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US doesn't have an ambitious space program anymore

Do you know what pisses me off the most about the US?

The fact that the US doesn't have an ambitious space program anymore.

In the past, the US had an ambitious space program, made atomic bombs, nuclear reactors, etc.

I wonder - do we have ANY ambitious program going on, at all?

Krane
Thursday, August 21, 2003

I think NASA has said that they will continue to do academical research and pretty much stick to that.
This will, however, pave the road for private enterprises to set up commercial ventures to space as we're already seeing with this with companies like http://www.starchaser.co.uk/ going for this million-dollar prize set forth by a philantropist. So, all in all, I think we will see a lot more of this in the near future.
It may not be the US gov't that does it, but it's still the US.

Mickey Petersen
Thursday, August 21, 2003

From what I understand NASA has done a lot with the meager budget they have.

http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/index.html
http://www.nasa.gov/missions/deepspace/index.html

I think they've pulled off some pretty impressive stuff, although I admit its not as cool as walking on the moon or anything.

I'd definitely like to see them get more funding so they can work on real breakthroughs like warp travel and lightsabers.

Should be working
Thursday, August 21, 2003

"I wonder - do we have ANY ambitious program going on, at all?"

NASA has always had ambitious plans it simply doesn't have the funds.  We had a space program because of the Soviets and the bomb because of WWII. 

I saw a headline the other day on Reuters that went something like this, "India plans on a space mission to the moon by 2010".  Must be a prestige type of thing for them.

One Programmer's Opinion
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Why should we go into space?  It costs a lot of money, and there's no one up there to bomb and no oil to plunder.

Alyosha`
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Jesus! Maybe you were sarcastic, but if I take at face value what you say, then this is one thing that angers me most!

Humanity should do something cool. We should constantly push our limits!

In the past, the US has carried that torch.

Now that the US is obviously no longer willing to carry that torch anymore, I hope somebody else will take it and carry it further.

Maybe India, maybe China, maybe East Europe.

:-(

A developer in East Europe
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Easy solution: if China were to announce they plan to have people on Mars by 2015. Space race all over again.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, August 21, 2003

How overblown.  The only men to have walked on the moon, all 12 of them, were from the U.S, all of which was done with technology over 30 years old.  How in heavens name does an announcement from the Chinese that they are going to *attempt* to do this same landing 10 years from now mean they are blowing by NASA?

If any other space agency in the world was doing the things that NASA does they would be considered top tier.  Not every mission can be a race to a new world against a communist regime.

Oren Miller
Thursday, August 21, 2003

I think that Philo's suggestion was that an announcement
by the Chinese that they were attempting to go to Mars
would have a big impact in the US Congress.  This would
result in a big boost to the NASA budget, which is all that
NASA needs to get to Mars.

worked at NASA, once upon a time
Thursday, August 21, 2003

"I wonder - do we have ANY ambitious program going on, at all?"

Is global domination not ambitious enough?


Thursday, August 21, 2003

The Greens (earth worship types), trial lawyers, and misinformed or timid politicians have pretty well put a stop to all innovation. It's all about education and the textbooks are filled with 'man bad' - 'nature good' indoctrination. We lost two space shuttles to the gloom and doom Greens: Challenger O-rings were less pliable due to asbestos being removed and 2) Columbia foam insulation fell off 11 times more frequently after CFCs were removed. Every enviro campaign in the last 12 years has ended up killing people. The Ford-Firestone tire debacle resulted from rushing into prodcution a tire that would save a bit more gas - and on and on.

Mike Sivertsen
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Why does it have to be "China" or "US" or "India"?    It may sound far fetched, but why shouldn't space exploration be done by cooperating individuals or small businesses.

For an example of what's being worked on http://www.civilianspace.com

mackinac
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Another interesting web site http://www.rrs.org

mackinac
Thursday, August 21, 2003

Mackinac - because nothing provides impetus like competition.

FWIW, I think if the Chinese really wanted to put people on Mars by 2015 they could - they have the talent pool and the resources. All they really need is the focus.

(I think India could do it too, but India making the announcement wouldn't have the galvanizing effect on the US that a Chinese announcement would)

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 22, 2003

Eastern Europe dude:

Yes, deep beneath those layers of sarcasm lays a point I was trying to make -- and that is, the space program doesn't provide enough bang for the buck.

Well, no, I've seen the Challenger and the Columbia both disintegrate into flames, so perhaps there is plenty of bang.  Just not the sort I was looking for.

30 years ago we spent about $40 billion and brought  back some rather ordinary looking space rocks.  Woohoo!  Let's go do that again!

Given the choice between doing something "cool" and doing something useful (oh, say, like teachers salaries or medical research), I'll pick useful every time.

Alyosha`
Friday, August 22, 2003


"Is global domination not ambitious enough?"

Hmm... how about a global political correctness campaign.

That was a joke by the way...

Joe AA
Friday, August 22, 2003

The only economic gain from the Apollo programs was for the Hollywood studios that made a film out of it.

Stephen Jones
Friday, August 22, 2003

What about the orbtial "Great Observatory" programe?Hubble, Compton and Chandra have already generated a mountain of exciting new information and the last satellite, SIRTF (soon to be renamed!) is due for launch on monday.
Personally I think that's pretty cool!

SteveM
Friday, August 22, 2003

"Given the choice between doing something "cool" and doing something useful (oh, say, like teachers salaries or medical research), I'll pick useful every time. "

How about "preserving the human race"?

Someday soon (in geological terms) something is going to wipe the Earth clean again. Even a hundred years warning won't be enough if we're at a standing start.

The goal should be to colonize other planets. Anything else should be steps in that direction (albeit often obliquely so)

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 22, 2003

I believe that NASA's funding was in decline even during the Apollo programme. Not many people know that.

John Topley (www.johntopley.com)
Friday, August 22, 2003

> Why does it have to be "China" or "US" or "India"?    It may sound far fetched, but why shouldn't space exploration be done by cooperating individuals or small businesses.

I love it.  Spoken like a true libertarian!

christopher baus
Friday, August 22, 2003

Mike Sivertsen:

U.S. asbestosis fatalities: c. 1250 annually
U.S. fatalities due to Challenger explosion: 7

U.S. skin cancer (Melanoma) fatalities: c. 7000 annually
U.S. fatalities due to Columbia break-up: 7

Ever heard of cost-benefit analysis?

MW
Friday, August 22, 2003

"It's all about education and the textbooks are filled with 'man bad' - 'nature good' indoctrination"

I am beginning to think there is very little that man can do that nature hasn't already (and in may cases better) - gyroscopes, fibre optic cable, the list seems to go on and on. Seems like we could learn a lot from Mother Nature.


Friday, August 22, 2003

Russia plans Mars nuclear station

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3162129.stm

A06F74A54AD84E7EBD222362F508625C
Friday, August 22, 2003

"why shouldn't space exploration be done by cooperating individuals or small businesses."

Nice idea. It'll never happen, though. Businesses can't even run something as down-to-earth as a rail service or a power grid without massive public subsidies. Mainly because all the managers are on the take... but that's a different thread.

OC
Friday, August 22, 2003

"Easy solution: if China were to announce they plan to have people on Mars by 2015. Space race all over again"

Maybe sooner than you think?

http://science.slashdot.org/science/03/07/03/0513223.shtml?tid=134

Jim Rankin
Friday, August 22, 2003

I'll believe it when Chineese manage to send a man into space to orbit the Earth. They are getting close; they bought some Russian spacecraft components. But we'll have to see them execute the mission first.

Azazello
Friday, August 22, 2003

I'm not aware of the current political climate in China, but if it's anything like 10-15 years ago, they should find a space race very, very easy, since they won't be bothered with that silly "and survive" or "and return" nonsense... [g]

Philo

Philo
Friday, August 22, 2003

I dunno ... there's been lots of innovations coming from NASA engineers already. Just watch your favorite Home Shopping Channel.

Johnny Bravo
Friday, August 22, 2003

Philo ... lemme get this straight ...

You're for increased government spending on NASA and I'm against it?

The irony.  =-)

Alyosha`
Friday, August 22, 2003

After Apollo 11 went off without a hitch, NASA went from first fiddle to the guy who bangs the triangle in the back of the orchestra.  And hasn't really come to terms with that in the past few decardes.

The problem is that it's not too helpful for the current powers that be in space to bring down launch costs, and it's too expensive to do much interesting in space for National Geographic or the National Space Society to build and launch their own probes.

Our main hope is either that it'll be a national imperitive to compete with the chinese, somebody finally manages to get launch costs down, or the X-prize shows benefits.

Flamebait Sr.
Friday, August 22, 2003

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