Friday, July 28, 2006

One expensive playhouse

In 2004, Bush announced his "Space Vision." At the time, I was in a planetary geology class and we had an assignment to review the proposal and give our opinions on it.

In short, the entire class found it pretty short sighted, mainly due to massive under funding. Sure enough, within months, experts from many places agreed that the goals were unattainable with current levels of funding. Bush did increase the funding by a good amount, but not nearly what experts predicted NASA would need to accomplish the goals.

Unless other cuts were made. But to where?

Science of course! Since then, several science missions have been shelved or scrapped all together. Many grants (including the Missouri Space Grant Consortium which one of my friends does research thanks to), were threatened. Although NASA denied it, many people thought the sudden cancellation of servicing the Hubble was in large part due to budget strains.

So while I have no problem with going back to the Moon or Mars, I would just like to see things properly funded. Perhaps not to the 1% of the national budget that it recieved during the hay day of the Apollo program, but definately to a better extent than it currently is.

This topic came up recently on one of the internet forums I frequent, and just as I posted my opinions this article comes out as if too add an exclamation point to all of my statements.

In short, NASA is considering suspending American science research on the ISS in order to save money while they finish building another module.

My question is, without science, what good is the ISS? Suddenly, it's a gigantic, $100 billion, 360km high tree house. What a waste.

5 comments:

Paul Decelles said...

But that's OK. That way Bush can tell the public he supports science while at the same time cutting of basic science that deals with a universe with EVOLUTION in it and which is a tad older than 6,000 years.

Jon Voisey said...

This is generally a part of my argument: that Bush needs something to pretend he's pro-science on since he vetos stem cell research and supports psuedo-science like ID. But I try to leave the politics out of this blog as much as possible, unless the stupid actions are directly related to a certain party.

And I'd be more than willing to chastize the Democrats on science policy. I just haven't found anything to chastize them for yet...

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Jon, as soon as the Democrats get in to power in 2008 you'll find plenty to chastise democrat politicians over.

They are politicians and they offer power, and sadly there will always going to be organisations and people willing to bend, twist and break science for power and influence.

Stephen said...

I agree with Von Braun. The space station should be first. It's too late, of course, we've been to the Moon already.

I don't mind that we have built the playhouse. I mind that we spent so much money on it that we can't afford to do anything with it once it's finished. LLNL proposed that we use inflatable structures, if only to cut costs dramatically. Inflatables are in the news again, and for much less than $100,000,000,000.

As a stepping stone to Mars, the ISS lacks vision. Bone loss and other problems happen in long term zero g. But ISS does not investigate artificial gravity. Radiation shielding will be a serious problem getting to Mars. But ISS does not investigate shielding. Food recycling could help reduce the cost to getting to Mars. ISS does not investigate growing food in space. It's not even a very good hotel for space sex.

Who was it that was so stupid as to give the go ahead for this project? I want names.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Jon, as soon as the Democrats get in to power in 2008 you'll find plenty to chastise democrat politicians over.

They are politicians and they offer power, and sadly there will always going to be organisations and people willing to bend, twist and break science for power and influence.