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Space Science

USA To Return To Moon By 2015, Then Mars 1480

securitas writes "This afternoon George Bush announced space exploration plans for the USA to return to the Moon by 2015, the design and construction of a new space vehicle fleet by 2014 (called the Crew Exploration Vehicle) to replace the aging space shuttles which will be retired in 2010, and the construction of a permanent Moon base, followed by manned missions to Mars. The initiative begins with a $1 billion increase to NASA's budget and $12 billion in new space exploration money over next five years. However Congress is concerned about how to pay for the new space policy initiative in the face of a $500 billion national budget deficit. AP via Yahoo has a Moon/Mars/space policy FAQ, and there's more at NASA and the New York Times among others."
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USA To Return To Moon By 2015, Then Mars

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  • DIEBOLD (Score:3, Informative)

    by SHEENmaster ( 581283 ) <travis.utk@edu> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @08:28PM (#7980159) Homepage Journal
    Aparently congress unanimously voted to give the money to DIEBOLD instead.

    I guess Europe will beat us to Mars.
  • by MarsCtrl ( 255543 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @08:47PM (#7980404) Homepage Journal
    I'm all for space exploration, but this just strikes me as nothing more than a political game.

    That $1 billion increase sounds good at first, but spread it out over 5 years [], and you've got $200 million/year. On the other hand, increasing NASA's budget at a rate consistent even with November's unusually low inflation rate of 1.77% [] would give a yearly increase of $230 million. So, in the best case, they're treading water. (For comparison, NASA's 2004 budget [] received a roughly 3% increase over 2003.)

    What about that other $12 billion in exploration money? It "will come from reallocation of $11 billion that is currently within the five-year total NASA budget of $86 billion". So, NASA just got 13% of their budget reallocated.

    Aside from the apparent fiscal impotency of the plan, the thing is just dripping with political rhetoric. From the white house release: "From 1992 to 2000, NASA's budget decreased by a total of 5 percent. Since the year 2000, NASA's budget has increased by approximately 3 percent per year." What an interesting point to suddenly bring up! Why yes, it is an election year!
  • Re:Timeline hole (Score:4, Informative)

    by hirebrand ( 543514 ) <hirebrand&yahoo,com> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @08:50PM (#7980430) Homepage
    "The shuttle fleet would be phased out by early 2011, once NASA and its Russian partners completed assembly of the space station. The United States would then rely on Russian, Japanese and European rockets to get to and from the station for the next three years, until the CEV was operational." Washington Post
  • by Michalson ( 638911 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:04PM (#7980569)
    The place to cut is in military spending. The war in Iraq would have paid for a lot of space travel, unfortunately it paid for blowing up buildings instead. We have lots of highly specialized weapons that are very expensive - millions of dollars per explosion. Military aircraft are not built using standard parts. Everything is custom. So everything is brutally expensive. Cut back on the custom nature of this hardware, and you'd save a lot of money. Cut back on unilateral foreign wars, and you'd save even more.

    To perhaps put a more direct example in the light, the US has (by civilian knowledge) 21 plane B2 bomber bomber (mostly built in the last 3 years or so). While originally designed to fly long range missions to drop nuclear bombs on the Soviet Union, they now only have regular bombing duty, a role already filled by the enormous fleet of B1 and B52s. In fact the US General Accounting Office found the B2s actually have trouble doing even those missions; since they where originally designed to fly a single M.A.D. mission, they are not very sturdy. In fact every mission they fly causes extensive and expensive damage because of moisture in the air damaging the stealth covering.

    The cost, as stated, for this space program is 13 billion. The cost for the handful of B2s was $45 billion (even if you exclude research costs and assume mass production, each plane costs over $1 billion to produce, let alone actually maintain). What worse is that the B2 is a somewhat cost efficent project as compared to others in the military industrial complex.
  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:08PM (#7980607)
    Another way to look at it is that this additional $1 Billion could come from pulling out of Iraq ONE week early. That's right the cost of operations in Iraq not including one time costs like moving the troops to and from the country is aprox $4 Billion per month. I am all for what we accomplished in overthrowing one of the most evil men of the last two generations but we should find a way to quickly return the country to self rule and withdraw our troops before it becomes a significant drag on the economy and the loss of troops becomes a long term weakener of military moral.
  • by logophage ( 160591 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:41PM (#7980884)
    but, you're not keeping it...your charging it. i.e. the budget deficit is like a huge credit card. you'll have to make payments on it at some point.
  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:49PM (#7980959) Homepage
    How incredibly short sighted of you. I'm amazed that we allow illegal invaders to steal benefits that they are not entitled to. I'm amazed that we dont encourage those on the public doleto be productive, instead of living for the First of the Month.

    And I'm amazed that we spend federal dollars to help already rich-and-spoiled children with no other discernable talent create things designed to offend and call it "art".

    Good fucking %DIETY% man. Without the space program, there would be no such thing as the personal computer. Personally, I prefer my current career to hanging drywall or selling thingamawidgets or whatever the hell else I would be doing without our current micro-electronics.

    Unless we're going to do the responsible thing and start encouraging people to not have children they can't fucking afford to support we're very quickly going to run out of ROOM on this planet. Never mind the hypothetical comet. Read some studies of what happens when rats get too crowded.

    Better to open a new frontier of opportunity now.
  • by KalvinB ( 205500 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @09:57PM (#7981051) Homepage
    not federal problems.

    Every town in every city has problems like yours that just take "a little bit."

    It's your city/state's job to bring in enough money to fund local problems like yours. The Federal government can't. If they help one city in such a way they have to help every city.

    You're barking up the wrong money tree.

    "It's a new budget-saving pattern for the Bay Area's fourth-largest city. Starting this month, whenever three firefighters can't work because of illness, the city will close one of four fire stations to save $400,000 in overtime costs and prevent firefighter layoffs."

    So by closing one firestation because the people who work there are wasting money they save $400,000 they can use to fix other problems.

    There's your money for the library.

    Fix your city's budget problems before you start pretending it's the federal government's job.

    You think Uncle Sam is going to bail out CA? What makes your problems more serious?

    You're in the Bay Area. I'll willing to bet there's another library that's open 7 days a week. If not, get your stuff done when it is open. What's more important to you? The money that can be put towards more important things or convienence?

    It's certainly not worth $200,000 to staff a library an extra day if nobody is visiting. That's generally why they close one day. It also allows for fewer full time staff (which allows for higher wages) while still giving them a day off every week to keep them sane and happy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @10:56PM (#7981561)
    I'd really like to see a list of advances

    It's not difficult, by looking in the obvious place [] to find entire publications [] and databases [] to suit your request.

    If you really wanted to see a list, that is.

  • Re:and bush says... (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:17PM (#7981700) Homepage Journal

    Uranus Experiment, Part 2.

    Good ol' has an article on it [] so you don't have to worry about the spouse looking up your recent visits...

  • by Dashing Leech ( 688077 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:19PM (#7981711)
    What has the ISS given us?

    The answer for that would take many hours to list. The ISS has generated a ton of new technology developments. I work for a NASA contractor with expertise in vision systems, from using 2D cameras for tracking and pose estimation for assembly to now 3D scanners for inspection, collision avoidance, and a variety of other tasks. We have just begun to spin this technology off into terrestrial applications and they are pouring in, from automated mining vehicles to geomaterial classification and automated plant growth monitoring, to name a few. And that's just one small company from one small component of the ISS. A study we'd previously done showed that every $1 invested in developing the technology has spun off into $40 for the economy.

  • by FatAlb3rt ( 533682 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:54PM (#7981962) Homepage
    nice twist. but he mentioned nothing about NASA inventing these things - improving upon them can make all the difference in the world. as a fellow nerd, you should realize the importance of space, and the industry that orbits above us. communication satellites, gps, dish tv, the stinkin' internet as we know it. you use this crap everyday. sure, nasa didn't launch most of these satellites. but do you suppose any technology was gleaned from them? say like, oh i don't know, rocket technology? radiation hardening? maintaining stable orbits?

    i feel like i'm trolling, but damn. get a f'n clue. to dismiss what nasa has done as "minor improvements on existing ideas" is ludicrous.

  • NASA good programs (Score:5, Informative)

    by wass ( 72082 ) on Wednesday January 14, 2004 @11:55PM (#7981975)
    Second lunacy: only add $1B to NASA's budget. They will have to gut every other program to fund this return to the moon, and they appear to be eager to do so.

    Unfortunately, this seems to be what's happening.

    My girlfriend works for the Space Telescope Science Institute [] (ie, the group that controls the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as planning for the James Webb Space Telescope, etc).

    The 1 billion increase in NASA's overall budget is good thing. But this increase is totally dwarfed by 12 billion funding re-allocation that also accompanies the budget increase. And they're really worried that alot of that funding will be taken away from the hard science missions (Hubble, Chandra, etc).

    This is what alot of people, even here on /., don't realize when they bash NASA. NASA doesn't only fund the space shuttle and ISS and Mars rovers. There's a whole slew of astrophysical observational experiments, both earthbound and in orbit, that are contributing hugely to scientific research.

    This funding shift implies NASA will be shifting it's focus, away from science and towards engineering. While the budget increase is good for the space travel programs and probably ISS, it's not so good for the pure science and observational programs.

    Just my two cents.

  • by Afrosheen ( 42464 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:33AM (#7982215)
    ...when we're still giving countries like Israel 6 billion dollars (75 percent of which is earmarked for military spending) yearly.

    I say cut the fat, that includes first world buddy countries that can do just fine on their own.
  • Re:Timeline hole (Score:3, Informative)

    by cheesybagel ( 670288 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:51AM (#7982328)
    Starsem (a Franco-Russian join-venture) is building a Soyuz launch pad in Kourou, French Guiana. Once it is built, in a couple of years, there will be an alternate launch site.

    ESA is also finishing up production of the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle), which will provide a station resupply capability using the Ariane-5 launch platform. The prototype of the ATV has already been built. The first ATV will be launched to ISS this year.

    Japan still has a chance to catch up I guess. The H2-A launch vehicle has had some teething troubles, but they should be able to fix it.

    The Shuttle is still required to finish building the ISS. But since Bush said they would do it, it isn't a problem.

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:18AM (#7982456) Homepage
    if humanity occupies 2 planets, then humanity is about half as likely to be annihilated by asteroids

    More like p squared, where p is the probability of a strike. You need both events to occur to exterminate humanity.

    Also, both strikes must occur almost at the same time; if not, the damaged planet may be repopulated in a short period of time, asteroid-wise (100 years or so), further lowering the chance of total destruction.

  • Re:and bush says... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cmowire ( 254489 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:14AM (#7982809) Homepage
    You wish.

    Try weirdly deformed premies and a lot of miscarrages.

    Or, even better (and this is what they are really afraid of) subtle stuff that shows up down the road and makes the parents want to throttle themselves. x. html
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @03:35AM (#7983133) Homepage Journal
    Ever hear of a smoke detector? Spinoff.
    how about dialysis machines? Spinoff
    Cordless tools? Spinoff
    CAT Scanners and MRI technology? Spinoff
    BarCode? Spinoff
    The ablity to get Satellite TV? Spinoff. (error correction technology)
    lithium battery?Spinoff

    go here:
    and e/ spinoffs_feature_k_4.html

    Without a 'Really Big Project' that stuff would be hard pressed to become invented, since a lot of it takes money to get going in the first place. If Corporate RnD was still has strong as it used to be, then MAYBE it would take plces and create spinoffs. actualy no it wouldn't because Corp. seldom share.

    What was a major reson companies used to have RnD? oh yeah Aerospace.

    so in the simple post, I haveshown you spinoff technology that has gone on to become Billion dollar industries, which pay taxes.

  • by DoubleReed ( 565061 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @04:29AM (#7983365)
    I'm sure there must be other posts pointing this out, but if you want a well researched look at what might work for living on Mars, try Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars.
  • by derubergeek ( 594673 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @05:05AM (#7983499) Homepage Journal
    Commentary [] on
  • by whitroth ( 9367 ) <whitroth @ 5 -> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @11:35AM (#7985728) Homepage
    Bush's grandstanding on space is pure plagiarism of the Space Exploration Act of 2003, (HR3057) by Rep. Lampson (D-TX), in September of 2003, and is
    still in committee.

    This bill calls for returning to lunar orbit within 8 years; to return to the Moon to stay within 15 years, and to Mars within 20 years. In addition, it would create an Office of Exploration in NASA to plan and manage future exploration for the long term.

    Bush's discovery of space comes from Rove's discovery of the tech vote, and will, like No Child Left Behind, will leave behind funding and
    commitment, once the election is passed.

    I'm unbelievably mad about this, becase he really doesn't *care* about space, while some of us have been waiting our whole lives for the
    promises of the sixties to be met. He's stealing The Dream for his goddamn political games.

  • by PenguiN42 ( 86863 ) < minus bsd> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:07PM (#7986104) Journal
    unemployment rate the lowest in years, eh? []

    Where do you get your data? The "Bush-is-good-no-matter-what economic report"? It's not even *close* to reality. Unemployment had been steadily decreasing since the early 90s, down to around 4%, and right after bush took office there was a sharp *increase* in unemployment, which has been hanging steadily around 6% since then.
  • Re:and bush says... (Score:3, Informative)

    by cens0r ( 655208 ) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:17PM (#7987009) Homepage
    I don't remember Clinton ever opposing NAFTA. That was Perot's angle in the '92 election. He was the anti-NAFTA candidate.

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