PDA

View Full Version : Does Anyone Here Think NASA Gets Enough Money?



stu
2009-Aug-15, 10:50 AM
I'm actually serious about this question: Does anyone here think that NASA gets enough budgeted money (~0.55% of the federal budget - $17.2 billion for FY2009, pretty much THE smallest of any federal agency) to carry out everything they're supposed to? This includes the ISS, going back to the moon with humans by 2020, all the space telescopes it operates, all the ground-based telescopes it operates, robotic exploration (e.g., Mars Phoenix, MER, Cassini, New Horizons, etc.), federally mandated asteroid surveys, monitoring global climate change, all the Earth-based research/monitoring, and all the science grants it awards (that fund researchers like yours truly ;) )?

Do you think NASA's budget should be larger? Do you think NASA should have a narrower focus in terms of what the agency is actually supposed to accomplish? Note that those two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and if you answer "yes" to the latter, what do you think should happen to what gets cut?

Edited to Add: According to Wikipedia, NASA costs the average taxpayer $57.10/yr, or 15˘/day.

slang
2009-Aug-15, 10:58 AM
I don't. But then again, it's not coming from my taxes. I wouldn't mind a yearly EUR 50,- tax increase, provided it's guaranteed to be spent on space. Just how it's to be spent is of course a completely different discussion, and not one I enjoy. I say, do it all. :)

Glom
2009-Aug-15, 11:01 AM
This is really a question for the Space Exploration forum.

NASA budget is clearly not big enough to do the job it has been tasked with. As discussed in the other thread, we are facing the complete loss of American manned spaceflight this decade due to lack of ability to successfully do anything worthwhile. Gemini on steroids is not worth the money.

Whether NASA's mission should be redefined is another issue and I'm torn like Natalie Imbruglia.

The Backroad Astronomer
2009-Aug-15, 11:26 AM
No I don't but I am kind of biased and so would most members here.

tofu
2009-Aug-15, 11:48 AM
But then again, it's not coming from my taxes.

I doubt that any of the Americans here are paying for NASA either. After all, the top 10% of income earners in the US pay more than 60% of the taxes* so for the majority of us, NASA costs us $0/year. Which makes it all the more odd that people criticize NASA as wasteful.

A big part of the problem, I think, is that the press reports dollars when it should show graphs. If you tell someone, "NASA gets $X billion" they will naturally think, "wow, that's a lot" and it is a lot, but not it's not a big piece of the pie. The press should always show a chart, like this one:

http://www.majhost.com/gallery/tofu/babb/budget.gif

*yet they earn 40% of the income.

Glom
2009-Aug-15, 01:06 PM
$615 billion on debt!? Suddenly, our predicament doesn't seem so bad. :whistle:

But enough of that before the mods beat us senseless with carrots (or worse things involving carrots).

Delvo
2009-Aug-15, 01:08 PM
Well, it's more than 0 per person, but that's a side-issue anyway. The question is about money given for tasks assigned. And if you ignore the ridiculous moon mission which will surely be cancelled anyway, then maybe it is enough. Can anybody here list some things NASA has had to give up on or cut corners on due to insufficient funds?... and I don't mean big ambitious projects that aren't on the table at the moment anyway, but just matters of how they go about the usual business of probes and telescopes and satellites and asteroid-checking, which are all I can foresee actually being asked of them for a while.

tofu
2009-Aug-15, 02:59 PM
$615 billion on debt!? Suddenly, our predicament doesn't seem so bad. :whistle:

Yeah, it's bad, but this is another one of those times (like my previous post) where the dollar amount by itself is misleading. Everybody has debt, but how do you know if you're in trouble? A $100,000 loan to buy a car would be bad for me, but maybe not for a lawyer because the lawyer has more income than me. See what I mean?

With that in mind, if you compare debt to income (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_public_debt) the US is about even with France, Germany, and Canada. So, not completely over the edge. Back on the topic of the thread, I for one would support spending a lot more on a space program even if it put us deeper in debt. I'd love to see some kind of plan to exploit space for the benefit of Earth. Maybe solar power stations - I don't know, but wouldn't it be great to read about how we're closing the last coal-fired power plant on Earth, and getting all our electricity from space.

stu
2009-Aug-15, 06:14 PM
NASA has cut many things in the past due to budget constraints. Primarily, large missions/probes have been cut before or continuously put off. One thing that comes to mind is the Terrestrial Planet Finder.

But besides that, research has suffered. In the last round of the general NASA grant funding cycle (ROSES 2008), at least for the program in particular that I was writing a grant for (MDAP - Mars Data Analysis Program), there was no one in my building who got a funded proposal. In fact, only one person out of everyone that everyone in my building that I talked to talked to, got funded. This from a program that nominally funds ~20-30% of proposals.

KaiYeves
2009-Aug-15, 06:34 PM
No, I think they deserve more money!

I do, however, think that all the amazing things they are able to do with the money they do get are impressive in a McGyver sort of way.

tofu
2009-Aug-15, 08:26 PM
The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Icy_Moons_Orbiter) is another example of a project that was killed. It would have gone into orbit around Europa and given us some amazing, close up photos - who knows, maybe there are giant whale bones sticking up through the ice.

Glom
2009-Aug-15, 08:35 PM
The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Icy_Moons_Orbiter) is another example of a project that was killed. It would have gone into orbit around Europa and given us some amazing, close up photos - who knows, maybe there are giant whale bones sticking up through the ice.

And it was going to be nuclear too.

It's such a shame that Prometheus went nowhere. We need more nuclear power everywhere so people become accustomed to it and stop thinking of it as some strange, malevolent force used by Skynet.

Larry Jacks
2009-Aug-15, 08:42 PM
To be perfectly honest, given NASA's dismal project management track record for the past 40 years, I'm not in favor of giving them any more money. When the prove they can manage the money they get effectively, I'll be willing to consider giving them a raise.

And yes, I do pay a considerable amount of money in taxes each year.

eric_marsh
2009-Aug-15, 09:17 PM
$615 billion on debt!? Suddenly, our predicament doesn't seem so bad. :whistle:

Yea, that was my reaction!

eric_marsh
2009-Aug-15, 09:26 PM
Interestingly enough, I just read that NASA is planning to retire the space station in 2010. Has it even been completed yet? If so, for how long? If after spending all that money to put it up there they plan to retire it this soon then I'd say that yes, they do have too much money because they are doing a poor job of managing what they have.

[Rant Off]

Having said that I will say that I'd be just as happy to spend less money on human space flight anyway and more on space telescopes and robots. Better bang for the buck, you know.

kleindoofy
2009-Aug-16, 12:33 AM
Every interest group is going to say that their area is under-funded, not matter how much they get.

Although I had difficulty in finding a few quick figures, from what I did find it appears that public funding for cancer research in ther U.S. doesn't amount to even 15% of what the NASA is getting. A good portion of cancer research is privately funded, including countless charitable organizations and funding drives. But even the complete private+public sum still seems to be much less than the NASA budget. Please correct me if I'm in error.

Going back to the Moon would be cool, curing cancer would be very cool.

But, of course, in research money is not equal to success. But still ...

So, why doesn't the NASA raise some extra money by themselves? "We'll send your dollar to the Moon!"

Put Neil Armstrong on Oprah. Do tons of PR, like they did in the 60's. Bake sales, car washes, the lot. ;)

I'm sure they could mobilize many, many supporters and raise a little extra scratch. At least it would make their true support base visible.

Van Rijn
2009-Aug-16, 01:22 AM
To be perfectly honest, given NASA's dismal project management track record for the past 40 years, I'm not in favor of giving them any more money. When the prove they can manage the money they get effectively, I'll be willing to consider giving them a raise.


Yes, same here. NASA has done some amazing things, but as I see it, the big issue right now should be getting the cost to LEO down. I don't think NASA should be building (or tightly directing the building) of launch vehicles. They should be looking to work with companies to build a low-cost to orbit space infrastructure, and looking for more ways to get commercial interest in space, beyond communication/utility satellites. Get the cost of space down, and many things become possible.

Ares, in my view, is ridiculously expensive and not moving us towards real space access. At great expense, it might get a few people beyond Earth orbit, but so what?

They are working with SpaceX and others to an extent, but I have to wonder where we would be now if cost to orbit had been NASA's focus.

Van Rijn
2009-Aug-16, 01:37 AM
Having said that I will say that I'd be just as happy to spend less money on human space flight anyway and more on space telescopes and robots. Better bang for the buck, you know.

Get the cost of space access down, and you can have more space telescopes and robots. You can have a lot more people in space that way too.

DrRocket
2009-Aug-16, 01:57 AM
Get the cost of space access down, and you can have more space telescopes and robots. You can have a lot more people in space that way too.

Getting the cost of space access down is easy. All you have to do is cut back on government regulation and reduce Newton's universal gravitational constant.

The cost of a launch is driven by three things. 1) Government regulations 2) the extremely high reliability required of hardware due to the extreme value of the payloads and 3) the technical difficulty in providing the high performance propulsion needed to overcome gravity.

Government procurements create costs in terms of paperwork and reporting requirements that are significant multiples of the cost of basic engineering and manufacturing work. Reduce that burden on the designers and manufacturers of hardware and you will reduce costs significantly.

There is nothing that can or should be done to reduce the values of the payloads.

Reduction in G would really help, but is difficult to implement.

If you really want to see space operations increase, then come up with a commercially viable reason for going to space. Right now the only commercial incentives are telecommunications and surveillance satellites.
They have developed sufficiently long lifetimes that the space launch business is not economically attractive.

aastrotech
2009-Aug-16, 02:50 AM
I agree that NASA is mismanaged. I agree that lower cost to LEO should be the priority for a well managed space program. That's what the shuttle was supposed to be. It failed. NASA seems to be resting on its greatest failure as if it was a laurel.

NASA claimes to be studying electric catapault. I don't see any statements from NASA WRT currently available commercial electric catapaults. I see it spending millions developing its own backyard high school science project quality electric catapault.

Tragic.

I say cancel NASA as a management organisation and start looking for a totaly new administrative management scheme.

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-16, 03:18 AM
Get the cost of space access down, and you can have more space telescopes and robots. You can have a lot more people in space that way too.

Chicken and egg problem, though. Few people see the need for cheap access to space, so they're unwilling to invest the money to make it happen, forgetting, of course, that you won't see it happen until you put the money into it. They seem to think that if we just abandon space flight for the present, that at some point in the future, it will "magically" get cheaper, forgetting that if nobody's spending money on the hardware elements, its not going to get cheaper.

NASA's got a number of problems, both internally and externally. The internal ones come from cultural issues, the external ones come from having their budget tampered with constantly and people not being able to connect the big rockets NASA fires off, with things in their daily lives. NASA's often told by Congress that they must accomplish X, with Y amount of dollars. If NASA looks at what they're being told to do, and what they're being given to do it with, and realize that there's simply no way they can accomplish the task, what're they supposed to do? If they say, "Sorry, we can't do it for that amount of money." they run the risk of getting their whole program canceled. If they say, "We'll get right on it!" and then some time later come back and say, "Due to unforeseen circumstances, or because Ted in accounting dropped a decimal, we're not going to be able to do it with budgeted amount of money. Could we please have some more?" lots of yelling and screaming will commence, but they'll probably get the money. (Nor is NASA unique in this regard, plenty of other branches of the government, as well as divisions of private corporations dealing with internal matters, do the same thing.)

One can argue all they want about what should NASA do, but the simple facts of the matter are, if they don't get more money, they're not going to be able to do much of anything. You want them to get out of the business of putting stuff into orbit and let private companies handle that? Fine, I can see the merits of that, but there's three issues which have to be dealt with. The first is paying for the private contractors R&D work to make sure that the kind of rocket NASA needs to do this will get built. Maybe they can do it for less than NASA, maybe they can't, that money's got to be paid, however. The second is dealing with killing NASA's current programs. This is going to take money, depending upon how the contracts are written, it could be a lot of money. Even if you can say, "That's it, we're killing the program, we don't have to pay you another dime for the stuff." you've still got to pay for the disposal costs of the hardware that's on NASA property. Third is keeping the ISS going until NASA's replacement hardware is ready. The Russians are already complaining about these costs and how they're not being compensated for them, unless the private sector can have something ready tomorrow (quite literally), then you're going to have to be ready to give the Russians some money to keep them happy while NASA switches over. Its possible that this will come in for a lower price tag than NASA's current budget, but I would not be betting on it.

timb
2009-Aug-16, 03:35 AM
Getting the cost of space access down is easy. All you have to do is cut back on government regulation and reduce Newton's universal gravitational constant.

The cost of a launch is driven by three things. 1) Government regulations 2) the extremely high reliability required of hardware due to the extreme value of the payloads and 3) the technical difficulty in providing the high performance propulsion needed to overcome gravity.

There is nothing that can or should be done to reduce the values of the payloads.


Human payloads are the most costly to launch and politically expensive when things go awry , so reducing them would reduce the average cost.



If you really want to see space operations increase, then come up with a commercially viable reason for going to space. Right now the only commercial incentives are telecommunications and surveillance satellites.
They have developed sufficiently long lifetimes that the space launch business is not economically attractive.

If they took the NASA budget and used it to pay for the launch of science payloads instead, the space launch business would look more economically attractive.

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-16, 03:43 AM
Human payloads are the most costly to launch and politically expensive when things go awry , so reducing them would reduce the average cost.It'd also reduce the interest in space as a whole.



If they took the NASA budget and used it to pay for the launch of science payloads instead, the space launch business would look more economically attractive.

For a time. Then people would say, "If we're not going to be sending humans to those places, why should we send machines? We don't gain anything from it, just some pretty pictures."

ToSeek
2009-Aug-16, 03:58 AM
Moved from OTB to Space Exploration.

Van Rijn
2009-Aug-16, 04:39 AM
. The first is paying for the private contractors R&D work to make sure that the kind of rocket NASA needs to do this will get built. Maybe they can do it for less than NASA, maybe they can't, that money's got to be paid, however.


Part of the problem as I see it is NASA too tightly defining what is to be launched. If NASA specifies the same low launch volume/high unit/flight cost systems we have already, there's no point in bothering. What I'd like to see is a general approach of reducing the system and operation cost. I think there are some ways to do that, especially given the kind of money they're throwing around, if that's the clear goal.



The second is dealing with killing NASA's current programs.


They seem to be doing a pretty good job of that already. Anyway, I don't want to have another 40 years of the same muddling around that we've already had. I'm tired of it.

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-16, 04:48 AM
Part of the problem as I see it is NASA too tightly defining what is to be launched. If NASA specifies the same low launch volume/high unit cost systems we have already, there's no point in bothering. What I'd like to see is a general approach of reducing the system and operation cost. I think there are some ways to do that, especially given the kind of money they're throwing around, if that's the clear goal.
Problem is that's not been a direct part of NASA's mandate. Its been, "Oh, if you have any money left over, try and do this as well." If they don't have permission from Congress to directly research ways in lowering launch costs, they pretty much can't do it. (And even if they come up with something, they probably can't put it in place unless Congress okays the money for it.)



They seem to be doing a pretty good job of that already.What's going on now is a rather complicated issue, and from the moment Ares was announced, people I know who were connected with NASA said that the money they were being given was insufficient to do much of anything with.


Anyway, I don't want to have another 40 years of the same muddling around that we've already had. I'm tired of it.
If Lovelock's predictions about global warming are right, then you won't have to worry about it. You'll be too busy worrying about staying alive. (And that, my friend, is why we should work at getting people off this rock. While those of us trapped on this mud ball have to worry about having to cutback on everything in order to try and save ourselves, folks living on the Moon or Mars can spend their time expanding their use of resources.)

timb
2009-Aug-16, 04:53 AM
If Lovelock's predictions about global warming are right, then you won't have to worry about it. You'll be too busy worrying about staying alive. (And that, my friend, is why we should work at getting people off this rock. While those of us trapped on this mud ball have to worry about having to cutback on everything in order to try and save ourselves, folks living on the Moon or Mars can spend their time expanding their use of resources.)

If things are going to be bad on Earth then subsidising bases on the Moon or Mars makes even less sense.

Van Rijn
2009-Aug-16, 04:56 AM
Problem is that's not been a direct part of NASA's mandate. Its been, "Oh, if you have any money left over, try and do this as well." If they don't have permission from Congress to directly research ways in lowering launch costs, they pretty much can't do it. (And even if they come up with something, they probably can't put it in place unless Congress okays the money for it.)


Oh, I agree, a large part of the problem is that they have neither have been directed to do this, nor do they have a great interest in lobbying for it. I'm just not interested in seeing them get more money given what they are doing now. I don't see the point.


What's going on now is a rather complicated issue, and from the moment Ares was announced, people I know who were connected with NASA said that the money they were being given was insufficient to do much of anything with.

I'm quite sure it is hard for them to manage much, given their current mode of operation. That's the problem, and it didn't start with Ares.



If Lovelock's predictions about global warming are right, then you won't have to worry about it. You'll be too busy worrying about staying alive.

I'm not getting into a global warming debate. :)

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-16, 05:00 AM
If things are going to be bad on Earth then subsidising bases on the Moon or Mars makes even less sense.

Ideally, by that point, they'd be self-sufficient. If they're not, then it won't really matter to anyone.

Tuckerfan
2009-Aug-16, 05:08 AM
Oh, I agree, a large part of the problem is that they have neither have been directed to do this, nor do they have a great interest in lobbying for it. I'm just not interested in seeing them get more money given what they are doing now. I don't see the point.Its difficult for NASA to lobby for much of anything because of the way government rules are structured. They can put forth a proposal, but if the President has his own ideas, then they have to lobby for that and not what they think is a better solution.




I'm quite sure it is hard for them to manage much, given their current mode of operation. That's the problem, and it didn't start with Ares.No, it goes back to Nixon foisting the shuttle program on them, and making them promise more than they knew they could deliver.




I'm not getting into a global warming debate. :)Lovelock's at the extreme end, and estimates that the total population of the world will be reduced to 2 billion or so by 2100. I hope he's wrong, because I'm not optimistic that anything of modern human society could survive the loss of 4-5 billion people in so short a span of time. I gotta admit, however, it gets harder for me to think he's wrong every time there's a study published which says basically, "You remember the previous estimate of how bad things were going to get? Turns out we were wrong, and its going to be even worse than that."

djellison
2009-Aug-16, 08:11 AM
Does NASA get enough money? Define enough :D Enough to send people to Mars. Probably not. Enough to have a robust and scientifically fruitful manned and unmanned exploration program at the same time? Barely. Has it spent what it gets responsibly? No.

If ESA were funded as well as NASA, and if ESA and NASA could collaborate, with RSA and JAXA - then between us all...

..yes - we would have enough money.

NEOWatcher
2009-Aug-17, 03:00 PM
Although I had difficulty in finding a few quick figures, from what I did find it appears that public funding for cancer research in ther U.S. doesn't amount to even 15% of what the NASA is getting.
I can see your issue. There are a lot of "cancer" organizations out there awarding grants to researchers. I'm not sure there can be a single place that can figure out what the number is.


But even the complete private+public sum still seems to be much less than the NASA budget.
Yes; It would seem so, but there is a certain portion of the NASA budget that would have to be compared to cancer treatment if you needed to do apples to apples. I'm not sure how that would work out.


Going back to the Moon would be cool, curing cancer would be very cool.
Curing would be very cool and very beneficial. Breakthroughs in treatment are a good start.
Going to the moon, would be cool. Although the benefits are hard to measure.


So, why doesn't the NASA raise some extra money by themselves? "We'll send your dollar to the Moon!"
Unfortunately, NASA doesn't operate like a government funding organization.
If the research is purely independent, and NASA is a major contributor, then it would be up to the researcher to do the bake sales.
Sort of like a SpaceX(in the role of the research)/Musk(doing the baking)/Nasa(as the interested party) arrangement.

The problem with PR is that you need a direct emotional connection to the money you're spending. NASA projects are clouded with research and lots of hidden technology gains.
It's hard to put forth the picture of a starving astronaut to gain support.

I have been on the board (in various positions including president) of a charitable organization. We have no direct benefits because we are historical, educational, and cultural... That's very hard to sell because there is no direct "improvement in society" type of plea visible.

Larry Jacks
2009-Aug-18, 01:24 AM
Curing would be very cool and very beneficial. Breakthroughs in treatment are a good start.

The US declared the "War on Cancer" back in the Nixon Administration (around 1972). Funding for cancer research was significantly increased. Some progress has been made but a lot of it seems to be perpetual research for its own sake. It's a great gig if you're a cancer researcher but for the time and money spent, the progress hasn't been all that great. There is a false belief that greatly increasing spending can lead to a scientific or engineering miracle (see: Manhattan Project and Apollo). However, that model doesn't seem to apply to the biological sciences.

Antice
2009-Aug-18, 05:47 AM
funding of science follows a curve of diminishing returns. there is a varying limit on how many experiments that is worthwhile to run in paralell. even tho you throw more money at something you stil have to wait for results from earlier experiments before you can refine the working assumptions and design the next set of experiments. It's cyclical in nature, and duplication of efforts is easy to do in a funding rich environment if one is not cautious and critical of what experiments to pursue.

Hydrolyze
2009-Oct-15, 04:29 PM
Just wanted to say hello all. This is my first post.

I came to learn some good stuff here.

KaiYeves
2009-Oct-15, 04:53 PM
Well, we're glad to see you here, Hydrolyze!

publiusr
2009-Oct-15, 06:30 PM
NASA is woefully underfunded--to the points that advocates of different types of missions are set tooth and fang against one another. Thus we see the infighting of pro-space groups, and it has gotten ugly, as yo can see.

timb
2009-Oct-16, 01:34 AM
Ideally, by that point, they'd be self-sufficient. If they're not, then it won't really matter to anyone.

It'll matter to the people on Earth who've been impoverished to support the bases, or have you decided mere Earthlings don't matter?

Tuckerfan
2009-Oct-16, 05:07 PM
It'll matter to the people on Earth who've been impoverished to support the bases, or have you decided mere Earthlings don't matter?The amount of money necessary to get a self-sufficient colony going on another planet, be it the Moon or Mars, is a drop in the bucket compared to what its going to take to deal with the effects of global warming (either pro-actively, or relocating billions of people in the wake of rising sea levels), if the worst case scenarios are even half right. Then there's the issues which are lurking in the background that no one's paying attention to, like the increased resource demands a population of 7-9 billion (or more) people are going to make on the planet, that will crop up if we magically eliminate the dangers of global warming in a couple of years.

Staying on Earth is a zero sum game, we stay here, and the species dies. The date at which the species dies out is getting closer and closer. The only question is exactly when and what the cause is. We leave the planet, and at least some of us will survive, and there's a chance that by having people "out there," they will be able to do something to enable the rest of the folks living on Earth to be able to survive.

Romanus
2009-Oct-17, 04:26 PM
In my op, it doesn't have enough money to do what it should be doing. That's as specific as I'm going to get.

Edit: And "hi" to the newbie. :)

tusenfem
2009-Oct-18, 09:52 AM
Tuckerfan you seem to be on the side of the Doomsday crowd. I hope you didn’t put too much credence into Mr. Gores pseudo-science entertainment show. It has been shown to have glaring errors in the actual science involved.

http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/




The concept of “We are using up the Earths resources so we have to leave the planet!” is far fetched. The only thing we are running out of is oil. And that is a good thing for the future. Already we are seeing a movement towards self sustaining energy sources.

There is need to leave the planet either now or in the future.


Okay, Samkent, truckerfan, there is only one place to discuss Global Warming and that is in this thread (http://www.bautforum.com/science-technology/70431-general-agw-discussion-thread.html).

I have moved your messages to that thread.

loglo
2009-Oct-18, 11:34 AM
The answer is "No, you Americans need to work harder and pay higher taxes so I can have cool space missions to watch!" :)

Tuckerfan
2009-Oct-19, 02:20 AM
Okay, Samkent, truckerfan, there is only one place to discuss Global Warming and that is in this thread (http://www.bautforum.com/science-technology/70431-general-agw-discussion-thread.html).

I have moved your messages to that thread.


You know, if you're going to excise my comments from the thread I put them in and shift them over to a thread which has only a superficial connection to them, the least you can do is spell my name right!

newpapyrus
2009-Oct-19, 06:47 PM
I'm actually serious about this question: Does anyone here think that NASA gets enough budgeted money (~0.55% of the federal budget - $17.2 billion for FY2009, pretty much THE smallest of any federal agency) to carry out everything they're supposed to? This includes the ISS, going back to the moon with humans by 2020, all the space telescopes it operates, all the ground-based telescopes it operates, robotic exploration (e.g., Mars Phoenix, MER, Cassini, New Horizons, etc.), federally mandated asteroid surveys, monitoring global climate change, all the Earth-based research/monitoring, and all the science grants it awards (that fund researchers like yours truly ;) )?

Do you think NASA's budget should be larger? Do you think NASA should have a narrower focus in terms of what the agency is actually supposed to accomplish? Note that those two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and if you answer "yes" to the latter, what do you think should happen to what gets cut?

Edited to Add: According to Wikipedia, NASA costs the average taxpayer $57.10/yr, or 15˘/day.

The NASA budget should be at least $30 billion a year, IMO. I did a poll on this on the liberal Daily Kos site and you'd be surprised how much some folks there want to raise the annual NASA budget:

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/7/8/751441/-NASAs-Long-Term-Goals-for-Manned-Spaceflight-

Marcel F. Williams

timb
2009-Oct-19, 08:41 PM
The amount of money necessary to get a self-sufficient colony going on another planet, be it the Moon or Mars, is a drop in the bucket compared to what its going to take to deal with the effects of global warming (either pro-actively, or relocating billions of people in the wake of rising sea levels), if the worst case scenarios are even half right. Then there's the issues which are lurking in the background that no one's paying attention to, like the increased resource demands a population of 7-9 billion (or more) people are going to make on the planet, that will crop up if we magically eliminate the dangers of global warming in a couple of years.


In the worst IPCC scenario the Earth remains far more habitable than the Moon or Mars. What do you think the cost of getting a self-sufficient colony going on another planet would be? I don't know but I am sure it would be much greater than a trillion dollars. I think that amount of money could do a fair amount of good here. What is your source for the claim that billions of people would need to be relocated?



Staying on Earth is a zero sum game,

You obviously have no idea what that expression means. I'm sorry but I don't have time to read any more of your posts.

Tuckerfan
2009-Oct-19, 09:09 PM
In the worst IPCC scenario the Earth remains far more habitable than the Moon or Mars.Assuming that the IPCC folks have got their projections right. the trend has been for the projections to be revised in a less than favorable manner nearly every time the results of a new study are announced.
What do you think the cost of getting a self-sufficient colony going on another planet would be? I don't know but I am sure it would be much greater than a trillion dollars.Estimates of a non-self sustaining lunar colony are roughly $100 billion. (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2008/01/10-sci-fi-techs/) Let's say that this number is wrong and the actual cost is $200 billion. To make it self-sustaining could potentially cost $100 billion more. That's $300 billion, or roughly what the US has spent in Iraq for a couple of years. The estimates I've seen for just managing to deal with global warming (and not taking aggressive action to eliminate it) come in at $100 billion a year, for a decade or more.
I think that amount of money could do a fair amount of good here. What is your source for the claim that billions of people would need to be relocated?
What do you think rising sea levels are going to do? Former NASA scientist James Lovelock projects it'll wipe out some 4+ billion people by 2100. (http://65.69.77.33/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=20853) Frankly, I can't see how humanity could survive having that many people die in such a short period of time, but even if you project the die-offs to be a few tens to hundreds of millions of people, you wind up with all kinds of nasty problems. Like shortages of people to deal with food production, or handle disasters. The shifting of large amounts of people are going to have all kinds of political changes, the effects of which cannot be accurately projected. One can't rule out genocidal wars in certain parts of the globe, for example.



You obviously have no idea what that expression means.Zero-Sum Game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-sum)
In game theory and economic theory, zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is exactly balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). If the total gains of the participants are added up, and the total losses are subtracted, they will sum to zero. Zero-sum can be thought of more generally as constant sum where the benefits and losses to all players sum to the same value of money (or utility). Cutting a cake is zero- or constant-sum, because taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others. In contrast, non-zero-sum describes a situation in which the interacting parties' aggregate gains and losses is either less than or more than zero. Zero sum games are also called strictly competitive.So, if we want to really gain anything, we have to leave the planet.
I'm sorry but I don't have time to read any more of your posts.Translation: Because you won't subscribe to my interpretation of reality, I'm putting my fingers in my ears.

publiusr
2009-Oct-19, 10:30 PM
The problem is lack of vision. There are some powerful people who think all space should have is the occasional also-ran science probe, a few weather/mil/comsats, and that is it. The folks from the William Proxmire school are just louder than the folks from the Dandridge Cole/Gerald K. O'Neil camp.

Tuckerfan
2009-Oct-19, 10:53 PM
The problem is lack of vision. There are some powerful people who think all space should have is the occasional also-ran science probe, a few weather/mil/comsats, and that is it. The folks from the William Proxmire school are just louder than the folks from the Dandridge Cole/Gerald K. O'Neil camp.

Exactly. This holds true of a great number of problems as well. Part of the problem with NASA and the space program in general is that people don't realize how much it touches their daily lives. They think that all NASA does is spend big money to shoot rockets into space and take pretty pictures. They don't realize that the technology which goes into launching that rocket, taking those pictures, or the data generated from all that directly affects their lives every day. If there was a "NASA Technology" logo attached to everything that has benefited from the space program, like Intel has their logo slapped on PCs, people might think differently about the space program.

SkepticJ
2009-Oct-19, 11:20 PM
I'm not afraid of global warming (Earth's been warmer in the past, namely during the time of the dinosaurs--nice place to call home), I'm afraid of 'roids.

If there're multi-km rocks with our name on them out there (there are) we're screwed. Even if they don't wipe humanity out, which they will unless they aren't too big, they'll knock us back to the Neolithic and kill billions.

For the amount of money that the nations of the world spend on weapons and waging war, we could easily have self-sufficient colonies on the Moon, at the L-points etc. Apparently ending life is more important that preserving it.

We're such a lucky species. Probably the most intelligent beings to ever live on this planet, and we only exist because a lot of things happened just right in Earth's history to sculpt us into what we are. We're capable of outliving the Earth and spreading throughout the universe. Or we can pee away the lottery we've won being stupid.

newpapyrus
2009-Oct-20, 01:31 AM
I'm not afraid of global warming (Earth's been warmer in the past, namely during the time of the dinosaurs--nice place to call home), I'm afraid of 'roids.

If there're multi-km rocks with our name on them out there (there are) we're screwed. Even if they don't wipe humanity out, which they will unless they aren't too big, they'll knock us back to the Neolithic and kill billions.

For the amount of money that the nations of the world spend on weapons and waging war, we could easily have self-sufficient colonies on the Moon, at the L-points etc. Apparently ending life is more important that preserving it.

We're such a lucky species. Probably the most intelligent beings to ever live on this planet, and we only exist because a lot of things happened just right in Earth's history to sculpt us into what we are. We're capable of outliving the Earth and spreading throughout the universe. Or we can pee away the lottery we've won being stupid.

You only really have to fear the consequences of global warming for future generations if you live in places like: Florida, New York, Louisiana, the east coast of the US, California's San Joaquin valley, Bangkok, London, Tokyo, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and central Brazil because these places would be completely underwater if we end up completely melting the polar ice caps through global warming. And the sea levels are currently rising.

Marcel F. Williams

tusenfem
2009-Oct-20, 11:28 AM
You only really have to fear the consequences of global warming for future generations if you live in places like: Florida, New York, Louisiana, the east coast of the US, California's San Joaquin valley, Bangkok, London, Tokyo, Cambodia, Bangladesh, and central Brazil because these places would be completely underwater if we end up completely melting the polar ice caps through global warming. And the sea levels are currently rising.

Marcel F. Williams


newpapyrus, there is only ONE thread for the discussion of global warming and that is HERE (http://www.bautforum.com/science-technology/70431-general-agw-discussion-thread-73.html#post1603062). But as you can see from the linked post, it has a big chance of getting closed if the main (op/pro)nents cannot behave themselves.

tusenfem
2009-Oct-20, 11:29 AM
You know, if you're going to excise my comments from the thread I put them in and shift them over to a thread which has only a superficial connection to them, the least you can do is spell my name right!

sorry about that