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Moon Mars Space

Funding Promised for Trips to Moon, Mars 560

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the believe-it-when-i-see-it dept.
image77 writes "NASA's new administrator, Michael Griffin, and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday the space agency will have the necessary funding to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars. Delay states "We will provide the funding necessary to get us where we want to go.""
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Funding Promised for Trips to Moon, Mars

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  • by professorhojo (686761) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:09AM (#12693697)
    ASA's new administrator, Michael Griffin, and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday the space agency will have the necessary funding to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars. Delay states "We will provide whatever funding is necessary to get the spotlight off my ethics investigation and possible upcoming criminal proceedings."
    • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:13AM (#12693744)
      As if the Majority Leader in the House of Representatives of the US Congress has no job, or indeed, any other tasks at all, other than to continually engineer ways to remove the spotlight from alleged ethics violations. Because, of course, once someone is accused of something, their job stops, and they're naturally only trying to erect artificial shields to deflect the allegations.
    • Actually, in this case he's arguably doing what representatives are supposed to do. He represents the suburbs of Houston, the residents of which benefit when there's funding for new jobs in town. Sure, it's pork, but at least it doesn't involve a feeding tube or threatening judges.
    • DeLay represents the TX 22nd Congressional District. The district is largely in the Houston suburbs. NASA has a large presence in Houston. His press release is really just the standard Congressional release:

      We will provide whatever funding is required to support $PROGRAM of $AGENCY in order to bring Federal Government cash and jobs to my district.
    • It isn't to get the spotlight off the ethics investigation - it is to get money into Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

      You have to remember DeLay is from Texas where all the aerospace companies are.
  • Thanks, Tom! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:09AM (#12693701)

    From TFA:


    "We will provide the funding necessary to get us where we want to go," the House majority leader said.


    Awfully nice of you to provide the funding for our space initiative, Tom...are you sure you and the other members of Congress can afford it?

    Oh, wait...he's talking about our money...not his...damn.

    Seriously, though, after reading through TFA, and also reading some related articles on President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration", one finds that below the glitz and the sexiness, there's just not much content. Specifically, there's very little mention of turning space exploration into a paying venture, which will be very necessary as soon as the glamour wears off, and the taxpayers get tired of funding such a pricey program.

    There's ridiculous amounts of money to be made in space...we just need to get up there...and stay up there this time.
    • Re:Thanks, Tom! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MirrororriM (801308)
      Griffin said he believes a majority of people "want to make sure that as humankind expands into space the United States is there in the forefront."

      "That is why this is important," he said. "It's about where human beings go and what they do when they get there and what that means to the future of the human race."

      B.S. - I agree with the above poster when they say "There's ridiculous amounts of money to be made in space...we just need to get up there...and stay up there this time."

      The government is n

    • Hey, everyone knows Delay for all of his faults has a lot of pull in the US House. If Delay is on board with funding a lot of space, why not let him do it? If NASA does get us back to the moon and mars, and I think they can (they did get us to the moon before, after all), then sure, go for it.

      The fifteen or sixteen billion a year that NASA needs is chump change. Toss it onto the deficit, as space is an investment that will pay for itself.
    • Well, a big part of exploration is exploring how to do it. Nobody's going to have all the details until some exploration's been *done*.

      "We choose to go to the moon" was short on specifics too, but it set us on the road to the moon, and a decade later we knew how to do it.

      And if (as I agree) there's really a lot of money to be made in space, in time the biggest problem with government vis a vis space travel will be getting it out of the way of the businesses which are trying to get into space. Just keep
    • Re:Thanks, Tom! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Lucractius (649116)
      There indeed are millions, billions, even Trillions and extillions ( ;) ) of dollars to be made up there . But there are significant problems

      Not the least of which is the UN.

      (dont get me wrong i like the UN )

      The UN space and seafloor treaties. are while good in some ways both a major obstacle for any kind of commercial "exploitation" (to use the correct terminoligy) The sea treaties are all well and good. i dont want the seaflood being used as a comercial landfill at least while im alive. I like clean wa
    • There's ridiculous amounts of money to be made in space...

      I don't "get" your point. I understand why it is extraordinarily expensive to escape gravity and to sustain life in space. I don't see why this is profitable. I'm not saying that space exploration isn't worthwhile (though I can think of many things which I consider more useful.) I do not understand, for example, why anyone would consider another trip the moon or one to Mars an enterprise for profit... The moon landing was valuable only as a "pis

      • I do not understand, for example, why anyone would consider another trip the moon or one to Mars an enterprise for profit.

        The Moon as a profitable venture has always been a dubious suggestion...sure, it has raw materials, but does it have enough to make such a venture self-supporting?

        As for Mars, apart from terraforming pipe dreams, I haven't heard anyone claim that that a Mars venture could possibly be in the black.

        Fortunately, we don't need to go to either to realize a profitble space venture...all w
        • Fortunately, we don't need to go to either to realize a profitble space venture...all we need is orbit.

          The value of satellites in orbit is obvious, but what is the benefit in supporting humans in an un-natural habitat? In my view the most valuable thing would be technologies to build, launch and manage small featureful cheap unmanned satellites. That doesn't look like where this space program is going.


        • It's not a question of "volume". It's a question of "value".

          Does harvesting raw materials on the moon (and or manufacturing) make economic sense. Just look how much it costs to get there and back, and you'll understand why this isn't feasible. All the materials we need are right here on earth.

          If the space elevator concept comes to fruition (doubtless from advaned in long stranded carbon nano-tubes) than orbital enterprises will become a lot cheaper. And even venturing outward to the moon would become
      • "what makes the return trip potentially profitable"

        Standing there with a musket and telling everyone else to f*ck off because you're going to be the one to exploit this particular natural resource is what will make space profitable. Yes it's ugly but guess what, the good old USA is the result of exactly this attitude.

        The "Space is owned by all the people of earth" stuff in the UN treaty has left us with 40 years of no progress. Add to this the national space monopolies like NASA, ESA keeping the cost

        • That does nothing at all to make it profitable. It was easy to explore and exploit land, all you needed was a wagon and supplies. Even if you owned a chunk of the moon right now, it gives you no profit. The tech has to be developed to make it profitable to exploit it, until them trying to own and defend it just costs money.

          National space monopolies are going to be the only way forward until tech reaches the point that there is a return on investment in space. Until then private industry will just stay wel

    • There's ridiculous amounts of money to be made in space

      Indeed there is, from the wealth of scientific benefits and knowledge, to mineral and energy resources, essentially limited only by our imagination, to new frontiers and worlds to colonise and grow food crops in.

      The question is, have we got the technology to take advantage of whats out there? Many people are waving the space flag and repeating the moon and mars like a mantra, but honestly, we need to really develop the supporting industries before

      • The question is, have we got the technology to take advantage of whats out there? Many people are waving the space flag and repeating the moon and mars like a mantra, but honestly, we need to really develop the supporting industries before we go building the rocketships to get us up there.

        I agree totally...the real problem with Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration" is that it's not designed to further our knowledge or technology...it's designed to be sexy. Period.

        Fortunately, we don't need to get to

  • by daveschroeder (516195) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:10AM (#12693706)
    ...insert completely offtopic and irrelevant DeLay comments here, instead of acknowledging that the current House of Representatives Majority Leader, a legislator with significant power, has publicly pledged the necessary funding for NASA's Mars and Moon missions.

    Note: the funding NASA has received over the last couple of decades is equivalent to the funding it received during the Apollo program in adjusted dollars, so it's not like NASA is the equivalent of the hapless panhandler many slashdotters make it out to be.

    Further, for those who support NASA's fundamental mission of space exploration, we must also acknowledge the US Air Force Space Command's renewed role [cnn.com] to protect free access to space, including planning for contingencies that may require us to protect our assets in space from other nations. You had better believe, regardless of any perceived sensibilities, that other nations may lay claim to, e.g., areas of the moon, areas in close proximity to earth, etc. If anyone is forced to be a steward of free access, I'll be blunt and say I'd rather it be us.
    • Don't you think that's rather a change in direction for Slashdot to take? From 'News for Nerds' to 'Steward of Free Access to Space'?

      Or is that not who you mean by 'us'?

    • I, for one, would welcome this comment from almost anyone (including Bush!) except DeLay. Considering the ethics problems he's currently facing, it seems the old adage "with friends like this, who needs enemies?" sounds fitting. Not only that, this is such an easy target for ridicule, as we will no doubt witness.
    • Significant power, perhaps, but not in any position to guarantee continued, stable, adequate funding for such a project.

      Or for the other, perhaps more worthwhile, objectives that NASA may have or have had before this neo-grand-challenge was dropped on them.
      • "Significant power, perhaps, but not in any position to guarantee continued, stable, adequate funding for such a project."

        It's important to keep that in mind. Also keep in mind, however, that there's nobody else in such a position either. Promises of funding only last until the next Congress amends or repeals them. Believe this one if you will, but believe it will make a difference only when you see the footprints in the dust.
    • by weopenlatest (748393) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:43AM (#12694074)
      ...recognize that the audience of the article understands that science cannot be properly directed by hacks that use spending promises from beyond their terms in office to promote programs that are easily exploitable for political gain.

      Note:The cost of a manned trip to Mars would dwarf scientific NASA programs, not to mention most if not all other basic research, especially the kind that offends the Christian Right, so it's not like NASA can just painlessly start shifting all it's money over to the manned program.

      Further, we aren't quick to be scared into military justifications and scare tactics. We remember the (continued) folly of missile defense, and realize that politicians can be easily fooled into throwing money at non existent threats, potential threats, and threats that don't have technical solutions, while sending soldiers in Iraq out in unarmored Humvees. With our forces and checkbooks spread thin at the moment, I'll be blunt and say we couldn't be steward of free access to space regardless of the amount of political hot air that floats around.

    • Sure - OK. It could be an attempt to divert attention from his ethics troubles, but it doesn't even need to be that for him to be a prick.

      He's from Texas. The major NASA sites are in Texas. This funding (however much it is - I didn't see an amount in TFA) will go to his home state, so it makes him happy. Pretty much all of the senators/congresspersons try to get as many tax dollars as possible spent in their home districts.

      As for the funding levels, remember maintenance. There are a number of ongoing
    • by sugar and acid (88555) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:48AM (#12694128)
      Except that the scandals do have a direct impact on the viability of his plan. If DeLay is brought down out of office by the scandals, then it doesn't matter what he says, he won't have any power or influence to make anything happen. It is that simple.
    • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:50AM (#12694150)
      instead of acknowledging that the current House of Representatives Majority Leader, a legislator with significant power, has publicly pledged the necessary funding for NASA's Mars and Moon missions.

      I acknowledge that Tom DeLay wouldn't give a rat's ass about NASA if the Johnson Space Center weren't in his home district. This just is a typical effort to ladel out pork barrel funds to his constituents, no more, no less.

    • Uh, right now, America's most ardent enemies are small fries. Frankly, al Queda is a small fry. They need to be chased down and prosecuted for their deeds, yes, but they simply don't have sufficient resources to be a threat to the U.S.'s space assets. If we do continue too far, then we'll get bigger enemies.

      I'd rather it be an alliance, somewhat like NATO, that protects access to space than a unilateral effort. The "go it alone" attitude doesn't get far, eventually the others will band to try to balanc
    • Note: the funding NASA has received over the last couple of decades is equivalent to the funding it received during the Apollo program in adjusted dollars, so it's not like NASA is the equivalent of the hapless panhandler many slashdotters make it out to be.

      Actually, this is an extremely misleading claim - as during the Apollo era (1962-1972) NASA funding swung over quite a wide range. Funding rose sharply from 1962 to it's peak in 1965, as infrastructure was built and completed. It dropped from 1966

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Just imagine the number (and size) of the public toilets you could build for all this money.
  • by igotmybfg (525391) <{slashdot} {at} {danielthompson.net}> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:18AM (#12693796) Homepage
    ...because it just might bring us into another golden age of American science. Think about how many young people were inspired to be engineers and scientists when they saw the Appollo missions as youngsters.
    • Think about how many young people were inspired to be engineers and scientists when they saw the Appollo missions as youngsters...

      only as adults to have their positions farmed out to nations that didn't fund any Apollo missions... thanks for the dreams!
  • by Deinhard (644412) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:19AM (#12693800)
    ...for science and math education?

    We have suffered significant brain drain over the last two decades and I'm not convinced that the future crop of "rocket scientists" will be able to launch an Estes rocket much less get us to the Moon (let alone Mars).

    Maybe I'm showing my age bias here, but I just don't see the fire and drive in Middle and High School students to do anything of this magnitude. Most of the students I know would rather visit Mars by playing Doom than actually going there.
    • Brain Drain? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cosmic-shadow (854721)
      Agreed. In the past few decades we have suffered a large loss in the ability to think, especially considering our technological gain over that time. For example, it took the processing power of two C-64's to take us to the moon on an Apollo capsule. Now we have computer systems with multiple GHz processors, and we are using them now for gaming.

      "What happen?"
    • My property taxes have been increasing by leaps and bounds, so there must be *some* more money for science and math education. If your kids aren't getting what you expect, talk to your school board. Or win an election and take over your school board.
  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:19AM (#12693808) Homepage Journal
    Just set up a big prize for the first team to land a man on the moon and safely return him to the earth.

    Cut out all this funding-cycle political crap for crissakes. Yes, yes, I know there are lots of people employed by NASA and its contractors who want the return of the glory days.

    Go get a real job and stop destroying the US's pioneering heritage, and don't you dare lobby my Congressman with your time and travel paid for by my taxes.

    • by robindmorris (682328) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:33AM (#12693954)
      Just set up a big prize for the first team to land a man on the moon and safely return him to the earth.

      And how big would this prize have to be in order to make someone interested in competing for it? Remember that they have to factor in the chance that they might fail, or that someone else might do it first. Remember that Burt Rutan said that going in to orbit (which is still a long way from the moon) is at least an order of magnitude more difficult than what space ship one did. Looks to me like the prize you would have to offer is on the order of what NASA would spend to do the job themselves.

      Remeber also, that with current costs for access to space, any ideas of commercializing space (other than communications satellites/remote sensing satellites) are non-starters. The cost to get into space, to keep workers alive out there, and to bring back whatever it is you have mined, mean that the economics are just not there.

      The only way this will change is if someone comes up with a whole new way of getting mass into orbit. If they can do that, they won't need any incentive in terms of a prize, because their development expenditure will pay for itself very quickly.

      Face facts. Putting people in space is expensive. It's also a one-off proposition; there will never be lots of companies competing on price to take people into space. Free market economics don't apply here. It's just as economical for the government to do it itself (via NASA) than for a company to do it, and send the bill to the government.

      Go get a real job and stop destroying the US's pioneering heritage, and don't you dare lobby my Congressman with your time and travel paid for by my taxes

      For your information, NASA employees are forbidden by law from lobbying congress, so that's one use of your taxes that you don't have to worry about.

      (Disclaimer: I work for a NASA contractor on-site at a NASA location.)

    • We sure can't let the terrorists beat us to the Moon!
    • I don't think a prize will work. Getting anything into outer space is expensive and complicated. The fact that some individual entrepreneurs can get a rocket out of the atmosphere doesn't mean they can do anything useful. They would have to have a few Billion and be positive they could do it first. So the prize would have to be more than what it would cost the government to do it. Which would be the same as just picking the one or two corporations that could do it. Actually, you'd have to either coordinate
  • by SimianOverlord (727643) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:23AM (#12693843) Homepage Journal
    I fully appreciate Tom DeLays comments, space exploitation has been on the back burner for too long. In these uncertain times, we would sleep a lot better in our beds if we knew there was a second chance out there somewhere, a genuine, self supporting colony that could reseed the earth in case of unavoidable disaster.

    Who better to found this colony than our own elected leaders? As events on september the eleventh showed, no-one is immune to terrorism on our domestic soil, and it would be far better to place our venerated leaders beyond the range of any conventional retaliation. We could always then be sure of leadership from orbit, no matter what happens. By protecting them, we protect ourselves.

    And should, despite their best efforts, some cataclysm overtake us all down below, what gentle knights are better suited to repopulate our world than our saintly leaders? Congress, the judiciary, the President are all exceptional individuals who have risen to the top to command a nation of untold millions through sheer talent and moral determination. Repopulation by such giants could only in fact improve the lot of humanities descendents.

    Yes, invest in NASA. Yes, load them all on a rocket. Yes, by all means let them lead from above, unseen and unvisited. Let noone say we were too afraid to take the sensible step.

    We shall miss them, our leaders, available as they currently are to any stranger in need of a chat or shoulder to cry on, discussion of current policy or challenger of their POV. All that will be lost. No more will I saunter into Cheney's office, will he welcome me with a smile, and gladly spend hours discussing Middle Eastern politics. By this sacrifice, we insure our future.

    I look forward with tears in my eyes to the day when they leave this planet. The correct funding of NASA will bring this day closer yet than we can dream.
  • But for how long? (Score:5, Informative)

    by dfn5 (524972) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:24AM (#12693849) Journal
    "We will provide the funding necessary to get us where we want to go."

    At least for the next 3 years. Reagan said back in '84 that the ISS would be a reality in 10 years. 20 years later it's only partially completed.

  • Another Space Race (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wooferhound (546132)
    President Bush is not really interested in putting people on the moon or Mars, But recently 3 other countries have announced thier intentions of landing there: China, Russia and India. Well you can be darn sure that president Bush is not going to let another country go to the Moon without the USA going first.

    It's another Space Race to the moon
    but the USA is the Rabbit waiting for
    one of the turtles to get started

    • by tbuckner (861471)
      Unfortunately, what with Republican malfeasance draining the treasury, we are not the rabbit any more. The Chinese are going to have a lot more spare yuan to spend in the long run than we will have dollars. There's a real likelihood they'll go a lot of places first now. Why did we cancel the last few Apollo missions? Because Nixon needed the money to spend on bombing Vietnam.

    • If that indeed is the reason then it seems like an awful high price to pay for ones pride.

      I don't think it is, but I definitely think it plays a part.
  • is now apparently large enough that they want to buy it with promises of space travel. At last, all the geeks ignored in highschool now have a little influence. How sad they'll be when that money gets shifted to space based military programs, after they've voted. Yeah, they'll put people on the moon and Mars. Soldiers.
  • "Cede the Moon"? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Metasquares (555685) <slashdot@[ ]asquared.com ['met' in gap]> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:27AM (#12693897) Homepage
    "If you ask anyone in this country, 'Do you believe that the United States should cede the moon to say the Chinese, Europeans, Russians, whoever?' I bet you the answer would be, 'No,'" he said.
    Interesting choice of words. It sounds like the speaker is implying that the United States owns the Moon because we got there first.
    • It worked for the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, English, French and Russians in the "New World" assuming you discount the people who were already here. The moon can be bought and sold amoung the powers that be and can have it's independence when it fights a good old fashioned war for independence that we aren't interested in fighting or can't afford to fight. That's just the way it's done.

      This is a joke, honestly.
    • Well, we put a plaque up there saying that the moon is for everyone. "We came in peace for all mankind." Making those fine words stick might take more than lofty intentions, though. Having lots of interests up there is probably the best way to keep *any* of them from taking exclusive ownership.

      Didn't the U.S. sign some U.N. declaration about the status of the moon?
  • by Toby The Economist (811138) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:28AM (#12693902)
    Spending other people's money is a significant issue, not be lightly undertaken.

    Space exploration and colonization is absolutely vital and must be undertaken.

    However, there are many ways to achieve this.

    It concerns me that there seems to be such gung-ho enthusisam for pushing what will be vast amounts of tax-raised money into NASA. NASA I'm sure has an unlimited capacity to absorb funds; but I'm not sure it has an equal capacity to produce results in equal measure.

    Why not just use the same money to place contracts with the major private space companies? why have a State run organisation at all?

    --
    Toby
    • Why not just use the same money to place contracts with the major private space companies? why have a State run organisation at all?

      Because a state-run organization is cheaper? Lockheed/Boeing/etc are out to make a profit. That means that they won't accept a fixed-price contract to do this work (too high risk). Instead, they'll insist on the usual cost-plus contract. Which means that now tax money is used to both pay for the space exploration, and also to pay a dividend to the companies' shareholders.

    • Um, that's pretty much how NASA works now. Their in-house engineers come up with the requirements, and some of the design work, then bid it out to various contractors to actually build. NASA pretty much just manages the process. Granted, there are significant portions of the work that are done in house (space shuttle control software comes to mind), but most of the really big stuff is contracted out.
    • On NASA's capacity to produce results, please list the other organizations which have made several manned round trips to the moon. I'm sure that that list will grow, and will include private interests, but just now it's mighty short.

      Why have a state-run organization at all? Sure. Let's just pile the money on a streetcorner with a sign saying, "for space colonization". Surely the major private space companies will see it and use it wisely to colonize space. Surely nobody else will touch it. Surely?
  • "If you ask anyone in this country, 'Do you believe that the United States should cede the moon to say the Chinese, Europeans, Russians, whoever?' I bet you the answer would be, 'No,'" [NASA Administrator Griffin] said.

    This is not about space science or free market economics in space, this is about the United States maintaining hegemony in space. Ultimately, when a nation talks about turf it is talking about military control, whether for tactical or resource reasons. It's interesting that the next quo

  • When I was reading to my son last night (about Space) I was amazed when he ran over to the window and looked up trying to see the stars. I like the idea of space exploration, but I think doing it with robots is the preferred method for a while. I hope that one day my 4 year old will have the option to go into space. Maybe, just maybe, this move by Bush will begin a renewed interest in younger generations.
  • bitch (Score:4, Funny)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:41AM (#12694053)

    I was going to bitch about how spending money on going to Mars was a waste when it could be spent on, say, a strategy for dealing with climate change...

    ...until I thought, maybe going to Mars is Bush's strategy for dealing with climate change?

  • by rben (542324) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:41AM (#12694057) Homepage

    One of the problems with our space programs, one of the problems it's had since the beginning, is that we haven't been building an infrastructure that would give us ongoing access to space at a reasonable price. We haven't been building our capabilities so that we'll be able to do important things like exploit the resources of the solar system. We just do stunts, usually to distract people from some political problem

    I believe we need to go back to the Moon and then on to Mars, but not as one-shot deals. We need a moon base so we can get resources from the moon. There is plenty of oxygen, Silicon and aluminum which could be used to help supply our expansion into space. The oxygen is needed for air. The aluminum can be used to build structures. The silicon can be used to create solar cells.

    It also seems likely that the Moon has water trapped in deep dark craters and crevices at the poles. A base on the moon dedicated to extracting that water would be able to provide that vital resource to space settlements. The water could be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen to supply fuel for space operations and missions to Mars.

    If you really want to impress me, then develop the technologies to mine asteroids. A single average nickle-iron asteroid could supply the world's need for iron for up to five years. It could also supply plenty of material for building space stations and factories.

    The resources in space could help solve many of the problems we have on our tiny planet. It's time we stopped grandstanding and started focusing on a well thought out plan for securing those resources and exploiting them.

  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @10:42AM (#12694061)
    I just ran the quote through my Dave Chapelle translator:

    House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday the space agency will have the necessary funding to send astronauts back to the moon and to Mars.

    Comes out:

    We're going to Mars, bitches!
  • This provides a more advantageous position from a military/army/navy standpoint. Many advances in medicine are possible from space based research as well. I can see why Bush administration wants to be the first. When other countries finally arrive on the moon, the US can dictate the rules for staying on the moon. This can be advantageous on many fronts. i.e terrorists, medicine, armed forces and so on.
  • It's not just all the funding they need. It's all the cost plus funding for large aerospace companies which contribute millions to political campaigns that NASA can have.

    Which wouldn't be so bad if they cancelled the hasn't-worked-yet ballistic missile "defense" system. Or if there was a cap on CEO pay so that most of the money actually went to the workers instead of the CEO shmoozing it up with Hot Tub Tom.

    I'm all for space exploration, but not at the cost of deficit spending. Why not cut the fat from t

  • A Better Program (Score:4, Insightful)

    by $criptah (467422) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @11:28AM (#12694608) Homepage

    I got a better program: let's spend billions of dollars in order to provider affordable education, clean up the environment and make sure that nobody is *really* left behind. Maybe then the rest of the world will look up to us again.

  • by Edward Faulkner (664260) <ef@noSpaM.alum.mit.edu> on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @11:45AM (#12694785)
    ... they make nothing but promises. Typical bureaucracy.

    Opening up real space exploration would be simple: make it legal for private companies to build nuclear thermal rockets. [nuclearspace.com]

    We're talking real space ships here. With that much power, you can afford to make them big, redundant, safe, and reusable. No more wimpy foam and composites - build it out of steel and have more engines than you need.
  • by srobert (4099) on Wednesday June 01, 2005 @12:30PM (#12695336)
    Though I would like to see humans on the Moon or Mars, it seems to me that money spent for scientific investigation would uncover more knowledge per dollar spent by sending unmanned missions or using the funds closer to home.
    What they are doing is creating the appearance of supporting "science", rather than real science. The difference being that "science" is the action/adventure that the American public raised on science fiction imagines and science is the real pursuit of new knowledge.
    Still, perhaps if the "Buck Rogers" fans are satisfied with the expenditures, more money will become available to NASA for real research.

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