View Full Version : Discussion: Space Advocates Feel the Bush ...

2004-Jan-16, 07:55 PM
SUMMARY: Although they appreciated President Bush's new space initiative, many space advocacy groups were a little disappointed that this return to the Moon will probably be fashioned in the same mold as previous NASA projects, such as the space shuttle and the International Space Station. The groups, such as the Space Frontier Foundation, believe that NASA should be restructured to involve the private sector at all levels, to "let NASA do the exploring, but leave the operations to those who do such things best American industry".

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Jan-16, 09:13 PM
I think Bush read one of Kennedy's old dicarded speeches.

Been there, done that in the 60's


2004-Jan-17, 01:17 AM
Call me idealist if you like but the one thing I DON'T want is to see the corportaions domintaing everything in space the way they dominate on Earth. The group who made the argument in this article sound like they all did economics 101 in the 1980s. Sure the corporations will be needed in space and sure they will go whether or not the rest of us go. But le's have civillian government organisations from all over the world involved and lets see some regulating of what corporations are and are not allowed to do. We could do with more of this on Earth too.

2004-Jan-17, 01:18 AM
I agree Prime. I actually went and had a look at some of the kennedy space innitiative speeches and saw some very common points with this new Bush sppech. Same structure, different words, same meaning. When i say same structure I mean even as far as the rhythm ans structure to sentences. I guess if it worked once before it could work again. ...?!!?

2004-Jan-18, 03:28 AM
No indeed we are not in a race with other nations, but in a race with ourselves. *A race to not look inward in fear of the cost of looking outward and to not be too afraid of events in our world to attempt what the greatest societies are mandated to do. *

At the same time we must be very diligent in reducing the cost for these endeavors. These missions must, in the near future, be planned around the single most critical motivating factor. *That is profit. *Curiosity is only a quick and fleeting gesture of a species who is very busy at survival. *I believe without a doubt, however, that the Moon can yield a very high margin of profit, but we must keep trying to develop and test the technologies to carry us to the opportunity cost.

That is the core of the Space Frontier Society's philosophy and I agree with it %100

* [FONT=Arial]

2004-Jan-18, 07:38 PM
The article said:

"The groups, such as the Space Frontier Foundation, believe that NASA should be restructured to involve the private sector at all levels, to "let NASA do the exploring, but leave the operations to those who do such things best – American industry".

The basic problem with this concept is that the industries who are supposed to do this, won't do it out of their own pockets, but out of the pockets of the taxpayers. The industries that the Space Frontier Foundation wants to have do it is private industry start-ups which haven't even gotten off the ground yet, let along manages and flown anything as complex as this will be.

In my more cynical moments, I look at Bush's previous stand on space (he didn't have one) and the fact that he said in his speech (about 20 minutes in the speech, if you want to go listen to it online) that they would review NASA's progress "in the next 5 years" and reassess the project. Sounds like me that they're shutting down the space program by letting them down easy, since with a time print 20 some years long, you're just still assessing the problems in the first 5 years. (As I said, in my more cynical moments.....;-) )

Don't see how the unmanned part of NASA can continue -- if $11 Bil of the $18.8 Bil NASA current yearly budget is to be diverted to this, the remainder won't fund the work currently being done by the 8 NASA centers, in unmanned flight. Let alone fund the 6 centers not doing manned stuff now. Close JPL?!?!? God Forbid!


2004-Jan-18, 08:03 PM
NASA's current fund is 86 miljard $
actually enough for mission to mars(a la russia plan) :blink:

2004-Jan-18, 10:32 PM
Space Cadette:

You are not that far off the mark in assuming that the kind of activities, such as going to the Moon and so forth require tax payer dollars. What I am saying however, is that the U.S. Government has got to be creative in spurring private industry to reach opportunity cost so that these space endeavors can turn a profit. Currently Rick Tumlinson is making the case that the U.S. Government is not doing enough to taylor the U.S. economy to allow private individuals and companies to cut through the red tape of getting into space.

Sure there is a lot of cost involved, but we shouldn't necessarily think that it is up to private companies to provide this highway to space themselves. Do we expect DHL to pave their own roads to ship their products?!! Rick and people like myself are saying that the U.S. Government needs to bring down the barriers that stand in the way of private capital reaching space.

We argue that the U.S. government should provide a transportation system to the Moon, first for NASA to set up an outpost to locate resources and set up utilities. Then acedemia and insdustry should attach their labs to NASA's. Let Government pay for the transportation to get their, at least initially to some extent, and let Government pay for the central hub of the base on the moon and let acedemia and industry pay for their own modules that are connected to the central base on the moon.

Please listen to Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier society:
Just go down to the Spaceshow Radio program of December 17, 2003 (Kitty Hawk day) and listen to what Rick Tumlinson has to say.

2004-Jan-19, 03:01 AM
I've got the 2004 USA Federal Budget in memory - I'll see if it will copy here. If it doesn't ... sorry. Well - it looks a bit of a mess, but you can see that NASA's allocation is $15.5 billion for 2004. I don't know where tycho1981 got his 86 miljard $ from.

estorm: If you want that $5.5 billion NASA budget increased - who would you cut?

Discretionary Budget by Agency
Agriculture 19.5
Commerce 5.4
Defense 379.9
Education 53.1
Energy 23.4
Health and Human Services 66.2
Homeland Security 26.7
Housing and Urban Development 31.3
Interior 10.6
State and International Assistance Programs 27.4
Justice 17.7
Labor 11.5
Transportation 13.7
Treasury 11.4
Veterans Affairs 28.1
Corps of Engineers 4
Environmental Protection Agency 7.6
National Aeronautics and Space Administration 15.5
National Science Foundation 5.5
Small Business Administration 0.8
Social Security Administration 7.3
Other Agencies 16.1
Allowances1 -0.5
* *
***Total, excluding emergency response funding $782.2
* *
Emergency response funding *
* *
***Total, including emergency response funding $782.2
* $50 million or less



2004-Jan-19, 03:34 AM
The article said, "The groups, such as the Space Frontier Foundation, believe that NASA should be restructured to involve the private sector at all levels, to "let NASA do the exploring, but leave the operations to those who do such things best – American industry".
If President Bush has any say about the matter it will be completely open to the private sector. I have learned if there is one thing the United States President absolutly is would be business friendly above all else. Anything he can do to help increase the profit margin of businesses he will do, or allow.

2004-Jan-19, 04:06 AM

I would definately target Defense, but I haven't come to a final decision on which programs in Defense I would cut. The United States has already wasted a huge amount of money on Iraq.

I would definately target Bush's new "small nuclear warhead" program, which was designed as a pre-emptive strike capability. That program only wins the U.S. enemies and makes a significant number of U.S. allies unsure of our intentions on the world, not to mention, lowering the nuclear threashold.

I am not sure of the state of development of ballistic missile defense for use in space, but if it exists I would give it a quick "chop chop". The ground-based ballistic missile defense and airborne ballistic missile defense is quite enough and I don't see why the U.S. has to go out of its way to thrust weapons into space when no one else has even indicated they will do such. That is not to say that there aren't many things the U.S. should do to secure the safety of its military satellites.

"God" I would like to see the U.S. get out of Iraq and turn responsibility over to the U.N., but I have a bad feeling it is too late for that now. We have made quite a mess of the country already and we owe the Iraqi people quite a bit of reconstruction money. I would try to cut costs where I could in Iraq and rely more on the International Community to organize elections and keep the peace in Iraq, as well as head off reconstruction efforts.

I think that would definately pay for the $5 billion and then some.

Within a few years I would try to get the U.S. defense budget back down to $200 billion, or perhaps $250 billion and use those funds to shrink the deficit.

As far as Bush's support for private industry is concerned, I don't have a problem with it until people get hurt. Obviously Bush has gone too far with the environment. That was no surprise. But I strongly suggest that Universe Today readers check out Rick Tumlinson's
Space Radio address and you will begin to understand where regulations are choking private industry in its efforts to get into space.

Did you check out Rick Tumlinson's speach on Spaceradio? You need Windows media player.

It would be nice if Fraser could send our questions to Rick Tumlinson like he did with Robert Zubrin.

2004-Jan-19, 04:24 AM
I am so happy that there are organizations like the Space Frontier Society. They realize that the true motivator that compels humans to explore is wealth. This may be offensive or sad to some, but I just see it as a fact of life. I am driven to learn about the universe because of my curiosity, but unfortunately most people would rather watch Friends than Mars.

Like I said before, the U.S. government, if it is wise, will invest in technologies that will lower the cost to get into space, lower regulations and other costs for private industry to get into space and provide a central facility to aide industry in establishing itself on the Moon. For those who do not want to see industry in space, or want it to be regulated all I can say is that I understand their view, but humans will never become a successful spacefaring species if it severly regulates their own activities in space.

Eventually it should be our goal to allow any individual to launch herself, or himself into space and capitalize on it if they can. And someday to do the same with other solar systems if we can reach them, but to always understand the fine line between benefitting from capitalism for the good of ourselves and the wrongful step of benefitting from capitalism at the expense of other "intelligent" life forms. Please, lets not get into that however. I am just trying to say that there is no life on the Moon and there are many resources that can be of great benefit to us. H3 could be a revolution to how we generate energy on earth and possible water ice or lunar soil could make it easier for humans to go farther into space. Why not allow private companies to capitalize on these resources so that the tax payer doesn't have to?

2004-Jan-19, 04:47 AM
Couldn't agree more estorm. The quest for wealth is very motivational to most people.

I'm afraid though that, at the moment, I can't see anything to exploit in space except, perhaps, tourism.

I have heard "mining" mentioned. Mining for what? Whatever it is (helium-3?) it must sure be in short supply here on earth and it would cost the earth to mine it on another planet.

Any details?

2004-Jan-19, 05:21 AM

I think this sums up Helium 3. I am no physicist. Sometimes I wish I was. But I do understand that current efforts to create fusion reactions rely on deuterium and yttrium and we don't want those in our water supply. Those are nasty. Helium 3, it is believed could negate the use of those nasties. This doesn't get humanity any farther than hard research does on successfully sustaing a fusion reaction for extended periods of time with net energy accumulation. Read this for more info.

http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/heli...um3_000630.html (http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/helium3_000630.html)

2004-Jan-19, 05:29 AM
"Although helium 3 would be very exciting," says Bryan Palaszewski, leader of advanced fuels at NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, "first we have to go back to the moon and be capable of doing significant operations there." [QUOTE]

Tourism is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to benefits from space. Efforts to create a scramjet that could take off like an airplane, achieve escape velocity and then land like an airplane could revolutionize our own aerospace industry and make space tourism very affordable. But the quantity of metals in the solar system could also prove vital to industry in space, or perhaps even for inustry on the ground if a tether system is ever developed.

I have frequently been alerted to the idea of collecting sunlight on the moon and reflecting it to earth. I don't know if that can really work or not, or what affect that would have on the atmosphere of earth, but it should be studied and tested. That is why it is so important for Bush's space exploration plan to take affect. There are many many ideas people have for the moon and they need to be tested to see which ideas can be made to work in the short term and which ideas will take longer to implament, or which ideas are totally unrealistic.

2004-Jan-19, 10:24 AM
Thanks for that link.

Struth - Helium 3, worth "$4 billion a ton in terms of its energy equivalent in oil", would be a worthwhile product to mine on the moon if the process was cost-effective.

Mind-boggling ...
a fusion system the size of a basketball and "the technology (that) could generate short-lived PET (positron emission tomography) isotopes on site at hospitals, enabling safe brain scans of young children and even pregnant women. Portable IEC devices could bridge the gap between today's science-based research and the ultimate goal of generating electricity."

Where do you get shares in the company Estorm?

2004-Jan-19, 10:36 AM
If it were cost effective and in plentiful enough supply then it would likely make the moonbase very feasible and potentially self sustaining. I wonder if those in power have based their decisions on this information?

2004-Jan-19, 11:23 AM
can heluim3 be used for fusion bomb too? i know it's more then 15 times stronger then urinanium.

2004-Jan-19, 08:52 PM



http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templates/...epage.php?pid=2 (http://www.spacedev.com/newsite/templates/homepage.php?pid=2) (Publicly traded)



I guess a h3 fusion bomb would be a clean fusion bomb with little radio active biproducts. I don't see the use of it, since fusion bombs are meant to cause as much damage as possible.

If any of you are interested in commercial capital on the Moon or just interested in permanent manned bases on the Moon then join the Space Frontier Foundation:


Space Frontier will keep you up to date on all private ventures to the Moon as well as public ventures. I am joining right now!

2004-Jan-19, 09:31 PM
Nobody has successfully created a sustainable fusion reaction that returns more energy that's put into it, so there's no demand for Helium 3. Until fusion becomes realistic - and it's been 30 years away for like 50 years - there's no need for Helium 3.

There are only a few researchers on Earth who need Helium 3 right now.

In my opinion, the only purpose for going to the Moon is that it's not the Earth, and will help teach us how to live in space. That's enormously important, and people underemphasize how critical this education will be on our path to colonize the solar system.

2004-Jan-19, 11:30 PM

You are correct about H3, but it might be useful for fusion research. I know the United States has joined Iter thermal nuclear fusion project and may be able to lend a hand in fusion research by providing H3 for Iter or other fusion projects. Iter is touted to be the biggest scientific research project since the Manhatten Project save for the International Space Station. So with any luck we will have fusion energy in 30 to 50 years.

Sandia National Labs has also come up with some promissing research in fusion that is at the break-even point. http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-rel.../Zneutrons.html (http://www.sandia.gov/news-center/news-releases/2003/nuclear-power/Zneutrons.html)
Its not entirely easy for the lay person such as myself to comprehend, but it sounds good!

But Fraser, you must agree that the most promissing resource on the Moon would be oxygen for use as propulsion fuel and if there is no water on the moon, then scientists could still use the lunar soil itself to convert into rocket fuel.

It seems sensible to me that private companies could be allowed to refine these fuels for NASA or other nations as a fuel to send missions more affordibly into deep space. But for this to become a reality the US Government will have to provide a transportation system to the moon as well as provide a central hub from which to build acedemic and industrial modules from, otherwise the cost for a private company to set up operations would be prohibitively expensive. Some day I am sure private companies could do this on their own, but not in the beginning.

2004-Jan-19, 11:38 PM
What Rick Tumlinson of Space Frontier Foundation is advocating is that the U.S. Government should pay private companies to build a base on the Moon and to allow these companies to lease out those facilities to agencies like NASA. Another idea is to let private companies design the exploration vehicle, which would be funded by the Department of Transportation and to allow agencies like NASA to lease them out as well. In this case I could see it as a good way to place these kinds of assets into the hands of private industry and as a result, transpose the interests of private industry off the planet and onto the moon.

2004-Jan-19, 11:47 PM
I bet the president will refuse to accept such request...

2004-Jan-19, 11:50 PM
Well it looks like he has already overlooked such a proposal, but I would assume that his conservative ideology would naturally agree with such an idea. Perhaps he just needs more letters!

2004-Jan-20, 12:55 AM
I don't think that harvesting water and oxygen from the Moon is really a viable strategy either. Can you imagine the scale of production that would be required to try and get the dribs and drabs of water off the surface? We would need to come up with technological innovation after innovation and deploy them in one of the most hostile environments we can imagine.

Exploration and science are perfectly rational reasons to set up a permanent colony on the Moon. Imagine the scientific benefit we could get from a large telescope built into a crater. What if NASA build a permanent scientific station on the Moon that people could sent their space telescopes to? SMART-1 is showing us that you can get spacecraft inexpensively to the Moon. Maybe they could use a tether system to transfer scientific payloads to the Moon, and return rock samples to balance out the system.

I think we should search for commercial rationales for heading into space, but I don't think we want to pick things which are overly complex or dependent on unknowns. That way the rug doesn't get pulled out from under our feet if there's a flaw in the plan.

2004-Jan-20, 02:03 AM

Well I think that we need to find out just what the concentration of water is in the craters on the lunar poles. We are not even sure water exists there yet. After we know these things we would know the viability for their use in industry.

A tether system sounds interesting, but for some reason NASA seems rather blind to the whole tether idea. What do you think Fraser? I am aware that Cheney considered the tether idea when planning Bush's new space exploration innitiative, but obviously it didn't spark any action.

What do you think of placing space transportation and base assets into industries laps'? Rick Tumlinson's idea seems credible on the surface and it may be the most promissing method to put industry on the moon, by actually employing industry to produce these assets, then giving them the assets for lease to the federal government.

2004-Jan-20, 02:20 AM
For any of you who have not heard Rick Tumlinson's interview on The Space Show.com here is the web address. Just scroll down to the radio address on Dec. 17 on Kitty hawk day. The title gives Rick Tumlinson's name. You need windos media player.


2004-Jan-20, 02:32 AM
I think it is a neccesity to put industry into space or we will destroy the earth, So long as Economists dictate decision making based on fianancial rather than humen needs we are in medium to long term peril.
You need a license to drive a car, qualifications to clean, OH and S qualifications for any job, but all you need is a birthright to cut down trees that take a human lifetime to filter the carbon out of the atmoshere to allow us to breath. But roads take prioriety over not having to breath lead when we walk to, well just about anywhere!
When we can close our system and share it with industry, then I think the biological neccesity to go to space will end. At the moment economics dictates that a car industry, thus an Oil industry and a road industry has the protected interests of the state over the biological needs of humans to breath clean air, drink clean water, and eat food that is not polluted by pesticides and industrial by products.
I am not aware of any other environmental activists that share a necesity to move industry to space. I have heard of movements like 'Industry Inland', that to me is 'lets dump waste into creeks then it will be diluted when it reaches the sea.'
Yes moving to space will be expensive, but so will not going. Most enviromental advocates espouse a return to the primative, and KISS solutions, simple living, and this puts them at odds with the scientificall advvaced society that we have become. Moral feeling is that science has brought us technological advancement, but not happyness, 'Happyness' postmodernity is what you feel when you buy somthing, well I said it last US election and I'll say it again, if the USA is the most powerful political power in the world and the majoriaty of US citizens DON'T VOTE !!! Let ME, let the rest of the world, we have opions about America and American decisions affect us ! The Alternative is to democratise the UN let the world vote in a UN government. The the real issues of the move to space can be addressed. Let's fix up our problems here before we go to space. That is the majoriety veiw I think, the global 'us' before the global 'I'.

2004-Jan-20, 03:11 AM

You described the need for an organization to promote the use of space to preserve the environment of earth. Well the Space Frontier Society has that very policy in their mission statement. That is a long range goal.

I am not supporting that the human race run away from its problems by taking them (industry) to space, but I think it is a wrong assumption to think that the human race should rid itself of problems before moving into space. The human race will never rid itself of problems, especially with the size and scope of our species. And space has already greatly facilitated peace here on earth with satellite technology and by helping humans to realize that we all share this planet together. I argue that going into space is a critical facet to reducing the worlds problems. Just imagine how much space technology has boosted the production of food around the world with better weather forcasting?

2004-Feb-18, 10:38 PM
I think there must be made a quite clear distinction between exploration and exploitation. Hazardly it looks as if both are going to operate on their own half of the Moon.
The side towards the Earth which is sold to the public (by Lunar embassy and other Moon shops) can serve for commercial exploitation, completely depending on what the Moon land owners want to make from it, but conform with the galactic law. The Lunar Embassy itself promised to create jobs. Who will organise space travel? Beneath NASA private space agencies are searching for popular space travelling a.o. the Planetary 0rg. and also space tourism agencies.
I think NASA's function will always remain in the first place the scientific one.
As the Lunar embassy left the back side of the Moon free I suppose if there comes a NASA base it will be build at the back side of the Moon? Can anybody please give me an answer????????????? It is my question since the day the discussion about the return to the Moon started.
Last but not least: why not an international Moon base? I admit the European Mars mission resembles the Russian and American situation in their begin period and the Chinese only put their first man in space now, from the other side the Americans are waiting over thirty years now.
:unsure: :unsure: :unsure: :unsure: :unsure: :unsure:
Bara Standa
Moonsite message board (http://moonsite.proboards19.com)

Peter Canuck
2004-Feb-19, 04:51 PM
While purists may say commercial industry has no business in the exploration business, they must also admit that it is where most the capital needed for massive projects and programs exists.
Estorm noted that wealth is a motivator for people/mankind to explore and seek out new frontiers.
It applied to the exploration and yes exploitation of North America in the the 17 and 1800's and likely can apply to the exploration of what is beyond this little orb going round its sun.

Should commerical industry be allowed to set the adgenda. NO. That should be left to the people (political will if you must say) to point the direction. If private and commerical industry elects to get involved, putting in resources, time, and capital, then they have a right a say as well as expecting something (profit) in return.

That said, a return to the moon may not carry much profit now, but decades down the road, who knows what our society and the industry will gain from this. If XYZ Inc wants to put a billion dollars on the line over the next decade, they are welcome to join and offer their input on the direction the programs head. Try to deny them the right to that input and they dollars will be used to do something else.

2004-Feb-21, 12:08 PM
B) Big business in space is already happening. Actually all of the shuttle missions are prepped and supported by a consortium of aerospace companies. Two of these are Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

The real ingenuity and development genius comes out of private industry. I do not think we want to lose that, but we (the taxpayers) need to elect government leaders who do a better job of both utilizing and controlling this resource. An example of a bad situation is Halliburton over in Iraq that has been overcharging us to feed our troops and to supply fuel for our equipment. They would not be my candidate company for any involvement in space exploration.

:ph34r: Hey just remember some of the early scenes in Star Wars I where Hans Solo is taking on space pirates. That's right, fiction can be the truth.

:D setiman