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Moon NASA

NASA Weighs Moon Plans 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-of-these-days-alice dept.
mknewman writes "Space.com is reporting that NASA is set to roll out next month a U.S. national strategy for lunar exploration, one that outlines both robotic exploration needs and the rationale for sending humans back to the Moon. This has been sorely missing in Bush's Vision for Space Exploration."
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NASA Weighs Moon Plans

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  • by Das Auge (597142) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:41PM (#16864104)
    That's easy. It'll weight 1/6 of what it does on Earth.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Remember, the weight may be less, but the mass remains the same.

      So busty chicks will have more "perkiness", but retain the same nice tactile qualities...

      Posted AC, of course!

      • by JunkmanUK (909293)
        So in years to come the jazz magazines of choice will feature amazonian moon mamas with genuinely gravity defying assets?

        Bring that space travel on!!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by kfg (145172)
      I think, perhaps, they should amass the plans instead. That way the lander won't crash when one contractor weighs its plans in Earth gravity and the other in Lunar.

      KFG
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Otto (17870)
      They need to be careful and be sure the Rebels don't get ahold of those plans.

      After all, that's no moon.
    • How about you start treating this subject with the gravity it deserves?
      • Weight is the force due to gravity. On earth this is very similar to (linearly dependant on) the mass of the object, as the force from gravity is always the same value.

        The main source of gravity on the moon is still the earth, but the gravitational pull is weaker, as it's further away. My back of an envelope puts the weight of the moon at 7.7e+31 Newtons.
        • by jdray (645332)
          You must be from outer space, as you sure know how to take the air out of something.
        • The main source of gravity on the moon is still the earth
          This is true, but it doesn't provide the whole picture. As a former employee of a once-thriving gravity export business, I can confirm that the moon was our largest (by mass) customer. Things were going great until outsourcing forced our local gravity mine to close, as upper management realized that gravity is equally abundant in India, but that the miners there are willing to work for a pittance and the safety regulations are far more lax.

          So now I'm
  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Salvance (1014001) * on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:44PM (#16864130) Homepage Journal
    I've been wondering for years why we would ever want to step foot again on the moon given the risks and massive costs (other than the obviously political reason of: the chinese are doing it). This article is actually semicoherent, and it's great to see them putting a heavy focus on robotic exploration.

    What I'd still rather see though, is human exploration being conducted on an "as needed" basis. For example, let's put robots on the moon that can determine if the moon can be utilized for its supposed natural resources (as NASA contends it has), and if these robots can't mine fuel or other supplies that could be used for a Mars mission, we can send people up there.
    • Bugger the costs, just charge it: http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ [brillig.com]
      • by kfg (145172)
        Bugger the costs, just charge it

        On the Chinese credit card; oh the irony.

        KFG
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by camperdave (969942)
        Oh, just give the military a day or two off, and you'll have it paid for.
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by SnowZero (92219)
          Or you could make a tiny dent in US health and social programs, which have ballooned to 50% of the US budget (not including health research money which makes up a big chunk of the 20% discretionary funding). The military budget is 17%, which includes a lot of basic research (which US companies won't invest in) and general use things such as GPS. While we could already have a nice ISS and lunar output if we had forgone the Iraq war, by 2020 we'll be broke even if defense spending was zero, since health car
          • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by patrixmyth (167599)
            If you think health care system spending is too high, you are probably under the mistaken idea that it's all for other people, and you'll never need to use the system yourself. I don't think you'll find anyone (sane) in an emergency room that wants to sign your petition endorsing less public spending on health care. Feel free to do your part, though, by putting DNR instructions in your wallet. Medical care and the military have a lot in common, they are only appreciated and supported when we need them RI
            • by TheLink (130905)
              The health care spending is too high because the US gets less for what they spend compared to many other developed countries.

              For instance: why do US people need to pay so much for health care/insurance if the Gov is already spending tons on it?


              • For instance: why do US people need to pay so much for health care/insurance if the Gov is already spending tons on it?


                Because the vast bulk of the funds go to emergency room visits. That is the only place were people without insurance can go. These same people do not have regular checkups which will catch the reasons they are in the emergency room to begin with.

          • by znode (647753) *
            Complete BS. Did you just pull the figures out of a random orifice?

            http://www.thebudgetgraph.com/view.html [thebudgetgraph.com]

            2007 Federal Discretionary Budget
            Military: 632 Billion (64%)
            Non-Military: 350 Billion (36%)

            Of which, the Global War On Terror alone, SEPARATE from the upkeep costs of the branches of service, is costing 110 billion. The ENTIRE Department of Health and Human Services, including the FDA, the NIH, CDC, etc - costs just about 68 billion. The entire Department of Education is 54 billion.

            In other words, gover
            • by balsy2001 (941953)
              Mod parent up. The previous posts are confused because they include social security and medicare into the national budget (read the link in the parent comment to learn why this is important).
            • by SnowZero (92219)
              Actually I got them from the OMB's report on the 2003 budget. Just because the "mandatory" parts of our budget require changes in law to change them, doesn't mean you can just cut out 2/3 of the budget and not even consider where the money goes. I can use your numbers, but I'm going to use the big picture [thebudgetgraph.com]. Medicare and Medicaid do count, even though you pretend they don't exist ($670+ B), since they are defined by coverage and not cost, and costs are spiraling out of control while the government tacitly
    • I've been wondering for years why we would ever want to step foot again on the moon given the risks and massive costs (other than the obviously political reason of: the chinese are doing it).

      The problem with your theory is that the Chinese aren't doing it. The head of their space agency has spun a pipe dream he hopes to someday accomplish - but thats about it. To call the pace of the Chinese [manned] space program 'glacial' is unfair to the glacier, as it implies it is virtually unmoving.

    • by Ancil (622971)
      What I'd still rather see though, is human exploration being conducted on an "as needed" basis.

      We've been doing that for 35 years, and it's worked quite well. There is no need to go to the moon, and so we haven't gone.

      If people want to fund a joy-ride to the moon or mars with their own cash, by all means go ahead. Doing it with taxpayer money is criminal.
    • For this topic I'm lacking in detail and references, but I seem to recall from when Bush first started talking about putting people on Mars via the moon, there was some talk about his vision of a new direction for Nasa not being so much in the interest of pure science as was inferred, but rather there were parallels with ideas floating around at the time about the militarisation of space, and Bush managed to put icing and a candle on it and call it a party.

      Of course, the so-called space race of the 50s-60s
    • There's a good reason for manned exploration: people -- otherwise known as 'taxpayers' -- don't care about and aren't inspired by robotic exploration. When the Mars Rover does something, it's lucky to get a 5 second mention on CNN. Putting a robot on another planet isn't nearly as tangible an accomplishment as putting a person somewhere.

      When people want a measuring stick to judge the successfulness of our technology, they still say "we put a man on the moon..." (generally followed by "...and we still can't do [something]"); you don't hear people saying "we put a robot on Mars" or "we put launched a deep-space probe beyond our Solar System..." While important, virtually everything NASA has done since the moon landing, with the possible exception of the Hubble Space Telescope (because of the neat pictures it sent back), has failed to capture the public's interest. And as a result, they have seen their funding grow slimmer and slimmer.

      To be honest, doing exploration that doesn't get the average people excited is shortsighted, because it's ultimately those people, apathetic and ignorant as they may be, who control the purse strings that are the lifeblood of the space program. If they don't care about NASA, then NASA gets its budget cut by the Congresscritters next time they're looking for money to fund their Bridge to Nowhere. And that means no money for 'real' scientific research.

      Putting people back on the moon ASAP is essential to restore interest in the Space Program to a country that has, by and large, forgotten it. Manned space exploration today is a joke: it's tourism. The adventure of space is something mostly reserved for a generation that's obsessing over the costs of prescription drugs, and has stopped looking outwards for new frontiers. The younger generation hasn't been given any reason by NASA to be interested. I haven't even seen as many kids these days saying that they want to be astronauts as used to. (And why would they -- ride up into space on a vehicle that would be cat food cans already, if it had been an automobile; have basically nowhere to go when you get up there; and there's always the risk of the whole thing falling apart on the way down.)

      NASA is a far cry from the national inspiration that it was to previous generations, and unless it can demonstrate some ability to capture the imaginations of today's citizens, it's going to be budget-cut into nonexistence.
      • by DarthBart (640519)
        There's a good reason for manned exploration: people -- otherwise known as 'taxpayers' -- don't care about and aren't inspired by robotic exploration. When the Mars Rover does something, it's lucky to get a 5 second mention on CNN. Putting a robot on another planet isn't nearly as tangible an accomplishment as putting a person somewhere.

        They're barely inspired by putting a person somewhere. Sure, the first few Apollo missions captivated the world (NYC reported not a single crime occurred during the Apol
        • Sorta proves my point. They were inspired the first time we put a man on the moon. Not quite so much the second, and by the third, they weren't interested until something got screwed up.

          It's the firsts that are important, and that's what NASA has to be continually aiming for. It has to constantly be extending our reach; pushing us further and further out.

          I can guarantee you that the first time a person walks on Mars, while it may not be quite the same event as the Moon landing, that will get people to stop
      • We put a man on the moon... but we still can't build killer robot police?

        No longer true. See the Korean robot from a few days ago
    • by PhiRatE (39645)
      We want to set foot on the moon again, because the moon is the ultimate high ground.

      It's much harder to track a chunk of rock on a ballistic course than it is to track a missile, and no power supply is required, a simple mass driver on the moon and some decent "rock" design and any country could find itself the victim of a "meteor" strike.

      Yay for living at the bottom of a gravity well.
    • by gungh0 (1005895)
      What do you mean "set foot on the moon again". Its a conspiracy, no-one has ever landed on the moon before !!!!111
    • by geoff lane (93738)
      We could have just stayed in a cave and howled against the full moon.

      It's pretty cheap getting to the moon and there are always hyperspace bypasses to worry about.
  • Tastes like no chees I've ever tasted.
    • Well, it's so clean, Sir.

      KFG
  • We need two Humvee-sized rovers exploring the moon that are visible with the naked eye from Earth. That should keep people interested in the moon as they watch the rovers bounced around the craters until NASCAR builds out a race track up there.
  • hmm.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @10:54PM (#16864212) Homepage
    NASA Weighs Moon Plans

    It would depend on the number of pages, but on nice 24lb paper with a clay coating, the plans really shouldn't weigh more than a few ounces. Now, 100lb cover stock would be a different story. You might need a rocket scientist to calculate that.
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      It would depend on the number of pages, but on nice 24lb paper with a clay coating, the plans really shouldn't weigh more than a few ounces.

      Is that here or on the Moon? Wait, do we still call it 24lb paper if we're buying it on a lunar base?

    • While your post was humorous, there's a bit of 'truthiness' in it. I had an aircraft engineer friend a while back who was fond of saying: "When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the aircraft, the plane will fly".
  • ummm yeah (Score:5, Informative)

    by J05H (5625) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @11:05PM (#16864310) Homepage
    The real action is going to be on Phobos and Mars, in that order. Don't look for the next Iceland, look for the next New York City, the slam-dunk locations in space. The Lagrange points in the Earth-Moon system, Earth-crossing "dead" comets and Mar's small moons are good candidates. Phobos allows both resource extraction including actual water (not maybes in polar shadows), Phobos also offers realtime contact with Mars and the convenience of working in familiar freefall. The moon has a lot of unaddressed operational issues that a Phobos/Mars orbitter and mine scheme doesn't possess. Admittedly there is a lot of handwaving in this, but we discussed the tradeoffs here:

    http://uplink.space.com/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Boar d=businesstech&Number=503952&page=&view=&sb=&o= [space.com]

    Josh
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *
      The real action is going to be on Phobos and Mars, in that order.

      The real action is going to be on Deimos [space.com] and Mars, in that order.
      • by J05H (5625)
        I'll take Deimos and Mars if that's what happens. I just think Luna is a non-starter because it lacks so many resources.

        J
        • I just think Luna is a non-starter because it lacks so many resources.

          From a practical standpoint, I agree with you. However, there's more to the space program than just a commitment to go to Mars. The unfortunate fact is that politics plays a big role in the life of the space program. If it takes a presence on the moon to get a commitment to build space infrastructure, then I'm all for it. To me, it's more important to keep the ships flying than it is to lose the manned funding because Congress thinks NASA

          • by J05H (5625)
            I'm with you on the "public participation" angle, but my main interest is in private space development. If NASA needs to go to the moon to maintain our interest, that's one thing. If you're trying to make a pile of money or build/support Hotels and orbital villas, then other destinations make more sense.

            In the aggregate, I support anything Dr. Griffin does. He is the first NASA admin in decades with real Vision.

            josh
            • In the aggregate, I support anything Dr. Griffin does. He is the first NASA admin in decades with real Vision.

              That's a big ten-four on that one. It's been decades since NASA last had such incredible leadership. :-)
    • by kamapuaa (555446)
      You need more than "the presence of water" to make for "the next New York City." An environment wildly hostile to human life, and devoid of the myriad of elements necessary for a sustainable friendly eco-system, is not going to support anything more than a couple guys in space suits, for the forseeable future.
      • by J05H (5625)
        Actually, water is the first and primary resource we need. Petrochemicals, nitrates and phosphates, metals and all that come way below water. "An environment wildly hostile to human life, and devoid of the myriad of elements" describes Earth's Moon perfectly. Mars and it's moons do have all or most of what is needed to build a technical civilization.

        josh
    • The real action is going to be on Phobos and Mars, in that order.

      If I remember correctly, the real action was on Phobos and in Hell, in that order.

    • The real action is going to be on Phobos and Mars, in that order. Don't look for the next Iceland, look for the next New York City, the slam-dunk locations in space. The Lagrange points in the Earth-Moon system, Earth-crossing "dead" comets and Mar's small moons are good candidates.

      Phobos and Deimos equatorial orbits are marginally useful for exploration. Exploration missions will likely use polar orbits because of the much greater geographic coverage and landing options.

      Phobos allows both resource extr

      • by J05H (5625)
        > Phobos and Deimos are S and C type asteroids repectively. S class Eros was found to be devoid of water. It is not likely that Deimos is water rich either.

        John Lewis in Mining the Sky posits significant quantities of water under the surface of Phobos. Even without water there, it is a good staging point for Mars teleoperation and we already know that Mars has water in it's polar caps and Elysium. Luna is bone dry or nearly so. There is some conjecture about exactly what type of bodies Phobos and Deimos
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      The problem with Mars and its moons versus our Moon is that our Moon is very close, only a few days' journey with our primitive chemical rockets. Mars, OTOH, is a much larger distance away (and even more depending on where Earth and Mars are in the respective orbits at any given time), maybe several months.

      Maybe this is incorrect, but given that we haven't built anything at all on any other celestial body yet, it just seems to make more sense to build a base on something very close than on something much f
  • by AVonGauss (1001486) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @11:17PM (#16864410)
    What NASA really needs to do is to take a step back and redesign their platforms if we really want to get manned space exploration / commercialization back on track. The shuttle fleet is already beyond its EOL cycle and we don't have a viable alternative ready at the moment. In order to fulfill current promises and to keep in the race with other countries, current plans call for the re-development of basically what we were flying in the 1960s, rockets with capsules - albeit updated. Interestingly enough, the congress that authorized the money for the development of the shuttle also made a stipulation that the plans of the previous generation of Apollo rockets had to be destroyed - in other words, go forward or don't go. I know NASA has been researching alternative technologies capable of achieving orbit for many years, but I'm not sure the US (or another country for that matter) has made a significant commitment of money and support by the people to further the technologies required for effective manned space travel. IMO, if I were to compare the development of the space programs to the development of the aeronautical industry, we are still flying single engine prop planes with an open cockpit. The necessary base technologies in my opinion are... 1) Propulsion mechanism Albeit with different chemicals and forms (solid/liquid), we are using the same propulsion mechanisms as those engineered in WWII. Thankfully the guidance system has been greatly improved though... 2) Energy Whether it be for the propulsion mechanism or for powering the facilities on the craft/facility, power generation or harvesting is very important. 3) Gravity For short term missions (1-3 weeks) it is not a great concern, but the longer people stay in space or even reduced gravity environments, more time must be spent on maintaining the body so that it has a fighting chance when returning to Earth. While vigorous exercise might be good for a lot of us, it doesn't make a lot of sense to need to spend a lot of time on exercise when you're doing a mission that costs as much as it does.
    • While it's true that the new Orion series of manned space vehicles are going to be rocket/capsule based a very important difference between Orion and Apollo is that the orion capsules are reusable. That's a significant different. I'm all for investigating different methods, but the capsule/rocket method is certainly quite effective and proven to be relatively safe over the years. You can point to the X-Prize winners all you like, but they have only a few, not even in orbit runs under their belt. There i
    • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Thursday November 16, 2006 @12:27AM (#16864902) Homepage
      Interestingly enough, the congress that authorized the money for the development of the shuttle also made a stipulation that the plans of the previous generation of Apollo rockets had to be destroyed - in other words, go forward or don't go.

      That may have happened in some alternate universe - but in this one, the plans are in a variety of archives.
      • You might be right about that one, in retrospect I shouldn't haven't included that in the post as I definitely don't want to get in to that controversial discussion, sorry. Regardless, as most will point out, micro-film aside there are still "workable" components on display at various places that can and I believe have already been analyzed
  • Skip Mars (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stox (131684) on Wednesday November 15, 2006 @11:22PM (#16864448) Homepage
    Personally, I think we should skip Mars for the time being and concentrate on getting useful things done on the moon. Once we have some real manufacturing capability, building larger projects, for both earth orbit and beyond, would become much easier. In the long run, we want to encourage private enterprise in space. By blazing a trail, NASA can jump start the process.
  • Personally, its good that this is being done now than later, because otherwise I don't see it getting brought up again for like 10 or 20 years.
    1. Set the groundwork, infrastructure, protocols, etc now, because I kinda wonder how much of the documentation on how to do some of this space flight stuff is on paper, and likely will be the one thing that won't be a digital document of some form, thus the odd chance of getting water damaged and lost forever.
    2. Congress or any group of politicians won't see the "here
  • The current plan for the first flight is convert a passenger jet for space travel so that the US Congress can be relocated to the Moon. A second much larger craft is planned for a trip bearing all the lawyers. Since one in every three americans is a lawyer this should help reduce the populations problems and free up the court system. The Congressmen and lawyers are quite enthusiastic about the plan since the earth will be consumed by a space goat shortly after the second flight. If there's time a third flig
  • Finally, I can build Moon Unit Zappa.
  • It is somewhat illogical, in the difficult time of allocating funding in science, to make a decision to revisit the Moon first and then to discuss the justification for this new technological/scientific endeavor.

    This is almost like a por-barrel project for Texas in the national scale...
  • Why don't we focus on locating the missing tapes from the original moon landing before moving forward.
    • News update: They've been found.
      http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/818 [cosmosmagazine.com]

      It's disturbing to think of how close we came to losing them forever. It's also curious to note how little attention their recovery has gotten, in light of the hoopla over their misplacement.
      • by Cybrex (156654)
        It looks like those are other missing moon tapes. They contain experimental data and telemetry, not video.

        Regardless, I see no sense in putting the entire program on hold until the tapes are located. They're simply higher-resolution originals of video that we have plenty of copies of.
  • Money? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cadallin (863437) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @12:00AM (#16864692)
    I'd think that would be item #1 on the list. NASA needs cash. It's impossible to do R&D without the scratch to back it up. If we were putting a fraction of the money into NASA that we are into other things (*cough* Iraq *cough*) we'd be able to get to the moon today.

    This has always struck me as absurd about Bush's Moon and Mars plans, he's been drumming up such ideas now and then, while at the same time slashing NASA budget. Why anybody believes he's doing anything other than posturing is beyond me.

    • Re:Money? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by thedeviluknow (991976) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @12:12AM (#16864784)
      Yeah nearly half a trillion dollars a year on Iraq and Afghanistan vs. what 16-17 billion for all of the NASA projects? This isn't just Project Orion it's also all the aeronautical research as well as various space science related work. How friggin' nuts is that? Roughly thirty times as much money spent to kill innocent people as to expand the horizons of the entire human race. Oh well there's always Russia and China for all that good stuff.
      • You do realize that the US Defense budget:

        Defense: 474 Billion in 2005
        Health and Human Services: 579 Billion in 2005
        Social Security: 563 Billion in 2005

        Those two programs are almost 3 times as much as defense! I didn't even look at the other social programs like HUD, education, and labor.

        Back in the 90's when I toured NASA they told us that "less than one half of a penny out of every dollar that goes to DC gets marked for NASA". I am sure that has changed a bit now.

        Don't believe me? Check this out:

        http://ww [gpoaccess.gov]
    • by AdamThor (995520)
      "...This has been sorely missing in Bush's Vision for Space Exploration." You don't think he actually remembers that, do you?
    • Unfortunately, your Congress has been writing the checks (well, debts). Don't put all the blame on Bush, but feel free to blame his party.

      And because I haven't heard anyone running on the campaign of increasing space research spending, I don't know who you should vote for. At least the Dems say they want to fund biological research. But I don't know if that translates in to general pro-science sentiment.
  • It's sad to see people still calling this a "Bush" program because that will be the kiss of death for the VSE if it sticks, and I honestly doubt Bush had much to do with it's formulation at all. Back before the VSE was announce by Bush, there were articles on the web about NASA management and white house science staffers formulating a new vision for NASA. I think it's their vision and Bush just gave his approval. It would be a shame for an incomming democratic administration to kill it because it was tied t
  • exit (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Sure, it might be a good idea to go to the moon and explore some more, but what's clearly missing here is AN EXIT STRATEGY for getting off of the moon after we're done.
    • by igny (716218)
      Well, according to Gore, if you study well in school then you will not get stuck on the Moon.
  • why is it? (Score:4, Funny)

    by pjr.cc (760528) on Thursday November 16, 2006 @12:29AM (#16864912)
    Why is it that whenever anyones says "... Bush's vision ..." I think of crayons, preschool and cirlces of paper?
    • by SeaFox (739806)
      I think of crayons, preschool and cirlces of paper?

      But not spelling tests, right?

  • Why does America want to explore the Moon? It seems stupid when China is already going to do it - there is no need for America to go there. Or something like that. At least, that is the agument we always hear when there is talk about China, Europe or Russia wanting to do something the Americans already do, such as having their own gps, astronauts etc. Except it's the other way around, of course.
  • >This has been sorely missing in Bush's Vision for Space Exploration.

    Bush wants to make Star Trek a reality, but geeks still find a way to bash him. Sheesh!
  • I am about the most nerdy, curious, star trek fan person in town. There is nothing more fascinating to me than exploring the universe. However, I'm completely opposed to using government funds to send people into space.

    Let's let the private sector explore space.

    People talk about the "benefits" of the space program, like plastics! Great, an oil-consuming product that takes hundreds of thousands of years to bio-degrade. If that's not progress, I don't know what is!

    Resources on Earth are very limited. We all work very hard to pay our taxes. Let's let the private sector lead the way into this exciting new place!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Verloc (119412)
      At this stage in development, the risks for private industry in actual space exploration are incredible. Why would any sane business want to take that risk when there are plenty of defense contracts for perfectly good weapons of mass destruction?

      No, Nationalism will carry the day in the exploration of space; Capitalism takes the easiest route to profit while Nationalism appeals to group notions of one-upmanship and achievement: witness China, who's 'Communist' ideology is strongly nationalist. They are pu
      • No, Nationalism will carry the day in the exploration of space; Capitalism takes the easiest route to profit while Nationalism appeals to group notions of one-upmanship and achievement: witness China, who's 'Communist' ideology is strongly nationalist. They are putting people into space to show how fantastic they are, and don't care much less about the bottom line.

        Actually, the Chinese demonstrably do care about the bottom line. They spend just enough on manned space to show that they can do it, and thus

    • by orin (113079)
      Halliburton in space - what an excellent idea!
    • Either you are not a "nerdy, curious start trek fan" or you are completely delusional. There aren't enough eccentric billionaires in the world to build a base on the moon. That leaves us with rational investors and governments as the only people who could fund such a project.

      Rational investors, being rational, would not expect any return from building a moon base.

      So we are left with governments. It's that or nothing, bub.

      And until we have a permanent human settlement off-world, our entire species could be d
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Isn't it a bit premature? Why not robotic missions for a while? We have a long way to go in understanding both human physiology and how to adapt it to the unforgiving environment of the non-earth realm. This is a journey of generations, not a sprint. Armstrong's footprints look nice, but honestly, humans living on the Moon and beyond will become a reality centuries from now, only after we lay the groundwork of unglamorous research.
  • Is it a coincidence that NASA announced a major mission sorely lacking in Bush's "vision" for our space program only a week after Bush lost control of Congress? And therefore most of his control of the space program that Congress defines, and Bush just gets an "up or down vote" on.
  • TFA suggests one possibile excuse to go to the moon is to conduct scientific research (if the plan of attack uses an outpost).

    However, look at where that's gotten us on the ISS: the original plans were to have far more scientific research modules than will be on the final ISS, but they have been cut to control costs. The overhead--that is, the life support, power, storage, and escape modules--are all still being implemented. Support for the ISS would not have been as high among decision makers if they had k
  • Did God provide Bush with his Space Vision?

    Bush doesn't need a telescope for a vision of space. God tells him what's out there.
  • by Samir Gupta (623651) * on Thursday November 16, 2006 @03:49AM (#16866278) Homepage
    There's no oil on the moon as far as I know...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kiljoy001 (809756)
      I used to be in the USAF a few years ago... in some of the basic training mess halls at Lackland AFB they have some rather incrediable paintings of what the USAF was going to be doing in space - millitarizing it for US interests of course. This whole space thing is a sham - It's more about orbital bombing with the kinetic equivilent of metors & X ray lasers/next generation nuclear weapons than exploration. It's shameless.
    • Romaaji de kaku no ga, gomen nasai ga, kyomi wo motte ori, surashudotto ni nihon moji de kakemasen. Hontou ni sono kaisha de hataraite irasshaimasu ka. Yahari, kono chotto dake no nihongo wo rikai shite iru no wa tashika na shoumei dewa nai desuga, kore sae yomenai hito wa zettai ni usotsuki desu kara kou iu fuu ni kubetsu shite mite orimasu. Go-henji wa eigo demo ii desu kerdomo, kono mae no bubun ga honyaku dekiru no wo arawashite kudasai ne.

      Yoroshiku oneigashimasu.
    • by Grishnakh (216268)
      There's no oil on the moon as far as I know...

      Shhh!!!! As long as Bush believes it, that's good enough!
    • Planetary Defense [exopolitics.org]

      which I'm sure you all know is just a thinly veiled attempt to get Haliburton the cafeteria contracts for the Moon. 9_9
  • When they weigh the plans, I hope they don't break the scale.
  • Suspect this moon program is going to turn into entitlement programs and basic science like all the others. So far, no more methane engine. Reduced CEV size. No more space station airlock. Now an additional $1 billion diverted to servicing Hubble.

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