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Space The Almighty Buck United States

Congress Cuts NASA's Budget On Apollo Anniversary 462

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the bush's-mars-trip-might-be-delayed dept.
colonist writes "A House appropriations subcommittee voted to cut NASA's budget request by 7 percent on the 35th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon. The panel also cut environment and science programs, but increased funding for veterans' affairs. NASA would get $15.1 billion next year, $229 million below this year and $1.1 billion below the President's request. Most of the cuts are on new initiatives. The subcommittee is the first step of a long budget process and major changes to the bill are expected."
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Congress Cuts NASA's Budget On Apollo Anniversary

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  • 3 Reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:36AM (#9760039) Journal
    FTA: A House appropriations subcommittee voted to cut NASA's budget request by 7 percent on the 35th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon.

    I believe this happened for a few reasons:

    1. War
    2. Sympathy
    3. Elections

    War: The spending on the war has caused so many problems in the US that it's hard to fathom any budget increases for any program, other than a military one. Take into account the huge chunk of cash moved into Iraq and you have yourself some questions. Is it prudent to be offering extra money to spend on space when so much money is going to killing resistance fighters, terrorists and occasional Iraqi civilians? Not to mention the costs of rebuilding the country that was bombed into the stone age, for whatever reason.

    Sympathy: Dogbert says that if you want to get more funding, you should have your funding publicly slashed and burned for about a year. The sympathy you get will cause your funding increases to double in the next year, and the year after that. Part of the problem with getting new funding is that the old funding can be perceived as too fat if it hasn't been cut recently. Having funding cut will help obfuscate your motives for even more padding in the years to come.

    Elections: By cutting the funding to NASA, this will show people that it's an election year and it's important to vote. I'm not sure which party will benefit from these cuts more, yet it's important for everyone that more people go and vote. People everywhere love NASA for their space exploration because most human beings want to pretend they can be members of a space faring race, like on Star Trek. NASA's human rights injuries [worldnewsstand.net], be damned.
    • Re:3 Reasons (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ZeroGee (796304) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:47AM (#9760129)
      Sympathy: Dogbert says that if you want to get more funding, you should have your funding publicly slashed and burned for about a year. The sympathy you get will cause your funding increases to double in the next year, and the year after that. Part of the problem with getting new funding is that the old funding can be perceived as too fat if it hasn't been cut recently. Having funding cut will help obfuscate your motives for even more padding in the years to come.

      Are you actually implying that supporters wanted the funding cut, so as to increase it in the future?

      Government funding doesn't work like that. On the contrary, if you don't use up all your funding, the likelihood of it going up is nil.

      If NASA can meet the new budget, Congress says, "See? That's all you need. That's what you get next year."

      If NASA underruns, Congress says, "See? You've made improvements. You don't even need THAT much!"

      The reality of the situation is that you need to use all your funding / even run over a little bit to justify "getting more" in the next round of appropriations.
      • Re:3 Reasons (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JWW (79176) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:54PM (#9762258)
        The reality of the situation is that you need to use all your funding / even run over a little bit to justify "getting more" in the next round of appropriations.

        And that is why there will never be a balanced budget until govenment departments are rewarded for saving money. It was actually proposed somewhere that promising to give just a bit of the saved money as a bonus to employees in a federal department that went under budget could help quickly eliminate deficits.
    • Is it prudent to be offering extra money to spend on space when so much money is going to killing resistance fighters, terrorists and occasional Iraqi civilians?

      Nah Gonna Do It. Wouldn't be Prudent, at this Juncture.

      /DanaCarvey
    • Re:3 Reasons (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fireduck (197000) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:00PM (#9760231)
      MSNBC's take on this [msn.com] indicates that cuts were made across the board, including earmark projects in representative's home districts. cutting funds to your district isn't the way to win elections (#3). and cutting funds to veteran's programs in the middle of a war is definitely not the way to win sympathy (#2). which just leaves the reality of war spending draining funds for other federal programs (#1). With no new taxes to pay for the war, the cost has to come from existing programs. an unfortunate reality.
      • > and cutting funds to veteran's programs in the middle
        > of a war is definitely not the way to win sympathy (#2).

        Funding for veteran's programs was *increased*, not cut.
    • Mod the Parent Down (Score:5, Informative)

      by prgrmr (568806) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:25PM (#9760555) Journal
      NASA's human rights injuries [worldnewsstand.net], be damned.

      There is pleanty to critisize about the government, so lying to support a tenuous point is hardly necessary. The link you supplied discusses abuses foisted on the American public by the Pentagon and a few other government agencies. NASA is mentioned once, in passing, with no direct references or credibile, verifiable sources to support their inclusion. The phrase you chose to reference the link directly implies otherwise.

      Yes, Congress has to deal with paying for the outrageousness of the Bush administration's poor decisions regarding Iraq, and personally I think that is the real driving issue, along with the medicare fiasco. The rest is complete supposition. While I don't doubt some find it interesting, there's no need to create contention by being dishonest when we already have more than enough to go around.
  • As Neil said (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Burb (620144) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:36AM (#9760040)
    That's one smaller step for man ...

    Sorry

  • Apple (Score:2, Funny)

    by yohan1701 (779792)
    How does this have anything to do with Apple ?. I thought this was Slashdot news from Apple.
    • Current space travel : Space travel in 2001 :: Original mp3 players : iPod

      That is to say, when Steve Jobs gets into space travel, it'll be better and more stylish. Unfortunately it will also cost even more :)

  • I would rather scrap the majority of other programs and focus on Man on Mars Mission.
    • YES!
      And then we can build an underground ship that can tavel to the Core, and detonate a couple nukes to get the techtonics going again. Then we can produce CO2 for it's atmosphere, and then plant trees n' shit for the O2, and we can live there. That would be cool.. i'm selling the rights to hollywood.
    • by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:08PM (#9760315) Homepage Journal
      Funny; I'd rather scrap the Man on Mars mission and spend the money on science (as opposed to engineering.)

      Not that a man (or woman) on Mars wouldn't be unbearably cool, and certainly capable of doing some great science (a human could walk from crater to crater in hours, not months), but the cost is astronomical (pardon the pun). We put two rovers on Mars for less than a hundred million; people on Mars would cost tens of billions.

      Of course if they were talking about sending _me_ to Mars I'd feel differently; I'd love to go. But I don't get real vicarious thrills watching somebody else go, so I'd rather spend the money more carefully.
      • by stecoop (759508)
        Your correct, I imagine that Steve Ballmer or his one of his children could be the first person to walk on mars. Privatize the mission so the taxpayers don't wring their hands worrying.
      • Re:No Mars Mission? (Score:4, Informative)

        by HeghmoH (13204) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:30PM (#9760629) Homepage Journal
        You misspelled "billion". IIRC, the total cost for the rovers was around $800 million.

        A realistic (i.e. not done by the incredibly bloated NASA bureaucracy) plan to put people on Mars would cost something like $20-40 billion. So for 20 to 50 times as much, you can put actual people there, and probably get at least 100 times as much done, if not more. That's a better return for your dollars. The only trouble is that it's a much higher initial investment, and NASA is completely incapable of thinking about putting people on Mars for less than a trillion dollars.
      • Re:No Mars Mission? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by presarioD (771260)
        I'd rather scrap the Man on Mars mission and spend the money on science

        I would rather have all that money spent to social development within the US. The poverty [childrensdefense.org] level, especially in children living in it, is alarming. In fact it compares to Third World country levels.
        But then again the Mod-Nazis might find this irrelevant/offensive/antiamerican (freedom hating propaganda) and mod it down in a futile attempt to exorcise the problem (out of their conscience?).

        Go ahead teach master teach...

      • Re:No Mars Mission? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Rei (128717)
        I personally would take a third option: hard science at current levels, scrap the big showy things like "mars trips", and focus work on cost reduction.

        Primarily, cheaper payload to orbit options, cheaper stationkeeping and orbit changing methods, better in-space construction technology (to allow the use of smaller rockets), more materials research (so that payloads and rockets themselves become lighter and sturdier), etc.

        Nothing will help the space industry as much as getting costs down far enough to allo
      • Re:No Mars Mission? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Glock27 (446276)
        We put two rovers on Mars for less than a hundred million; people on Mars would cost tens of billions.

        The research and engineering to get to Mars might cost billions - of course there would doubtless be the usual useful spinoffs and breakthroughs that'd make billions.

        The actual mission might be quite affordable if the right breakthroughs happen along the way. For instance, what is the total flight time if a .01 G continuous thrust engine is available? Check out:

        http://www.engr.psu.edu/antimatter/docum

  • Oh yea, right. (Score:5, Informative)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdotNO@SPAMexit0.us> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:39AM (#9760067) Homepage
    The subcommittee is the first step of a long budget process and major changes to the bill are expected.

    But most likely not any changes that will actually help NASA.

  • Figures (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:39AM (#9760071)
    Until they detect signs of oil on Mars, this trend will unfortunately continue.
  • And this... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gclef (96311) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:43AM (#9760101)
    ...is why we'll never make it to the moon or mars with the gov't: we're not prepared to pay the price.

    I hold out hope for private enterprise, but that's still decades away.
  • by mpupu (750408) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:43AM (#9760105)
    In other news, Congress is now sponsoring the "Y-Prize", which awards 1M to the first private spaceship that safely lands on Mars surface.

    They're also outsourcing NASA jobs to India, I guess.
  • Election year BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TopShelf (92521) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:43AM (#9760106) Homepage Journal
    Face it, during an election cycle, lawmakers would rather be percieved as budget-minded tax cutters than bold visionaries. If any major funding for NASA is to come, it will have to be shortly after the election, when a president is in a better position to advocate major change.
    • Face it, during an election cycle, lawmakers would rather be percieved as budget-minded tax cutters than bold visionaries.

      Actually, in general, being a budget-minded tax cutter IS being a bold visionary.

      I dunno... I just think civilization has had more than enough government produced bold visions...

      • I wouldn't mind Government Bold Visions (tm) if they were from the Government, Bold, and Visionary. Most of what I've seen in my 28 years are whimpy, short-sighted, industry handouts.

        Let's face it, the problem is the old MIC. You have a billion dollar industry whose sole source of revenue is fleecing the government. You want to talk about accountability, how about stop using the same jokers who charge a fortune to not deliver year after year after year.

        For what we are paying "private industry" we could

        • I should have written governemt produce "bold visions" (with quotes).

          I'm actually a basic supporter of space stuff, but I'd like to see a rational and logical approach. None of this boondoggle "send a man to Mars because we can" nonsense. Let's do some orbital industries or a solar power satellite farm. There's things NASA could do that COULD make a profit. Do something at L5.

    • i would buy this argument, except cuts are occuring in other areas as well; including congressional earmarks (the porkbelly) as well as veteran's affairs. cutting funding to veterans is not the way to be perceived as a visionary, especially in the middle of a war. I think this is more a financial reality than some sort of election year posturing.
  • Tax cuttery (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Al Dimond (792444) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:46AM (#9760126) Journal
    Well when taxes are lower, spending has to be cut somewhere. Many programs want more money, many people want more programs, many people (and corporations) want less taxes (there was a story in today's Chicago Trib about some new super-corporate-freeforall-taxloophole bill today, kinda disheartening, our government is 0wn3d).

    Like the MS Word issue, where people with unrealistic demands drive software bloat, the unrealistic demands of people drive deficit spending.

    And we elect the nice members of Congress to balance these needs. Better them than me.
  • GOOD! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    sorry I support NASA to the end,
    but they waste a lot of money, and i dont mean the "toilets, or wrenches" garbage.

    I mean they are a large organization and its a government entity, they waste tons of money in managers talking to each other.

    I think every government budget should be slashed, from schools to police. FORCE them to be efficient.
    • Re:GOOD! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Oddly_Drac (625066)
      "I think every government budget should be slashed, from schools to police. FORCE them to be efficient."

      Nice idea, but most places work from the ground up when figuring out the corners to cut, usually because they give the jobs to managers, and you appear to have missed the point that the whole system is dedicated to keeping a strata of middle-management in paperclips.

      As for 'wasting' money, they're in a pretty unique situation regarding doing stuff for the first time, in terms of pure research, they're
    • Re:GOOD! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Entropius (188861)
      You didn't mention the one that needs to be slashed the most: the military.

      $500 billion. Roll that one around in your head for a bit.

      This particular case (veterans' benefits) is different, since that's a real benefit to people. But I have gotten *no utility whatsoever* out of most of our military spending. Neither has the rest of the world, and--to the extent that they have--it'd be possible to provide more benefit for cheaper using some other method.

      I'm not saying that the US should eliminate its milita
  • by earthforce_1 (454968) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {1_ecrofhtrae}> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:55AM (#9760187) Journal
    I doubt the US would have put men on the moon, if they were not scared to death that the russians would get there first. I saw an interview with Buzz Aldrin last night, where he pretty well said as much, saying that this was an element of the cold war that they had won. How sad. And once this was accomplished, the budget was cut, despite the fact they had the Saturn V's in mass production at the time, and could have finished the planned missions for a relatively small cost. The NRE was over, and next Apollo rocket and crew was primed and ready to go. Go watch "2001 a space odyssey" (released in 1970) to see where it was widely thought we should have been by 2001.

    Setting foot on another world was THE #1 defining moment of human civilization. 10,000 years from now, when we are hopefully spread across the galaxy, what historial event will stand out? A revolution in country X, a war in country Y? The raize and fall of empire Z? No, it will be the first steps off our home planet.

    I can only hope in the next few years China makes a dash for Mars, and the west feels a need to upstage them. We should have been there by now.
    • HERE! HERE!! I only wish I had some mod points for you.
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:09PM (#9760321)
      Go watch "2001 a space odyssey" (released in 1970) to see where it was widely thought we should have been by 2001.

      IIRC, 2001 was released in 1968. Think: that film was made in a time when nobody had ever been to the moon, but they were just about to do so. At Christmas '68 Apollo 8 orbited the Moon for the first time. That's the backdrop to 2001.

      Now it's 2004. We've been to the Moon, we gave it up because we wanted to spend the money on killing Vietnamese people, and nobody seems to care anymore.

      There's a word for this. Decadent.

    • When you look at the time scales you're discussing, yes, the first man on the moon or Mars will be far more important than the miscellaneous wars, political campaigns, the Internet, etc.

      However, from that distance, whether we get to Mars today, or twenty years from now, makes no difference. I see no reason to rush to space so that schoolchildren in 12004 can learn that the first steps on Mars were taken in 2010 rather than 2020. Not at a cost of ignoring those wars and other conflicts that affect people
      • Even at its peak, the Apollo program consumed only a tiny fraction of the US budget. What matters is that funding is high enough for a significant amount real work to be done, and more importantly that it is not subject to political whim.

        What irked me, is that the Apollo 11 astronauts only spent 2 hours on the moon's surface, and much of that time was wasted on stuff like planting the flag, chatting with Nixon, etc. Far better to have spent the very limited time collecting samples, setting up experiments
      • by clambake (37702)
        But we should spend the most on today, some on tomorrow, and a bit on years from now.

        If this is the way humans habitually thought we would still be hunter gatherers. The great thing about space exploration is that the technology we create to get us there sticks around forever once it's invented. Just think about it this way. If you can spend $100 today to invent a technology that will generate you $100,000,000 tomorrow, are you going to really bitch about losing a C note?

        The riches that space has to o
    • by Oddly_Drac (625066) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:28PM (#9760598)
      "Go watch "2001 a space odyssey" (released in 1970) to see where it was widely thought we should have been by 2001."

      Arthur C Clarke isn't that wide. Even Gerard O'Neill conceded that some of his designs wouldn't be done by 2001, BUT, when Kennedy announced that they were going to the moon, it was a boom time for space. The limits were removed, only to slam back in as space was put on a backburner because the grey dust of the moon's surface failed to keep feeding the novelty. Hence the various stunts they pulled.

      Politically, it was a time when the US thought they couldn't be beaten. Vietnam was a bit of a shock.

      "THE #1 defining moment of human civilization."

      As much as I am a fan of space in general, I think contraception was probably bigger, as it meant that we could control our own population; medical science in general has reduced our lability to environmental pressures and increased lifespan. Walking on the moon may well have been the defining moment for a generation, though.

      "No, it will be the first steps off our home planet.

      Except people are already forgetting it, and the vast majority follow a book of myths and legends called the 'Bible' that was cobbled together roughly two thousand years ago.

      Do you even want to speculate on the fine people that think it was all staged in California?

      "I can only hope in the next few years China makes a dash for Mars"

      They're committed to a moon base, but what the other side of the bamboo curtain says and does are two completely different things. Mars has no interest for them at the moment because they're realists. That's one of the nicer aspects of communist nations...none of that PR stuff to sway the public. (Yes, this is a downside, I was tongue in cheek there.)

    • by Tackhead (54550) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:34PM (#9760694)
      > 10,000 years from now, when we are hopefully spread across the galaxy, what historial event will stand out? A revolution in country X, a war in country Y? The raize and fall of empire Z? No, it will be the first steps off our home planet.

      I wish I could share your optimism.

      My bet? Ten thousand years from now, the most important historical event will be when our descendants understand the meaning behind the following mysterious inscription:

      This is not a place of honor.

      No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.
      Nothing valued is here.
      This place is a message and part of a system of messages.
      Pay attention to it!
      Sending this message was important to us.
      We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
      What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us.
      This message is a warning about danger.
      The danger is in a particular location. It increases towards a center.
      The danger is still present, in your time, as it was in ours.
      The danger is to the body, and it can kill.
      The form of danger is an emanation of energy.
      The danger is unleashed only if you substantially disturb this place physically. This place is best shunned and left uninhabited.

      On the bright side, at least they'll have a ready supply of refined materials with which to work. Perhaps they'll put them to better use than we will.

      • by LordPixie (780943) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @02:48PM (#9762215) Journal
        I'll readily admit, I had to google for the meaning behind your post. Here's some info for those more lazy.

        The spiel mentioned above is the message that the Yucca Mountain design is intended to convey to future civilizations. Namely to those that show up 10K+ years from now. (Yucca being the designated site for the United States' Radioactive waste. It will be quite hazardous for an amazingly long amount of time.) The text is not really supposed to be an inscription per say, but simply the overall concept behind the structure of the entire complex.

        The original research was done by Sandia national labs. A significant portion of the document can be found here [downlode.org].
        Madcap googling resulted in an easy to read summary here [constantly.at]. May god have mercy on the poor soul that gets slashdotted.

        BTW Tackhead, kudos on the obscure (?) reference. Forced me to learn. =)


        --LordPixie
  • by MooseByte (751829) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:55AM (#9760190)

    Let's face it, the American people (on average, not your typical US Slashdot reader - I hope) just do NOT get the fact that you have to HAVE money to SPEND money. Apparently being suckled on credit cards has removed that concept from peoples' minds.

    With Bush's multiple rounds of slashing taxes, that means we have LESS to spend. We've got record budget deficits and we have to cut spending correspondingly. Period.

    So if you like deep tax cuts, quit whining about budget cuts. This is what the results are - the government HAS to spend less or we're simply pissing in our own well.

    Whine all you want about "But they could just cut (Program-I-Don't-Care-About) instead!" The problem is that every other program has their own segment of the population screaming about the exact same thing.

    Maybe some nation that understands the concept of debit/credit ledgers can get to Mars instead, and send us a postcard.

    Sad.

    • Well honestly, NASA is one of the most wasteful organizations I have ever seen. The Russians are doing it for far cheaper than we are, even the Europeon space organization is. Hell the private sector is now involved and doing it for far less.

      I love the people at NASA and appreciate everything they have done, but NASA is still a government organization and as such is extremely wasteful by nature. We just aren't getting the same type of benefits from NASA that we once did, it's stagnant and dull. I wish them

      • "Well honestly, NASA is one of the most wasteful organizations I have ever seen."

        In defense of NASA, however, it really IS rocket science. NASA is expensive, but the Russians really aren't doing much. They're doing it cheaper by not doing much at all. (Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the current Russian space program is a shadow of its former self, to the point where they fly billionaires onto the ISS for cab fare. The budget struggles at their central Asian launch facility are sadly legendary.)

        "W

      • We just aren't getting the same type of benefits from NASA that we once did, it's stagnant and dull.
        What [nasa.gov] crack [nasa.gov] are [hubblesite.org] you [nasa.gov] smoking [nasa.gov] and [nasa.gov] can [gravityprobeb.com] I [nasa.gov] have [caltech.edu] some [nasa.gov]?
    • We also have a deficit that is rapidly shrinking as the economy wakes up as a result of the tax cuts.

      Just like under Kennedy, Reagan, and now Bush tax cuts lead to increased government revenue within 2 years.

      The problem I have with Bush is that he won't VETO anything! He spends just like the worst of the liberals he claims are bad.

      Oh, our deficits are not record, especially when compared to the GDP.
  • by TS020 (793513) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:56AM (#9760202) Homepage Journal
    I am a fervent liberal, but Republicans claim to be about smaller gov, and less taxes. Well, the tax cuts enacted earlier warranted great cuts in programs. I don't like seeing the space and science budgets cut, being a fervent liberal, but hey, they need to do things right, and it's about time. I have an 8 month old daughter and she will be paying for the sins of this administration for a long time after I am (possibly) retired. What they need are massive cuts around the board to protect her. They want to do big tax cuts, it needs to come out someplace. I am of the opinion, however, that the federal government should be nothing more than international relations and international science (these would include space exploration and military), and that would greatly reduce our national taxes. All other things should vary from state to state, and that would enable each state to model its own economy and laws that could overwrite the federal ones. Smoke up!
  • by Aggrazel (13616) <aggrazel@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @11:57AM (#9760204) Journal
    I think that Congress has the impression that more research should be done by the private sector. I tend to lean toward Libertarian values, but I can see how funding NASA helps us all.

    After all, NASA doesn't need to turn a profit on its research. When the private sector pumps billions of dollars into something it's expecting to get billions in return. So why search for things that (seemingly) won't turn a profit right away.

    NASA has benefitted this country so much its sad to see Congress shoving it aside. I guess they're hoping to offshore NASA.
  • This is just the first of the hard cuts that will have to happen to have social security for the baby boomers as they start to retire.

    It's a shame this matter isn't being seriously addressed this election.
    • This is just the first of the hard cuts that will have to happen to have social security for the baby boomers as they start to retire.

      Saying that we have to cut NASA funding to fund baby boomers is pure nonsense. The difference between what the boomers will need (in the trillions of dollars) is far far less than the NASA budget). Now... if you want to cut the military, you could make some headroom. But you mentioned social security; so,

      Right now the social security "surplus" (about 25% of your payroll
  • we will not make it to mars or back to the moon. I really think that the next time an American steps on another planet it will be a private effort or as a passenger on another countries missions.
  • Is that me, the voter, has no control over it. I never get to say what I think about something like this. Sure I could send a letter, but its never read, some staffer puts it in the "against" pile for this issue, and since its not well publicized, the politicians will ignore the letters on it. "Not representative of all constituents."

    Sure I could vote for someone who says they won't cut the nasa budget....but when was the last time you heard a politician say that? Also, there's no guarantee a particular po
  • Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argoff (142580) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:03PM (#9760258)
    Oh, boy. I just know I'm going to get killed here, but in IMHO Nasa has done more to harm space development in the US than anyone else. For decades, they went way out of their way to thwart private space ventures, and frankly, they invested in a lot of of programs that had awfull returns for the money. Do I even need to mention the two downed space shuttles, the hubble mirror, or the the ft vs meter fiasco for the mars mission? IMHO, if you love space, you should hate NASA and all the godawfull bureauocracy that has come with it. They're presence just keeps something better from replacing them.
    • Re:Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

      Amen.

      When I think about how far the Space Shuttle has set us back it make my head hurt. Billions of dollars for a launch vehicle to replace one that costs millions of dollars.

      And until Challenger, NASA had a policy of putting the Kabosh on any launches save those from the space shuttle. At any point someone could have smelled the roses, cut their losses, and moved onto something better.

      Instead they had to keep burning billions.

  • It's like putting your parents in an old-folks home as a golden wedding anniversary present. Oh well....worse things have happened.
  • Alas, my country (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColonelPanic (138077) <pmk@googlGIRAFFEe.com minus herbivore> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:08PM (#9760316)
    Forty years ago, we looked to the stars and put flags on the moon.

    Now we spend all our time worrying about countries that tend to put the moon and stars on their flags.
  • by ShieldWolf (20476) <jeffrankineNO@SPAMnetscape.net> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:10PM (#9760344)
    In order to pay for Bush's deficits over the past 4 years, NASA would have to have its budget COMPLETELY taken away for about the next 50 years.

    So enjoy those tax rebate cheques folks, the money had to come from somewhere.

    • Better from NASA than my kids college fund. Better NASA than my parents social security. Better NASA than my own retirement money. Perhaps if the government, Congress inparticular hadn't spent like drunken sailors during the last decade these things wouldn't be necessary. Personally I couldn't give a rats ass less about Mars, my life is hear on Earth and here on Earth I have uses for MY OWN money.
  • by TheCrayfish (73892) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:11PM (#9760346) Homepage
    Read the article carefully... The subcommittee recommended a budget for NASA of $15.1B, which is $229M below last year's budget of $15.329B. That means the subcommittee cut last year's budget by 1.49 percent. They did, however, cut NASA's requested budget, including a requested increase over last year, by 7 percent.
  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sevensharpnine (231974) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:11PM (#9760349)
    According to the national debt clock, the U.S. is $7.2 trillion in debt. Even if you ignore the gov't-purchased "IOU" bonds, we're just about half that in debt. And of course, the entire Social Security system is running headlong into disaster. More budget cuts, please. Cut everybody. Defense, Space, Research, Healthcare, Retirement Benefits, Student Funding, Habitat Development, etc. We can't afford this any more. And to everyone here crying about these cuts: you are the problem.
    • by geek (5680)
      Cuts aren't needed as badly as you think. That 7.2 trillion is a drop in the bucket when weighed against future economic growth. The government will "grow out" of that as more people enter the work place (all those graduates will eventually find jobs) and start paying taxes. The economy is growing, meaning more money comes in. People were saying these things and freaking out just like this when Reagan passed his tax cuts and less than ten years later the debt was gone, grown out of by the huge economic boom
      • Re:Good (Score:3, Informative)

        by orcrist (16312)
        People were saying these things and freaking out just like this when Reagan passed his tax cuts and less than ten years later the debt was gone, grown out of by the huge economic boom they inspired.

        What?????!!!!! *Boggle*

        No wonder people voted for Reagan and Bush Jr. believing shit like that.

        The debt has constantly grown for at least a century and practically tripled under Reagan. The deficit has mostly grown as well, except for the years under Clinton where it finally went down and was just about to
  • by 21chrisp (757902)
    Due to budget cuts, NASA has scaled back it's shuttle replacement program. Snip: 'Our new Space Shuttle design will be based on a modified Geo Metro. We feel using the Metro as a base will increase reliability and safety, while at the same time reducing the cost of production and fuel expenses.'

    Apparantly NASA plans to use the Metro's excellent gas mileage to reduce the cost of orbital flights. When asked why they didn't consider using a hybrid vehicle, NASA replied: 'The cost of development is too hi
  • by Shadow2097 (561710) <shadow2097@nosPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:19PM (#9760464)
    A few months back we had President Bush get everyone all worked up and excited about his grand "vision" for our return to space. There was all kinds of good press coverage and publicity on the matter. NASA was told to develop a replacement for the Shuttle, expand exploration of the Moon for our eventual manned missions and all that jazz. IIRC, his approval rating even bounced up a few percent afterwards, reflecting the public's wishes for a strong space program.

    Now reality sets in. All the talk and good publicity is over. The media has moved on to newer "news" like Jenna Bush sticking her tongue out at reporters and the latest Hollywood romances that has the people back to their glazed over state. Congress gets the job of deciding how to make up for the hundreds of billions we've spent on Iraq and anti-terror efforts and doesn't really have many options for cutting the budget at this point. So NASA gets hung out to dry once more, and Bush suffers little (if any) bad press. After all, he didn't cut the budget!

    God...I hate politicians so much. And not just one party either. They'll all say anything to get re-elected.

    -Shadow

  • Ironic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ColonelPanic (138077) <pmk@googlGIRAFFEe.com minus herbivore> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @12:21PM (#9760510)
    It's sad to see legions of /.ers using semiconductor-based memory, microprocessors, and advanced networking technology to diss the achievements of the Apollo program.

    We got more out of NASA than Tang and some rocks, boys.

    (Personal note: my earliest memory that I can date accurately is being five years old, watching Neil and Buzz hop around the LEM on that late Sunday evening.)
  • My people, who bleed through the open check we your government write on, It is of grave importance to the Republican Corpor... er Government that we continue spending initiatives.

    I am here to tell you of the threat Mars holds in shielding Al Queda training camps and Weapons of Mars Distruction.....

  • by randall_burns (108052) <randall_burns AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @01:15PM (#9761236)
    The real fundamental question here: does the NASA budget really affect if/how soon economic development of space will happen?


    Nasa made a _lot_ of promises that weren't really delivered by the shuttle. The X-prize entries have gotten a lot further for the amount of money expended than has Nasa. Now you can argue-well Nasa already built the shuttle. Still, is a politically correct bureacracy like Nasa _really_ the way a society ought to reach for the stars? I'm not sure that greedy corporations doing it for money is quite the right way either. This stuff really doesn't inherently need to be expensive. Thirty years ago, it looked like something was going to happen. What went wrong? Was it simple bad luck or a fundamental societal organizational problem? By now organizations like the National Geographic Society really _ought_ to have a space program. If the nascent Mormon church could organize colonization of Utah 150 years ago, why isn't anyone similarly motivated today? The folks running the USA today seem very, very different than those running the USA 100 years ago.


    My guess here: if the USA were to go away, somebody else would pick up the ball-maybe the Russians or Chinese. Hell, I can even believe that if the US government were fundamentally restructured(ala Yugoslavia), it might have a better shot at space than this bunch of looser attorneys/media folks that will spend $1.2 trillion protecting an antique energy source in the Middle East-and not consider having a few hundred billion in prize incentives for a new energy sources to stop that bleeding.

  • by blueZhift (652272) on Wednesday July 21, 2004 @01:40PM (#9761454) Homepage Journal
    I cannot say that a NASA budget cut is a big surprise. It's only a matter of time before the full effects of our misadventure in Iraq comes home to roost. But there may be a silver lining in here for NASA.

    At the core, the scientists and engineers at NASA are very smart and clever people. They've done some incredible work on budgets that seem little more than spit and lint compared to the outlays the military typically gets. I think that they'll do great work no matter what the budget is because in the end they have great passion for their work.

"You don't go out and kick a mad dog. If you have a mad dog with rabies, you take a gun and shoot him." -- Pat Robertson, TV Evangelist, about Muammar Kadhafy

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