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  Exploration: Asteroids, Moon and Mars
  Back to the Moon? NASA looks beyond lunar return (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Back to the Moon? NASA looks beyond lunar return
Glint
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posted 04-08-2013 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From SpacePolitics.com:
A week from Monday marks the third anniversary of President Obama’s speech at the Kennedy Space Center where he formally announced the goal of a human mission to an asteroid by 2025. While that is an official goal of NASA’s human space exploration program, there remains some opposition or, at the very least, lack of acceptance of the goal by many people, including some with NASA, as a report on NASA’s strategic direction concluded last December.

At a joint meeting of the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board in Washington on Thursday, the head of that study, Al Carnesale of UCLA, reiterated those concerns. “Since it was announced, there was less enthusiasm for it among the community broadly,” he said of the asteroid mission goal. “The more we learn about it, the more we hear about it, people seem less enthusiastic about it.”

Carnesale suggested that, in his opinion, it might be better to shelve the asteroid mission goal in favor of a human return to the Moon. “There’s a great deal of enthusiasm, almost everywhere, for the Moon,” he said. “I think there might be, if no one has to swallow their pride and swallow their words, and you can change the asteroid mission a little bit… it might be possible to move towards something that might be more of a consensus.”

Carnesale was followed at the meeting by NASA administrator Charles Bolden, who showed no sign of accepting Carnesale’s advice. He noted that a number of nations have expressed interest, to varying degrees, in human lunar exploration. “They all have dreams of putting human on the Moon,” he said. “I have told every head of agency of every partner agency that if you assume the lead in a human lunar mission, NASA will be a part of that. NASA wants to be a participant.”

However, he made it clear NASA has no plans to lead its own human return to the Moon under his watch. “NASA will not take the lead on a human lunar mission,” he said. “NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime. And the reason is, we can only do so many things.” Instead, he said the focus would remain on human missions to asteroids and to Mars. “We intend to do that, and we think it can be done.”

“I don’t know how to say it any more plainly,” he concluded. “NASA does not have a human lunar mission in its portfolio and we are not planning for one.” He warned that if the next administration tries to change course again back to the Moon, “it means we are probably, in our lifetime, in the lifetime of everybody sitting in this room, we are probably never again going to see Americans on the Moon, on Mars, near an asteroid, or anywhere. We cannot continue to change the course of human exploration.”

But wasn't the shift toward an asteroid itself a "change in the course of human exploration?" Wasn't the Bush/Griffin plan to go to the moon, and then speed on to Mars?

SpaceAholic
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posted 04-08-2013 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bolden's perspective is unfortunate but impermanent (will change with the next administration).

cspg
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posted 04-08-2013 01:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If human spaceflight policy/policies change every 4 years (or 8), then Bolden is correct, we're not going anywhere anytime. Sure, there's SpaceX. Yeehaa.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2013 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
Wasn't the Bush plan to go to the moon, and then speed on to Mars?
Go to Mars, yes — at least at first. Speedily, not necessarily.

The Vision for Space Exploration as outlined by President Bush on Jan. 14, 2004, called for manned missions to Mars without a timeline.

Conduct human expeditions to Mars after acquiring adequate knowledge about the planet using robotic missions and after successfully demonstrating sustained human exploration missions to the Moon.

...The timing of the first human research missions to Mars will depend on discoveries from robotic explorers, the development of techniques to mitigate Mars hazards, advances in capabilities for sustainable exploration, and available resources.

After his initial announcement however, Bush received considerable political push-back on any talk of sending humans to Mars in light of the weakened economy, and so any specific planning for the Red Planet was removed from the President's policy for the nation's space program soon thereafter.

Constellation, as originally envisioned, was going to be an umbrella title given to all beyond-Earth orbit missions, regardless if they were destined for the "Moon, Mars or Beyond." But as evident by the headlines when Constellation was canceled, it quickly evolved into a moon-only program, for which NASA could not plan for or find a path forward.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2013 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
Bolden's perspective is unfortunate but impermanent (will change with the next administration).
We should be hoping and working to make sure it doesn't change.

Space enthusiasts have only themselves to blame for the position we are in now. Instead of rallying behind a single plan (i.e. Constellation), space enthusiasts were the most vocal critics, putting their own pet projects (e.g. Jupiter) ahead of a desire to see anything actually accomplished.

The Moon Society wants to go to the moon; the Mars Society wants to go to Mars. The National Space Society wants permanent human settlements; the Planetary Society wants expanded missions to the outer planets.

Everybody wants something different and so we end up going nowhere.

Going to an asteroid (either in situ in the asteroid belt or captured at L2) may not be the mission of everyone's dreams, but it is technically and more importantly, financially feasible given current realities. If space enthusiasts would stop tripping over each other, or worse, actually working to sabotage the others' efforts, we might be able to provide a unified voice and achieve a mission — any mission — which will lead to other missions elsewhere.

As much as I am an advocate for the internet, Tom Stafford's observation in 2009 rings more and more true with each passing day:

If the Internet had been there when Apollo went on, we would have had a very difficult time of completing Apollo.

...there were all different engineers and scientists who said we should do it 'this way' or it's unsafe but then we had good decision makers who made the decisions and we went ahead.

Today when that happens, they go to their computer and send an e-mail to the staffers on the Hill, the congressmen, the press, to you people, and so it shows up all over.

We didn't have that in Apollo. It would have been lots tougher in Apollo. Think about that.

SpaceAholic
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posted 04-08-2013 01:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I will rally around a plan that is the best one for the nation. We have vital strategic interests on the moon as a neighboring resource - it would be a mistake to bypass it and cede development exclusively to other nations and private industry.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2013 02:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
I will rally around a plan that is the best one for the nation.
And there it is in a nutshell; why it will be "lots tougher" to get anywhere.

Jim Behling
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posted 04-08-2013 02:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, I think it is the right move. I am as much a space cadet as anyone, but I am also a realist. Why should the US government be funding any manned lunar missions? What is the end game? Just to keep the aerospace sector employed? Continue Apollo's goals (can't really do that, the USSR is gone, Apollo's main goal was accomplished). How does manned lunar missions funded by the USG benefit the USG and the country? There are no resources that can be exported back to the US.

By the way, sustainment of the human race is not the job of the USG. That is the job of a NGO.

MCroft04
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posted 04-08-2013 04:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't buy the argument that space enthusiasts have only themselves to blame for the position we are in now. Clearly it would have been better if all parties had been aligned, but it is very doubtful that it would have changed Obama's decision to kill the Bush program and build his own. That was a political decision.

Unfortunately when (and if I guess) the republicans get back into office we'll probably go in a different direction. So it seems that space exploration is being used by both parties for political reasons and not what's best for our country.

Landing on a 25' diameter asteroid will give us some experience in tracking them down but I really don't think that is a very big step. The best thing I can say about this plan is that we won't need to build a rover to explore this monster!

Mars is the next clear objective. But before they put my pink little body on a rocket headed to Mars, I want to carry with me some experience of how to build and operate a space outpost. The moon is waiting for us!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2013 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
That was a political decision.
The decision was in part political — you can't escape politics — but per internal White House memos, it was forced by the economy.
In November, 2009, his advisers, in a memo, delivered some bad news: "The 10-year deficit has deteriorated by roughly $6 trillion." The next sentence was in boldface type and underlined: "Especially in light of our new fiscal context, it is not possible to achieve the inspiring space program goals discussed during the campaign."

Obama was told that he should cancel NASA's Bush-era Constellation program, along with its support projects, like the Ares launch vehicles, which were designed to return astronauts to the moon by 2020. The program was behind schedule, over budget, and "unachievable." He agreed to end it. (Source: The New Yorker)

But really, the damage done to Constellation predates Obama taking office. As the Congressional record attests, Congress was already calling into question NASA's path, in particular its Ares rocket architecture — in part because of lobbying efforts by the space enthusiasts who backed their own architecture (i.e. Jupiter).

Just enough doubt was introduced into NASA's ability to carry forth Constellation that it was already in jeopardy when the administrations changed.

So it wasn't solely space enthusiasts, nor did I say it was, but part of the blame has to lie with our community. A unified voice may not have been enough to save Constellation from the economy, or from politics, but a splintered voice hastened its end.

328KF
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posted 04-08-2013 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Constellation, as originally envisioned, was going to be an umbrella title given to all beyond-Earth orbit missions, regardless if they were destined for the "Moon, Mars or Beyond."
I believe the destination was characterized as "Moon, Mars, and Beyond rather than or. It was envisioned as a logical progression from technically and economically feasible goals which led to larger steps down the road. Changing one word in the statement makes a world of difference in this case, from this plan of logical progression to "whatever we figure we have the best chance of accomplishing" politically and at the lowest risk.

If the or were intended or implied, I think every mission patch with the moon and Mars depicted in it over the years might have had a question mark (?) in between each sphere.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-08-2013 09:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, NASA's slogan was "Moon, Mars and Beyond" but in the context of what I was writing, "and" wouldn't make sense. I adapted the motto, perhaps inappropriately.

But well before its end, Constellation was not about "Mars and Beyond," at least not based on what projects were actually being funded and advanced at NASA, and it can be argued that it never would be.

Bush wanted Constellation to function on NASA's existing budget and Griffin's answer to that, whether forced or by choice, was to curtail other NASA activities (the space agency's human research program, dedicated to supporting safe and productive human space travel, was just one of the programs that saw its resources depleted).

Constellation, inside and outside of NASA, became synonymous with the moon, with an undefined promise that building a moonbase would eventually lead to going to Mars. And that might have been true, if the agency had been provided the budget to support such an ambitious plan while at the same time flying out the remainder of the shuttle program and completing the International Space Station. But it wasn't, so even the moon was slipping outside of NASA's grasp.

I wrote earlier that everyone wants something different. I'll amend that to say everyone wants everything as well. Ask space enthusiasts if they want the Moon, Mars or Beyond and I believe most would answer "All of the above." But we're not going to get the funding for all, and realistically, the budget doesn't exist for any.

The best chance we have is to identify a mission that fits the budget, rather than fits our desires. Bush defined his vision's timeline by the "available resources," which is to say whenever NASA was able to scrounge together the funds to do so.

Rather than waiting for the money to arrive, let's take what we have and match it to what we can do, now. From what I've read, the asteroid capture and rendezvous fits that bill. The moon — let alone Mars — does not.

Fezman92
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posted 04-08-2013 09:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All of this being said, is there anything we as the community can do to keep the current plan (going to an asteroid which as Robert pointed out is economically feasible) from changing the next time a new administration takes over?

Glint
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posted 04-09-2013 07:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The decision was in part political — you can't escape politics — but per internal White House memos, it was forced by the economy.
And so, while cutting spending is commendable, just how much of that $6 trillion is recovered by canceling Constellation? It's a subject for another forum, but the real cuts his advisors should have been advocating should have been in the area of entitlement spending.

Sounds like when things started getting tough, instead of rolling up their sleeves and fixing the root problem, the Obama administration turned to window dressing.

However, rather than cutting NASA's budget, it was actually increased according to Scientific American and the NASA administrator.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden expressed support for the budget request, saying that he was "excited" to present the president's proposal, which would add $6 billion to NASA's total outlay over the next five years. Bolden said that he and Obama agreed that Constellation was in an untenable position. "The truth is, we were not on a sustainable path to get back to the moon's surface," Bolden said.
Bolden's reference back then about retuning to the moon aligns with his most recent comments about NASA giving up on the idea of leadership in that regard.

Still, claims by Obama's people that they had to cancel Constellation to save money because of a downturn in the econonmy, while at the same time increasing NASA's budget by $6 billion, doesn't pass the laugh test. It's simply a shell game that allowed him to kill his predecessor's initiative.

Fra Mauro
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posted 04-09-2013 08:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, I agree with your earlier post that space enthusiasts are partially to blame for the demise of Constellation. Not only are there many different voices but the voices are not heard loudly enough to influence decisions before they are made. It is not enough to moan and launch petitions once a program is cancelled. We should be much more proactive.

I still don't buy the argument that Constellation had to be cancelled. Why not modify or revamp it in ways that are done to other Federal programs like the F-35? Like Nixon wasn't a fan of Kennedy's moon program, Obama wasn't a fan of Bush's vision.

It is a shame that Constellation was weighed down by the feelings against an unpopular President.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-09-2013 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Glint:
Still, claims by Obama's people that they had to cancel Constellation to save money because of a downturn in the econonmy, while at the same time increasing NASA's budget by $6 billion, doesn't pass the laugh test.
You miss the point; it wasn't about saving money, it was about giving NASA objectives that would be achievable within the budget that was available. Even with the budget increase, Constellation's moonbase was deemed by an independent committee and others as not feasible.
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
Like Nixon wasn't a fan of Kennedy's moon program, Obama wasn't a fan of Bush's vision.
Maybe he was a fan, maybe he wasn't, but Obama's decision to cancel Constellation wasn't made in a vacuum. It was made following the findings of the Augustine Committee.

So unless you are also charging the committee's members (including Leroy Chiao, the late Sally Ride, and Norm Augustine — the latter, a registered Republican — as swaying their report based on party lines, it would be difficult to sustain an argument that canceling Constellation was driven by a dislike of the former President's vision.

Jim Behling
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posted 04-09-2013 09:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
I still don't buy the argument that Constellation had to be cancelled.
It needed to be cancelled. It was bloated and it took money from the rest of NASA. There was no need for a program the size of Constellation.

capoetc
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posted 04-09-2013 07:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
In my opinion, it needed to be cancelled. It was bloated and it took money from the rest of NASA. There was no need for a program the size of Constellation.

There. Fixed it for you.

Fra Mauro
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posted 04-10-2013 07:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I acknowledge that my views often cannot be substantiated with concrete evidence. I still do not understand why paring down Constellation was not considered. If it was bloated and we couldn't afford it, why was this argument not also applied to the JWST?

As for the Augustine Commission, political registration does not always equal allegiance (Augustine-Bush for example). One could make note that there was not one member of the "Apollo-era" NASA on the Commission, so there might have been a bias against a return to the Moon by the group. Lastly, I do not believe that a new administration (of either party), would accept too many program of the previous administration that they bashed in the campaign season.

A long answer I admit, but I like to play Devil's Advocate for the basis of a friendly discussion.

MCroft04
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posted 04-10-2013 07:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fra Mauro:
I still do not understand why paring down Constellation was not considered.
I agree. I've been involved in managing many large projects (well not this large) but you always have to be willing to manage cost and schedule. Often there are alternatives that can keep you headed towards the goal despite limited funds.

Regarding funding, during this week economy dollars are scarce. But that will change with time; the economy will eventually turn around and additional dollars will become available. Given the long time frame to implement a return to the moon and then onward to Mars, we need to begin taking the initial steps and give ourselves a chance to take advantage of an improved economy when it returns.

If this administration would have taken this approach and supported Constellation there is a good chance it would have worked. I'm not just picking on the current administration; our political parties are polarized and are putting the future of our country at risk.

Jim Behling
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posted 04-10-2013 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
If this administration would have taken this approach and supported Constellation there is a good chance it would have worked.
"Worked" meaning what? Constellation's goal was not really lunar exploration but "10 healthy centers." The quote was an actual goal of Constellation.

Don't get me started on the sham Exploration Systems Architecture Study (ESAS), kludge called Ares I and the unnecessary test that wasted taxpayers' money called Ares I-X.

Maybe before Griffin, the Vision for Space Exploration could have worked since it was pay as you go and didn't bankrupt the rest of NASA.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-10-2013 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MCroft04:
If this administration would have taken this approach and supported Constellation there is a good chance it would have worked.
Constellation had already been pared down by the previous administration to essentially being only Orion and Ares I, at least in regards to what was still being funded.

Development of the Altair lander had been set aside, its funding depleted. And Ares V development had been stretched out such that it wouldn't be available until the late 2020s. To quote the Augustine commission's report:

Under the FY 2010 budget, the lunar landing and surface systems will also be delayed by over a decade, indicating that human lunar return could not occur until well into the 2030s.
The Augustine commission did look at extending Constellation and found it to be an untenable situation.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 04-10-2013 05:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fezman92:
...is there anything we as the community can do
Now that the asteroid retrieval mission has been officially proposed, the best thing to do would be to write (letters are better than e-mails, but either is fine) your elected officials in Congress and urge them to back — and fund — the project.

If, as Congress did with the Space Launch System, the mission can be written into law, then it becomes much more difficult to cancel (not impossible, but any future administration or Congress would need to pass another law to override it).

SpaceAholic
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posted 06-02-2013 05:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Homer Hickham laments that the U.S. has not made return to the Moon
a priority:
"It's clear from the press releases from NASA these days that the space agency has little interest in sending people back to the moon.

This might have something to do with President Obama's speech at Kennedy Space Center in 2010 where he [in]famously said, "Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon... but I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We've been there before. Buzz has been there."

Well, Mr. President, Buzz Aldrin has indeed been there but I haven't, neither have you, and neither have a lot of other folks who would love to go, not only to explore but to enrich our country.

The moon beckons because we have the technology to get there, we already know a lot about it, and most of what we know is enticing.

In fact, I think an economic case can be made to put our country's focus back on the moon."

Editor's note: Threads merged.

Blackarrow
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posted 06-03-2013 04:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA should return to the Moon "...not because it is easy but because it is hard."

And because a nation which settles for the easier choices is a nation which is willing to embrace mediocrity.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-03-2013 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is not about what is easy or hard, but what can be realistically accomplished with the budget available.

Frankly, knowing what we know now about Kennedy's efforts to back out of Apollo, his words ring a bit hollow. Make no mistake, they were great source of motivation for their day, but trying to apply them now is ignoring the conditions that gave them the emphasis they had.

SpaceAholic
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posted 06-03-2013 07:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Its also about choices. Stimulus packages, Quantitative Easing 1/2/3, expanded dependency on government are the current priorities.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-03-2013 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just as cutting NASA's budget won't solve the world's problems, NASA is not likely to benefit by shifting national priorities, regardless of who is in office.

NASA's budget is not likely to grow by any substantial means in the near future. So the choice is either to continue proposing underfunded programs or tailor missions to what fits the available funds.

mode1charlie
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posted 06-03-2013 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SpaceAholic:
Its also about choices.
I know this isn't a forum for politics or economics but most or all of the current sequester-related cutting is out of the discretionary and defense budgets - the former including NASA - as opposed to entitlement spending, which is "non-discretionary". This is a broad-brush statement since there are exceptions and it's complicated, but entitlement spending and defense are generally where the dependencies lay - though what's appropriate to keep or cut is a subject well afield of what's appropriate here.

For what it's worth, Robert, I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of the current realities. I wish NASA's budget were higher too, but it is what it is, and if people don't like it - write your Congressperson and show your support for a group like Penny4NASA.

Glint
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posted 06-07-2013 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following appeared in today's Aerospace Daily electronic newsletter's "In Brief" section:
MOONWARD: The Republican chairman of the House Space subcommittee is doubling down on his preference for NASA to prioritize returning astronauts to the Moon, even as the embattled agency continues promoting its asteroid-capture plans. Rep. Steven Palazzo (Miss.) told the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law in Washington June 6 that while the ultimate goal is landing humans on Mars, returning to the Moon is the logical next step. Why? "We have other countries that are aggressively pursuing space exploration programs, and the Moon is one of their specific destinations," he says. "And I would not like to wake up and have to explain why perhaps China is on the Moon with a permanent space presence and America is not."

fredtrav
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posted 06-07-2013 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fredtrav   Click Here to Email fredtrav     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Lets see if he will put our money where his mouth is and increase NASA's budget to accommodate this.

p51
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posted 06-07-2013 12:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Moon HAS to be sold to the American public, a group that really doesn't see the benefits of a Moon landing, especially when most Americans view Apollo in the same light as they do the Normandy landings in 1944 (that is, ancient history).

"Been there, done that," as they say.

The asteroid mission is something people can understand. Tell them that if the scenario in the movies, "Deep Impact" or "Armageddon" comes to pass, NASA needs to know how to do something to prevent that, and most people get that. There's value there in that NASA can easily explain the reason and what Americans in general can hope to get out of it (continued life as opposed to a horrific death after a massive meteor strike).

I think a Mars landing can be 'sold' to the public if NASA can figure out the best sales pitch. But that's as far away as a Moon landing was in 1950, with not nearly the national mandate to accomplish it.

Othwise, we've all proved Robert's point that space fans are their own worst enemies in this regard...

cspg
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From: Geneva, Switzerland
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posted 06-07-2013 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Moon? Mars? Or whatever else. This debate has been going on for what? at least 25 years (post-Challenger). It just shows how much nobody cares and you wonder if the real question is not: what to do with NASA? Consequently my interest in space is slowing coming to an end. Or if not, I'll be as interested in space matters as I'm reading the sports section of the paper.

SkyMan1958
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posted 06-07-2013 05:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
Consequently my interest in space is slowing coming to an end. Or if not, I'll be as interested in space matters as I'm reading the sports section of the paper.
Clearly that is one viewpoint, and an understandable one at that. However, there are also many of us who care PASSIONATELY that We the People of the United States, advance the frontiers of manned space exploration. Note, I did NOT say the US government, which may or may not push us forward in manned space exploration.

I actually like at least one thing that this Administration and Congress are doing, which is to help develop private systems for access to space. This is actually quite consistent with US history where the US government helped subsidize what they thought was important, such as the development of transcontinental railroads.

I just hope that the political will continues to develop the three main programs underway, instead of focusing on just one system.

cspg
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posted 06-08-2013 12:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
This is actually quite consistent with US history where the US government helped subsidize what they thought was important, such as the development of transcontinental railroads.

Subsidize is ok?

Meetings at the World Trade Organization must be a lot of fun to attend if that's the official position of the US!

SkyMan1958
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posted 06-08-2013 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gosh, I've never heard of any European government subsidizing things...

cspg
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posted 06-09-2013 04:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Everybody is subsidizing in one form or another. They just wouldn't admit it. That was simply my point.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 06-10-2013 07:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"Subsidy" is the wrong word.

There's a BIG difference between subsidising (as in US subsidies for Boeing/ EU subsidies for Airbus in a billateral market with established product) and SEEDING competitive domestic research projects in a venture capital-type scenario.

Of course, the seeding may well develop into subsidy in due course!

jimsz
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posted 06-10-2013 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jimsz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by cspg:
Consequently my interest in space is slowing coming to an end. Or if not, I'll be as interested in space matters as I'm reading the sports section of the paper.
I can agree a great deal with this. I lost interest in the shuttle 5 years in and have 0 interest in the ISS. While I enjoy a great deal learning even more about the historical realm of spaceflight the current "missions" and "goals" of NASA are largely uninteresting and very uninspiring. I really wonder if NASA is capable of performing anything remarkable any longer or even if they are capable of operating a manned space program of any significance.

gliderpilotuk
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Registered: Feb 2002

posted 06-11-2013 07:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jimsz:
I lost interest in the shuttle 5 years in and have 0 interest in the ISS. While I enjoy a great deal learning even more about the historical realm of spaceflight the current "missions" and "goals" of NASA are largely uninteresting and very uninspiring.
I second (or third) most of that. I have fleeting interest in ISS and am an admirer of the unmanned planetary missions, but my interest in the current status quo and faith in anything inspiring coming along in the next ten years has waned significantly.


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