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Buzz Aldrin Pressures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative

Soulskill posted about three weeks ago | from the one-small-tweet-for-man dept.

NASA 78

MarkWhittington writes: While he has initiated the social media campaign, #Apollo45, to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin is also using the occasion to campaign for an expansion of American space exploration. According to a Tuesday story in the Washington Post, Aldrin has expressed the wish that President Obama make some sort of announcement along those lines this July 20. The idea has a certain aspect of deja vu. Aldrin believes that the American civil space program is adrift and that some new space exploration, he prefers to Mars, would be just the thing to set it back on course. There is only one problem, however. President Obama has already made the big space exploration announcement. Aldrin knows this because he was there. President Obama flew to the Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2010, with Aldrin accompanying as a photo op prop, and made the announcement that America would no longer be headed back to the moon, as was the plan under his predecessor George W. Bush. Instead American astronauts would visit an Earth approaching asteroid and then, decades hence, would land on Mars.

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78 comments

Odd Strong Finish for Obama (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414123)

According to factcheck.org [factcheck.org] he's doing oddly well as he finishes up his second term. Let's hope Aldrin's pressure works!

Re:Odd Strong Finish for Obama (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414173)

You're funny.

Re:Odd Strong Finish for Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414365)

Moderators use their points to push a political view these days? What was funny about the factcheck.org summary?

Re:Odd Strong Finish for Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414583)

Summary makes no mention of Benghazi, Fast & Furious, etc. No wonder it looks good.

Re:Odd Strong Finish for Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414819)

Obama is a spineless sycophant who will go down in history as the president who sat on his ass and did nothing. He'll never get the space programme back on track.

It's the right thing to do. (4, Insightful)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | about three weeks ago | (#47414133)

I'm all for having a thriving, privatized space program. However, we still need the government to be involved and run their own end. We'll never get anywhere if we rely on just one side.

Re:It's the right thing to do. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414263)

This is what statist filth believe.

Re:It's the right thing to do. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414323)

Just go to Antarctica and create you libertarian civilization there.

Re:It's the right thing to do. (3, Insightful)

c4t3l (3606237) | about three weeks ago | (#47414353)

It's easy to turn this into a mudslinging match... But the truth is that NASA has the most experience in this field. Passive-aggressive comments like this only serve to derail the discussion. So let's keep it more college and less 8th grade eh?

--
Remember ALF?! He's back. In pog form!

Re:It's the right thing to do. (1, Funny)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47414531)

You tell 'em, Ayn! You'll be rich enough to afford your own space program any day now - or at least you would be, if it wasn't for all those Liberal Looters derailing you to get themselves a free ride!

It's the right thing to do. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414331)

True, but NASA needs to focus on what they do well (or at least what some would say they used to do well), innovation, problem solving, advanced research, etc. And hey need to let private companies handle the mundane stuff such as launch to LEO. We've seen how bad things can go (Constellation & SLS) when NASA tries to do it all. Focus them on building a (likely modular) spacecraft for transit to the Moon/Mars/Asteroid/etc and the associated hardware/technology to get us to those places safely. And let private industry compete for the fixed contracts to launch it into orbit. NASA has already burnt more than $10 Billion dollars trying to just develop a new launcher when they could have bought almost a hundred launches (5,850 tons, or about the weight of a military Frigate) for the same amount of money

Not just Obama. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414143)

The latest election cycle showed that all the candidates trying to look like they are for debt reduction was willing to kill NASA altogether.

This is despite that agency funding is minuscule compared to the rest of the federal government. NASA has become an easy target for politicians to beat up on, since the swing voters and the right don't see any benefit coming out of the agency.

Thanks to this myopic thinking the US now depends on Russia to man the space station.

Re:Not just Obama. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414221)

No one is making the case for a strong space program. It is not enough to go to the moon is because it would be "cool" or inspiring or because we might make something that could be useful. The US did it during the cold war because it was seen as a battle to be won. Now the best case that can be made is that the sun will snuff out humanity in a few million years. There is no urgent need.

Re:Not just Obama. (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47414883)

Agreed. But that doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to embark on big projects. Rather than a "Hey, we're going to walk somewhere new" sort of thing, I'd like to see work on one of any number of space-related megaprojects - for example, a launch loop [wikipedia.org] and/or fallout-free nuclear rockets**. Something that could actually lower the cost of access to space to the point that it doesn't take a vast effort to go walk on another celestial body.

** - There's so many competing designs it's hard to know where to start. My personal concept I've mulled over is a variant of the nuclear lightbulb concept, but instead of the fused-silica bulb containig a gas or plasma core reactor which requires some unknown containment method, the concept calls for a dusty fission core (akin to a dusty fission fragment rocket), which can be electrostatically contained. The energy would be released in the infrared, not visible or ultraviolet (as in a conventional lightbulb concept), but that's fine - fused silica is also transparent to infrared, and moreover doesn't lose much IR transmission as like happens in higher frequency bands; the lower radiation rate of infrared would be compensated for by the huge surface area of the dust radiating it. The simultaneous huge amounts of electric output (from fission fragment deceleration in a grid) could be used in part to run a microwave beam, creating a plasma sheath in ducted atmospheric air surrounding the bulb (airbreathing mode) or injected gas surrounding it (rocket mode) to aid in IR absorption and keep as much of the heat away from the (reflective) walls as possible. A VASIMR-ish mode is possible if you use low gas injection rates and a magnetic nozzle. In space, gas injection could be terminated altogether and the core could be opened up to run in dusty fission fragment mode and get Isp figures in the lower hundreds of thousands. To make up for the problems with using the standard dusty fission fragment rocket proposal's (heavy) moderator in such a high power environment, my thoughts were to have it operate as a subcritical reactor with a spallation neutron source as the driver - after all, there's no shortage of electricity to run an accelerator if you're decelerating a good chunk of the fragments; you don't even have to deal with Carnot losses.

Re:Not just Obama. (1)

Rei (128717) | about three weeks ago | (#47415799)

Corr: That should read "doesn't lose much IR transmission as a consequence of neutron bombardment like happens in higher frequency bands" - accidentally lost that middle part. Fused silica and fused quartz (especially the latter, but also the former) blacken under neutron exposure, losing transparency; it's even done intentionally to make jewelry [google.is] . But the papers I ran into when researching the topic showed that this effect isn't very pronounced in the IR band.

Too slow (1)

haggus71 (1051238) | about three weeks ago | (#47414151)

We'll get to Mars...just in time to see the beginnings of the first Chinese colony, New Beijing.

Re:Too slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414349)

Oh, that's why the Chinese pollute so much. They think they can just abandon the planet.

It should be the other way around (1)

Trachman (3499895) | about three weeks ago | (#47414175)

Some politicians would benefit from returning from the moon to earth, and not thinking about traveling from earth to the space. There are many issues that are many times cheaper to resolve, and would improve the world, the real world, in a meaningful way. I am all for the space exploration and new technologies. All of such endeavors need to be financed with private voluntary contributions.

Re:It should be the other way around (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414197)

Why go to space when you can bomb more countries?

I think that's Aldrin's point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414181)

In 2010, Obama made the announcement... it's now 2014... all they've done is cut NASA funding.

Re:I think that's Aldrin's point (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about three weeks ago | (#47414329)

one more broken promise from obama...surprise surprise

Re:I think that's Aldrin's point (1)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about three weeks ago | (#47414643)

Right and the Republican are all about restoring NASA's budget. Moron.

Re:I think that's Aldrin's point (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about three weeks ago | (#47414767)

well to be fair, bush did make it seem like the USA was going back to the moon, probably the only thing i liked about the man. obama cares more about keeping his people happy, at least bushes people build rockets (defense contractors, boeing, etc) so there was some real hope.

Re:I think that's Aldrin's point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47415461)

Did you see how much they spent on Constellation to get where? "Back the Moon, to Mars and beyond..."

Bush cancelled the likes of JIMO (Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter) A nuclear reactor powered ion drive delivery van of a space craft designed to be able to loiter around Jupiters moons for a few years. The design could also be used as a space "white van" able to deliver and pickup around the planets & asteroids. But this was robotic exploration & expansion, and Bush wanted people in space, so it was cancelled.

Obama comes along and then cans, most of, Constellation (which was over budget and behind time). We now have the Space Launch System, and the Orion is no longer the Constellation capsule, but the 'Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle' - started design in 2005 - still not it space yet. SpaceX Dragon was designed in 2004, and has visited the ISS a few times now.

Re:I think that's Aldrin's point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47424733)

To be fair, it was the few reasons I liked the man too, but it didn't take much to realize that Bush was lying year after year. The third or forth time I heard Bush announce great things and have nothing to show for it, it became obvious he was speaking out his ass. Any trip to Moon or Mars is going to take more than a little shuffling of numbers at NASA, it's going to take Apollo scale support and funding. Without that support and funding, any announcement that they were going to work towards that any manned space goal was just flat out lying in order to get support of people who maintained false hopes.

Re:I think that's Aldrin's point (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about three weeks ago | (#47414795)

and besides that i never mentioned the republicans, obama made promises, and broke them. sure the republicans in congress make promises and break them as well but this isnt about them, this is about more broken promises from our president. which seem to be all he knows how to do

but please, keep injecting non related information and insulting people for pointing out a liar .... moron

Obama is gone in less than 2 years. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414191)

We Americans want to feel big and tough from our couches. We want to see our military kick the shit out some other "evil" country from the comforts of our homes, sitting on our fat asses in front of the big China made screen TV.

Science? Space? That's for the godless "elites".

Spending money on idiotic wars is fine.

Spending a small fraction of that on space is a "waste".

We Americans are like my alcoholic uncle. Bitches to his kids to turn off the lights when not in the room - even the fish tank has to be turned off - but he spends his money on booze and doesn't see the problem.

If we spent the resources that were litteraly blown up in wars on space, we would have been to Mars and have all that technology and prestige of having sent people to Mars.

Nope, we're known for killing people, being bullies, and for being a bunch of scientifically illiterate Bible thumping morons.

Fuck! I'm cranky this morning!

Re:Obama is gone in less than 2 years. (3, Insightful)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about three weeks ago | (#47414227)

Obama might find a way to stay around. Or his handlers might. He is the most useful idiot they have had so far.

Actually scratch that, you know what we need? A woman! Last time around I voted for the black guy, this time I'm voting for a woman. Gooooooo ME! I am like, so liberated! After that I will vote for a gay guy. And then a lesbian.

Policies? Oh, who cares about policies!

Re: Obama is gone in less than 2 years. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414577)

Nah this time they need a black woman.

Re:Obama is gone in less than 2 years. (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about three weeks ago | (#47415741)

Nope, we're known for killing people, being bullies, and for being a bunch of scientifically illiterate Bible thumping morons.

We're also bad at math, since we believe that 31 months is "less than 2 years".

Space exploration (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414211)

So they want to film another moon landing? I guess it's been nearly 50 years now.

What about the Carbon Footprint? (0)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about three weeks ago | (#47414215)

It would be incongruous with the idea of saving the planet from the evils of Carbon to launch spacecrafts.

Re:What about the Carbon Footprint? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414665)

Don't think so.

Most of the by-product of space launches is water vapor.

If you like your space plan, you can keep it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414223)

Ha ha! Fooled you!

Obama should outlaw China forever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414229)

It worked so well for Reagan when he outlawed Russia forever.

Mars no, (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about three weeks ago | (#47414241)

I remember watching Apollo 11 land it's about damn time we did something useful.

Asteroid Capture, YES !!
Permanent Lunar presence for Helium 3 extraction YES

Marooning people on Mars to die ? I can't express how wrong that is.

Re:Mars no, (2, Informative)

Megane (129182) | about three weeks ago | (#47414469)

Permanent Lunar presence for Helium 3 extraction YES

Uh, huh. So what exactly are you going to do with that helium when you extract the few parts per million on the lunar surface? We don't even have fusion working yet, and He3 is not a first-generation fusion fuel.

We'll be on Mars long before we can use He3 for anything but inflating balloons.

Re:Mars no, (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about three weeks ago | (#47415545)

Hell we we will be out of helium on earth before we are doing anything useful on mars.
http://www.popularmechanics.co... [popularmechanics.com]

So at the very least it will be something useful even if horribly expensive.

Even the Roanoak colony had a business plan, Whats the one for Mars ? Sell advertising time to fund the launch ? (Note a heck of better way to spend them than giving them to facebook)

Re:Mars no, (1)

EvilDroid (705289) | about three weeks ago | (#47423585)

I've been marooned to die on Earth for many years now.

Buzz Aldrin is racist (0)

slashdice (3722985) | about three weeks ago | (#47414255)

Did Buzz Aldrin pressure George Bush Jr, Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr, or Ronald Reagan for a new space exploration initiative? Of course not!

Re:Buzz Aldrin is racist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414289)

I remember him pressuring GWB about space which started the send a man to Mars in the first place.

How not to plan for space (4, Funny)

scotts13 (1371443) | about three weeks ago | (#47414271)

What's the point of having a "plan" when it changes every four or eight years? It takes longer than that to complete a large technology project; the only way to accomplish it is to have a beloved leader start it, then quick shoot him - so it'll be completed in his honor. Come to think of it, we'll never get past the "beloved leader" part. What's the last time we had anything other than the lesser of evils?

Re:How not to plan for space (1)

pr0t0 (216378) | about three weeks ago | (#47414291)

Obligatory South Park reference:
http://beta.southparkstudios.c... [southparkstudios.com]

Re:How not to plan for space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47416305)

What's the last time we had anything other than the lesser of evils?

George Washington

Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (4, Informative)

Kelbear (870538) | about three weeks ago | (#47414297)

Buzz did an AMA yesterday on reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/c... [reddit.com]

He elaborated a bit on why he thinks NASA should target Mars, and the short version is that NASA is spread thin with a tiny fraction of the budget it once had to venture to the moon. NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big. We can visit an asteroid, and few will raise an eyebrow. If we go to Mars, it'll be a landmark achievement that the world will make note of. It's a dream that can focus and revitalize the space program, whereas the asteroid visitation is simply aiming too low as the overarching goal for NASA.

Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (1)

towermac (752159) | about three weeks ago | (#47415133)

"NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big."

That nails it. But,

"...NASA should target Mars ..."

That's the problem, and why you can't get people stirred up over it; there's no good reason to go to Mars. There was a good reason to go to the Moon at the time. Now, not so much; which is why we don't go to the Moon anymore either. And that's okay, because it's really expensive to go.

The asteroid thing is somewhat of a better reason, at least because whatever we find we can bring back in bulk, as opposed to the footlocker's worth of anything we found on the surface of Mars. Snagging an asteroid is a pretty big project, but the passion part is not satisfied; I suspect the asteroid will be mostly rock and dust, pretty much the same thing that is waiting for us on the surface of Mars. Hard to get excited over finding rocks and dust.

"Something big" means there needs to be a big payoff. Incidental little payoffs like velcro and teflon don't really count; you get those with any big applied science project. There's a catch though; it has to be something that hasn't been done before, or you're not going to get new science out of it. The new science in those projects is in the snagging, or in the keeping people alive in space for 2ish years (I forget how long). Both of those are kinda, .. not worth billions.

What's a *Big*, *New* project, with a really big payoff? To me, it's the elephant in the room....

The space elevator.

That's the next big thing. We're just about as close to that now, as walking men around on the Moon was in the early 60s. Theoretically, we can do it; we have the carbon nanotube material of sufficient strength. We just can't spin/extrude it into a ribbon cable. That's your science to focus on. There's your project.

You may say we are researching that now, but I'm saying: Actually get started. Shoot a weightless R&D laboratory into equatorial GEO 1000 miles west of Peru. Equip it with a carbon nanotube extruder that... doesn't actually work yet. But it will, if a politician with big brass ones tells us all that it will. He'll have to lie to us, and tell us that in a weightless, airless environment; it will be possible to manufacture the ribbon cable. That it's just a matter of applied science and time. All politicians lie; good politicians just tell good lies.

In the meantime, you'll get all (okay most) of the science you would have gotten out of a Mars trip. Extended stays outside the radiation belts, a lot of spacewalking, the whole thing is a big laboratory... It's a killer space station even if they completely fail their primary mission. Getting that spot is worth something also. In GEO, I think it stays put a while, and doesn't have to maintained as much as LEO. Also, the asteroid capture mission could be altered into a nice complement to this mission. What's not to love?

Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (2)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about three weeks ago | (#47415523)

It's a dream that can focus and revitalize the space program, whereas the asteroid visitation is simply aiming too low as the overarching goal for NASA.

I never understood this. An asteroid visit is the first and most necessary step to asteroid mining which is arguably the only way to open up the solar system with chemical rockets for propulsion. Go out and grab a water rich asteroid, ship up a few hundred square meters of solar panels and start cracking the water into fuel. Obviously there are challenges involved, but not having to haul all the fuel for your interplanetary burns from the Earth's surface would cut the difficulty of a Mars mission significantly.

Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (1)

stiggle (649614) | about three weeks ago | (#47415851)

NASA has a reduced budget so has to do more with less.

The overarching goal is Mars...
The asteroid visit is a stepping stone, which they'll have to do anyway at some point.

Just like when they were going to the moon, they did a few orbits of the Earth first before moving to to orbiting the moon, then finally landing on it. The asteroid visits, capture, asteroid insertion into lunar orbit, etc are all steps rather than a single shot system whose only purpose is to get to Mars. We saw how useful Apollo was at being reused for other purposes. So multi-mission capable systems are what they're looking towards.

While NASA is harvesting resources from the asteroids, SpaceX might get their act together and propose their martian lander system. NASA can then throw resources at that, as they have done with COTS and CCDev.

Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about three weeks ago | (#47415913)

NASA needs a passion project on which they can fire on all cylinders and do something big.

No, the American people need a passion project for space. The space race happened because it was "Us vs Them" and when you got the people behind you, politics generally gets out of the way.

But when you don't have the people behind you, politics gets in the way and you end up with stuff like the Shuttle and people opposing you on purely ideological grounds.

Hell, try doing any pure science research, and it's heavily politicized.

The only way to do stuff like mine asteroids or go to Mars is to somehow light a fire that gets people excited enough to actually do it. And that generally takes an external threat. I mean, WWII is an example of how you can do into massive deficit spending and have everyone "suffer" (rationing, wage controls, etc) for the "greater good". Ditto the space race - can't let those Ruskies win, after all, so full speed ahead, damn everything else.

These days we're all engaged in piles of petty squabbles - science vs. religion, taxation, spending, climate change, conservation, oil, etc.

Re:Buzz elaborated on his reasoning yesterday. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47416389)

Agreed, but not only do you need to get the public excited, you must keep them interested for many years, probably several decades.
That's the real problem.

People tend to forget how quickly the Apollo program lost it's shine.
By Apollo 13 the major newsmedia no longer bothered to show up to the mission briefings, and coverage was usually just a few seconds straight from the wireservices.
Until the accident, that is...

And once there were no accidents on Apollo 14 interest dropped like a rock...

Wrong initiative, enough of space. (0)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about three weeks ago | (#47414327)

What has NASA ever gotten us? I always see huge lists like more comfortable chairs (memory foam) and shoes, but industry would have invented those anyway. Satellites? Legit; nobody sane was ever going to build space launch shit on private money. Other than that, piles and piles of junk, and some history.

Skip NASA. Move their funding over to something like a National Institute of Health, and take up researching new medical treatments and drugs. Release all that shit to the public. If you're into social democracy, issue a $1 tax per prescription filled or treatment carried out to give the government revenue; if not, release them to the public domain so we can have new $4 generics.

We need to take that kind of thing out of the hands of Pfeizer. The US got it wrong: we don't need public healthcare; we need public health research. Let the private sector handle healthcare; we can revisit the issue when our healthcare system isn't a weedy mess of overpriced, ineffective bullshit. I do support regulations to force hospitals to provide free clinical care, with staffed clinician hours based on their size, and distribution based on the saturation of healthcare facilities in their area (i.e. more hospitals, wider spread of clinics); but the immediate economic issues of healthcare aren't "how do patients pay for cancer treatment?", but rather "how do we get the best, least expensive cancer treatment to the people?"

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (5, Insightful)

c4t3l (3606237) | about three weeks ago | (#47414491)

I gotta disagree with you bud. An entire generation of folks were inspired by the Apollo program to dream and become todays scientists/engineers etc. The world NEEDS lofty goals like this. I think that too many folks focus on "What NASA got us" and not on the value of the less tangible items (inspiration and willingness to push the envelope of human acheivement).

--

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about three weeks ago | (#47414697)

Actually that was Star Trek and science fiction. Given the space program was an arms race issue...won't happen again. The key to NASA's success is studying the universe with space probes. Maned exploration is a waste of money with no ROI. We can discover a lot more and do more scientific research with space probes - Cassini anyone....

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414909)

"Given the space program was an arms race issue...won't happen again."

I imagine if the Chinese started landing people on the moon NASA would get a sudden and massive funding increase. Though the question would remain if they would use it effectively or blow it (either through mismanagement or extraneous requirements imposed on them (SLS & Constellation anyone?)) on another expensive, unsustainable craft whose construction is spread across as many politically connected congressional districts as possible.

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about three weeks ago | (#47414715)

The market is what makes engineers and scientists. NASA created some market niches earlier than they would have existed, and it did create a few on its own. The least likely is satellites. The DOD created the friggin' Internet.

Also who ever decided to become an engineer because of the moon launches? This is pop culture: every kid wanted to be an ASTRONAUT, and their idea of an astronaut was a fat man in a white suit with a hose and a fish bowl on his head, playing in outer space! Nobody looked at that and went, "Wow, I want to design a new super armatron to manipulate heavy materials via shuttle so I can repair a space research lab's solar panels!" They might have seen something like that on TV and decided they wanted to blast the thrusters and throw shit around with the giant machine arm, but that's about it.

People have this uncanny ability to rewrite history. Look at the Lebanon war, where people said the fighting "came out of nowhere", and "would be over in a few days." It kept being "almost over" for almost 20 years, with some people in hotels in the next country over, waiting because they were sure that THIS week would be the week the war ends. What does history say? It says everyone could see the rising tensions (no they couldn't) and the breakdown of the economy (that had been happening for decades), and people started to flee the country because they knew the fighting would start (they fled the country immediately *after* it started), and holed up for a long and protracted war (which nobody actually believed--they thought this was just a big, three-to-five-day skirmish). People who lived through this shit and wrote it in their diaries immediately, a week or two after the war, talked like all these deformations of history were what actually happened--even though their own diary said absolutely the opposite.

Put away the romantics and come back to earth. Reality's down here.

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47417015)

Can you tell me what inspired people before NASA? You want lofty goals?

1) Sustainable social structure right here for the 7 billion + people we have
2) Medical care for all
3) Free psychological counseling, for life, for people who don't understand 1 and 2.

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414781)

We have public research. The agencies sell their developments to companies or spin them off to make money.

There are plenty of technology developments that NASA created because they had a need, and were able to bring a bunch of smart scientists and engineers together.

--

As for where we should go to, I like some of the moons of Jupiter better than Mars. Unless they can figure out a way to terraform Mars and produce a magnetic field and increased gravity that will prevent H2 from being blown away.

I also think a better target would be higher speed spacecraft. We don't have that technology today.

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47415111)

Federation of American Scientists

> NASA Technological Spinoff Fables

http://fas.org/spp/eprint/jp_950525.htm

Re:Wrong initiative, enough of space. (1)

Hollister David (3737171) | about two weeks ago | (#47429173)

NASA and the air force were one of the first major buyers of integrated circuits. The funded R&D to make electronics more compact and less massive. They kickstarted the miniaturization of electronics. Since then, American firms have been a leader in this trend with huge economic benefits.

Please pass the brain bleach. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414339)

Did anyone else read the title as "Buzz Aldrin Pleasures Obama For New Space Exploration Initiative"?

KickStarter? (1)

TheInsaneSicilian (134631) | about three weeks ago | (#47414381)

He should post something on kickstarter and then donate all of the money to NASA. It seems to be working out for LeVar Burton.

NASA Listen Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414421)

You should be fighting the good fight to create new renewable energy resources on earth rather than taking buko resources from this planet to venture out into no man's land in space. Without these renewable energy resources on earth, your space exploration won't mean diddley squat to a dead human civilization.

Re:NASA Listen Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47416519)

What are "buko" resources? Is that a Japanese word?

Re:NASA Listen Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47417577)

I think he was shooting for "beaucoup". Shooting and missing.

Man in Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47414495)

The most cost effective way to do science in space is with an unmanned mission. Look at what Cassini has given us in more information about our planets. Try to pay for this information with a manned mission and you would probably need the whole national budget. All this manned space program is eating up the unmanned space program and robbing us of more knowledge about other planets and other astronomy related science.

Re:Man in Space (0)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about three weeks ago | (#47414723)

THANK YOU! You get a lot more done with space probes. There's a reason why chimps where the first in space - man was not needed. Maned space exploration is a PR move.

Re:Man in Space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about three weeks ago | (#47415305)

Probes can do some great science, but even our most advanced ones (Mars Science Laboratory) are quite limited. I think that it is pretty much agreed that the work that has taken MSL Years to do could have been done by an experienced geologist with the proper equipment in under a week. Sometimes there is just no substitute for having boots on the ground, especially when you have a 6-42 minute two way communications delay with a prob sporting less computational power than a laptop computer.

Re:Man in Space (1)

scotts13 (1371443) | about three weeks ago | (#47415753)

There's a reason why chimps where the first in space - man was not needed. Maned space exploration is a PR move.

There was a reason, and I'm surprised you've completely missed it.

Wonders (1)

coolmoose25 (1057210) | about three weeks ago | (#47415747)

The other day, I googled the 7 Wonders of the World... we talk about them from time to time, and marvel at them, but the list is far from agreed... there are the 7 wonders of the ancient world, and newer wonders often mentioned such as the Taj Mahal. There is a list of wonders put forth by civil engineers, and the Golden Gate bridge is on that list.

What I found most interesting is that human footprints on another world isn't even considered. And when I think of wonders, I have to believe that walking on the moon makes all other human wonders pale in comparison. I, too, was absolutely enthralled by the space program and the Apollo missions. I've watched Apollo 13 like 20 times. I was too young to remember the first moon landing and Armstrong's first steps. I do remember being in kindergarten and being hustled into a cafeteria so the entire school could watch a moon landing on a 19 inch black and white television. I remember building a model Saturn V rocket with my dad, with all the stages were removable. For one of the launches, I dutifully discarded the stages as the rocket took off, and I remember thinking the mission was doomed to failure, having seen 90% of the rocket gone in the first 10 minutes. How could they have made such a mistake I thought...

Anyway, fast forward to today, and I have several friends who are convinced the moon landings were faked and have an elaborate conspiracy theory supporting their assertion. My daughter even explained to me that the cameras wouldn't have worked in space (she just got done with a photography course where they posited this theory). Historians claim that the whole thing was just a cold war artifact. Lots of people make the argument that the money would have been better spent on social programs (as if we had just added the Apollo funding to the supertanker of money already spent on such programs would have just made the difference, and we'd be living in a utopia now if only our swaggering leaders had just thought of the children!)

Rarely mentioned is the fact that having humans walk on another world is perhaps the greatest achievement mankind has ever accomplished. It is more often written off as a publicity stunt. Lost is the inspiration a generation got from that endeavor. And that generation is getting old now and the state of the world and the indifference to the achievement discourages me and others of that time no end.

Getting off this pale blue world is a thing our society should value highly, as like it or not, the longevity of our species depends on it. And while we are currently in the wooden sailing ship stage of our ability to explore space, that should in no way discourage us to continue to push those boundaries. Humans should walk on Mars. We should capture and study asteroids. We should send probes to Europa in search of life. We should do these things, as Jack said, not because they are easy but because they are hard.

Meanwhile, Nasa's funding is abysmal in comparison to all of our other spending. A tiny fraction of our budget, seemingly shrinking every year. I am depressed.

Re:Wonders (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | about three weeks ago | (#47417113)

Maybe you're talking about this list of 7 Modern Wonders? http://www.asce.org/content.as... [asce.org] What do they all have in common? Utility. They aren't just statues or publicity stunts. They serve a purpose that has direct impact on the lives of millions of people. Something that manned space programs have failed to deliver.

You talk about inspiration, but it was quite the opposite. Men walked on the moon, showed that its a barren rock and people lost interest almost immediately. All the romance and excitement was wiped out in the face of cold reality: men stuffed in aluminum cans and struggling around in awkward suits. They didn't even accomplish that much in terms of scientific discovery. What kind of inspiration is that?

Manned spaceflight is a dead end. We're not in the wooden sailing ship stage, we're in the fish flopping onto the beach stage.

Moon a "kid's pick-up game". Mars: Superbowl. (1)

yayoubetcha (893774) | about three weeks ago | (#47416421)

The technological differences between going to the Moon and going to Mars is vast as the distances from the Earth, respectively. Also, would "we" have spent billions going to the moon, if not for cold-war politics?

save the space station first! (1)

peter303 (12292) | about three weeks ago | (#47417215)

In Bush's original terminiation of the space shuttle program the US was supposed have a shuttle replacement by this year. Now the earliest is 2018 with some suspecting more like 2021 or so. The recession and tea party politics stretched out replacement spending programs. NASA has order Soyuz seats through 2017 at a very high price. Russian factories need a three year advance order to build new capsules and rockets.

The rated lifetime of the ISS somewhere between 2020 and 2030. Russia is not committing past 2020 due to neo-cold war politics. A catstophic failure like that of the solar panel position bearings a few years back could end the ISS because there isnt launch capacity for large replacements. The tea party faction in the US is blah toward the space program and ISS too.

Priorities, and going to Mars is not one of them (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about three weeks ago | (#47417617)

Except for a few people, nobody cares about Mars. Only need to see what the politicos and major decision makers are working on. Also from http://www.projectrho.com/rock... [projectrho.com]
"The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes "Gobi Desert Opera" because, well, it's just kind of plonkingly obvious that there's no good reason to go there and live. It's ugly, it's inhospitable and there's no way to make it pay. Mars is just the same, really. We just romanticize it because it's so hard to reach."

A manned mission to Mars has always been 20 years away and been presented like this for past 50 years (like fusion energy power plants are 10 years away which been presented like this for past 60 years). After a half century, maybe a different approach? Sorry I don't see how Orion or Musk's Dragon can reach Mars (supplies, food, machine shops to repair when things break down, radiation, microgravity, etc.). Then we got advocates always promoting their "One legged stool" http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.c... [blogspot.com] for the Next Big Initiative.

Of all the stuff I read, Dennis Wingo in his book Moon Rush discusses real driver should be industrial expansion, "Deals of this size are done all the time, and think what having access to and rights over a billion kilos of platinum would do for your corporate portfolio." Wingo also discusses background of major programs Apollo, SEI, Augustine commissions I and II, and why certain decisions were made (and why many times nothing happened after). http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ... [amazon.com]

Re:Priorities, and going to Mars is not one of the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47425195)

A manned mission to Mars has always been 20 years away and been presented like this for past 50 years (like fusion energy power plants are 10 years away which been presented like this for past 60 years).

Fusion is about 20 years away and a Mars landing is about 30 years away with proper funding. For the last 50 years, neither project has been giving anything like proper funding to get things done. They barely receive enough funding to keep the projects open let alone move it forward. It's like a guy that wants to restore the classic car in his garage, but he never spends any time working on it, let alone money on parts. It's been there for years only needing "a few weekends of work" but he's always watching TV on the weekends instead of being in the garage.(Car analogy for /.)

Re:Priorities, and going to Mars is not one of the (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | about two weeks ago | (#47429203)

It's been there for years only needing "a few weekends of work" but he's always watching TV on the weekends instead of being in the garage.(Car analogy for /.)

good one, I'll remember this.

Repurpose the pork and the rest will follow (1)

JoeSilva (215173) | about three weeks ago | (#47422435)

The problem with our space program is not the goal(s). No, not at all that. It is the short sighted edicts from certain key members of congress (and their staff) forcing NASA to build the slow motion train wreck pork rocket to nowhere that is the SLS (Senate/Shelby Launch System).

If the vast resources on that program, especially the ones in said senators district, were re-purposed to manage and support a multi-vendor fix price milestone based competition like commercial cargo and commercial crew to station but this time with the goals to:

1: Provide deep space launch services

2: Develop and deploy deep space habitats and propulsion systems

3: Deliver logistics to these mobile outposts

We would have a sustained and robust infrastructure to explore the asteroids, the comets, Mars, Venus, etc.

NASA has tremendous talent and resources that can do so much more if only the policies and direction were in line with the fact that launching to LEO or even GEO is now a road well traveled, and beyond GEO is not such a leap if we just leverage what we have so far and build on that.

No need for a big fracking rocket done the old way as if it was never done before, with cost plus and an army of oversight.

Now when we get to needing new stuff like in space nuclear rockets and reactors, building really big outposts, or outposts on new worlds, we'll be in uncharted territory.

The in space outposts are not such a big leap from ISS except:

1: Extra stresses due to propulsion
2: Way more radiation beyond LEO
3: Long duration may require artificial gravity (spinning)
4: If something goes wrong your on your own, it's a long way from home

All these are solvable we just need to put the resources on them for real and make it happen.

Yep we need those resources set lose to address these issues now. Not a decade or two from now when SLS grinds to a halt giving us a rocket we can't afford.

Dubia and the F-35 contractors should get together (1)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | about three weeks ago | (#47423771)

With that combined budget we would be living in weather domes on the Moon by now and launching interstellar probes to find Earth 2.

Aldrin must be against going to Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47440827)

...because the only sure way to make sure congress won't do anything is to have Obama ask for it.

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