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Mars Moon NASA Space The Almighty Buck

NASA's Cashflow Problem Puts Moon Trip In Doubt 357

krou writes "According to the Guardian, the Augustine panel is going to declare that there is simply no money to go back to the moon, and the next-generation Ares I rocket is likely to be scrapped unless there is more funding. The $81B Constellation Program's long-term goal of putting a human on Mars is almost certainly not going to be possible by the middle of the century. The options outlined by the panel for the future of NASA 'are to extend the working life of the aging space shuttle fleet beyond next year's scheduled retirement until 2015, while developing a cheaper transport to the moon; pressing ahead with Constellation as quickly as existing funding allows; or creating a new, larger rocket that would allow exploration of the solar system while bypassing the moon.' All of this means that NASA won't be back on the moon before the end of the next decade as hoped, 'or even leaving lower Earth orbit for at least another two decades.' Another result of the monetary black hole is that they don't have the '$300m to expand a network of telescopes and meet the government's target of identifying, by 2020, at least 90% of the giant space rocks that pose a threat to Earth.'"
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NASA's Cashflow Problem Puts Moon Trip In Doubt

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  • by WankersRevenge ( 452399 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:33PM (#29068049)
    In January, the Congressional Budget Office projected a deficit this year of $1.2 trillion before Obama took office, with no estimate for actions he might take. To a large extent, the CBO's estimate simply represented the $482 billion deficit projected by the Bush administration in last summer's budget review, plus the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, which George W. Bush rammed through Congress in September over strenuous conservative objections. Thus the vast bulk of this year's currently estimated $1.8 trillion deficit was determined by Bush's policies, not Obama's.

    The GOP's Misplaced Rage [thedailybeast.com] by Bruce Bartlett
  • Re:It seems to me (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:33PM (#29068067)

    uhh, we CAN stop the asteroid, at least we are close to it. There are many talks of using gravitational tractors to deflect the asteroids so that they harmlessly fly by the earth instead of slamming into it. Once again, it's just lack of funding. One of the above posts is right. NASA does not win votes, which is why it's not politically prudent to fund it.

  • Re:It seems to me (Score:3, Informative)

    by joggle ( 594025 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:33PM (#29068071) Homepage Journal

    You don't need to stop a meteor. If you can spot it soon enough there are several techniques that could be used to change its trajectory so that it misses the Earth (such as putting a satellite near it that can tug it over time just using gravity, or by putting a coating on it that would alter the solar pressure on it and push it out of the way, etc).

    Or you could leave everything to chance (or name your deity) but since we have the ability I definitely think we should give ourselves the chance to use it.

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @01:57PM (#29068445)

    Just wait until the Chinese start firing rockets into space with people on them

    They started doing that almost 6 years ago.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3192330.stm [bbc.co.uk]

  • Re:Screw it!!! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:31PM (#29068951)

    It won't discharge very quickly because the ionosphere is a mighty poor conductor. A tower stuck into the ionosphere is only going to discharge the molecules it touches-- anything more than an inch away is effectively insulated.

  • Re:Scare mongering (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 14, 2009 @02:53PM (#29069205)

    Every band trip I've been involved with has been paid for by the band conducting fund raisers, not by the school board paying for anything.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @03:05PM (#29069353)

    My prediction is that there will not be a human outside of low Earth orbit for at least the next 50 years, with the possible (unlikely) exception of the Chinese attempting a lunar orbit or landing.

    The Russians have already offered flights around the Moon for $300,000,000. Maybe NASA could buy a few.

    The cost of human spaceflight is going up.

    $300,000,000 is a lot less than Apollo 8 cost, and non-government prices are only going down from here as private companies take over the manned spaceflight business.

    Nobody has identified a compelling economic, scientific, political, or military rationale for sending people into space.

    Yes they have; it's called tourism. Get the price of a week in orbit down to a couple of hundred thousand dollars and you'll have more customers than you can handle... that won't happen overnight, but it's quite feasible in a couple of decades.

    My guess is that the first people to walk on Mars will be rich tourists, not government bureaucrats.

  • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwater.gmail@com> on Friday August 14, 2009 @04:01PM (#29070139) Homepage

    As other slashdotters have pointed out numerous times, there is an enormous list of spin-off benefits that come from manned-exploration of space.

    No, what they have pointed to is either a) research that just happened to be done by NASA with little (if any) connection to manned space exploration, b) technology developed elsewhere that NASA uses and claims, or c) outright handwaving and propaganda.

  • Re:Sure they do! (Score:3, Informative)

    by AmigaMMC ( 1103025 ) on Friday August 14, 2009 @11:56PM (#29073761)
    Let's not forget other ways of wasting money: each B2B bomber costs over $2 Billion. But hey, bombing people is more profitable than sending a man to Mars...

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.