Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Mars Rovers Facing Budget Cuts [Updated]

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the missed-opportunity dept.

Mars 327

BUL2294 notes a CNN article reporting that the Mars Rovers program at NASA is facing budget cuts of $4 million for this year and $8 million for fiscal 2009. This will mean job cuts; and in all likelihood Spirit will be put in "hibernation mode," to be reactivated when or if future funding becomes available."

Update: 03/29 20:02 GMT by KD : NASA has rescinded the memo to the JPL threatening budget cuts, and is now saying that no rovers will be shut down.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Simple solutions for NASA (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851304)

All NASA has to do is say they found indicators of [terr'rists | oil | bin Laden's hideout | WMDs ] on Mars and they're good to go.

And for a manned facility, they can pitch Mars as the next Gitmo. Think of the security!

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22851566)

All the above would have worked for the pubs, but not for dems. But to really get the pubs to vote for it, you have to tell them that there loads of bribe^H^H^H^H^H election money's. Then you can be assured that the pubs will vote for it.

For dems, you need to tell them that are poor people on Mars and then they will spend money to see if it is true.

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (5, Insightful)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851618)

And that is the really sad part of this. So much money is being siphoned out of just about everything to pay for the war in Iraq. We have bridges collapsing, overwhelmed health institutions, overwhelmed educational systems, money being "borrowed" from social security, etc.

The Bush administration is basically robbing this country blind to fund their war and even high-profile programs are falling victim.

And the really sad part of all this is that the draining of money out of everything is only just beginning. We have tens of thousands of veterans who will need expensive, long-term care and more joining those ranks every day. We have interest building on the money that has been borrowed so far, while we continue to borrow to fund the war. It's total madness.

Only a madman can stand at a podium, look America in the eye, and tell us that we are strong, our economy is strong, and we are winning some imaginary war on "terra".

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851726)

I think the war in Iraq is as stupid as the next guy, but none of the problems you state are new since the invasion. The financial crisis that the US is facing is not caused by our war of aggression. It is caused by deficit spending. If the we had never attacked Iraq, we would still be screwed financially.

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (5, Insightful)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851750)

*notes that the previous administration had budget surpluses*

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (4, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851814)

*notes that the previous administration had budget surpluses*
TEMPORARY budget surpluses. The yearly debt is built into programs that we are committed to. Occasionally we will have budget surplusses, but we still, as GP says, are screwed in the long run.

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (4, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851784)

Under Clinton the Budget deficit would be nearly gone by now. The forecasts were for 10 years to be eliminated. Even if that got stretched to 15 because of the down turn, it would a lot better than doubling it like Bush did.

There was a chance to clean up the future. Now the only way is to collapse the economy and rebuild. preferably with a new government first.

anyone want to start a revolution with me?

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (4, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851914)

"anyone want to start a revolution with me?"

The main problem with revolution is finding enough people you can trust after the conflict. If you win then there is all this power to be distributed... and if you lose then there is a wicked manhunt.

In my entire life I have met two people I would trust enough to rise up with and take the consequences (win or lose) afterwards.

Back on-topic: Space exploration joins progress in art and literature on my list of indicators that a civilization is truly prospering. Space exploration, much like astronomy, lacks the utilitarian nature of many other branches of science, and I have always considered it to be one of the brightest signs of our progress as thinking beings. Our continuing withdrawal from funding space related endeavors strikes me as a sad indicator of where we are headed.

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (5, Informative)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851808)

We might still be screwed but certainly not to the extent that we are now. Estimates of what this war will end up costing - if it is ended soon with a complete withdrawal of US forces - are in the $3 Trillion dollar range. That used to be over half of our National debt.

No more. The US National debt is now $9.4 Trillion. Our debt is increasing by $1.6 Billion dollars every single day. http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ [brillig.com]

The National debt was around $5 Trillion when Bush took office. As noted above, it's now approaching $10 Trillion. He has basically doubled it during his two terms. So, yeah, we would still be screwed without the war but we are especially screwed with it.

And 4,000 Americans are really screwed - they're dead. And another 30-40,000 suffer from various levels of injuries up to missing limbs, missing eyes, missing parts of their brains, extreme disfigurement, etc.

Any other comments are superfluous.

Re:Simple solutions for NASA (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851846)

And 4,000 Americans are really screwed - they're dead.
Perhaps they were spared the disillusionment? Small comfort to their families to be sure.

I'm just a caveman robot rover (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22851310)

I don't understand these funny "comments" people post on their "websites." I was put into hibernation mode centuries ago, and only recently awoken, but I do know this... Martians need safe drinking water. It's time to melt the caps.

Sad day (5, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851320)

Billions wasted in Iraq and one of the most exciting programs since the Moon landing starts a slow death from budget cuts. Just plain sickening. We need a grass roots funding effort to save the Rovers since it looks like the second one will be cut next year.

Re:Sad day (2, Interesting)

jurzdevil (1259614) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851344)

i completely agree...NASA catches so much bad media when something fails, but when they achieve something so incredible, nobody hears about it and their budget gets slashed.

Re:Sad day (0, Troll)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851362)

Maybe it's just me but I'd rather see the quality of life improve for millions of people rather than look at another boring shot of a red rocky destitute landscape. I could just drive to Utah if I was that needy.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851384)

Maybe it's just me but I'd rather see the quality of life improve for millions of people rather than look at another boring shot of a red rocky destitute landscape. I could just drive to Utah if I was that needy.

Offshoots from the space program improve the lives of billions of people.

Re:Sad day (-1, Flamebait)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851494)

Please explain to me how the mars rovers have improved the lives of billions of people. Sure it's neat that we have the technology to go explore planets but honestly, you and I will never go there. It's great that we're contemplating colonizing planets but really we should be focusing on their problems we face on our own planet.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851604)

It's more of a general rule of thumb. Scientific exploration is crucial to improving life. If the way to perfect life were readily available here already, well then there's no reason to explore. That's not the case though. Humanity is still limited by its level of comprehension of the world around it. Scientific exploration, especially in space, has proven time and time again that it is a crucial part of improving life here on earth. On top of the fact that that it's a puny, albeit strategic, $12 million we're talking about, compared to a debt that is in the trillions of dollars.

Also, did you really expect to find anyone agreeing with you here? I mean come on.

Re:Sad day (2, Insightful)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851756)

And how do you propose we convince a populace with a pre-Gallilean understanding of science and the universe, that Mars IS important?

Re:Sad day (2, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851850)

On top of the fact that that it's a puny, albeit strategic, $12 million we're talking about, compared to a debt that is in the trillions of dollars.

So... it does make sense to put that pint of Godiva ice cream on a credit card? Mmmmm.... ice cream.

Re:Sad day (5, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851716)

Please explain to me how the mars rovers have improved the lives of billions of people. Sure it's neat that we have the technology to go explore planets but honestly, you and I will never go there. It's great that we're contemplating colonizing planets but really we should be focusing on their problems we face on our own planet.


Ever hear of Velcro or Microwave Ovens? What about Tang? Ever owned a cell phone? Used the Internet lately?

NASA played a significant role in the popularization/development of all of those technologies. It's a fair assessment to say that none of those technologies would be anywhere near as ubiquitous as they are today if it wasn't for the role NASA played. It's not a question of whether you'll ever go to Mars yourself. It's a question of what new technologies are being developped, or commercialized, as a result of the space program.

Re:Sad day (2, Informative)

Minimalist360 (1258970) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851798)

Microwave ovens were an accidental discovery, and it was done at Raytheon. They were working on a radar project, and they had this discovery when microwaves melted a bar of chocolate in a guys pocket (and maybe cooked his nads, who knows?). Anyhow, that's why they were original called "Radaranges." I'm not certain how NASA was involved with this?

Re:Sad day (3, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851730)

Don't you love people who purposefully don't quote your stuff, then present arguments in an attempt to sidetrack you?

Original statement by poster and my reply:

Maybe it's just me but I'd rather see the quality of life improve for millions of people rather than look at another boring shot of a red rocky destitute landscape. I could just drive to Utah if I was that needy.
Offshoots from the space program improve the lives of billions of people.

Now notice the deception:

Please explain to me how the mars rovers have improved the lives of billions of people.

Never made that claim.

However, I will be happy to demonstrate just one way that the space program (specifically remote sensing - you know, the stuff that the Mars Rovers are an extension of) has improved the lives of 6.5 billion people:

Without decent remote sensing capabilities (spy satellites) allowing real-time verification, the cold war would have turned into a hot war. Glowing in the dark might be "cool", but it sucks when your half-life is cut down to hours.

Remember - some of the shuttle missions were military spy satellites. These missions helped end the cold war, since the USSR couldn't keep spending at the same pace, and ultimately lost the "militarization of space race."

Continuing to develop rovers into semi-autonomous or even autonomous vehicles would be one step towards workable von Neumann machines. There are lots of practical uses for a working von Neumann machine right here on earth

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851742)

Well, here's the thing: the mars rovers haven't improved the lives of many people outside the scientists and engineers working on them. Yet. And they may not ever, sometimes basic research bears no tangible fruits. You never know. But sometimes basic research yields really important breakthroughs. Scientific revolutions, even. Most of the time, basic research yields small advances from which further basic and applied research can itself advance.

Applied research is easier to predict. We sink money into figuring out how to do things that improve the human condition better, faster, and cheaper, and it's going to pay off in the shorter term. But is the problem with the state of the human condition really one of not having the know-how to make it better, or is it simply not having the will? And what do we do when we run out of ways of doing things better, faster, and cheaper, and we have to figure out whole new ways of doing things? If we've ignored basic research, we're screwed.

The thing is, as much as the overspecialized would have you believe otherwise, science is a vast web, a framework of inter-connected ideas and techniques. Research in one area can pay unexpected dividends in another. Do you honestly think that by studying Martian geochemistry, we aren't learning things that apply to Earth as well? You don't think we've learned things about materials science by sending these probes to Mars? Solar cells that work in low Martian sunlight, there's something that'll never come in handy here on Earth... Those are just two examples anyone could think of off the top of their heads.

I think the most important point is that there is no way for us to truly understand the way our own planet works until we put that understanding into a larger framework of how planets work in general. Whether you believe in anthropogenic climate change or not, I'm sure that you can agree that really understanding how our planet works could improve the lives of billions of people.

Re:Sad day (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851510)

Whatever technological progress was made in designing the rovers probably trickled down to the civilian world years ago. I don't think that their current roving around Mars has much practical benefit, though the scientific discoveries will certainly be nice.

Re:Sad day (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851842)

It's only one step in the long line of work we need to do to construct workable von Neumann machines that are able to handle non-earth environments. It's probably cheaper to build them and send them to Mars than it would be to make an equivalent "test environment" here on earth, and maintain it for that length of time.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851400)

Knowing more about our universe improves the quality of life, period. I know that you want to help everyone at the bottom, but a culture that maintains intellectual curiosity evinces and spreads values that benefits everyone. And your argument can spiral downward: why spend money teaching people art and music when some can't read? Why spend money on parks when some people have no homes, and don't have any way of visiting the parks? Etc. etc.

Besides, I like the Utah landscape, and I'm not even Mormon.

Re:Sad day (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851574)

Quality of life is improving for virtually everyone on the planet and has been doing so for the past few decades. Are you going to allow us to do other important things now?

the parent is not a troll (1)

Bored MPA (1202335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851624)

limited allocation of resources == debate about proper usage.

geez the mods are insane lately...god i hate our new election cycle.

Re:the parent is not a troll (1)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851724)

The person who marked it a troll is actually a buddy I've known for about 18 years. He's just trying to get back at me for an aim conversation we had earlier when I made fun of him for the non funny web comic links he sends me daily. :P

Re:Sad day (1, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851388)

Billions wasted in Iraq and one of the most exciting programs since the Moon landing starts a slow death from budget cuts. Just plain sickening. We need a grass roots funding effort to save the Rovers since it looks like the second one will be cut next year

The same President who launched the war in Iraq also is the first President to enact a workable plan for putting people on Mars. By contrast, if Obama gets in, its likely that NASA will face some pretty deep cuts. For some reason, Republicans don't have as big of a problem blowing lots of money on space stuff, whereas Democrats always have to get past this "we could use the money to feed the poor" mental stumbling block. If it wasn't for the war, Bush would have been alright.

Understatement of the year... (2, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851558)

Whoa. Let me sort of agree with you... if the Bush administration had stuck to the platform of a humble foreign policy, they would have been alright.

All they've done is start a new age of McCarthyism, suspend habeas corpus, agree to formally demolish our borders with Mexico and Canada, extend the powers of the executive branch beyond the oversight of congress, lied under oath or refused to even testify about the terrorist attacks under oath, wiretapped American citizens who are 'guilty' of receiving 'suspicious' phone calls, run the economy into the ground... caused two to three trillion dollars of damage to our economy for a war that was both illegal and unnecessary, which also caused the price of oil to quintuple, and probably caused the sharpest devaluation of the American dollar since the depression...

You say the word "war" like it doesn't mean much.

Re:Understatement of the year... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851886)

All they've done is start a new age of McCarthyism, suspend habeas corpus, agree to formally demolish our borders with Mexico and Canada, extend the powers of the executive branch beyond the oversight of congress, lied under oath or refused to even testify about the terrorist attacks under oath, wiretapped American citizens who are 'guilty' of receiving 'suspicious' phone calls, run the economy into the ground... caused two to three trillion dollars of damage to our economy for a war that was both illegal and unnecessary, which also caused the price of oil to quintuple, and probably caused the sharpest devaluation of the American dollar since the depression...

I think a "New Age of McCarthyism" understates how bad McCarthy was. McCarthy created a national climate of fear over the whole media. There's no media that is afraid of Bush.... because, ironically, Republicans (in order to get their talk shows), dismantled the regulatory tools Democrats and Republicans both used to use to bully the MSM into running stories favorable to the current government. When McCarthy was around, Hollywood blacklisted people that disagreed with McCarthy. Today, in "Bush McCarthyism", the reverse applies. Hollywood blacklists everyone that actually likes Bush.

Habeas Corpus isn't suspended for any US Citizen, rather by combatants whose own side does not follow the Geneva convention. I think Bush's stance on immigration and trade have both been very progressive and very courageous, actually. Wiretapping is about Americans getting calls from people overseas in Islamic countries, and that's probably pretty reasonable. Bush didn't run the economy into the ground, rather the American people ran themselves into the ground because we've chosen to borrow rather than save. Bush didn't make people take out home equity loans to buy plasma screens. The war was necessary at the point at which it was undertaken. Rather, if we had wanted to avoid it, we should have let Saddam have Kuwait and washed our hands of the region in 1991 and let the UN collapse at that point. As a function of GDP, the war's not been that expensive, however, I will agree that fiscally there's a ton of better ways the country could have spent that money.

The price of oil quintupling had nothing to do with the war and had everything to do with peak oil and increasing Chinese and Indian demand. You don't have to believe me. There's plenty of left wing and environmentalist sites that can bore you to tears about sustainability and Hubbert peaks and the sad, sucky reality is, that they seem to be right, and the previous commodities recession of the 1990s is more an anomaly than a long term measure.

The dollar contraction in value is by design and is designed to foster American exports in manufacturered goods. Under Bush, exports have increased to approximately 15% of GDP, a record level, and it is these exports that keep the economy from cratering completely. So, from here on out, we're going to actually have to produce goods to sell to the world to actually get goods back, -just like every other country has to-.

So, with that defense of Bush, where has he erred?

a) the war. while we can disagree with the motives, the conditions on the ground in Iraq, and so on, there's really no way to argue that the war has't really had any economic benefit to the USA. It costs too much in blood and treasure relative to what we are getting out of it.

b) federal spending - budget deficits. Bush here is pretty indefensible when it comes to fiscal restraint. Yes, I do like a lot of the things he has spent money on. But, the prescription drug program is a real budget buster and, for the price tag, Democratic arguments about getting a better deal for the government purchasing of services have some weight.

c) USA PATRIOT, etc. We both agree that the surveillance programs in use by the government are not only intrusive, but, if they were not necessary during the cold war, then why are they necessary now? Surely the KGB had its own spies in the USA...

Re:Sad day (1)

WallaceAndGromit (910755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851580)

"For some reason, Republicans don't have as big of a problem blowing lots of money on space stuff, whereas Democrats always have to..."

Look at the states where the NASA space centers are located. You will find that many of them are located in electoral college delegate rich states that tend to lean republican or are swing states. Think of "blowing lots of money on space stuff" as a vote buying exercise.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

isomeme (177414) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851822)

Republicans don't have as big of a problem blowing lots of money on space stuff, whereas Democrats always have to get past this "we could use the money to feed the poor" mental stumbling block.

Yep, those Democratic bastards John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson nearly killed our space program by underfunding Gemini and Apollo, but the Republican Richard Nixon did a swell job of building on the success of Apollo with ambitious, well funded follow-on programs, which is why we have a thriving lunar colony and burgeoning orbital industries today.

Re:Sad day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22851408)

Iraq war costs at least $4 bln every month (and a lot more if you factor in long term case for the wounded, equipment replacement), and here NASA is forced to cut 4 mln bucks.

What they should do is to start fundrising from the public - if anything it would shame the Govt into giving in some more cash.

Re:Sad day (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851416)

I say this with out detracting from the success of the program, but hasn't it already run its course (and then some?) What are they doing with the rovers lately anyways?

Re:Sad day (0, Flamebait)

DanWS6 (1248650) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851430)

Taking pictures of new and exciting looking rock formations.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851420)

There's no oil on Mars.

Besides, people tend to believe that more money is spent on space science then actually is, so it's a nice visible way to pretend to be cutting back on government spending.

Re:Sad day (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851788)

There's no oil on Mars.

Ahhh, but we don't know this for certain. If the geological origin for oil ("abiogenic") theories are correct, then there's every reason to believe that there may, in fact, be some oil on Mars. Might explain some of the methane we see seeping from the surface.

Re:Sad day (1)

shadow349 (1034412) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851422)

While I hate to let unimportant things like "facts" get in the way of your diatribe, but this has NOTHING to do with Iraq.

NASA's FY2008 budget has been increased by about 1 billion [wikipedia.org] over FY2007 ($17.3B vs $16.25B).

Perhaps you should be aiming your vitriol at the NASA Administrators, since they are the ones that make the decisions to cut / increase funding to individual projects.

Re:Sad day (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851514)

NASA's FY2008 budget has been increased by about 1 billion over FY2007 ($17.3B vs $16.25B).

That won't even keep pace with inflation. Real inflation (not the CPI bs that the government hands out every year, which excludes stuff like fuel) is running between 10% and 12%. Or are you planning on doing space missions without any energy costs, and getting all your supplies from suppliers that don't have to contend with energy increases?

Re:Sad day (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851824)

I'd love to see where you got that "real" inflation is 10%-12% (which is a huge, useless range, btw). Second, the CPI is calculated by Ph.D Economists - if you think you know better than them, go prove them they're wrong, otherwise, keep your crackpot "facts" to yourself.

As an actual economist, I can't stand people that pull numbers out of their asses and talk like they're some kind of "authority" or that some crap they read is an "authority." Anyone that ACTUALLY understands economics would know that there is no such thing as "knowing" the "real" rate of inflation and that the CPI is the best indicator of inflation we have; there are versions of the CPI that DO include energy expenditures.
The reason that the traditional CPI does not include energy is because of the speculative nature of energy prices and 1) they change too often to be measurable with accuracy (on a monthly basis) and 2) it is assumed that the cost of energy will be picked up by cost increases in all other goods, thus energy costs would have a multiplicative effect on the CPI, which will make it less accurate and less useful.

Thanks for playing. Go home.

Re:Sad day (2, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851892)

That won't even keep pace with inflation. Real inflation (not the CPI bs that the government hands out every year, which excludes stuff like fuel) is running between 10% and 12%.

The CPI is released in several forms. It's usually reported in the news as either the overall CPI index (which includes food and energy), or the CPI less food and energy (sometimes referred to as the "cold and hungry" CPI). Neither is anywhere close to 10-12%. See for yourself [bls.gov] . Overall inflation, at an annual rate, based on the last 3 months is 3.4%. Based on the last 12 months, it's 4.4%. Without food and energy, these numbers are 2.4% and 2.3%. Inflation is up from its relatively low values in the last couple of decades, but still far away from the early 80s [stlouisfed.org] . Also, many economists believe that the CPI in fact overstates inflation. Why? People will substitute from goods which became relatively more expensive to those which haven't. To the extent that the basket of goods that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses to calculate CPI doesn't take this into account, it will make inflation seem larger than the average person will really feel.

The CPI is supposed to measure what typical households buy, but if you can only pick one rate of "inflation", it's usually the most reasonable. Even if you were to argue that NASA spends a great deal of its budget on fuel (which I highly, highly doubt), that fuel is not directly petroleum-based. The solid rockets are based on ammonium percholorate [wikipedia.org] (according to this [wikipedia.org] ). The shuttle itself has engines based off of liquid hydrogen and oxygen [wikipedia.org] .

   

Re:Sad day (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22851436)

Billions wasted in Iraq and one of the most exciting programs since the Moon landing starts a slow death from budget cuts. Just plain sickening. We need a grass roots funding effort to save the Rovers since it looks like the second one will be cut next year.
Yes. This Iraq War has hammered the US economy. Even if the US withdraws next year (hopefully) it will still be up to a decade before the US economy fully recovers like after the Vietnam War. Many important space projects are likely to be killed as a result since the NASA budget is not considered essential spending and is an easy target. It happened in the 1970s with the killing of the NERVA, Orion, and the Apollo followup programs. NASA is going to be hammered hard in the next decade as will many other optional government science programs.

But what do you expect? Trillion dollar wars have to be paid for somehow. Bush and Cheney might have said that they'd just put it on the credit card and we'd never have to worry about it but that is simply not the case.

Canada also hates its Space Program (5, Interesting)

Cordath (581672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851582)

It's painful watching some of the most fascinating projects ever conceived being raked over the coals of budget cuts in the U.S., but you guys aren't alone.

Some of you may have seen that giant freakin' cool space robot called Dextre that just went up to the ISS. The Canadian company responsible (MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates or MDA) for that coolness is being sold off to a U.S. company.

The important thing to realize about MDA is that it was started over four decades ago and has been carefully nurtured by public funding with the express intention of forwarding Canada's space technology sector. MDA is the backbone of Canada's space program. (as small as it may be) In addition to selling off Canada's space program, this sale also includes RADARSAT-2, which was built with Canadian tax money and is currently used by the government to monitor the arctic. The sale of this satellite to a U.S. company will mean that the Canadian government will be ceding control [foxbusiness.com] of the satellite which it paid for to the U.S., a country which disputes Canadian sovereignty in some of the areas RADARSAT-2 monitors. RADARSAT-2 was effectively *given* to MDA to simplify operations, but now it's being sold to the U.S. and the money is going to MDA's shareholders rather than the Canadian government that paid for it!

The only thing standing in the way is a Rubber Stamp from the Industry minister Jim Prentice. Seeing as he's never failed to rubber stamp a sale before, the picture looks grim.

So, the U.S. is not alone in being mismanaged from the very top.

IRS Checkbox to Donate to NASA (1)

NeverVotedBush (1041088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851670)

A long time ago I wrote to the IRS and NASA and proposed that a box be added to the tax return forms that would allow people to donate directly to NASA. It wouldn't come out of their taxes - it would just be a convenient way to donate.

I never heard from either of them.

States have similar programs to donate to various wildlife and other programs. I think if there was a way for people to donate to NASA, there would be a real boost to NASA funding.

Re:IRS Checkbox to Donate to NASA (1)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851810)

Or it will be a really convenient way to kill all NASA funding. This gives politicians easy cover for cutting the NASA budget: "You know people only donated $20 million on their taxes to NASA last year, that must be all they want". I can't say with certainty whether that would really be the result but its certainly plausable.

Slow down cowboy (1)

iamlucky13 (795185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851708)

Neither of them are cut yet, and as you can see in the article, the plan is still to keep Opportunity moving next year, and ceasing operations from Spirit doesn't necessarily mean it's out of the picture completely either. While driving would almost certainly cease, and communications resources would be limited, an automated, stationary program of observations may be feasible.

This is definitely sad, but I wouldn't call it sickening. The rovers have accomplished far more than probably anyone at JPL expected them to do in their not-quite-wildest dreams (wildest being to photograph either a Martian or a Starbucks coffee shop).

We've developed a habit of expecting space missions to continue until they either run out of fuel (in this case solar power) or something catastrophic breaks. The cost of doing that, however, has to be weighed against the money it takes away from other programs which might be able to produce more gain from that money. Late next year NASA will be launching the much more capable Mars Science Laboratory, a bigger, fancier, nuclear-powered rover, to Mars. Its budget is already extremely tight. Plus the Mars Phoenix Lander is already on its way there. NASA will likely have to forego a mission to Mars during the 2011 launch window due to limited funds.

While Spirit and Opportunity were designed to live past the 90 day "warranty" that the news articles all focus on, beyond 1 year seemed unlikely enough mission team hadn't even asked for funding that far out. They've been rolling for over 4 years now! My understanding is that's costs over $100 million extra (which NASA happily spent at the time), but as you run out new things to discover in each location, the value of redundant data gets increasingly hard to justify.

At some point you simply have to say, "it's been an outstanding run, but the money can be better spent elsewhere." Are we there yet? I don't know. I'm sure the rover team would say very loudly "No!" and I'm personally very inclined to agree, but Congress, the GAO, or higher ups in NASA apparently see it otherwise. If NASA opens the decision up to public comment, I know which way I'll be arguing.

As for which child to abandon on Mars' doorstep, Spirit has been slowed greatly by a dead drive motor, is currently in a poor energy situation due to dust coverage, and the rock abrasion tool is very worn. The solar panels are producing only a 1/3 of the nominal amount of juice per day, and just 60% more than what it theoretically takes to stay alive. Meanwhile, Opportunity is currently in a good position inside a giant, interesting crater, with a decent energy budget.

Meanwhile, here's a slice of what they've accomplished:

* 2,983 combined "rover-days" working on Mars (goal: 180) * 19.2 km combined driving (goal: 1.2 km) * Taken 210,000+ combined photographs * Almost completely worn down the rock abrasion tools from use * Countless hours of spectrometer readings * Countless rocks and geological features examined in unprecedented detail * Found strong evidence in multiple forms of past liquid water * Inspired almost every space-nerd alive

Not a sad day, but deserved (1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851732)

Honestly, I don't think this is so sad. I mean, the rovers are cool and all, but they were designed to look for life on Mars, and obviously there wasn't any. There really isn't that much of a point in continuing their mission. They've taken plenty of cool pictures, snooped around their immediate area (the one considered most likely to harbor life on the whole planet), and found nothing. So with no life on Mars, and the rovers too slow to get to the other side of the planet and send us some pictures we haven't seen, it seems like now might be a reasonable time to shut them down. NASA has lots of other cool missions and a new capsule to design and fly, and after all, these rovers would have eventually been shut down anyway.

Re:Not a sad day, but deserved (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851840)

Actually, they're not designed to look for life. They're mobile geology platforms. If they happened to find life, or evidence of life, that'd be the Holy Grail. There are future probes going up that will "look for life". Still, they've done a good job and we've learned a lot from them.

What are the costs involved in running the program (4, Interesting)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851736)

I confess complete and total ignorance here. I'm just trying to figure out why it's so expensive to run the rover program?

The rovers, it's true, cost a lot of money to design, build, test, and deliver to Mars. But that is money already spent. Now that they are there, what are the major expenses of running the program? I realize that you do need staff and equipment to maintain communication with the rovers, and to send them programming, and that implies needing facilities in which to house the staff and equipment. But NASA already owns the facilities and equipment, I believe?

How many staff does it take to run the program? I wouldn't think it would be a huge number of people? 20 or 30 (that might be way off, I'm just pulling numbers out of the air, admittedly, but I can't understand why it would take a lot of people to run the program)? I realize that the scientists and engineers working on a program like this would be higher paid than the general public. Assuming an average salary of 100k per year, plus benefits at, say, 20k per year, 30 people would run you 3.6M per year.

Also, quick question - sometimes in large organizations like NASA, you can get some tricks going like paying one person to work on something that benefits two programs, but who is officially working on the other program. Could the Mars Rover program be kept alive with assistance from other programs inside NASA that need to maintain 'shared infrastructure'?

Priorities? (4, Insightful)

wangf00 (901609) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851330)

Why is it that we can't support cheap science that provides valuable insight into our solar system and neighboring planets, but we can find hundreds of millions of dollars to piss away on some congress critter's self named statue and bridge? Is it really possible that not one person in congress can be asked to not screw us over for self gratification?

Re:Priorities? (1)

Kamokazi (1080091) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851466)

Exactly...they should be running those rovers until they melt down...they are STILL discovering new things. I would challenge them to find 8 millions dollars that is going to produce more scientific discovery than the rovers.

Re:Priorities? (1)

j1m+5n0w (749199) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851480)

Is it really possible that not one person in congress can be asked to not screw us over for self gratification?
Lawrence Lessig [slashdot.org] doesn't think so [change-congress.org] .

Sell one (5, Funny)

victim (30647) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851334)

They should sell one of the rovers to any institution willing to pay for it rather than let it die a slow death of neglect. A deployed rover with a proven track record is better than an $800 million shot that might arrive and land successfully.

I'm sure non-scientists could find a use. Use it to write messages in the sands of mars.
Maybe some Slashdotters could pool their money to write "First Post" on mars.

Mars as a Gigantic Etch-A-Sketch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#22851438)

I am sooooo in on this. I'd like "CHA" written across the surface...

Selling one is more feasible than you might think. (4, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851668)

They should sell one of the rovers to any institution willing to pay for it rather than let it die a slow death of neglect. A deployed rover with a proven track record is better than an $800 million shot that might arrive and land successfully.

The Planetary Society [planetary.org] immediately comes to mind as a serious buyer. They launched the Cosmos 1 Solar Sail [wikipedia.org] on an all-private budget of $4M. The mission failed due to hardware problem (hey, it really is rocket science), but it proved that private charitable organizations are quite capable of raising $4M for space exploration.

The Planetary Society was also instrumental in getting the word out (and raising funds to rescue the data) regarding the Pioneer Anomaly [planetary.org] .

More important than the funding angle is the political one, but the Planetary Society has worked extremely closely with NASA over the past 30 years. The collaboration has been sufficiently close that they've actually flown hardware on the ill-fated) Mars Polar Lander [planetary.org] . The Society's work with NASA on Spirit and Opportunity goes all the way back to when the rovers were named [planetary.org] in the first place, as well as the calibration target" [nasa.gov] for the rovers' cameras.

In other words, $4M isn't just a business possibility, the handover of a rover from NASA to the Planetary Society is a political possibility too.

Communication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851778)

I would expect the Planetary Society, through a mix of paid and volunteer labor, could operate the rover for much less than NASA could, but they run into a problem in that the communications assets are all operated by NASA, and scheduling time on the Deep Space Network is not easy.

Plus, these are almost entirely proprietary systems. It could take outside workers some time coming up to speed on how not to break them (like accidentally overfilling the memory or turning off heaters in the warm electronics box).

Re:Sell one (1)

supremebob (574732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851796)

Hell... they should let folks pay $100K an hour just to DRIVE the thing! I'll bet that you could get a good rivalry between the technology billionaires to see who could drive the rover the furthest during their rental :)

New name required (1)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851336)

So in twenty years, they expect to just hit the start button again?

In that case, we can rename it Rip Van Winkle

Maybe Next Year? (2, Insightful)

anti-human 1 (911677) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851338)

That's nice and all, but aren't we lucky to have had the landers last longer than their original expectations to begin with? Now that we can't come up with pocket change (in comparison to Iraq, for example), we're expecting them to work when we 'get around' to reactivating them?

Re:Maybe Next Year? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851360)

Now that we can't come up with pocket change (in comparison to Iraq, for example), we're expecting them to work when we 'get around' to reactivating them?

No. the idea is that they won't work, so that the program can be quietly killed off completely. Science is a threat to your faith-based overlords.

Re:Maybe Next Year? (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851506)

As someone above you pointed out, Bush is the president to enact a plan for getting men to Mars. Perhaps you need to actually look at budgets, because as someone else pointed out, NASA's budget has grown by a billion dollars this year. Spew elsewhere.

Re:Maybe Next Year? (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851818)

As someone above you pointed out, Bush is the president to enact a plan for getting men to Mars. Perhaps you need to actually look at budgets, because as someone else pointed out, NASA's budget has grown by a billion dollars this year. Spew elsewhere.

Perhaps YOU should look at NASA's budgets:

NASA budget: 1997: 14.358 Billion
NASA budget: 2007: 16.250 Billion

This is not an "inflation-adjusted" figure. Over the last 10 years, NASA's budget has grown by a total of 13.177%. Over those same 10 years, inflation totalled 27.23%. (and that's only using the "core inflation" figures that don't take into account housing, food, or energy).

Adding a billion still leaves it short by $2.017 Billion.

Re:Maybe Next Year? (1)

TheNucleon (865817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851578)

I'm a person of faith, and science is no threat to me, thank you very much. I like science just fine.

However, people with nothing better to do than peddle their anti-religious rhetoric is definitely a threat to my good humor.

The topic had nothing to do with faith or religion as I recall.

Let me know (5, Funny)

WarJolt (990309) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851346)

Squyres says the money will mean job cuts in the staff of about 300 scientists that operate the rovers and analyze the science findings. Those staff reductions likely will mean that they have to suspend science operations for one of the rovers, and Spirit is the likely candidate because it is currently riding out the Martian winter in a parked position.

What I want to know is how 300 scientists manage to take turns operating because one time me and my brother tried to share a video game and it didn't end well.

Re:Let me know (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851450)

Whatever story you have, I can top it: my dad put my Nintendo in the garbage compactor so that my brother and I would stop fighting over it.

Re:Let me know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851832)

With the way Nintendo's stuff is built, it probably survived.

Re:Let me know (1)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851602)

300 scientists you say? I picture them standing in front of Mission Control to fend off budget cuts, screaming "THIS IS NASAAAAAAAA"

How much does Spirit cost? (4, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851352)

Now Spirit is out there, how much does it cost to run on a day-by-day basis? Surely there are enough scientific groups around the world with the money and the projects to buy time with Spirit to keep it running. There's no way we should be even contemplating new missions to Mars if nobody can find a use for the perfectly good and proven rover that is already there.

Not as bad as it sounds (2, Interesting)

cerulean_blue99 (881404) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851468)

The article mentions that funding is being reduced for the current mission, but that decision is being made in the context of (cost overruns) with the upcoming "Mars Science Laboratory, a follow-on rover set to launch next year". So while they are cutting funding for the current rovers, it's not as if they're stopping the Mars science-based mission overall?

War not peace? (1)

malfist (1152363) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851520)

So they can spend $4000 dollars a second killing people pointlessly and getting killed pointlessly but they can't aford NASA?

Re:War not peace? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851770)

So they can spend $4000 dollars a second killing people pointlessly and getting killed pointlessly but they can't aford NASA?

If we could get the terrorist to kill themselves. Hmm. There's got to be some way to blame this on the terrorist.

Call your Congressman (4, Informative)

kramer2718 (598033) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851524)

I just called mine and told them to fund the rover.

Get their info here [votesmart.org] .

Will not work; Mine is a republican (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851686)

If it does not line his personal pocket, then he is not interested.

closer to home (1)

needs2bfree (1256494) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851528)

While the rovers have done an excellent job, i wonder how much there is left to do with worn out drills and failing drive wheel motors. No doubt there is a change in priority from doing good science on mars to establishing livable habitats off Earth. Hopefully there will be some good stuff come back from the ISS to justify this change in priorities.

Re:closer to home (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851600)

I'd love to be surprise by the ISS, but last I heard, which was about a year ago, they couldn't get private industry to sponsor any ISS science. Turns out the cost of moving the experiment to the ISS plus the overhead of making it fit in with the ISS systems is just too expensive, even with free rent.

To quote The West Wing (5, Insightful)

Landshark17 (807664) | more than 5 years ago | (#22851538)

"No one is any hungrier because we went to the moon, no one is any colder and certainly no one is any dumber. Why go to Mars? 'Cause it's next. 'Cause we came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next."

Re:To quote The West Wing (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851904)

"No one is any hungrier because we went to the moon, no one is any colder and certainly no one is any dumber. Why go to Mars? 'Cause it's next. 'Cause we came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next."


      No, sadly what's next is mummy government smothering its children in a perpetual embrace, unless of course mummy wants you to die in a foreign land to make sure the people over there get a share of the "love" too. Don't look at the sky, don't think, don't leave your house unless you are authorized and make sure you do your bit to max out your credit cards because mummy actually owns a lot of stock in those companies that sell you plasma tv's (or get you killed so they can steal other people's resources).

      I used to love computers, I've had one since the 70's. There was so much we could do. Just think of all that number crunching power in your own home! But now they are (almost) a tool to control people. Government databases, data mining, eavesdropping on VOIP/internet packets and coming soon with the complete assistance of Microsoft (hey SOMEONE found a way to get the gov't off their backs with the antitrust cases - we'll "co-operate"), Uncle Sam will know what you're doing, when you do it. I am sure of it. After all if the fbi can eavesdrop through a cell phone that is SWITCHED OFF imagine what they could do with your webcam/microphone - with the operating system's "help".

      Which is why I wear my tinfoil hat. And run linux more and more every day.

Explore Mars? Or waste the money in Iraq? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851570)

The current burn rate is over $100B (that would be 100 billion dollars) per year for the war in Iraq. Simple math shows that we could fund the Rover program for about what we're spending in 20 minutes in Iraq.

NASA's next Battlestar Galactica (1)

amightywind (691887) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851616)

Cassini was supposed to be NASA's last Battlestar Galactica. But Mars Science Laboratory is scope creeping and soaking up much of the Mars funding these days. As smartly designed and surprising as the previous Mars Rovers missions have been run, the most successful planetary missions of all time, Mars Science Laboratory is a bloated monster. For the same $1G+ we could have had 4 improved rovers of the earlier model covering the planet. The new rover had better cover a lot of ground and land in an interesting place for it to be worth the cost. Unfortunately mission planners will have to be cautious because there is only one.

This just in... (2)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851620)

This just in: older programs often must be cut to provide money for newer things. More on this strange "economic" theory at 11.

I'm really pissed off by this (1)

ThorGod (456163) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851654)

...and all the other cuts that f**king bush (he doesn't deserve even capitalization) has enacted in this budget.

We can't afford that! But we can sure as sh!t afford to keep troops in Iraq for the next 100 years XD

Re:I'm really pissed off by this (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851786)

Well SOMEONE has to pay for Iraq. "Mission Accomplished" yet? 5 years and counting..., hey but the record to beat is 100 years, right? I seem to remember the English getting their ass handed to them, too.

In Space Nobody Can Hear A Brain Fart (4, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851662)

I find this sadly typical of the kind of defective fiscal NASA-think that emerged when the engineers running things were replaced by professional administrators (and the political thinking that made that happen). The rovers are the single most successful high profile mission since the Apollo 13 rescue. The good PR generated is worth the budget. Witness the persistence of positive media reports about the success in excess of the intended mission, and compare with the other long term, ongoing mission ISS and the positive reactions of those who see those reports. (Not to compare with long term, punctuated missions, such as the Voyagers' fly-bys with long absence of reporting in between). NASA has people whose job it is to keep people engaged. Were they included in this decision?

In any case, I'd think it more productive to hibernate the two rovers alternately, 20% of the time each. Or even 25% each, to make up for the additional shut-down and start-up costs. Both regions get 75%+ of the exploration and science done with only about half the ground personnel at the consoles and performing analyses. Hopefully some one or more group like The Planetary Society or the Mars Society will collect donations to make up for the cut.

We hatessss adminimonstersssss, don't we my precioussss roverssss?

Re:In Space Nobody Can Hear A Brain Fart (3, Interesting)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851780)

It's saber rattling that is common in budget fights. An agency with it's budget cut threatens to kill needed/popular programs to get it's budget increased. Same as when it looks like state budgets will be cut the first thing on the chopping block is police and early release of prisoners.

300 scientists? 300?! (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851676)

I'm boggling at the number of scientists. 300? Just what sorts of new and phenomenal information are the rovers sending back that 300 people are needed to run them? I cannot imagine why they'd need 300 people. Best guess I'm making is 45 or 55 people, depending on if they have some people dedicated to one rover or another.

Re:300 scientists? 300?! (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851836)

They probably DON'T need all 300, and my guess is they could continue to run both rovers on the reduced budget. Saying that they might have to suspend operations on the rover that's already in hibernate mode is just clever PR to get public pressure to restore funding moving.

Final Mission: Battlebots? (1, Funny)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851684)

What if they spent 5 years or however long it would take for getting these two robots to get within spitting distance of each other, then had them attack each other Battlebots [imdb.com] style [wikipedia.org] while recording the encounter with whatever orbiters Europe and the US have circling Mars?

Sad times in Science (1)

raal (14531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851700)

I believe this is a sad state of affairs as this is something that I feel has energized younger children to be interested in Science. We need more engineers and those thinking about new ideas to try out. We need to find more and more ways to energize our people to development things good for humanity instead of more things to destroy it.

While you complain about the Rover... (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851738)

School budgets are being cut.

Pick your poison. Would you rather search Mars for 'cool pictures', 'colored rocks' or enable entire states to give their elementary school students paper/pencils and books?

With finite budgets, someone has to lose.

Re:While you complain about the Rover... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851760)

Yet somehow the US can afford to keep 1% of its adult population (over 2M people) in jail - not counting the court costs and processing costs. The actual number of VIOLENT criminals is far less, but hey, don't copy that floppy.

Re:While you complain about the Rover... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22851838)

$100B a year for a pointless and unwanted war or a tiny fraction of that amount for student supplies. If Halliburton was in the paper, pencil and textbook business we wouldn't be having this problem.

Re:While you complain about the Rover... (1)

dangerz (540904) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851882)

I'd rather stop spending billions of dollars on a war that has no end in sight.

Stuff that works parasitizing stuff that isn't yet (1)

joe_n_bloe (244407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851792)

Why continue to spend money on probes that are already in place and working reliably, when that money could be spent getting more probes ... possibly ... built and ... possibly ... there?

That must be the question that was answered with "out with the old, in with the new."

Hibernation? (1)

Device666 (901563) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851812)

How to get on mars if these kind of projects are in hibernation? With a U.S. government debt expanding by about $1.4 billion a day how much ambitions NASA can sustain to achieve?

Can't they wait? Do both rovers know yet? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851870)

Can't they cut the funding until after both rovers become useless? Or cut when one breaks down to be useless? Very bad news indeed. :(

I wonder if both rovers know about the bad news. They haven't updated their blogs for ages (Spirit's [livejournal.com] and Opportunity's [livejournal.com] ). They must be hibernating. :)

See, this is why (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851894)

Bush's posturing on a manned mission to Mars pisses me off. And it pisses me off even more when people claim they think he's sincere. By my estimation there is no way in hell we will manage to be first to return to the Moon, and an approximately equal chance of making it to Mars.

I've got a hell of lot more faith in China, or even a reformed USSR's ability to reach either goal first, and that depresses me immensely. The USA just ain't what it used to be.

simple fix (1)

ezwip (974076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22851910)

The solution is simple. We offshore the rovers to India, Pakistan, or even China.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?