If we can’t cut the program for manned (personed) space travel, what can we cut?

I’m as much in love with space travel as anyone could be who never actually worked for NASA. I grew up in the era of space travel, and I was addicted to “Star Trek” as a kid. (I still am.) I’m one of those nerds who hopes that there will always be money for a project called SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence.

But I also know that the country can’t afford to pay for everything. Some big expensive programs have to be cut, and cutting the program aimed at putting Americans back on the moon seems reasonable. But several Florida politicians, who represent areas around the Kennedy Space Center, are pushing back, insisting the project is necessary. And now, Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, has sent Obama an angry letter protesting the plan to cut the Constellation Project.

The decision to cancel Constellation, the project to send astronauts to the Moon again by 2020 and Mars by 2030, was “devastating”, Mr Armstrong said in a powerful open letter to the President.

“America’s only path to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station will now be subject to an agreement with Russia to purchase space on their Soyuz – at a price of over $50 million [£32 million] per seat with significant increases expected in the near future – until we have the capacity to provide transportation for ourselves,” he said in the letter, which was also signed by Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon, and Jim Lovell, commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission in 1970.

“The availability of a commercial transport to orbit as envisioned in the President’s proposal cannot be predicted with any certainty, but is likely to take substantially longer and be more expensive than we would hope.

“It appears that we will have wasted our current $10-plus billion investment in Constellation and, equally importantly, we will have lost the many years required to recreate the equivalent of what we will have discarded.”

NBC is reporting that the criticism prompted Obama to backtrack a bit. The White House also released a letter from Buzz Aldrin, who supports the president’s plan. It says, in part:

What this nation needs in order to maintain its position as the 21st century leader in space exploration is a near-term focus on lowering the cost of access to space and on developing key, cutting-edge technologies that will take us further and faster – while expanding our opportunities for exploration along the way.

The controversy reminds me of an Economist/YouGov poll making the rounds earlier this month, in which Americans were asked which programs they wanted to see cut to curb government spending. The big winner was foreign aid, which is less than a half a percent of the federal budget.

Annie Lowrey of the Washington Independent posted the following chart to illustrate the poll results. Seventy percent favored cutting foreign aid:

The runaway favorite was foreign aid, less than a percentage point of the budget

The runaway favorite was foreign aid, less than a percentage point of the budget

185 comments Add your comment

HARLEY2002

April 15th, 2010
3:24 pm

If we can’t cut the program for manned (personed) space travel, what can we cut?

How about we cut the medical, Food stamps, Social security ALL aid to illegal aliens. That would save billions. To dump the manned space program that has given us many of the innovations we use on a daily bases and still give benefits to a group of people who should not even be here is insane. But I have not seen many sane things done by our government in the last 30 years.

Diane

April 15th, 2010
3:25 pm

I’d rather send my money to the moon than to most entitlement programs. At least then, I know where its going.

Dave C

April 15th, 2010
3:43 pm

So instead of paying for top tier engineers and scientists to make scientific advances that will improve the lives of everyone (Like the internet and the PC on your desk), Obama will lay off the engineers and reroute the money to welfare moms. That might end up raising the policing costs for Section 8 village, but it won’t improve the lives of everyone on the planet.

Eh2Zed

April 15th, 2010
3:46 pm

The people on here demanding the space program is a waste, including the author are uniformed idiots.
The space program has created the advancement of all science in the latter half of the twentieth century. Just a “few” advancements from the space program:

Computer Technology

GROUND PROCESSING SCHEDULING SYSTEM – Computer-based scheduling system that uses artificial intelligence to manage thousands of overlapping activities involved in launch preparations of NASA’s Space Shuttles. The NASA technology was licensed to a new company which developed commercial applications that provide real-time planning and optimization of manufacturing operations, integrated supply chains, and customer orders.uu

SEMICONDUCTOR CUBING – NASA initiative led to the Memory Short Stack, a three-dimensional semiconductor package in which dozens of integrated circuits are stacked one atop another to form a cube, offering faster computer processing speeds, higher levels of integration, lower power requirements than conventional chip sets, and dramatic reduction in the size and weight of memory-intensive systems, such as medical imaging devices.

STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS – This NASA program, originally created for spacecraft design, has been employed in a broad array of non-aerospace applications, such as the automobile industry, manufacture of machine tools, and hardware designs.

WINDOWS VISUAL NEWS READER (Win Vn) – Software program developed to support payload technical documentation at Kennedy Space Center, allowing the exchange of technical information among a large group of users. WinVn is an enabling technology product that provides countless people with Internet access otherwise beyond their grasp, and it was optimized for organizations that have direct Internet access.

AIR QUALITY MONITOR – Utilizing a NASA-developed, advanced analytical technique software package, an air quality monitor system was created, capable of separating the various gases in bulk smokestack exhaust streams and determining the amount of individual gases present within the stream for compliance with smokestack emission standards.

VIRTUAL REALITY – NASA-developed research allows a user, with assistance from advanced technology devices, to figuratively project oneself into a computer-generated environment, matching the user’s head motion, and, when coupled with a stereo viewing device and appropriate software, creates a telepresence experience.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Advanced keyboards, Customer Service Software, Database Management System, Laser Surveying, Aircraft controls, Lightweight Compact Disc, Expert System Software, Microcomputers, and Design Graphics.

Consumer/Home/Recreation

ENRICHED BABY FOOD – A microalgae-based, vegetable-like oil called Formulaid developed from NASA-sponsored research on long duration space travel, contains two essential fatty acids found in human milk but not in most baby formulas, believed to be important for infants’ mental and visual development.

WATER PURIFICATION SYSTEM – NASA-developed municipal-size water treatment system for developing nations, called the Regenerable Biocide Delivery Unit, uses iodine rather than chlorine to kill bacteria.

SCRATCH-RESISTANT LENSES – A modified version of a dual ion beam bonding process developed by NASA involves coating the lenses with a film of diamond-like carbon that not only provides scratch resistance, but also decreases surface friction, reducing water spots.

POOL PURIFICATION – Space technology designed to sterilize water on long-duration spacecraft applied to swimming pool purification led to a system that uses two silver-copper alloy electrodes that generate silver and copper ions when an electric current passes through them to kill bacteria and algae without chemicals.

RIBBED SWIMSUIT – NASA-developed riblets applied to competition swimsuits resulted in flume testing of 10 to 15 percent faster speeds than any other world class swim-suit due to the small, barely visible grooves that reduce friction and aerodynamic drag by modifying the turbulent airflow next to the skin.

GOLF BALL AERODYNAMICS – A recently designed golf ball, which has 500 dimples arranged in a pattern of 60 spherical triangles, employs NASA aerodynamics technology to create a more symmetrical ball surface, sustaining initial velocity longer and producing a more stable ball flight for better accuracy and distance.

PORTABLE COOLERS/WARMERS – Based on a NASA-inspired space cooling system employing thermoelectric technology, the portable cooler/warmer plugs into the cigarette lighters of autos, recreational vehicles, boats, or motel outlets. Utilizes one or two miniaturized modules delivering the cooling power of a 10-pound block of ice and the heating power of up to 125 degrees Fahrenheit.

SPORTS TRAINING – Space-developed cardio-muscular conditioner helps athletes increase muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness through kinetic exercise.

ATHLETIC SHOES – Moon Boot material encapsulated in running shoe midsoles improve shock absorption and provides superior stability and motion control.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Dustbuster, shock-absorbing helmets, home security systems, smoke detectors, flat panel televisions, high-density batteries, trash compactors, food packaging and freeze-dried technology, cool sportswear, sports bras, hair styling appliances, fogless ski goggles, self-adjusting sunglasses, composite golf clubs, hang gliders, art preservation, and quartz crystal timing equipment.

Environmental and Resource Management

MICROSPHERES – The first commercial products manufactured in orbit are tiny microspheres whose precise dimensions permit their use as reference standards for extremely accurate calibration of instruments in research and industrial laboratories. They are sold for applications in environmental control, medical research, and manufacturing.

SOLAR ENERGY – NASA-pioneered photovoltaic power system for spacecraft applications was applied to programs to expand terrestrial applications as a viable alternative energy source in areas where no conventional power source exists.

WEATHER FORECASTING AID – Space Shuttle environmental control technology led to the development of the Barorator which continuously measures the atmospheric pressure and calculates the instantaneous rate of change.

FOREST MANAGEMENT – A NASA-initiated satellite scanning system monitors and maps forestation by detecting radiation reflected and emitted from trees.

SENSORS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL – NASA development of an instrument for use in space life support research led to commercial development of a system to monitor an industrial process stream to assure that the effluent water’s pH level is in compliance with environmental regulations.

WIND MONITOR – Development of Jimsphere wind measurement balloon for space launches allows for making high resolution measurements of the wind profile for meteorological studies and predictions.

TELEMETRY SYSTEMS – A spinoff company formed to commercialize NASA high-data-rate telemetry technology, manufactures a high-speed processing system for commercial communications applications.

PLANT RESEARCH – NASA research on future moon and Mars bases is investigating using plants for food, oxygen, and water to reduce the need for outside supplies. This research utilizes Hydroponics (liquid nutrient solutions) instead of soil to support plant growth and finds applications for vegetable production on Earth.

FIRE RESISTANT MATERIAL – Materials include chemically-treated fabric for sheets, uniforms for hazardous material handlers, crew’s clothing, furniture, interior walls of submersibles and auto racer and refueler suits.

RADIATION INSULATION – Aluminized polymer film is highly effective radiation barrier for both manned and unmanned spacecraft. Variations of this space-devised material are also used as an energy conservation technique for homes and offices. The materials are placed between wall studs and exterior facing before siding or between roof support and roof sheathing. The radiant barrier blocks 95% of radiant energy. Successful retrofit installations include schools and shrink wrap ovens.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Whale identification method, environmental analysis, noise abatement, pollution measuring devices, pollution control devices, smokestack monitor, radioactive leak detector, earthquake prediction system, sewage treatment, energy saving air conditioning, and air purification.

Health and Medicine

DIGITAL IMAGING BREAST BIOPSY SYSTEM – The LORAD Stereo Guide Breast Biopsy system incorporates advanced Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs) as part of a digital camera system. The resulting device images breast tissue more clearly and efficiently. Known as stereotactic large-core needle biopsy, this nonsurgical system developed with Space Telescope Technology is less traumatic and greatly reduces the pain, scarring, radiation exposure, time, and money associated with surgical biopsies.

BREAST CANCER DETECTION – A solar cell sensor is positioned directly beneath x-ray film, and determines exactly when film has received sufficient radiation and has been exposed to optimum density. Associated electronic equipment then sends a signal to cut off the x-ray source. Reduction of mammography x-ray exposure reduces radiation hazard and doubles the number of patient exams per machine.

LASER ANGIOPLASTY – Laser angioplasty with a “cool” type of laser, caller an excimer laser, does not damage blood vessel walls and offers precise non-surgical cleanings of clogged arteries with extraordinary precision and fewer complications than in balloon angioplasty.

ULTRASOUND SKIN DAMAGE ASSESSMENT – Advanced instrument using NASA ultrasound technology enables immediate assessment of burn damage depth, improving patient treatment, and may save lives in serious burn cases.

HUMAN TISSUE STIMULATOR – Employing NASA satellite technology, the device is implanted in the body to help patient control chronic pain and involuntary motion disorders through electrical stimulation of targeted nerve centers or particular areas of the brain.

COOL SUIT – Custom-made suit derived from space suits circulates coolant through tubes to lower patient’s body/ temperature, producing dramatic improvement of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and other conditions.

PROGRAMMABLE PACEMAKER – Incorporating multiple NASA technologies, the system consists of the implant and a physician’s computer console containing the programming and a data printer. Communicates through wireless telemetry signals.

OCULAR SCREENING – NASA image processing techniques are used to detect eye problems in very young children. An electronic flash from a 35-millimeter camera sends light into the child’s eyes, and a photorefractor analyzes the retinal reflexes, producing an image of each eye.

AUTOMATED URINALYSIS – NASA fluid dynamics studies helped development of system that automatically extracts and transfers sediment from urine sample to an analyzer microscope, replacing the manual centrifuge method.

MEDICAL GAS ANALYZER – Astronaut-monitoring technology used to develop system to monitor operating rooms for analysis of anesthetic gasses and measurement of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen concentrations to assure proper breathing environment for surgery patients.

VOICE-CONTROLLED WHEELCHAIR – NASA teleoperator and robot technology used to develop chair and manipulator that respond to 35 one-word voice commands utilizing a minicomputer to help patient perform daily tasks, like picking up packages, opening doors, and turning on appliances.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Arteriosclerosis detection, ultrasound scanners, automatic insulin pump, portable x-ray device, invisible braces, dental arch wire, palate surgery technology, clean room apparel, implantable heart aid, MRI, bone analyzer, and cataract surgery tools.

Industrial Productivity/Manufacturing Technology

MAGNETIC LIQUIDS – Based on the NASA-developed ferrofluid concept involving synthetic fluids that can be positioned and controlled by magnetic force, the ferrofluidic seal was initially applied in a zero-leakage, nonwearing seal for the rotating shaft of a system used to make semiconductor chips, solving a persistent problem‹contamination due to leaking seals.

WELDING SENSOR SYSTEM – Laser-based automated welder for industrial use incorporates a laser sensor system originally designed for Space Shuttle External Tank to track the seam where two pieces of metal are to be joined, measures gaps and minute misfits, and automatically corrects the welding torch distance and height.

MICROLASERS – Based on a concept for optical communications over interplanetary distances, microlasers were developed for the commercial market to transmit communication signals and to drill, cut, or melt materials.

MAGNETIC BEARING SYSTEM – Bearings developed from Space Shuttle designs support moving machinery without physical contact, permitting motion without friction or wear, and are now used in electric power generation, petroleum refining, machine tool operation, and natural gas pipelines.

ENGINE LUBRICANT – A NASA-developed plasma-sprayed coating is used to coat valves in a new, ten-inch-long, four-cylinder rotary engine, eliminating the need for lubricating the rotorcam, which has no crankshaft, flywheel, distributor, or water pump.

INTERACTIVE COMPUTER TRAINING – Known as Interactive Multimedia Training (IMT), originally developed to train astronauts and space operations personnel, now utilized by the commercial sector to train new employees and upgrade worker skills, using a computer system that engages all the senses, including text, video, animation, voice, sounds, and music.

HIGH-PRESSURE WATERSTRIPPING – Technology developed for preparing Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters first evolved into the U.S. Air Force’s Large Aircraft Robotic Paint Stripping (LARPS) system, and now used in the commercial airline industry, where the waterjet processing reduces coating removal time by 90 percent, using only water at ultra-high pressures up to 55,000 psi.

ADVANCED WELDING TORCH – Based on the Variable Polarity Plasma Arc welding technology, a handheld torch originally developed for joining light alloys used in NASA’s External Tank, is now used by major appliance manufacturers for sheet metal welding.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Gasoline vapor recovery, self-locking fasteners, machine tool software, laser wire stripper, lubricant coating process, wireless communications, engine coatings, and engine design.

Public Safety

RADIATION HAZARD DETECTOR – NASA technology has made commercially available new, inexpensive, conveniently carried device for protection of people exposed to potentially dangerous levels of microwave radiation. Weighing only 4 ounces and about the size of a cigarette pack, it can be carried in a shirt pocket or clipped to a belt. Unit sounds an audible alarm when microwave radiation reaches a preset level.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE ROBOT – Remotely-operated robot reduces human injury levels by performing hazardous tasks that would otherwise be handled by humans.

PERSONAL ALARM SYSTEM – Pen-sized ultrasonic transmitter used by prison guards, teachers, the elderly, and disabled to call for help is based on space telemetry technology. Pen transmits a silent signal to receiver that will display the exact location of the emergency.

EMERGENCY RESCUE CUTTERS – Lightweight cutters for freeing accident victims from wreckage developed using NASA pyrotechnic technology.

FIREMAN’S AIR TANKS – Lighter-weight firefighter’s air tanks have been developed. New back-pack system weighs only 20 lbs. for 30 minute air supply, 13 lbs. less than conventional firefighting tanks. They are pressurized at 4,500 psia (twice current tanks). A warning device tells the fireman when he or she is running out of air.

PERSONAL STORM WARNING SYSTEM – Lightning detector gives 30-minute warning to golfers, boaters, homeowners, business owners, and private pilots.

SELF-RIGHTING LIFE RAFT – Developed for the Apollo program, fully inflates in 12 seconds and protects lives during extremely adverse weather conditions with self-righting and gravity compensation features.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Storm warning services (Doppler radar), firefighters’ radios, lead poison detection, fire detector, flame detector, corrosion protection coating, protective clothing, and robotic hands.

Transportation

STUDLESS WINTER TIRES – Viking Lander parachute shroud material is adapted and used to manufacture radial tires, increasing the tire material’s chainlike molecular structure to five times the strength of steel should increase tread life by 10,000 miles.

BETTER BRAKES – New, high-temperature composite space materials provide for better brake linings. Applications includes trucks, industrial equipment and passenger cars.

TOLLBOOTH PURIFICATION – A laminar airflow technique used in NASA clean rooms for contamination-free assembly of space equipment is used at tollbooths on bridges and turnpikes to decrease the toll collector’s inhalation of exhaust fumes.

WEIGHT SAVING TECHNOLOGY – NASA research on composite materials is used to achieve a 30-percent weight reduction in a twin-turbine helicopter, resulting in a substantial increase in aircraft performance.

IMPROVED AIRCRAFT ENGINE – Multiple NASA developed technological advancements resulted in a cleaner, quieter, more economical commercial aircraft engine known as the high bypass turbofan, featuring a 10-percent reduction in fuel consumption, lower noise levels, and emission reductions of oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons.

ADVANCED LUBRICANTS – An environmental-friendly lubricant designed to support the Space Shuttle Mobile Launcher Platform led to the development of three commercial lubricants for railroad track maintenance, for electric power company corrosion prevention, and as a hydraulic fluid with an oxidation life of 10,000 hours.

ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEM – The Flywheel Energy Storage system, derived from two NASA-sponsored energy storage studies, is a chemical-free, mechanical battery that harnesses the energy of a rapidly spinning wheel and stores it as electricity with 50 times the capacity of a lead-acid battery, very useful for electric vehicles.

NEW WING DESIGN FOR CORPORATE JETS – NASA-developed computer programs resulted in an advanced, lighter, more aerodynamically-efficient new wing for Gulfstream business aircraft.

AIDS TO SCHOOL BUS DESIGN – Manufacturer uses three separate NASA-developed technologies originally developed for aviation and space use in their design and testing of a new school bus chassis. These technologies are a structural analysis computer program infrared stress measurement system, and a ride quality meter system.

Other spinoffs in this area include: Safer bridges, emission testing, airline wheelchairs, electric car, auto design, methane-powered vehicles, windshear prediction, and aircraft design analysis.

This is only a “Small” sampling of what the space program has provided to the USA and mankind as a whole. Never mind the advancement of knowledge about our universe that could be considered priceless.

One final note, for every $1 budgeted to NASA conservative estimates say that the US government gets back at least $7 in taxes from companies and employees of all companies using this technology. Also the entire space program over 40 years has cost every American tax payer approximately 5 cents a day. Not a bad return rate for 5 cents a day.

sad dad

April 15th, 2010
3:48 pm

obama economics…bush economics…cut this program or that…tea parties or tea bags…doesn’t matter. it struck me that i have to tell my son that, for the first time in recent american history, if he wants to dream about being an astronaut he has to realize that it will not be more than that, a dream.

Eh2Zed

April 15th, 2010
3:51 pm

oops my bad – uninformed NOT uniformed.

pnkearns

April 15th, 2010
3:57 pm

Cynthia, Cynthia, Cynthia,….

We spent a trillion for a government “stimulus plan” that only benefited the union retirement plans and saved the jobs of government bureaucrats, yet you supported it. We have committed to spend multiple trillions on national health care, which you support and claim will magically “save money”. Hell girl, you have no problem turning on the money printing presses whenever you “feel” the program is right. What is it you don’t like about manned space travel? Can’t you just turn on the money printing press for an hour or two for science?.

GodsCountry

April 15th, 2010
4:06 pm

SORRY, ACORN, BUT WE JUST CAN’T PAY FOR EVERYTHING!
SO SORRY, STATES, BUT THE FEDERAL DEFICIT TAKES PRECEDENCE. SO SORRY TO SEE YOU GO, BUT WE’LL BE WITH YOU, SOON ENOUGH!
FEDS ARE DIGGING IT DEEPER THAN EVER BEFORE AND WE WILL NOT EMERGE UNSCATHED!
VOTE REPUBLICAN IN NOVEMBER. IT WON’T SOLVE EVERYTHING, BUT AT LEAST IT WON’T GET WORSE.

Tomd

April 15th, 2010
4:09 pm

Thanks Eh2Zed, your list was excellent. Never, ever draw back from being on the cutting edge of the technology frontier. If cede this important area countries like China, India and Russia will be the harvesters of the benefits of advancement. We’ll just sick back with our Starbucks jobs and watch Chinese astronauts explore the outter realm……sad.

jm

April 15th, 2010
4:46 pm

Cynthia’s a damn idiot. We may not need to go to the moon again. But she’s still an idiot.

Jimmy Hoffa

April 15th, 2010
4:58 pm

President Obama can envision a world without NASA but not a world without GM??

If NASA belonged to the teacher’s union or the AFL-CIO we’d be pouring money into it. You know it Cynthia and I know it.

[...] is space exploration that I find myself asking the same question as Cynthia Tucker for once: If we can’t cut funding for NASA, what can we cut? Granted, Obama’s hands are tied politically — if he scales the agency way back, [...]

DCLawyer111

April 15th, 2010
7:05 pm

The Government does not build rockets, launch pads, or anything else that is required by the space program. The largest proportion of the funds that go to the space program got to the engineers, physicists, mathematicians, …..down to the drivers that deliver the materials. The money that goes to the space program supports private sector jobs at the pinnacle of innovation. President Obama would rather see this money go into the giant black hole of entitlements, than into studying black holes in space. Thank you Mr. President

DCLawyer111

April 15th, 2010
7:16 pm

RE: Jimmy Hoffa
April 15th, 2010
4:58 pm

President Obama can envision a world without NASA but not a world without GM??

If NASA belonged to the teacher’s union or the AFL-CIO we’d be pouring money into it. You know it Cynthia and I know it.
*****************
You forgot the American Trial Lawyers Association,

Robert Wojtysiak

April 15th, 2010
8:20 pm

What a shame, Controll the high ground has always been the advantage. Trust the Russans, don’t think so, Its Obama plan to reduce our defence posture. Who side is he on. I wonder.

DCLawyer111

April 15th, 2010
8:25 pm

It is pure politics. His constituency are people who give out bread, and those who take it…not those who bake it. Better to under-employ highly trained scientists than provide incentive to anyone to train as a scientist. – - – - Hah! I am full of bumper sticker sayings today.

julios sabowski

April 15th, 2010
9:31 pm

Could each of you please take a look around where you are sitting right now? I would dare to say that there are a number of items you are looking at (including typing on) that are a direct result of NASA’s Manned Space Program. Please think of the Trillions of $$dollars that the R&D from mercury through Apollo has brought this nation and world.

A presidential-backed mission to moon and mars much like the Kennedy initiative would push R&D into the next level and would provide trillions more for the economies of our grand children.

If you are going to cut $$’s, cut where there won’t be an impact on future generations and this nation;s ability to be productive in the decades ahead. Let’s don’t be stupid about it.

gene gross

April 15th, 2010
9:32 pm

how about cutting national endowment for art. how about eliminating all the duplication in government programs b.a.t.f., f.b.i., d.e.a.,ect.

The Schaef

April 15th, 2010
9:46 pm

Well, the stimulus plan cost $800b and created approximately 12 private-sector jobs, so maybe we could start by looking at that.

cgray

April 15th, 2010
10:27 pm

Enter your comments here If only there were KFC restaurants on the moon, we could get black people interested in space travel.

JR

April 16th, 2010
12:05 am

Never look up. Always look down.

Voyager

April 16th, 2010
12:14 am

Cutting R&D sure got the Big Three savings, didn’t it? Of course, their cars were garbage for decades following, and only made money of fleet sales, but they recouped it in the long run? Oh that’s right, we had to bail them out, didn’t we?

Ford did turn it around, but they had to mortgage the blue oval to do it.

Of course the space program has been on a starvation diet for decades now, so in the end, this is just the final punctuation point of a long foreseen demise.

What does the US make anymore? Hollywood, Boeing, Microsoft, Google. That seems to be about it these days. Are cars are junk, the steel industry is borderline non-existent, we just deep-six’ed our space industry, we don’t fab semiconductors, we don’t make energy. Our universities are being progressively staffed with more and more professors who’ve never done anything in their lives, because we don’t seem to make anything here anymore. Ok, there’s McDonald’s, but is that what we’re progressing to? A national fast food chain that exists solely to grow the beef to make the burgers to feed it’s employees to grow the beef? What sort of a future is that?

MJ

April 16th, 2010
12:29 am

Let’s cut the wasted money the USA sends to Haiti.

Bunker

April 16th, 2010
1:20 am

Obobo gets board easily so going to the moon holds no appeal to him since its been done by someone else and he wouldn’t be known for putting men back up there and that isn’t good enough for the messiduh. He wants to have a Kennedyesque moment near the end of his 2nd term *snicker* where he can lope around what will the the Mars Lander and act as if he build the thing himself. We could have gone back to the moon and constructed the base that would make further launches much easier but he’s too blinded as usual by his blasted ego.

Robbins Mitchell

April 16th, 2010
1:21 am

Sorry,colored girl…but we can’t pay for ObozoCare

jsh

April 16th, 2010
2:08 am

The title of article is very telling. Liberals always feel the other person in of lower intelligence than they. I am completely aware what manned means.

Eh2Zed

April 16th, 2010
2:34 am

One other point, NASA has spent 2.3 Trillion in 58 years to get where we are today, Obama spent that much since he was elected in 15 months to regress the US 20 years, he has invented time travel. Someone give him a prize, like, I don’t know, maybe the Noble in Physics.

Bairkus

April 16th, 2010
2:38 am

Cut federal funding for all schools of journalism! The whole reason for this crazy echo chamber we live in is a terrible overabundance of journalists. We could cut funding for law schools, too. Music programs, sports, and dozens of other luxuries that don’t need federal funds or tax breaks of any kind. Pffffft! Get rid of them. Kill ‘em. Use the money for something “useful.” What reason is there to pursue and maintain American Excellence in any of these these things?!
China can take over the Worlds’ Space Explorations by itself soon. We can all just sit back and watch. Ha! Fold back your easy chair and watch China land on Mars from your Asian made plasma TV. Cool!
We can sit back and remember our Glory Days. “Remember that guy? ..Neil Armstrong? …Yeah… We did the easy one, didn’t we?”

Kb in Va

April 16th, 2010
8:25 am

Sure, NASA is probably the only government program that produces anything useful. Electronics, solar cells, cell phones, GPS, weather satellites – all sorts of current products result from research for the space program. So lets cut that back.
If there is any hope to reducing pollution, and our oil dependance, it will be an offshoot of the space program.

BMF

April 16th, 2010
8:30 am

I think I can make a very good argument for not only not cutting NASA’s budget, but increasing it and giving it extraordinary goals that push the technology.

People forget that our space programs have immeasurably improved the lives if each and every one of us. The new technologies that have been transferred from the space programs into our homes, our businesses, our cell phones, our computers, our foods, our GPS devices, our satellite communications, our agriculture, our building materials for houses and business, and… the list is endless.

Each and every American has received back from the space program much more in the conveniences for their lives, the increase in their standard of living, the medicines, the medical devices… It’s endless. The return on our investments have been mind boggling.

So back to the question: “What can we cut?”:

I suggest that the National Endowment of the Arts, NEA, has been a complete waste of tax dollars. What business does government have in subsidizing the arts?

Farm subsidies. There is no reason other than politics to continue billions in farm subsidies. Either a product is profitable or not. We actually pay farmers not to grow or produce certain products on one hand and on the other we pay them to grow and produce products that are not economically viable. What’s the sense in that? The answer is votes.

Many government agencies are bloated labyrinths of red tape. I say we trim all but the essential services from the federal government. Of course everyone in government believes they are essential but that’s delusional.

We can cut needless regulations that cost businesses money. That extra profit can be taxed, increasing the revenue stream. That’s a win win solution.

We could implement a flat tax which would double our tax revenues and eliminate 90% of the IRS. That’s a savings of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Here’s one that would make your eyes roll. Eliminate the Department of Education. DoE is an emotional institution. The federal government has no business in public education–that’s the right and responsibility of the individual states.

We could save 20 billion dollars by defunding grants that support the AGW hoax. Every significant prediction of doom in the IPCC reports have been debunked as outright lies or based on hearsay from environmental activists. The Himalayan glaciers are not melting, agriculture in Africa is not at risk, there’s no evidence for the claimed destruction of the rain forests, sea levels have fallen since 2005 (NASA data), no significant warming has been detected in the past 15 years (Dr. Phil Jones, CRU), Polar bear populations have been increasing, sea ice is back to normal levels since measurements began, ice accumulation in Antarctica has been growing, the Arctic is not melting, and the list of dire claims that aren’t true is long and embarrassing. The earth may well be warming, but there is not a shred of credible evidence that it will produce any of the dire results in the IPCC reports. In fact, the only solid evidence is that increased CO2 will cause plants to grow faster and larger, increasing food production. So why are we spending billions on this?

Of course there are the Congressional earmarks. Those far exceed NASA’s budget by themselves.

In short, federal spending on anything and everything is completely out of control. There are in fact thousands of things, offices, regulations, taxes, etc. that could be cut that would be beneficial to the economy and improve our lives AND are mostly things in which the federal government should not be involved in the first place.

NASA happens to be one of the exceptions were we get more back than we pay. Cutting NASA only ensures that future generations will not enjoy the explosion of tangible benefits we have witnessed from our space programs. Manned missions to Mars will have the same technological benefits that the original moon missions did. The technologies developed to support those missions directly improved every aspect of our lives in the US that far exceeded the cost of the programs.

I think our problem today is that we are reacting emotionally with regard to spending. Billions in federal dollars are OK to help Florida build a high speed train from Tampa to Orlando that will not have sufficient passengers to pay for it–meaning that it will be subsidized by taxpayers forever. But billions in manned missions to Mars that will result in another technological explosion that will benefit everyone is not. We need to get back to doing cost benefit analyses for major programs instead of these weepy-eyed emotional pleas to flush money down rat holes (such as high speed trains in Florida) that have no actual economic benefit because they will have to be subsidized for generations to come (think of a high speed Amtrak).

Ryo

April 16th, 2010
8:34 am

Wellfare. We can cut funding to wellfare.

philip

April 16th, 2010
9:32 am

the Air Force and DoD have larger space budgets than NASA. Why not cut these? If we need the money so badly why did we pass a health care bill that eclipses NASA’s budget by at least 2 significan figures? The TARP bailout would fund NASA for 30+ years, etc. Why pick on space flight when it is one of the smallest fish in the lake? You’re pinching pennies to spite dollars…

Person

April 16th, 2010
9:55 am

Cynthia Tucker
If we can’t cut the program for manned (personed) space travel, what can we cut?
Seemingly you are only capable of failed logic and irrational thought as other liberals? We can start by cutting and eliminating ObamaCare Medicine. That’s what can be cut for a start.

Pete

April 16th, 2010
10:09 am

I can’t believe how lousy this reporter is. She should be ashamed of herself by not knowing the details of the NASA budget before talking about what cut and what is not. The fact of the matter is that THERE IS AN INCREASE in uncle OBAMA’s 2011 planned NASA budget compare to 2010 budget. What wrong with OBAMA plan is that he has no plan to use the proposed NASA budget to continue the manned space exploration. Instead he redirects the money to serve his radical agenda that will satisfy the environmentalist and their mission in global warming craps including hiding or lie about global warming data. He packages the budget in a nice term like “new technology” to sell his agenda. The guy just waste our national treasury for his own radical ideology. Wonder if anybody is paying attention about CIA budget is being used to watch the melting of icecap in the Arctic?

Racine

April 16th, 2010
10:37 am

I heard that nasa invented the tang drink and cordless drills, so those trillions were worth it!!! Keep the tax money coming to those nasa fatcat contractors—they thank you! Off to mars!!!