White House: The new moon mission is canceled

posted at 6:46 pm on January 29, 2010 by Allahpundit

Are conservatives really upset about this? I would have thought it’d be grudgingly approved as an unfortunate yet necessary sacrifice to fiscal responsibility, but the Village Voice cobbled together an entire article a few days ago from angry reactions of righty bloggers to news that the mission was on the chopping block. On the one hand, we’re knocking The One for his laughably puny spending freeze, and on the other, we’re knocking him for not shoveling billions towards NASA for yet another hoparound on the big rock in the sky? I don’t get it.

“Constellation is dead,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity, referring to a program that envisioned returning to the moon by 2020 and using Earth’s nearest neighbour as a base for manned expeditions to Mars…

Reports added that the US space agency will work on finding a commercial solution to ferrying US astronauts to the International Space Station after the scheduled end of NASA’s shuttle program in September 2010.

Astronauts will be able to hitch rides aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft, but the United States will need a commercial alternative if Congress approves White House plans to scrap development of a successor to the shuttle program.

Fiscal responsibility and privatization? What’s not to like? We’re going to have to poll this one. Just remember: Our current debt ceiling is $14.3 trillion.



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Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Besides the moon. LOL.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:55 PM

I don’t think the righty opprobrium is due to the cancellation of the moon mission. I think it has more to do with the fact that he’s now going to funnel that money into global warming research. At least the moon is real.

WarEagle01 on January 29, 2010 at 7:56 PM

History proved the Apollo project increased our technology advances. From a military and commercial point of view, whomever gets there first will have a clear advantage.

If we don’t, they, the Chinese, eventually will.

From a human point of view, it’s our destiny to return to the stars. Too bad Obama doesn’t see it.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 7:51 PM

There is nothing on the moon to go and get — certainly nothing that you couldn’t get with a robot. They aren’t going to be getting any extra knowledge from it, they will be using the technology the use produced after the moon shot.
Humans are not made to be in space. We are phenomenally bad at it. Maybe once we gain the technology to radically alter our physiology, then manned space flight will be useful — but we aren’t going to get there any faster by shooting a couple of guys out every year or two.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Now I would *really* have to wait for an alien craft to flag down and hitch a ride to the moon. Any Douglas Adams fans here? Remember the preface to the first edition to the HitchHiker’s guide? It ran something like this …

(1) call NASA :

(2) call US President :

(3) Call Vatican :

If all fail, flag down a UFO and say you need to escape before the next phone bill arrives.

peter_griffin on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

Well it seems to me that conservatives are willing to shell out cash for national pride. Military? Check! Awesome-cool space exploration? Check, Check!

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

The American public isn’t going to foot the bill for making the solar system safe for robots.

Manned space flight inspires people. Who cares if some little robotic rover is running around Mars? Space geeks like myself might, but most people would switch the channel. Those would be the people who vote for, or against space investment. They are currently voting against it!

Apparently my interest in pictures from Mars isn’t worth hundreds of millions of dollars to most people. Go figure!

The more tonnage we can get into space the more power we can project. Manned spaceflight requires that tonnage, while small robotic missions every couple of years do not.

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 7:54 PM

“Because it makes a better illusion”?
That strikes me as a very lame reason to do anything.
But, then, I care about results, not happy thoughts.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

If every congressman would simply earmark some funds for a moon mission instead of all their other pet projects, we’d have enough to get to Pluto.

NNtrancer on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I have spend a decade designing automation and robotics to replace humans in the workplace (sorry folks). A lot of technology goes into this area as well and can’t be dismissed. It’s far easier and cheaper to design a robot for space exploration then to embody an environmental shield around a human.

Electrongod on January 29, 2010 at 7:41 PM

But when the pedal hits the metal, I’d rather not be in a fly-by-wire Toyota. I’m not just talking about space exploration — I’m talking about exploiting space.

And your sensors and equipment won’t function worth a damn if there are armed and ready humans in the area who’ve deigned to prevent it.

You think we are in an economic war now? skywise and sharrukin have said it far better than I ever could. We are now in a competition for the resources of the Solar System, and the guys who can use real people to get and hold those resources are going to win.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

You are correct – we need to have robots on which we can transfer our persona and hope they can make past the worm holes. If you are interested, there is one chapter in Kaku’s “Parallel Universes” which deals specifically with it – although it does expect some basic understanding of the string theory.

peter_griffin on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 7:54 PM

Good point… I remember as a kid building models of the moon lander… and my Mom still has my Moon Globe, with the marks I made on it where the origional moon landing was.

I had a Major Matt Mason action figure… not a Big Blue Avatar Eco Smurf action figure…

Folks who were not around in that time frame have NO idea of what kind of impact the origional moon landing had…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

The simple fact is that the resources will cost more to get than they could be sold for.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Well it seems to me that conservatives are willing to shell out cash for national pride. Military? Check! Awesome-cool space exploration? Check, Check!

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

National pride inspires the next generation. Ask any scientist or engineer over the age of 40 why he or she went into that field, and 90% of them are going to say it was because of watching the space program while they were little kids. America needs more scientists and engineers to compete on the global stage. What is more likely to inspire them to do so? Seeing what cool stuff science can do like putting a man on the surface of the moon? Or monitoring ocean temperature levels? I think you know the answer.

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Hey, there is real science being done in space. PLANK just went up, but you could also look into JWST, the new gama-ray observatory, proposed x-ray telescopes, and whatever next-generation optical telescope they decide to put up after Hubble. There are also gravity wave experiments, not to mentions Earth observing satellites that will give us better climate information and maybe shoot down AGW.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:50 PM

IIRC, the Hubble Space Telescope required several manned service missions to keep it working properly. That doesn’t happen without manned space flight.

RightOFLeft on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Advantage with what? I guess theoretically if you had infinite time and money, you could have a Moonraker-esque moonbase. It wouldn’t do any good though, it would cost too much.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:53 PM

Advantages in manufacturing, technology, alternate energies, material science, mining, etc, etc….

Eventually, our earthly resources will run out. I cannot think of a better future. But don’t think Moonraker, think Outland

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

But until you can create a Robot that can deal with the unknown, without a command and control lag created by the distance from Earth?

Man is a needed component for the quest for knowledge.

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 7:49 PM

That is exactly way automation needs to be used first..the unknown. Human life in space also must endure the unknown and the systems to tackle them must be on-board. Apollo 13 mission, if automated, wouldn’t have been such a big deal if we just scuttled the mission. A loss of equipment, yes but no loss in life.
Man’s quest for knowledge is through the lens of technology. Technology that today, needs no man.

Electrongod on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

History will not be kind to the small-minded jerk named Obama who attempted to bring down the greatest country ever to have existed.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

You are correct – we need to have robots on which we can transfer our persona and hope they can make past the worm holes. If you are interested, there is one chapter in Kaku’s “Parallel Universes” which deals specifically with it – although it does expect some basic understanding of the string theory.

peter_griffin on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

That’s just goofy.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Da Vinci didn’t paint the Sistine chapel, but I hear your point.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:49 PM

*facepalm*

I knew that…artist FAIL on my part oops ;) It was only my major in college.

JetBoy on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Shoot i would have guessed Star Trek. :-)

No, I agree. National pride is a huge motivating factor.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

JetBoy on January 29, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Sistine Chapel wasn’t DaVinci, it was Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Sandro Botticelli.

But both of you have a point – some innovation is driven by private companies (iPod, et al), and some have been by government entities (velcro).

It’s determining who’s best at achieving a certain objective that’s the rub. Conservatives aren’t against government doing it – they’ve almost never been against a standing military – but they always ask the question “is government the best for the job”, as long as it’s in line with the Constitution.

JeffWeimer on January 29, 2010 at 8:03 PM

History will not be kind to the small-minded jerk named Obama who attempted to bring down the greatest country ever to have existed.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Probably (well, if the socialists aren’t writing the history, anyway), but it won’t be because of this.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:03 PM

JetBoy on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

Dude, that’s nothing. I messed up “g” (acceleration due to gravity) on a thread on Facebook. I said it was 8.21 m/s^2 or something like that. That’s something a high-school student knows!!

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:04 PM

peter_griffin on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

You seem like the kind of froody dude who always knows where his towel is. Make sure you have some poetry ready, just in case.

Lily on January 29, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Shoot i would have guessed Star Trek. :-)

No, I agree. National pride is a huge motivating factor.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

That too. They see something like Star Trek, and then realize, “Hey! I can actually BUILD the Enterprise!”.

Not really the Enterprise…but as close as we can get to it. And maybe some day, in a few hundred years, the science of Star Trek could be a reality. But not if we stop working on it. That’s the whole point!

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I am not too sure we can approach space exploration the standard way : which is to build rockets which are pretty fast and then pray it lands safely. The problems are : space distances do not scale too well, so we would have to put on people and wait for generations to get back results. The best option is to use worm holes (which can be deduced from Einstein’s GTR) to “jump” through a discontinuity in the space-time fabric. However, that would require us to come really close to black holes, which is physiologically impossible.

One option is to create a black hole : which requires a lot of negative energy. The only known option to do that now is to bring two metallic plates really close (Fermi lengths). However, the negative energy gleaned from that is not good enough for any venture, leave alone a black hole.

peter_griffin on January 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

Count to 10: Yes, it is the accumulation of actions. He is attempting to kill what America used to be, with a thousand cuts, some deeper than others.

GaltBlvnAtty on January 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Is that the one with Sean Connery? Yeah, Moonraker was kind of stupid.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Folks who were not around in that time frame have NO idea of what kind of impact the origional moon landing had…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

We will look up at the Moon one day and say “Shit, that thing belongs to the Chinese!”. The Chinese remember that day when Americans walked on the Moon, and all their feelings. They’re the ones who will get there first and stay, and they are the ones who will own the place.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 7:55 PM

It’s actually my fav scifi movie of 2009.

Sam Bell has a three year contract to work for Lunar Industries. For the contract’s entire duration, he is the sole employee based at their lunar station. His primary job responsibility is to harvest and periodically rocket back to Earth supplies of helium-3, the current clean and abundant fuel used on Earth. There is no direct communication link available between the lunar station and Earth, so his only direct real-time interaction is with GERTY, the intelligent computer whose function is to attend to his day to day needs. With such little human contact and all of it indirect, he feels that three years is far too long to be so isolated; he knows he is beginning to hallucinate as the end of his three years approaches. All he wants is to return to Earth to be with his wife Tess and their infant daughter Eve, who was born just prior to his leaving for this job. With two weeks to go, he gets into an accident at one of the mechanical harvesters and is rendered unconscious. Injured, he awakens back at the station in the infirmary, he assumes assisted by GERTY. GERTY tells him that a rescue team named Eliza will come to the station to clean up the aftermath of the accident. After his recuperation, he takes an unauthorized trip back to the broken harvester, where he makes an unexpected discovery. Because of his find, he begins to doubt his sanity, then his true identity, then the company and GERTY’s willingness to do what is best for him. Because of his resulting beliefs, his sole mission becomes how to get back to Earth on his own.

Ugly on January 29, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Eventually, our earthly resources will run out. I cannot think of a better future. But don’t think Moonraker, think Outland

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM

Besides nuclear and fossil fuels, what exactly do you mean be “run out”? It’s not like the elements are going anywhere, and the sun will cook the Earth before it stops being a power source.
Humans are probably such on Earth, but our offspring, which might not be human in the biological sense, might make it out there.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:08 PM

I’m weighing in on the side that this is a mistake for multiple reasons, several of which have already been posted, so I won\’t digress:My biggest biggest reason though, is to make sure we OWN this glowing piece of real estate. Planting the flag in the Sea of Tranquility 41 years ago, checking on our property for a few years after that and abandoning it?????Some other country goes up there, lays claim to it. They pretty much visit the little place pretty regularly, do a few things to improve it (ahem…the gynormoussest reason for laying claim here: Mineral Rights!). They would have a pretty dang good Adverse Possession case (trial at the Hague, I imagine).

Chewy the Lab on January 29, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Can’t believe how many of you people hate science.

But seriously. All the space exploration in the world is a drop in the budget. Freeze entitlement COLAs for a couple years, you could fund NASA forever. And the payback is huuuge.

misterpeasea on January 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

I’m still not sure how the moon is a strategic asset. It would cost billions upon billions to get a self-sufficient colony up there with all the equipment and people. Then what could they accomplish?

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM

misterpeasea on January 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM

I was a chemistry major. That’s why I hate science. lol.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM

“Because it makes a better illusion”?
That strikes me as a very lame reason to do anything.
But, then, I care about results, not happy thoughts.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

The resources of the asteroid belt are no illusion.

We will need thousands of tons of equipment to exploit them and we do not even have the vehicles needed to get out there. Without manned spaceflight where are those vehicles going to come from? Instead we make endless bureacratic rules as to why no one can launch rockets unless they are from the government.

A human presence in space creates a market in space which begins to build upon itself the way every colony has throughout history.

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM

And your sensors and equipment won’t function worth a damn if there are armed and ready humans in the area who’ve deigned to prevent it.
unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

The first step in manned space travel it to protect the human “sensors”. Once you have a system in place to do that, then you can start adding man-made sensors to enhance the human sensors. It is far more economical to remove the human sensor support system and automate the man-made sensors.

Electrongod on January 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

We will look up at the Moon one day and say “Shit, that thing belongs to the Chinese!”. The Chinese remember that day when Americans walked on the Moon, and all their feelings. They’re the ones who will get there first and stay, and they are the ones who will own the place.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Um, the Chinese are only attempting to repeat what the US already managed. Why do you jump to the idea that they are going to get any more use out of it than we have?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Where would the money come from?

Oh, that’s right: the rich. We’ll just end the Bush tax cut’s, create or save 3000000000 jobs and … we’ll have the money to do it! :-)

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:12 PM

Is that the one with Sean Connery? Yeah, Moonraker was kind of stupid.

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Yes, Sean “Shaken Not Stirred” Connery, the real James Bond.

I suppose a combination of commercial, government and international efforts would be the best and affordable combination.

But with serious explorers

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

They will use the moon as a base to manufacture more toys containing heavy metals for our children to oison themselves with.

Darn Chinese!

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM

The problem with using automation to explore the unknown is judgment and insight. You can program a machine to interact with expected situations but that often is going opposite of exploration’s purpose and of a mere programmed machine’s limitations where the unexpected will be encountered.

A neurosurgeon can take CAT scans, PET scans and MRIs all day long but until his surgical boots hit the ground with poking, prodding and observing hands-on and brain-on the true condition, condition and outlook for the patient won’t be fully demonstrable. Should someone wish to experience the Grand Canyon I can show them pictures or suggest they send a friend to look at it for them but I usually suggest to those who want to understand it that they explore it for their self. Otherwise it’s like experiencing fine dining by peering through the restaurant window.

viking01 on January 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Let’s face it: The moon missions have been killed by deficits. We don’t have the money laying around to throw at a moon shot, moon base, or manned trip to Mars. Exorbitant spending through the 80′s, 90′s, and 00′s, by Democrats and Republicans, has pretty much doomed us to be Earth bound.

It’s hard to justify any seemingly-worthwhile adventure when we’re 12 trillion dollars in the hole.

Now, had our budget debt been zero, we could easily argue that this was beneficial.

Nethicus on January 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM

The resources of the asteroid belt are no illusion.

We will need thousands of tons of equipment to exploit them and we do not even have the vehicles needed to get out there. Without manned spaceflight where are those vehicles going to come from? Instead we make endless bureacratic rules as to why no one can launch rockets unless they are from the government.

A human presence in space creates a market in space which begins to build upon itself the way every colony has throughout history.

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:10 PM

If you want to get mineral off of asteroids, it will be much more efficient to do it with a remote.
If you want to clear out the red tape for private space exploitation, I’m all for it. Just don’t anchor us to the manned space flight pipe dream.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Humans are probably such on Earth, but our offspring, which might not be human in the biological sense, might make it out there.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Um, What?

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Folks who were not around in that time frame have NO idea of what kind of impact the origional moon landing had…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I have a far bigger interest in history than most of my peers; I’ve watched the video archives and I know some of that it felt like…

And that only makes the gut-punch feeling even worse when I look at what we’re doing today.

How the mighty have fallen.

We will look up at the Moon one day and say “Shit, that thing belongs to the Chinese!”.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:06 PM

Yep. Or the Russians, or maybe both.

We barely beat the hammer-and-sickle crowd the last time around…I wouldn’t put any money on us being able to do it again.

Dark-Star on January 29, 2010 at 8:15 PM

Where would the money come from?

Oh, that’s right: the rich. We’ll just end the Bush tax cut’s, create or save 3000000000 jobs and … we’ll have the money to do it! :-)

Rightwingguy on January 29, 2010 at 8:12 PM

The government has been pissing money away for generations to fight poverty and will continue to do so for generations to come. Why not take 2% of that and put it into something useful that will return the investment a hundred fold?

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:16 PM

Although a moon mission is romantic & all, it seems like a luxury at this point. I say cut it. And why not dump some real luxuries while we’re at it? From a Washington Times editorial, “Kill Big Bird”:

…[T]he average [PBS] listener age is 54.1, and 90 percent of listeners are white. Of those, 84 percent are college-educated, with 48 percent having postgraduate degrees, compared to slightly more than 9 percent in the population as a whole.

Demographics such as this reinforce the argument that public broadcasting is an upper-class subsidy.

KS Rex on January 29, 2010 at 8:17 PM

peter_griffin on January 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

One must crawl before they can walk, and walk before they can run. We don’t even know whether what you are describing exists in nature — it’s like those transuranic elements — they don’t exist naturally, we can build them, but the most complex ones we can build cost tremendous amounts of power, and last for no more than a few milliseconds at most — with a half life of under a millisecond.

We know how to build rockets, and we even know how to build a railgun. I suspect that existing technology will be the catapult (literally) for the transport of raw materials in space.

To the person who said that bars of gold on the moon would not be worth the effort to transport them back, I say that if gold from an industrial standpoint were a worthwhile metal, then we would indeed construct the means of getting all of them we needed back to Earth for use. Besides, think of the damage all those bars of gold would do to countries whose currency is on the gold standard…

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:17 PM

Um, the Chinese are only attempting to repeat what the US already managed. Why do you jump to the idea that they are going to get any more use out of it than we have?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Because they’re going to be the ones actually getting up there and taking advantage of those resources, Einstein.

Dark-Star on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

Can’t believe how many of you people hate science.

misterpeasea on January 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM

You don’t get it. I’m telling you this because I am involved with the science. Manned space flight isn’t.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

Otherwise it’s like experiencing fine dining by peering through the restaurant window.

viking01 on January 29, 2010 at 8:13 PM

Great analogy!
The old saying, you have to experience it, to really get it.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

How many billions of dollars are we pissing away in Haiti right now? For every $1 spent on space exploration, we get $7 to $8 back in economic and scientific benefit. We will get nothing back from Haiti, except maybe some tuberculosis-ridden refugees.

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

Let’s face it: The moon missions have been killed by deficits. We don’t have the money laying around to throw at a moon shot…

Nethicus on January 29, 2010 at 8:14 PM

IIRC, JFK announced a (stunningly implausible) trip to the moon when we were deep in debt back in 1960.

How’d that turn out?

Ugly on January 29, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Because they’re going to be the ones actually getting up there and taking advantage of those resources, Einstein.

Dark-Star on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

What resources, Schrodinger? The surface of the moon is almost identical to the surface of the Earth, just with less of the useful stuff like volatiles and heavy elements.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:20 PM

You don’t get it. I’m telling you this because I am involved with the science. Manned space flight isn’t.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

Are you saying manned space flights are not science, or don’t involve science, or don’t go to space to conduct science experiments?

Are you saying all those people we shot into space were just tourists?

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:22 PM

For every $1 spent on space exploration, we get $7 to $8 back in economic and scientific benefit.
KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I kind of doubt that, but, if that’s what you really thing, then spend it on real space exploration, not little vanity trips.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:23 PM

What resources, Schrodinger? The surface of the moon is almost identical to the surface of the Earth, just with less of the useful stuff like volatiles and heavy elements.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:20 PM

They said the moon was barren.
Then they discovered water.

I imagine most space objects are made up of the same stuff here on earth and if so, strip mining the moon is better than here, dontcha think?

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM

then spend it on real space exploration, not little vanity trips.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:23 PM

I eagerly await to hear your educated, thoughtful definition of ‘real space exploration’.

Dark-Star on January 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM

That’s what you get with The Wright Stuff.

Christien on January 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

If you want to get mineral off of asteroids, it will be much more efficient to do it with a remote.
If you want to clear out the red tape for private space exploitation, I’m all for it. Just don’t anchor us to the manned space flight pipe dream.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:15 PM

It is only a pipe dream because project after project were destroyed by bureacratic inertia. Orion, NERVA and others.

I don’t care if the copper, or steel is mined in Zambia, Peru, or the asteroid belt. If human beings aren’t going into space then it leaves me cold.

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Are you saying manned space flights are not science, or don’t involve science, or don’t go to space to conduct science experiments?

Are you saying all those people we shot into space were just tourists?

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Not initially. When they first went up, we didn’t have the remote capabilities to do some of the things they did.
But now? Yeah. Tourists is pretty close. They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with things for them to do.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

I think we need to go to the moon and paint a giant American flag on it that can be seen with a naked eye from earth.

clement on January 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

I’d rather our astronauts hitch a ride on Virgin Air and float the rest of the way to the space station than rely on the Russians for a ride.

mizflame98 on January 29, 2010 at 8:27 PM

Humans are not made to be in space. We are phenomenally bad at it. Maybe once we gain the technology to radically alter our physiology, then manned space flight will be useful — but we aren’t going to get there any faster by shooting a couple of guys out every year or two.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:57 PM

But we are made of star stuff and the human need to explore if not limited to just the earth, but includes the stars.

I cannot think of a better time to get started than now.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:28 PM

I eagerly await to hear your educated, thoughtful definition of ‘real space exploration’.

Dark-Star on January 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM

Just look up any of the space telescopes launch in, well, ever. Heck, throw in the ground based telescopes. And the space probes. Come on, putzing a person to a rock we already have examined in minute detail isn’t space exploration.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:28 PM

What resources, Schrodinger? The surface of the moon is almost identical to the surface of the Earth, just with less of the useful stuff like volatiles and heavy elements.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:20 PM

And with that logic there will NEVER be a reason to go into space.

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM

What timid spirits we’d be should we abandon exploration of space in favor of exploring politically profitable navels.

Maquis on January 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM

I’m tired of seeing the ignorant Luddites in this thread. Either we explore and better ourselves, or we as a civilization die. This is bigger than health care, bigger than cap and trade, and bigger than “financial reform”. Our nation has a choice to make. Scientific growth or returning to the dark ages. I pray we make the right one.

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:30 PM

Should we ignore the “Bush wanted it so I’m going to stop it” factor?

JeffWeimer on January 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

But we are made of star stuff and the human need to explore if not limited to just the earth, but includes the stars.

I cannot think of a better time to get started than now.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:28 PM

Have you ever heard of the computing problems that would take so long to calculate that you can either start now and finish in twenty years, or start in ten years and finish in two because of how much faster and cheaper computers will be?
Think that, but all encompassing, including biological engineering.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Scientific growth or returning to the dark ages. I pray we make the right one.

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:30 PM

Amen.

Maquis on January 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

IIRC, JFK announced a (stunningly implausible) trip to the moon when we were deep in debt back in 1960.How’d that turn out?

Ugly on January 29, 2010 at 8:19 PM

As a percentage of GDP, our debt is about double that of Kennedy’s. In addition, Kennedy was riding an economic golden period, whereas Obama is facing recession-ravaged economy.But if you look at the budget of the Department of Education, it sits about 80 times (approx) the size of NASA’s budget, yet provides no lasting benefit. Should we scuttle the D of Ed (which hasn’t done diddly to increase educational ranking of the USA in the world), and triple NASA’s budget, we’d still be saving over $400 billion. All of which should be applied to the Debt.

Nethicus on January 29, 2010 at 8:32 PM

And with that logic there will NEVER be a reason to go into space.

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Not until we have a way of exploiting it, no.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:32 PM

The project was an irrational boondoggle. The pole should have included more allowed responses.

burt on January 29, 2010 at 8:33 PM

They are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to come up with things for them to do.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:25 PM

I’ve worked with Goddard Space Flight Center and other agencies that designed experiments for the shuttle and ISS.
They have a huge backlog of experiments waiting to hitch a ride. So I cannot agree with that statement.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:33 PM

Not until we have a way of exploiting it, no.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Ah yes, the new Can’t Do Attitude.

Are you from NASA?

sharrukin on January 29, 2010 at 8:36 PM

What timid spirits we’d be should we abandon exploration of space in favor of exploring politically profitable navels.

Maquis on January 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM

Navels filled with copious amounts of Goldschlager

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM

I’m tired of seeing the ignorant Luddites in this thread. Either we explore and better ourselves, or we as a civilization die. This is bigger than health care, bigger than cap and trade, and bigger than “financial reform”. Our nation has a choice to make. Scientific growth or returning to the dark ages. I pray we make the right one.

KSgop on January 29, 2010 at 8:30 PM

Luddite? Luddite?
Would it be a Luddite position that no, we don’t want to publicly sponsor yet another expedition to the top of Everest, in the hopes that we stumble onto some new innovations, rather that invest those resources into finding some actual new science?
Because that’s all at trip to the moon or Mars would be: because it’s there.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Thats the same arguement they use against drilling for oil…

“it will take 10 years before we see the oil”, they said in the 80′s…

Of course, 30 years later, we still are not drilling, because it will take 10 years to get the oil…

Gotta start sometime, somewhere, or that argument will ALWAYS win out, and NOTHING will get done.

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Nethicus on January 29, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Point(s) taken. But if we do nothing we get nowhere. Pumping money into a trip to the moon I can get behind; bailing out failing auto industries, not so much.

It is our money, after all, and I like to think I have a say.

Ugly on January 29, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Bring a bat 41 bats!

rgranger on January 29, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Navels filled with copious amounts of Goldschlager

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:37 PM

That requires a lot more contemplation…

coldwarrior on January 29, 2010 at 8:40 PM

I’ve worked with Goddard Space Flight Center and other agencies that designed experiments for the shuttle and ISS.
They have a huge backlog of experiments waiting to hitch a ride. So I cannot agree with that statement.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:33 PM

How many of those are logged just to get something onto the space shuttle? How many of them are important? How many couldn’t be done with a sounding rocket or in a diving aircraft? If they were really all that important, they would justify the expense of creating an automated orbital lab, without people.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Have you ever heard of the computing problems that would take so long to calculate that you can either start now and finish in twenty years, or start in ten years and finish in two because of how much faster and cheaper computers will be?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:31 PM

Did you ever hear this speech.

Ee choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:18 PM

Thanks.

————————

Here’s my take on the gold example posted earlier. In Napoleon’s time aluminum was far, far more expensive than gold. Aluminum place settings were reserved only for royalty. Eventually, hands-on exploration devised methods of using new technology, new chemistry knowledge and high-current electricity to extract that metal cheaply and in quantity. Tomorrow if I decide to barbecue a pork shoulder I’ll probably wrap the roast afterwards in what Napoleon’s age considered more valuable than gold though the beer alongside it will still be out of a bottle.

Consider modern pharmacology. Much of the equipment, computer imaging systems and miniaturization derive from space technology. A lot of the gene splicing and cellular level modifications producing “magic bullet” drugs (example: Enbrel) which were a pipe dream only a couple decades ago. Insulin? Many common drugs? We synthesize them nowadays for greater purity to reduce or eliminate reactions to impurities found in natural plant or animal sources. Much of that advantage has been gained by space technology originated for systems reliability and to increase the resolving power of our observation tools.

Consider modern chemotherapy and oncology. We now use SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) technology to seek and find tumors and pre-cancerous changes. What is called Identification-Friend-or-Foe technology is now used in MRI and other scans technology to process the images on a cellular level to find cancer at the cellular level even before it can reach the tumor stage. Be thankful Reagan was big on national defense and space technology. Even in the midst of the economic disaster he had inherited from Peanut Carter.

Something the the Harvard Impostor known as Obambi simply couldn’t understand.

viking01 on January 29, 2010 at 8:44 PM

But how much innovation did that crowd out? How much would we have had if those people had been working on making useful innovations instead of focusing on transporting three men from here to there and back?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 7:26 PM

If there wasn’t a space program, those with degrees in aerospace engineering, etc would have gone where the money is—and those innovations would be in better peanut-holders for airplane seats, and million-dollar toilet seats for bombers.

Sekhmet on January 29, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Thats the same arguement they use against drilling for oil…

“it will take 10 years before we see the oil”, they said in the 80’s…

Of course, 30 years later, we still are not drilling, because it will take 10 years to get the oil…

Gotta start sometime, somewhere, or that argument will ALWAYS win out, and NOTHING will get done.

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 8:38 PM

No, it isn’t. The time scale for oil production doesn’t accelerate the way the technology we are talking about does. Right now, we have no pathway for making manned spaceflight profitable. We would be wasting our time using those unprofitable techniques, hoping something just popped up to make it work.
If you start talking communication satellites ect., those were products of unmanned space flight, with manned missions only filling a gap because remote control was so unreliable at the time.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:47 PM

I work at NASA, so naturally I’m biased. But, I see this administration as buying a very expensive car they can’t afford, then saying they will save money by not getting the multi-disk CD changer.

NASA funding is such a drop in the bucket compared to the other government spending. The President says he want jobs back at home and admonishes corporations for shipping them overseas. Well, the aerospace industry is one of the few american manufacturing industries that are still overwhelmingly based in the US.

NASA in of itself is primarily a management facility. So, when you cut it funding, it says to Lockheed, Boeing, Hamilton and all their thousands of sub-contractors (down to the family owned machine shop down the street from you) that their work is no longer needed.

They have already started flying the hardware, it seems silly now to just cancel it without replacing it with something better.

Yes, NASA is a government agency with no small amount of inefficiencies, but it provides work for tens of thousands of engineers, scientists, office workers, machinists, and skilled workers that actually make and build things in the US.

NASA should pave the way for commercialization of space by developing bleeding edge technologies that can be passed down. This is not cheap, but in the long run required for our continued leadership in science and technology.

So much for the technology President…

-G

Gyro on January 29, 2010 at 8:48 PM

If there wasn’t a space program, those with degrees in aerospace engineering, etc would have gone where the money is—and those innovations would be in better peanut-holders for airplane seats, and million-dollar toilet seats for bombers.

Sekhmet on January 29, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Why do you think that? Why do you assume that a government program would have gotten better results out of them than a private program?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:49 PM

How many of those are logged just to get something onto the space shuttle? How many of them are important? How many couldn’t be done with a sounding rocket or in a diving aircraft? If they were really all that important, they would justify the expense of creating an automated orbital lab, without people.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:41 PM

Does it really matter?
I could care less if they wanted to tape Sesame Street in Space. I don’t know how many experiments there are nor do I care of their importance weight.

Just that it could be done, and can be done, and should be done. Irregardless. I like the commercial possibilities, everything from space tourism to space industries. I don’t want Space to be the exclusive domain of a government agency, but I can see a joint venture where the benefit is to mankind, and womankind…. to be fair.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:50 PM

Gyro on January 29, 2010 at 8:48 PM

+eleventytwenty11!

Ugly on January 29, 2010 at 8:51 PM

Ee choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:42 PM

Yes. JFK said a lot of dumb things that people liked. But I prefer moral to be improved by real advances rather than high tech circuses.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Um, the Chinese are only attempting to repeat what the US already managed. Why do you jump to the idea that they are going to get any more use out of it than we have?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Because the mere act of repeating what someone else has already done indicates a rather intense level of persistence. I do not expect them to stop with what we did, but to go further — especially since we now know that there’s water up there, and where it is.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:55 PM

But I prefer moral to be improved by real advances rather than high tech circuses.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:53 PM

The two are identical, except in your head.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Does it really matter?
I could care less if they wanted to tape Sesame Street in Space. I don’t know how many experiments there are nor do I care of their importance weight.

Just that it could be done, and can be done, and should be done. Irregardless. I like the commercial possibilities, everything from space tourism to space industries. I don’t want Space to be the exclusive domain of a government agency, but I can see a joint venture where the benefit is to mankind, and womankind…. to be fair.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:50 PM

It matters when we are trying to evaluate whether manned space flight is a boon or a boondoggle.
How much would you want the government to spend on making a better piston driven steam engine, knowing that turbines are the way to go?

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:56 PM

What a crock of shit. Its been 38 years.

As Cernan got ready to climb the ladder he spoke these words, the last currently spoken by a human standing on the moon’s surface:
“As we leave the Moon at Taurus-Littrow, we leave as we came, and God willing, as we shall return, with peace and hope for all mankind. As I take these last steps from the surface for some time to come, I’d just like to record that America’s challenge of today has forged man’s destiny of tomorrow. Godspeed the crew of Apollo Seventeen.”

It is time to go back and keep going beyond.

freedomplow on January 29, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Something the the Harvard Impostor known as Obambi simply couldn’t understand.

viking01 on January 29, 2010 at 8:44 PM

I believe that is the human condition to solve problems, find solutions and explore the heavens. We were created to do so.

Plus, I just wanna.

Kini on January 29, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Because the mere act of repeating what someone else has already done indicates a rather intense level of persistence. I do not expect them to stop with what we did, but to go further — especially since we now know that there’s water up there, and where it is.

unclesmrgol on January 29, 2010 at 8:55 PM

Tiny wisps of water. When we have oceans down here?
If they want to wast their time messing around with the moon, let them. If they find anything worthwhile, we’ll probably be able to ramp up to exploiting it faster than they can.

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:59 PM

Count to 10 on January 29, 2010 at 8:47 PM

No, it is the correct arguement…

Its like the arguement that because we will be able to field the F-35 in a few years, we should stop building the F-22…

Of course, by then technology will increase again, so they will not build enough F-35s because somthing better is on the drawing board… (and interestingly enought, Russia just tested a Gen 5 Stealth Fighter)…

So in the end, we don’t have the craft to do what we need to do…. just like the current space program with the Shutle… where they have constantly restarted the plans to replace it… over and over and over…

Romeo13 on January 29, 2010 at 9:00 PM

I walked past the eternal flame at JFKs grave in Arlington today… I hear a very faint mmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmm.

CC

CapedConservative on January 29, 2010 at 9:01 PM

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