And Yet Another Obama disaster: NASA

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  • frank777frank777 Posts: 5,714member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    I don't know about the moon. But I think we can learn a lot just through the process of getting to Mars. I also think there is an almost intangible "because it's there" in terms of reason to explore space.



    "Because it's there" isn't really a good enough reason to ask a crew to surrender their lives.

    And as I understand it, that's what a trip to Mars entails with current technology.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sammi jo View Post


    "Allow"? Since when was private space exploration prohibited, and by whom?



    The world has changed since the Wright Brothers decided they could fly, and there was no FAA to stop them. In a world where dogs and bicycles need government licences, it's obvious that private space missions will be outlawed the first time there's a serious incident.



    And in space travel, there's always an opportunity for a serious incident.
  • kingofsomewherehotkingofsomewherehot Posts: 4,000member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sammi jo View Post


    "Allow"? Since when was private space exploration prohibited, and by whom?



    Well... within the U.S., you have to have permission from the government to launch.

    One could "develop" all they want, but to actually launch a vehicle/probe/satellite requires the permission of the United States government. (The same applies to most other soil on the planet as well.) ... It would be difficult to actually "explore" space without launching something up there. (We've pretty much reached the limits, barring some huge technological leap, of ground-based observation.)
  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,332member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Nope. Don't think the federal government needs to. Those things could absolutely be done privately or, worst case, at the state, county or city levels.



    So...you don't approve of the Interstate Highway System, then? Of course, that's not all fed funded, I don't think.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    "Because it's there" isn't really a good enough reason to ask a crew to surrender their lives.

    And as I understand it, that's what a trip to Mars entails with current technology.







    The world has changed since the Wright Brothers decided they could fly, and there was no FAA to stop them. In a world where dogs and bicycles need government licences, it's obvious that private space missions will be outlawed the first time there's a serious incident.



    And in space travel, there's always an opportunity for a serious incident.



    "Because it's there" was the second, less important reason (which is why I listed it second, incidentally). You ignored the first reason, which was that such a trip would have untold benefits in tech development (and who knows what else), discovery, etc. We're not there yet, but by 2020 I think we could be.
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    So...you don't approve of the Interstate Highway System, then? Of course, that's not all fed funded, I don't think.



    Let's be very careful here. Whether intentionally or not, there's a rhetorical trick hiding in there. I'm not saying at all that I disapprove of the concept of an interstate transport system like the interstate highway system. What I am specifically opposed to is the government funding, managing and building of it. It could have been done privately and it could now potentially be privatized.
  • kingofsomewherehotkingofsomewherehot Posts: 4,000member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    "Because it's there" isn't really a good enough reason to ask a crew to surrender their lives.



    The crew members are not being asked to risk their lives.

    People are ASKING to be ALLOWED to risk their own lives. Those people WANT to do it!... They do, in fact, fight for the few positions available.



    There is risk in everything people do ... get over it and let people take risks that they feel are appropriate. There IS something to be learned by doing stuff... even if only "because it's there".
  • jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...WtH_print.html







    Step 1: Kill mission to moon planned before 2020.

    Step 2: Have no direct ability to send astronauts into space for 5 years.

    Step 3: Tell head of NASA that part of his mission is Muslim outreach.



    Lost in all of Obama's failures is this one, perhaps his biggest next to the economy. America has been dominant in space since the moon landing. Now, our astronauts will need to hitch rides on Russian craft for a few years (at least). We have few if any well-known public goals with our space program. NASA has fallen out of the public conscience. The President who says we need to make "investments" in green energy, social programs, failed stimulus and more...is unwilling to invest in the program which has probably provided more benefit to the American public in terms of technology than any other.



    Now you've done it, President Obama. You've pissed off Neil Armstrong.



    Well this is one place where we agree. However I think we need NASA and private enterprise to drive the future of human space travel.
  • jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    "Because it's there" isn't really a good enough reason to ask a crew to surrender their lives.

    And as I understand it, that's what a trip to Mars entails with current technology.







    The world has changed since the Wright Brothers decided they could fly, and there was no FAA to stop them. In a world where dogs and bicycles need government licences, it's obvious that private space missions will be outlawed the first time there's a serious incident.



    And in space travel, there's always an opportunity for a serious incident.



    Honestly Frank people weren't asking those questions when air travel was in it's infancy and if you don't think it was dangerous back then you should do some reading. And someday there will be a serious incident. As there has been many times with air travel. That won't stop them.
  • john galtjohn galt Posts: 957member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    You don't think the federal government should maintain the national infrastructure, particularly roads/bridges, etc?



    Nope. Don't think the federal government needs to. Those things could absolutely be done privately or, worst case, at the state, county or city levels.



    That's going to happen whether we like it or not. Federal fuel tax revenue can no longer sustain the cost of maintaining the interstate highway system, and given high gas prices coupled with the atmosphere in D.C. there's no appetite for raising it. At a fixed 18.4¢ / gal, it was last raised in 1993 so it's lost 33% of its value since then, due to inflation (state taxes add a lot more to that (except in AK)).



    It gets worse: only 60% goes to actual road and bridge construction, the rest gets "earmarked". Great system we got there.



    The alternative will be privatization - "pay as you go" roads that extract money from you using a system of transponders like EZ-Pass. I surmise the creeps in Washington will mandate new cars contain electronics that will make it easy (if they haven't already).



    Selling public roads to the highest bidder, who subsequently maintain them in accordance with Contract specifications by collecting whatever revenue they deem appropriate beats many other unpleasant alternatives. Probably the worst of them are these quasi-government agencies like the Port Authority of NY, so corrupt, inefficient, and unaccountable it makes the Mafia look like a sewing circle.



    It's been done - 15 roads in 10 different states are already privately owned and operated. The companies that operate them often aren't even American



    I don't like it but when there's no money, there's no money. It's just another ripple in the cesspool of economic collapse our government has orchestrated.



    There's no reason you can't privatize space exploration and research either. Most satellites are already privately built, owned and operated, why must they rely upon a government agency to place them into orbit?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    ... Not what we have now which is a national war machine masquerading as defense.



    That would be the Department of Peace
  • tontontonton Posts: 14,064member
    My god... deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs... might actually encourage people to reside reasonably near their place of employment, take public transportation, and car pool. How terrible!!!!



    As for NASA, I'm with Obama and Frank777 here, and to a certain extent, MJ. We can invest more in space travel when we can afford it, and going to Mars and the Moon is definitely not affordable at this point in our history.
  • frank777frank777 Posts: 5,714member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    I'm with Obama and Frank777 here...



    You wretch. :o)
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    My god... deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs... might actually encourage people to reside reasonably near their place of employment, take public transportation, and car pool. How terrible!!!!



    There's actually a huge irony here that's lost on the anti-car, anti-subruban-sprawl, carbon-fearing, AGW proselytizing, big government leftists in the US.
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john galt View Post


    The alternative will be privatization - "pay as you go" roads that extract money from you using a system of transponders like EZ-Pass. I surmise the creeps in Washington will mandate new cars contain electronics that will make it easy (if they haven't already).



    Selling public roads to the highest bidder, who subsequently maintain them in accordance with Contract specifications by collecting whatever revenue they deem appropriate beats many other unpleasant alternatives. Probably the worst of them are these quasi-government agencies like the Port Authority of NY, so corrupt, inefficient, and unaccountable it makes the Mafia look like a sewing circle.



    It's been done - 15 roads in 10 different states are already privately owned and operated. The companies that operate them often aren't even American



    I don't like it but when there's no money, there's no money.



    I'm curious why you don't like it?
  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,332member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Let's be very careful here. Whether intentionally or not, there's a rhetorical trick hiding in there. I'm not saying at all that I disapprove of the concept of an interstate transport system like the interstate highway system. What I am specifically opposed to is the government funding, managing and building of it. It could have been done privately and it could now potentially be privatized.



    There is no rhetorical trick whatsoever. And by definition it wouldn't be a "trick" if it wasn't intentional. For my part, I don't think the system would have ever been built without government funding.



    I don't know what I think of privatization here. My inclination is that I don't like it. I think there are certain functions government should perform, and that branching out into other areas is what has caused governments to consider privatizing roads in the first place. In other words, it's not being done for reasons you and I might happen to agree with. It's being done because governments are involved in too many other things they have no business in, causing lack of resources for things they arguably should be involved with.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by john galt View Post


    That's going to happen whether we like it or not. Federal fuel tax revenue can no longer sustain the cost of maintaining the interstate highway system, and given high gas prices coupled with the atmosphere in D.C. there's no appetite for raising it. At a fixed 18.4¢ / gal, it was last raised in 1993 so it's lost 33% of its value since then, due to inflation (state taxes add a lot more to that (except in AK)).



    There's plenty of money. That is not the problem.



    Quote:



    It gets worse: only 60% goes to actual road and bridge construction, the rest gets "earmarked". Great system we got there.



    THAT is the problem...or one of them.



    Quote:



    The alternative will be privatization - "pay as you go" roads that extract money from you using a system of transponders like EZ-Pass. I surmise the creeps in Washington will mandate new cars contain electronics that will make it easy (if they haven't already).



    Awesome, so a boatload of my taxes go away then, too? If we're going to pay as we go, then we better damn well pay as we go without paying taxes that go to roads.



    Quote:



    Selling public roads to the highest bidder, who subsequently maintain them in accordance with Contract specifications by collecting whatever revenue they deem appropriate beats many other unpleasant alternatives. Probably the worst of them are these quasi-government agencies like the Port Authority of NY, so corrupt, inefficient, and unaccountable it makes the Mafia look like a sewing circle.



    Agreed.



    Quote:



    It's been done - 15 roads in 10 different states are already privately owned and operated. The companies that operate them often aren't even American



    You describe a serious problem with implementation here, problems. First, do we really want a bunch of privately owned companies owning our transportation system? Secondly, are we still going to have taxes that go to roads when they are privately owned? What about security concerns with non-domestic companies owning the roads (or hell...even domestic ones)?



    In my own state (Commonwealth, technically) there has been talk about privatizing the PA Turnpike. I just don't like it. As I said, I think there are certain things government should be doing. Building and maintaining public infrastructure is one of them. When we can't do that anymore, it's a sign that government has gotten its tentacles into too many things, and is spending too much money on them. It's absurd to think that that CoPA can hand out cash assistance, but cannot fund and manage its roads. Of course, this might also be an argument that government can pretty much SUCK at doing anything...



    Quote:





    I don't like it but when there's no money, there's no money. It's just another ripple in the cesspool of economic collapse our government has orchestrated.



    Agreed.



    Quote:



    There's no reason you can't privatize space exploration and research either. Most satellites are already privately built, owned and operated, why must they rely upon a government agency to place them into orbit?



    I'm not arguing against private space travel and exploration. I just think it should be a national priority as well.



    Quote:



    That would be the Department of Peace



    Indeed.







    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    My god... deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs... might actually encourage people to reside reasonably near their place of employment, take public transportation, and car pool. How terrible!!!!



    This statement really betrays a lot of your true thinking about not just transport, but politics, freedom and liberty as well. First, the implication is that it's inherently more moral and just to utilize public transport and live near one's place of employment. After all, it helps with the specter of global warming, suburban sprawl, etc--at least in your mind. From there, your affinity for central planning comes into play. This means that you applaud policies that encourage deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs to that people will be forced into the lifestyle of the planners' choosing. You want high fuel costs because it will force people to live near work and take public transit, not to mention alter their lifestyles. Our President obviously shares these goals to an extent.



    Quote:



    As for NASA, I'm with Obama and Frank777 here, and to a certain extent, MJ. We can invest more in space travel when we can afford it, and going to Mars and the Moon is definitely not affordable at this point in our history.



    That's a decent argument on its own. My question is what is preventing us from affording it (U.S. in particular)?
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    There is no rhetorical trick whatsoever. And by definition it wouldn't be a "trick" if it wasn't intentional. For my part, I don't think the system would have ever been built without government funding.



    Well I think some kind of transport system would have been built. Would look just like what we have now? Probably not. I actually suspect that rail systems, water and air would have been the primary long haul transport systems. I also think you would have seen much less suburban sprawl. This was basically subsidized by government-built roads. There would also be fewer cars.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Awesome, so a boatload of my taxes go away then, too? If we're going to pay as we go, then we better damn well pay as we go without paying taxes that go to roads.



    Well that would be the idea, yes. If the government is not doing that service (roads, education, etc.) the money collected for those things stops being collected by the government and people retain it to spend it how they wish. The market would then drive the relative amounts of those things that get provided.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    First, do we really want a bunch of privately owned companies owning our transportation system?



    Why not? Why is this such a batshit crazy idea? We have private companies that own large parts of our electrical systems...of our other energy supply (e.g., oil), of our telecommunications systems.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Secondly, are we still going to have taxes that go to roads when they are privately owned?



    Yes, that's how it should go. Of course getting any politician to let go of a tax dollar is like trying to take a cub from her mama.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    What about security concerns with non-domestic companies owning the roads (or hell...even domestic ones)?



    What "security concerns"?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Of course, this might also be an argument that government can pretty much SUCK at doing anything...



    Yeah...well...
  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,332member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    Well I think some kind of transport system would have been built. Would look just like what we have now? Probably not. I actually suspect that rail systems, water and air would have been the primary long haul transport systems. I also think you would have seen much less suburban sprawl. This was basically subsidized by government-built roads. There would also be fewer cars.



    Something would have been built, that is for sure. I don't think it would have been a better system, but there is no way to tell.



    Quote:







    Well that would be the idea, yes. If the government is not doing that service (roads, education, etc.) the money collected for those things stops being collected by the government and people retain it to spend it how they wish. The market would then drive the relative amounts of those things that get provided.



    Good luck with that! The tolls on many bridges were supposed to be reduced or eliminated once they were paid for. Look how that worked out.



    Quote:



    Why not? Why is this such a batshit crazy idea? We have private companies that own large parts of our electrical systems...of our other energy supply (e.g., oil), of our telecommunications systems.



    Fair enough.



    Quote:



    Yes, that's how it should go. Of course getting any politician to let go of a tax dollar is like trying to take a cub from her mama.





    What "security concerns"?



    You don't think having say, a Chinese company that is essentially owned by the government owning our interstate system could present a few problems?





    Quote:

    Yeah...well...



    Yup.
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Something would have been built, that is for sure. I don't think it would have been a better system, but there is no way to tell.



    I totally disagree. I think it would have been much, much better and still improving. Look at the telecommunications systems of this country. Amazing and still improving and prices going down, quality going up, speeds going up, etc.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    Good luck with that! The tolls on many bridges were supposed to be reduced or eliminated once they were paid for. Look how that worked out.



    All the more reason to keep and get government out of as many things as possible. They lie and once you give them something, getting it back is nearly impossible.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    You don't think having say, a Chinese company that is essentially owned by the government owning our interstate system could present a few problems?



    Not necessarily. But why do you assume it would go that way? And why do you assume it would necessarily be bad.
  • jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tonton View Post


    My god... deteriorating roads and rising fuel costs... might actually encourage people to reside reasonably near their place of employment, take public transportation, and car pool. How terrible!!!!



    As for NASA, I'm with Obama and Frank777 here, and to a certain extent, MJ. We can invest more in space travel when we can afford it, and going to Mars and the Moon is definitely not affordable at this point in our history.



    tonton are you aware of the cost difference between what's spent in other areas instead of space exploration? The yearly budget of NASA sounds like a lot until you compare it with other things.



    Read this : http://www.thespacereview.com/article/898/1 It's an eye full.



    Quote:

    According to budget documents obtained from the Government Printing Office, the national budget for 2007 totals about $2.784 trillion. At $16.143 billion, spending on NASA accounts for 0.58% of this. Compare this to NASA’s allocation during the mid-1960s when, despite the pressures of the war effort in Vietnam and President Johnson’s Great Society programs, NASA spending made up more than five percent of the federal budget.




    Not that I'm advocating this but it's an interesting comparison :



    Quote:

    How does NASA’s budget compare with the amount of money the federal government spends on social programs? In the 2007 budget, the funding for social programs (calculated here as the budgets for the Department of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs, Social Security, Agriculture, and Labor) adds up to a whopping $1.581 trillion. For every $1 the federal government spends on NASA, it spends $98 on social programs. In other words, if we cut spending on social programs by a mere one percent, we could very nearly double NASA’s budget.




    This would be something I'd look at :



    Quote:

    The idea of NASA money being diverted away from social programs is the most common proposal by those who would divert NASA’s funding. But how does NASA compare to other big government expenditures? Compare, for example, the NASA budget with the United States defense budget.



    When you look at the numbers, the notion that we should “solve our problems on Earth before we go into space” is revealed as a blatant non sequitur.

    The 2007 budget allocates roughly $609 billion to defense, not including the budget for the Department of Homeland Security. This is nearly 38 times the amount of money spent on NASA. If you include funding for the Department of Homeland Security, defense spending adds up to $652.5 billion, which is more than 40 times NASA’s budget. While few question the need to maintain a strong military in an uncertain age, some might consider it excessive for the United States to spend more on its military than the next fifteen biggest defense spenders put together, especially as most of them are American allies. Furthermore, there certainly are a great number of military programs of questionable value, as well as many sound military programs whose price tags nevertheless raise eyebrows.



    As one anecdotal example, consider that each B-2 stealth bomber cost the US taxpayer roughly $2.2 billion. Then consider that the New Horizons robotic mission to Pluto, which will answer fundamental questions about the solar system, was nearly canceled for lack of funds. The total cost of the New Horizons mission, including the launch vehicle, added up to $650 million. In other words, the New Horizons mission to Pluto cost less than a third the cost of a single B-2 bomber.




  • sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 16,332member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MJ1970 View Post


    I totally disagree. I think it would have been much, much better and still improving. Look at the telecommunications systems of this country. Amazing and still improving and prices going down, quality going up, speeds going up, etc.



    I don't think there would have been incentive to build such a system of roads. And the system is a pretty amazing achievement.



    Quote:



    All the more reason to keep and get government out of as many things as possible. They lie and once you give them something, getting it back is nearly impossible.



    That much is true. I still think there some things they should be involved in...we just seem to disagree on what some of those are.



    Quote:





    Not necessarily. But why do you assume it would go that way? And why do you assume it would necessarily be bad.



    I don't...I'm saying it's a big risk.
  • mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    I don't think there would have been incentive to build such a system of roads.



    Seriously?! Wow. Why? Because you don't think that people want to transport things (both people and goods)? And you don't think visionary entrepreneurs would have seen this need and moved to serve it?! There are actually examples of other (privately built) transport systems (canals, roads, rail roads, etc.) where exactly that happened.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    And the system is a pretty amazing achievement.



    Eh.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    I don't...I'm saying it's a big risk.



    I don't think the risk is that great.
  • nvidia2008nvidia2008 Posts: 9,262member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SDW2001 View Post


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...WtH_print.html



    Step 1: Kill mission to moon planned before 2020.

    Step 2: Have no direct ability to send astronauts into space for 5 years.

    Step 3: Tell head of NASA that part of his mission is Muslim outreach.



    Lost in all of Obama's failures is this one, perhaps his biggest next to the economy. America has been dominant in space since the moon landing. Now, our astronauts will need to hitch rides on Russian craft for a few years (at least). We have few if any well-known public goals with our space program. NASA has fallen out of the public conscience. The President who says we need to make "investments" in green energy, social programs, failed stimulus and more...is unwilling to invest in the program which has probably provided more benefit to the American public in terms of technology than any other.



    Now you've done it, President Obama. You've pissed off Neil Armstrong.



    Well, some would have said if the moon missions were to go ahead then that would be "Obama wasting all our money. Typical."



    In any case, FWIW, I think they should squeeze whatever they possibly can out of the ISS without blowing too much more cash. I don't see any problems with the Russian system to get astronauts up there, the US should take a good 10-15 years to figure out better means.



    Keep some probe missions alive, but focus on long term human missions to Mars by 2050.



    F**k the moon. Does it have any currently exploitable resources? No. What else are we going to find there that we haven't seen? A crashed ship from Cybertron?



    As to the space program benefitting the American public more than any other technology, well, that's probably an endless debate.



    But I can tell you, a manned mission to Mars in co-operation with the Europeans, Russians, Japanese and Chinese by 2050 will be immensely galvanising and inspiring for America and the world. That has always been the greatest contribution of the space program... Ironic that it came out of fear of the Soviets but at the end of the day it stimulated the hearts and minds of billions around the world to strive, to seek, to create, to think, to grow, to put aside petty conflicts even for just a short while.



    A human on Mars by 2050 will set the tone for the future of mankind beyond our current squabbles over resources and debating on and on about how good or bad the environment is getting. Make it a global co-operative effort and the financial burden is shared. Why does the US have to be the main party that has to spend trillions more this century on space exploration?



    And yes, private enterprise and so on, stimulate that. In fact, private investment is the key to human Mars missions. Heck, charge $5 billion per person per trip. Tap into the hearts and minds of the super-rich. They're bored of Guccis, LV bags, supercars, private jets, supermodels and buying sports clubs. Gather them for human Mars missions... To invest, to go, whatever. If nothing else, their egos will drive their funding for Mars. We've seen it with Branson, with the way wealth is distributed these next few decades, there are more than enough billionaires to tap to fund Mars missions and colonisation going past 2050 into 2100.
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