MSNBC space reporter: No NASA workers allowed at Obama’s speech yesterday

posted at 6:03 pm on April 16, 2010 by Allahpundit

Wish I could say that a Republican president would never pull something like this, especially when the speech touches on potential cuts that affect the workers in question, but this sort of audience-rigging is often par for the course for presidential stagecraft. I don’t know what he was afraid of — he’s been heckled before and has righties like me offering him political cover to scale the agency back — but I guess it makes sense that a guy who’s enough of a control freak to bring a teleprompter to a school is also enough of a control freak to handpick the people who get to listen to him talk about asteroids.

Now that I’ve knocked him, I’m going to let some people knock me. We got two interesting e-mails in response to my post yesterday, one from someone associated with the shuttle program, another from a professor of aerospace engineering. I invited readers to tell me why we shouldn’t cut deeply into NASA. Here’s why. First, a pep talk from the shuttle worker:

I’m not going to get into spin offs, or for every dollar in supposedly 8 dollars come back. NASA is supposed to do one thing – inspire. Does it do that? I can’t answer that, only you and the general public can. But if a space program wasn’t important, why would Russia have one when they are more cash strapped than us? Or why is China planning on going to the moon by 2020? Or why is India , Japan and Europe working on their on systems? It shows technological achievement. It shows national pride. Maybe, like Obama, you don’t believe in American pride anymore but I think you do.

Some people/students go into engineering, math, physic, etc to work at NASA, not for the money but for the goal. They believe in the American spirit of pushing the frontier. That there job is special and worthwhile. I’ll be honest, I’m sure I can more a lot more money in other fields. I have multiple degrees and I’m still relatively young… I chose to be a NASA because it gives me pride to be an American. To feel that I am helping America’s future.

NASA’s budget is about 18 billion dollars. It used to be about ½ percent of the budget and now it’s even small[er]. If you think that will balance the budget that go for it. Cut it completely. My understanding is that while 18 billion dollars is the budget, we don’t get all of it. It goes to entitlements etc. Also, manned space flight only gets a portion of that money.

The problem with NASA at present is that Obama and Charlie haven’t given us a goal. For Obama, it’s just about votes – if you noticed he ignored Texas and promised Florida the world, I mean Moon. Obama doesn’t believe in any mission but Obama. He said he wanted to kill manned space flight before the election and no-one should be surprised now. All this talk about private industry is just words by him. I believe in private industry, I just don’t believe they are ready yet. They are doing what NASA did in the 60s. We are turning our access to space over to private when they haven’t shown they can handle it yet. I hope someday they do but they have a long way to go. Once they show a reliable to get into space, than I’m all for it. But I’m not for some vague future of promises.

Now the professor, who makes some of the same points:

1) The “space exploration vs. fiscal responsibility” argument is misleading, if not wrong. NASA’s FY2010 budget is around $17 billion. Which is about 1/20th of Medicare, or roughly the amount spent on Pell grants each year. It’s a little less than the unemployment extension bill just signed. (Aside: NASA’s budget is about half of Apple’s annual sales.) Eliminating NASA would not make a dent in anything but the economics of the eastern Orlando area and south Houston.

2) Setting aside the giggle factor (thanks, Bruce Willis & Michael Bay), the asteroid landing idea is not bad. This idea is not Obama’s, but rather represents a leading alternate to the Bush-era Moon/Mars plan. I won’t bore you with details, but an asteroid landing *does* make sense.

3) The landscape is littered with the spent fortunes of dozens of privately-funded space attempts. While I would love to see privately-run space programs succeed, the fact remains that the entry costs are so high and the risks of failure so great that really only a government-sponsored program has any hope of succeeding. At least for the next 10-20 years.

4) Our military superiority absolutely hinges on space — mainly for communications and observations, but also the GPS navigation system. NASA, to be honest, doesn’t contribute much to that effort, but I’d worry that by cutting NASA, we’d cut off a pipeline/attraction for kids to become engineers, and then we’d be really screwed.

I’m lukewarm to the budget argument — yeah, NASA’s funding is chump change in the grand scheme of things, but we’re far enough in the hole now to start looking through the sofa cushions for money — but point four is a tough one for a hawk to argue with. Especially a hawk who remembers stories like this. Click the image to watch.

nasa-workers


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National Defense and Attack of the Aliens.

Two good reasons to keep NASA.

huckleberryfriend on April 16, 2010 at 7:04 PM

Mars Attacks: We still have two of the three branches of our Government.

unclesmrgol on April 16, 2010 at 7:06 PM

Theory number 2:

Obama wants the Asteroid Astronauts to alter a small asteroid’s trajectory so that it hits Israel.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:04 PM

MB4: That sounds like pure crazy talk,however,I’m
going to join you on this one!!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:06 PM

Rita X” caller(MotherShip
canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 6:55 PM

canopfor – Rita is Out of Space -Peter Tosh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gjPffZGQG8

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:06 PM

They have been trying to tax us locally for some sort of ‘Space Port’ in southern New Mexico……I wonder how THAT will be affected with this new ‘Era of Mediocrity’ that is owned by president pinocchio?
This is the ‘cradle of life’ for the space program…I guess sh*t will roll downhill on the job cuts.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

None of you actually believe that President Obama is serious about landing men on asteroids, do you?

Mike Honcho on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

….And why shouldn’t he cut NASA’s budget? Did it ever do anything that made Michelle 0Bama proud?

dmh0667 on April 16, 2010 at 7:10 PM

Good points all. My poit would be to respond to all those who say, well, it’s as much as we spent on X, Y or Z. People, we have to start somewhere. You can’t just keep funding pie in the sky, without knowing where it’s coming from.

OK, now that I’ve said that, I think space exploration, for all the other reasons is important. (and, as a non-science person, I really don’t care all that much.) I just know that for vision, for inspiration, for actual scientific application, we probably need NASA, not to mention that I feel VERY uncormortable with letting private industry decide whether a mission should be scrubbed or not. (Hello, Challenger, anyone?) Cut Michelle Obama’s programs, instead! We never elected her. Tell her to do her stupid programs on her own time, wihtout us funding it.

lizzieillinois on April 16, 2010 at 7:10 PM

None of you actually believe that President Obama is serious about landing men on asteroids, do you?

Mike Honcho on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

If you are Jewish I think he wants to land an asteroid on you. Up next, Texans!

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:10 PM

And when the Chinese militarize the moon — what then?

You do understand that a huge hunk of defense research is done by NASA, don’t you?

And my father died at age 65, less than six months after his first social security check. I’m firmly against raising the retirement age, seeing as I’m so close to it.

unclesmrgol on April 16, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Taking your points one by one, uncle:
- Large-scale space militarization, even of near-Earth space, let alone the MOON, is hugely expensive and makes zero strategic sense until such time as space becomes economically developed. If China were to actually pay for such a thing (hint: they won’t) it would be a huge boon for us – they’d be blowing huge amount of defense funding that could be spent down here on Earth to actually challenge our strategic dominance in SE Asia and for very little gain; and when, eventually, space becomes viable for economic development, they’d have invested to solve the largest technical challenges to military space deployment, making it much more affordable for us to do so when it actually makes sense. And, since all our brightest aerospace engineers and physicists interested in space technology would be in the private sector, focused on practical deliverables and guided by the invisible hand of the market to the most economically viable technologies, it would be almost certain we’d be first in economically developing space – so we win both ways.

-Military space research mostly falls under the purview of AFOSR and similar, not NASA. Look at, e.g. the X-37.

-And lastly, the age obviously couldn’t be raised 5 years in one go. The best solution is to do it in phases, raising the retirement age 1 year every 2 years for a decade.

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

>>NASA isn’t about 5 years from now, or 20 years from now. NASA is about what kind of nation we will be 50 to 150 years from now and longer. It’s also about the survival and continuity of our culture. <<
ZenDraken on April 16, 2010 at 6:28 PM

I couldn’t agree more! Approximately 50 years ago NASA was sending chimpanzees up in space capsules. Look at the advancements they’ve made over the years. So much of our technology can be attributed to NASA and the military, as others have already said here. It was exciting times to witness the new advancements back then and I’m angry that Obama doesn’t have a clue what NASA means to our country.

I remember the immense pride we had in our space program and the immense pride we had in our country. Obama has just about destroyed everything but one thing he can’t destroy is the will of the people. We will survive and we will restore our county to pre-Obamination.

GrannySunni on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

**Ouch**

Knucklehead on April 16, 2010 at 6:58 PM

not so much

but Thommy sure told me, right?

blatantblue on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

but don’t blame me for having to constantly clean up your ignorance on aisle 5, Knuckle

blatantblue on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

I can still think of no answer that makes more sense than Obama wanting Asteroid Astronauts to find an asteroid that resembles him, the more the better, and tow it back to an earth orbit so that his cultists can worship it.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Yeah, but it would crush his ego once he looks up and realizes that he’s orbiting around the Earth instead of the Earth orbiting around him.

ZenDraken on April 16, 2010 at 7:14 PM

I couldn’t agree more! Approximately 50 years ago NASA was sending chimpanzees up in space capsules. Look at the advancements they’ve made over the years.

GrannySunni on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

And now America has gone where no country has before and put an Indonesian Imbecile in the White House.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:15 PM

They have been trying to tax us locally for some sort of ‘Space Port’ in southern New Mexico……I wonder how THAT will be affected with this new ‘Era of Mediocrity’ that is owned by president pinocchio?
This is the ‘cradle of life’ for the space program…I guess sh*t will roll downhill on the job cuts.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

I believe that’s going to be used by the commercial companies, like Virgin Galactic.

KSgop on April 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Rita X” caller(MotherShip
canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 6:55 PM
—————————————
canopfor – Rita is Out of Space -Peter Tosh

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gjPffZGQG8

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:06 PM

yoda:Nice one,haha,Hey,where have ya been!!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Whom do you trust more?

1) A chimpanzee in a space capsule.
2) An Indonesian Imbecile in the Oval Office.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM
I believe that’s going to be used by the commercial companies, like Virgin Galactic.

KSgop on April 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Perfect.
/s

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Actually, I don’t know if NASA is unionized already. Are they?

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 6:58 PM

I don’t know either but wouldn’t doubt it, even the Dept of the Army civilians have unions.

farright on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Whom do you trust more?

1) A chimpanzee in a space capsule.
2) An Indonesian Imbecile in the Oval Office.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Uh, nevermind. Don’t want to get banned.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

This is the ‘cradle of life’ for the space program…I guess sh*t will roll downhill on the job cuts.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

HornetSting: No kidding,but Obama has plainly said,vote for
him,and he’ll save your job!!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:20 PM

yoda:Nice one,haha,Hey,where have ya been!!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Writing grants…tis the season.

canopfor – Are you feeling better?

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Uh, nevermind. Don’t want to get banned.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

If you are thinking what I am thinking you may be thinking, that’s what I was thinking before I thought I better not put it that way on account of you-know-what and you-know-whom, if you follow me.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Some government agency must have some UltraTop Secret information they are not sharing with the public and that is sometime in the next 20-30 years NASA figured out an asteroid spinning towards us far, far, away has a pretty good chance of hitting earth.

If something is to be done to stop the asteroid(s) then there has to be some training of some sort.
If the asteroid that has its target on earth can’t be moved so it misses earth or destroyed then there is no need for any future Mars missions or any space program…

(I just hope the guys that worked out the trajectory on this unknown killer asteroid are not the same ones working the global warming computer games.)

albill on April 16, 2010 at 7:22 PM

but don’t blame me for having to constantly clean up your ignorance on aisle 5, Knuckle

blatantblue on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

Get off your knee’s, AP doesn’t like it when he’s eating dinner. You have your own cleanup in aisle 1.

Knucklehead on April 16, 2010 at 7:23 PM

I don’t know either but wouldn’t doubt it, even the Dept of the Army civilians have unions.

farright on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

farright: This might help!:)
================================================
NASA Headquarters Professional Association

http://nhpa.org/

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Uh, nevermind. Don’t want to get banned.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM
If you are thinking what I am thinking you may be thinking, that’s what I was thinking before I thought I better not put it that way on account of you-know-what and you-know-whom, if you follow me.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Yeah.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Whom do you trust more?

1) A chimpanzee in a space capsule.
2) An Indonesian Imbecile in the Oval Office.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM

I will take the chimp.

farright on April 16, 2010 at 7:24 PM

While we’re being all ‘inspired’ by NASA – everyone else is going to space to take over that frontier, not be “inspired” by it. I know that doesn’t sit well with a Utopians way of thinking, but at least it’s honest.

China has no aspirations on “inspiring” their populace in any sense other than a propaganda one. Their government however wants to exploit space as they have everything else.

IMO, and granted its an elementary one, NASA hasn’t really inspired anything for the past two decades. You can look at almost everything about the space program through the mid-1970′s and be inspired by it. The Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs and everything associated with them, sending the first landers to Mars, Voyager, that type of stuff – doing nigh on impossible stuff with the technology of the times with the driving force of course science, but with a whole lot of guts behind it.

Since then, what do we have? Shuttle’s launching to low earth orbit. Wow. All though not in the scale, we’ve been doing that for almost fifty years. Hubble has been cool and has worked out (not withstanding all of it’s problems) – but are these inspirational?

Can anyone other than a NASA ‘fanboy’ name a current astronaut (other than any who were killed)? How many can you name from say 1960-1975? Inspirational?

catmman on April 16, 2010 at 7:25 PM

albill on April 16, 2010 at 7:22 PM

As long as the astronauts have machine guns on their rovers to deal with any asteroid-type aliens, I’m all for it.

catmman on April 16, 2010 at 7:27 PM

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:08 PM

HornetSting: No kidding,but Obama has plainly said,vote for
him,and he’ll save your job!!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Well, I hear the gubmint cheese is handed out with argula now…..

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:28 PM

don’t know either but wouldn’t doubt it, even the Dept of the Army civilians have unions.

farright on April 16, 2010 at 7:18 PM

For real? If so, WOW.

I propose a full and complete audit by independent firms of the entire federal government. The Auditers shant be contributers to either political party.

Let’s get that on the ballot in 2010. Full, complete, audacious AUDIT! Oh my, the cash we’d find!

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:29 PM

He wasted that much money on the weatherization boondoggle. 5-10 billion and 588,000 dollars for every weatherization job created. It is said our schools crank out grads that can’t train themselves how to buy and apply caulk.

seven on April 16, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Well, I hear the gubmint cheese is handed out with argula now…..

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:28 PM

Hey now, no dissin’ on the gummint cheese.

WTF is arugula? Sounds like spring greens…. knarly.

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Why would anyone heckle GOD ? ;-)

Hummer53 on April 16, 2010 at 7:31 PM

Well, I hear the gubmint cheese is handed out with argula now…..

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:28 PM
Hey now, no dissin’ on the gummint cheese.

WTF is arugula? Sounds like spring greens…. knarly.

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:30 PM

I’ll send you one of my thongs…I hear the weather is beautiful right now, Key.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:32 PM

He wasted that much money on the weatherization boondoggle. 5-10 billion and 588,000 dollars for every weatherization job created. It is said our schools crank out grads that can’t train themselves how to buy and apply caulk.

seven on April 16, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Here’s a funny story. Back in 1994 K-Mart ran a commercial touting their customer service excellence. They filmed an 82 year old lady in the hardware aisle. The friendly clerk came along to ask, “May I help you?”. The lady responded, “My husband sent me here for some caulk”.

The commercial aired for one day. Fortunately, I got to see it.

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:33 PM

China wants to learn how to do high-level industrial quality-control, something NASA honed by going to the Moon. That’s a major reason for developing human spaceflight and an area where China is seriously deficient.

High-level QC isn’t glamorous, but it’s a critical aspect of high-technology manufacturing. It’s part of why we have abundant and cheap computers right now. But in today’s environment of social justice and community organizing, who needs high-technology manufacturing?

ZenDraken on April 16, 2010 at 7:34 PM

I’ll send you one of my thongs…I hear the weather is beautiful right now, Key.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:32 PM

It’s beautimus. Don’t send me your thong though. I wear many.

/I know I sound like a guy, but alas, I am not a guy, nor am I gay. Smooches!

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:36 PM

I’ll send you one of my thongs…I hear the weather is beautiful right now, Key.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:32 PM
It’s beautimus. Don’t send me your thong though. I wear many.

/I know I sound like a guy, but alas, I am not a guy, nor am I gay. Smooches!

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:36 PM

No WONDER you like gubmint cheese….you wear your thong and you get the good stuff! LMAO!

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Jay Barbree is a Space Cowboy - Steve Miller
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI3SNrmOcPA

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:38 PM

No WONDER you like gubmint cheese….you wear your thong and you get the good stuff! LMAO!

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:38 PM

While swingin’ in a hammock watching the sunset with a Margarita in one hand and a bleep in the other!

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Along with other folks, I suspect that NASA just got a medium PR profile shiv job. Skippy don’t care bout no Buck Rogers.

As for overall necessity and game plan – for now, NASA is very necessary, to prop open the doorway out of the gravity well, and to demonstrate the ability to function in such an environment – something that private enterprise is unlikely to step up to given the scope of what we’re talking about. Without a reasonable expectation of success – which is the incentive driving the current private push, i.e. they know it can be done, along with the incentivization of guaranteed paying passengers and payloads from the USG.

What private enterprise currently does not have the willingness or incentive to do is to move beyond low earth orbit. To venture out beyond the gravity well. NASA has a crucial role in the pathfinding and exploration/data gathering that needs to be done before we can expect to see serious commercial ventures in space.

Hoot and scoff as much as you’d like at the thought of going to an asteroid – even dress it up with apocalypse avoidance in the form of a ‘save the planet from disaster!’ fantasy. But the ‘reason’ for going to an asteroid makes sense for a couple of reasons.

First, if we’re ever going to harvest/process/extract resources from asteroids, we’re going to have to figure out how to catch them and deal with them, for starters. Secondly, by creating the ability to go ‘catch’ an asteroid, we’ll also be creating a lot of what will be necessary to check several other things off the wish list concurrently. The ability to go back to the moon. The ability to go to Mars. Because if we can get out of the planetary gravity well, and operate for extended periods of time (more than a few days), then we can go anywhere in the Solar System we choose to. And thus gain access to all of the resources such mobility allows. . .

Wind Rider on April 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Yeah.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Or perhaps on thinking about this some more I should have phrased it as, “If you are thinking what I am thinking you may be thinking, that’s what I was thinking before I got to thinking I better not get to thinking about putting it that way on account of my thinking about you-know-what and my thinking about what you-know-whom might get to thinking.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM

But do I believe Skippy is really onboard to push such a program? Nah. He’s just whacked the NASA budget, while taking credit for expanding the vision. Standard BS.

Wind Rider on April 16, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Yeah.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:24 PM
Or perhaps on thinking about this some more I should have phrased it as, “If you are thinking what I am thinking you may be thinking, that’s what I was thinking before I got to thinking I better not get to thinking about putting it that way on account of my thinking about you-know-what and my thinking about what you-know-whom might get to thinking.

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Your thinking was correct because you-know-who has been minding the you-know-what out of the you-know-where and it could be very bad for you-know-who.

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Wind Rider on April 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Private sector space development will make the economically optimal use of near-Earth space. There is no reason for the Federal government to focus on propelling us beyond Earth’s gravity well – it would serve no military or economic purpose.

These points are true in general, and are all the more vital to acknowledge in a time of unprecedented and worsening government structural deficits.

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 7:51 PM

I find it really interesting that China wants to reach the moon by 2020 and Obama wants to delay manned missions until 2025.

Skandia Recluse on April 16, 2010 at 7:58 PM

NASA’s budget is about 18 billion dollars.

Yes that is “chump change” and to put it in perspective, the Give and Serve boondoggle to pay people to “volunteer” to caulk windows was 8 billion.

Buy Danish on April 16, 2010 at 7:59 PM

I find it really interesting that China wants to reach the moon by 2020 and Obama wants to delay manned missions until 2025.

Skandia Recluse on April 16, 2010 at 7:58 PM

ObamaChinaCom. Dismantling America since 2009.

Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 8:01 PM

8,500 jobs cut?
The student loan takeover cut 2,500. Is Biden keeping score? Closed Hummer, shut down saturn cars, stopped pontiac in its wide tracks. Obama is a hatchet many.

seven on April 16, 2010 at 8:05 PM

NASA needs a mission, a challenge that is real …
tarpon on April 16, 2010 at 6:07 PM

An O-Bot’s idea for a mission: locate and make contact with the planet Vulcan ’cause we need more kewl Presidents like Obi-Won.

ya2daup on April 16, 2010 at 8:09 PM

What is it about Allah and his distaste for NASA? What gives? Let’s stop beating around the bush and say it outloud for once.

“I..don’t…like…NASA.”

Feel better?

Speaking of Medicare, Allah, how come you don’t even raise the point about the massive waste and fraud to the tune of some $50 to $60 billion dollars a year? Let’s see, NASA’s $17 to $18 billion a year budget vs Medicare ongoing annual boondoggle fraud and waste to the tune of $60 billion with nothing to show for? Which one put better use the money spent?

Maybe to hate NASA is anti-American? Unpatriotic?

Hmmm……

Kokonut on April 16, 2010 at 8:16 PM

if you noticed he ignored Texas and promised Florida the world, I mean Moon.

Not to mention Huntsville — which would completely collapse, and likely take a chunk of Nashvegas with it.

Tanya on April 16, 2010 at 8:27 PM

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:16 PM
———————
Writing grants…tis the season.

canopfor – Are you feeling better?

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:21 PM

yoda:Yes,feeling alot better,thank-you for asking!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 8:34 PM

I do miss the crazy NASA days, tho. I spent ALL day in front of the TV, glued to the NASA channel, on July 4th, 1997. Missed the parades and the cookouts, and finally had to be dragged away from the Pathfinder landing to watch the fireworks after dark.

And that only cost something like $250 million. I’d love to see NASA/JPL go back to that level of mad brilliance.

Tanya on April 16, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Jay Barbree is a Space Cowboy – Steve Miller
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI3SNrmOcPA

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:38 PM

yoda:)
=====================
Space Truckin’ [complete] – Deep Purple

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHOrpFeXUao

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 8:43 PM

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 7:20 PM
——————-
Well, I hear the gubmint cheese is handed out with argula now…..

HornetSting on April 16, 2010 at 7:28 PM

HornetSting:ObamaCheese!!:)

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 8:45 PM

yoda:)
=====================
Space Truckin’ [complete] – Deep Purple

canopfor on April 16, 2010 at 8:43 PM

canopfor – Now you’ve really done it!!
2001: A Space Odyssey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vahx4rAd0N0&feature=related

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 8:51 PM

What am I supposed to tell my grandson? He wanted to grow up to be an astronaut and go to the moon or mars. Anybody who takes zero at his word needs to be calmed down medically. Why try to land on an asteroid when they land here already.

Kissmygrits on April 16, 2010 at 8:54 PM

I’ll be honest, I’m sure I can more a lot more money in other fields. I have multiple degrees and I’m still relatively young…

After struggling through that first plea, Im not sure I would trust the education of the engineers at NASA, no matter the number of degrees. Im certainly hoping english is perhaps not his first language. If not? Then at least gut the program and get some competence back in the dept. starting with sentence structure and spelling.

Koa on April 16, 2010 at 8:58 PM

The reason we must keep a space presence is simple:Who controls the orbitals, controls the planet. Tattoo that to your foreheads. If an enemy can drop six foot by 1 foot metal rods from orbit, they can destroy any target at will, with no radiation release. That’s all the reason needed.

SDN on April 16, 2010 at 9:24 PM

There is no reason for the Federal government to focus on propelling us beyond Earth’s gravity well – it would serve no military or economic purpose. These points are true …

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Bull-shi’ite. Are you saying there’s no economic purpose that you happen to care about, or that there’s no economic purpose at all, as recognized by others? Because there are others who beg to differ with you.

Oh, by the way, welcome to HotAir. Your first comment thread here with us, or have I missed you on other threads?

RD on April 16, 2010 at 9:42 PM

I think I heard it on the radio today, but it makes sense: Nasa’s job is to explore! Private enterprise can’t come up with the funds to do so, so it takes our government to do so. Just think where we would be in Obie Wan was married to Queen Isabella.

TimothyJ on April 16, 2010 at 9:54 PM

Jay Barbree is a Space Cowboy – Steve Miller
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI3SNrmOcPA

yoda on April 16, 2010 at 7:38 PM

He’s also the only American reporter to have covered every US manned space mission since before O’bama was born in wherever.

Del Dolemonte on April 16, 2010 at 10:19 PM

Bull-shi’ite. Are you saying there’s no economic purpose that you happen to care about, or that there’s no economic purpose at all, as recognized by others? Because there are others who beg to differ with you.

Oh, by the way, welcome to HotAir. Your first comment thread here with us, or have I missed you on other threads?

RD on April 16, 2010 at 9:42 PM

Yessiree, I’m new aboard the good ship Hot Air. Thanks for the welcome.

And in answer to your question, I am indeed saying there’s no economic VALUE at all in pursuing anything but near-earth orbital spaceflight. I defy you to name any resource that can be harvested or manufacturing activity that can be accomplished more cheaply in distant space than on Earth or near it. You can’t, of course – if there were, private industry would be endeavoring to exploit it, as is the beauty of the free market.

But make no mistake: one day there will be, and the free market will make it happen, not the haphazard and non-deliverable focused engineering efforts of a government bureaucracy.

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 10:32 PM

I defy you to name any resource that can be harvested or manufacturing activity that can be accomplished more cheaply in distant space than on Earth or near it.

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 10:32 PM

1. Large-scale mass production of solar power satellites.

For small scale limited deployment, it’s cheaper to launch them directly from Earth. For large scale mass deployment it’s cheaper to manufacture them in space, using lunar or asteroidal materials.

2. Large-scale manufacture of hydrogen and oxygen from lunar ice deposits, in support of lunar and solar system exploration and colonization.

Granted, this requires a large-scale demand for fuel and oxygen, which is not there yet.

But to get the ball rolling, we need to see a major reduction in the cost to orbit. It’s the launch costs that are killer. Once they come down enough, the free market will take care of the rest. That may happen sooner rather than later, but we’ll just have to see.

ZenDraken on April 16, 2010 at 10:53 PM

What is going on here? I was sure that only Bush lied.

IlikedAUH2O on April 16, 2010 at 11:31 PM

ZenDraken on April 16, 2010 at 10:53 PM

Only technical innovations from the wine and cheese gang or backed by major lobby power will be considered.

And if the routine production and fabrication of the goods is done abroad while we have a 30% unemployment rate among blacks and the untrained, that is fine, too.

How can He look at Himself in the mirror? I am a racist reactionary and I would be sick at what is happening to so many families today.

IlikedAUH2O on April 16, 2010 at 11:44 PM

If we stop trying to reach the stars… it feels like we are letting down the future somehow. Generations yet unborn will have to wait because we don’t have the will now to do it.

The space program is inspiring.

I have two nephews who are aerospace engineers. I think they are actually rocket scientists… I just try not to sound dumb… I even call them Doctor now and then.

It is at the same time boringly technical and then so awe inspiring to wonder at the night sky, and think what if…

Something in the soul responds to the vastness of space.

petunia on April 17, 2010 at 12:42 AM

The space program is inspiring.

petunia on April 17, 2010 at 12:42 AM

Petunia, I do not wish to sound harsh, but if you are looking to the Federal government for inspiration, to touch your soul, you are sadly misguided. And even if it could do so, that is not what the Federal budget should be used for.

For inspiration, I recommend you try reading scripture and reflecting on the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.

For enjoyment of space, good-quality telescopes are available at affordable prices via Amazon, and SpaceShipOne tickets are available from $100,000 via Virgin Galactic.

Inkblots on April 17, 2010 at 1:04 AM

The reason we must keep a space presence is simple:Who controls the orbitals, controls the planet. Tattoo that to your foreheads. If an enemy can drop six foot by 1 foot metal rods from orbit, they can destroy any target at will, with no radiation release. That’s all the reason needed.

SDN on April 16, 2010 at 9:24 PM

Manned space flight has zero relevance to that. Going to Mars or asteroids has no relevance.

Sending a few robots out exploring is fine. Anything more is just a way to keep people on the public payroll.

pedestrian on April 17, 2010 at 1:24 AM

not to mention that I feel VERY uncormortable with letting private industry decide whether a mission should be scrubbed or not. (Hello, Challenger, anyone?)

As opposed to what…letting the government responsible for Challenger AND Discovery make that call?

xblade on April 17, 2010 at 1:36 AM

Taking your points one by one, uncle:
- Large-scale space militarization, even of near-Earth space, let alone the MOON, is hugely expensive and makes zero strategic sense until such time as space becomes economically developed. If China were to actually pay for such a thing (hint: they won’t) it would be a huge boon for us – they’d be blowing huge amount of defense funding that could be spent down here on Earth to actually challenge our strategic dominance in SE Asia and for very little gain; and when, eventually, space becomes viable for economic development, they’d have invested to solve the largest technical challenges to military space deployment, making it much more affordable for us to do so when it actually makes sense. And, since all our brightest aerospace engineers and physicists interested in space technology would be in the private sector, focused on practical deliverables and guided by the invisible hand of the market to the most economically viable technologies, it would be almost certain we’d be first in economically developing space – so we win both ways.

The guy with the high ground can always drop rocks on the guy on the low ground. The gravity well works best going down.

-Military space research mostly falls under the purview of AFOSR and similar, not NASA. Look at, e.g. the X-37.

Hmm. What contract vehicle was used to build the shuttles? Who flew them, and what were their governmental affiliations? Can you tell me in detail the cargoes carried on every mission, and why they were launched?

The militarization of space is fiat accompli. Now the question is whether we give our adversaries the time to meet and beat our technological edge.

-And lastly, the age obviously couldn’t be raised 5 years in one go. The best solution is to do it in phases, raising the retirement age 1 year every 2 years for a decade.

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

How charitable of you. Nope, I’m not even giving up a year. I’ve worked too long, and the government has taken too much, and, historically, my family are what are euphemistically called “chopped livers”. Again, no thanks, because its not a winner for me actuarially.

It’s like those 3% of richfolk who think we all ought to be paying more taxes. You are welcome to chop out your SS — but I’m not going to reciprocate.

unclesmrgol on April 17, 2010 at 1:55 AM

I find it really interesting that China wants to reach the moon by 2020 and Obama wants to delay manned missions until 2025.

Skandia Recluse on April 16, 2010 at 7:58 PM

As you should. You have hit the nail on the head. China would need to secure some technologies to land without killing themselves. I am sure our Dem Gov will give them what they need while we ourselves can’t go because we’re not directed to any longer, plus China would need to pay the bills anyway, so they will fund themselves going. When China gets there it will be militarized and sectioned off like earth. Bacially earths problems will have expanded to other worlds instead of us being unified like Buzz Aldrin was proposing. It is important, whether we return or not, to make this an International thing else the dream of exploring other worlds is tainted forever. I’m sure Obama is perfectly aware… he and his alleged Science Staff. An advantage could be that we dont help CHina get there and let them suffer delays in learning for themselves like we did but again I am sure we’ll be sold out just like always. I mean how else can they launch people in Space now? Someone’s helping them, or would this be the perfect time for Russia to be interplanetary buddies with the Chicoms. Think ahead people, 15 or 25 years from now. These decisions will come back to haunt us and our future generations. Dont take it lightly.

johnnyU on April 17, 2010 at 7:15 AM

catmman on April 16, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Hubble taught us a lot about manufacturing and what NOT to do once one looks at why the mirror was flawed and was the result of someone jury-rigging a test fixture. Hubble being up there for 20 years now has taught us about material degradation. The new detectors on Hubble, seeing it could be retrofitted with the latest technologies via Shuttle,are proving additional results in things they are detecting and this information is being used on the ground here in cancer detection research. If more kids took more interest in real Space rather than tv shows and video games about Space they’d learn about how to solve their problems through looking at them intelligently rather than growing up to be teens who pop drugs to think that solves their problems. I’m not going to preach on this. I have seen the benefits of SPace exploration first hand and have been in classrooms. I’ve seen the kids who do not give a damn about a picture of Mars and I have also had kids pull me aside separately and ask me for links to more information on Space because they didnt want the other kids to know they were inspired.

In some ways the Outreach of NASA has fallen behind in getting the spinoff news to the public. Extreme conditions in Space and problem solving has yielded lots of new things from materials to tools to how we look at certain things like calcium degradation in zero-G, small pumps for insulin in humans and so on. The Hubble repair missions are a bit of an insight of what was encountered in problem solving with stuck bolt problem resolution, to paint that cant withstand extreme temperatures, to adhesive technology and the repairing of things that wer’nt meant to be repaired in Space by a person with a pressure suit on. Its a way of thinking that goes with this and carrying THAT into everyday life, then imagine teaching that to a kid. The educational materials are out there in museums and learning shows like Nat Geo.

johnnyU on April 17, 2010 at 7:48 AM

Meanwhile, how’s about a big hand for Russia. They just ot a new spy satellite up there. Think we need NASA now?

johnnyU on April 17, 2010 at 7:52 AM


Here’s the link

johnnyU on April 17, 2010 at 7:53 AM

AP, you are not a “righty”, at best a moderate old school Democrat – nothing wrong with that. But a ‘righty’… not.

You seem to downplay the ‘inspiration’ bit. Which is arguably the most important part of manned exploration. Look at the stories you report on… not terribly inspiring for the most part.

Take a trip sometime to a place where no lights reflect in the night sky… look up.

Back in 71-72, I took a trip to Mexico with a guy. He spoke spanish and wanted to get the flavor of rual Mexico – we were in Mexico City at the time and drove up the mountains on dirt roads to some tiny village. There were real wooden side walks – just odd planks lifting above the dirt street.

In the canteena, the whole town of less than 20 – men women and kids were gathered watching a TV showing live scenes from the current US moon effort. Everyone was talking about it an how wonderful it would be if their kids could grown up and walk the moon like the Americans.

Having recently returned from an enforced tour of Europe and the Middle East, what those mountain people had in common with all the others I had met overseas, including the odd Russian KGB guy, was they were all filled with hope for mankind – inspired by us – the Americans.

We, for a very short while, inspired the entire world. No mean feat. Worth every penny.

Want to bring a relative peace to the world? The focus attention elsewhere; on Man going beyond Earth, beyond what is known, beyond the mundane.. on the planets; on the very stars… look up.

I say fund NASA and the Moon/Mars missions. Take the money from the Dept of Education, NASA will make better use of the money.
Zorro on April 16, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Budget problems solved NASA rescued and refunded to proper levels:
Cap HHS budget to $200 billion from $800 billion;
Eliminate HUD;
Eliminate Dept Education.

For starters.

Landing on an asteroid aint that much different from landing on the moon
both big ass space rocks.
can learn about its composition, minerals, etc etc
blatantblue on April 16, 2010 at 6:17 PM

That particular plan came about after environmentalist protested the “polution” of the moon’s surface with human wastes and debries. They actually planned a lawsuit to stop further manned landings on the moon.

Proving Global Warming is a real challenge. Which is why for some reason Obama kept refering to “climate” in his speech yesterday.
uknowmorethanme on April 16, 2010 at 6:20 PM

He refered to it often because Global Warming has been declared the number one national security threat by his admistration.

NASA will be unionized within 3 years.
Key West Reader on April 16, 2010 at 6:21 PM

NASA will be a minor division of NOAA within three years…

NASA could accomplish a lot more for less money if it focused on exploration and left the routine transport to private industry.
ZenDraken on April 16, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Dittos as they say. Private industry to provide routine LEO transportation and manufacture of parts. All government efforts lie beyond LEO.

Get private industry to ADVERTIZE on various missions. During the extensive hearings (NASA TV – shows no longer available) on the run up to the Moon to Mars program, industry repeatedly said they would pay really big bucks to advertize, to put their logos on NASA mission hardware.

of course its different landing on a moving object
blatantblue on April 16, 2010 at 6:54 PM

All objects in space are moving… perhaps you mean those with eratic movements in their orbits?

…Mars has two moons, both of which are smaller than many asteroids?
MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 6:54 PM

And according to the Europeans, Phobos may be hollow…

Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 7:11 PM

China will militarize the moon because they can, and because they want to beat the Russians to it. The expense will be met by selling the new tech they develop, as well as really cheap solar panels to wacko green energy types, and exporting H3 for real fusion reactors they build and sell world wide to serious manufacturing nations.

Along the way, they will also gain control of the Lagrange Points, thus controling all space between Earth and the Moon, and outward to Mars. Think long term as they do, not short term as we Americans are used to doing.

I defy you to name any resource that can be harvested or manufacturing activity that can be accomplished more cheaply in distant space than on Earth or near it. You can’t, of course – if there were, private industry would be endeavoring to exploit it, as is the beauty of the free market.
Inkblots on April 16, 2010 at 10:32 PM

Resources that can be harvested: Silicon. H3. To name two.

Very efficient solar panels can be mass produced for pennies on the moon. Plentiful silicon, plentiful energy (solar). Perfect ball bearings from lunar iron. All materials for LEO manufacture would have to be shipped up.

Private Enterprise would not go to the expense of shipping a material up to be made into something else because it would not be profitable.

Private Enterprise is forbidden by treaty from making a profit off anything beyond LEO – think Antarctica.

Petunia… for inspiration, I recommend you try reading scripture and reflecting on the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus… , that is not what the Federal budget should be used for.
Inkblots on April 17, 2010 at 1:04 AM

Cheap shot. Keep your eyes tightly focused on your navel and the NT… never look up…

MB4 on April 16, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Tough call… :)

Wind Rider on April 16, 2010 at 7:39 PM

Generally agree, except explain why we need to chase distant astroids in dangerously eratic orbits to mine them for minerals, when those same astroids have spent billions of years plastering the nearby moon in a stable orbit with those same minerals?

SDN on April 16, 2010 at 9:24 PM

You got it in one. Control is what it is all about for socialists – for long term thinkers like the Chinese. Metal rods are nice, but in space rocks are cheap and plentiful. Why mess with rods?

Friendly21 on April 17, 2010 at 10:35 AM

I had the honor of working on a NASA research project as a college student. The goal was to put men on the moon by the end of the decade.

We were studying the effects of weightlessness and inactivity on astronauts during their flights. Among my duties was performing bone decalcification studies using X-rays of joints and certain other bone areas, scanning the X-rays, feeding the data into a computer, and then calculating the bone loss…simplified description of the process, but you get the gist. I was working on the files of “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee on January 27, 1967 when my boss called to tell me what had happened and to seal up all my records and wait for someone to come pick them up. The results of our studies helped shape the diet and exercise programs later used by astronauts, so we were pleased to have made a small contribution to the advance of science.

…and this “President” wants to send Astronauts to an ASTEROID!

opaobie on April 17, 2010 at 1:52 PM

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