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Space The Almighty Buck

No More Science on the ISS Until Further Notice 223

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the privatization-is-the-answer dept.
Dyna-Soar writes "Discovery Channel News is reporting that NASA is canceling scientific research projects on the International Space Station until construction is complete. This may not happen before 2010 or 2012." From the article: "In addition to beginning development of a new manned launch system, expenses to return the shuttle fleet to flight following the 2003 Columbia disaster and delays completing the International Space Station have left NASA with a projected shortfall of up to $5 billion over the next five years"
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No More Science on the ISS Until Further Notice

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  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:36AM (#13977264)
    If only congress could get the hint and stop castrating Nasa...
    • by lightyear4 (852813) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:59AM (#13977322) Homepage
      NASA could always charge for experiments to be conducted. Plenty of R&D groups would pay up if it were reasonable, and everyone benefits.
      • NASA could always charge for experiments to be conducted. Plenty of R&D groups would pay up

        Who, why? There hasn't been any commercial research done in the ISS at all. Mostly astronomy, using the ISS as a platform, and life sciences, which is really only of interest if you're flying astronauts. None of the "zero-G crystals" and such ever amounted to anything that couldn't be done much cheaper down here.

        • by mrfrostee (30198) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @11:38AM (#13979489) Homepage
          There hasn't been any commercial research done in the ISS at all.

          Mostly true, but most fundamental science research on the ground is not commercial either. There is a big difference between basic research and technology development.

          Mostly astronomy, using the ISS as a platform, and life sciences, which is really only of interest if you're flying astronauts.

          Not true. ISS is a terrible platform for astronomy. What astronomy was done there?

          The 4 major research areas on ISS were fluid physics, combustion physics, materials science, and life science.

          None of the "zero-G crystals" and such ever amounted to anything that couldn't be done much cheaper down here.

          Not true. All approved ISS research was stuff that could not be done at all on the ground. If microgravity was not a requirement, it didn't fly.
          • There hasn't been any commercial research done in the ISS at all.
            Mostly true, but most fundamental science research on the ground is not commercial either. There is a big difference between basic research and technology development.

            You seem to have framed a restatement of what I said as a correction....

            Not true. ISS is a terrible platform for astronomy. What astronomy was done there?

            Yeah, I was thinking of the shuttle (launching satellites mostly).

            None of the "zero-G crystals" and such ever amount

      • Not sure they can, actually; as part of Challenger blowing up there was some idiotic law about NASA doing anything remotely commercial being verboten.
    • How does the cost of NASA compare the amount squandered on the military?
      • by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:56AM (#13977874)
        How does the cost of NASA compare the amount squandered on the military?

        NASA is much smaller. Note that some view the money spent on NASA as "squandered". I see value in what NASA does, but I do feel it's a very inefficient organization in some areas (manned space flight being the worst). Now we have the ISS doing nothing useful for 5 or so years... Yeesh that thing is a white elephant.

        If Bush were serious about interplanetary flight he'd start construction of a nuclear powered space-only ship, with a hefty lander, using ISS as the assembly plant. I'm pretty sure we could build a low-thrust nuclear design that'd get to Mars in a few weeks rather than many months. That would greatly change the equation in many ways, and would show the utility of the space station concept. It would even make Mars colonization practical.

        SpaceX [spacex.com] is doing some great things, and shows the power of private ownership to lower costs. Their newest design, Falcon 9, is impressive with an ability to loft 24 metric tons at a time into LEO, at only $78 million a shot. You could build a massive interplanetary craft with just a few shots... I can't see this approach costing "hundreds of billions of dollars", but then again I'm not a government expert at inflating costs.

        Of course our Luddite anti-nuclear "friends" would scream bloody murder about the Mars ship being nuclear, so it won't happen anytime soon, IMO.

        • If Bush were serious about interplanetary flight he'd start construction of a nuclear powered space-only ship, with a hefty lander, using ISS as the assembly plant. I'm pretty sure we could build a low-thrust nuclear design that'd get to Mars in a few weeks rather than many months.

          There are huge safety issues with lifting enough fissionable material into space. A launch-failure could potentially spread an awful lot of radiation.

          And, how much of what we know about making nuclear reactors on Earth translates

        • "If Bush were serious about interplanetary flight he'd start construction of a nuclear powered space-only ship, with a hefty lander, using ISS as the assembly plant."

          Are you on crack? The ISS was built to be a research station, not an assembly plant for massive vehicles. Building ships in space would require a new sort of space station entirely.
        • There are a few problems with your idea:
          1) The ISS does not have enough: power, people, or fuel to support a construction operation.
          2) Putting enough mass for a 3 year ONE WAY voyage on a ship built to carry more than 7 people in the same orbit as the ISS is not a safe idea. If it was un powered at the time but was dragged towards the earth it could kill a lot of people on the ground.
          3) Bush doesn't make the plans for how we are supposed to get to Mars. He does, however, have some say on the funding, w
        • Ahh, I see the luddites wasted no time in responding. Just to make sure there's some serious discussion though...

          While I'm impressed with SpaceX's progress so far and have my fingers crossed for a successful launch within the next month, keep in mind that they have yet to prove the Falcon 1, much less the Falcon 9 or the impressive 27 engine, side-stacked spin-off they've proposed. Remember also, that the $78 million price tag is a goal, probably slightly optimistic, and that's the launch cost only. It d
          • by Glock27 (446276) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:06PM (#13981550)
            Ahh, I see the luddites wasted no time in responding. Just to make sure there's some serious discussion though...

            While I'm impressed with SpaceX's progress so far and have my fingers crossed for a successful launch within the next month, keep in mind that they have yet to prove the Falcon 1, much less the Falcon 9 or the impressive 27 engine, side-stacked spin-off they've proposed.

            I've read their material extensively, and if they're proceeding as stated it looks to me like they have every potential to succeed. They're using low-risk technology, applying it brilliantly, testing thoroughly and seem to have a great business plan. We'll see, but it's sure looking good. I hope nothing untoward happens, I'm sure SpaceX is ruffling a lot of feathers.

            Remember also, that the $78 million price tag is a goal, probably slightly optimistic, and that's the launch cost only. It doesn't include the cost of the payload.

            I don't think those prices are "optimistic", since SpaceX is selling flights at those prices right now. Of course, it is possible that SpaceX is taking a loss or only breaking even on these flights in order to get traction in the marketplace.

            While those prices don't include the cost of the payload (obviously, a single satellite can go into the billions), insurance is factored into the cost.

            I think eventually a nuclear-powered Mars shuttle could be a great idea. If we were to reach the point of regular Martian travel, it could be fueled and mated to a payload (such as a lander) in earth orbit, deliver the payload to a Mars orbit and return another payload from Mars back to an earth orbit where it would be refueled and mated with a new payload for the next mission.

            It's really not a "Mars shuttle". It's an exo-atmospheric interplanetary spacecraft. By no means would it be limited to Mars, though it might require a much more sophisticated crew space to make it to Jupiter, for instance. Venus would be immediately in range, though it doesn't look particularly worthwhile.

            At this point, however, we need to focus on getting to Mars and figuring out exactly what it will take to establish a permanent presence and if it's worth the cost before we invest billions of dollars developing, billions testing, and billions more building a craft with such a focused purpose.

            As I pointed out above, this spacecraft wouldn't be *particularly* focused. It might find it's greatest use in asteroid mining (go to asteroid, attach drivers, process asteroid in Earth orbit a few years later). Almost unimaginable wealth lies down that road.

            My view though, really, is that we should probably colonize the Moon before moving on to Mars. There is not a tremendous difference in available resources or hospitability, and the Moon is a much more convenient testbed. The one big difference is 1/6 G versus 1/3 G. It'd be interesting to know if either of them has a gravity field that allows the human body to exist and develop normally. My hunch is that 1/6 isn't close to enough...

            I think there would have to be large centrifuges available at a lunar colony in order for colonists to exercise and retain bone/muscle mass. Exposure to near-earth G levels may be a requirement for some other areas of our biochemistry.

            Trust me, it will take billions to design a new fission reactor and get it certified for launch, and there will be a huge fuss (probably costing billions more) over who's qualified to launch it, if anybody.

            The fission reactor SHOULD be mostly a non-issue. If it is one of the new pebble-bed designs, it can't melt down, and the fuel is in inert ceramic-coated pellets. If it were launched from the Marshall Islands, the reactor would land somewhere in the Pacific if the flight aborted. Most likely the reactor vessel wouldn't be compromised, but even if so the pellets are fairly innocuous. If people were scientifically inclined enough to understand their natural radiation environment, they'd see that the risk from l

  • by PrinceAshitaka (562972) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:37AM (#13977265) Homepage
    Why bother finising the ISS if you are not going to use it to increase scientific knowlegde. I guess filling the pockets of the contractors is the real reason for the ISS, not science.
    • by aussie_a (778472) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:49AM (#13977290) Journal
      NASA is setting up the ISS to fail. Watch, in a couple of years they'll announce that they will no longer provide funds to get it built, because it won't be serving any scientific purposes for them.

      I don't blame NASA, with the Bush administration's promises (to get people onto the Moon and Mars) that NASA has to desperately keep, while in the same breath the administration announces NASA's funds being cut, they're desperate to do anything. This is because the Bush administration is setting NASA up to fail. I won't be surprised if in 15 years time, NASA simply won't exist anymore. I just hope that by that time, there isn't a need for it.

      Whilever the American government's greed and paralyzing fear continues to determine it's policies concerning space, America will continue to fall behind other nations. America just better hope the private space industry takes off, with American corporations at the helm, because at the rate it's going, the government will be useless when it comes to space.
      • "while in the same breath the administration announces NASA's funds being cut"

        Yes funding is getting cut... you mean like those negative cuts they got the last two years right?
      • the big joke is that the government is cutting budgets left right & center while pouring money into their back packets in iraq.
      • by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:02AM (#13977455)
        I won't be surprised if in 15 years time, NASA simply won't exist anymore. I just hope that by that time, there isn't a need for it.
        I have felt for a while that the long term future of space research (both commercial and for national prestige) lies in Asia. I think much of the critical materials research will come from Japan, reliable rocket technology from India and China, electronics from Taiwan and Korea, and governmental support for major advances mainly from China.

        The US and Europe will increasingly have other concerns, with the political will for expensive space projects generally lacking. While the US will probably be able to claim the "credit" for the militarisation of space, I do not believe the US desire to feed its defense industry with boondoggles like an "anti missile shield" will lead to much useful technology for space exploration, exploitation or eventual colonisation.

        Russia, if its economy permits, might remain a power to be reckoned with. Certainly, national pride in its ability to achieve practical results with a lower budget than the Americans is a factor.

        • If you think about the economics of it, it's a no-brainer. NASA as we know it is bloated like Windows. There are over-priced projects that are sucking it dry with little to know return in knowledge and/or experience. On the other hand some of the recent successes are garage projects, by comparison. Think of Pathfinder. It was pretty much a small project that reaped big rewards. We have probes that are going into extended service (that were not necessarily launched from the shuttle). And how many time
        • I have felt for a while that the long term future of space research (both commercial and for national prestige) lies in Asia. I think much of the critical materials research will come from Japan, reliable rocket technology from India and China, electronics from Taiwan and Korea, and governmental support for major advances mainly from China.

          I disagree. Japan has no real manned space plan other than hitching rides on the US space shuttle. They have a decent but expensive booster in the H2. Nothing distinc

      • This is because the Bush administration is setting NASA up to fail. I won't be surprised if in 15 years time, NASA simply won't exist anymore.

        I can't believe that Bush's staff is so brillant. Of course it's taken the Republicans a good 35 years to attempt to kill NASA, but its about time. I don't mind alot of the science that NASA funds, but I think other organizations would be better for picking where to spend our billions on blue sky science projects. Wouldn't the National Science Foundation make more sen
      • NASA is setting up the ISS to fail. Watch, in a couple of years they'll announce that they will no longer provide funds to get it built, because it won't be serving any scientific purposes for them.

        Good; a lot of folks in the Mars exploration program feel like the space station is useless and that the funds would be better spent on the Moon; the disadvantage of having to lift things back up the well is outweighed by the advantages of having a ready supply of materials and a big flat place set stuff down.
    • Actually NASA should just come up with some millitary reason for research (death ray flux capacitors and such.) to get money from Congress. In the proposal they should use the word 'terrorism' and 'WMD' as often as possible then they'll have enough $$$ for research, travel to the Moon, Mars and lots of fun parties with naked strippers, ok maybe not the strippers...
    • Why bother finishing the ISS if you are not going to use it to increase scientific knowlegde.

      Obviously, the intent is, that once it is actually finished, scientific experiments will resume. They only want to halt experiments while it is still being built.

      Still not very smart. Given the time it takes to build it, it makes more sense to try to start getting ROI before it is completely finished. Indeed, if you've got "nothing to show" for years, funds to finish construction might very well dry up completely

    • I feel pretty sure that NASA is only finishing the station because of obligations to other nations to do so.

    • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:52AM (#13977578) Homepage Journal
      I can think of a few uses, but they all involve something you science geeks don't seem to be interested in: colonization. The purpose of the space station is to stage fuel and components so you can do missions that require mass that won't fit on top of a single launch vehicle. Without a place to stage fuel and components you can't possibly justify the creation of reusable launch vehicles and you end up with infrastructures like "Apollo On Steroids". All the research that has been happening on the ISS (or should we say, not happening) has been in the pointless persuit of "science" when what the research really should be focusing on is storing fuel in LEO and assembling spacecraft from modules launched into LEO seperately. If you don't do that you can't possibly build a spacecraft that can take 100 people to the Moon. All you can build is fuckin' Apollo On Steriods.
      • I can think of a few uses, but they all involve something you science geeks don't seem to be interested in: colonization.

        The ultimate penthouse bachelor pad. Exclusive one unit development with a breathtaking view of the planet and free parking. Utilities include air-conditioning, triple layer wall insulation, solar panel technology, washing machine and dryer, satellite TV. Viewing by appointment with owners only.
      • I agree and think there should be a LARGE enclosed docking bay (using an inflatable structure perhaps?) so that components could be assembled, repaired, or inspected in a shirt-sleeve environment without having to work in bulky space suits. They could start by not discarding the shuttle main tank and bringing a modified version of it up (with an added hatch and docking collar perhaps) as a start.

        Imagine building a large space ship from Ikea-style flat pack components. The Apollo lunar module is a prime ca

    • by chrisuhlik (818537) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:01AM (#13977601)
      The following excerpt was taken from A Rocket To Nowhere [idlewords.com]

      The ISS was another child of the Cold War: originally intended to show the Russians up and provide a permanent American presence in space, then hastily amended as a way to keep the Russian space scientists busy while their economy was falling to pieces. Like the Shuttle, it has been redesigned and reduced in scope so many times that it bears no resemblance to its original conception. Launched in an oblique, low orbit that guarantees its permanent uselessness, it serves as yin to the shuttle's yang, justifying an endless stream of future Shuttle missions through the simple stratagem of being too expensive to abandon.

      Of course, the ISS has also been preemptively armed with science, but NASA has found much more effective safeguards against potential budget cuts. The station's inordinately expensive modules have mainly come from foreign space agencies, ensuring that even a NASA administrator foolhardy enough to let the thing drop into the sea would contravene a fistful of international treaties. And the station requires a permanent crew, a trick NASA learned from the Shuttle, so that there can be no question of mothballing it or converting it into an unmanned research platform.

      In the thirty years since the last Moon flight, we have succeeded in creating a perfectly self-contained manned space program, in which the Shuttle goes up to save the Space Station (undermanned, incomplete, breaking down, filled with garbage, and dropping at a hundred meters per day), and the Space Station offers the Shuttle a mission and a destination. The Columbia accident has added a beautiful finishing symmetry - the Shuttle is now required to fly to the ISS, which will serve as an inspection station for the fragile thermal tiles, and a lifeboat in case something goes seriously wrong. This closed cycle is so perfect that the last NASA administrator even cancelled the only mission in which there was a compelling need for a manned space flight - the Hubble telescope repair and upgrade - on the grounds that it would be too dangerous to fly the Shuttle away from the ISS, thereby detaching the program from its last connection to reason and leaving it free to float off into its current absurdist theater of backflips, gap fillers, Canadarms and heroic expeditions to the bottom of the spacecraft.

    • Ppl have said it before to some extent NASA is a jobs program .

      Why build shuttles unless u have somewhere to go .

      Why build space station unless u have a way to get there .

      Some good science has come out of the space station, but some of it could have
      been done on the ground .

      What was not done on the ground might have been done with robotic control
      instruments from earth after just the experiment was delivered via remote control .

      I think we stand more to gain from a robotic return to the moon and possibly
      mining
    • It's actually going to become the most expensive zero-g brothel the world has ever seen. Advertise a bit and people will be clamouring to join the 223-mile high club.
    • Why bother finising the ISS if you are not going to use it to increase scientific knowlegde. I guess filling the pockets of the contractors is the real reason for the ISS, not science.

      The first reason to finish the ISS is we are under international obligation to finish it. That is to say we promised Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada, and Brazial that we would finish it.
      The second reason is that scientific research projects will resume once ISS is completed in 2010 or 2012. This is roughly the same time period

  • No science? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    They might as well evacuate the crew and conduct a little SDI test on this money-sucking white elephant.
  • by MLopat (848735) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:41AM (#13977274) Homepage
    You'll all probably mod me down for this, but I actually this is a good move on NASA's part. We all realize the purpose of the space station is to provide scientific research, but in light of recent problems plaguing the shuttle program, the safety of the astronauts should be the foremost consideration. Not much point in moving into an appartment building until its been built, and the same thing applies to an orbiting piece of metal.
    • by Capt'n Hector (650760) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:52AM (#13977299)
      We all realize the purpose of the space station is to provide scientific research...

      Bullshit.

      The reason it's a good move though isn't safety or anything like that. The cost of the experiments they run is nothing compared with maintaining the station, and the experiments the astronauts are performing are not dangerous at all. The reason it's a good move is because it's the next best thing to scrapping the whole thing and letting the station fall from the sky (which is what they really want to do, but can't because of contractual agreements, international relations, public backlash, embarrassment, Bush, ...)

    • Except it's not about safety, it's about money or rather the lack of it. Well that and NASA inability to send people into space, although I'm sure a few billion to Russia could fix that problem for a while. A better analogy would be moving into a city before every building is finished... because those modules are self sufficient right now. Look at Mir, you don't need a giant ISS to live and work in space.
    • by Julian Morrison (5575) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @04:08AM (#13977340)
      ...if you take building the ISS as a goal.

      But frankly, why would you? ISS isn't a step forward to anywhere. It doesn't do anything much other than "showcase international cooperation". The science it was doing was of the "train ants to sort tiny screws in space" variety. Even the Wikipedia article can't muster much definitive purpose, beyond the usual vague claim of technical spin-offs.

      They should either decide that it's a tool for a task, redesign and build towards that, or de-orbit the whole junkpile into the nearest ocean. To carry on building for the sake of mere inertia would be nuts.
      • I agree but I have to also ask what is the point of the whole space program? It's hard to really point at anything that is a direct result of research done in space. I know that the microprocessor got a good leg up from the space program but it could easily be argued that it would have happened about then any way. Yes the space program gave us Teflon. Wait a minute is that it. Just Teflon! How many billions has the space program cost? The problem is the advances they came up with are almost always self serv

        • The space program also gave us Gore-Tex. I likes the Gore-Tex. Then there's also the probes that have been sent out into space and the space telescopes. I'm pretty sure our knowledge of Physics has been advanced by the space program, but yeah other than that it's Teflon.
      • by DenDave (700621) * on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:10AM (#13977477)
        Well manned spaceflight has always had a portion of national pride involved and well, today's geopolitical situation doesn't really warrant that kind of muscle flexing. In addition, the "feel good" component is hardly relevant to a country who has just proven it's inability to care for it's own people in light of a disaster.

        Society as a whole is slowly tetering off balance, not only in the US but the rioting in France shows that Europe is not immune to the decay of the fabric of society. Manned spaceflight is just not something we have the luxury of playing with when the barbarians are at the gates of Rome, I can only pray we don't fall asleep before they make the final charge.
      • Fuck science. Seriously. The point of Space Station Freedom, before it morphed into the freakin' ISS was to serve as a staging point to build really big spacecraft. Ya know how NASA's new Exploration Systems Architecture Study (aka Apollo On Steroids) is suggesting that we launch people and cargo seperately? Well guess what, that's not a new concept. NASA's recognition of this classical idea has been done with a typical failure of imagination. Here's a crazy idea. Instead of launching one rocket with
    • but in light of recent problems plaguing the shuttle program, the safety of the astronauts should be the foremost consideration.

      It seems to me this is the cause of the current problems with the US spaceprogram, not the solution. I think the astronauts are perfectly capable to understand the inherent risks of spaceflight and to decide whether to go or stay on the ground. Moreover, they could decide to use Russian spacecraft to keep the ISS running its scientific thingy but national pride seems to have won ov
      • It seems to me this is the cause of the current problems with the US spaceprogram, not the solution. I think the astronauts are perfectly capable to understand the inherent risks of spaceflight and to decide whether to go or stay on the ground. Moreover, they could decide to use Russian spacecraft to keep the ISS running its scientific thingy but national pride seems to have won over logic again.

        When it comes to crew safety Soyuz is a lot better than the NASA shuttle anyway.
        • When it comes to crew safety Soyuz is a lot better than the NASA shuttle anyway.
          Not really. Soyuz record in 'fatal accidents per flight' is slightly worse. Both systems have had 2 fatal incidents, but soyuz has flown less flights. Total fatalities Soyuz is a lot less, but so is crew carried per flight.

          From a statistical point of view, its pretty much a wash. On could argue that soyuz fatalities happened early in the program, so it is more mature now, but OTOH, Soyuz has also had a lot of close calls, in

      • If the safety were so bad you could guarantee 100% it was a one way trip, there would still be no shortage of astronauts willing to go.
    • by Mike Markley (9536) <madhack@m a d hack.com> on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @04:35AM (#13977405)
      Except that nowhere did it state that we wouldn't be sending crew. All it says is that the scientific programs have been cancelled and that they're going to focus on reliably transporting crew to orbit before they try to conduct research. Evidently the ISS is now a multi-billion dollar campsite in space. Maybe we can get a sponsorshop from KOA.

      We can't have it both ways (saving money/focusing resources by not conducting research while still expending resources keeping it running), and we shouldn't try. Either fund the fucking thing, hand it over to the Europeans and Japanese and let them worry about it, or deorbit it and be done with it. Or, as they say in some circles: shit or get off the pot.
  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:49AM (#13977287)
    Considering the ISS hasn't produced any scientific results worthy of the name, I don't regard this as any great loss. I'd even go so far as to call it anti-scientific - the one thing the ISS has managed to do is strangle funding for telescopes and rovers that that might send back actual data. The ISS hasn't sent back anything more interesting than a bit more footage of astronauts chasing globules of tang.
    • Experiments on the ISS has been made to better understand biological effects on organisms (humans, plants, etc) in space.
      If we one day want to send more than these rovers and telescopes to space, these things are pretty useful to know.
      It has been a useful platform to provide an actual unsimulated environment for these experiments to take place in.
    • Fuck Science. Let's stop talking about "science" as the holy grail of the space program. You want science, go look at the cute little rovers and the probe cruisin' around Saturn at the moment. Lots of science. Yah. The purpose of manned space flight should be colonization of the solar system. Go back to the Moon. Go on to Mars. Live there and trade with Earth.
      • Trade what with Earth? What is on Moon or Mars that we can't get here? There's been an analysis done that even if you could bring back the shuttle filled with 100% refined gold, it wouldn't pay for the cost of putting it up. (And the shuttle is just going to LEO, not another planet.)
        • Re:Great! (Score:3, Interesting)

          by QuantumG (50515)
          The shuttle couldn't make it, you'd have to build new spacecraft, preferably in orbit at some kind of space station. If you just accept the initial flight as a loss you can quickly come up with a business case for the Moon as everything on it is free. That initial flight might cost you 100 billion dollars but you can process and ship back precious metals essentially forever once you have in-situ resource utilization.. so eventually it will be paid off.
      • Fuck Science.

        Yeah, because there isn't going to be any science involved in colonization of the solar system. I'm sure we won't need to learn anything about new materials which can only be created in low gravity or about exposure to radiation in space or anything else scientific before we go.</sarcasm>
    • No More Science on the ISS Until Further Notice

      Guess they'll just have to have sex then.
  • Just imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

    by davmoo (63521) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:49AM (#13977291)
    Imagine what the station could have been like if our government hadn't wasted that $300 billion dollars bombing the shit out of another nation based on lies about invisible weapons of mass destruction.

    Its funny how we can always come up with money to kill, but there's never enough money for science.
    • Re:Just imagine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyNameIsFred (543994) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:32AM (#13977520)
      Imagine what the station could have been like if our government hadn't wasted that $300 billion dollars bombing the shit out of another nation based on lies about invisible weapons of mass destruction.
      I have imagined, and it would be exactly like it is now. Do you honestly think that the federal government was intending to shower 10s or 100s of billions of dollars on NASA if we didn't go to Iraq? The answer is simply no. The NASA budget has been tight for decades. Any argument that NASA would be in much better shape if it wasn't for Iraq is simply ludicrous. Let's stay on subject.
      • What an amusing non-response. You seem to have missed the key line:

        Its funny how we can always come up with money to kill, but there's never enough money for science.

        • No, I did not miss that line. My objection to the original parent is same objection that I have to all similar overly simplistic statements. Replace his line with " we can afford to put a man on the moon, but not solve poverty in the US." In my view, both are equally senseless.
    • by master_p (608214) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:58AM (#13977592)

      Combine those $300 billion dollars with all the other amounts of money spent by other countries for military purposes, plus all other amounts for stupid things (for example paying athletes millions for kicking a ball), and you get the idea of were money is wasted at.

      With that amount of money, we could start building the NCC Enterprise and finish it in 100 years, while in the meantime discovering antigravity and antimatter warp drive.

      I am a citizen of the world. Everyday I talk to tens of people from all around the globe, thanks to the internet. I feel silly when the world 'war' is mentioned, because I do not have any real differences with other people. All our differences are artificial, introduced by megalomaniac leaders that want to take over the world, but have no more brain that ...Pinky and Brain.

      WE /.ERS MUST START AN INTERNATIONAL MOVE FOR STOPPING ALL PRODUCTION OF WEAPONS OF ALL TYPES OF PURPOSES IN ALL COUNTRIES. THINGS ARE GETTING SILLIER BY THE MINUTE, AND IT IS UP TO US TO SAVE THE WORLD!!!

      • Re:Just imagine (Score:3, Informative)

        Mod parent Insighful (Sad but True), not Funny.
    • Re:Just imagine (Score:4, Insightful)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:49AM (#13977696)
      Imagine what the station could have been like if our government hadn't wasted that $300 billion dollars bombing the shit out of another nation based on lies about invisible weapons of mass destruction.

      Better yet, imagine what the Apollo programme could have been like if the government hadn't wasted all that money bombing the shit out of another nation based on paranoia about communism and the domino theory...

      Another space programme, another pointless bloody mess of a war. America, Fuck Yeah!

      • Re:Just imagine (Score:3, Interesting)

        That's really insightful, because the Apollo program was completely funded as a means to plant flags in the dust, and totally not as way of showcasing our ability to deliver ICBM payloads precisely to insanely distant targets.

        You know, I found the whole "wow, we're spending money on Iraq" argument insteresting the first time someone brought it up, but... Oh wait, no I didn't think it was interesting then either, because it's idiotic. America spends shitloads of cash on shitsloads of things. Hey, I bet if we
        • The only time we were interested in spending money on it, was when it looked like there might be some military benefits to doing it.

          And don't you think it is somehow wrong, and maybe, just maybe, you as a nation should be interested in it for some other reasons?

          Granted, Soviets/Russians and Chinese are hardly any better there. I think it is that perpetual short-sightedness which the GP was ultimately referring to, in which case he does have a point.

      • Considering that the Apollo program was a cover show for developing ICBM's, my guess is that the Apollo program would not exist at all.
  • by Raul654 (453029) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:51AM (#13977297) Homepage
    There are two types of critics of the US space program - the ones who criticize them for the horrible decisions they have been making for the last 30 years (starting with decision to go ahead with the STS system) and hte ones who think the whole thing is a waste of money and should be cancelled. The problem is that when the former group speak out, they give the latter group all the ammunition they could want.
    • So are you suggesting that we not critizise the space program when it deserves it? What is the alternative, watching it make the same massively expensive (and sometimes deadly) mistakes over and over again?
    • I'm not worried (Score:4, Insightful)

      by n54 (807502) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @10:50AM (#13978991) Homepage Journal
      That was one of the most insightful posts I've read lately.

      For those who, like me, actually support humans in space almost all comments regarding space on /. reads like a bunch of luddites complaining and it's getting old. So if any of those actually support an, over time, increasing human presence in space they should get out of their "old grumpy man" act. To put it in a simple way the astronauts sent to ISS are themselves the biggest experiment and the most important one (and if anyone thinks that could be done on earths surface they've reached rock bottom - pun not intended). The ISS serves as a real testbed for hands on technology concerned with keeping humans alive in space for prolonged periods and with increased efficiency and reliability. Yes, it has the potential to be much more over time, personally I hope that at some point in the future when we are actually ready to do so its orbit can be boosted to GEO, but that is of course a long way off and money is actually the least objection to doing it right away: we don't presently have the requisite technology at a sufficient level to make it worthwhile, not even close.

      And so what if the ISS program was used for more than just its face value of space science? Why is that such a horror? Isn't it actually better to employ people in science that benefits us than let them languish and in likelihood be employed against us?

      For being a supposed "Nerd" site /. doesn't actually contain many readers that seem to be aware of how incrementally and tediously science normally progresses. Many seem to think that science progresses like the technology tree in some C&C-like game and /. is filled with people who think it more important to criticize NASA (or Burt Rutan or anyone else actually trying to do something it seems) than to actually say something enlightened (!=rehashed bickering). I guess we can all blame the armchair for that :)

      Anyway I'm not worried as I doubt anyone on /. has much clout either politically and scientifically and the ranting doesn't actually affect much except the /. "image".

      Recommended reading:
      http://www.space.com/adastra/adastra_hustle_part1_ 050818.html [space.com]

      The danger of that link of course is that it will shame people into shutting up.... what am I saying? this is /. lol
  • by Timberwolf0122 (872207) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:53AM (#13977301) Journal
    I think there will be hotels in space befor they finaly finnish the ISS. ISS will be renamed I-DSS and used to house the minimum wage cleaners for the hotels.

    Seriously though, people in a space station are very expensive in the long run and although they provide fascility for micro-gravity research ect alot of this could be achived with and un-maned drone.
    People on the moon however I think is a much better idea as with a few basic supplies it could become self sufficiant what with all the free water and an ample back yard to stick solar pannels, make hydrogen fuel and grow food stuffs. Plus the added bonus of hulking great lumps of rock to shield from radiation.
    • People on the moon however I think is a much better idea as with a few basic supplies it could become self sufficiant what with all the free water and an ample back yard to stick solar pannels

      Are you sure about "free water"? Last I checked, any significant amount of water on the Moon was still just a hypothesis. Apollo astronauts found none, the Lunar Prospector found none, and the best bet seems to be that it might exist in some of the shaded craters near the poles.

      This is quite important, beca

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @03:53AM (#13977302)

    The correct headline should be "No More US Science on the ISS". Other ISS participants (Russians, Europeans, etc.) are very likely to conduct scientific experiments, even if limited.

  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @04:18AM (#13977364) Homepage Journal
    Hey, Golden Palace Casino...
    I don't think there's any orbital gambling laws in place.
    Why don't you all just be good folks and build us all a Floating Space Casino.

    Who gives a rat about NASA science projects when all we really need is booze and floating space strippers? I bet Space Vegas would finally make us an intergalactic empire!
    • Thank you for your input, Bender! Aren't you around a little early, though?


    • Hey, Golden Palace Casino...
      I don't think there's any orbital gambling laws in place.
      Why don't you all just be good folks and build us all a Floating Space Casino.

      Who gives a rat about NASA science projects when all we really need is booze and floating space strippers? I bet Space Vegas would finally make us an intergalactic empire!


      It makes more sense to construct a lighter than air station over international waters. It would be just as impressive. Maybe even more so because you could possibly see it from n
  • Where's the science? (Score:5, Informative)

    by chazR (41002) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @04:26AM (#13977379) Homepage
    A quick search on arxiv.org for 'International Space Station' yields four papers. [arxiv.org]

    For comparison, a search for 'Hubble Space Telescope' gives over 200 papers [arxiv.org].

    Not a definitive result, but it seems to indicate that there's not much science being done anyway.
    • by Thomsen (30383) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:20AM (#13977493)
      A quick search on arxiv.org for 'International Space Station' yields four papers.

      For comparison, a search for 'Hubble Space Telescope' gives over 200 papers.


      On the other hand a quick search on MedLine http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi [nih.gov] for "International Space Station" gives 511 papers, whereas a search for "Hubble Space Telescope" only gives 70 papers.

      The low number of papers found at arxiv.org is probably related to a selection bias from that site. In particular, medical sciences seems not to be represented. Similarly, papers related to the Hubble Space Telescope is not well represented in MedLine.
    • A quick search on arxiv.org for 'International Space Station' yields four papers.

      For comparison, a search for 'Hubble Space Telescope' gives over 200 papers.

      Not a definitive result, but it seems to indicate that there's not much science being done anyway.

      Would you expect a telescope under construction and without a main mirror to produce any significant papers? Would you expect a linear accelerator with only half it's magnets installed to produce physics results? Would you expect a new distributed comp

  • Cancel it now (Score:4, Insightful)

    by seanellis (302682) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:03AM (#13977461) Homepage Journal
    If the goal is to kill it, then why keep spending the money on construction if it's never going to be finished?

    I'd say cut your losses, mothball it now and spend the money on robotic missions to Europa, a prototype asteroid mining mission that actually produces real product (e.g. water for reaction mass), orbiters for Uranus and Neptune, advanced nuclear (ooh, the n-word!) propulsion systems so that deep space missions that don't take decades, and actually get some science done.

    I guess it's all a bit moot, though, since by 2020 everyone will be buying elevator tickets from Liftport instead... :-)
    • You said that S word again. Fuck Science. Stop this space-flight-is-for-science-only bullshit. You want space science? Go fuckin' live there. Oh, you can't, that's the fuckin' problem. That's what we should be fixing.
  • by varjag (415848) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @05:08AM (#13977470)
    The idea of doing science at a tourist resort is ridiculous anyway.
  • "I'm afraid I can't let you conduct your experiments here, Dave."
  • Back before we had space stations, Science Fiction always visualized them as a way point for other destinations rather than just for research. Seems scientific research alone can't justify the enormous expense involved, and that the concept of a space station as a jumping off point is not often considered as necessary.

    I would like to offer an alternative to completing the ISS, and Pres. Bush's "Moon, Mars, and beyond". How about we make "The Search for Life" the priority instead? For the price of the ISS, w
    • From what I can tell, ISS construction is stopped, and has been for a while. Almost nothing of note has actually gotten added to the damn thing since 2002 [wikipedia.org], so it's not clear to me that any money is actually being spent on it anyway.

  • by idlake (850372)
    what's the news in that?

    Seriously, there has been very little science accomplished on the ISS, at least relative to the enormous amounts of money it has consumed.
  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @06:21AM (#13977645) Homepage
    1. No more science to be done on the ISS. Who noticed? When compared to the Hubble, where is the outcry from the scientific community?
    2. If there's no science to be done on the ISS, why is it manned?
    3. If it shouldn't be manned and there's no science to be done, why is it there?

    It's a matter of time before there's a Survivor: International Space Station, where the losers get flung out of the hatch and make their own way back by hitching a ride on the next Soyuz.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    With "Science" out of the way, that clears the way to complete construction on the ISS and clearly the ISS is too complex to have evolved in place (and we have found no space "creatures" that show intermediate steps), so clearly the ISS is the result of Intelligent Design.
    Game Set Match.
    Kansas wins!
  • by gelfling (6534) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @07:21AM (#13977763) Homepage Journal
    Clearly it will be converted to DoD R+D work, aka 'black' projects. The administration has never made a secret of their desire to militarize space.
    • Somehow I doubt the US government, as tightfisted as it is with information, would turn the ISS into an "area 51" for space militarization. I'm sure the countries which helped bear the burden of getting the damned thing up there in the first place would love that. They do after all have their own keys to the apartment, so to speak. I hope this was intended as sarcasm.
  • Where's the proof? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by alexwcovington (855979) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @09:01AM (#13978155) Journal
    I've tried confirming this story on Google... I see a space probe mission or two cancelled, and some evidence that science operations on station are being somewhat neglected, but nothing as wildly improbable as a total cancellation of payload science operations on the ISS.
    TFA seems to misinterpret the administrator's comments before Congress. He speaks of suspending NASA's own research projects in life science and nuclear propulsion.... the kind of cutting edge stuff needed for 9-month trips to Mars (or having the speed to reduce that to a more manageable timeframe).
  • by carambola5 (456983) on Tuesday November 08, 2005 @09:12AM (#13978223) Homepage
    I'd like to put in my 2c.

    First of all, I'm affected by this because our company experienced some pretty hefty layoffs due to some science cuts at Ames [nasawatch.com]. We had two projects cut prematurely: one that was probably near 90% complete and another just over 50% complete.

    Here's my problem with what NASA did: Say what you want about whether NASA should have built the ISS. It was their decision. The issue arises when NASA makes the decision to build the ISS, then years later in the middle of the build, simply quits. Make a decision and stick with it, NASA. Had you completed the ISS, all that money would not have been lost. Had you never started the ISS, all that money would not have been lost. In your current situation, you have royally screwed yourselves.

    Go Space Privatization!
  • by jsd303 (918708)
    I'm tired of hearing things like "we can't afford NASA" when we can clearly afford HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS of dollars blowing people to bits in foreign countries. Hell, we've gone from a 5 Trillion dollar surplus to a projected deficit of 12 Trillion (dubya's projected deficit when leaving office) in just 8 years (a total of 17-18 TRILLION dollars)... What's another 5 Billion? I mean, I recognize that we have to watch where our Billions go when it isn't being given to Halliburton in no-bid contracts, but other
  • Com/Edu research? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GerTheDwarf (678874)
    All I saw in the article is that NASA won't be funding any of its own research. To me, that just means there will be room open on the ISS for educational institutions to put experiments into microgravity. Heck, NASA could even license their "research space" to commercial entities. I see a lot of people assuming that because the government won't be spending money on research that it won't happen. I think it will continue to happen, and NASA might even make some money out of it.

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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