wonder we see more leftist or progressive viewpoints here.

Red states = rednecks

TWR

Re:Smarter readers, smarter politics (1)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642452)

Since when does intelligence == liberalism? Unless of course your counting that burned out hippie professor of yours from university (the one who's never had a real job).

Seriously, what does the average joe really know about economics/politics/science? Only what the ridiculously slanted media tells them... be it on the left or the right. I could rattle off hundreds of loud mouth lefties in the media who's collective IQ couldn't match the intelligence of a loaf of banana bread. As for the conservatives in the media, quite a few of them are fucked up too. I believe there are many conservatives out there who would have no problem admitting that Rush Limbaugh is a bloated, loud-mouth, ass. Seriously, does anyone doubt that it's about anything other than ratings, and the effect that these morons have on the general public - is the fog that thick?

There are plenty of intelligent "Conservatives" out there, they just tend to be, well, more conservative - i.e., not talking out of their asses all of the time. Like it or not, many of the "liberal" arguments tend to appeal to emotion rather than focus on sound logic. Hype is hype, and most of the folks out there (~51% - red_neck_inbreds) don't buy into it.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (5, Insightful)

robsimmon (462689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642044)

Michael Crichton is an MD, not a scientist, and especially not a climate scientist.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (1)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642436)

Scientist:
an expert in science, esp. one of the physical or natural sciences. [1]

Medical Doctor:
"Medicine is a branch of health science..." [2]

Hence, Crichton is a scientist.

1. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scientist [reference.com]
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicine [wikipedia.org]

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642584)


"Medicine is a branch of health science..." [2]

Hence, Crichton is a scientist.


Medical doctors are not generally scientists. Some happen to be scientists, too, but most are not.

p.s. Don't you know that anything with "science" in the name (e.g., health science) is not really a science?

Re:Slashdot tipping over (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642604)

So you'd be perfectly comfortable with a particle physicist performing heart surgery on you? Because clearly all scientists know everything about every science.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (4, Insightful)

Aglassis (10161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642560)

Are we comparing the qualifications in climate science of Michael Crichton with Al Gore?

This should be hilarious. The total sum of Al Gore's formal education consists in getting a Bachelor of Arts degree in government from Harvard (and not completing a law degree at Vanderbilt). Al Gore is even less qualified to talk about climate science than Michael Crichton (who at least has had formal training in experimental analysis while getting a medical degree at Harvard).

Neither of them has a degree in the physical sciences and nothing they say should be taken as knowledge interpreted by a scientist. I don't care how far you want to twist it, a MD and a BA in government do not make you even remotely qualified to discuss climate change. Why the world has focused on these unqualified 'spokesmen' to be cheerleaders for their differing sides of the global warming debate is beyond me.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (1)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642706)

Michael Crichton is an MD, not a scientist, and especially not a climate scientist.

And he didn't invent the internet either!

anon (1)

Dr. Cody (554864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642248)

Anonymous Coward, if there's one user here who's stuck with Slashdot through thick and thing, it's you. Who could forget your hot grits? Your gayniggers? Your table-breaking HTML?

All and all, I'd just like to send a shout-out from all of us, to you. /. 3 AC

Re:Slashdot tipping over (2, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642302)

i've been a slashdot fan since 1997. seems like the submissions, and comments, are getting further and further left.

Teenagers have flocked to the Internet because it is assumed that they can mask their immaturity in a seemingly objective arena. Slashdot, being a techy site, and therefore supposedly even more objective, attracts a large amount of adolescents.

Growing up in a family where parents of the sixties refuse to raise their kids properly, the parents selfish wants and needs create a socialistic attitude, where the kids get what they want for free and are screamed at at intervals.

This being their only knowledge, they apply it elsewhere--Leftist/Socialistic leanings--which are prized by other kids like them.

As a result, slashdot has tipped to the left. Not so much because the conservatives have left, but because its popularity has dragged in a young crew, and instead of smacking them until they recognize reality, it caters to their immature attitudes.

When they grow up and get jobs about half of them will become conservatives, unfortunately, more kiddies will take their erstwhile place.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642730)

Yet one wonders: Why do old fogies like you still hang out here? Adolescence extending into your 30s perhaps?

I can't wait to see all these cocky middle aged republican breadwinners gradually turn into socialists when they realize that they can no longer bring home the big bucks like they used to and inflation has far exceeded their ability to save.

By that time when I am a middle aged republican I can stroke my beard, shake my head and make TSK TSK noises. "Old man, didn't anyone tell you that your lifetime of work entitles you to nothing? I on the other hand had my money work for me. I am invested in real estate and have a diverse stock portfolio. I'm surprised you didn't think of that. Oh well, serves you right."

Maybe if I'm lucky I'll get to evict a few of them out of my rental properties. I'm a Christian man though, so I'll try to make sure to find them a nice cot at the community center.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (2, Insightful)

ChameleonDave (1041178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642750)

That's got to be the most nauseating ad hominem attack on progressive thought that I have seen so far on Slashdot.

Re:Slashdot tipping over (1)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642508)

Gore said "I took the initiative in creating the internet." during that interview with CNN. I'm guessing he meant to add "bill" to the end of that sentence, as he was kind of rambling. Bill being a reference to this one. [wikipedia.org]

If you retain this kernel of knowledge, I'll promise to not make so much fun of George W Bush.

simple solution (0, Troll)

the_other_one (178565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641732)

Resubmit the grant applications:
1. replace all occurrences of "global warming" with "terrorists"
2. replace all occurrences of "crops" with "WMD's"
3. replace all occurrences of "fisheries" with "offshore oil resources"
4. ???
5. Profit
   

Perhaps its too obvious to make sense... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641768)

but if you are going to establish a moon base, do you need to keep putting up satellites, or can you just use the moon base to monitor the Earth?

Sure, sure, sure, I know they will use it to monitor US citizens, but it could also be used to monitor the globe.

When you buy a new car, you don't buy spare tires at the same time?

Re:Perhaps its too obvious to make sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642114)

Believe it or not, you can't see both sides of the Earth at the same time from the Moon.

Re:Perhaps its too obvious to make sense... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642234)

What if you go to the other side of the moon?

Earth is old and busted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17641784)

Mars is the new hotness.

At least it will be after we terraform it and over develop it.

And yes I agree that SlashKos is getting old.

A huge waste of taxpayers money? (0, Flamebait)

Gryphoenix (1052272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641794)

I'm sorry but I sincerely feel that NASA eats up too huge a chunk of the Federal Budget. I agree with space exploration to a point such as gathering vital information such as weather and counterintelligence but I do not feel that Mars Missions or Moon missions are cost effective or necessary. I'm glad for the possible downsize.

Re:A huge waste of taxpayers money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642118)

If you read the TFA (or even the summary, for Christ's sake), you'd realize that the downsize is earth observation (i.e., "weather" - although not the same as the NOAA weather birds) to fund Moon and Mars missions. NASAs budget itself is basically flat at about 16 billion +/- a billion, as has been that way for many years, adjusted for inflation.

Re:A huge waste of taxpayers money? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642124)

What percentage of the budget is NASA?

Re:A huge waste of taxpayers money? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642262)

I'm sorry but I sincerely feel that NASA eats up too huge a chunk of the Federal Budget.

Ya, i agree with you. That money could be better given to Kellog, Brown, Root or Halliburton to prosecute the War.

Alternately the money could be better spent on Journalists or Editors to "spin" stories.

Alternately, the money could be used to increase the Budget of NSA to enable it to ummm, "protect the Freedom of US People" [yeah! that's it].

Better we sell off NASA to those Private contractors who could use the shuttle to send "paying" citizens into Orbit.

Yeah Baby ! I gotta hand it to you. In one sentence, you have clearly specified why we don't need the NASA

Re:A huge waste of taxpayers money? (4, Insightful)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642334)

First, the chunk of the federal budget that NASA "eats up" is minuscule. $16.8 out of $2656.0 [whitehouse.gov] Billion in 2007.
I don't think handing that money over to Congress will lead to anything tangible for you or I.

Second, think about the peripheral benefits of everything NASA has done, not just the pretty pictures. Subtract the Voyager probes. The science section at Barnes and Noble is a whole lot thinner ehh? How many books have been published, how many scientists have been educated, how many television shows have been produced based on what those two probes discovered? Suddenly, we know virtually nothing about the moons of Saturn and I don't get to wonder if there is life under the seas of Europa.

Subtract some rocket science that was pioneered by NASA and the Soviets during the space race. Perhaps your cell phone can't call Australia anymore, hurricanes give us less warning and HBO does not have quite as many options. I doubt private industry would be quite so far along in communication satellite technology were it not for the feasibility of such demonstrated by NASA.

Subtract some planetary and atmospheric science regarding Venus. The Global Warming theory suddenly has holes in it's foundation and we couldn't have half the arguments we do on Slashdot.

Subtract Hubble. Suddenly the official stance of the Vatican's is that we are at the center of the universe, we have a few million less interesting web pages and my desire to learn more and educate myself regarding astronomy are greatly diminished.

Despite NASA's budget being slashed and despite their priorities being subject to the whims of politicians, they've done quite well in educating and inspiring all of us who care to pay attention.

Re:A huge waste of taxpayers money? (5, Informative)

RockClimbingFool (692426) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642550)

You sir know jack shit. You want to save the world on NASA's 16 billion a year? Why don't you try to some other pot...

Maybe defense at 537 billion.

How about Health and human services at 687 billion? There is oodles of waste there.

Here is a breakdown of the US budget taken from the treasury departments website http://www.fms.treas.gov/mts/index.html [treas.gov]

Budget Outlays

Legislative Branch 4,463

Judicial Branch 6,382

Department of Agriculture 88,296

Department of Commerce 6,673

Department of Defense-Military 537,308

Department of Education 66,623

Department of Energy 21,583

Department of Health and Human Services 687,946

Department of Homeland Security 49,302

Department of Housing and Urban Development 45,891

Department of the Interior 9,952

Department of Justice 24,643

Department of Labor 50,218

Department of State 15,225

Department of Transportation 65,928

Department of the Treasury:

Interest on Treasury debt securities (gross) 440,627

Other 58,626

Department of Veterans Affairs 74,032

Corps of Engineers 7,758

Other Defense Civil Programs 47,540

Environmental Protection Agency 7,875

Executive Office of the President 3,644

General Services Administration 881

International Assistance Program 17,246

National Aeronautics and Space Administration 16,350

National Science Foundation 5,837

Office of Personnel Management 67,428

Small Business Administration 1,433

Social Security Administration 621,979

Other independent agencies 22,295

That is a total of 3 trillion, which gives NASA a wopping 0.5% of the US budget. During Apollo, it was at 6%. That is quite a difference.

NASA still does amazing work, but its kind of hard to make everything work when Congress will not give them the budget they were told to plan to. Something gets cut when they don't get money they were supposed to.

Re:A huge waste of taxpayers money? (1)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642736)

I'm sorry but I sincerely feel that NASA eats up too huge a chunk of the Federal Budget. I agree with space exploration to a point such as gathering vital information such as weather and counterintelligence but I do not feel that Mars Missions or Moon missions are cost effective or necessary.

Cost to fund NASA for a year = cost to fund Iraq "war" for about a week.

You want to have that discussion about "effective and necessary" again?

Observing Earth (2, Funny)

bohemian72 (898284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641822)

will now fall under the domain of the Office of Homeland Security. So don't worry, it's not like we're not watching the Earth anymore.

global warming (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641824)

some jerks will find any reason to link anything to global warming. did it ever occur to you that they have more insturmentation then they need up there?

NY Times @ Slashdot (3, Insightful)

kad77 (805601) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641850)

"Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming."

Must editorial opinions mark every bit of tech news here on Slashdot? Maybe Andrew Rosenthal should be granted an editorial position here at /. for balance...

Yay! (2, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641874)

Less government observation of its people?

Libertarians, rejoice!

- RG>

The "Moon": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641920)

It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

suprised they can do anything (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641918)

Im surprised Nasa gets anything done with a paltry $15.5 billion a year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasa [wikipedia.org]

Vote for him up there so we don't have to vote f.. (0, Troll)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#17641954)

From these accounts it is clear that the Bush administration's priorities on a Mars mission and a moon base are partly to blame for the de-emphasizing of earth science.

Perhaps he is looking for Martains to support his "surge". Earthlings have pretty much puked all over the idea.
       

Slashdoublespeak (5, Informative)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642016)

First, the NASA science budget is increasing [nasa.gov] , not decreasing as the article would make you think... it just isn't increasing as fast it had been promised.

Second, the NASA budget is essentially fixed. There are 4 directorates within NASA:

  • Aeronautics (conventional aircraft-related research)
  • Science (satellites and probes)
  • Space Operations (funding to maintain shuttle and station)
  • Exploration
    • COTS (Funding commercial space to provide space transportation capability (non-exploratory)
    • Constellation (Ares/Orion/LSAM - the vehicles that will both replace shuttle as well as comprise the lunar architecture)
The problem is that over the next couple years, the Exploration budget starts ramping up as the development costs begin to really add up in advance of a 2014 first (crewed) flight. Meanwhile, until the shuttle is retired in 2010, the SOMD budget must remain relatively constant since the cost of operating the shuttle fleet doesn't dip until its retirement. So what are your choices?
  • A) Cut shuttle off early and leave ISS unfinished and have an 6-7 gap in manned space flight?
  • B) Delay Exploration development until the shuttle is retired (similar gap in manned space flight since you are just pushing development to the right)?
  • C) Or do you delay science missions for only a few years until NASA is "over the hump years" (2008-2010) in which they are trying to maintain old vehicles and develop new ones?

If you ask me - the obvious solution is:

D) Increase NASA funding to maintain all of the above until Ares/Orion enters an operations phase.

Keep in mind - the NASA budget is about half of one percent of the federal budget...

Note: you can mock the lunar outpost and Mars missions all you want - but those costs aren't even in the budget yet (and won't be for some 10 years or more) and are not driving this "problem" despite the misleading claims in the article.

Re:Slashdoublespeak (2, Informative)

robsimmon (462689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642134)

First, the NASA science budget is increasing, not decreasing as the article would make you think... it just isn't increasing as fast it had been promised.
You do realize the 2007 NASA budget was never passed?

Re:Slashdoublespeak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642742)

Dump the ISS. It's worthless. Keep the shuttle, but stick to servicing Hubble and other useful stuff. So there's no gap in manned space flight (which there wouldn't be anyway, China's doing it and Russia can too if there's a need), enough money to keep all the probes running and replace any old ones, and hopefully enough left to get building a shuttle replacement.

How about this : (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642806)

Slash 0.5% of the defense budget (for example cut it on nuclear weapon research or capability) and give it to the Nasa Budget. I recon that would be a nice nifty increase for the Nasa budget while not really a loss for the defense capability of the US (seeing that it has a budget which is roughly on the order of half of the world spending on military if you are to believe wiki).

Slashdot Parents Ends with Flamebait (2, Insightful)

MSTCrow5429 (642744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642142)

"Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming."

Inappropriate ideological sniping. That is a stated opinion on a highly disputed theory among experts in the field, not science.

Not so sure (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642384)

While I hate to comment about something I have little personal knowledge in (Mars vs. Earth study)- but I have to say it seems very obvious that we only have so much money to spend on space in general, and so to simply frame it as a loss of research is ignoring the potential of such a shift. Maybe this is an obvious poor choice to change focus. If so present data as to why that is so, instead of simply complaining as if somehow NASA is getting less dough, or cheating us in some way. Why shouldn't we more boldy explore? I'm quite open to a change of heart.

It's not exploration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642790)

"Boldly exploring" Mars is boldly exploring an area that we already have high-resolution overhead and 3D maps of and where we've already sent robots to look around on the ground and do atmospheric, chemical and geological experiments. It's the equivalent of boldly exploring a town you've never been to, but you've sorted out your route on your in-car GPS/mapping system and your brother's already checked out the area for you.

Its clear? (3, Insightful)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642582)

"From these accounts it is clear that the Bush administration's priorities on a Mars mission and a moon base are partly to blame for the de-emphasizing of earth science. Neither article quite says that some responsibility must fall to the administration's footdragging on global warming."

A quick glance reveals that one article never mentions Bush by name, the other only in that they are calling for more emphasis on global warming research and that real scientists (not /. scientist wannabes) are happy they really are funding the Mars missions.

What is this, really? The New York Times (not exactly known to have a major conservative slant) doesn't bash Bush so instead the /. article has to insert in a completely unsupported accusation?

about time (1)

kahrytan (913147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642718)

NASA is leaving earth science to the commercial sector. It is more then capable in doing so. Commercial Sector is launching satellites all the time.

And remember people, NASA stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Their mandate is to explore the solar system. Building a moon base will benefit mankind allot. Near Zero G experiments to the feasibility of humans surviving on Mars for long periods of time. And reaching mars will enable us to begin a terraforming process or at very least, make it possible to build a dome in a valley.

NASA is doing the right thing here. Because Earth Sucks.

What problem? (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 7 years ago | (#17642822)

With the possibility that NASA will embrace the metric system, they could find this as an excuse to redeploy every sensor that previously flew. Screw spreadsheet conversions, we want real data, just to be sure.

Sarcasm aside, NASA stopped being relevant years ago, so there should not be any surprise to hear that various information gathering projects/systems are soon to be extinct.

Naturally, when NASA needs a cash infusion, it cries to the public, Jane and John Doe - don't forget how many mission manifests were DoD related. I don't recall all that information moving into the public domain.

I'm sure the EU and/or the Chinese will be happy to take over for the next few decades. And why not - it seems about time someone else's tax $$ were spent instead of mine.

What Motivation!?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17642852)

I wonder what this professor's motivation could possibly be? Maybe his funding was cut?
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