Obama's initiative for NASA

liberatedatheist
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Obama's initiative for NASA

 I am wondering what people think of Obama's new plan for NASA http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/science/space/02nasa.html?ref=science .

"If Mr. Obama’s proposed budget is implemented, NASA a few years from now would be fundamentally different from NASA today. The space agency would no longer operate its own spacecraft, but essentially buy tickets for its astronauts on commercially launched rockets. It would end its program to return to the Moon and would pursue future missions to deep space by drawing more cooperation and financing from other nations."

Personally I don't like it. I think that space exploration is one of those industries, like education and perhaps healthcare, that best serves the country if private interests are left out of the equation. This reminds me of fight club where ed norton says that "when deep space exploration picks up, it will be the corporations that name everything; it'll be the microsoft galaxy..." etc. I feel like the science is going to be put on the back burner as companies are only going to be looking for ways to make a profit. Any thoughts?

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Our nation has a terrible

Our nation has a terrible debt problem and NASA is a massive drain of money. One could be generous to Obama and say that he is realistically pointing out a non-essential service that we could cut back on to save money. But he doesn't want to cut back in other bloated areas of government spending...

I wouldn't worry about the government working with private contractors more on space programs. Defense contractors make everything for our military (rifles, optics for the rifles, ammunition, vehicle and personnel armor, jets, satellites, missiles, control systems, this list could stretch on and on). If our military's cutting edge equipment and vehicles are just the product of private corporations filling out government work orders (it's a bit more complicated than that, but that's what it is basically), then NASA should be able to similarly tap into our nation's private aerospace corporations to get what it wants done. I don't see the problem here.

For full disclosure: I'm an engineering grad student, so maybe I just want future jobs with government contractors....

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Jormungander wrote:For full

Jormungander wrote:

For full disclosure: I'm an engineering grad student, so maybe I just want future jobs with government contractors....

 

LOL  (ditto, minus the grad part)

 

The way I see it, NASA has not developed fighter jets, only vertical launch rockets and the space shuttle.  It would seem to me that the best way to get to space is some kind of shuttle that can fly to the top of our atmosphere, and then use rockets to go sub-orbital or orbital.  It would take companies like Boeing and Lockheed to pull that off, and all three (NASA included) could certainly do a better job than just NASA. 

 

 


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liberatedatheist

liberatedatheist wrote:

 Personally I don't like it. I think that space exploration is one of those industries, like education and perhaps healthcare, that best serves the country if private interests are left out of the equation. This reminds me of fight club where ed norton says that "when deep space exploration picks up, it will be the corporations that name everything; it'll be the microsoft galaxy..." etc. I feel like the science is going to be put on the back burner as companies are only going to be looking for ways to make a profit. Any thoughts?

There is no such thing as a public interest. NASA and it's employees act to protect their own jobs and income, same as any corporation. The politician fight to get money for their area, same as any CEO. The NASA contractors(Boeing, Lockheed, etc..) all lookout for themselves and their profits.

The public education and healthcare system has not served us well and has left the government bankrupt.

I think the only role now the government should have in space is funding research and offering prize money.

 

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Jormungander wrote:Our

Jormungander wrote:

Our nation has a terrible debt problem and NASA is a massive drain of money. One could be generous to Obama and say that he is realistically pointing out a non-essential service that we could cut back on to save money. But he doesn't want to cut back in other bloated areas of government spending...

 

This is so dead on accurate, it hurts me to even think of what has happened in the American state of affairs.

edit: in the second half of the 20th century.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:what has

Kapkao wrote:
what has happened in the American state of affairs

 

One word: Globalisation.


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Well, personally, I am of

Well, personally, I am of two minds on this. Before I go on though, let me point out that while we had a good idea weeks ago that some changes were coming down the road, it is just in the past day or so that we are even hearing about the details.

 

That much being said, I am somewhat saddened that Obama want to take the return to the moon off the table. Personally, I would like to look to NASA as the trend setter with big business following the lead set out for them. Honestly, I question if big business will make plans for the moon any time soon. Really, what profit is in it for them without NASA dragging them into the deal?

 

If we decide on the NASA level to go to the moon, then big business has an inbuilt profit motive to do the work. After all, the original space program from the 60's was done with NASA doing the basic research but ordering the hardware from the aerospace industry. Personally, I question whether we have an aerospace industry that even has the capacity to go to the moon let alone the motive to do so.

 

On the other hand, I really want to see NASA fulfilling the role of the idea factory and if that means sending a manned mission to Mars ten years from now, perhaps that is a good program for them to be following. There is quite a bit of basic work that will need to be done to bring that to fruition.

 

Long term survival of humans in space

Radiation shielding

New propulsion systems

 

Past that, I also wonder if there may be a role for NASA in developing the future of more um “down to Earth” modes of transportation.

 

Jormungander wrote:
For full disclosure: I'm an engineering grad student, so maybe I just want future jobs with government contractors....

 

This might be your area to develop but I have a few thoughts that might be relevant.

 

One idea that I have (I even submitted the idea the the Ansari foundation but never heard any more on it) would be to develop a semi-ballistic for of air travel. For flight times that are currently several hours, it seems to me that one could a rocket assist to cut travel time dramatically.

 

Basically, think about the idea behind Bert Rutan's spaceship ½ except that instead of landing where you started from, you take conventional jet power up to the switchover altitude followed by a rocket boost. Then you coast across an ocean or continent and fall back to the altitude where Jet power can be used to land.

 

Depending on how the system is set up, there could be large savings in terms of fuel used (and matching reduction of emissions) and greatly reduced travel time. Sadly, if the corporate world felt like doing that, they would have already. However, NASA could put resources into something like that and eventually, the capacity to start building the vehicles would be in place and big business would have the incentive to run with the idea.

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Marquis wrote:One word:

Marquis wrote:

One word: Globalisation.

Funny joke, man. Global trade and communication really is the source of all our problems. I mean, how could trading with other nations not hurt our international trade trade-based economy? These are all great jokes.

I should do an ironic neoliberal stand up comedy routine where I pretend that globalization is a boogeyman that's coming to get us and take our wealth and rights away. Oh no, wait, people would just think I was unironically quoting Chomsky. Never mind.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Marquis wrote:Kapkao

Marquis wrote:

Kapkao wrote:
what has happened in the American state of affairs

 

One word: Globalisation.

 

 

too true, but I digress somewhat...

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Jormungander wrote:For full

Jormungander wrote:

For full disclosure: I'm an engineering grad student, so maybe I just want future jobs with government contractors....

What I want is valid economic and industrial applications to come from the space age, not go towards it. For starters, we have every reason to believe that mountains of wealth await us on the low-gravity environment of the moon, and that we could easily develop the means to cost-effectively travel there and back, if someone 'important' could somehow be convinced of the economic importance of this planet's largest natural satellite.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Jormungander wrote: Marquis

Jormungander wrote:

Marquis wrote:

One word: Globalisation.

Funny joke, man. Global trade and communication really is the source of all our problems. I mean, how could trading with other nations not hurt our international trade trade-based economy? These are all great jokes.

I should do an ironic neoliberal stand up comedy routine where I pretend that globalization is a boogeyman that's coming to get us and take our wealth and rights away. Oh no, wait, people would just think I was unironically quoting Chomsky. Never mind.

You sure you want any potential job waiting for you when you graduate to be stolen by the nearest bright mind with an h1b visa?

(Mods, I apologize ahead of time if this is a post better left to the politics forum. But... DAMN).

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:For starters,

Kapkao wrote:

For starters, we have every reason to believe that mountains of wealth await us on the low-gravity environment of the moon

I don't understand this. You mean we could get rich by building things on the moon or by orbiting it? I don't see the profitability of that. Can you describe what resources we could extract from it or what industrial processes would be cheaper to do on the moon rather than doing them on the earth?

 

Kapkao wrote:

we could easily develop the means to cost-effectively travel there and back

I don't believe that. Can you describe the system you have planned to do this? Is it a space elevator or something? I mean, if this is so cheap and profitable, why hasn't the government or private companies jumped at the chance to exploit it. Off the cuff, you seem to be full of shit with these statements. Not to start a flame war or anything dramatic like that, but I'm pretty sure that you are totally full of BS regarding the profitability and low cost of going to the moon. There has to be something I'm missing here.

 

Kapkao wrote:

You sure you want any potential job waiting for you when you graduate to be stolen by the nearest bright mind with an h1b visa?

I think that most of the other grad students are foreigners. I have no problem with brain drain and taking the best and brightest from other nations. That's just one of the many benefits of globalism. I compete with these people in academics and I'll compete with them in the work place. Why would you think that a libertarian capitalist would be anti-competition or protectionist? I don't need protectionist laws to hold my hand and keep the mean ol' foreigners from getting employed.

Robbing our nation of that intellectual resource would be terrible for us. Do you advocate closing our borders to edjucated and employable foreigners?

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British General Charles Napier while in India


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Quote:Is it a space elevator

Quote:
Is it a space elevator or something?

 

Tensile vs. Shear Strength

 

 

 

But I agree JM, space is NOT cheap.  And I don't see the moon having valuable resources, unless land becomes one.

 


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Jormungander wrote:Marquis

Jormungander wrote:

Marquis wrote:

Globalisation.

an ironic neoliberal stand up comedy routine where I pretend that globalization is a boogeyman

 

Global trade has existed as long as humans have been travelling. That is obviously not what I am referring to. Political globalisation, however, is a relatvely new creature (and particularly so in the case of America). In this specific case, it is the facilitator for the breakdown of the American economy, simply because it has allowed certain areas of the economy that is of vital importance to national security (such as food and energy supply) to fall into the hands of amorphous international corporations who swear no allegiance to anything but their own profit motive.

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