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NASA Space The Almighty Buck Science

Space Scientists Looking To Crowd-Fund Planetary Exploration 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the sign-me-up dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "The White House budget for NASA in 2013 is bleak, with big cuts in many areas. None is worse hit than planetary exploration, which got slammed with a 20% reduction. Several top-notch space scientists have taken matters into their own hands, looking to create a privately-funded alternative for space exploration. Called Uwingu — Swahili for 'sky' — they're hoping to get seed money to create a program which can generate millions in donations to explore our solar system. Astronomer Pamela Gay has more info at her blog, Star Stryder."
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Space Scientists Looking To Crowd-Fund Planetary Exploration

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @04:17PM (#40834509)

    Considering that SETI couldn't even raise [discovery.com] $2 million a year, I'm thinking we need to offer more incentives on this one. A $1 billion donation gets you a nice tote bag. $2 billion gets you the mug.

    • by jhoegl (638955)
      Probably because SETI's idealistic venture has lost steam.
      I donated my time back in the 90s to find ET, but damn it all if the little grey blob never visited my house and ate my butterfingers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Flipstylee (1932884)
      I like what SETI is doing, but we're talking actual science here, the kind that allows us to learn.
      In order to conduct science, we need to fund it. Rant aside, this is important enough that i for one will contribute to the cause. AstronomyCast FTW.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

        Here's why - Space exploration pushes the limits of our scientific and technological prowess. "Challenger," "Spirit," "Opportunity," "Virgin Galactic," "SpaceX," "Voyager." Those names are what a good space program should sound like. "Uwingu" sounds like the ookings of a gorilla resting on his haunches and chewing on a grub in the midst of third-world filth. It evokes action of

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by icebike (68054) *

          Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

          My thoughts exactly. Swahili for 'sky' ???

          You want to appeal to my wallet? Start by naming it something from a civilization that at least got as far as indoor plumbing.

          • Additionally, whoever came up with the name "Uwingu" for a space program should be smacked in the mouth with a rolled-up newspaper.

            My thoughts exactly. Swahili for 'sky' ???

            You want to appeal to my wallet? Start by naming it something from a civilization that at least got as far as indoor plumbing.

            Racist prick.

            • by Anonymous Coward

              Ethnocentrist, not racist per se. The same comment could be applied if the word were specific to....West Virginia for instance. Just sayin'! Lol

            • by hairyfeet (841228)
              Uhhh...how EXACTLY is that racist? Is it true only if the skin color is correct? African tribal culture frankly has changed much in the last thousand years so naming deep space exploration using a word from African tribal culture makes as much as much sense as naming your new supersonic aircraft after Quaker culture.
              • by IrquiM (471313)
                I'ts not racist - just simple minded...
                • by hairyfeet (841228)

                  Again how EXACTLY is it simple minded? whether you choose to accept it or not African tribal culture is just that TRIBAL and thus primitive, hell it hasn't really changed much in thousands of years, so naming an ultra high tech project after a culture that frankly probably doesn't even have words for deep space or high tech is more than a little...dumb.

                  Again its just more politically correct horseshit with no basis in reality, otherwise why not name it after Quaker or Mennonite? Because the PC police have

                  • "You can't object to that, that's political correctness." The age-old defense of the racist.

                    • by hairyfeet (841228)

                      "Throwing the racist insults" the age old defense of the PC police. Again I gave you CLEAR and CONCRETE reasons why using a TRIBAL culture reference for a HIGH TECH project is stupid...did you give ANY rationalizations why it isn't? Any counter examples? hell anything other than insults?

                      Nope because the PC police have ONLY insults because their bullshit is just that, bullshit, its just as fucking racist to say one culture is "better" because they are dark skinned as it does to say one if better because they

        • "Uwingu" sounds like the ookings of a gorilla resting on his haunches and chewing on a grub in the midst of third-world filth. It evokes action of a primate Uwinging / from tree to tree / but only in between / poo flinging

          You are a disgusting, disgraceful, half-educated racist motherfucker. Just thought you should know.

  • I will donate! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nrrqshrr (1879148)
    Only if I recieve a souvenir from another planet.

    But then again, if everyone was to demand a souvenir in return, it might be easier if NASA became a business that sold space souvenirs.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So what do I get for contributing to their Kickstarter?

  • Planetory exploration, our eyes where we can't reach yet, here's a great piece on the rover Opportunity, who's still collecting valuable data that is no doubt shaping the future of planetory exploration as we know it. http://www.frequency.com/video/sciencecasts-first-extraterrestrial/53770551/-/4-196655 [frequency.com] Little guy still chugging away. :) I feel the returns on these explorations will pay out big dividends years down the road, but not if they don't get the funding. I think privatization will be a great
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Find a better and more memorable name. Seriously, names are important. They need to be memorable, easy to spell and hopefully represent what you do. This name, I've already forgotten and have no clue how to spell had I simply heard it. You can't go to the moon (or stars) on a rocketship that nobody can spell let alone fund.

    • $100 billion. 2010 liqueur&bear sales in the United States.
    • $19.9 billion. 2010 liqueur&beer sales in Canada.

    So if every drinker in these two countries countries were to donate a single days spending on spirits to this program they would raise almost $330 million dollars.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @05:31PM (#40835467)

    Just curious. If someone at NASA put out some requirements for a small subsystem how many people here would work on helping develop it in their spare time? I've tried to make this point. There are some things that can be crowd sourced. I think the public could get involved if the ITAR stuff could be avoided.

    For example let's say a bracket was needed to hold a sensor. NASA could post the mass, size and Interface for the sensor and list the shock and vib requirements. Then let whoever wants to submit a design with analysis. Then the responsible engineer could review them and pick a design.

    • by erice (13380)

      Just curious. If someone at NASA put out some requirements for a small subsystem how many people here would work on helping develop it in their spare time? I've tried to make this point. There are some things that can be crowd sourced. I think the public could get involved if the ITAR stuff could be avoided.

      For example let's say a bracket was needed to hold a sensor. NASA could post the mass, size and Interface for the sensor and list the shock and vib requirements. Then let whoever wants to submit a design with analysis. Then the responsible engineer could review them and pick a design.

      Or he could design it himself in less time than it takes to write the detailed specs and vet the submissions.

    • by coofercat (719737)

      FWIW, I'd love to see this sort of thing. Even if "the crowd" only ended up designing the hangar they store the rocket in before it goes to the launch pad or whatever, it's still part of the whole picture, and you can't do space exploration without boring things like hangars and brackets.

      However, as someone else points out, the specs required would be so detailed you could probably design the thing in less time than writing the specs. There might be some room for crowd sourced testing though ("Hey, we made

      • by Shotgun (30919)

        If they only published detailed designs that they were actually proposing to produce, and set up a process of the public "voting up" recommended changes, you would be amazed at what could be done.

        Part of a the beauty of a good design comes from inspiration. Problem is, inspiration doesn't work from 9 to 5. Even the most uncreative can have a moment of total brilliance that will change the direction of a large project. The hard part is separating the wheat from the chaff, and testing is damnably expensive

        • by trout007 (975317)

          Thanks for the feedback. Part of NASA's mission is to educate. But most of the stuff you see publicly is aimed at younger kids. They gloss over the real work and give a CSI view of engineering.

          The university stuff is usually better but most of the process is hidden from public view.

          I always thought it would be interesting to have a real open project where all of the work is made available for public review. So many times everyone is so busy review arent that useful. If it was made public there are people th

  • In NZ, we've got the rescue helicopter, funded by a local bank (and painted in their colours, with their name on the side, and always referred to as the rescue helicopter. The bank recently asked for funds, saying that even $20 would get them a clutter-pin, or some such. I suspect the thing will be the same colour, same name though.
  • The specific goals I'd like funded are orbiters to Uranus and Neptune. Those seem far and away the most obvious, valuable, and doable projects no one has yet tried.

    • by khallow (566160)
      How about asteroid exploration and surveying? A particularly interesting bit would be hitting Jupiter's Trojan asteroids which are clumped together with relatively low delta v between bodies. And being at the Jupiter-Sun Lagrange points, those asteroids may end up being valuable assets a few centuries from now.
  • I'm fine with the idea of private commercialization of space by companies that have start-up capital to do it, but do we really have to abandon NASA to the budget-cut wolves in favor of private companies that require crowd-funding? NASA is pretty ramped up already; why don't we just crowd-fund NASA?
  • Perhaps they meant "mbingu" which roughly translates to "heaven" or "wingu" which means "cloud". There is no direct Swahili translation for "sky" as far as I know. They should have done a quick check on any of the online Swahili dictionaries such as http://kamusi.org/ [kamusi.org] or http://www.kamusi.co.tz/ [kamusi.co.tz] before erroneously naming their project.
  • "we need 75.000 for an unspecified marketing campaign for an unspecified project" doesn't sound too inviting to me - how about "we need at least one million people to give us at least 100$ a year over the next ten years to accomplish these awesome goals (insert planned projects here)". "give us 1$ on kickstarter to set up the big money-collecting and to show your interest" (and for your 100$-1000$ / year you get your name on a plaque on the moon, beautiful HD-Video Footage of everyting and a share of the co
  • Their ideas are so elegant that I can’t believe they haven’t already been done, and because it would take about a week for someone with very modest venture capitol (that part they are missing) to implement the idea well This is where the campaign is asking for your trust and your donations to allow us to setup a new model for funding space, but we can’t give you the details, because if we do the idea is going to get built by someone else and the profit will go somewhere other than to rese

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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