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frodo1008

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I agree totally, I don't think there is another government agency with the kind of visibility of NASA. It does not make any difference what the other agencies do or waste or how much pork they have, the are relatively invisible when compared to NASA. <br /><br />Heck, you would in general expect the people on these space oriented boards to at the very worst be neutral in this, but some are totally anti NASA anyway!<br /><br />NASA certainly can't allow either the shuttle, or ISS or a Mars Scientific Laboratory to overrun by more than about 5% (which would be a VERY good figure for such large projects ,even if it were being done by pure for profit individual companies) or congress and the media is going to be calling for heads to role! This is even when almost everything that NASA does is done for the fist time in the worst environment imaginable! <br /><br />So a more than 10% overrun on a project of $1.7 billion, such as the Mars Scientific Laboratory, with an overrun of $75 million, would not be acceptable to either NASA nor its bosses in congress. And indeed the excellent people at JPL are to be congratulated on reducing this overrun to an acceptable level without crippling the project itself!<br /><br />One of the main problems with such projects as the space shuttle and the ISS, is that they are going to look bad economically regardless of what NASA does as they are 40 year projects, and general inflation alone is going to push their cost way up. I mean how much could you buy a house of a car for in the 1970's (shuttle) or the 1980's (ISS)?<br /><br />I have seen even in the general media (which is generally anything but positive for NASA) figures of some 5% overrun. Which really looks bad to the average taxpayer on a $100 billion project as it is some $5 billion (of course with said project being spread over some 40 years, that figure is much more acceptable), but the opponents of these projects NEVER consider the time frame, only the overall cost!<br /><br />So o
 
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3488

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shuttle_guy does a superb job in keeping us all informed. I have always been pro-NASA<br />anyway, I think NASA does a superb job, with really what is a very small budget.<br /><br />Long live NASA.<br /><br />Andrew Brown. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080">"I suddenly noticed an anomaly to the left of Io, just off the rim of that world. It was extremely large with respect to the overall size of Io and crescent shaped. It seemed unbelievable that something that big had not been visible before".</font> <em><strong><font color="#000000">Linda Morabito </font></strong><font color="#800000">on discovering that the Jupiter moon Io was volcanically active. Friday 9th March 1979.</font></em></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://www.launchphotography.com/</font><br /><br /><font size="1" color="#000080">http://anthmartian.googlepages.com/thisislandearth</font></p><p><font size="1" color="#000080">http://web.me.com/meridianijournal</font></p> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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Thank you, well posted!<br /><br />I like your tag line also. One of my all time favorite movies!
 
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comga

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"Go to the following link (it is a NASA site, but you did say you used NASA sites without prejudice):<br />ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/budget/2003/charts.pdf "<br /><br />This chart is a bit disingenuous. It appears that EVERYTHING except "Constellation" (Ares & Orion) is lumped in "SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND TECHNOLOGY". One would have to have a much more detailed information. Try<br /><br />http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/168653main_NASA_FY08_Budget_Summary.pdf<br /><br />This shows for 2007<br />Science.........$5.4B Earth science, Heliophysics, Astrophysics, Planetary Science<br />Exploration...$5.2B Constallation, Advanced systems<br />Aeronautics...$0.5B<br />Cross Agency.$0.5B<br />Space Ops.....$6.1B Shuttle ISS Space flight support<br />Total.............$16.8B<br /><br />Not exactly the distribution in the chart on your link. Exploration and Space Ops, manned flight, take $11.3B vs $5.4B for Science.<br /><br />One more reason not to take ANY important information from PowerPoint. Its ability to scramble data is why it was fingered as a minor culprit in the Challenger disaster.<br />
 
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frodo1008

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Of course the shuttle and ISS portions are going to go way down by 2010 when the shuttle is retired and hopefully the access to the ISS is then done by the far cheaper Dragon and possibly F9 of spacex.<br /><br />And in the meantime both the shuttle and ISS are considered as a form of space science (they are certainly not Earth science).<br /><br />And you are correct, charts are always governed by what is put into them, so NASA does call what it actually puts into space as a form of space science. And as Constellation and Ares have not yet to fly into space, and the other areas that you point out are not ever going to fly into space, then by those terms the other chart is still correct.<br /><br />And, yes you could argue the semantics of that point, but what good would it do? It isn't even NASA that determines the overall composition of its programs, it is congress. NASA can recommend things based on its charter, but it is congress that has the final say. <br /><br />Now, as the Mars Scientific Laboratory was not only NOT canceled, but the changes to bring it back into budget were actually improvements to the reliability of the system (argue with JPL, I am only the messenger!), and without the reliability to even get the Lab to Mars the whole program is useless. <br /><br />Now, if when the shuttle/ISS budget goes down to some $1.5 billion (in 2011's budget) then if the Robotic side does not get at least a boost by $1 billion of the $4 billion in savings, the I too will be happy to complain. <br /><br />All this kind of bickering back and forth by we that have no say in this anyway is pointless! It does make for a more interesting form of entertainment than sleeping, but not by a whole lot.<br /><br />As I have said before so very many times, if NASA gets a reasonable steady increase in its budget, then ALL programs should benifit.<br /><br />But I noticed in the paper the other day where President Bush is going to as for a record $200 billion for the Middle East War effort
 
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askold

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Today, we can compare any program against the Iraq war and that program will seem to be a bargain. If the war wasn't around we could compare against any number of federal progams and NASA would appear to be a bargain.<br /><br />These are false comparisons. NASA programs should stand on their own and their own benefit should recommend them. Being no worse than the Iraq war is hardly a ringing endorsement.
 
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frodo1008

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It IS to someone such as myself that went through the last time this happened! How many times were you laid off as a result of such a situation (through no fault of your own)?<br /><br />I hear people complaining all the time here of the space shuttle program, but it IS a direct result of such a situation and NOT some kind of incompetent plot on the part of NASA!<br /><br />And it IS also such spending on the uselessness of war, that is eventually going to doom mankind to a very grim future (if it leaves ANY future at all)! <br /><br />And NASA does stand as one of the few shining examples of what the government can do, when it can do worthwhile things. And that stands for ALL of the aspects and programs of NASA.<br /><br />No, NASA is not perfect (human beings are not God, so all of our efforts are imperfect by the nature of things), but it is the only thing that we have with such programs other than the struggling pure for profit efforts. And the jury is still quite a bit out there on whether or not their efforts will be successful or not! Further as they are in it for profits, they have NO plans for any scientific robotic or human activities in space at all.<br /><br />So, if you don't like what NASA does, why are you even posting on a site such as space.com?<br /><br />
 
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askold

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I'm posting here for several reasons:<br /><br />1) There are many things that NASA does that I like.<br /><br />2) I learn things here.<br /><br />3) I think it's legitimate to criticize NASA when individuals believe it's not spending its money as effectively as it should or could. That's what makes a democracy strong - the free and open exchange of ideas. We (the public) and NASA would not be better off if NASA could do whatever it wanted without public scrutiny or discussion. <br /><br />I'd be happy to let this thread die at this point ....
 
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j05h

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<i>> So, if you don't like what NASA does, why are you even posting on a site such as space.com? </i><br /><br />Because NASA does not equal "Space". While an inspiration, that agency is not the be-all-end-all of space development. Even inside the US govt, the DoD has a bigger space budget. <br /><br /><i>> Further as they are in it for profits, they have NO plans for any scientific robotic or human activities in space at all. </i><br /><br />Frodo, sometimes you make no sense. First, university groups are "private", not for profit and science oriented - and several of them are going to shoot for the Moon with rovers. Second, how can you say the private-space folks aren't interested in human space activity? That is exactly opposite of most announced efforts, which are about getting people into space.<br /><br />Josh <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div align="center"><em>We need a first generation of pioneers.</em><br /></div> </div>
 
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qso1

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askold:<br />These are false comparisons. NASA programs should stand on their own and their own benefit should recommend them. Being no worse than the Iraq war is hardly a ringing endorsement.<br /><br />Me:<br />I know what Frodo is trying to say here and I agree and heres why:<br /><br />These are anything but false comparisons, consider...your Joe taxpayer and your mad about your money being wasted by some federal program. You gun for NASA because NASA is in the news for this type of waste more than any other agency...or at least it seems this way. Now you as Joe taxpayer are a noble sort of person looking to maybe use that money to benefit those here on Earth. NASA becomes an even easier target. Now make the claim that comparing NASA spending to Iraq spending is a false comparison...NASAs fate is sealed.<br /><br />Yet the money for both NASA and Iraq come from the same pool...Joe taxpayer. So how can you say your saving money by cutting NASA while doing nothing about Iraq spending? NASAs budget is about $17 B dollars annually while spending on Iraq is around $100 B dollars annually...therefore, if we cut NASA to say...$10B annually, that'll save $7B dollars annually but since the money comes from the same pool. Ultimately there is still a deficit if we continue spending $100B annually elswhere. Do you really see any benefits to the American on the street from this Iraq misadventure? And are you naieve enough to think the government will take that NASA $7B dollar savings and use it where you think it should be used? Thats an easy one to answer. The government has had their chance since the approximately 50% cut to NASA HSF since 1974. I haven't been hearing anything like "Wow, we really benefited Joe taxpayer with all those NASA savings" or "We cured cancer with all those NASA savings". Instead, I hear about how much worse things have become.<br /><br />As for NASA programs standing on their own merit...this is determined in part by NASA supporters and detractors. You and <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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frodo1008

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<font color="yellow"> Because NASA does not equal "Space". While an inspiration, that agency is not the be-all-end-all of space development. Even inside the US govt, the DoD has a bigger space budget. </font><br /><br />NASA is the be-all-end-all of human space development at this time, or has the DOD put up space stations with their "black programs" funding that neither the scientific community nor the taxpayers (that pay for both NASA and the DOD space efforts) know anything about?<br /><br />And while there has indeed been very good progress by such as Burt Rutan's group, in general there has been no sustained human presence in space by anybody except NASA (at least in the USA anyway).<br /><br />It is my hope (as I think it is yours) that quite frankly NASA will in the near future become just one player in the human development of at least LEO. <br /><br />As for the DOD, I sometimes wonder what it IS that they are doing with what is indeed a far greater over all space budget than NASA?<br /><br />I know about the spy satellites (well, I know of them at any rate), and the EELV program, (which I was a part of through my helping with the initial quality of the RS68 Rocketdyne engines), and finally the most successful in the GPS system (when it was somewhat taken over by civilian users). But this would only account for a fraction of NASA's own budget over the last 30 years or so. <br /><br />What is it that the DOD is REALLY doing with all that funding? Just wondering is all.<br /><br />Now:<br /><br /><font color="yellow"> Frodo, sometimes you make no sense. First, university groups are "private", not for profit and science oriented - and several of them are going to shoot for the Moon with rovers. Second, how can you say the private-space folks aren't interested in human space activity? That is exactly opposite of most announced efforts, which are about getting people into space. </font><br /><br />Here you stand on somewhat better ground, and I do stand
 
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frodo1008

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Thank you for your understanding and support!<br /><br />I really wish it was not even necessary, as I would have all the people on this board and others on space.com be for as much of a funding increase as reasonably possible for NASA, without all this bickering and micromanaging over what NASA is doing. <br /><br />The amount that NASA gets of even the discretionary spending part of the federal budget is so small as to almost already be non existent! <br /><br />If you were to create an excel chart of such federal spending you would either have to have most other federal functions become way over sized bars, to even see the relative size of NASA's funding, or the NASA funding would just disappear in the general noise level if you tried to show it on the same scale! <br /><br />However, I do not advocate just throwing much larger increases of spending immediately at NASA. This would probably be more harmful to even NASA, than good.<br /><br />What I do advocate is a steady increase of some 10% over inflation of NASA's budget constantly year-by-year. As NASA's budget is already so small this would put very little inflationary pressure on the over all federal budget while at the same time allow for reasonable spending and planning for all of NASA's areas.<br /><br />Would it really be so difficult for all those space enthusiasts here to contact their congress people with such a relatively modest proposal? Or am I asking too much?<br /><br />With that, I will now honor askold's proposal and post no more to this thread!<br /><br />Everybody, DO Have A Great Day!<br /><br /><br /><br />
 
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qso1

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frodo1008:<br />I really wish it was not even necessary, as I would have all the people on this board and others on space.com be for as much of a funding increase as reasonably possible for NASA, without all this bickering and micromanaging over what NASA is doing.<br /><br />Me:<br />Thats a big part of the problem. Those who are micromanaging or whatever are failing to realize that even if we cut NASAs HSF money...eliminate it altogether. This will have only a minimal impact on the noble causes for which most critics would apply the money...and thats assuming the government would even send the money in the right direction.<br /><br />frodo1008:<br />What I do advocate is a steady increase of some 10% over inflation of NASA's budget constantly year-by-year. As NASA's budget is already so small this would put very little inflationary pressure on the over all federal budget while at the same time allow for reasonable spending and planning for all of NASA's areas. <br /><br />Me:<br />This is quite agreeable to me...and doable. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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Its good if NASA RETIRES AND ASK India to take over.China is alredy there.
 
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comga

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However, I do not endorse you other statements.<br /><br />More funding for NASA would be welcome, I agree.<br /><br />The source of funding for NASA, as with all other discretionary programs, is borrowing, and has been for a long time.<br /><br />NASA programs should stand on their own merit, as should all programs. Comparisons to waste, small or monumental, is beside the point.<br /><br />NASA is the only agency really developing hardware for space travel. Russia is still flying an ancient capsule. China is starting to fly an indigenous copy of that capsule, but has yet to demonstrate a rocket sufficient for anything more. ESA, SpaceX, SpaceDev, etc all have capsules on paper. We can hope some of them succeed, but "hope is not a strategy".<br /><br />However NASA's path is not above criticism. Even if they succeed, it may not be what some space advocates want, ant that's a big "IF".<br /><br />The start of this thread was comments that NASA's funding for manned spaceflight is a large budget for little science. That is hard to deny, even by those of us who love manned spaceflight and know the science it has produced. As you have said, science may be Steven Weinberg's sole spending priorities, but we have others.<br /><br />However, our question is what kind of space program do we want to see. It is hard to imagine anyone disagreeing with the description of "sustained". That said, how do we sustain $5B - $15B a year for manned space?<br /><br />I don't think eight astronauts a year, as two teams trucking around the lunar poles, will do it. There are not enough of us who are fascinated by this sort of thing. The US got bored with Apollo after three years and six landings. That was in an age where there were only a handfull of color (NTSC!) television channels and video gaming had just made it into arcades and homes. The populace will get bored even faster. <br /><br />We will be left with an expensive system that cannot operate at anything below full speed (two per
 
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qso1

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Well stated and I agree with you, especially on such things as NASA cannot be above criticism when due. Preferrably constructive criticism. I myself am the first to say the shuttle was a technical success but economic failure. <br /><br />Truth is for me, rather than trying to get budget increases of significant size for NASA. I think the time has come for the private sector to take over the role of making access to space more economical and let NASA move on with development of lunar, mars bases where the private sector will eventually take over as well if technology advances sufficiently in the next half century to allow for economic expansion of the private sector into space.<br /><br />If this is beyond the private sectors ability...then maybe I'm wrong. Maybe humanity really doesn't need to send its reps into space. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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My whole beef with the budget thing is that the reasons for cutting NASAs budget are invalidated when money from the same pool is wasted in far larger amounts elsewhere. Take the $400B dollar deficit a couple years ago. An amount at least twice the amount we have spent on NASA since its inception.<br /><br />When someone can tell me we need to cut NASAs budget to help the needy for example, and that the government will take the cut money and direct it to the needy and show the public thats where the money went...I'd be agreeable to that. Otherwise, its smoke and mirrors and NASAs an easy target. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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no_way

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>My whole beef with the budget thing is that the reasons for cutting NASAs budget are invalidated when money from the same pool is wasted in far larger amounts elsewhere.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />But that is the case WITHIN the chunk of money allocated for NASA as well. The chunk that was just denied for MSL is probably "wasted" as relevant quantities of people see it, on some pointless jobs preservation program within NASA that has no useful output whatsoever.<br />Why jump up and down about wastes elsewhere, when there are large amounts of waste going on right inside ?<br /><br />Or are you saying, that every penny going into NASA budget chunk is spent well ? Like that good program ? This also came out of NASA budget. Is the money spent developing stuff like that well spent ? <br /><br />IOW, get your house in order first, then start pointing fingers at others.
 
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vulture2

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I cannot agree. Every department of the government, and indeed every organization, has activities that succeed and others that fail. Defining and achieving productive objectives and eliminating waste and unproductive activities are ongoing tasks. Criticism should be welcome as long as it is specific. Whether a particular NASA activity should be initiated, continued, or terminated depends on its practical value and its cost. Other government programs should be judged on their own merits in the same way. But to say NASA or any organization should eliminate all waste before intiating any new plans is to say it should wait forever. It is particularly wasteful to simply "cut costs" regardless of merit.
 
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no_way

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So if we accept waste as inevitable within government ( which it basically is ) then any amount of waste elsewhere is no argument for increasing budget.<br />It doesnt matter how many billions went into this or that project in iraq or elsewhere, as waste is accepted as inevitable, and eliminating that is an ongoing project.
 
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alokmohan

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Mars is the only place where we can stay in future afer terra forming.
 
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qso1

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no_way:<br />IOW, get your house in order first, then start pointing fingers at others.<br /><br />Me:<br />The house that needs to be got in order is the whole house. If I'm going to say...lets start looking for a cure for cancer, end poverty, homelessness and hunger. I'm going after the consistantly big targets that are wasting money each year year after decade. $200 to $400 billion dollar deficits negate any savings you might get from a measly cut to a budget that is dwarfed by the size of deficits.<br /><br />Lets look at NASA for a sec and assume as you and askold have that human spaceflight...or at least ISS and shuttle are a waste. Lets say we cancel both oughtright tomorrow. It takes a year now to close out the programs, get the personnell layoffs underway. Savings...perhaps $5 billion dollars. The next year, what then? What do we cut? What about deficit spending which would provide much larger funds to social ills. Oh no, you mean cutting NASA didn't solve social problems? $5 billion is no doubt a lotta cash, until you stack it against other government waste.<br /><br />When one is calling for cuts to an agency that has been cut more than any other over the decades...they are not calling for cuts leading to responsible spending habits. They are calling for the end to that agency or whatever aspect of that agency they want to see ended such as NASA HSF.<br /><br />As I mentioned before. I would advocate an end to NASA HSF if I thought the cuts would actually be put into effect year after year with public accountability year after year. But NASA HSF has been sustaining lower spending levels since Apollo and I see no evidence that the saved money actually went to anything useful so IMO, America can afford NASA if it can afford $300B dollar deficits, $100B dollar adventures in Iraq or whatever country we decide to help at the expense of our own. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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qso1

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Comga:<br />A well written response at<br /><br />Me:<br />Indeed it is, unfortunately, its been one of the stock responses of the past three decades that has not stemmed the critics tide. Something fundamentaly different has been needed. We've counterargued about the need for humans in space, about space spinoffs, manifest destinies...to no avail.<br /><br />I chose to examine the savings we already achieved in the post Apollo period when the overall NASA budget dropped around 50 percent over several years. All this talk about saving money for humanity here on earth fails to acknowledge that vast amounts of money that could have been spent on NASA had it grown like other government agencies, have been saved for naught. There are more diseases than during the Apollo era. Some diseases are more resistant to vaccines. Homlessness has not been solved in any meaningful way. Poverty is still around and school system...can you find anyone saying much positive about the American school system these days? You'd think with NASA moneys being brought down since Apollo that we'd be seeing headlines like, new cure for cancer thanks to NASA cuts...or poverty eradicated thanks to ending of wasteful human space flight to the moon. I haven't seen any headlines like that!<br /><br />Granted, I'm an unknown. My argument probably won't do much good either. But that may be in part that space critics have always wanted to see a total end to HSF. Not just a responsible spending level.<br /><br />I agree that NASA has not always been responsible on budget issues. But for now, NASA is working to phase out shuttle and eventually ISS in favor of VSE. Think that will satisfy future VSE critics waiting in the wings? Not a chance. This debate will be ongoing until HSF becomes a private sector undertaking. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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