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NASA Government Space United States Science

Culberson As Chair of NASA Fundng Subcommittee Makes Europa Mission More Likely 57

MarkWhittington writes: As many have expected, Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) has been elevated to chair the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science. The subcommittee has charge of NASA funding, something of keen interest for the congressman, whose Houston district is close to the Johnson Spaceflight Center. Moreover, Culberson's enthusiasm for space exploration goes far beyond what would be expected from a Texas representative.

Culberson is a champion of a mission to Europa, a moon of Jupiter. Europa is an ice-covered moon that is thought to conceal an ocean of water, warmed by tidal forces, which might contain life. Using the heavy-lift Space Launch System, NASA could launch a large-scale probe to study Europa and ascertain whether it harbors alien life or not. Culberson's elevation makes such a mission far more likely to occur.
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Culberson As Chair of NASA Fundng Subcommittee Makes Europa Mission More Likely

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  • Enceladus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bitingduck ( 810730 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:41PM (#48435067) Homepage

    Enceladus is probably a better candidate-- there's reason to believe that it's as little as a few meters to get to liquid water that's already known to have most of what you need for life. It's much farther away though, so it's a lot longer to get there.

    • I vote Europa. Enceladus is small, so tides are probably powering its weird south polar thermal anomaly. No one knows when the tides started. It's possible the ocean has not been there long enough for life to get started. Even a million years would be a blink of an eye compared with the 4.5 Gyr age of the solar system. From what Cassini observations have revealed, Enceladus's ocean, if it exists, is probably under 40 km or more of ice. In contrast, Europa almost certainly has a global ocean, possibly jus
  • Space Pork System (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The only thing you need to know is that this guy is a big fan of the Space Launch System, perhaps the most pork fueled missionless NASA project going.

    They are DESPERATELY trying to come up with a mission to justify the $18B in development costs (likely costs are $10B per launch over 4 launches for a total of $40 BILLION!)

    Every failure of this program under government cost reimbursement and cost plus contracting rules results in more PROFIT to the contractors.

    Meanwhile, politicians are trying to force SpaceX

  • by Scottingham ( 2036128 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:47PM (#48435151)

    I'd be surprised if we didn't at least find some sort of microbial life...if we didn't though we better put some there! Hedge for DNA...humans, meh...we should do everything we can to allow DNA to survive forever. FOREVER.

  • by QilessQi ( 2044624 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @12:59PM (#48435269)

    Did he not get the message four years ago??

    ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA
    ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE

    The dude's gonna get us all monolithed. I don't wanna be monolithed.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @01:04PM (#48435305)

    Culberson's enthusiasm for space exploration goes far beyond what would be expected from a Texas representative

    Okay submitter, what do you expect from a Texas representative?

    • Actually, given that Texas has a lot of space industry in Houston, and high tech industry in Austin, and would benefit from more space exploration . . . that is exactly what I would expect from a Texas representative.

    • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @03:25PM (#48436503)

      Culberson's enthusiasm for space exploration goes far beyond what would be expected from a Texas representative

      Okay submitter, what do you expect from a Texas representative?

      Well, Louie Gohmert is at best eccentric and at worst stupid beyond belief. The fact that he keeps getting re-elected really says a lot about the voters in his district. Do a search on his name plus the words "terror babies" for one of his most, ahem, "interesting" fears. He's never gotten less than 61% of the vote while running for Congress.

      Ron Paul is about as crazy as they come, unless you're a Libertarian, in which case he makes perfect sense and everybody else is insane. He's not a current member of Congress, but he inflicted his idiocy on D.C. for years. He didn't lose re-election - he simply retired or else he'd still be promoting his wacko ideas in DC today.

      Sheila Jackson Lee is infamous for her use of staffers to do personal errands for her. One staffer was told by his doctor to quit or he would die from the stress. She has proposed more failed legislation than any current member of Congress according to one source. She's been in the top 3 every year in a poll of the meanest members of Congress to work for.

      These are just a few of the "distinguished" representatives from Texas.

      • Criticizing Sheila Jackson Lee is racist. You're a racist, and this makes everything you say invalid.
    • Let's keep the offensive stereotypes alive. After all, it's OK when we do it, but wrong when they do it. We have always been allied with Eurasia.
  • by Nethemas the Great ( 909900 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @01:27PM (#48435525)
    As long as they're going to rely upon the SLS--which in its own right has a near zero probability of surviving Congress--this mission will still never get off the ground.
  • Europa (Score:4, Funny)

    by pr0nbot ( 313417 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @02:12PM (#48435873)

    Don't worry... the Republicans will veto this for fear of finding yet more Europeans.

  • There is alien life. I believe they are called "Hungarians."

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      The problem with them, though, is that they will not buy tobacconists, because they are scratched. Plus, their hovercrafts are full of eels.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Friday November 21, 2014 @06:37PM (#48437883)

    The Republican Party, especially in the House, refuses to fund anything. They sometimes fail to pay government workers and barely avoided defaulting on our debt. The military and CDC can't get funding; It's very hard to imagine this will.

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