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Space Science

President Bush To Call For Return To Moon? 1496

Posted by simoniker
from the hup-hup-and-haway dept.
Brian Stretch writes " According to the National Review: 'When President Bush delivers a speech recognizing the centenary of heavier-than-air-powered flight December 17, it is expected that he will proffer a bold vision of renewed space flight, with at its center a return to the moon, perhaps even establishment of a permanent presence there. If he does, it will mean that he has decided the United States should once again become a space-faring nation.' Here's hoping. The article also includes talk of nuclear engines and using the moon as a testbed for going to Mars."
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President Bush To Call For Return To Moon?

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  • by ChaoticLimbs (597275) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:38AM (#7625436) Journal
    A moon base would be so much better than the ISS.
    • by ChaoticLimbs (597275) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:40AM (#7625460) Journal
      Empty space has no materials to build with and nothing to tunnel into. The moon has both. It would be a better platform for construction of hugely expensive wastes of resorces and time than empty space.
      If we gotta go to space at all, lets build a city on the fricking moon. Why not, budget's shot to hell anyway.
      • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:44AM (#7625909) Journal
        Empty space isn't made of lunar regolith [nasa.gov].

        Lunar regolith isn't weathered like the surface debris on Earth. Consequently, it's got sharp edges. It's less like play-sand and more like crushed glass.

        The astronauts reported that the stuff got into their suits between the hermetic joints, grinding into their skin. It also chewed up the lunar rovers [nasa.gov].
        • by Glock27 (446276) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @07:49AM (#7627135)
          Empty space isn't made of lunar regolith.

          Lunar regolith isn't weathered like the surface debris on Earth. Consequently, it's got sharp edges. It's less like play-sand and more like crushed glass.

          The astronauts reported that the stuff got into their suits between the hermetic joints, grinding into their skin. It also chewed up the lunar rovers.

          Of course, what's on the surface of the moon is much less interesting than what's underneath, since thats where humans will spend 95%+ of their time. It will take at least a few meters of lunar surface to protect them from radiation. Also, thermal issues are much easier a ways underground.

          I'm pretty sure "regolith resistant" spacesuits aren't a big problem, regardless.

    • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:56AM (#7625612) Homepage Journal
      Watch out! More Bush-shit ahead! There is a reason folks in Texas called him "All hat, no cattle".

      If he appears to support the space programme, it will be to shuffle a few Billion$ into industries located in states that are expected to support him in 2004. Plus, he can't let the Chinese steal all the "Moonshot headlines".

      This administration has done more to undermine resarch, exploration and sound scientific inquiry than any more than 200 years of the Republic. Look what's happening to funds in NIH and NSF!

      If Bush praises your programme, lookout for the axe! I will quote from Molly Ivins' latest here:

      But then, in what is becoming a recurring, almost nightmare-type scenario, the minute he visits some constructive program and praises it (AmeriCorps, the Boys and Girls Club, job training), he turns around and cuts the budget for it. It's the kiss of death if the president comes to praise your program. During the presidential debate in Boston in 2000, Bush said, "First and foremost, we've got to make sure we fully fund LIHEAP [the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program], which is a way to help low-income folks, particularly here in the East, pay their high fuel bills." He then sliced $300 million out of that sucker, even as people were dying of hypothermia, or, to put it bluntly, freezing to death.

      Sometimes he even cuts your program before he comes to praise it. In August 2002, Bush held a photo op with the Quecreek coal miners, the nine men whose rescue had thrilled the country. By then he had already cut the coal-safety budget at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which engineered the rescue, by 6 percent, and had named a coal-industry executive to run the agency.

      Don't be fooled.

      • by fatboy (6851) *
        He then sliced $300 million out of that sucker, even as people were dying of hypothermia, or, to put it bluntly, freezing to death.

        Sometimes he even cuts your program before he comes to praise it. In August 2002, Bush held a photo op with the Quecreek coal miners, the nine men whose rescue had thrilled the country. By then he had already cut the coal-safety budget at the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which engineered the rescue, by 6 percent, and had named a coal-industry executive to run the agen
        • by Adam_Weishaupt (636032) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:22AM (#7625798) Journal

          And I thought congress held the purse.

          You mean the Republican controled congress ?

      • by unassimilatible (225662) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:43AM (#7626184) Journal
        In John McCain's words, Bush is spending like a drunken sailor.

        Conservatives are against runaway spending on principle, and because they figure libs won't give them any credit even if they do spend:

        Federal spending soars under Bush's watch [bayarea.com]

        According to one recent analysis, the government now spends $20,000 a year for every household in America, the most since World War II

        Notice this isn't just on defense and homeland security (you know, the common defense that the Constitution actually calls for), but also for entitlements.

        I'm still looking for AmeriCorps, the Boys and Girls Club, or job training expenditures mentioned in the Constitution.

        Anyway, Bush is spending a lot. Why bother? He's being attacked by both sides. He might as well cut cut cut.
    • by demachina (71715) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:58AM (#7626269)
      I'm not sure what you would really accomplish with a permanent base on the moon. It has very low gravity, no atmosphere and its in doubt if there is water. If you want to do something useful in space put a permenent colony on Mars. Don't waste the time and energy planning another goofy Apollo strategy where astronauts spend huge amounts of time on the round trip to spend very little time there picking up rocks. Send cargo ships followed by a one way trip with colonists who are there to stay. Mars probably has enough resources that a viable, self sustaining colony can be placed there and it will be a nicer place to live than the moon, especially if you start terraforming.

      You've accomplished something if you establish a second home for humanity. You also create a real new frontier which is something this world desperately needs for the adventurous spirits.

      It would be one big positive for Bush in a sea of negatives if he actually made this happen but there are a bunch of doubts that arise:

      - One its become pretty clear he is using the U.S. Treasury's credit card to borrow and spend the U.S. in to an economic boom to insure his reelection. He is spending like a drunk sailor and this may just be more of the same.
      - Boeing is heading for fairly deep trouble. It can't compete with Airbus, its was caught cheating on launch contract bids and was suspended by the Air Force. The air force tanker contract was also designed to pump tax dollars in to Boeing but the deal stunk so bad they haven't been able to get it signed. I wouldn't be suprised if Bush wants a program to pump a whole bunch of tax dollars in to Boeing to keep it afloat.
      - NASA, like the DOD, is one big pork barrel. Politicians pour money in it to get votes and pump up the economy in the large number of places powerful politicians have managed to put NASA centers and contractors. It really isn't about space exploration any more. Its just a jobs program which is why the manned space program hasn't dont anything new in 20 years. A new space initiative will be doomed if it goes down the same path. It will be just like the ISS where vast sums are scattered around the country and squandered to no good effect.

      The only likely way you will be able to have an effective space program in the U.S. again is to gut NASA and start something more closely resembling the Lockheed skunk works in its glory days under Kelly Johnson. You need a lean, mean team of gifted engineers and managers in one place who are devoted to getting a job done and not in building empires and in a contest to see how big and bloated they can make their budgets and staffs. I really think an International Space Agency would be the way to go and pull all the best engineers from the U.S., Canada, China, Russia and Europe together in one place and tell them to get the job done. The down side is the politicians wont support it unless they get a share of the pork and it would be doomed before it started because of politics.
  • Thank you China! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ericspinder (146776) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:38AM (#7625441) Journal
    Nothing gets America going more than a little competition.

    The article says nothing about the method, the cheapest way (just off the top of my head) would be to update the Saturn 5, but (I think) the best solution would be to leverage a Space Station (one in the "right" orbit) and use that as a way station. That way you could reuse a moon obiter lander repeatedly.

    • Re:Thank you China! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Slack3r78 (596506) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:44AM (#7625497) Homepage
      While that's a nice idea, the problem lays in the simple physics of it. It takes an enormous amount of energy to break the earth's gravitational pull, and once you've expended that much energy(read:fuel) you're just as well off coasting the rest of the way to the moon until you get picked up by the moon's gravity, rather than stop along the way.
      • Re:Thank you China! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Floody (153869) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:41AM (#7625897)
        While that's a nice idea, the problem lays in the simple physics of it. It takes an enormous amount of energy to break the earth's gravitational pull, and once you've expended that much energy(read:fuel) you're just as well off coasting the rest of the way to the moon until you get picked up by the moon's gravity, rather than stop along the way.

        This is true, but there are other benefits to TLI (trans-lunar-injection) orbits that are based on an existing LEO (low earth orbit) station, rather than an earth-based launch:

        1. Orbital inclination. If the station is at the same inclination (which a station used exclusively for TLI would be) as the moon's orbit, it's a very very easy shot. No inclination burns/azimuth adjustments at launch.

        2. Orbital windows. TLI windows based on LEO are "wider" and there is no chance of atmospheric/meterological conditions screwing the window up.

        3. Large payloads. As you indicated, the bulk of spent energy is to get into LEO. However, for large mass projects, they can be ferried to an LEO station, assembled, and then (relatively) cheaply injected to the moon. Currently, delivering large-mass to a lunar orbit is impossible, we don't have a rocket or "space transport system" large enough to deliver both payload and TLI/Lunar Orbit/Descent propellent from an earth based launch site in one go.
        • by njchick (611256) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:58AM (#7626270) Journal
          Also, there is no "stop along the way". The kinetic energy of the spacecraft on the LEO is reused quite effectively.

          As for the propellant, it would be nice to have space tankers for delivering the fuel and only the fuel to LEO. A good part of the launch price is reliability. If you only have fuel on board, you can cut the expences. If rockets are 50% cheaper but 25% of them fail, it's still OK for the space tankers.

      • And the more accurate usage is not :
        "President Bush to Call for Return TO the moon";
        its:
        "President Bush to Call for Return OF the moon";

        Whoever took the moon had better give it back, soon.

        We NEED the moon. We need it for the children. This is a war - a war on terror. A war against whoever took the moon.

        President Bush has called for a return of the moon - and with good reason!

        How else are we going to govern the tides? I've done it by hand, and let me tell you, this "moon" thing they came up with is a lot better. I, for one, will be glad when it's were it belongs - back in the US, and out of the hands of terrorists.
    • by vik (17857) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:56AM (#7625609) Homepage Journal
      The cheapest way with current technology might well be to use Russian rockets. 'Course that puts a big ding in the presidential pride, right? A bit like the way the last series of American rockets using Russian engines only worse.

      International organisations such as The Artemis Society know a lot more about this kind of thing than you realise. I work for TransOrbital, so I know what I'm on about. I speak here in an unofficial capacity, by the way.

      Resurrecting Saturn V won't work. The teams are disbanded or dead of old age, the buildings re-used, the launchpads were demolished for the shuttles, and they don't make the tools to make the bits anymore.

      Personally, I'd be a lot happier if it was an international effort. That way when the US Government gets cold feet again, or is unable to meet its end of the bargain again, the mission will continue and mankind as a whole gets something out of it.

      Vik :v)
    • by TedCheshireAcad (311748) <tedNO@SPAMfc.rit.edu> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:13AM (#7625726) Homepage
      If the moon flew planes into our skyscrapers, we would have people on it inside of a week. :)
      • by orthogonal (588627) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:00AM (#7626283) Journal
        If the moon flew planes into our skyscrapers, we would have people on it inside of a week. :)

        If current events are any guide, we'd have troops bogged down in a quagmire, looking for non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction, in a Middle Eastern country with no relation to the moon beyond its dominant religion using the crescent moon as a symbol of their faith.

        And regardless of whether or not the job was done, we would leave the moon just in time for our President to use the "victory" footage in his re-election campaign.

        In the meantime, the Justice Department would use the threat of moon-men to justify warrantless searches of your library borrowing, while granting even more power to the very intelligence agencies that failed to predict the attack in the first place.
    • Re:Thank you China! (Score:4, Informative)

      by shivianzealot (621339) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:17AM (#7626061)

      Nothing gets America going more than a little competition.

      Yup.

      The article says nothing about the method, the cheapest way (just off the top of my head) would be to update the Saturn 5,

      That sounds nice, but practically infeasable. IIRC, there are two Saturn Vs left in the world after Apollo and Skylab. These are in no condition to fly. One is sideways, partially disassembled, exposed to the elements, and "restored," at the Johnson Space Center in Houston (its actually a rather impressive display, if you ever get the chance to see it). I don't rememebr the current location of the other.

      More importantly, according to Bill Bryson's book, "A History of Nearly Everything," the bulk of the design notes and "plans" don't even exist any longer, thanks to NASA's thorough house-keeping. We're better off looking elswhere.

      but (I think) the best solution would be to leverage a Space Station (one in the "right" orbit) and use that as a way station. That way you could reuse a moon obiter lander repeatedly.

      If only to recycle landers, I don't think this would be practical. As far as the Apollo program goes, I believe the actual manafacture of the landers was pretty miniscule. Even if it does make sense as far as cost goes, maintaining a reusable space craft OFF Earth permanently is just asking for trouble. Astronauts can do some pretty impressive tune-ups as it is, but this would be a bit like keeping a destroyer seaworthy with only a mechanic's garage.

      But hey, who ever said I know what I'm talking about?

      • Re:Thank you China! (Score:5, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @03:10AM (#7626328)
        More importantly, according to Bill Bryson's book, "A History of Nearly Everything," the bulk of the design notes and "plans" don't even exist any longer, thanks to NASA's thorough house-keeping. We're better off looking elswhere.

        Bill Bryson is good for a laugh, but according to this Space FAQ [faqs.org]:

        Despite a widespread belief to the contrary, the Saturn V blueprints have not been lost. They are kept at Marshall Space Flight Center on microfilm. The Federal Archives in East Point, GA also has 2900 cubic feet of Saturn documents. Rocketdyne has in its archives dozens of volumes from its Knowledge Retention Program. This effort was initiated in the late '60s to document every facet of F-1 and J-2 engine production to assist in any future re-start.
  • I'm Moving (Score:5, Funny)

    by php_pheen (717821) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:38AM (#7625442)
    Finally, an opportunity to live somewhere that doesn't suck... not yet anyway...
  • by bloodrose (87474) <bryan@noSpaM.darketernity.com> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:38AM (#7625443) Homepage Journal
    Bush Phones Home
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:39AM (#7625444)
    Must ... cover ... up ... economy problems ... iraq problems ... re-election soon ...
    • Actually (Score:5, Funny)

      by commodoresloat (172735) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:50AM (#7625551)
      He's just figuring we might find WMD there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:39AM (#7625445)
    Earlier this year, the Space Exploration Act of 2003 was introduced into congress. It laid out a long-term, logical, realistic timeline for space exploration in a schedule that called for manufacturing facilities at the lagrange points and establishing permanent research bases on the moon and mars within 20 years. It was designed with an eye to what could best further the understanding and goals of science, and described oversight procedures to ensure that NASA actually kept to its schedule. It was about everything you could ask of a proposed revamping of the space program. The bill got almost no attention in the mainstream press, it was referred to a house subcommittee on 9/16/2003, and that was the last that was heard of it. I don't know if that means it's still alive or not, but either way, it's chances don't look good now.
    Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but I suspect that by the time we actually figure out what this new plan is, it will turn out to be utterly unambitious, re-doing what we've already done (um.. let's go to the moon! yeah!) for the sole sake that we feel like we have to one-up the Chinese. I hope I'm wrong, but this appears it is going to be politics driving science, not the other way around, and I question its usefulness if it is going to be implemented in the same closed and uninclusive manner it's being planned.

    I mean, the direction of these plans look like they're being guided directly by NASA. I want to say that's a good thing. But NASA lately has shown a distinct lack of vision. NASA as of late has almost been more about lip service than anything-- being able to say, "Yup! We can get into low earth orbit!" or "We've got a space station!", but then not not actually caring what interesting or forward-looking things we can do as a result. This leads me to worry that if NASA is deciding what we do next, it will be the same sort of lip service-- just going to the moon for the sake of going to the moon, and not exploring what revolutionary or groundbreaking things that we could do in the process.

    On the other hand, this looks like it would involve an increase in NASA's budget. I've heard it charged the problem with NASA's lack of ambition of late is not the leadership, but just that they don't have enough money to do anything more than the bare minimum. An increase in funds might mean they would have breathing room to do great things again. And most of NASA's such problems-- the aimless floundering that's characterized the attempts to replace the Shuttle, for example-- have been due to a lack of direction. A clear set of direction and goals, any of them, no matter now small, could once again cause NASA to streamline and orient itself toward getting positive work done. Bush's plan would very likely provide that sort of orientation.

    Anyway, I just don't know what to think here. Am I being too pessimistic?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:40AM (#7625459)
    1. There are weapons of mass destruction on the moon.
    2. Saddam or Osama, or both, may be hiding in a moon crater.
    3. The moon is made of oil.
    4. Don't want those pinko commie Chinese taking over our moon.
    5. Because the Mooninites are really funny and he wants to meet them.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:41AM (#7625464)
    We always knew Bush was looney... now he's just plain lunar.
  • by Sneftel (15416) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:41AM (#7625465)
    Oh jesus. And how about some bread and circuses? [theonion.com]
    • by benzapp (464105) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:22AM (#7625800)
      At least the Romans were able to accomplish more than your pathetic whining.

      btw, wheat has opioid peptides in it. It IS an opiate of the masses.

      Civilization needs a goal, without a goal, its just endless individualist pricks who all want to be different and be special. Simply existing is not enough. A person can't accomplish a damn thing on their own.

      Through unity, there is strength. From strength, comes power. With enough power, anything is possible.

      The Romans were able to create an island of civilization out of the natural world. No one was forced to live there. If you wanted to leave, you could. The Bread and Circuses line is a description of what happened when the Empire was collapsing. It doesn't mean anything that unifies a people is bad. When the Roman Empire was conquering the mediterranean, we don't say "That was just a way to control those stupid soldiers, har har". People moved into those conquered regions, civilization began anew into many of the modern countries of Europe.

      A large scale space program will employ hundreds of thousands of people, it could bring a minor revival to our industry, and give our people something to live for beyond watching TV and being consumers. This is the next step for humanity. This is our first step in expanding civilization, just as the Romans did 2000 years ago.

      btw, I would say we are far worse off than the Romans ever were. The only reason we aren't conquered by some more unified people is because we have nuclear weapons.

      Perhaps this is just what the people need.
  • Money? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Squideye (37826) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:41AM (#7625466) Homepage Journal
    Bush's government doesn't have the money to pay for his military enterprises.

    It lacks the money to provide for basic infrastructure.

    At a time when commercial space flight is being touted as the most logical course, Bush is now saying that he wants to send people back to the moon?

    I'm all for the new frontier. It would be great if people were inspired about space again. But Bush does not deserve to be the one to get us there. He couldn't even manage the Houston Astros.
    • by twitter (104583) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:05AM (#7625676) Homepage Journal
      At a time when commercial space flight is being touted as the most logical course, Bush is now saying that he wants to send people back to the moon?

      Hopeuflly, Bush will try to unleash and provide a framework for America's creative genius. The big company / NASA / politics aproach is not working. The consolidate aero companies are currently wracked with scandal, though it's hard to think of ways to provide nuclear propulsion without heavy industry. The Wright Brothers were bicycle makers, but they beat out the whole world with it's huge companies, landed aristocrats and tyrants. We did it 100 years ago and many people are working to do it again today with cheap manned space flight. I don't know how Bush can encourage that kind of effort, but I know that it can and must be done. We shall see what Bush has to offer on the 100th aniversery of heavier than air flight. Simply paying attention to that day is a very good sign.

      This is way better talk than the defeatist nonsense heard just a few years ago about ignoring the infinite resources waiting for us in space. Pro nuclear, pro space, great stuff.

    • by Idou (572394) * on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:13AM (#7625725) Journal
      Just think for a second . . .

      We have just given a major tax break.

      We have gotten into a "perpetual" war, with no end in site (LAST month was the bloodiest for us . . . exactly WHEN did major combat end!?). We have already committed $83 BILLION dollars, and we will have to commit more.

      Domestic problems (healthcare, SS, etc . . .) remain neglected.

      Our surplus budget has become a major deficit.

      I have always thought space expoloration to be the most nobel activity any nation could invest in, but is this REALITY, folks? Seems to me that this is more about distracting us from the HUGE problems that exist, than anything else.

      I thought the idea was to either go commericial or international with space exploration . . . I think our relationships with some MAJOR space fairing nations are still weak as a result of our unilateral military adventures, so I doubt we could do this internationally . . .

      So we are going to fight an expensive and costly war (this is starting to look more and more like Vietnam, thought I am too young to know that for certain), give MAJOR tax breaks, AND return to the moon.

      Come on . . . some ideas are ambitious and some things are just political agendas to get you looking the other way.
  • by rolocroz (625853) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:41AM (#7625468)
    ...is now really the right time to be doing this? There's a lot going on in the US right now (Iraq war, etc.) in the middle of a recession, and going to the moon just doesn't seem like the greatest idea for us right now.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:41AM (#7625471)
    Do we have the money to fund this?

    We need to do it but I don't know if we can afford it.
  • by Slack3r78 (596506) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:41AM (#7625476) Homepage
    While I love the idea and think it'd be a great thing to do, I feel that it'd also be pretty much financially impossible to make happen as things stand right now. Going to the moon would cost billions upon billions of dollars when the government's already running a half-trillion dollars a year in the hole. This time, there isn't the pressing urge for dominance and brass-balls bragging rights that there was during the peak of the cold war, and without such a rivalry, I doubt the motivation exists within government to find funding for a project this massive in scope.
  • Baby Steps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Snowman (116231) * on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:42AM (#7625479) Homepage

    Going to Mars seems to be a popular idea. Before we try establishing a permanent base on Mars, even unmanned, I think we need to prove ourselves by going back to the moon AND staying there. I.e., establish a moon base, even a small one.

    Obviously the moon is much closer. More importantly, we don't need to worry about the synchronization of our orbits. The moon is always roughly the same distance away from us no matter what day of the year it is. This makes it a much easier target to hit than Mars no matter what time it is.

    • by Jardine (398197)
      Not to mention that the moon people seem a lot less hostile than the martians. Damn martians keep shooting down our probes.
  • by MikeDawg (721537) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:42AM (#7625485) Homepage Journal

    IF Bush makes this statement during his speech, I will be completely in shock. As much as I dislike Bush, I think the United States definetely needs to reestablish a space presense, and on the moon, that would be great. The ISS is turning up to be more hype than anything else, anything more established.

    By creating a real, strong, presence on the moon, we would research and develop much more technology, at a more distinguishable rate, and the rewards would be plentiful enough based on the technology that develops from increased space expenditure. Even if the moon is completely dead, and there are no resources, and no valuable information for us to gather on it, I think we would still come out ahead in this situation.

  • by Kirk Troll (729217) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:45AM (#7625499) Journal
    That's the best idea I've ever heard! Lets rocket Bush to the Moon! ;)
  • Oh no! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Call Me Black Cloud (616282) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:45AM (#7625506)
    Coincidentally, I just rented a couple of the Space 1999 DVDs from Netflix and all I can say is this is a bad idea. Magnetic fields will hurt the lunarnauts' brains and make them attack the other colonists!

    And need I mention the Terrible Space Secret [somethingawful.com]? I think not...

    I will say Space 1999 had the coolest looking ships of any series. They actually seemed to be well designed and functional.

  • Like Mars? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skydude_20 (307538) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:46AM (#7625515) Journal
    Didn't Slashdot say [slashdot.org] Bush was going to announce Project Prometheus(go to Mars) in his last State of the Union? I think I'll just wait and see what he actually says in his speach before I get too excited.
  • Agreed! (Score:3, Funny)

    by ath0mic (519762) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:46AM (#7625517)
    It is time to liberate the people of the moon!
  • Well, Duh! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rick the Red (307103) <Rick.The.Red@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:46AM (#7625521) Journal
    using the moon as a testbed for going to Mars.
    Geeze, if we can't establish a base on the Moon, how do they think we can do it on Mars? Since a Mars mission will be several months long I thought it was a no-brainer that we'd first need to prove we can stay on the Moon for more than a few days.
  • With What Money? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jIyajbe (662197) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:46AM (#7625523)
    Bush has done everything he can to give the U.S. a massive $6E12 deficit, and now he calls for this?

    He knows there is no way the congress can, or would, appropriate the money for this, given the deficit, so he's just blowin' smoke for PR (read: election) purposes.

    Sorry, George. Ain't fooled.

  • by roman_mir (125474) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:48AM (#7625534) Homepage Journal
    Bush sure has his priorities straight - conquer the world, first Iraq, then the Moon and then maybe even Cuba. But seriously - can the States afford anything right now that has nothing to do with their social programs? I normally would never question the necessity for the space programs etc., I am all for the further development of science and progress of humans into the space, but I don't see how US can pay for this right now, whith the kind of spendings they have in Iraq....

    One thing for sure: if there is any life on the Moon, they better pray that there is no oil there, or they will have to be 'liberated'.

  • by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn&earthlink,net> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:48AM (#7625538)
    When I look at his record for the promises he made about things I was in favor of... I'll believe him after he delivers. Even then I'll check to make sure he didn't sabotage the project, so that it will fold immediately after he leaves office.

    OTOH, Texas has this big space center, so this might be a way to spread some cash around back home. So it's possible he doesn't have any motives other than the obvious ones. O, and he has this brother who's governor of Florida. They might be in for a cash infusion too. OK. He has "legitimate" reasons. But the first paragraph stands. (He's so far welched on most of the promises that I thought important.)

    • by WIAKywbfatw (307557) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:30AM (#7625843) Journal
      Q: Which of the states are most closely associated with the space industry?

      A: Texas (Houston, home of NASA) and Florida (site of the Kennedy Space Centre).

      Q: Which of the states are most closely associated with the Bush family?

      A: Texas (where George W. was Governor) and Florida (where Jeb Bush is Governor).

      Wow. What an amazing coincidence!

      Now Texas is a republican stronghold and real Bush country. So sending a few billion dollars Texas's way is a great way of saying thank you to the folks back home.

      On the other hand, Florida is up for grabs. Remember, when the Supreme Court stopped the recount process after the last Presidential election, Al Gore was slightly ahead, and looked like he would have won the Florida vote. Of course, it wouldn't have been so close if all thousands of black voters (90 percent of whom voted for Gore) hadn't been illegally stripped of their votes by wrongly being labelled convicted felons, if the butterfly ballots hadn't have been used (at Pat Buchanon admitted himself, those Jewish voters weren't voting for him), if those chads hadn't been such an issue and if the Republicans hadn't got away with having hundreds of overseas ballots that were clearly not properly filled in time and/or authenticated count in their favour.

      Either way, even if you say that Bush was the legitimate winner (which, as I illustrated is a highly contentious point), you have to concede that the Florida voting process was far from perfect and that the state is a key battleground for next year's election.

      So, given that Florida's where the war was won/lost(/stolen) last time around, it's doesn't hurt Bush 2004 if Florida's got a big reason to feel good about the current administration.

      It's a bit like the illegal steel import tarriffs. The Bush administration knew that they were illegal, the knew that eventually they would be forced by the WTO to abolish them or face severe consequences, but they did their job. While the tarriffs were in place, US steel manufacturers got a nice boost, despite being inefficient compared to their global counterparts, and lots of people in the steel industry had a good reason to vote Republican rather than Democrat when they last went to the ballot box.

      Yep, if you want something in business or politics there's nothing like an old-fashioned bribe to grease the wheels and open the doors.
  • by KC7GR (473279) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:53AM (#7625580) Homepage Journal
    I think our country getting active in space exploration again is a great idea. HOWEVER -- Is it just my paranoia, or does this seem like one of many diversionary tactics of the current administration, designed solely to pull public attention away from the fact(s) that:

    (1) bin Laden ('Old Salami BinBox' to me and some of my friends) is still at large.

    (2) No matter how much spin has been put on it, the Iraqi war never had any solid justification that I can see. And Hussein ('Saddened HoseHead') is still at large as well.

    (3) Our economy is still a shambles.

    (4) The 'YOU-CAN-SPAM' [weblogs.com] bill is all but signed into law, thus (very possibly) bringing about the end of viable E-mail as we know it.

    (5) The RIAA and MPAA continue to run roughshod over fair use rights.

    I could go on, but I think we all get the idea. This is an election year coming up. The Shrub will pull out anything he or his advisors can think of to try and get himself reelected, and I really think that this is just one example.

    Mod this down if you want. Heck, label it "Flamebait" if you want. I don't pretend to have even a hint of one answer, let alone all of them, but it certainly seems to me like there are other more pressing problems that need dealing with than making another trip to one very dead and airless rock.

  • by Feztaa (633745) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:53AM (#7625584) Homepage
    Nothing but more lunacy from the Bush administration.
  • by mooman (9434) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:56AM (#7625613) Homepage
    Has this guy got a clue about budgets?

    Sorry, I'm sure to get modded as a troll for this, and I'm jazzed about our space programs getting money they need, but I'm also more terrified of the condition this country is going to be in under Dubya's rule.

    I mean, if you haven't seen this chart, check out:
    Bush's Budget Deficit [216.239.57.104] (Google cache, an original is at http://dean-justinspoliticaljournal.cafeprogressiv e.com/4239a600.jpg)

    $87 billion for Iraq, tax cuts aplenty, and now he wants space ships too? Oy.
    • I agree. It's high time the Republicans lived up to their campaign promises and started cutting back federal programs. Welfare, medicare, and social security are all due for a checkup and rewrite.

      However, space exploration falls under the constitutionally duty of the federal government to fund science. Bush is perfectly within his party's vision and the bounds of the constitution in proposing this. I want my tax dollars to fund this.
  • by slamb (119285) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @12:58AM (#7625628) Homepage
    ...where we've been 30 years before.

    He'll have to do more than say "let's go back" before I call his plan bold. Okay, so he might mention the idea of establishing a permanent Lunar base and of going to Mars. As the article said, his father already did that:

    On July 20, 1989, President George H. W. Bush marked the 20th anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing with a speech at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington in which he called for a permanent American presence on the moon and, ultimately, a mission to Mars.
    ...but it's been 14 years and his speech is all but forgotten. If Dubya. wants to do better, he'll need a plan to make it happen. And I don't believe he and his administration are capable of that sort of vision.

    I'd like to see this Lunar base and Martian mission. But I don't have high hopes that it will be any time soon. And I don't believe that Dubya will have anything to do with it.

  • Good... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by herrvinny (698679) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:09AM (#7625708)
    Until Bush grants NASA a good chunk of cash (35 - 45 billion sounds about right) and somehow passes a law preventing the next administration from rolling back the grant, I won't be convinced. What if he just spouts rhetoric, then never funds it fully (remember fuel cell cars in the state of the union)? It's just a load of hyperbole until that time.

    NASA needs to *know* that the cash will be available to fund crazy stuff, stuff that's way out there. We'll have to rebuild/repair quite a bit, launch facilities, bigger rockets, a massive hiring spree (NASA's hemorrhaged quite a few talented people in the last decade).

    If this is for real, perhaps I'll switch my major (from cs, of course) to someone more related to space....

  • by kfg (145172) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:10AM (#7625710)
    I don't really want to burst anybody's bubble here, but it ain't gonna happen.

    We are not living the same political age as when Jack sent us to the moon, nor is Bush in the same position of political power that Jack was when he sent us to the moon.

    Bush can say anything he wants, but it's going to go through the same political process as anything else he suggests at the moment.

    Need I point out that his stock is a bit low at thet moment and this looks like an obvious ploy to to parlay patriotism into personal support?

    The problem being that in 1957 we were blindsided by an outside "enemy" nation and clamored to regain a feeling of national supremecy.

    Bush has blindsided himself.

    This rocket ain't gonna fly.

    KFG
  • by unamiccia (641291) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:16AM (#7625754) Homepage

    Look, the U.S. needs to go to the moon starting tomorrow the way it needed to go pulverize Iraq on March 19. There's no hurry. In fact, a little bit of deliberation will make the U.S. a better space explorer, just as a little bit of patience might have made Bush a hero in Iraq instead of the biggest goof in world politics since Napoleon.

    The United States budget will run almost a half trillion dollars in debt this year. Now, some of my fondest memories are of playing sick to watch moon landings in grade school, but I'd much rather spend money on educating kids and college students today who can do space exploration right ten and twenty years from now -- if we've dug out of the financial mess we're wallowing in now.

    So no symbolic Republican missions to reproduce 1969 on the moon, thank you. If you're an American and want nonsymbolic space exploration in your lifetime, work to defeat George W. Bush and elect a president who will restore fiscal sanity to the United States. If we're lucky, the president after that, or the president after that, will have a chance to send human beings somewhere useful.

  • by tbond_trader (679843) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:44AM (#7625907)
    This is all about the militarization of space. You can read their plans from the new american century website.

    Quote: To increase their
    effectiveness,
    ground-based
    interceptors like the
    Armys Theater
    High-Altitude Area
    Defense System
    must be networked
    to space-based
    systems. pg. 64

    as will be discussed below, space dominance
    may become so essential to the preservation
    of American military preeminence that it
    may require a separate service.

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmer ic asDefenses.pdf

    If you've never heard of the NAC website, it's a think tank with all the leading NeoCons behind it. Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfield...etc..

    http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofpri nc iples.htm

    The PDF was 2000 and if you read it, is become American policy.
  • by doug (926) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:45AM (#7625912)
    If I remember correctly the original 60's moon missions made money. Yep, they were "cash positive". Not directly of course, but all of the spin off technology added more to the economy than the taxes it took to pay for it.

    Perhaps it would have been a better investment to take that money and put it in the stock market. I don't have those numbers, and even if it was, who cares? It was a wonderful program because it advanced basic science, created high paying jobs, gave us something positive to look forward to, and "grew" the economy. For a government program, it was a hat trick and then some.

    I have no idea if a modern moon or mars program could do that again, but wouldn't it be worth trying? Even if it only broke even economically, wouldn't we be ahead in science and national pride?

    Personally I'd like to see more private investment in space, but I think that there is going to have to be a core of federal money to get the ball rolling.

    - doug
  • by ndinsil (454614) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @01:57AM (#7625981)
    The crack about Congressional Democrats would likely challenge a presidential declaration that the sky is blue.

    In the interest of equal time I'd like to point out any such declaration would likely contain amendments authorizing Ashcroft to eat babies of suspected terrorists, promoting Justice Scalia to Pope of the One True Faith, and paying Halliburton $1 billion to stripmine Yellowstone and sell the tailings as a food additive.

  • Oink, Oink (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:02AM (#7626003) Homepage
    Sounds like another Bush pork program. Remember Reagan's "National Aerospace Plane"? And the Strategic Defense Initiative? Total flops, but big profits for some contractors.

    Besides, NASA is too incompetent to bring this off. They haven't been able to build a new launch vehicle in over thirty years. But they've spent more money trying than they spent on Apollo.

    NASA has been described as "the world's largest sheltered workshop". For good reasons.

  • by fbg111 (529550) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:24AM (#7626099)
    Am I the only one who thinks that going to the moon at this point in history is not a good investment? For our current state of technology and economy, it is simply an unsustainable endeavor. We're still using chemical rockets for propulsion, and haven't even perfected nuclear fusion yet, forchrysakes.

    Yeah, we can get there, but just think for moment how much cost and effort setting up and maintaining a permanent moonbase will cost us. You thought it was expensive to resupply the ISS, well how many bank-breaking rocket trips per year will it take to support a few people living on the moon, much less Mars?

    Wouldn't a wiser investment be to put that space exploration money into fusion research, and the superconducting supercollider, and whatever other "high science" research projects are waiting in the wings or are just a glint in a Caltech professor's eye? How about we first devise a more workable propulsion system and more efficient and transportable energy source, things that also have the fringe benefit of being applicable on Earth, before we spend umpty-five-gazillion on going back to the moon?
  • by DevilsEngine (581977) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @02:46AM (#7626204)
    At the dawn of the 15th century, China ruled the seas. An armada of Chinese ships explored Japan, Tiawan, and the islands of the Pacific. Turning west, they reached Arabia and sailed all the way to the east coast of Africa. The ships were much larger than anything that had sailed the seas before. The largest were 400 feet long and 150 wide and carried nine masts. They were larger than anything that would be seen in the west for centuries to come. The Chinese fleets were fabulously successful. They carried loads of Chinese silk and porcelain to western ports and returned with all the riches of Africa and Arabia. Between the turn of the century and 1433, the treasure fleets sailed seven times. These expeditions established a vast trade network for China. They also included military conquests that brought a huge amount of land under Chinese control. At the conclusion of the last expedition, the Chinese Empire reached the Persian Gulf. The next expedition might had rounded the horn of Africa. China might have "discovered" and even colonized Europe. The ships held unmatched technology and were easily capable of reaching the Americas. China stood at the brink of dominating the world. But there was no next expedition. Instead, there was a change in political control. The new Ming emperors pulled back the fleets. The treasure ships were allowed to rot or deliberately burned to prevent their use. China turned inward, became insular, abandoned its distant colonies. It would be the Europeans that went on to discover the New World. And Europeans who would reach, and dominate, much of China for centuries to come. In 1969, Neil Armstrong placed his foot in a slightly gritty powder and left the first human mark on the moon. The United States had conducted a series of expeditions into space, using successively more capable craft. The rocket that delivered men to the moon was 363' long, the largest ever made. They were the most technologically advanced devices of their time. Under Democratic leadership, they had reached another world. Seven times, from 1969 to 1972, craft from the United States reached the moon. They were fabulously successful. They delivered a bounty of knowledge, a peaceful explosion of technology, and a focus for the world. America stood at the brink of endless possibilities. Another push might have established colonies, it might have lead to clean and endless energy, it might have... There was no next time.
  • by MudDude (212365) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @04:10AM (#7626544) Homepage
    Howdie,

    Has anyone recently tried entering "miserable failure" in Google?

    Can you tell me what happens?

    Regards,
  • ??????Not Funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkSarin (651985) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @08:56AM (#7627381) Homepage Journal
    Ya know...
    It seems to me that there are certain people that would hate Bush even if he figured a way to eliminate 100% of poverty. Not that he will, but my point is that some of the posts I have been reading have the tone that "it doesn't matter what he does, I hate Bush".

    I have the unprovable itch that some of these same people who are bashing his as-yet unanounced plans for moonbase 1 would have rooted and cheered if certain other presidents had made this same decision.

    I have also seen numerous comments regarding Bushing fouling up the economy. I won't argue whether or not his plans to help the economy will work--that remains to be seen. Ask me again in 4 years, which is about how long it takes for a president's policies take to be felt (sometimes longer). If, even for a moment, you think that something Bush does today will affect the economy tommorrow, you are sadly mistaken.

    Let me make this clear: I DON'T support everything Bush does. I don't like the Patriot act, and I certainly don't care for the way he has handled Iraq (if he wants to go around removing dictators, be up front about it, and be consistent). I do think Saddam needed to be removed. Yes I am aware that the US helped him gain power, but that was not GWB's decision (altough it may have been his dad's, which is NOT the same thing at all, no matter what anyone thinks).

    I AM however, willing to let him try somthing different. So, what the hey, let's go to the moon. Just one thing. Before you blast Bush for this, think about whether or not you would have supported this idea if Clinton had been pushing it. If so, then don't rant and rave about how evil Bush is. Not that I expect everyone will be honest about this, but come on, give it a shot.

    Now, having defended Bush, even a little bit, I am ready for the flame war. I expect that I have offended a good number of you, and that's okay--I expect to. But let's make one thing clear--I am not trolling, and this is not flame bait. I want to hear honest and considered opinions.
  • by mjh (57755) <mark@NOspaM.hornclan.com> on Thursday December 04, 2003 @09:40AM (#7627619) Homepage Journal
    The /. conundrum:
    • Hate Bush
    • Love space travel
    What to do? What to do?
  • Back to the Topic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jerry (6400) on Thursday December 04, 2003 @10:18AM (#7628005)
    This discussion has deteriorated into the Extreme Left and the Extreme Right bashing each other over comments each make about Bush.


    knock, knock.... does anyone in the class remember what this discussion topic was about?


    Going back to the Moon.


    The first Moon program, begun by JFK, was an absolute boon to the economy, returning about 7 times to the economy what was spent on the program. Most tech jobs today, and their subsidiary jobs, are a direct spin-off of the Moon program... transistors, plastics, ceramics, biology, medicine, miniturization of computers, software technology (and perhaps Slashdot itself) ... the list is too lengthy to put here... owe their current advances to gains made under the first Moon program, and space technology in general.


    If a return to the Moon has the same effect this time as it did last time the gains will create employement for a LOT of people and be a boon to the economy.


    However, there is one thing we should do first: move our energy base from Carbon to Hydrogen. A Hydrogen Project similar to the "Manhatten Project", sans the secrecy, should be initiated to complete the necessary research, if it needs completion, and begin the transfer of our power generation and transportation industries. Solar Power Tower II is a very good start. Forward thinking communities could divert resources from dead-end Windmill plans to SPT2 sites and get a better return on their investment.


    There is less than two decades of Carbon reserves remaining. We've got to get moving...

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