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Where Are The Space Advocates? 327

QuantumG writes "Greg Zsidisin appeared on The Space Show today to ask Where Are The Space Advocates?. For the first time in decades Space is once again a political issue with all four major presidential candidates having something to say about space policy and yet nothing is being heard from space advocates. As we enter a new "Space Nexus" like we did after Apollo, now is a critical time to let your representatives know how you feel about space exploration, and yet no-one has anything to say." The show itself is a podcast if you want to give it a listen. Personally I'm hoping that this election puts space exploration back in the public consciousness- Apollo inspired a generation to learn math and science. I want my kid to be inspired by something bigger than that. And as some readers have noted- there are 3 candidates left (and really only two) so the submitter is probably high.
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Where Are The Space Advocates?

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  • canidates stances (Score:5, Informative)

    by OrochimaruVoldemort ( 1248060 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:40AM (#23377256) Journal
    Hillary: enhance American leadership in space, including:
    Pursuing an ambitious 21st century Space Exploration Program, by implementing a balanced strategy of robust human spaceflight, expanded robotic spaceflight, and enhanced space science activities.
    Developing a comprehensive space-based Earth Sciences agenda, Promoting American leadership in aeronautics by reversing funding cuts to NASA's and FAA's aeronautics R&D budget.

    Barack: Obama's early education and K-12 plan package costs about $18 billion per year. He will maintain fiscal responsibility and prevent any increase in the deficit by offsetting cuts and revenue sources in other parts of the government. The early education plan will be paid for by delaying the NASA Constellation Program for five years

    McCain: When asked about their candidates' positions on the moon-Mars project, a spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) did not respond.

    All of this can be found at Space dot com [space.com].
  • by Tisha_AH ( 600987 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:41AM (#23377268) Journal
    There is an advocacy group for space exploration.

    http://www.planetary.org/home/ [planetary.org]

    The Planetary Society has excellent programs and pushes for further exploration of space.

    If you are really interested, join. I really had an interest in the solar sail to propel probes into deep space.

  • by Gigiya ( 1022729 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @09:49AM (#23377350)
    Who is the fourth?
  • by vrai ( 521708 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:13AM (#23377644)

    We will never get things right down here because no two people can agree on what is "right". Using your reasoning we should therefore cease all technological development until a consensus is reached on what needs "fixing". Better we use our finite resources to further Man's knowledge of the universe than waste them on a pipe dream of global unity and happiness.

    Starvation, deprivation and warfare are a old as humanity. We will never be fully rid of them, short of killing all but one person and hoping they're not schizophrenic.

  • Re:Key Difference (Score:4, Informative)

    by bsDaemon ( 87307 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @10:59AM (#23378260)
    Precisely. We lost more people landing on D-Day than we have in 5 years in Iraq. Vastly more.

    It was also during Vietnam. I suspect that most people figured that 3 astronauts dying for the cause of advancing human knowledge and reach was worth a lot more than what more people were dying for in indochina.

    It's all about perspective. The fact is that we now handle people with kid gloves until they're 30, and then some. No risk is acceptable anymore, which is why we haven't really had anything to show for it in so long.

    Where there congressional hearings after the Apollo 1 fire? I don't know -- but they sure dragged out after Columbia, as if Congress can fix an engineering problem. They can't even fix the voting system (not that they'd want to...).

    It's tragic, really. Fear over every little thing. "Oh noes!! dirty bombs!!" -- take an iodide tablet and shut up. People would get more radiation exposure flying across country, but just try and convince them of it...

    If we as a society are no longer willing to take risks, then we just have to accept that we are not going to get anymore huge payoffs.

    Personally, I'm not willing to accept it.
  • by rfunches ( 800928 ) <thefunch AT gmail DOT com> on Monday May 12, 2008 @11:16AM (#23378508) Homepage

    last time i checked, the replacement for the shuttle is a step back to the Apollo style capsule.

    My understanding is that the implied "step forward" called the Space Shuttle prevented manned exploration outside Earth's orbit. If you're so much in favor of manned space exploration, why are you bashing our best, most viable method to reach the Moon or Mars?

  • by damburger ( 981828 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @11:30AM (#23378718)

    Watch the Adam Curtis documentary 'The Century of Self' - it can be easily found on your favorite video sharing site.

    Modern society is so deeply invested in stoking peoples unconscious desires for profit that it is no longer possible for us to engage in large scale rational action, like a space program.

  • by ardor ( 673957 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @11:46AM (#23378956)
    As said countless times:

    the idea of using the NASA budget for other projects is flawed. NASA's budget is tiny. And, at least NASA inspires and produces useful technology from time to time. Argue against the military budget instead, which is already in the trillions. But leave NASA alone.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:02PM (#23379192) Homepage

    Space travel with chemical fuels isn't feasible. You just can't pack enough energy per unit mass into the fuel. This is a fundamental limitation of chemistry. Liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen is as good as it can possibly get, and that's been in use for decades.

    Only by desperate weight reduction measures, resulting in incredibly fragile vehicles, is anything made to fly into space at all. The vehicles are almost all fuel. Pieces have to be thrown away after launch. Payloads are dinky for the size of the vehicle. Costs are insanely high.

    It's been that way for over forty years. It's not getting any better. No combination of parts will fix this fundamentally broken technology.

    Space travel won't work until we get a better energy source.

  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) * on Monday May 12, 2008 @12:59PM (#23380040) Journal

    The link to the federal reserve page is interesting. It's the " AGGREGATE RESERVES OF DEPOSITORY INSTITUTIONS AND THE MONETARY BASE", aka, "how much money is in the bank". What you want to look at is the Actual Value, i.e., the "NON-BORROWED RESERVES" column. Note that the value as recently as last November was $42 billion. not bad. I've been following this page ever since they stopped publishing the M3 two years ago to hide all the money they've been printing. Basically, for the past few years, we've had a lot of reserves in the bank - sometimes $60 billion, sometimes $40 billion, but certainly plenty of cash.

    Well, look at the numbers in that column (the second column):

    2007 Nov. 42679 42313
    Dec. 42599 27169


    May 7p 44177 -85018

    So, basically, what this says is the total non-borrowed assets for the entire American Financial System is running $85 billion dollars in the red, and has been in the negative since the first of the year. Basically, the country is insolvent. Not bankrupt: insolvent.

    Re: your comment:

    We need a truce: Conservatives will acknowledge the dire emergency of global warming, if liberals acknowledge the dire emergency of future national bankruptcy (i.e. increasing liabilities of the federal government, state/local governments, and some private employers).

    I would note that the greatest strides in destroying the economy of this country since 1900 have all come under Republican and conservative administrations (harding/coolidge/hoover then reagan/bush and the latest, Bush2/neocon). It is true that roosevelt amped up the nations debt a great deal, but this was quickly fizzled by Truman and eisenhower. Johnson put a lot of money into social programs, and increased the debt, but: the debt mostly went into the Vietnam war. The biggest strides towards fiscal demise were during the reagan Admin and now the Bush v2 junta, both republican and both conservative regimes.


  • by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Monday May 12, 2008 @02:08PM (#23381176) Homepage

    the theorized zero point
    Zero point energy as an energy source has never been theorized except by crackpots who like the way the words sound and don't understand any of the science that is denoted by the words. Zero point energy as a phenomenon is much more than theorized, it is quite well experimentally verified. And the experiments match up with the theory particularly in regards to the utter ludicrousness of the idea of using it as an energy source.

    Zero point energy is the non-zero amount of energy that remains in a vacuum. A vacuum, mind you, being a region of space that is as empty as space can be made to be. In other words, the zero-point energy is precisely that energy that you can't get out of space. Oh when will this dumb myth finally die? It's almost as bad as cold fusion!
  • Re:Wha? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 12, 2008 @03:28PM (#23382502)
    Would you be referring to the Republicans who banned stem-cell research or to the ones working constantly to get evolutionary biology removed from high-school curricula?

Statistics are no substitute for judgement. -- Henry Clay