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Government NASA The Almighty Buck

Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget 391

Posted by kdawson
from the most-systems-go dept.
The AAAS's ScienceInsider confidently reports that NASA is in line to receive $1 billion more next year. Reader coop0030 sends this quote: "President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the Moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars... The president chose the new direction for the US human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency's fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft."
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Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget

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  • by Tekfactory (937086) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:28AM (#30487634) Homepage

    "According to knowledgeable sources, the White House is convinced that scarce NASA funds would be better spent on a simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018."

    Nothing in the article says what that HLV would be, or who would build it. The article also talks about the fight in Congress over Constellation districts losing aerospace jobs.

    The only thing I am aware of is Elon Musk saying NASA has an option for SpaceX to develop an HLV, and I'm not talking about Falcon 9 or Falcon 9 Heavy. Anything else would be the usual suspects dusting off old blueprints and submitting proposals, or something I'm not aware of, which would be fine too.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:28AM (#30487636) Journal

    McCain may have not been my ideal choice, but at least I knew exactly what he was going to do before he got into office.

    Yeah, a heart attack and President Palin ;)

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:28AM (#30487644)

    Hey man, how ya been? I haven't seen you since we were standing together at the rally protesting the huge deficit spending of the Bush administration.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:31AM (#30487694) Homepage Journal

    All this funding is going to come from where?!

    I don't know, they could stop the Iraq war for a day and a half. [washingtonpost.com] Get your priorities straight. If you're worried about the Federal budget, don't get in the way of progress and science, just stop the senseless war.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:35AM (#30487756) Homepage

    What about the president who promised no earmarks in the stimulus bill, then ensured all the health-care companies and insurers got their pre-socialism hush-money?

    Should he also be reserved a seat?

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NiceGeek (126629) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:35AM (#30487768)

    You mean the 40% that has vowed to oppose anything Democrat? Why should they bother trying to work with people who won't work with them?

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:37AM (#30487784) Homepage

    The other 40% doesn't have any interest in fixing it. If they show any interest they will be shouted down by the likes of Limbaugh and Palin and lynched as heretics.

  • Re:Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:41AM (#30487854)

    You mean the other 40% who are deliberately excluding themselves by vowing to vote it down regardless of the contents?

    Those 40%?

    The 40% that just so happen to coincidentally be Republicans. Funny that.

    Joe Liberman may be a festering, infected boil on Satan's cock, in the vice-like-employment of the insurance industry, but at least he is coming to the table to discuss how to destroy the bill. The Repubs aren't even doing that.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai (717556) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:43AM (#30487894) Journal

    Why shouldn't they oppose it? The Democrats aren't interested in meeting in the middle. They are interested in pushing their own agenda. The fact that they can't even convince the moderates in their own party to go along with some of the stuff they've tried to pass ought to tell you something. Mind you, this is exactly how the GOP operated when they had control, but the silence coming from the man who promised us a new kind of politics is deafening, isn't it?

    I had a phone call from a Democratic fundraiser a few days ago asking me if I would contribute money to help them fight the "Republican obstruction". I asked him why they are blaming the Republicans for their difficulties when they have 60 votes in the Senate and a large majority in the House. He didn't have an answer. Then I told him I would be voting GOP in 2010 just to put a check on Obama's power at which point he proceeded to lecture me on how evil the GOP is until I hung up. Wonder if they'll be calling me again anytime soon?

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NiceGeek (126629) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:48AM (#30487956)

    "They are interested in pushing their own agenda." - if you think that somehow Republicans aren't guilty of that as well, you are very, very deluded.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:49AM (#30487972)

    So are they saying a new heavy lift vehicle is replacing the Ares I? My understanding is Ares I is the simple, cheap, manned crew vehicle stack and the Ares V is the bigger, heavier, not man-rated launcher meant for heavy lifting. They were supposed to reuse shuttle parts and know-how to make things work better. So far it isn't. I have a feeling that shuttle reuse was a political decision to make this sound more economical rather than a proposal from the engineers guaranteeing it would be frugal.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:52AM (#30488000) Homepage Journal

    The topic is Obama asking for more money for space exploration, and the GGP asked where the money could come from. I suggest the military; compared to what we're spending on war, what we spend on science is chump change.

    If you're a cokehead and about to go bankrupt, you don't fix your budget by skipping that $1 McDonald's biscuit and gravy once a week, you stop snorting coke.

    As I said, priorities. You need to eat, you don't need to snort coke. We need research, we don't need the Iraq war. Research is cheap, war is expensive.

  • by gbutler69 (910166) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:53AM (#30488020) Homepage
    JUST WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK IS THE MIDDLE? I'm so sick and tired of hearing this. You are full of shit. All you fucking republicans should be lined up against a wall and shot.
  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GooberToo (74388) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:54AM (#30488040)

    I didn't vote for for Obama but your statement is complete bullshit. Period.

    That 40% you're talking about has refused to participate leaving Obama no choice but to carry on with the 60% that's interested in doing their job. The 40% you're standing behind has decided they don't want any solution that doesn't allow for massive fraud of the system and forcing people to pay at least 2x-4x as much as they should be paying for a healthy insurance system. And we know for this for a fact because these systems are already working around the world; contrary to the lies by the 40% you're working so hard to defend.

    There is absolutely no shortage of things you can bash Obama on but bashing him for Republicans standing in line to abuse and defraud the American people isn't one of them.

  • by FatSean (18753) on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:54AM (#30488042) Homepage Journal

    Drug re-importation? Why not have the stones to force the corps to sell us the drugs at a fair price in the first place? You only like socialism once removed?

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 18, 2009 @11:59AM (#30488104)

    The actual cost is significantly more than the "1/15th" of the Federal budget you mention. That amount only includes direct expenditure on the war in Iraq.

    It doesn't include the healthcare needed for the tens of thousands of soldiers who are coming back injured, nor does it include the losses in taxes due to many of these people never being able to work again, or even just those uninjured citizens who no longer work at their regular jobs because they've being sent on their fifth or six deployment to Iraq.

    Don't forget that there's another, soon to be bigger, war going on in Afghanistan. That alone will likely be another 1/15th, if it escalates, of the budget consumed.

    As for the other 14/15ths, a significant amount of that budget goes towards programs that support America's warmaking. Think war technology research, the NSA/CIA/FBI/etc., and so forth.

    Much of the rest of the budget has been similarly squandered. Instead of going towards socially-useful purposes like education and healthcare, it goes towards bailing out billionaires and corporations.

    And really, he's not off-topic at all. America dedicates far too many of its resources towards destroying tents and mud brick huts in third-world countries. Even a small fraction of the money spent there each year could immensely help American society in a great many ways. Space research (which often has many spin-off technologies) is one of the best ways.

  • Re:Saturn V (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <jcr@mac.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:00PM (#30488128) Journal

    Dig out the blueprints, put them into a CAD/CAM program, and modernize it, and they could have a RELIABLE heavy launch vehicle soon.

    It's not that simple. Flying a Saturn rocket today would be much harder than building a new vehicle from scratch. Imagine trying to build the Cutty Sark today: we just don't have the people with those skills anymore.

    -jcr

  • Smart move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:01PM (#30488148)

    Probably the only smart decision this man has made. I offer into evidence a line from "From the Earth to the Moon" series. "Pumping that much cash into the private sector could be very popular"...of course, ironically, that's tempered by that douchebag Al Franken who is supposed to be the science adviser but who has less than zero ability to dream.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raddan (519638) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:03PM (#30488172)
    Maybe you can elaborate. Was this the bill in which Republicans called funding for the 2010 Census, airport security, public transportation and new fire stations "earmarks"? Sounds to me like exactly the kind of spending you want a stimulus bill to do. There were also $237 billion in tax cuts to individuals and $51 billion in tax cuts to companies, so I can't think of a legitimate reason why Republicans would be opposed to this, except that they're attempting to build party unity by being contrarian. Sadly, it works with people, but talk about sour grapes, man.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:04PM (#30488194) Homepage Journal

    Dude, in case you hadn't have noticed, more than 1/2 of the current national debt was from our President Bush and our Republican Party. That any Republican or so-called conservative can complain about a Democratic deficit with a straight face is beyond me, when our party has not produced a single balanced budget in 40 years and ushered in the mega-deficits under Reagan.

    Republicans fail when it comes to budget cutting. Here's a hint. If you want to jack up federal spending to support two wars and doubling the defense budget, then taxes have to go up to pay for it. Choke on that with our 500B annual interest payment current administrations have to pay now.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glop (181086) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:06PM (#30488226)

    I believe he was on topic as he was explaining that it's a matter of priorities to find 1 billion dollars in the federal budget for NASA.
    His priorities obviously differ from yours but he clearly identified a big source of spending (6%) and noted that the amount considered was small compared to that big source of spending.

    Really, it's like profiling code, if nobody has ever profiled some code you are going to see big misuses of resource (like 70% of time spent recomputing the same value etc.). But after some people have looked at profiles, you get down to a point where a 6% figure is a big target. I am pretty sure you are not the first one to look at the federal budget so it's likely that 6% is a big juicy target when trying to optimize the federal budget.

    So your rhetoric does not really help as the other 14/15ths are composed of hundreds of items that are probably just as hard to assess, prioritize and possibly remove from the budget. the Parent was really just putting the 1 billion in perspective.

    Personally I think that spending a billion on NASA is a rather good use of the money as they spend the money on cool stuff (electronics, getting bright people to work together, Linux etc.) and produce cool images, discoveries, stories that really make my days brighter.

     

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rwv (1636355) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:12PM (#30488310) Homepage Journal

    McCain may have not been my ideal choice, but at least I knew exactly what he was going to do before he got into office.

    Bush signed off on the initial Constellation Plan. Bush made space exploration a pro-Republican issue. I don't know McCain's specific position, but the Republican Party line would have been in favor of the $3 Billion plan that the Augustine Commission recommended would be necessary to push human exploration of space ahead at the levels Bush was targeting.

    Remember, just because you are arguing your own fiscal conservatism doesn't mean you can pigeon-hole political parties who have historically been associated with that trait.

    If anything, Obama is cutting back on the plans presented by the last president. The Democrat is tightening the government purse strings.

  • Re:Politics (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:19PM (#30488428) Homepage Journal

    The Democrats aren't interested in meeting in the middle

    Why should they be? They have a majority in the House and Senate, and are in the White House. Clearly, the American voters have spoken. We went so far to the right in the last administration that leaning to the left IS leaning to the middle.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:21PM (#30488464)

    Was this the bill in which Republicans called funding for the 2010 Census, airport security, public transportation and new fire stations "earmarks"?

    If the money is directed to specific projects like this stuff is, then yes, by definition the spending is earmarks. I'd go further and call it "pork" since none of those with the possible exception of the Census spending (it is a federal obligation, but depends on who it's spent on) warrant federal money and are just attempts to bring home the bacon.

  • Re:Politics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by furball (2853) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:32PM (#30488610) Journal

    Is this guy [go.com] part of the 60% interested in doing their job or is he part of the 40%?

  • Re:Smart move (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:46PM (#30488830)

    Ah...so Franken is a method actor.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday December 18, 2009 @12:57PM (#30488992) Homepage Journal
    Double Response, Sorry, but some more digging revealed this discussion of ScienceInsider's story [spacepolicyonline.com] where it is asserted that:

    a new heavy lift launch vehicle would be built "to take astronauts to the moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars" but it would not be Ares V: "the White House is convinced that scarce NASA funds would be better spent on a simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018";

    So I guess the Ares V is not the new HLV, in case anyone was speculating that was the case.

  • -1: Context (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eepok (545733) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:14PM (#30489276) Homepage
    Deficit spending in and of itself is not bad. I'm sure most of use will do it at one time or another to buy a car or a house. The crux of any issue regarding deficit spending is whether or not the expenditure will show expected returns. And I'm not talking about dollar-per-dollar returns.

    Is spending money on science, discovery, and development worth the expenditure worth it? I'd say yes.
    Is universal healthcare worth it? I'd say yes.
    Is protecting ourselves from people who want to harm us worth it? I'd say yes.

    Now, consider the balance of cost-per-return for each of those and the viability of each implementation of each endeavor. Which is most likely to actually succeed?
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:20PM (#30489352)

    I disagree for a vast majority of Airtravel the start and end will be in different states, making it interstate commerce. I don't actually care whose in charge of the security as long as it isn't security theater.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jgtg32a (1173373) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:25PM (#30489444)

    It was a good decision Palin was well loved by the Republican a lot more than McCain was; the problem was she couldn't handle the media and was eaten alive.

  • Re:-1: Strawman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:37PM (#30489650) Homepage

    A lot of folks were uncomfortable with the deficit spending under Bush.

    Indeed, including those who generally supported Bush, and I'm not comfortable with this deficit spending either even though I generally support Obama.

    However I am comfortable with NASA's meager contribution to that deficit, would very much like for Congress to increase their budget, and am pleased that a Presidential change in NASA's direction might actually come with the funds to accomplish it (my complaint against Bush's "Mars, Bitches!" initiative).

  • Re:Politics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shining Celebi (853093) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:42PM (#30489782) Homepage

    Why shouldn't they oppose it? The Democrats aren't interested in meeting in the middle. They are interested in pushing their own agenda. The fact that they can't even convince the moderates in their own party to go along with some of the stuff they've tried to pass ought to tell you something. Mind you, this is exactly how the GOP operated when they had control, but the silence coming from the man who promised us a new kind of politics is deafening, isn't it?

    Are you serious?

    The Democrats have made concession after concession to the Republicans on every major bill they've tried to get through Congress, and the Republicans just move the goalposts. This is why we ended up with a watered-down, crap stimulus bill. This is why we're ending up with a watered-down, crap health reform bill. The Republicans are taking obstructionist tactics to new extremes, like "accidentally" losing their voting cards [orlandosentinel.com], and filibustering a defense slash war-funding bill [washingtonpost.com] in the hopes that the Senate won't even be able to debate the health insurance reform bill. Meanwhile, the Democrats refuse to use the options at their disposal, like reconciliation, to pass the health care bill without bipartisan support or a supermajority. Senator Baucus worked with Republicans for ages on his version of the health care bill, only for them to oppose it anyway. Republican Senators gleefully announce that they intend to break Obama and make health care his waterloo [politico.com]. Republicans previously for health care reform suddenly oppose it for nebulous reasons.

    100% party unity is unrealistic for the Democrats on any issue, and the Democrats have 60 members in their caucus in the Senate, not 60 Democrats. Senator Lieberman lost his Democratic primary and garnered more Republican votes than his Democratic opponent, and also more than his Republican opponent. He opposes pretty much every big-ticket Democratic agenda item. That's hardly a party-line Democrat to begin with. Other Democrats are suggesting they will vote against the bill because of a lack of cost-control options like the public option (removed to appease Republicans, despite it's 60%+ support among the public), or because of compromises made to the Republicans, which have garnered no Republican votes and only weakened the bill.

    The Republicans don't want to meet in the middle, and the Democrats are fools for trying to act bipartisan. All they get for it is Republicans shrilly insisting that the Democrats are bullying them around any time they want to pass any of the legislation they were elected to pass. The Republicans don't oppose the health care bill on ideological grounds. Plenty of Republicans have supported health care legislation more liberal than what's in the Senate today, such as, say, Richard Nixon [kaiserhealthnews.org]. Mitt Romney imposed a very similar plan to the one in the Senate now while he was governor. [usatoday.com] And so on and so on and so on. It wasn't until the current cycle that Republicans became opposed to plans such as the one now before the Senate. The ideology behind conservatism didn't suddenly change. No, the Republicans made a political decision that it was in their best interest to do their best to attack and bring down any initiatives Obama came up with.

    The Republicans aren't opposed to the health care reform bill for any other reason than they were determined to make the Democrats failures. And they're doing an excellent job of it.

  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Insightful)

    by raddan (519638) * on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:51PM (#30489940)
    So what isn't an earmark, then?
  • by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:53PM (#30489986) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. But that's the plan. They are pretending like this is a good idea. It pretty much sucks all the way around. It locks the US into an architecture where per-flight costs for people in orbit are much higher than Ares I. It reduces per-flight lift capacity substantially, which will lead to much larger numbers of flights required to do anything interesting, such a a flight to Mars. That wouldn't necessarily be a problem, except for the high per-flight cost. This plan is a desperate attempt to solve a short term budget problem, by locking us into long term budget constraints. It's worse than doing nothing (e.g. worse than canceling manned spaceflight) because we won't be able to fix the architecture for another 25 years. It's really, really bad news for manned spaceflight.
  • by khallow (566160) on Friday December 18, 2009 @01:56PM (#30490042)
    I agree. Senator Nelson from Florida would be making a lot of noise, if it weren't Shuttle-derived. I imagine the senators from Utah would be complaining, if ATK's SRB wasn't involved somehow. The only person complaining is Senator Shelby. Marshall Space Flight Center gets a lot of money from the Ares I and V design work. I hope his outburst means that a simpler HLV is being considered which would so happen to cut the amount of design work that Marshall receives funding for.
  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:03PM (#30490188)

    I looked at your news posts. No battles. No combat. No troops wounded.

    A perfect utopia is not needed for "combat" to be "essentially" over.

    I hear there are still Nazi sympathizers in some places. And we still have troops in Germany. I guess WWII is still going on ... ?

  • by khallow (566160) on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:05PM (#30490230)

    However IF the Jobs program does actually create a new Heavy Lift Vehicle, launch costs should go down.

    Absolutely no way is that a given. Launch frequency is a stronger economy of scale than payload size. If they're launching the same total mass in fewer launches, then they're probably increasing costs. For example, suppose I want 1,000 tons in orbit. Launching it all into orbit at once on a massive 1,000 ton launcher is probably the most expensive choice I could make. Well aside from going to the other extreme. For example launching a million 1 kg payloads doesn't make sense. How could you get people up there or any other component larger than 1 kg in mass? But 40-50 launches of a 20-25 ton launch vehicle make a lot of sense (there's even multiple vehicles of that category currently in existence, Delta IV Heavy, Ariane 5, and Proton, you don't have to waste a lot of money on designing a new vehicle). That's a launch frequency that can even encourage reuse of vehicle components.

  • by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:06PM (#30490254) Homepage Journal

    "Bush signed off on the initial Constellation Plan. Bush made space exploration a pro-Republican issue. I don't know McCain's specific position, but the Republican Party line would have been in favor of the $3 Billion plan that the Augustine Commission recommended would be necessary to push human exploration of space ahead at the levels Bush was targeting."

    The only part of what you said that bears resemblance to reality was "I don't know". Bush provided to NASA what's known as an un-funded mandate, which led NASA to decide to shut down the ISS immediately after its construction was completed. McCain and Obama, like Bush, don't have much understanding of, nor interest in, spaceflight, as far as can be told from examining their public statements and actions.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwiget001 (1073738) on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:41PM (#30490836)

    Frankly, I am more scared with Biden being next in line to become President.

    He makes Palin look like an Oxford Scholar.

  • by flitty (981864) on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:44PM (#30490882)
    um... most of the money spend on Ares I already has gone a long way to get Ares V ready. The 5 Segment SRB has already been tested, twice, and is only a modified 4 seg that's been flying for years. What moron would take all of that 30+ years of engineering data and information and then go to a private company who has only tested a few rockets, none of which are ready for manned flight up to the safety standards that are required?
  • by jr76 (1272780) on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:47PM (#30490942)
    Hello, I do know most people seem to forget about this, but one thing the ARES/Orion programs make no plans for is to have REPAIR abilities available for space. While the Shuttle was far from perfect, it has been the best space repair vehicle created, and when it is retired, there will be nothing else out there to fix extraordinarily expensive satellites. I know people talk about "saving money", but do you know how expensive it would be to have launched four replacement Hubble Telescopes? Or, countless other devices they've spent days and months repairing in space? Someone SERIOUSLY has to make this an issue for NASA...
  • Re:Hopefully (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 18, 2009 @02:55PM (#30491074)

    I would if he presented any facts - where are the citations, where are the figures?

    All I can see is a baseless jab at Obama.

  • Re:MORE FUNDS?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Friday December 18, 2009 @03:28PM (#30491562)

    Though I'd also like to point out that this conversation is mostly about discretionary budget. We are talking about things that can be cut relatively easily. So that refers to the discretionary budget.... of which the military makes over 60%.

    Your side of the conversion, but not his side. My view is that if you're not talking about the whole budget which is a lot bigger than discretionary spending, then you aren't serious. Having said that, current military spending is a big piece of the current overall budget and hence contributes to the budget problems.

  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday December 18, 2009 @06:52PM (#30494446) Homepage Journal
    I am not one to typically decry Slashdot antics in general, but I have to say that I am, frankly, appalled at what has come to pass in this thread. This news release, available on very few space news outlets currently, is in regards to the future of a government funded piece of space hardware that Slashdotters have been both decrying and joyously praising since I first started posting on this website more than a year ago. We have discussed every major development of the Ares line of launch vehicles since its inception. We have argued, passionately at times, about how stupid or how great NASA and Congress both are for deciding upon this launch system in the first place. We have followed almost every single news update regarding the Augustine Commission since it was first assigned its task. It seems, to me, that we had quite a bit of interest and excitement for news regarding this particular topic as an online community.

    Nonetheless, in the short time since this story has been posted, the number of comments modded up that were completely and 100% offtopic is absolutely atrocious. This story was, by far, the most interesting headline I saw on slashdot today. Rather than getting an interesting look into a group of Nerd's thoughts and ideas regarding this new development, I have watched this thread turn into an absolutely childish monstrosity of political bullshitting regarding everything from healtcare to the fiscal habits of Republicrats and blah blah blah blah blah. If I wanted to know about all that crap I would have turned on CSPAN.

    For shame slashdotters. For. Fucking. Shame.

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