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Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

NASA 267

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes 'Earlier this week, attempts to cut NASA's budget were defeated, and it looks like the largest space agency in the world will actually be getting nearly a 2% budget increase overall. While common news outlets are touting this as a great budget victory, the reality is that this is shaping up to be just another year of pathetic funding levels, putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold. A sobering read for anyone who hasn't realized what we could be doing.'

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267 comments

Government fails again (5, Insightful)

Kohath (38547) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177135)

Maybe we shouldn't put our greatest dreams in the hands of government.

Re:Government fails again (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177155)

Sure, Enron, JP Morgan, Bank of America, AOL Time Warner, Blackwater, Haliburton, Malaysia Airlines, ValuJet et al would do it much better and cheaper...

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177187)

Oh the banks just LOOOOVE the government. When everyone's mortgages were in trouble and people were all losing their houses, instead of the USA bailing out people who owned houses by buying out their mortgages, they gave banks all the money. You can do the math, it would have been the same cost to buy most everyone's house for them. Jubilees are good for the economy. But when you want to pay off that guy who bought you into office, you're more concerned about him.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177347)

You're proving his point. They OWN the government.

Re:Government fails again (4, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177467)

No, you are proving his point. It's people like you that are the reason for government being weakened so much that these corporations are allowed to influence it to such a great degree.

Back when patriotism was a thing just a few decades ago, companies didn't wield even a fraction of political power they have today.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177551)

So why is that AC's fault?

Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177159)

I'd suggest that we start with the more modest step of expelling all the people from government who were elected on a platform of breaking the government which they then proceeded to make into a self-fulfilling prophecy so that they can crow that it's broken... If it's still fucked 8 years on, we can try more drastic approaches.

Re:Government fails again (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177189)

And making the post office pay for the retirement of people who aren't even born yet, and then claiming that the US post office is inefficient and needs to be dismantled.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177311)

I read "And making the post office gay"

Re:Government fails again (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177197)

Maybe we shouldn't put our greatest dreams in the hands of government.

6:30 a.m. You are awakened by your clock radio. You know it is actually 6:30 because the National Institute of Standards and Technology keeps the official time. And you can listen to your favorite radio station only because the Federal Communications Commission brings organization and coherence to our vast telecommunications system. It ensures, for example, that radio stations do not overlap and that stations signals are not interfered with by the numerous other devices â" cell phones, satellite television, wireless computers, etc. â" whose signals crowd our nationâ(TM)s airwaves.

6:35 a.m. Like 17 million other Americans, you have asthma. But as you get out of bed you notice that you are breathing freely this morning. This is thanks in part to government clean air laws that reduce the air pollution that would otherwise greatly worsen your condition.

6:38 a.m. You go into the kitchen for breakfast. You pour some water into your coffeemaker. You simply take for granted that this water is safe to drink. But in fact you count on your city water department to constantly monitor the quality of your water and to immediately take measures to correct any potential problems with this vital resource.

6:39 a.m. You flip the switch on the coffee maker. There is no short in the outlet or in the electrical line and there is no resulting fire in your house. Why? Because when your house was being built, the electrical system had to be inspected to make sure it was properly installed â" a service provided by your local government. And it was installed by an electrician who was licensed by your state government to ensure his competence and your safety.

Your greatest dreams are in the hands of the government everyday.
And those are just the ones from the first 10 minutes after you wake up.

Re:Government fails again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177243)

Because without government we could never accomplish these things. I'm sure if this guy eventually gets dressed and drives to work you'd bring up the roads, too, another impossibility to do without our benevolent rulers. :)

Re:Government fails again (4, Insightful)

rockout (1039072) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177349)

Because without government we could never accomplish these things. I'm sure if this guy eventually gets dressed and drives to work you'd bring up the roads, too, another impossibility to do without our benevolent rulers. :)

yeah, we COULD accomplish these things. Problem is, we wouldn't. Except in that one country where there's no government and they have clean water and clean air and electricity, and yes, even roads that you can safely drive 70 mph on. Where is that again? RIght, in the figment of an AC's mind.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177455)

The motivation of a certain type of person is to rule over others, and many of them are unscrupulous and stop at nothing to rule over others. Is it any surprise that nowhere has been left free of rulers? For a long time, we had slavery everywhere too, but eventually it was eradicated in most of the free world. This is what we call progress.

Re:Government fails again (3, Informative)

GauteL (29207) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177669)

Great. So go live in an ideal world without those people so that you can implement a society without rules, where people just play nicely with each other.

The fact is; on every street in every town in every country there is at least one arse who will take full advantage of their freedom to fuck you over. You have a lovely sea view? The arse will build a massive garage blocking your view. Or opposite, you have a lovely old three hundred year old oak tree in your garden... when you come home one day that tree is lying across your lawn because the arse wanted a better view. Lots and lots of people care about nothing but themselves and their own. The only reason it is even remotely possible for us to live together in cities in relative peace is government and laws describing the limits to our freedom to fuck people over for our own benefit. Try going to cities where government and law enforcement has broken down.

Re:Government fails again (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177571)

"You get in your car and check your sticker. Your local road was built by Freetrans, your state's #1 private road construction company. Fortunately your toll sticker is good for another two weeks before you need to pay another $300 for the monthly renewal. Sure, it's a steep price, but you only have one road to your driveway - so whatever Freetrans wants, you have to pay. There used to be a bus service, but Freetrans declined their license years ago - individual car tolls are just more lucrative."

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177671)

The argument here is that: because my alarm clock went off this morning and my coffeemaker didn't burn down my house, we ought to give NASA whatever funding they request in order that they can put some dude on Mars. Well, please excuse me if I'm not quite convinced by this logic...

Re: Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178127)

No, the argument is, "Government can succeed or it can fail just like any other Human endeavor. If You have People refusing to believe in that endeavor and working to make it fail, it will likely fail like any other Human endeavor. If You have People believing in that endeavor and working to make it succeed, it will likely succeed like any other Human endeavor."

Re:Government fails again (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177995)

More to the point, whenever we've been given the chance, we haven't.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177351)

That's pretty much it. Unless you're smarter than allllll the people and civilizations that came before and arrived to the same system?

You'll just have to accept that not everyone is as smart and selfless as you, and just like your body, you need a basic system in place just to get things done on a daily basis.

A cell that just goes around doing what it wants is at best a bacteria, at worst a cancer cell.

Re:Government fails again (4, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177471)

I present to you Somalia, the country without effective government. It lacks all those things.

Strange correlation if this isn't causation, wouldn't you think?

Re:Government fails again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177507)

Actually, apparently Somalia when compared to its neighbors and its past history has done better without government. These things are relative and have to be taken in context.

Re:Government fails again (3, Insightful)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177983)

It takes a genuinely insane person to make such a claim.

Re:Government fails again (2)

Kohath (38547) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177503)

The roads where I live are in a terrible state of disrepair. The money gets spent on pensions instead. Pensions don't help anyone who needs a road. Nor do they keep the peace, nor do they teach children, nor do they fight fires.

Re:Government fails again (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177537)

Pension buys social peace and appeasement...

Re:Government fails again (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177293)

If only we could apply that idea to internet access.

Re:Government fails again (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177539)

The Internet would be in a pretty bad state... and don't even think to post any comment against the Government in place...

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177313)

And you can listen to your favorite radio station only because the Federal Communications Commission brings organization and coherence to our vast telecommunications system.

I only wish that they didn't violate the first amendment by punishing people who use words that they don't like. Sadly, many people cheer such rights violations on, because they too don't like the words, so no one should be able to say them over the radio or on TV.

Re:Government fails again (1, Troll)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177337)

And you can listen to your favorite radio station only because the Federal Communications Commission brings organization and coherence to our vast telecommunications system.

Time standards that were adequate to their day were around before NIST. NIST has done an awful lot of bad things, too. (Or tried to... remember the Clipper Chip?... oh, and there was that recent thing about encryption standards...)

AM and FM radio haven't been a significant part of our actual "telecommunication system" since maybe 1960. Other than the occasional storm warning.

Like 17 million other Americans, you have asthma. But as you get out of bed you notice that you are breathing freely this morning. This is thanks in part to government clean air laws that reduce the air pollution that would otherwise greatly worsen your condition.

Clean air laws DID clean up our air. Great. But now they ARE much cleaner than before, yet EPA tries to tell us there are "increasing health problems" due to the ever-cleaner air. (That is, of course, because EPA is a huge government bureaucracy that is really only interested in making itself bigger, and really doesn't give a damn about your health. But they pretend well.)

And by the way: the EPA was instrumental in getting Primatene Mist banned last year because it used CFCs as a propellant. There is, as yet, no adequate substitute on the market. There is something called "Asthmanefrin" which is a sorry substitute, and which uses an expensive electric atomizer that is rather prone to clogging when it is needed most.

Because Primatene Mist was the ONLY effective, portable, affordable over-the-counter medicine that could stop asthma in its tracks, the government has probably killed more asthmatics now than it has saved. It damned near killed ME. So pardon me if I don't buy your glowing recommendation here.

You flip the switch on the coffee maker. There is no short in the outlet or in the electrical line and there is no resulting fire in your house. Why? Because when your house was being built, the electrical system had to be inspected to make sure it was properly installed as a service provided by your local government. And it was installed by an electrician who was licensed by your state government to ensure his competence and your safety.

I am pretty sure GP was referring to the Federal government. The Feds don't inspect your electrical system. That's state and sometimes just local.

Your greatest dreams are in the hands of the government everyday.

Bullshit. The government has done more in my lifetime in the way of killing my dreams than any other single entity.

Re:Government fails again (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177415)

Bullshit. The government has done more in my lifetime in the way of killing my dreams than any other single entity.

You are free to move to any of the great countries around the world that have a very small central government and whose reach barely extends past the capital. Wait, you're still here? It couldn't be because of the entirely predictable problems that those countries face, wouldn't it? No, I'm sure it's just because John Galt is still slaving away in some factory, held down by the man. It's just a matter of time - Galt's Gulch is just around the corner, I'm sure of it. And then you'll show us all poor sheeple just how awesome government-less life is, and how screwed we all are without you.

Go ahead, I'll wait. Just like I'm still waiting for the Communists to really do their thing.

Re:Government fails again (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177557)

There is none... And you are NOT free to move wherever you want. Trust me, I tried. If you are lucky to be born in Europe, you have reasonable chances to move... in Europe, but that pretty much it without a lot of paperwork.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177607)

Unless you're some kind of serial killer or drug kingpin you can move to whatever shitty third world country you want.
Of course you need to go through the immigration procedures, but what country doesn't have those?

Re:Government fails again (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177753)

For tourism, sure. For working and living, not so much without being "of interest" for the country. And this is rather sad, the first contact, when you leave a country because of its Government, has to be with another Government... Unless of course if you travel illegally, in which case, you are truly free, but then, you all likely become a criminal.

Re:Government fails again (2)

Whiternoise (1408981) | about a month and a half ago | (#47178013)

And you can listen to your favorite radio station only because the Federal Communications Commission brings organization and coherence to our vast telecommunications system.

Time standards that were adequate to their day were around before NIST. NIST has done an awful lot of bad things, too. (Or tried to... remember the Clipper Chip?... oh, and there was that recent thing about encryption standards...)

AM and FM radio haven't been a significant part of our actual "telecommunication system" since maybe 1960. Other than the occasional storm warning.

I think you misunderstand the post. Radio is definitely a government thing and the most important thing the government does in this field is frequency allocation. It's vital for modern society.

Without frequency allocation anyone could broadcast at any power at any frequency. Just think about that and how much is still controlled via radio/microwave signals. The following things rely on there being set frequency bands with no outside interference:

Mobile phones
Public radio and television
Air traffic control and air-air communication: only one person can talk at a time, one idiot transmitting by mistake can jam the channel.
Anything at 2.4GHz
900MHz short/mid range signals e.g. Zigbee
GPS and other satellite uplinks
Radio time signals
Astronomical bands of interest (e.g. 21cm)
Military, police and emergency service bands

There is no way this would happen without a government, you need someone to put their foot down and organise the spectrum so that everyone can operate without contention.

Re: Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178143)

Citations needed.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178159)

And you can listen to your favorite radio station only because the Federal Communications Commission brings organization and coherence to our vast telecommunications system.

Time standards that were adequate to their day were around before NIST. NIST has done an awful lot of bad things, too. (Or tried to... remember the Clipper Chip?... oh, and there was that recent thing about encryption standards...)

AM and FM radio haven't been a significant part of our actual "telecommunication system" since maybe 1960. Other than the occasional storm warning.

Without the FCC you probably wouldn't be able to have cellphones, wifi, bluetooth, and all the various other radio frequency items you enjoy today. For example, all of your electrical goods have to pass FCC certification to make sure they don't unduly spew out EM radiation.

Like 17 million other Americans, you have asthma. But as you get out of bed you notice that you are breathing freely this morning. This is thanks in part to government clean air laws that reduce the air pollution that would otherwise greatly worsen your condition.

Clean air laws DID clean up our air. Great. But now they ARE much cleaner than before, yet EPA tries to tell us there are "increasing health problems" due to the ever-cleaner air. (That is, of course, because EPA is a huge government bureaucracy that is really only interested in making itself bigger, and really doesn't give a damn about your health. But they pretend well.)

And by the way: the EPA was instrumental in getting Primatene Mist banned last year because it used CFCs as a propellant. There is, as yet, no adequate substitute on the market. There is something called "Asthmanefrin" which is a sorry substitute, and which uses an expensive electric atomizer that is rather prone to clogging when it is needed most.

Because Primatene Mist was the ONLY effective, portable, affordable over-the-counter medicine that could stop asthma in its tracks, the government has probably killed more asthmatics now than it has saved. It damned near killed ME. So pardon me if I don't buy your glowing recommendation here.

That's funny, the "ONLY effective, portable, affordable over-the-counter" medicine that can stop asthma in its tracks here in Australia is Ventolin (Albuterol Sulfate) and it's clones. I have never seen adrenaline being used for asthma treatment other then in dire emergencies and only by ambulance crews or in hospitals. It is available over the counter here for ~$10 per inhaler (and the inhaler is good for ~200 metered puffs).

Also, the EPA is there to help keep the air clean, your waters clean and to stop corporations from dumping pollution. They would be regulating the crap they pump into the ground for fracking but laws were passed to exempt them.

You flip the switch on the coffee maker. There is no short in the outlet or in the electrical line and there is no resulting fire in your house. Why? Because when your house was being built, the electrical system had to be inspected to make sure it was properly installed as a service provided by your local government. And it was installed by an electrician who was licensed by your state government to ensure his competence and your safety.

I am pretty sure GP was referring to the Federal government. The Feds don't inspect your electrical system. That's state and sometimes just local.

The Federal government makes national standards for stuff like the minimum wire gauge, the RMS voltage which your wires should carry, the coloring used in your wiring, etc.

Your greatest dreams are in the hands of the government everyday.

Bullshit. The government has done more in my lifetime in the way of killing my dreams than any other single entity.

I am sure that if you tried you could find that corporations would screw you over more then what the government would if they could. The only thing that is stopping them is the government...

Re:Government fails again (0, Flamebait)

s.petry (762400) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177413)

Have you never been taught that alternatives exist in society to the Government? Almost all of the same exact safeguards, and usually much more economical ones, can be found in a "Free Market" society. If you are truly ignorant to other methods a good source of information, and very interesting Philosophical insight, can be found by listening to or reading Stefan Molynoux. Namely his theories regarding anarchism, which may sound like something you think you know but is actually not the same.

For example: 6:38 you pour some water into your coffeemaker. You were able to get a great price for the water because the market has ensured that there are several companies competing for both price and quality in water. In fact additional companies may spring up from time to time to enhance competition. If Company B ever had a problem with water quality or quantity, people would switch over to Company A or Company C, and since there is competition, the companies evaluate each others water because they need to prove that they are better, worse, or the same.

As demonstrated recently in West Virgina, those people were up shit's creek (actually drinking and showing in it) because the Government has a monopoly on water treatment and distribution. There is no competition, and when their water was contaminated they had to wait for bottled water in addition to waiting for a court case to get reimbursed for damages (which I can not state has been resolved yet, or fairly, largely due to corruption in the courts by.. you guessed it.. corrupt Government personal.)

At 6:39 you flip the switch and your house does not catch on fire. There was a fire due to shoddy work about a decade ago, but the company that did that work went out of business because people stopped purchasing their homes. Competition and Free Market strikes AGAIN! No need for Government supervision of house building is needed. In fact the companies doing electrical and plumbing work ensure that their people are certified without Government intervention. They do this because society expects this and Free Market demands it.

And before you say "but they hired a handy man who did a hack job" that happens today WITH all kinds of regulations. In fact it's very common in buildings and trades to hire unskilled labor to perform many tasks that _should_ be done by skilled labor. Most cities have illegal immigrant pools waiting around somewhere for the pick up every morning. And why are those illegal immigrant pools there? Once again Government Agencies are failing to perform _their_ jobs. And when citizens tried to step in and help on their own, they were declared a threat to the US Government and many were arrested. (If you don't see the trend you are not looking very hard)

We have gone so far with Government craziness that we have the GAO "Government Accountability Office". And what does this agency do? Well, it throws a lavish party costing a million dollars of tax payer money for 33 people. The executive that planned the party flew on tax payer money 6 times ahead of the party to plan it and have "dry runs" (I believe dry humps would be closer to the truth myself, but still not correct). So the agency supposedly accountable for government spending, is wasting your tax money and not doing their jobs either. Do you think that is the only time they peed away your money, or is it more likely that they have just been careful not to get caught?

Personally I'm not an anarchist like Mr. Molynoux. I have studied hist work and think he brings up very similar issues as Ron Paul did regarding why US policy has become absolutely horrendous. Unlike Mr. Molynoux, I believe that Government is needed for some things, such as providing a military to defend the citizens of the country and defending our borders.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177613)

Hahaha, that's hilarious.
You mean there would be a set of pipes in the ground for each water company all throughout the country?
In your dreams.
The water companies would do exactly what the internet companies in america have done.
They'd just divide up the country and then not compete in each others areas.
Maybe something like what they do with electricity could work, where all the water companies just pump water into the same set of pipes.
But in that case you would still rely on the government to keep them in check, and they would still end up dividing up the country.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178113)

" You were able to get a great price for the water because the market has ensured that there are several companies competing for both price and quality in water"

Now this is hilarious. How the hell would there be many water companies? Even now the goverment has troubles keeping monopolies at bay. The last places you could get clean water from would be controlled by some huge monopoly that has deals with other huge monopolies about giving them water if they return the favour. You'd get you water from your own company that you belong to. Oh yeah, the water would be bottled, because all the pipes were digged up and sold of several times because there was no government or police. Yeah there was some private secority, but they were there only to guard some other huge companys trucks while they dumped toxic waste on the local water supply.

Yeah, goverment isn't sometimes working very optimally, but even a bad government sure beats not having one at all. There is always some government, I'd rather have a pseudo democratic one than pure corporate one.

Re:Government fails again (3, Interesting)

Kohath (38547) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177487)

6:30 a.m. You are awakened by your clock radio. You know it is actually 6:30 because the National Institute of Standards and Technology keeps the official time.

Because if it were actually 6:28 AM, the world would end. And also, because the government invented time and timekeeping.

6:35 a.m. Like 17 million other Americans, you have asthma.

Nope. Clean air is good though. Government, like any tool, is best used only when needed, and only when it's a good fit for the task. No need to use it always, for everything.

6:38 a.m. You go into the kitchen for breakfast. You pour some water into your coffeemaker. You simply take for granted that this water is safe to drink.

Partly because I filter it. But mostly because I wouldn't drink it if it weren't safe. I'd make it safe, then drink it.

And a large part of my water bill goes for pensions for people who don't do anything to keep my water clean and safe. But they get paid. Because ... government.

6:39 a.m. You flip the switch on the coffee maker. There is no short in the outlet or in the electrical line and there is no resulting fire in your house. Why?

Because if there were a short, I'd have fixed it.

And because if fire hazards were common, my insurance provider would have required an inspection before selling me fire insurance.

--

It's interesting that I pay a water bill for water, I pay permit fees to cover the cost of electrical inspections, polluters pay pollution fees to cover pollution costs and broadcasters pay huge prices for radio spectrum. But the government still wants an additional 30-40% of every dollar I earn. Where's that money going? Not to NASA.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178137)

" Where's that money going? Not to NASA."

True, you have one letter to omuch there. It goes to NSA. And the military ofcourse. Because bombing ragheads on the other side of the globe is so important.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177549)

I have all those "luxuries" in a country where you can live comfortably for $500/month.

US Government agencies aren't what you'd call "value for money".

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177207)

Yeah instead lets give corporations a monopoly on science and knowledge. Nothing could possibly go wrong there...

Re:Government fails again (1)

hackus (159037) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177245)

Yeah no money for science, but you can sure give money to the cronies in the Banks, freebies for illegals and everyone EXCEPT it would appear if you are a American citizen or a Veteran.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/... [zerohedge.com]

Re:Government fails again (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177279)

It's over-simplistic thinking to say "gov't always bad, corporation always good". I've worked for some really stupid and sleazy corporations: assholery is not limited to gov't. Both types of orgs each have their role with various trade-offs.

Re:Government fails again (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177389)

Government is always good when choice is bad.

Corporations are always good when choice is good.

Some may try to argue that choice is always good, but it isn't. Five competing roads with 20 different owners that I have to use to get to work would not be a good thing. A single government planned road is not the best but it is better than the alternative. Many things can compare to this, usually where it requires stepping on property rights, such as running power/water/gas lines, building roads, and similar. Otherwise keep the government out of it.

Re:Government fails again (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177969)

You forgot to mention the building of internet infrastructure.

Re:Government fails again (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177283)

Not anymore. The pirates have been running the ship since Nixon.

Re:Government fails again (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177419)

Not anymore. The pirates have been running the ship since Nixon.

It's far past time we turned that around.

Re:Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177329)

Perhaps you need a new dream.

Living a brave new pioneer experience in the rugged terrain of a far away dead frozen rock in a radiation-blasted vacuum is kinda never gonna happen, ever.

We'll have to make do with what we have right here.

Terrifying, eh?

Welcome to adulthood.

Re:Government fails again (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177569)

Perhaps you need a new dream.

Whose kind of liberal progressist are to DARE tell him what his dreams should be ?

Re:Government fails again (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177581)

One of those far-away dead frozen rocks is headed this way. It may hit next week, it may hit ten million years from now, but it is coming. This is inevitable. It's already out their, silently spinning as the tug of interacting gravity wells gently nudges it towards ours.

We really need to get off of this planet before it hits. We could survive something like the KT impact with just a tad under seven billion deaths and five hundred years or so to rebuild in the hellish wasteland, but there are bigger rocks than that waiting to fall.

Re: Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177649)

It may also never strike in the lifetime of our species, which makes it a non-threat. Mankind will eventually go extinct, 50 million years maximum and the miserable remnants of Homo Sapiens will be fighting a losing battle against an environment that has no more place for him. It's evolution, nothing we can do about it. Our civilization and technology is but a flash in the dark on the geological scale. And in 500 million years, it will be truly over as all life on Earth will be extinct. There's nowhere to run and nothing to do. Accept it.

Re: Government fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178161)

He is trying to claim leaving the planet and eventually the whole solarsystem. If earthborn life ever adjusts to life in empty vacuum it just may go on for a long, long time. Doesn't sound very realistic, and I wouldn't bet my money on it, but it's possible.

On the other hand what I don't see is why we _should_ try to leave this rock just because some meteor might destroy it. Who cares? We'll all be dead then, nobody left to care. And if there is someone left then we as species just survived it. There is no god given mission to populate space. There is nothing. Just try to behave and enjoy life as long as it lasts. Please let others enjoy theirs also. Don't be a jerk.

Re:Government fails again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177611)

Maybe we should stop electing politicians who think govt is the problem. To have a better NASA we must begin with better Americans.

Re:Government fails again (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177801)

Are you kidding? Space is open for exploration by private companies. No (or few) restrictions there.

down spiral (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177175)

another year of welfare-warfare waste, the USG pissing away our future whether Obamunist or Bush leaguers.

Two Percent? (2, Insightful)

Ignacio (1465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177181)

2% isn't a victory, it's an "oh my f*cking god, we survived being killed off by the skin of our teeth".

Keeping pace with inflation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177183)

It isn't a budget increase at all.

On odd-numbered days of the month (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177191)

The Media is supposed to publish stories about NASA's plans for humans reaching Mars in 10 years. On even-numbered days of the month The Media is supposed to publish stories about NASA being underfunded and cutting programs to send small robots to it. Jeez, Slashdot, get with the program.

Re:On odd-numbered days of the month (1)

Xenx (2211586) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177367)

Slashdot is usually behind by a day or two. So, it all balances out correctly.

Pittance (3, Insightful)

mfh (56) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177193)

A scrap of funding for such a vital tool for human survival. Is it that our technology could never allow us to escape the confines of Earth, or is it that the government would rather lock horns with rivals on a pebble in a sea of pebbles? KUNG KUNG KUNG...

Re:Pittance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177493)

"vital tool for human survival"???? WTH are you smoking?

"Is it that our technology could never allow us to escape the confines of Earth"

What is it with you types going on about the "confines" of this Earth and "this rock" and the Death Asteroid and all the other bullshit?

Confines? I'll bet you've never climbed a mountain, gone sky diving, scuba diving? How much have you traveled? "Confines", my ass.

Idiot.

Re:Pittance (4, Insightful)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a month and a half ago | (#47178057)

This planet might not seem confining to you, but it's most definitely a case of all of our eggs in one basket. There have been extinction level events in the past and there will be in the future. On a long enough time-scale, humans will certainly be in a lot of trouble if we only exist on this one planet.

You're argument seems to be "it's okay to have all your eggs in one basket as it's a really big basket. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to the size of the earth, listen...".

Re:Pittance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178175)

I believe he is more of the ideology: "We are all going to die anyways. So stop worrying about it and live while you still can."

I can see the point of worrying on a much much smaller scale, but worrying about the state of whole mankind is just stupid. Yeah, escape this rock. Then sun burns out and humans die. A couple of million year here or there, it's just a tiny slice in the big picture.

our greatest hopes (0)

swell (195815) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177201)

"... putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold."

You talkin' to me white boy?

It may surprise some that not everyone has high falutin' dreams about space exploration. Some people would be happy with a safe place to sleep, relief from disease, or a hot meal. Until those dreams are fulfilled for every human, space can wait.

Re:our greatest hopes (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177287)

So we should put everything on hold because people refuse to breed responsibly? Guess what, there aren't enough resources for everyone to have 7 kids, so why should I care that someone decided to be evolutionary greedy and try to spawn more than they can support? Really, why?

Re:our greatest hopes (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177303)

I always cringe at comments like this.
Space exploration can be an end to itself, but it has also proven to be a massive driver for improvements in life in general.
The spinoffs alone are huge, let alone the jobs created, the money moving around the economy.

https://www.sac.edu/AcademicProgs/ScienceMathHealth/Planetarium/Pages/Benefits-of-the-NASA-Space-Program.aspx

$18 Billion is what, $70 a year per person in the US? (rough guess there).

If you want money to help you live a better life, have a look at the defense budget. For the Joint Strike Fighter in the development phase, $14 billion was spent on 35-40 prototypes over 3 years.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II#Procurement_costs

How much does a nuclear missile cost? The NSA?

 

Re:our greatest hopes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177421)

"but it has also proven to be a massive driver for improvements in life in general."

No, it hasn't.

"The spinoffs alone are huge"

Meaningless propaganda. It's simply not true. You want a driver for the 20th century? WWII.

"let alone the jobs created"

Space welfare. Just redistribute the wealth without the shenanigans and we could have the leisure society that was speculated about.

"If you want money to help you live a better life"

Yes, we do, and yet another metal pipe filled with kerosene with an exotic camera at its tip isn't my idea of a better life.

Re:our greatest hopes (2)

oneandoneis2 (777721) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177961)

Right, because satellite communications, GPS, Teflon, water purification systems... none of these have improved our lives at all.

Re:our greatest hopes (3, Insightful)

SEE (7681) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177307)

There's no "safe place to sleep" on a planet unprotected from large asteroids, any more than there's a safe place to sleep in the caldera of an active volcano. There's merely hoping the statistically inevitable won't happen in your lifetime. Space can't wait.

Re:our greatest hopes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177381)

Do you seriously believe that or is it just something you think you have to say to be accepted by space geeks?

Is this something you mention in casual conversation?

Have you roofed over your house in titanium tiles to protect from meteorites?

If not, why do you ask that everyone else pay for your paranoia?

Re:our greatest hopes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177625)

Maybe if using titanium tiles protected you from meteorites your comment would make sense.

We can't afford it! (4, Interesting)

s.petry (762400) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177219)

Seriously think about it. How can we pay for the NSA to spy on everyone, our Military to bomb anyone, our CIA to fund terrorist groups in the Middle East (and everywhere else for that matter), pay for Welfare instead of actually doing something to fix the economy, continue to let the top .01% live tax free lives of luxury (and allow them to offshore most of their money), provide strike force military equipment to local police and sheriff departments so that they can enforce "Free Speech Zones", pay for expansions in DHS and TSA so that they can frisk little children and search colostomy bags for explosives, have the Federal Reserve give hundreds of billions of dollars to whatever country they feel like propping up today, and give your tax money to countries like the Ukraine so that they can revolt and join NATO if we are spending money on bettering mankind?

I really and truly wish that something in my list was a joke, but sadly it's actually a very short list of how the US is being mismanaged by corrupted people holding offices.

Re:We can't afford it! (1)

djconsultingmeister (1501573) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177341)

Thanks, I'm going to bed now that you read my mind.

NASA vs SpaceX (2, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177221)

Maybe they're saving their funds to give to SpaceX instead who seem to doing things more efficiently than NASA in terms of getting us off this rock.

Re:NASA vs SpaceX (4, Informative)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177541)

Sigh. It's not NASA vs SpaceX. It's NASA and SpaceX/Bigelow/etc, versus NASA and LM/ATK/etc.

It's a crew capsule built for NASA for around a billion dollars total, versus a crew capsule built for NASA for around a billion dollars per year.

It's a launcher that will cost NASA less than $100m per launch for 50 tonnes to LEO, versus a launcher that costs NASA $2 billion per year every year for one launch of 70 tonnes to LEO once every year or two.

It's commercial space stations that cost $100-150m/yr each for NASA to lease, versus a space station that costs NASA $3 billion/yr to operate and is dependent on Russian modules and Russian crew capsules (costing an extra $75m per seat.)

It's about the most cost effective way for US taxpayers to achieve the things they apparently want to do, versus repeating the same costly mistakes over and over.

Re:NASA vs SpaceX (1)

Twinbee (767046) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177633)

Okay I stand corrected.

But very simply, why doesn't NASA ditch the rest and just stick with SpaceX instead of throwing money down the drain?

Donate? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177225)

If your dreams are that important, put your own money on the line. Make a donation, and convince like-minded people to do likewise. Why should those who do not share your dream, have their earnings forcibly confiscated to pay for it?

Re:Donate? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177321)

The game is rigged. You are another sucker assuming there won't be another stock crash to redistribute your "earnings" to those who don't share your dream.

Oh crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177259)

You mean I packed my bags for Mars for nothing? I put up all my favorite artist's renderings of fantasy space stations too!

Oh no!!!

Commercial Crew (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177267)

http://www.floridatoday.com/st... [floridatoday.com]

Representative Richard Shelby, aka the politician who brings home the pork to Alabama's space industry and one of the biggest proponents of SLS, is trying to add more paperwork to the Commercial Crew program.

Because clearly, the best way to save taxpayer money is more studies and paperwork. Next up: studies and paperwork to determine if the amount of studies and paperwork is a detriment to government effectiveness.

USA doesn't have appetite for such (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177275)

Americans on average are not ready to fund a big space shot. People are still recovering from the financial meltdown and recession.

Maybe if and when China starts to show us up, THEN the collective will shall come.

Re:USA doesn't have appetite for such (1)

hawkinspeter (831501) | about a month and a half ago | (#47178075)

Average USA-ians seem to be perfectly happy to pay for the NSA to oversee everyone's private lives, so I doubt that the financial meltdown and recession are anything to do with it.

It's a matter of incentive - Joe Six-pack is scared stiff that some "foreign-type" will come and terrorise him and so is happy to be investigated (he's got nothing to hide and it makes everyone more secure) whereas space is far away and not very scary.

If it is so great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177317)

It dont need tax dollars.

NASA vs NSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177325)

Why listen to the messages of the stars when you can listen to the messages of your fellow beings on Earth?

From where will this money come? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177339)

What programs will you cut? What taxes will you raise? What about the massive debt and deficit? Will you cut the military to the point that bad actors like Putin can behave as they wish? Cede the western Pacific to China? Excessively confiscatory tax policies have proven counter productive in many attempts. So, that leaves cutting other programs to move more funds into NASA. What programs might those be? Do the proponents of those programs (and they do have proponents, all of them) wield more money and clout then you and your fellow NASA supporters?

Until you can answer basic questions like these, you are just pissing in the wind. Bitch and moan all you want, cry that science is ill served. It will make no difference until a sufficiently influential constituency is assembled that can overwhelm your opposition.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson says a 1% increase for mars? (2, Interesting)

Cito (1725214) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177423)

Tyson has lectured, screamed, went before congress and actively lobby's that if we increased NASA's budget by a penny on the dollar just 1% would get man to mars.

And he's against private manned space missions, course he says low earth orbit/satellites/iss could be private but only a government can take on the budget and risk of manned exploration of space

Neil deGrasse Tyson On NASA & Federal Budget (MUâ¦: http://youtu.be/jcdDb-cbadw [youtu.be]

Neil deGrasse Tyson at UB: What NASA Means to Ameâ¦: http://youtu.be/RQhNZENMG1o [youtu.be]

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Apollo missions and NASA funding: http://youtu.be/LWqNYiCAbsY [youtu.be]

Neil DeGrasse Tyson: "Elon Musk's SpaceX Won't Get Us To Mars: http://youtu.be/gW74vsCNQtc [youtu.be]

Re:Neil DeGrasse Tyson says a 1% increase for mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177475)

If people want us to go to mars, why won't they voluntarily contribute money to do it? Maybe they don't want it, or don't want it at the current cost?

Re:Neil DeGrasse Tyson says a 1% increase for mars (1)

Noren (605012) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177527)

Had you been paying attention to your own first cite, you would have learned that the scenario he was proposing was that 1% of the TOTAL federal budget would go to NASA, rather than a 1% increase to the amount currently allocated.

Re:Neil DeGrasse Tyson says a 1% increase for mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178081)

Tyson is an unabashed statist just like the people in Congress who have destroyed the exploration industry.

He's quite possibly the dumbest smart guy I've ever seen.

Re:Neil DeGrasse Tyson says a 1% increase for mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178169)

Tyson's latest Cosmos episode was a pack of outright lies and misleading statements.

He tried to explain climate is easy to predict vs weather with a dog. He failed to mention that EVERY climate prediction by the IPCC has been 100% wrong, so it appears climate is not so easy to predict.
He claimed the only green house gas is CO2, while methane is 100x more powerful a green house gas, but its harder to tax methane so most "scientists" with a political slant always skip that part.
He claimed the temperature is going up every year, but failed to mention it hasn't gone up for 17.5 years now despite the spike in CO2, thus disproving CO2 as runway green house gas that can't be stopped.
I turned off after half of it because it was obvious I wouldn't learn anything, I've already read all the fake talking points and was hoping to see some actual new facts that I could look up.

In other words he chose the political talking points while ignoring actual facts. He is not a scientist anymore, he chose to become a political shill. He turned Cosmos into a political tool instead of a science show.

Baddies (1)

felixrising (1135205) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177427)

The main thing is, military spending is extremely high, so you can kill the baddies before they kill you... cause the baddies are scary and need killing and big guns help keep baddies at bay.

NASA is broken. (0)

queazocotal (915608) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177447)

It was broken by 'Waste anything but time' - and it hasn't recovered.
Space launch has - from about the 60s till comparatively recently (last decade) cost $10K/lb or so to orbit.
'SLS - NASAs most recent rocket design - will cost around this.
This is not due to physics.
All governmental space efforts are unfortunately in general not actual space programs, they are welfare programs.

  At current prices of launch on commercial vendors, the cost of developing SLS to its first couple of flights would
launch 4000 tons to low earth orbit.
With plausible near-term launchers (SpaceX falcon heavy), even neglecting the reusability options - this same budget would launch 11000 tons.
The same mass as a WWII aircraft carrier.

Re:NASA is broken. (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177555)

The same mass as a WWII aircraft carrier.

That's wasteful. All we need to launch is a WWII Japanese battleship.

Or do something else (0)

udittmer (89588) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177615)

With a fraction of that money a lot of deaths could be prevented by improving road safety, tackling malnutration or other causes of preventable deaths. Seems more important to me than than human spaceflight in the shape of the iSS or Mars missions.

Re:Or do something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47177773)

Using that logic, we'd never have had roads to need safety improvements, we wouldn't have enough people to worry about malnutrition, and we certainly wouldn't have medicines to even begin to address preventable deaths. These things came to be because of science, because of research, and because of hard work and lots and lots of money/capital/treasure/whatever you want to call it. Today, most nutrition problems and unmet medical needs aren't a result of not enough money, they're a result of misallocation of money by those who profit from the misallocation. See: the whole US healthcare system for instance, or how food aid often never reaches the poor in under-developed countries because of theft by corrupt regimes propped up by American capitalists. This is not new: Ireland was a net EXPORTER of food during the "potato famine". That was simply capitalists deliberately starving a population to increase their profits.

Human spaceflight involves research. It involves figuring out new ways of doing things. In the case of Apollo, it involved quite literally inventing new kinds of smaller and lighter computers, which we benefit from, and new manufacturing techniques, which we also benefit from when MBAs aren't giving them away to China at least. Looking inward has a horrible track record of accomplishing little, while the few times we've managed to actually look outward the rewards have been quick and quite staggering to contemplate. I submit to you and everyone else that the reason NASA is underfunded is that the government and business interests know this, and they don't want people doing anything but worrying about losing their menial jobs and their pathetic health coverage, and they certainly don't want the population benefiting from new technologies and new resources that will come from a proper space program.

Re:Or do something else (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47178167)

So you demand a "proper" space program piling billions into private contractors because [vague allusions to trickle-down economics via spinoff technology], but you're happy to continue with less than proper healthcare and marked poverty in your own country, and 100s of millions dying globally each year from preventable diseases. Right. Glad your "logic" leads you to that conclusion. What are you, cheerleader for the 1%? Apparently the fact we have a smaller space program than possible is a source of great concern, but "capitalists deliberately starving a population to increase their profits" is a simple fact of life.

So does your logic also lead you to the conclusion that if money is misspent everywhere else it will also be misspent here? If you're willing to accept these huge inefficiencies & corruptions as a fact of life, why do you assume that NASA money will automatically benefit the public good? There's no logic in that position at all - unless you're suffering from mystical thinking in this domain.

Human space exploration is a nerd fantasy. The spinoffs came because the government pumped money into research, but it was to the exclusion of other research which could have received funding instead. Nobody has any idea what the opportunity cost of that space program was even compared to baseline, let alone compared to a world in which that much money is being spent on science funding in general. Hell, maybe we'd have fusion power by now instead of freeze-dried ice cream and a shitty black and white movie of some guy on a ladder. You may as well say World War II was great because manufacturing went forward in leaps and bounds, so let's have more wars.

For perspective (4, Interesting)

korbulon (2792438) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177725)

Qatar is investing enough money to host the football world cup - a tournament that lasts one month - to fund NASA for ten years.

http://keepingscore.blogs.time... [slashdot.org] >/

What a world.

Inflation is Simple (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177869)

You don't need to know anything complicated about the situation to realize this is bad. ALL you need to know, is that INFLATION in the US stays around 3% year over year.

So, a 2% budget increase, is really a 1% cut.

Keep this in mind at work, when you're getting your annual performance reviews. If you aren't getting at least 3% each and every year, you're getting your pay CUT.

Companies with a policy that pay increases can't be more than 3% (or less), absolutely infuriate me. Those smart enough to intelligently object, usually get the problem worked-around. However, it's still a company policy that says, in no uncertain terms, that every employee who has performed superbly, must get penalized, year over year, as a punishment for remaining employed by that company. They're encouraging you to jump ship and get a higher salary elsewhere. Then, you could possibly come back, getting signed-on at a much higher starting salary than they were willing to give you while you stayed with the company.

Institutional knowledge is valuable, and companies go out of their way to destroy it. </rant>

Closer Look (4, Insightful)

strack (1051390) | about a month and a half ago | (#47177939)

Dont count your cookies just yet. Senator Shelby has inserted a poison pill amendment into the spending bill to put onerous accounting requirements on spacex missions for NASA, in order to make them less competitive with the SLS, a lot of which is being developed in Alabama, Senator Shelbys state.
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