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Mars Rover Opportunity Faces New Threat: Budget Ax

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the no-rover-for-you dept.

NASA 185

astroengine writes "NASA's baseline budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 pulls the plug on the 10-year-old Mars rover Opportunity, newly released details of the agency's fiscal 2015 spending plan show. The plan, which requires Congressional approval, also anticipates ending the orbiting Mars Odyssey mission on Sept. 30, 2016. 'There are pressures all over the place,' NASA's planetary science division director Jim Green said during an advisory council committee teleconference call on Wednesday."

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90 day budget (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470845)

It really overran the original 90 day budget.

Re:90 day budget (4, Insightful)

MrBingoBoingo (3481277) | about 8 months ago | (#46470889)

Sure, but... Continuing a legacy like that is cheaper than launching anything else. It's almost like the Airforce retiring the A-10 and supposing a vaporware F-35 can replace it, the F-35 being both Vaporware and an abortion because someone insisted the bulk of the US's future airplanes must take off and land like helicopters. Seriously, Fund NASA, axe the F-35 and just buy some French Raphaels already.

Re:90 day budget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470999)

Ooooh yo! Lemme ax you a question. Is light skinned niggers smarter than dark skinned niggers?! I say yes they are and everybody knows it!

Re:90 day budget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471081)

I don't think the NASA budget is too small. I think NASA could be actually a rebadged russia or something? If I were the UN I would have my own space agency, do missions and shit, and photoshop whoever's logo on whatever. then collect the benjamins! or if you're in europe, el benjaminos.

Re:90 day budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471015)

Sure, but... Continuing a legacy like that is cheaper than launching anything else. It's almost like the Airforce retiring the A-10 and supposing a vaporware F-35 can replace it, the F-35 being both Vaporware and an abortion because someone insisted the bulk of the US's future airplanes must take off and land like helicopters. Seriously, Fund NASA, axe the F-35 and just buy some French Raphaels already.

Just the Marine Corps' have vertical take-off. The F-35 is being bought by three different branches of the military. Yah it costs a lot, but less than the three of them each designing new planes... hopefully. That's what you need to compare it to at least.

Re:90 day budget (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 8 months ago | (#46471471)

All of them are compromised to provide for the marine's requirements.

Re:90 day budget (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46472189)

No they aren't actually, the F-35A and C have no compromises caused by having to accomodate the B variant, as its the B variant which compromises for its own capability (it has smaller weapons bays, a lower fuel capacity, shorter range etc etc).

Re:90 day budget (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471089)

yeah but Maven is due to arrive in September and that carries a newer suite of instruments to study Mars. It hopes to answer questions about the history of Mars' atmosphere amongst other things. The Europa mission will never get off the ground. America has been utterly ransacked and pillaged.

Re:90 day budget (4, Funny)

hax4bux (209237) | about 8 months ago | (#46471309)

You had me until "buy French Raphaels"

Re:90 day budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471445)

> French Raphaels

Huh? Do you mean "Rafale"? The French aren't the religious, English spelling using type...

ITYM but some Eurofighter/Typhoons (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46471493)

Thats the nearest equivalent jet in capability to the F-35 - and its actually in production and flying today. The Rafale looks nice buts its a bit long in the tooth now and not at the top of its game.

Re:ITYM but some Eurofighter/Typhoons (1)

JJP (26494) | about 8 months ago | (#46471821)

There is one real reason why these alternatives will never be considered an option by the US military (and therefore by a couple of other NATO countries). All these planes lack the capability to deliver a US designed nuclear warhead, and the US industrial/military complex is not likely to give away their USP in selling overpriced jets by licencing the technology to non-US manufacturers.

Re:ITYM but some Eurofighter/Typhoons (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 8 months ago | (#46471987)

really? [wikipedia.org]

Re:ITYM but some Eurofighter/Typhoons (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46472197)

The Rafale and the Eurofighter are the same age (they actually date from the same initial development program, from which the Eurofighter countries left because they didn't want a carrier capable variant), it just looks like the Eurofighter is newer because it spent longer in development hell.

Re:90 day budget (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471661)

And you forgot the fact that the A-10 is a better combat platform than the F-35 will ever be. Will the F-35 be able to fly home with most of it's wings and tail section missing? I doubt it. the A-10 does it all the time.

Re:90 day budget (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 8 months ago | (#46472179)

Uhm, no one said that the bulk of the US future airplanes must take off and land like helicopters - there are three variants of the F-35, and only the F-35B (which will be bought by the US Marine Corp, as well as the UK) has VTOL capability. The bulk of the F-35 order (around 1,600 planes at last count) will consist of the F-35A, which is completely conventional. The third variant is the F-35C, for the US Navy.

It helps your argument if you actually sound like you know wtf you are bitching about.

Re:90 day budget (1)

AlabamaCajun (2710177) | about 8 months ago | (#46472271)

Why don't we just fly a couple of the friggen F35s to mars and use them their. That would give other superpowers reason to put military hardware in the pink skies also. That in turn would give the red planet some CIA green.

Re:90 day budget (0, Flamebait)

wiredlogic (135348) | about 8 months ago | (#46471181)

Typical NASA waste.

Re:90 day budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471413)

Luckily the future of space exploration isn't NASA, just mothball it and cut your losses. Time to let real scientists achieve the bridge that NASA cannot achieve because of the shortsightedness and the lack of conviction of the American people.

Re:90 day budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471509)

We need separation of science and state. To get there without violence I think we need to end NIH/NASA/etc and provide 10 years of grad student level stipends for everyone affected as they go learn a different field of science for new perspective.

Not just the ongoing missions are being cut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470857)

Science funding has been cut across the board at NASA.

Sounds like the rover needs a Kick Starter (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470859)

Who's going to create one?

Getting to close to (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 8 months ago | (#46470873)

debunking that life only excists on Earth?

Re:Getting to close to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470895)

Excists, you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Re:Getting to close to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471757)

Or the word "to", for that matter.

Re:Getting to close to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470913)

Troll

Give control to the internet (5, Interesting)

JesseJMH (3495217) | about 8 months ago | (#46470881)

For a monthly fee, they should allow commoners to send commands to the rover. Lets see how fast the internet can break it! Bonus points for getting to the scale of twitch plays Pokemon.

Re:Give control to the internet (1)

Alex Vulpes (2836855) | about 8 months ago | (#46470901)

Oh man, I wish I had mod points. That is awesome.

Re:Give control to the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471317)

Oh man, I wish I had mod points. That is awesome.

What the fuck is wrong with you. the post sucks!

Re:Give control to the internet (2)

John.Banister (1291556) | about 8 months ago | (#46471257)

I was thinking they could sell it to China, but leasing for a fee sounds better.

Re:Give control to the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471343)

What the fuck is a pokemon?
And GET OFF MY LAWN!

Re:Give control to the internet (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | about 8 months ago | (#46471431)

Even better, have the rover controlled by twitch and watch it spaz out in random directions. To see how this might work, see: Twitch plays pokemon [twitch.tv] .

Re:Give control to the internet (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 8 months ago | (#46471861)

How common? On the other hand, perhaps there is a profitable niche there, sort of like how space tourist lies somewhere in between commoner and astronaut. There's a bunch of money involved and a lot of it covers training.

open source it (4, Interesting)

globaljustin (574257) | about 8 months ago | (#46470891)

I think the whole "budget crisis on infinite earth's" is all fiscal voodoo...however if this has to happen, we should turn it over "to the community"

NASA should open the project to screened volunteers who maintain the basic mission functions.

NASA could set up an API & a simple prototyping program & let people download it for free. Best ideas get kicked up the ladder...eventually to NASA staff who could approve it.

This should be happening now...it would cost virtually nothing (on NASA $ scales) and get thousands interested & involved in space.

Re:open source it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470939)

They would probably be better off giving operational control over to a university with an existing research program. Preferably one that could field its own operations center (under the assumption that their budget problem is facilities and staff). The university could then create an outreach program for interested community members (maybe team up with the Udacity guys and do something online).

Re:open source it (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 8 months ago | (#46471019)

I realize it probably sounds like a good idea, but screening and training volunteers is likely to be even more expensive than keeping the minimal crew they have operating the rover now.

Ditto on the API and "simple prototyping program," although I'm not even sure what that second thing even it supposed to be. Just writing the software would be expensive, not to mention you now have to have NASA people reviewing what comes in.

Driving rovers probably sounds a lot easier than it is. Commands are strung together in sequences. Sequences have to be checked to make sure they don't have conflicting commands. Instruments have to be taken into account; it's not just driving around that is being done.

And then there is the intense analysis and investigation that has to be done if something goes wrong. Reports have to be written explaining everything down to the bit level.

On top of that there is planning to be done to even decide where to drive, which involves a whole lot of people.

There is not only no money to be saved by handing operations over to "the community," there is also the probability that if you did the rover would be ruined within a few days.

Re:open source it (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 8 months ago | (#46471499)

I know code just doesn't write itself but on NASA budgetary scales this would be a pittance.

When I say "simple prototyping program" I mean they learn the interface + mission capabilities...then they devise a mission...then they **test** the mission via the API & prototyping program.

Basically it's a simple simulation program that anyone in "the community" could download and test their ideas for what the rover should do.

They record their simulation & make a proposal that is discussed on forums...eventually the best ideas get implemented.

Re:open source it (3, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | about 8 months ago | (#46472081)

on NASA budgetary scales

You say that as though it is supposed to bolster your argument. NASA's budget is somewhere around $15bn/year, or about 0.5% of the total federal spending. That covers everything from advanced research to planetary exploration to human space flight. The line item for the Mars Exploration Rover program (i.e., Opportunity) is $13 million. I suspect a lot of that goes to personnel costs, some of which might be reduced through volunteer efforts. It also costs a lot to maintain the control center and the program infrastructure, which cannot be replicated through an "API and 'simple prototyping program' ". The costs associated with people coding instructions for the rover is really a small part of the program budget. The cost to create and administer some sort of volunteer program might be small compared to $15bn, but it would be quite expensive relative to costs it is trying to replace.

Re:open source it (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 8 months ago | (#46471283)

This should be happening now...it would cost virtually nothing (on NASA $ scales)

And it accomplishes virtually nothing to boot! Seriously, there's a hell of a lot more to running the rover than just steering and driving. There's also a whole hell of a lot of engineering support. Then there's the whole science team, who also are on the NASA payroll...

this is how they learn "engineering support" (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 8 months ago | (#46471487)

And it accomplishes virtually nothing to boot! Seriously, there's a hell of a lot more to running the rover than just steering and driving.

right...i know what you mean. this would be more in the "PR" realm, but educational "PR"...they learn the stuff you're saying they need to know! Realistically speaking it's highly unlikely that a workable idea for use would get "kicked up the ladder" from the community would be anything that wouldn't have been pre-planned anyway.

but don't discount "PR"...it's not just "PR" it's a **next level of involvement** in space exploration for anyone with an internet connection and that is absolutely priceless...seriously how many millions upon millions has NASA and the US gov't as a whole spent to get "kids interested in science"...well with my idea they can drive the thing themselves...and learn some of those "engineering support" roles you pointed out ;)

Thanks, Obama. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470925)

Thanks to you, America's future will be confined to paying for your past excesses.

Re:Thanks, Obama. (5, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 8 months ago | (#46470947)

Well, you got the wrong president's name, but you do have a point.

Re:Thanks, Obama. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471025)

Thanks to you, America's future will be confined to paying for your past excesses.

Well, you got the wrong president's name, but you do have a point.

I didn't know all Baby Boomers were the president!

Re:Thanks, Obama. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471063)

Thanks to you, America's future will be confined to paying for your past excesses.

Well, you got the wrong president's name, but you do have a point.

I didn't know all Baby Boomers were the president!

No shit: it's time to immediately begin means testing social security and to increase the retirement age. If that's going to happen inevitably for the Millennials then it's only fair to do it to our parents who made the mess in the first place.

tea party america don't go no use fo' outerspace! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470949)

fuck a mars rover, gimme tax cutssssssssssssss

Re:tea party america don't go no use fo' outerspac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471351)

fuck a mars rover, gimme tax cutssssssssssssss

Fuck your tax cuts, we need to start another war!

Re:tea party america don't go no use fo' outerspac (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#46471395)

Let's do that, it will be fun to see those nukes flying. I'll keep the score from my homestead.

Re:tea party america don't go no use fo' outerspac (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 8 months ago | (#46472227)

fuck a mars rover, gimme tax cutssssssssssssss

Or we can keep the program going. You can send me a self addressed, stamped envelope and I'll send you the fraction of a cent that you will have to contribute to the mars rover for this year.

Budget Priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46470969)

It's all about priorities.
We need to strip education and science and all that unimportant crap so we can get the F-35 to fly.

Re:Budget Priorities (1)

mrxak (727974) | about 8 months ago | (#46471669)

Has nothing to do with the F-35. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the payouts we give to individuals in this country. It's at a record high of 70%, and those programs (unlike military spending) will never be cut, ever, because it'll be political suicide for anyone who tries. Massive expansion of social programs is what kills science spending.

Re: Budget Priorities (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471803)

Have you ever actually looked at the us budget? They're available online, so there is no excuse.
Try comparing the budgets from circa 2000 and then follow the next decade. It's pretty obvious where the hole is. Hint you're very wrong.

Can it run another 2.5 years? (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about 8 months ago | (#46471001)

September 2016 is two and a half years from now. If NASA's lucky it'll wear out and stop functioning by then. If not then probably a big hue and cry will arise and funding will be found to keep it going.

Re:Can it run another 2.5 years? (2)

afidel (530433) | about 8 months ago | (#46471033)

As well it should, compared to designing, building, testing, and launching a new probe manning the ground station has to be downright cheap so as long as they are getting useful scientific information out of it it seems shortsighted to cut the funding.

Send some terrists to Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471009)

It's a disgrace that science is rejected by other wasteful programs, but perhaps if we some terrorists to Mars the budget will magically increase tenfold so certain other agencies can keep an eye on 'em? ;-)

Re:Send some terrists to Mars (2)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#46471087)

The question is up to what /price/ point is science worth it ?

Re:Send some terrists to Mars (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471673)

to republican leaders? science has zero value.
Pork bellies is where it's at!

Take a lesson from youtube (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 8 months ago | (#46471029)

If they give it a face, preferably with puppy or kitty eyes, finding continued funding for it should be no problem.

politics as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471055)

Nothing to see here. NASA threatens it will lose a popular program if it doesn't get more budgets. Peons rabble. They get more budget.

The pattern is easy to see and it happens over and over in any highly watched public-funded institution.

Re:politics as usual (1)

coastwalker (307620) | about 8 months ago | (#46471767)

Actually no one gives a monkeys about the planetary science program, its deeply unpopular because it uses genetic medicine and genetically modifies organisms to survive drought and it supports evolution and it ends the war on drugs - it is fundamental Science.

NASA should spend more money on that Russian space station, because we get live moving pictures back which make the news. Air time gets funding.

Actually America is just about done now and the rest of us are just waiting for the Chinese to take over the role of leading the world in real science.

See they have this dictatorship that doesn't need tv ratings to do things.

I despair.

If NASA can't afford to explore with robots... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471103)

If NASA can't afford to explore space with robots, then what's the point of funding NASA at all? That's certainly what some probably want, but I think it's utterly ridiculous that NASA can't afford to continue to use resources they've already developed and launched.

Re:If NASA can't afford to explore with robots... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471369)

If NASA can't afford to explore space with robots, then what's the point of funding NASA at all? That's certainly what some probably want, but I think it's utterly ridiculous that NASA can't afford to continue to use resources they've already developed and launched.

If the military can't end wars, What's the point of funding the military?

That's what killed skylab (4, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | about 8 months ago | (#46471109)

An expensive project with huge potential that died due to not putting up the funds to transport and fuel up the vehicle already built that could have both brought people there for a mission and nudge it into a higher orbit.

Re:That's what killed skylab (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471679)

Skylab did it's mission, HAve you been in Skylab II? I have, it's sitting there at space camp in Huntsville, AL. I was able to get past the glass and walk around. it was incredibly small and not much science could get done in it. mostly it was to make sure that humans did not get space madness after extended stays in low gravity.

Re:That's what killed skylab (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46472307)

Skylab was pretty much done; future mission plans involved refurbishment. Just prolonging its existence would not have been productive.

Why does it need money? (4, Insightful)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 8 months ago | (#46471137)

What is the expense of this thing at this point?

Everything being used is likely fixed and in use on or orbiting mars. The only things beyond that would be the transmitter/receiver on/above earth, the control room, and whatever you're paying the engineers to run it.

So of that, the only thing that should really cost money is the engineer's time... and I would think at this point you could get volunteers to do it.

Sorry, NASA's budget has no room for fat. These little projects add up to being a significant portion of a budget. I think the project should be maintained. But all the fat needs to be trimmed. Additionally, solicit donations and consider relocating the control room somewhere cheaper. Possibly a university somewhere would be happy to have graduate students control it and would pay most of the costs associated with maintaining it. After all, all the expensive stuff was already completed.

Farm it out to someone with room in their budget.

Re:Why does it need money? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 8 months ago | (#46471455)

The big-ticket item is probably communications They need one of the DSN antennas: huge dishes that there are never enough of. Ending the Curiosity mission makes room for a new mission without having to build a new 34-meter dish antenna.

Re:Why does it need money? (4, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#46471819)

Nobody seems to be asking the most important question: What more can we expect in return for the continued operation? That answer should drive the decision. It may not cost much to keep it going, but if we've pretty much exhausted any meaningful return, then what is the point of putting more $$ into it. OTOH, if they think there is a lot more information we can gain beyond what we already have, then extend the operation appropriately.

Typical government stupidity (1)

mendax (114116) | about 8 months ago | (#46471153)

This rover has been running ten years and has been used to do great science, far more than anyone ever anticipated. All the rovers have far exceeded their intended lifetimes. In other words, they're cheap. X number of dollars was spent to delivery Y amount of science and they got far more than they bargained for. Continuing the funding for the the rover means that this science gets even cheaper.

What Congress really ought to do is give NASA $10 billion, tell them to build and launch more rovers of this type, and send them all over Mars. $10 billion will pay for a lot of rovers.

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#46471179)

and next year, they'll want 11 billion... then 12, 15, 20...

Re:Typical government stupidity (5, Insightful)

distilate (1037896) | about 8 months ago | (#46471377)

Still only a tiny fraction of what the government spends blowing up civilians in other countries.

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 8 months ago | (#46471607)

Don't forget subsidizing corn way, way beyond reasonable!

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471693)

and we should give them 20 billion, then 24, 28,32,36....

Science is far more important than killing people.... yet we give 80% of our taxes to the department of killing things.

Re:Typical government stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471879)

Yawn...wake me when the US defense spending drops substantially below 600 billion. The defense budget and contractors are hungry and want NASA's 10/11/12/15/20 billion slice of the pie. Mmmm....pie.....

Re:Typical government stupidity (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about 8 months ago | (#46471321)

I keep seeing the argument of what we get for a dollar funded to NASA. I ask what we get for a dollar funded to professional sports. I get to see some grown man chase all over some field trying to snare a ball.

I admit a lot of kids see this and dream of becoming a sports star or rock star. Is this a productive use of a human lifetime? Some say it is, some say it isn't, and I am not qualified to state. All I know is advancement of science is a dream to me. As far as I am concerned, Space Exploration is to science like programming games is to computer science. Its the stepping stone, the common basis of knowledge, from which we spring off whatever comes up.

NASA has always been an icon for me - an entity who is actually doing something that has never been done before. Will I benefit from a romp on the moon? Probably not. Would I benefit from stronger alloys, higher energy density batteries, more sophisticated CAD systems, and legions of kids which were motivated by the Scientists at NASA. I believe I will.

Our society seems to be quickly succumbing to what the economists refer to as "tragedy of the commons", where everybody is in it for themselves regardless of the cost to others. Our government is passing all sorts of laws encouraging "rent seeking" ( ownership benefits ) at the expense of production ( job creation ), leading us into a welfare state. I see big social problems ahead with this leadership model, as the ownership faction will run amok, leading to enormous wealth disparities between those who labor and those who own. We are setting ourselves up for a civil war between the worker and the politician/banker classes.

We seem to have no problem funding enormous salaries for someone to hit a ball with a stick. Here we have fostered an intelligence great enough to have placed a part of ourselves on another planet, and we bicker over whether we can even fund manning the operation? I am quite sad over this whole affair. It seems the only idols we are given is all this bread and circus crap. No more Spock, Scotty, or Steve Squyres.

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 8 months ago | (#46471393)

The problem is that the enormous salaries you are speaking about are being paid by private companies whose strategy is to maximize their own profit by paying a select few huge amount of money. NASA is publicly funded by nobody more than a bunch of elected official who merely need to be convinced to fund the project. ROI for the public is literally lights years away And let's be honest, who the @#$% gives a damn on playing with a robot on Mars when we keep being as savage as human can be, beside the guy having fun controlling it... on taxpayer money ?

Re:Typical government stupidity (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471695)

then they can pay for their own fricking stadiums.

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471969)

Dare to dream, Lumpy, dare to dream......

In Miami we had a Mayor get recalled because he went ahead with a stadium subsidy after the public voted it down. The guy who lead the recall effort won the office of Mayor in a special election. He then pushed through a stadium deal.

They must have some kind of corporatist mind control ray.

Re:Typical government stupidity (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471753)

NASA projects involve basic science.

The ROI on basic science is so enormous it's difficult to quantify because it's hard to know where to stop. How do you even try to attach a dollar value to the entire Internet and everything it has created and touch in order to answer "What was the ROI of the DoD's investment in ARPANET?" With the corporate sector having, in the last 50 years, become utterly blind to everything more than 3 months out, it's up to the government and associated entities (national labs, universities) to keep funding and doing basic research.

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471687)

Mars? launch a very large rover for the moon and another to Venus. why the hell are we only looking at one planet?

Re:Typical government stupidity (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 8 months ago | (#46471725)

launch a very large rover for the moon

The moon's close enough that we shouldn't bother with rovers, unless they're left behind by acutal astronauts..

another to Venus

Venus isn't all that interesting since there's no chance for humans visiting it in the forseeable future. And a rover would only survive hours at most. However, placing an airship or balloon probe in Venus' atmosphere (where it could survive for quite a while at the right altitude) might be interesting.

A tad too soon (0)

Issarlk (1429361) | about 8 months ago | (#46471293)

I don't think the chinese will be there with a rover for another couple of years. Maybe Nasa could give them the rover's keys in the meantime ?

Re:A tad too soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471337)

Why would NASA need to give them the keys?
As part of the ongoing cyber war they already have full access and are probably responsible for the rovers damaged wheel, doing burnouts while NASA sleeps!

Remeber this before signing up.. (2)

scsirob (246572) | about 8 months ago | (#46471297)

Whomever volunteers to go on the first Mars mission should read this article, print it and stable it to the wall.
Guess what can happen when you are out there, the first glorious conquerors of Mars. You make by with what you have, rely on communication with Earth for guidance and support. Then a bean counter on Earth decides that you are too much of an expense...

Re:Remeber this before signing up.. (1)

hax4bux (209237) | about 8 months ago | (#46471323)

Time for you to watch "Dark Star"

Re:Remeber this before signing up.. (0)

dave420 (699308) | about 8 months ago | (#46471699)

"Whoever". Don't use whom if you're not sure.

Re:Remeber this before signing up.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471735)

Or just use "The" where possible. The "whom" is implied.

nasa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471383)

No longer going where no man has gone before

Re:nasa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471421)

So they'll be relegated to exploring the deep cavity of goatse's ass then?

Just increase the taxes of the 1% (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471397)

Problem solved. At the same time you will get enough money to re-instate the food stamp program, and depending on how brave you are, introduce universal health care and free higher education.

Washington Monument Syndrome (0)

dottrap (1897528) | about 8 months ago | (#46471429)

This is a clear case of Washington Monument Syndrome.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]

Threaten the most visible/popular projects to get more money.

Congress Makes NASA Finish Useless $350 Million Structure
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/... [bloomberg.com]

Government Blatantly Wastes $30 Billion This Year (NASA appears 3 times)
http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/... [thefiscaltimes.com]

Crowd fund it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471453)

NASA could always make a Kickstarter account.

Sell it to the Chinese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471561)

With the money, NASA may be able to support some of the other projects currently for the chop.

Congressional Idiots (2, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46471657)

less than 1% of the Defense budget can run NASA at higher levels. WTF is wrong with the complete MORONS that were elected to be in Congress?

They want to save money, call all the troops home and end the frigging police actions.

Plenty of money in NASA's budget (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471749)

There is still apparently plenty of money in NASA's budget for internal diversity programs, sensitivity training, commissioning outside studies to determine if NASA is complying with tolerance policies, and for their GLBTI adoption program (the "I" is for "inter-racial"). Yes, NASA will pay $50,000 towards a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, or inter-racial employee couple to adopt a baby, but not a same-race heterosexual couple.

You must be fucking kidding. (1)

pcwhalen (230935) | about 8 months ago | (#46471901)

I did believe / understand this at first. We have hardware on ANOTHER PLANET that works and we want to abandon it?
Get Kafka on the phone, new story idea.

Opportunity, Growth and Security? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46471997)

I've never heard of the Growth and Security rovers, where are they?

Pick up line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46472047)

Howard is going to need another pick up line - no more "Would you like to drive a car on Mars?"

Of course (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 8 months ago | (#46472055)

It makes sense the NASA budget is tight, they don't have a lot of jobs that can just be handed to anyone's nephew, and its hard to dupe a bunch of engineers into buying expensive equipment they don't need that may or may not even work as intended.

This makes NASA a piss poor government program from the POV of politicians. What is the point if they can't make some kickbacks or repay a large campaign donation with favors? Duh. This isn't rocket science.

I bet if they found a reason to buy full body scanners and found some jobs that don't actually require showing up or doing anything, they would have far less funding issues.

Donate! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46472099)

If they're going to kill the rover, why not at least donate the rover and control center to education? If this country feels it can no longer budget and perform scientific tasks like an adult, then let kids use it to learn about Mars. That's right, this country cannot budget like a mature adult, and thus does not deserve it's remote control toys until it can learn to live within its means. Maybe the kids will grow up smarter, and we won't have to deal with so much stupidity and waste in the future.

Having said that, I'm very sad to see this happen.

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