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Moon Government NASA United States Science

Rep. Bill Posey Introduces 'Back To the Moon' Bill 562

MarkWhittington writes "In an attempt to rationalize and give focus to NASA's human space flight program, Rep. Bill Posey, Republican of Florida, has introduced a bill that will direct the space agency to send astronauts back to the Moon with a goal of permanent habitation of Earth's nearest neighbor."
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Rep. Bill Posey Introduces 'Back To the Moon' Bill

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  • Umm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:08PM (#35924592) Homepage

    How does this advance the Republican goal of balancing the budget?

    • Re:Umm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ildon ( 413912 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:27PM (#35924742)

      This is local politics. Need to keep the money flowing into NASA to keep the constituency happy, regardless of your party affiliation. Plus NASA's budget vs. the entire budget is close to nothing. Just like that recent budget "cut" the republicans were bragging about was like less than 1% savings on the entire budget. I guess you could say the victory is that it didn't go up, but whatever. Still seems pretty crappy.

      • This is local politics. Need to keep the money flowing into NASA to keep the constituency happy, regardless of your party affiliation. Plus NASA's budget vs. the entire budget is close to nothing. Just like that recent budget "cut" the republicans were bragging about was like less than 1% savings on the entire budget. I guess you could say the victory is that it didn't go up, but whatever. Still seems pretty crappy.

        Exactly. NASA's budget [] has generally been less than 1% of the national budget for well over a decade. Even if you cut all of NASA, is wouldn't have equalled the number of billions claimed for the most recent budget cut. NASA's budget was never was truly huge either, peaking at 4.4% during the Apollo era. I think people have historically overestimated just how much money is currently spent on NASA, all things considered.

        That being said, this is not what we need at the moment. When NASA achieved the moon

  • by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:08PM (#35924594) Homepage
    Oh ya... it's getting close to election time again. This is just the first gentle tug of it's grandstanding gravitational pull into the singularity known as US elections.
    • Oh ya... it's getting close to election time again. This is just the first gentle tug of it's grandstanding gravitational pull into the singularity known as US elections.

      Fool me once...shame on you! Fool me 8 or 9 times, shame on me.

  • What a surprise! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nebulious ( 1241096 )
    He's from Florida. Quit bringing down the space program so that your district can keep leaching off the system, leech.
  • On Spending (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Warbane ( 2034760 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:11PM (#35924618)
    While I'm firmly of the stance that we need to drastically reduce spending (almost) across the board, this is the type of project I wish money would go to if it's going to be spent.

    Trying to be ambiguous as to not divert the discussions focus, but spending on an endeavor that will ultimately benefit the entire nation as well as be a boon to science seems like a better use of funds than programs heavily favoring a specific subset of the nation. (Take that how you will, I have no particular program in mind.)
    • I'm guessing it's like the last 'humans should go the moon and then to mars' effort ... a mandate with no funding attached.

      The folks from Florida complain because they're seeing the shuttle program shutting down, and don't know what to do ... but because of the requirement to keep the shuttle going, and no funding to cover it, many other NASA projects were shut down years ago to cover the costs.

      Yes, there should be requirements to do interesting things, and that helps to drive people, but getting humans int

  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:20PM (#35924676)

    "To the Moon, Alice!"

  • All the co-sponsors have major NASA operations in their states. Rep. Rob Bishop has repeatedly tried to save ATK Technology in Promontory, UT, the exclusive manufacturer of the solid rocket boosters used in the space shuttle program and the biggest employer in his district.

    • The largest employer in his district is the Weber County School District, but otherwise I'd have to agree with your position on Rob Bishop. The guy is a sell-out, and is partly responsible for a $3 billion earmark (nearly the only one in the current budget) for the "SLS" launch system (often dubbed the "Senate Launch System") to essentially restart under a new name the Ares V project.

      It is useful to note that the ATK plant was in his Utah State House of Representatives district before he was elected to his current seat in Washington, thus has a rather cozy relationship with the people in that company as well as many neighbors who work for them as well.

      One legitimate issue that needs to be addressed is in terms of how to keep domestic production going for the Ammonium Perchlorate [], which is a vital chemical needed for general defense purposes. That is the primary chemical used in solid rocket boosters, and is used for most of the ICBMs in the arsenal of the United States (as well as the missiles in submarines). Right now, those missiles aren't being built, so there is a need for at least somebody, somewhere, to be using this chemical so that the factories making this rocket fuel can keep going for when the ICBM fleet needs to be refurbished for the next generation (the fuel is unstable and does need to be replaced periodically).

      My personal solution to the problem: Rather than disguising a NASA program as something other than a make-work jobs program to keep the factory workers at these chemical plants employed, why not simply get into the business of making 4th of July fireworks and literally give these "missiles" to every city in America for their annual celebrations? $3-$4 billion would make a whole lot of fireworks, and it could at least be enjoyed for pure entertainment purposes by most Americans if they want to see their tax dollars literally burned up every year. You could even keep rocket developers busy, where they would be able to "test fly" their designs on a regular basis. That is much more to say that to have a bunch of rocket developers design a vehicle that will never fly due to an eventual shift in priorities, political parties, and mismanagement that usually accompanies most NASA rocket development projects.

  • by fredmosby ( 545378 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:40PM (#35924850)
    This bill is an attempt to revive the failed SLS space launcher based on space shuttle parts. Here's the relevant text in the bill:

    (3) The 111th Congress, in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2010, called for the development of a heavy lift capability of greater than 130 metric tons consisting of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) to pursue exploration, yet fell short on explicitly stating a clear destination.

    (4) The 112th Congress has reaffirmed this commitment to the development of a heavy lift capability.

    A few months ago a senator from Utah tried to get NASA to stop looking for alternatives to the SLS (such as SpaceX) by citing the 130 ton requirement. Now they're trying to pass a new bill with stronger wording to force NASA to spend money on the SLS, which happens to be built in their states.
  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <mark.a.craig@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:47PM (#35924908)

    ... if he didn't have a purely selfish agenda because it would just happen to directly benefit his state/district economically long before we'd even get there, and even if it gets cancelled later and we don't.

  • Here's an idea, we can launch all of our seniors to the moon and get rid of our Social Security and Medicare spending deficits. Call it "Use Space to Make Space" program. Maybe redefine AARP as the "Astronaut Association for Retired People."

  • in order to promote exploration, commerce, science and United States preeminence in space

    Translation: "to restart the space race, bring in jobs to my home state, and billions of dollars in spending to defense contractors."

    • Translation: "to restart the space race, bring in jobs to my home state, and billions of dollars in spending to defense contractors."

      I realize this is /. and is, therefore, reactionary to anything with an (R), but is it possible, even a little bit possible, that this Congressman really supports technological research? Could it be possible that he is more knowledgeable about such things precisely because he is from Florida and is therefore better educated about the United States' space program (being genuinely concerned for his constituents)? Is it possible that his motives are genuine and not simply political?

      Oh, wait. This is slashdo

  • by rbrander ( 73222 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @07:58PM (#35925008) Homepage

    A socialist like Kennedy wanting to get to the moon by a socialist government program, I can understand. But a Republican? Surely we should just wait until GE or Boeing just picks up and goes with private money and objectives. It will be much more efficiently run, and no taxpayers will be robbed to give a (literally) free ride to socialist astronauts.

    After reading all my Pournelle and Niven in the 70's, I've been waiting 40 years for the power of free enterprise to get me a ticket on the Pan Am Space Clipper. I'm not sure what the hold-up is; probably, the corporations are still too highly taxed.

    • Too subtle...

    • You are an idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:32PM (#35925222) Journal
      Kennedy was more conservative then reagan, poppa bush, or W. Back then they could balance budgets. Now, we have uneducated masses voting in neo-cons who speak of balancing budgets, stopping illegals,and getting to the moon, but do the exact opposite. Sadly, these followers ignore results and simply listen to rhetoric. Neo-cons have fucked up education in America. Hell, reagan and W grew gov more than all other president EXCEPT for lincoln and FDR who were dealing with real issues.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by FooAtWFU ( 699187 )
        Speaking of FDR, FWIW, despite all the hype, many economists say that he fucked up the economy worse than it fucked up itself while trying to fix it (prolonging it by about 7 years, according to some UCLA dudes; consult your local economist for more opinions). And no, I'm not talking things like Social Security... I'm talking things like the boneheaded Agricultural Adjustment Act and freakish levels of price controls.
  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:28PM (#35925196) Journal
    The SLS is a joke and should be dropped. If we do COTS-SHLV for 2 vehicles (140 tonnes to LEO, 5 billion or less for build out and below 400 million to launch), then we can do a sustained base. In addtion, we need to get Bigelow and IDC Dover going with both of their space stations (which are actually transhabs).
  • by nester ( 14407 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:28PM (#35925198)

    We can just issue more negative-returning debt to pay for this. We're already trillions in the hole, so let's see just how much debt it takes to destroy an economy.

  • by matunos ( 1587263 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:33PM (#35925230)

    ...the "Federal stimulus for Florida's 15th congressional district to get Bill Posey re-elected" bill.

  • Great! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 )
    Sure glad the Republicans have solved that whole deficit problem, so that now they can turn their attention to spending more money on pork-barrel projects!
    • Re:Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BeanThere ( 28381 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:57PM (#35925376)

      Unlike the Democrats, right, who are totally busy solving that deficit problem? US seems to be screwed either which way.

      • by geek ( 5680 )

        If a Democrat had presented this bill the majority of Slashdotters here would be fauning over how this would stimulate the economy, create jobs and advance science. But since the political partisanship here is so pathetic, it's clearly some type of evil corporate money grab.

        This site is about as useful for political commentary as a toilet is.

  • waste of money (Score:3, Insightful)

    by currently_awake ( 1248758 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @08:58PM (#35925384)
    1-Manned space flight serves no scientific purpose, is expensive, and puts people at risk without cause. If we really wanted a public works project to help the world how about terraforming the sahara desert or building cities under water. 2-the USA is deeply in debt and going deeper by the second, you really can't afford it. If you can't afford universal health care you certainly can't afford space flight. 3-it's hard to plan ahead when you don't know if your project will be funded after the next election. What about the people you put up there? 4-there are only 2 tasks that could justify a permanent lunar base: astronomy (big telescope without interference) and solar panel production (launch into earth orbit, in bulk it's cheaper than earth launches).
    • Yes, it's clearly a troll. But the research in closed environments and recycling for space flight have already borne fruit, as have the materials research in lightweight alloys and ceramics used for space flight. Information solar radiation, weather monitoring, and terrain and oean mapping have already paid off the space program costs, including manned spacef flight, by huge factors. Increased communications from the satellite networks have also more than paid for space flight.

      Technologies within reach but

  • by Identita ( 1256932 ) on Sunday April 24, 2011 @09:27PM (#35925558)
    In a country which is trillions of dollars in debt, which apparently cannot afford to offer national healthcare like others do in the UK and Canada but CAN afford to bail out the heads of banks who've screwed the US population out of their children's future can somehow come up with the rationale to send people to the moon because? Common sense is clearly gone today. I don't know what the hell anyone in government thinks anymore
  • Step 1: Mandate that NASA's mission is pure "research and exploration science"
    Step 2: Open up the floodgates for private use of space.
    Step 3: Remove *ALL* government mandates on NASA other than the four words articulated in step 1.
    Step 4: Let NASA do its thing.

    End result (hopefully:) We see NASA do pure science, for science sake (robotic missions to planets, asteroids, etc,) we see NASA do supported-by-cheaper-commercially-viable-companies manned exploration. No more "this Senator says he has to have 20 jobs, so we subcontract this minor part out to an incompetent vendor, this Representative says she has to have the bragging rights of this subcomponent being in her district" and so-on and so-on.

    Atlantis shouldn't be at KSC, Enterprise shouldn't be in NYC, and Endeavor shouldn't go to CSC. Those are all purely political decisions. Get politics out of NASA, it has caused decades of harm as it is.

  • by assertation ( 1255714 ) on Monday April 25, 2011 @07:30AM (#35927882)

    You know times are tough. Usually when an election come near the politicians begin talking about missions to Mars.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham