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

Tommy Maddox

April 14th, 2010
5:09 pm

I was down there the other day (Titusville) and was told 23,000 folks were losing their job. So goes that voting block. Change…


April 14th, 2010
5:19 pm

How about we cut some of the government entitlement programs.

That sounds like a great idea of what to cut.

Or how about we cut the sham of a “stimulus” package that was rammed down American’s throats last year.

Michael K.

April 14th, 2010
5:23 pm

Can we cut Obamacare?


April 14th, 2010
5:23 pm

Yea, Repubs are all for spending cuts, until they’re actually made.

professional skeptic

April 14th, 2010
5:35 pm

Just because there’s a $10 billion sunk cost, we should keep throwing billions at something we can’t afford?

I’m all for space travel as well, but let’s wait until we can afford it. When I was paying off my school loans, I eliminated social drinking from my budget. Did I like it? No. It put a crimp in my social life for a while, to be sure. But– it helped me to pay off my loans faster.

The same principles of budgeting apply to federal spending. Once we have sufficient revenue to cover the basics, then we can buy more shiny things.


April 14th, 2010
5:37 pm

I GET something back from my taxes being spent on spac e and science..research and technolgy that benefits my life. I GET nothing back from the taxes i pay that go to keep the worthless dregs housed fed and clothed. I support NASA, cut Welfare..cut obamacare..cut foreign aid, and let SS and medicare DIE on the vine.


April 14th, 2010
5:37 pm

I grew up in Houston Texas, and you have to realize that our economy: restuarants, businesses, etc. all depend on NASA. So by cutting the funding of NASA, people lose jobs, and when people lose jobs, the economy falls. This will impact over a fourth of Houston which does consist of one of the four most populous cities in America. You might be able to say what can we cut? But let’s cut programs that will have a smaller impact on our economy since we are in a recession.

E. Burris

April 14th, 2010
5:41 pm

Mass Transit, science and agriculture amount to what looks like 79%. Add in the 12% for ?nothing? and the total amount cut would be 92%. Foreign Aid, whether we want to accept it or not, serves a purpose. Other countries give us aid during natural disasters. Cut foreign aid and we will be a downright mean and nasty country for the first time.

Michael Young

April 14th, 2010
5:42 pm

The days that this planet can support our continued growth are finite. Every day the population grows and Earth’s limited resources diminish. The pressures on humanity will continue to escalate. If we can not fund advancement today, we are in deep trouble because it will be even harder tomorrow. The research and development of today will determine if human kinds destiny will be to soar into space and colonize other worlds or simultaneously choke in our own waste and starve.

professional skeptic

April 14th, 2010
5:55 pm

Everyone’s making great arguments to keep funding the space program. I want to fund it too. But people also want tax cuts.

It’s like here in Georgia. We keep insisting on tax cuts, but that means we have to fire teachers, which increases unemployment and results in a less educated workforce.

The ripple effect is devastating… But hey, people want their tax cuts.


April 14th, 2010
5:57 pm

The space program, like foreign aid, amounts to less than a penny out of your tax dollar, and its benefits are enormous–like producing the medical instrument that saved my sight from cataracts or the cochlear implants that now allow some deaf people to hear.

Right now, it’s just under $19 billion, less than the $25 billion we spend on pizza each year. I’d rather give up pizza if I have to choose.

BTW, Florida Senator Bill Nelson–the smart Nelson who used to be an astronaut–is also behind Obama’s plan.


April 14th, 2010
5:58 pm

What can we cut? How about fed. employee salaries. They average $70,000 per year while private industry averages about $50,000. By cutting the average from 70k to 50k, you could save about $150 billion per year. Then we could talk about entitlements. And how about canceling the $500 billion in stimulus funds not yet spent.

Space is one of the few areas where the US excels. Medicine was one, but that’s now headed for the dumper, so I guess it’s time to screw up the space program now.


April 14th, 2010
6:03 pm

It makes me sick to read all of the ignorant and misinformed comments in this thread. The poll is equally enlightening, and paints an ugly picture of the American zeitgeist. 72% of us want to cut foreign aid?

The amount of money we spend on foreign aid is paltry compared to every other developed country. To put things in perspective, we spent $800 billion on the military in 2008- foreign aid was $26 billion. You tell me, geniuses – which one needs to be cut?

We are a nation of uneducated, selfish idiots. Unfortunately, the lemmings breed faster…


April 14th, 2010
7:02 pm

CT said, “But I also know that the country can’t afford to pay for everything. Some big expensive programs have to be cut…”

For starters, lets cut entitlement programs that do nothing but suck the blood out of the American Spirit. Entitlements are one the biggest reasons America is going bankrupt.

Robert Littel

April 14th, 2010
7:17 pm

We are, as a species, at a critical point in our history. The technology that has taken us to little more than the edge of space is the same technology that has spawned the advancements that have allowed our numbers to swell to the choking point. Getting enough of our genetic material off this planet before we kill it by bleeding it dry, have it killed by natural disaster, or by the deliberate insanity of nuclear conflagration, means doing it now while we still have enough resources, that will soon be demanded to sustain our ever increasing numbers.

We exist in the vulnerable basket that allowed for our creation and we are in danger of not taking advantage of an evolved survival ability to put our eggs in more than one basket, that would insure that even if we imploded Earth, that some of us would survive to spread out in the galaxy and continue to do what we should be doing, continuing to exist to always ask the question why. It is a voyage that began when our ancestors first formed that question and has been the driving force that propelled us forward (with some detours – religion for one). We can hunker down and doom ourselves comforted by our apocalyptic religious beliefs to an ignoble end, where the meek shall inherit the Earth, but for me, I want to head for the stars.

Keep up the good fight!

April 14th, 2010
7:17 pm

As typical, the righties all want to cut “entitlements” but they dont define it and they dont explain the hard costs. Are they going to increase funds to bury the people that will die? How about the new homeless? Their children? So now which are we cutting when we cut “entitlements’ and what are the actual savings? Is education an entitlement? Highways? Or are we cutting Vet benefits, SS, Medicare and Medicaid? Unemployment?

The sound bite attack is so easy.. the details not so simple.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 14th, 2010
7:40 pm

SEC, FTC, FDA, FNMA, FHLMC, Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, and EPA do less of value and cost more than NASA. Of course almost anything does more of value and at less cost than SEC, FTC, FDA, FNMA, FHLMC, Dept of Energy, Dept of Education, and EPA..

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 14th, 2010
7:44 pm

Jess @ 5:58 has the right idea. The US Marines are surely the most effective agency of government, and the cost per employee is perhaps the lowest. Prohibit additional hires at those less effective agencies, and require pro-rata pay reductions to bring them in line with the Marines.


April 14th, 2010
8:08 pm

Keep up has it right. People clamor for cuts — see Sarah Palin — but fall short on details. She has been complaining about the stimulus and demanding a tax cut at the same time. The stimulus included a pretty big tax cut.

This country has a lot of people who need to awake to reality, including many leaders. For years, people thought they could get “free” tax cuts because somehow they would pay for themselves. I think Bush’s two big tax cuts cost $2 trillion over 10 years total. I don’t think they brought in an extra $2 trillion over that timespan.

The ugly truth is once unemployment gets back near sane levels, maybe 6 percent, we will have to start cutting programs AND raising taxes. The manned space program will probably be part of those cuts because it’s not something we “need.” I say this as someone who is fascinated by astronomy and science. I totally understand its importance, but it will need to be scaled back at some point, along with many other programs, to pay down our debt.

Keep up the good fight!

April 14th, 2010
8:09 pm

Average salaries = $70,000. Again simplistic assessment. if 5 people earn $30k and 1 earns $265k… guess what the average is? What is the comparison? Are CEO salaries included?

How exactly Ragnar are you “measuring” efficiency? Seems to be subjective on your part. How many deaths have been prevented by FDA, FTC, EPA? What is the impact to market efficiency if there is no SEC?

Tell you what…why dont we increase fines for violations to 10% of company profits. Increase fees if you want to go to the market to sell stock in a public offering so that the companies watched effectively pay for the SEC. Import products from China with lead or some other poison….multimillion dollar penalty and jail time for CEO.


April 14th, 2010
8:11 pm

It is always interesting to see how people respond to this question. We have in this country what has come to be called the NIMBY principle. That is Not In My Back Yard. When folks say cut entitlements they must be talking about Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid. Other funds devoted to the poor simply take up less than one percent of the budget and would not impact government spending too much. Now I know that all those calling for that are not at retirement age and probably don’t like paying the taxes to support those programs. But those who are retired and/or close to it would never support such a thing. The lady in Houston who ( Lauren ) is making the perfect NIMBY argument. My personal vote has always been to cut into that 600 billion dollar defense budget (which does not include the 2 wars we are fighting right now – on another possible source of savings ). But bring that one up and the shine-o-la hits the fan.

So going forward, cuts to government spending will not likely be significant, so we better get busy growing the economy or raise taxes one if not both. Part of the NIMBY problem is everybody wants a Mercedes while only paying for a VW.


April 14th, 2010
8:15 pm

I do agree with the comment on government worker salaries. Last time I looked they were way out of line with the private sector in most cases. This is hard to justify as traditionally people having chosen government work for the security of the employment with some trade offs in compensation levels. Seems like now they get the security plus greater than market compensation. It is hard to justify this.


April 14th, 2010
8:19 pm

Marie Antoinette is said to have told the people in tough times when there was little bread to ” Let them eat cake. ”

In the NIMBY US today, it seems that the idea has morphed into, “I want my cake and eat it too, but you don’t get any cake at all.”

Dave R.

April 14th, 2010
8:20 pm

Gee an entire article on cutting NASA, but not one word about cutting 4 of the top 5 programs listed on the poll.

Wonder why that is, CT?

BTW, bring our soldiers home and save billions.

Right now.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

April 14th, 2010
8:27 pm

Dear Keep @ 8:09, “How many deaths have been prevented by FDA, FTC, EPA? What is the impact to market efficiency if there is no SEC?”

In the case of the FDA, it has killed more people through its delays than it could plausibly argue that it saved; responsible drug companies, i.e., all of them, pull drugs from the market that are dangerous, plaintiff attorney arguments notwithstanding.

FTC has saved nobody, but it certainly has added tons of costs with frivolous rules and expense.

EPA does nothing but impose costs on the economy – any state is more competent to police its environment.

SEC imposes an ungodly level of expense and inefficiency – ask any company about its costs for issuing stock or obtaining accounting – on the economy.

None of those agencies serve the public weal as efficiently as do the private plaintiff attorneys, even with the excesses of litigation.

Joe B

April 14th, 2010
8:29 pm

Blah blah blah.
What we are not talking about is the failed summit and the policy of retreat and apology from Obama,
Out of control federal spending on Obamanomics.
Civil rights for terrorists abroad
The liberals getting back to the tax part of “tax and spend”
Cynthia would have us talking about trivialities when there are serious issues afoot.


April 14th, 2010
8:41 pm

Cutting the NASA budget is probably a good place to start. I also agree with those who’d like to get us out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Then I’d take a long look at the Department of Homeland Security – their programs throw away millions of dollars to any and every government entity that asks for it, usually for toys they’d like to have, but would never get approval to buy from local/state budgets. There are lots of room for cuts, but every dollar the government spends is a dollar someone wants. We needs a real leader who will make the tough decisions. I’m not saying Obama can’t be that guy, but it’s time to stop listening to the whining (from people like Armstrong) and get to work.


April 14th, 2010
8:42 pm

Ragnar, we have already been through the 19th century experience of Laissez faire capitalism. Did not work out too good then. Market efficiencies simply are not present to prevent externalities from skewing the invisible hand. You know as well as I do, that business interest are only interested in skimming the profit and not cleaning up the mess they make. If the hills of West Virginia after the miners get done don’t tell a sufficient tale of market inefficiency then I don’t know what does.


April 14th, 2010
8:44 pm

Joe B – Do tell. What exactly is Obamanomics and how does it differ from Bushanomics. Don’t forget the unfunded Part D of Medicare.

Keep up the good fight!

April 14th, 2010
8:46 pm

Any one who states “civil rights for terrorists abroad” is just a flaming idiot of talking points.

But seriously Rangar..again some very nice broad soundbites that just dont hold up in the real world. Where is the analysis and evidence? Surely you have some other than the “we all know this to be true” when it rarely holds up.

Responsible drug companies pull dangerous drugs? What planet are you on? Next you’ll tell me that companies always recall products that are dangerous. I can assure you that this is not the case.

Dave R.

April 14th, 2010
8:50 pm

And as a child who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s during the height of the space age, it is a national disgrace to have zero capability to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (which we largely built and heavily subsidized) once the Shuttle fleet is grounded after the next couple of flights.

To have the only capability to get astronauts to and from that station via Russian capsule technology that was 20 years behind out Shuttle capability 35 years ago is shameful.

If he can’t control people’s behaviors with it, Hope & Change won’t fund it.

Moderate Line

April 14th, 2010
8:54 pm

I don’t really care about manned space travel. However, the real problem is entitlements. At some point entitlements will result in both increase in taxes and entitlement cuts. The longer we wait the worse the impact. We had an IT bubble, housing bubble or banking bubble now we are having a government bubble.

godless heathen

April 14th, 2010
8:54 pm

We can cut 10% out of every program the Feds spend money on. Times are tough. Tighten the belt.


April 14th, 2010
8:56 pm

So far, Bushanomics and Obamanomics are very similar – “borrow and spend”. I suspect Obamanomics may shift to “tax and spend”, which is a little more honest, but not a whole lot better. I believe we need to at least cut the budget down to our income and preferably start paying down the deficit.


April 14th, 2010
9:04 pm

Drifter, my mama always said ya wants to ride the train yous gotta buy a ticket.


April 14th, 2010
9:15 pm

How about the 40+ redundant federal agencies and departments whose job is to gather intelligence? The CIA should be exactly that…The Central Intelligence Agency (singular). Keep the best and brightest employees, and toss the rest. There’s a start.


April 14th, 2010
9:17 pm

CT; Any reply on why you insulted the tea party members by calling them “tea baggers” ?

Cletus Dooley Earnhardt SR.

April 14th, 2010
9:21 pm

Can we pleese cut Obammacure? Ha ha im hylarius



April 14th, 2010
9:25 pm

SUGGESTION; All of us who realize CT for the nut she is —-stop commenting and let this trash die on the vine….

Dave R.

April 14th, 2010
9:38 pm

Why can’t we just keep commenting about her being nuts? :D

Entitlements Forever

April 14th, 2010
9:38 pm

There is only one option: Cut entitlements across the board…especially Obamacare. This maddness must end now.


April 14th, 2010
9:40 pm

If 99% of baggers believe aliens live among us, why spend the money on space travel……

Dave R.

April 14th, 2010
9:49 pm

Talk about being nuts . . .


April 14th, 2010
9:50 pm

Cynthia I am so glad my mother taught me some manners and respect. Sometimes it would really be nice to unload on these rude boors that never graduated from the sand box, but in honor of my mother’s memory, I will refrain. You are ok in my book, and polite too.


April 14th, 2010
9:53 pm

stw; what is wrong with tea bags? Need them to have a tea party don’t you? For me, I just can’t get over those costumes and poorly spelled signs that seem to be so prevalent in that movement.


April 14th, 2010
9:54 pm

Don’t worry, folks. There will be no cuts. The vote buying politicians of both parties have succeeded wildly in their attempt to create the modern welfare state. Whether it be social security (Thanks, FDR), medicare, medicaid, welfare, (Thanks, LBJ), the prescription drug benefit, (Thanks, W) or healthcare, (Thanks, Barry) nothing will get cut because our parasitic nation of worthless freeloaders will vote out any politician who advocates it. It is disgusting what we have become. As Don Meredith used to sing on Monday Night Football, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over…” Our nation is toast.


April 14th, 2010
9:58 pm

How do you keep your job? Oh, I get it………..


April 14th, 2010
10:20 pm

MICAR: If you had taken the time to do a little research you’d find that a “tea bagger” is one who places his scrotum in a woman’s mouth. Any other questions ??


April 14th, 2010
10:34 pm

wow stw, is that what is going on at those parties. Guess that explains the costumes and signs. Everybody has their mind on things other than how they look and spelling.


April 14th, 2010
10:35 pm

Thanks for saving me all that research time.

Logical Dude

April 14th, 2010
10:47 pm

How about we just declassify some of the black programs used for Star Wars? I’m sure there are several spacecraft that we have not heard of that would do what NASA needs. Supercruise, Single-Stage to Orbit, Low Earth Orbit, etc etc. Private companies are able to compete now for satellites (SpaceX) and suborbital manned spaceflight (Scaled Composites/Virgin Galactic), but not manned orbital spaceflight, or even extra-orbital spaceflight needed for lunar manned spaceflight. Of course, we could wait for India or China to do the next moon shot within just a few years.

My own thoughts are that we should have an international cooperation for a Lunar Space Station, to go along with the International Space Station. Have many different countries contribute. Of course, since we have a mostly complete rocket for this, it is kinda stupid to just stop the process now. How much do we need to cut nationally (as a percentage) to aim toward a balanced budget? Cut *each* governmental department by that amount; and have the department directors decide where those cuts should be. Of course, a few departments can be vastly reduced (think Department of Homeland Security vs. CIA vs. FBI vs. NSA – make them one department and cut out the red tape that keeps them from communicating efficiently with each other.) As cuts in Department of Defense occur (as we “step down” in Iraq; and we can close some bases in friendly countries) this will help the budget as well.

The Cynical White Boy

April 14th, 2010
10:58 pm

Ha, I can almost hear the gist of the conversation in the White House press office as instructions are given to all the “Obama-friendly” ‘reporters’ who are suddenly located in DC….

“For God sakes” (they say, straight from the throne) “get the peoples’ minds off of the deficit, healthcare, and cradle-to-grave government benefits designed to keep Dems in office for ever (until the Chinese decide to rule the world)…..and for God’s sake, if you are near Atlanta, don’t mention Freaknik…..so talk about, uh, NASA, yeah, something like uh, NASA…that’s it”

Strange marching orders from Obama central, but then again, they are expert at winning power, so there ya go.

Tommy Maddox

April 14th, 2010
11:23 pm

Micar: You talk too much for someone who’s not talked to folks who are going to lose their jobs down south.

Go down to Canaveral or Titusville and take a poll. You’ll wind up riding out on a rail.

The Carnivore

April 14th, 2010
11:42 pm

You can cut every damn thing on the list by 30% for all I care. There is nothing there that is absolutely necessary. While you are at it, get rid of 80% of the Justice Department, State Department, HUD, and all of the IRS (FairTax), etc.

Social Security is dead anyway, and Medicare and ObamaCare could be mostly cut as long as there is deregulation of insurance companies. Let them really compete, and you will see how low premiums can go.

There is a role for limited government, but it should mostly be at the state and local level. The federal government should shed 50-70% of its ranks before we take a close look and cut more.


April 14th, 2010
11:46 pm

We can and must. That chart was revealing. We must crack down on fraud and abuse in almost every program. But who wants to be a snitch? Sending someone to the moon again is regressive, even if just a launching point. Surely we have more vision and creativity than that.


April 14th, 2010
11:48 pm

It is sad to note that more than 20% wanted to cut science. How do people think diseases get cured?


April 14th, 2010
11:48 pm

Micar: The best part of you ran down your dad’s leg…


April 15th, 2010
12:03 am

Jay, I agree with you some, but I would like to point one thing out to you that most people do not realize. Part of those military expenditures are for widows, amputees, and retirement benefits for those who already served. Some of these people are dependent upon these because they truly cannot work. If you cut the military budget, then it’s going to come out of this, not development of weapons, weapons themselves, or to keep armies in the field.

For the people who state that the government needs to drop pay, I agree. But the unions they belong to won’t allow it, and the Dems will support the union leaders.

As for NASA, I recently visited the Space and Rocket Center in Alabama. It was amazing to see how much technology was developed through trial and error. I wonder how much it would be to use some of the old technology and just update it. They seemed to work relatively well then, and you would have to figure that older technology might be less expensive. Certainly it would be less expensive than the Space Shuttle. Only major problem is that these rockets are still fueled by expensive liquids that are difficult to produce. Still a catch-22, you know?

Eaton White

April 15th, 2010
12:31 am

“I GET nothing back from the taxes i pay that go to keep the worthless dregs housed fed and clothed. I support NASA, cut Welfare..cut obamacare..cut foreign aid, and let SS and medicare DIE on the vine.”

Let’s ignore the fact that Social Security is not qualitatively the same as Welfare, Medicare, Foreign Aid, “Obamacare” (Hint – we all pay into Social Security) and focus on your claim that you get “nothing” from these various programs. I would suggest you read “Freakonomics”, but it might be beyond you.

First, Welfare – It’s a program that supports those at the lowest poverty levels in the country. What do you think the social consequences of eliminating a program that helps to keep those at poverty level (barely) surviving? Crime? Social unrest? Shanty towns? Hmm? Any idea?

You understand that our society is comprised of interacting groups, yes? And that programs like Welfare help to reduce the negative social consequences that accompany poverty? And you understand that poverty is an inevitable consequence of pure Capitalism unaccompanied by some form of government intervention? Or have you not read the seminal works of the important economic philosophers and theorists of the 20th century? So, when you say you get “nothing back” from programs like Welfare, you are simply showing your ignorance. You are benefiting by a more stable society. You are benefiting by a lower crime rate. You are benefiting in many ways that someone who is incapable of appreciating complex systems will fail to understand.

Just as programs like Medicare help to offset the social consequences of a lack of healthcare for those on a fixed income (the elderly, in case that doesn’t register), Foreign Aid helps to create goodwill abroad. In Marketing, we call that “Brand Equity”…it’s considered an intangible asset, but one that is important.

Here’s what makes me laugh at people like you. You complain about social programs and subsidies, but you never once stop to think or rationally analyze what our society would be like without them. You never consider the repercussions of REMOVING those programs, both individually and on our society as a whole. No, you would rather whine and complain because you can’t extend your vacation by one day.

You complain about taxes, but you want all the benefits that taxes create. You want the roads, the police, the firemen, the postal service, the internet, etc. etc. etc., yet you whine and complain when you’re asked to help pay for them.

If we stopped paying taxes today, every whiny, self-righteous so-called “Libertarian” posting on forums today would be pitching a fit within three months. Grow up. We vilified “progressives” know that all of the comforts and privileges and freedoms that you are so keen to enjoy COST MONEY. And we get to help pay for them. DEAL WITH IT.



April 15th, 2010
2:14 am

stw: Nice withering retort. Must say however you seem to be a bit hung up on bodily fluids stuff. Thought about seeing anybody about that.

Joel Edge

April 15th, 2010
5:38 am

Might as well cut. it. Lords knows we’ll waste money on anything. Except the important things. We can’t even dredge up the courage to drill our own oil or build a new nuclear plant. Back to moon, please! Not with this bunch.


April 15th, 2010
6:13 am

Joel Edge

April 15th, 2010
5:38 am

You’d better catch up on current events. I thnk “energy independence” is a red herring, but Obama is supporting nuclear and drilling.


April 15th, 2010
6:46 am

Let’s see, cut the space program because we can’t afford it. Perhaps if the 47% that pay NO taxes started carrying their weight we could afford it. And, the government, especially the Democrats, must stop the handouts and work on programs that give the 47% percent an opportunity. If they chose not to seize the opportunity, THEY pay the price, not all others continuing to pay for them. And, don’t give me that crap about discrimination, etc. That no longer flys.

Captain Chaos

April 15th, 2010
6:48 am

It’d be nice if they let the free market work with food prices but whenever anyone tries to cut farm subsidy entitlements (or enforce immigration laws on the farmers that lure millions of illegals here every year with the promise of no questions asked jobs) the GOPers like Saxby Chambliss start squealing like stuck pigs.
Cut farm welfare and let the free market work.

Captain Chaos

April 15th, 2010
6:52 am

More than a few of he “47% who pay no taxes” are the idle rich who game the system. Yes, by all means, lets make the Paris Hilton’s of the country pay their fair share.

Joel Edge

April 15th, 2010
6:57 am

You need to catch up on reality. A supporter of nuclear and drilling? You know as good as I do, we’re not going to drill and we aren’t going nuclear. Lawsuits will be filed, tree huggers will protest, environmental impact statements will be filed. End result: nothing.

Granny Godzilla

April 15th, 2010
7:08 am

Changing the focus to heavy lifting vehicles enabling us to bring huge payloads into space where the next generation of vehicles will have to be manufactured – this is a good thing.

Granny Godzilla

April 15th, 2010
7:39 am

Oh and this is a great place to privatize.

Lot’s of great work being done in the private sector in LEO vehicles..


April 15th, 2010
7:40 am

professional skeptic – April 14th, 2010, 5:55 pm.

Replace your argument about space travel with the same argument about ObamaCare and I’ll agree with you.

Bill Sanford

April 15th, 2010
7:55 am

Enter your comments here

Bill Sanford

April 15th, 2010
8:01 am

I’ll try with some comments this time… :-)

Ms. Tucker is like every “progressive” journalist… they are out of touch with the people, and do not listen. Manned space travel has excited “smart imaginations” for decades; Its impact on biomedical research was huge – the same biomedical research that Ms. Tucker, enjoys the fruits of today. Of course, being a “progressive” journalist she cannot see that connection – too closed minded.

Of course, Ms. Tucker has no problem with rewarding a person to do nothing…just lay around, perhaps have a few more babies to increase income,and hang out. But put money into a solid research program that excites imaginations? That is actually an example of a “good” government program?

naw… can’t have that kind of change!


April 15th, 2010
8:03 am

I would rather have the government put my actual tax dollars into the cargo bay of a shuttle and release it into space than blow it the way they do now on many of their social programs!


April 15th, 2010
8:11 am

Another great day in Obamanation:
1. One small step forward for Obama into converting the US in mediocre
2. One giant leap backward for America.
Keep up the good job Obama.


April 15th, 2010
8:13 am


April 15th, 2010
8:15 am

Cuts and eliminations…
10% of Federal paper pushers
Eliminate the Dept of Education
Liquor purchases
Air Force skylimos for the ruling elites
Private sector pay for the “talent”
Gov’t pensions for the “talent”
Farm subsidies
Illegal immigrants
Providing Gov’t vehicles for commuters
Bailouts to auto companies, banks, and “distressed homeowners”
The UN
Foreign aid to hostile nations


April 15th, 2010
8:15 am

Look, cuts have to be made across the board. Defense, Medicare/Medicaid, Government employment, Government pensions, and (YES) Nasa, refundable tax credits. The cuts will be deep and need to hurt EVERYONE. THEN, we need to establish a minimum tax that EVERYONE who makes over the poverty limit pays. I don’t care if that limit is $1000, or $500, or $100. EVERYONE pays it . NOBODY earning money gets a free ride. When 100% …. rather than 51%… of the people are actually paying federal income taxes, then we will have change in government to get spending and budgets under control.


April 15th, 2010
8:22 am

By all means cut NASA as it already is a government program and tax dollars must be focused on those entities that remain to be socialized. Health, banking, and industry have the train moving. Must have more dollars to fuel the momentum.


April 15th, 2010
8:31 am

Funny how liberals are besieged by reality – are the people working for NASA anything else than white and middle-aged? I.e. the lot that the MSM has identified as Tea Partiers, challenged by the the Hope ‘n change magnificence?
As far as understanding the necessity of science and inquiry, looks like Cynthia Tucker (a Berkeley school system graduate), at any time would enthusiastically favor:
a) anything, no matter how inane, that Barry would propose -
b) including replacing any space program with any program aiming at developing the self-esteem and oppression awareness of her Berkeley home town crowds of teens who, fortunately, have recently been spared the indignities of junior-high lab classess (Asians and whites leaving the town in droves – but this is progress).

Aidan A.

April 15th, 2010
8:31 am

Really, we can’t pay for everything? Be careful or the democrats might start sounding like that hateful, racist “party of no.”


April 15th, 2010
8:46 am

What Ms Tucker fails to understand is that once you dismantle a program such as the manned space flight program, once the talent and engineering staff are dispersed to the wind so to speak, it can’t just quickly be put back together. If Osama Obama goes through with this, our country will be irreparably damaged for decades. But, that’s okay as long as we can destroy the healthcare system with Obamacare, as long as we can encourage those on welfare not to improve their lives, not to see any value whatsoever in working for a living. We must protect the chosen class in spite of this national decline, both in prestige and technological leadership, and we must force a medical care farce on the people regardless of how they feel about it. When Obama was elected I thought that it would be tolerable; that we could survive anything for four years. I was wrong. We can’t take much more of this guy and his complement of useful idiots in the House and Senate and remain a great nation. As Obama said yesterday, “Unfortunately, we still a superpower”. Seems he’s doing all in his power to change that. .

Granny Godzilla

April 15th, 2010
8:49 am

What y’all righties obviously don’t understand is the proposal itself.

To read some of the goop above you’d think we were suggesting death panels for NASA!

LIV – shame on y’all. You embarrass America.


April 15th, 2010
8:57 am

We cut the manned program but INCREASE funding on “climate change”? Cut funding on climate change to zero since its been proven to be a scientific fraud and leave funds in place for the manned program. Since both of these actions were taking place inside of NASA I also have to ask — since when is NASA a climate change organization? Shouldn’t that be over in someplace like the Weather Service anyway?


April 15th, 2010
9:16 am

We can pay for healthcare for the irresponsible and lazy who won’t get educations and jobs, but we can’t invest in the future. We need to take back America.

Mitchell Gantt

April 15th, 2010
9:19 am

“Some big expensive programs have to be cut.” Just not the ones going to reliably Democratic constituencies, right, Cynthia? I won’t be holding my breath waiting for you to weigh in on cutting bloated SEIU and other bureaucrat-union benefit packages and over-promised pensions. And hey, here’s a great big expensive program that we can cut by 100%: OBAMACARE.


April 15th, 2010
9:26 am

Hey Cynthia

Yeah you are right the country can’t pay for everything.

I got a few programs in mind that we can cut.

a. Department of Education
b. Department of Energy
c. National endowment of the Arts
d. The omnibus health care bill just passed
e. Any and all programs not related to defense may be cut.

OBTW Hows that Hope and Change working for ya?

33 more months and the national joke is history!


April 15th, 2010
9:40 am

This decision on NASA comes as no surprise to me. During the 1960s, when most americans were filled with patriotism and enthusiasm over the moon landings…most blacks were angry and contemptuous. They felt the funding was an utter waste and should have been used for social programs like affirmative action. Of course, the 1960s were tumultuous times and I understand why blacks felt the way they did. But…it’s now 2010 and it’s sad that so many blacks, including the president, continue to have a contemptuous view of space exploration and view it as a silly waste of money that could be used to fund things like Obamacare. This country has never been more polarized.

DeKalb Conservative

April 15th, 2010
9:41 am

I think Bush needs to be bashed a little on this one (not sarcastic). Think about it. JFK made a pledge to get a man on the moon before the end of a decade. The technology didn’t exist and the computers they were working with aren’t even as powerful as the cell phones most of us carry today.

It shouldn’t take 10+ to get to the moon. Heck, if you want to go to the moon, just review the engineering specs from teh 1960’s and make technology tweaks as needed. Buzz is right, and I hope the President listens. The best thing the President could do for space is develop ways of making travel, better, cheaper, faster.


April 15th, 2010
9:48 am

John wrote: “This decision on NASA comes as no surprise to me. During the 1960s, when most americans were filled with patriotism and enthusiasm over the moon landings…most blacks were angry and contemptuous. They felt the funding was an utter waste and should have been used for social programs like affirmative action. Of course, the 1960s were tumultuous times and I understand why blacks felt the way they did. But…it’s now 2010 and it’s sad that so many blacks, including the president, continue to have a contemptuous view of space exploration”

That’s no secret. You won’t hear anyone in the media come out and say it though. Doesn’t surprise me one bit that Obama would cut – of all things – NASA. Apparently, one of the many things Michelle was never particularly proud of.

Can’t wait to see this guy thrown out in ‘12. Makes Carter look like Reagan.


April 15th, 2010
9:55 am

Kelly, Why do you think NASA should NOT be cut? What would you like to see cut?


April 15th, 2010
9:58 am

The two most critical issues are 1.) Loss of Expertise – Living, breathing, experience and knowledge and wisdom are much harder to win than they are to maintain. But they can be passed only from practicing experts to practicing experts. 2.) Loss of Superiority – There are those who take no notice of our excellence in Space, but excellence of many kinds is important in education
and international statesmanship, yes, even in space. Since the 1950’s the United States has invested in robust Space programs, and maintained the worldwide standard of excellence. We are not going to allow our statesmen just to throw this away without a fight.


April 15th, 2010
10:02 am

DeKalb Conservative, one of the more interesting things about my critics on this point is that Obama has proposed that the private sector find a way to get faster booster rockets into space. I thought conservatives would support that idea.


April 15th, 2010
10:06 am

professional skeptic: “The same principles of budgeting apply to federal spending.”

Actually, federal spending has had no principles for about 8 decades. To call what is done “budgeting” is akin to calling gluttony “dieting.”


April 15th, 2010
10:07 am

It is painful to see NASA get cut but it NEEDS to be done…

However I do not support cutting NASA while expanding entitlement programs. This is the common tune of the Obama administration- “look, we cut $100 million! now we can spend $100 billion!”

I can’t decide if the Obama administration failed grade-school math or just doesn’t care.


April 15th, 2010
10:10 am

What a hack. Tucker comes out with a full throated defense of the multitrillion dollar healthcare plan and then complains about a 10 billion dollar program, not even 1% the cost of the healthcare debacle.

Bill Sanford

April 15th, 2010
10:10 am

MS Tucker… you offered a serious comment at 10:02 AM – i will make a serious comment back.

Frankly, this older conservative that read Asimov & Heinlein in my youth, that watched the 1st moon landing in San Diego as a 19 year old Marine waiting to deploy to Vietnam, thinks that obama is lying.

I think obama is just placating his criticizers… avoiding bad press. I don’t believe he as a strategy. he’s barely kicking the can down the road.

With all due respect.


April 15th, 2010
10:11 am

Bill Sanford, What do you think he’s lying about?


April 15th, 2010
10:12 am

X, the health care plan is a pay-go program. the legislation that enacted it found ways to pay for it. Not so with the Constellation program


April 15th, 2010
10:17 am

Pay-go, what are you smoking? The current budget submitted by Obama is 3.83 trillion dollars. That includes a 1.3 trillion dollar deficit. This isn’t pay as you go, it’s the mortgage-our-future scheme.

Bill Sanford

April 15th, 2010
10:24 am

MS tucker… intention to follow through.

A “program” has a clear start, tasks & goals, and a clear goal to be achieved. obama has presented none of that… just spending on a heavy lifter, and a bail-out module.

You may recall, a few years ago there was debate in the Space community on where & what should follow the shuttle program expiration… The decision was to go back to the Moon, establish a permanent base, and use that as a staging point for deeper space exploration. Bush wasn’t perfect, but he supported those goals, and begin funding them.

And Bush did not quibble the goals.

obama has scratched the goals, restarted the debate (good subterfuge), and funded something that leads to nowhere. obama should listen to the bulk of the experienced space hands…

[...] Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution counters: “I’m as much in love with space travel as anyone could be who never actually worked for NASA….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.” [...]


April 15th, 2010
10:35 am

Since healthcare costs over a trillion dollars, and you claim it is a pay-go plan, when are taxes going up? who will pay them? and how will higher taxes facilitate the economic growth this country needs to get away from longterm 10% unemployment?


April 15th, 2010
10:44 am

@ctucker – gotta say describing the health care program as pay-go really kills your credibility.

If you’re responding to comments still, I haven’t looked at all the comments, but the most interesting of what I saw was Bairkus. Fact is that engineers don’t grow on trees and don’t develop their expertise at a summer camp. When you cut back NASA today, it will be gone for decades. There is some discussion about “growing export manufacturing” now to boost the economy. After politicians spent several decades of pushing manufacturing offshore (via labor and litigation policies) because it was “old economy”, the assumption is that it will just reappear now because they want it to. It’s not going to happen. It will take decades to generate a manufacturing economy that can compete internationally. Equivalently, it will take decades to rebuild our space program after dismantling it.


April 15th, 2010
10:55 am

What NASA once represented was the “big goal” we as a nation could achieve together, that which was to big to achieve alone. Now we worry about our neighbors mortgage, health care, employment, what they eat, if they smoke,drink, or gamble and the plethora of other nonsense they should be taking care of for themselves.

Welcome to “Change”, the new America.


April 15th, 2010
10:58 am

How about we get the change someone promised. Transparency. Let us see where our money is going. Including all the perks for politicians, their family, their friends, their political allies, etc, etc. Lets stop spending money on WH parties and campaigning flights around the country. Billions could probably be cut without cutting one program…I am so sick of politicians and their elitism.

And while I’m ranting (please excuse me, but it just keeps building up)…for all the people that think that those people who don’t want to pay the way for everyone else are selfish…grow up! You can’t expect someone to take care of you for your entire life! You think the socialist European way is the way to go, then move there! The people who love America for what it is (well, should be) don’t have another country to move to that is like America…we are unique and envied for it. So go bash America in another country and let the people who are proud to be Americans live in this place you hate so much.

Thank you for listening…if you did…if you didn’t…I don’t care.


April 15th, 2010
11:02 am

Cynthia, you raise a good question. My thought is that we should not stop at NASA space, we should eliminate NASA altogether. If it is worthwhile, others, on their own dime, will risk their fortunes at harvesting the fortune of space. But the thoughts just keep rolling – cut out Education at the Federal level completely (there are no teachers teaching children from the Feds). Cut Foreign Aid. Strike that, eliminate Foreign Aid. Science? Outta here. Health Care. What are the Fed’s doing messing about with my Health Care anyway?! There are so many examples that maybe it would be best to just summarize by telling the Federal Government to go back to its original mandates. Isn’t every elected official bound by oath to do this?

David Minnich

April 15th, 2010
11:04 am

Well, the question is what did people want cut, not whether it would have any material effect on the budget. Also, note that none of the categories had even 30% response favoring cutting. There you go – many want smaller government in general, but get to specifics and this sentiment dies pretty quickly. That’s why the whole tea party movement leaves me cold – especially since many of these tea-party types are on some form of government support.


April 15th, 2010
11:06 am

This is a stupid column. NASA’s budget is also in total 0.5% of the federal budget. Granted the space program to Mars or wherever is undoubtedly bigger. NASA may need to be cut, but the facts Cynthia presents don’t support her argument. In fact, in the stupid survey, NASA isn’t even on the list.

Cynthia, please go upgrade your brain. AJC, please fire Ms. Tucker and any other incompetent journalists at the AJC. Our nation and city can’t afford incompetent people any more.

Also, someone please cut social security and medicare. They’re bankrupting our nation.


April 15th, 2010
11:12 am

The very fact we’re reading this on the internet, and responding to it, is testament to the benefits of the space programs. The money spent on the Mercury & Apollo programs didn’t simply burn up in space. Aside from the actual costs of lost hardware (the rockets, suits, etc.), the trillions spent via Nasa have all been spent right here on earth, in salaries and contracts. Not only did the government reap the side benefit of those monies in the form of taxes on individuals and corporations, but the sheer volume of knowledge and technological innovation has generated incalculable trillions of dollars in commerce. Even the stents used in modern heart surgery are a direct result of advances in metallurgy and materials science spawned by the space race.

To cut funding to Nasa is almost literally to slay the goose that lays the golden egg.


April 15th, 2010
11:20 am

The current and proposed NASA budgets are less than 1 penny for every dollar the U.S. government spends. It’s “nice” to know the rest of the governmental expenditures of 99 cents per dollar is well spent.
NASA can be a great leader in new technology development and and economic growth for the United States.

Disgusted in Dunwoody

April 15th, 2010
11:26 am

Obamacare: Pay as you go?! Hysterical!

If by PayGo you mean: Pay your last dollars in taxes as this once great nation goes broke; then I agree. I doubt that was your actual meaning.

Maybe we could’ve found $10 billion in the $785 billion stimulus that has been thrown to the four winds. We’ve got money for government to build a “high-speed” rail white-elephant from LA to Vegas but no money for NASA?

If the story of this administration was written as satire, it wouldn’t be believable.

Nancy Pelosi

April 15th, 2010
11:31 am

Actually Cynthia, we can pay for anything we want, spend as much money as we want, for as long as we want…..well, for a few more months at least.


April 15th, 2010
11:33 am

Of course all that money spent on the space program creates or saves thousands of excellent high paying jobs in science and technology, from the professional level down through manufacturing and operations. That would be a far better use for money rather than a local stimulus project which turned a field with stumps into a field that was a little flatter with fewer stumps.

If we can’t spend government money on jobs that belong at that level, we certainly can’t afford to just give it away to people who don’t earn it.


April 15th, 2010
11:36 am

Didn’t we just allocate about $5 Billion to “weatherstripping”? Lets see, “weatherstrip” or true advancement of science? That’s a tough one.


April 15th, 2010
11:45 am

Nasa a big, bloated agency that wastes money–their budget should be cut 60%. The U.S. is broke and doesn’t need to be wasting money on mars missions or more space station trips. Let private companies fund that if it’s worthwhile. The government needs to spend all that money on inner city problems and jobs programs for minorities who are affected the most by this recession.

DeKalb Conservative

April 15th, 2010
12:13 pm

@ Cynthia

Obama is right on this one. We agree. Anyone w/ a blackberry or iphone has a computer processing advantage over engineers’ computers in the 60’s. Sure, have it privately funded, assuming they are allowed to launch the needed rockets (not sure what type of federal restrictions there would be from the EPA or other agencies).


April 15th, 2010
12:23 pm

Spoken like a true socialist Stephan. How about the inner cities take care of their own problems, since they invariably brought this upon themselves. And why job programs for minorities? If job programs are necessary at all, why not for all?

Please keep your idiocy self contained.


April 15th, 2010
12:31 pm

How about we cut the liquor budget from the state department.

Really Cynthia?

April 15th, 2010
12:41 pm

How much did we just allocate to earmarks for Obamacare vote bribes?


April 15th, 2010
12:44 pm

People who start their comments by saying “I love Space exploration and am a big supporter of it,” should NOT then follow with the sentence, “But we really should cut the budget.” The cost of stopping our program is far greater than the savings coming from abandonment. How about we cut welfare which has been shown to demotivate and stop people from looking for work? Why don’t we cut programs which fund lazy, morally bankrupt citizens who think it is barack Obama’s to take money away from those who make it and give it to them, rather than a program which advances technology, is a matter of national pride, and keeps us ahead of the other countries. Barry sucks.


April 15th, 2010
12:46 pm

get rid of obamacare. no one wants it anyway.

Privitize it all

April 15th, 2010
12:48 pm

If future space explorations are paid for with private funds, let’s not have ANY government intervention over what is done in space.

Blue Skies

April 15th, 2010
12:56 pm

Man that is funny stuff! In her opening paragraph CT says:
“But I also know that the country can’t afford to pay for everything.” Yet, Nasa’s program to the moon is the ONLY government program, service, or entitlement I’ve ever hear CT mention for cutting. In the meantime, over the years CT has advocated expanding the government over and over again. I’m reasonably certain CT would have voted for the $2.2 Trillion dollar health plan that just passed, but she’s gotta draw the line at $10 Billion to strap human beings onto a ship which has 2.5 million parts and has been descibed as “the most complex machine yet created by humanity” to travel through the earths atmosphere at 17,180 mph then through the vacuum, radiation, and meteored filled outer space over 384,000 Km to the moon, which is also traveling at 1 km per second and features no water, food, or air. Unreal…you have got to be one tilted cookie with a severe aversion to reality to believe CT’s logic. If Bush would have proposed this cut, CT would have called him a science hating racist. Like she didn’t do that anyway…

Right On Stephen!

April 15th, 2010
12:57 pm

The federal government has shown itself to be incredibly efficient at all things-particularly job creation.

With public employee unions bankrupting state after state, let’s create more public employees at the expense of private sector employment which actually pays the freight.

You can argue the merits of trickle-down economics all you want, but anyone who believes that Obama’s trickle-up policies (handouts) are winners are absolute fools.


April 15th, 2010
12:57 pm

The idea that the President took the axe to NASA’s manned spaceflight program out of fiscal responsibility is, I am sorry to say, laughable. Given how small a portion of the budget this represents, and the President’s huge expansions of the budget over-all, a sudden burst of monetary restraint hitting the President as he looked over NASA’s manned space program is, to be polite, not credible.

It looks like part of his (or hid advisers’) goal was to funnel NASA money into additional politicized spending to prop up his Global Warming agenda, where he desperately needs to find or create some new evidence as his old evidence unravels as sloppy and sometimes dishonest science.

More troubling is the idea that the President, whose political education was at the knees of people who do not like, trust or admire America, has killed the manned space program as a hateful symbol of American spirit and ingenuity. I hope like Hell this is not the case.

Our solar system is filled with resources — metals, energy, and in a pinch living space — “the Earth is far to small and fragile a basket for mankind to keep all their eggs in.” President Obama is making sure that we continue to have to deplete Earth’s resources by closing off access to other sources. History will judge him very harshly for that.


April 15th, 2010
12:59 pm

Well, Cybthia, my little pork chop, one must axes this question:

Would I rather have all the technology gains from NASA, an engaged science community building knowledge, students once more desirous of entering the space program via a science oriented education or spend the same money fo a bunch of dem 19 year old hos that sells themselfs on Craigs List and walks around da storeses with four of dem under 5 common suckers (by four firent baby daddys) holding a SNAG card while wearing $400 sneakers and Hilfiger?

The answer is self evident, to infinity and beyond!

wesley mouch

April 15th, 2010
1:05 pm

Dear Ms Tucker
Will you say the same thing when the government Unions workers ask for another raise. “Sorry but you are already overpaid and we cannot afford it”. I Thought that you wouldn’t.

James T Kirk

April 15th, 2010
1:09 pm

If Obama had ever done anything else to promote fiscal sanity this might be worthy of discussion.

He wasn’t in office a month before he threw away $800 billion on god knows what (it certianly didn’t stimulate the economy).

This decision is laughable-just like every other policy of this callow administration.

Privatize it All

April 15th, 2010
1:13 pm

This is a good start. Let’s privatize all government! The resulting loss of unessesary jobs would actually save the country!


April 15th, 2010
1:14 pm

This isn’t logical.


April 15th, 2010
1:16 pm

End the Postal Service and reinstate space exploration. We need to get off of this planet to settle neighboring planets and potentially mine for resources. The Postal Service is about as needed as a horse and buggy.


April 15th, 2010
1:17 pm

Get the monies from the cuts in any and all affirmative action programs!!!


April 15th, 2010
1:19 pm

wyldbyllhyltnyr: You need to get a life. That was completely uncalled for and entirely inappropriate. You owe Ms. Tucker an apology then you need to crawl back under the rock whence you came.


April 15th, 2010
1:22 pm

The biggest employer of union workers is the Federal Gov’t.

Average salary of private business worker = $50,000

Average salary of Fed employee = $70,000

The Gov’t makes nothing, produces zero but the Fed Workers and their Health and Pension plans will spend 14 Trillion dollars of taxpayer money over the next 50 years (based on current growth)
I see one area where we can save a bunch of dough. Smaller gov’t means more money in your pocket.


April 15th, 2010
1:25 pm

To a very large degree, the space program and the military are linked. Here are a few of the inventions due in large part to the military (often under the necessity of winning wars):

1. Radar
2. The Internet
3. GPS
4. Ballistic missiles
5. Nuclear Energy
6. Jet Engine
7. Digital Photography
8. Night Vision

When we make leading edge investments the gains made during the journey – often to great commercial benefit – usual exceed the benefit of the original mandate.

We are much better off to invest in space exploration than spending another nickel propping up corrupt regimes around the world. Think forward.


April 15th, 2010
1:28 pm

Comrade Cynthia,

Did you know that with the abolishment of the American manned space program, we will charge America $55MM for EACH American astonaut hitching a ride on our rockets? It’s quite true-look it up.

You might have won the Cold War, but the irony is that we learned well the lessons of capitalism while you foolishly adopt socilaism and central planning.

It’s official: We win the space race!


April 15th, 2010
1:43 pm

In the “Truth is Stranger Than Fiction” category, I’d like to remind all that a federal judge recently restored our funding and we will be changing our name so as not to enrage the masses.

Clearly we contribute more to this great nation than NASA.

It’s all about priorities folks!!

If NASA would just change what their acronym stands for, I’m guessing the money would flow freely from the thieves in congress.


April 15th, 2010
1:44 pm

Tomd, the USPS stopped taking taxpayer funds years ago


April 15th, 2010
1:48 pm

Armando, I agree. Why are there Unions in the Federal government at all? Aren’t all workers totally protected by civil service regulations? Why should government employees join a union????


April 15th, 2010
1:55 pm

A great way to pay for NASA is to just “park” AirForce One every other day. If Obama would give a speech from ‘home’ once in a while he would save the nation an incredible amount of money!


April 15th, 2010
2:15 pm

Thanks Ms. Tucker and I acknowledge the point. The full $13b wouldn’t be saved immediately. But, given that the USPS must borrow from the Federal Reserve nearly $4b per year, has an anticipated 2011 debt level of $15b and projects $238b in losses over the next 10 years, I would submit that the taxpayer will be left holding the envelope so to speak. Plus, the pension / compensation liability of the heavily burdened Union contracts the USPS has will wreak financial havok for years that the taxpayer will no doubt have to fund.

NASA is not our problem, the monster eating the country right now is the growth of government and the related lack of parity in private sector vs public sector compensation. The worm has turned whereby government requires more and more from a dwindling private sector. There aren’t enough of “us” left to take care of “them”. But I digress…


April 15th, 2010
2:25 pm

Let’s see. The Foreign aid budget is looks to be about $36 billion. NASA wants $2.5 billion.

Ok, we can’t pay for everything. Let’s not pay for things the American people don’t want.

Ground Congress not NASA

April 15th, 2010
2:28 pm

During 2008 Congressional overseas travel budget was $13 billion. That’s a 50% jump since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006.

The trips were allegedly for: Lawmakers said that the trips are a good use of government funds because they allow members of Congress and their staff members to learn more about the world, inspect U.S. assets abroad and forge better working relationships with each other.

Let’s say we let congress “forge better working relationships with each other” here at home (maybe just quit with the name-calling) and let America and the rest of the world learn more about our universe.

Ground congress not NASA!

Are you kidding me?

April 15th, 2010
2:33 pm

Social Security & Medicare take up most of the federal budget; way more than defense spending and NASA. That’s the dirty little secret the libs, press, and enabling RINOs know but love to intentionally overlook. It’s simple math – to reign in spending, we have to go after the biggest problems first, and it’s not NASA.

john a werneken

April 15th, 2010
2:42 pm

1. tho 62 i’d means-test social security first then medicare and i’d put in a 4% VAT no exemptions whatsoever, and apply FICA to all wage-type income. Finally I’d limit deductions for home and home tax expenses. nothing can change unless the big three change: age and health entitlement’s; what’s taxed; who is exempt.


April 15th, 2010
2:42 pm


Just where does this president think that NEW technologies are advanced that in the end HELP the poor in all facets of their lives? NASA and its subsidiaries ARE the reason that so many technological advances have occurred; why so many DISCOVERIES have occurred; that has raised this nation UP to the technological heights in the history of mankind.

Yet, the man is slowly deconstructing THAT which made this nation great and is replacing it with huge debt, NO vision, mediocrity, and will leave the nation much WORSE off than when he arrived in office. Is THAT what HE was taught in law school? Is THAT why he and his family have a net worth of $5.5 Million as of 2008, that “he got his,” and to heck with the rest?

That is NOT what Americans voted to achieve.

His campaign, “Yes, WE CAN,” was just short-hand for saying,, “Yes we can… dismantle NASA, bail out Wall Street, cut deals with Pharma and Big Insurance, ad nauseam, and send YOU taxpayers the bill!”

THAT’s what this president’s campaign slogan actually meant. Just ask Neil Armstrong what HE thinks of this president.

It’s time for a “Change”at the White House all right. And, RIGHT NOW!!

John Washburn

April 15th, 2010
2:59 pm

Many of these leftist comments are riddled with eugenic hysteria. Scary. A simple answer to budget cuts is to cut everything. Yes, everything! Cut the federal budget by 40% this year and an additional 20% next year. If the gov’t spent money on something last year, then they get 40% less to do so this year. Make the bureaucrats pinch pennies for a change. Pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and tie federal salaries to compliance with the amendment (no balanced budget, no paycheck). Mandate federal expenditures NEVER exceed 10% of GDP. Require 2/3 majority in both houses and 2/3 approval from the states for any subsequent tax increase. This is way too simple for our politicians and the Marxist pigs who are determined to drive us into economic ruin.

Angry Taxpayer

April 15th, 2010
3:08 pm

How about cutting (or requiring a service for payment) the $500+ bil welfare system. As stated below, we get technological breakthroughs from the NASA spending. We get another generation of entitled from welfare.


April 15th, 2010
3:09 pm

It will take years for the effects of what this Administration and Congress are doing to be fully appreciated. The big picture is what Obamacare and the entitlement programs will do to our economy and national defense, and that is bankrupt this country, gut our military to pay for the entitlement programs, and in the process allow China to become the dominant power in the world. But in the smaller focus of this particular column, 2 of the great contributors in terms of the furthering of science, technology, and innovation in this country since the end of World War II have been the free-market healthcare systems (our university teaching hospital and research institutions and, especially, the pharmaceutical companies) as well as NASA. Obamacare, by it’s nature as a government bureacracy, will stifle and eventually eliminate the former, and cut funding to NASA to achieve that goal. We are replacing the free market economy that made America the greatest force on the planet for democracy and economic development to replace it with a European socialist system. I hope the Cynthia Tuckers of the world live long enough to suffer the consequences of what they wished for.


April 15th, 2010
3:20 pm

Considering the pittance that is NASA’s budget, you’d think we could sustain it. Manned spaceflight was one of those areas where the USA produced acheivements for all of mankind, but instead of continuing that, this author apparently thinks it’s okay to abandon our tradition of acheivement, and spend that money elsewhere, on programs designed not to move society forward, but to placate voters in the short term, and keep politicians in office.

A sad state of affairs, to be sure.

John Washburn

April 15th, 2010
3:22 pm

It’s interesting to me that people oppose cutting medicare/medicaid and social security because they “need” these programs. Same goes for dependence on other entitlements. The faulty assumption is that these programs will always be there to provide badly needed services. Wrong. Social Security is already bankrupt and is now borrowing from the general fund to pay benefits. Medicare is soon to follow. By 2020, ALL federal tax revenues will be consumed by debt maintanance. Not a penny available for anything else. Those who depend on social security and medicare are in for a rude awakening. Take action to wean yourself from these programs or you’ll be left out in the cold.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


April 15th, 2010
3:51 pm

oops my bad – uninformed NOT uniformed.


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?.


April 15th, 2010
4:06 pm



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.


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, [...]


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


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.


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.


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.


April 16th, 2010
12:05 am

Never look up. Always look down.


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?


April 16th, 2010
12:29 am

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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).


April 16th, 2010
8:34 am

Wellfare. We can cut funding to wellfare.


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…


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.


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?


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!!!