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Space Mars NASA Science

Subcommittee Stops Human Mars Mission Spending 343

Posted by Zonk
from the who-wants-to-go-there-anyway dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week's House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science FY08 budget markup would prevent work on programs devoted to human missions to Mars. According to a House Appropriations Committee press release, the markup language states that NASA cannot pursue "development or demonstration activity related exclusively to Human Exploration of Mars. NASA has too much on its plate already, and the President is welcome to include adequate funding for the Human Mars Initiative in a budget amendment or subsequent year funding requests." The Mars Society is already leading an effort to get the language removed."
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Subcommittee Stops Human Mars Mission Spending

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:04PM (#19599369)
    The first link is to a PDF file. If you don't want to read the whole press release, here is the relevant part:

    "The bill language also continues a moratorium prohibiting NASA from implementing a reduction in force and from funding any research, development or demonstration activity related exclusively to Human Exploration of Mars. NASA has too much on its plate already, and the President is welcome to include adequate funding for the Human Mars Initiative in a budget amendment or subsequent year funding requests."
  • Re:Yeay! (Score:4, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:16PM (#19599547) Journal
    If read carefully, it does make sense. It says that anything related to ONLY humans on mars. For anything with a dual use, then it gets funding. Basically, the bulk of this is applicable to space, the moon, and/or robotics. Very little is related to just humans on mars. But it would be nice to see funding for NASA increased. I am tired of seeing this admin push a direction and not funding it adequately.
  • Re:Is this bad? (Score:2, Informative)

    by SDF-7 (556604) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:17PM (#19599559)
    Figuring out how to get people out there and back comes to mind quickly.

    Just after Mars (and before Jupiter) is the asteroid belt... and asteroid mining has a lot of potential (if you don't want to maintain scarcity of some minerals by watching the mines here on Earth tap out... or don't relish strip mining/whatnot). I wouldn't say that's infeasible to do via automation, but for that length of mission and with the variables involved, having a human (or a few) on the spot would likely make things easier.
  • by Anthonares (466582) <kendal30@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:21PM (#19599627) Homepage
    There is no significant funding for human exploration of Mars, nothing that even registers on the FY 2008 budget highlights. There might be a few relatively small grants to develop next generation spacesuits, but those will be useful on the Moon, too, so they won't be affected.

    This isn't then an appropriate response to a fiscally unsound endeavor by a careful legislature. It's a gesture that the Congress will not support the President's Vision for Space Exploration in its entirety.

    But, this language has the capability to significantly delay an eventual human mission to Mars if it's passed. It will force NASA to view the Moon as its ultimate objective, rather than as a stepping stone to Mars and beyond, as envisioned by the President.

    Whether this is a good thing is up to debate, but I am inclined to believe that this empty gesture has great potential for unintended consequences further down the road.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:27PM (#19599739)

    he American taxpayer, quite rightly, doesn't want to pay for both. Many don't want to pay for either, frankly.
    Governments don't tax people to pay for wars any more.

     
  • by MarkGriz (520778) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:09PM (#19600455)
    "If we can get self-sustaining colonies running on the moon and mars, perhaps we can worry a little less about life-ending-events, like meteor strikes, on earth."

    People actually worry about this?

    As if humans are oh-so-important to the universe that we must ensure our survival by colonizing another planet.

    Somehow I think the universe will get along just fine without us. Perhaps even a bit better.
  • Clue time, kiddie (Score:3, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:25PM (#19600685) Journal
    To say that NASA was to develop rockets is silly. The rockets that we used for most of the program were developed in the 50's. We DID go to the moon to upstage the Russians, AND to provide justification for the rockets that we had. Was science a major priority? Yes it was. Back then, America could afford it.

    BTW,
    1. Mercury project was on redstones (one of our first ICBM from mid 50s).
    2. Gemini project was on Titan IIIs (A ICBM developed in from late 50s').
    3. Apollo was on saturn 1Bs which was the first rocket developed for NASA (though a derivative of other work).
    4. SSME was the first rocket engine developed as a none derivative work, and that was in the 70's, LONG after Kennedy started it.
  • Re:Yeay! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ArcherB (796902) * on Thursday June 21, 2007 @05:44PM (#19600939) Journal
    HERE are some fine examples of other programs that could be cut to fund NASA. They are listed by state, amount, and program. Also, keep in mind that this is just a few examples, only for the 2006 budget, and many, if not all of these are just the annual budgets. In other words, this is spent every year: [cagw.org]

    WA $359,000Organic cropping (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Special Research Grants)

    MO $987,000National Center for Soybean Technology (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Special Research Grants)

    VT $750,000Environmentally safe products (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Special Research Grants)

    CA $1,929,000Exotic pest diseases (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Special Research Grants)

    I $2,500,000For the Great Lakes Basin Program for Soil and Erosion Control (Conservation Programs)

    IA $1,775,000Iowa Biotechnology Consortium (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Special Research Grants)

    MD $3,625,000Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (Agricultural Research Service, Buildings and Facilities)

    NY $3,625,000Center for Grape Genetics (Agricultural Research Service, Buildings and Facilities)

    TX $546,000Hispanic Leadership in Agriculture (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Federal Administration)

    MS $1,433,000Mississippi Valley State University, Curriculum Development (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Federal Administration)

    MI $1,350,000Pasteurization of shell eggs (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Federal Administration)

    CA $3,625,000Grape Genomics Research Center (Agricultural Research Service, Buildings and Facilities)

    WI $8,000,000Nutrient Management Laboratory (Agricultural Research Service, Buildings and Facilities)

    $18,000,000Facilities in rural communities with extreme unemployment (Rural Community Advancement Program)

    $18,250,000Technical assistance grants for rural water and waste systems (Rural Community Advancement Program)

    AK $25,000,000Rural and native villages in Alaska (Rural Community Advancement Program)

    MD $6,000,000Chesapeake Bay activities (Conservation Programs)

    OH $1,145,000Center for Innovative Food Technology (Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, Research and Education Activities - Federal Administration)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2007 @08:24PM (#19602639)
    Basically telling the president to pay up.

    The PDF also boasts, actually boasts, that Congress is adding over 1.7 Billion dollars in extra funding that the White House did not request, which must be used for "drug enforcement".

    1.7 billion dollars per year??? There's enough money for a pretty decent Mars program right there... Or another space telescope, or pretty much any science program you want...
  • Re:Clue time, kiddie (Score:3, Informative)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @09:46PM (#19603359) Journal
    Redstone was the rocket that was used to launch mercury. The first flight was 1953. By 1957, it was our core missle launcher. [army.mil]
    The titans started development in 56, with a maiden flight in 58. The Titan II had a maiden flight in 1962, and was designed for ICBM service. In fact, it was THE backbone of the airforce until 1982, with the last one decommisioned in 87. [wikipedia.org] One of the old silos complexes is 10 miles from where I currently live (just 2 miles from my old home).



    THe saturn I started in the US army's missle ballistic research as a way to launch space weapons AND BIG F****** nukes in 1957. The first flight was in oct. 27 1961. The saturn V was actually a derivitive of it, unlike the other 2 which used the one of the production line models. This was a 3 stager designed by von braun (as was redstone). [wikipedia.org]

    BTW, Until early 60's, Von Braun worked for the military designing rockets for us. In early 60's, he was converted MOSTLY to NASA, but continued to help the mlitary. It was part of the deal for his staying out of jail (or being executed, since he designed the V2). I am not denying NASA anything (esp. since I have worked for them as well as taught for NASA). But credit needs to go where due. Germany and The US Military is responsible for the early rocket tech that got us to the moon. Now, the capsules that NASA used was MOSTLY NASA, but even there, the military had done some early work that went into Mercury.

    Another BTW is that most of the tech that is seen going into all the new indi's rockets come from NASA. Basically, they are standing on the shoulders of Giants such as NASA. But even Von Braun would also tell you that he stood on the shoulders of other giants, such as Newton and the Chinese.
  • Re:Yeay! (Score:3, Informative)

    by damiam (409504) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @11:31PM (#19604105)
    Those are all valuable programs, and essentially pocket change when considering space research. I have a better list:

    ~$100,000,000,000/yr: War in Iraq

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