Author Topic: Does NASA know what its goal is?  (Read 1725 times)

Offline tmw89

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Does NASA know what its goal is?
« on: December 26, 2012, 11:21:57 PM »
John Kelly: Does NASA know what its goal is, think it's achievable?
12:01 AM, Dec 23, 2012
Linked Article:  http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121223/COLUMNISTS0405/312230048/John-Kelly-Does-NASA-know-what-its-goal-think-s-achievable-?nclick_check=1

Does anyone at NASA even know what the space agency's top goals are?

A couple weeks ago, the National Research Council reported 'there is no strong, compelling national vision for the human spaceflight program" beyond the vague concept that, someday, human beings ought to go to Mars. The nearest-term big goal outlined by the White House's official space policy is to send human explorers to an asteroid, an idea that space employees don't support.

Perhaps it's no wonder. This week, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden appeared before yet another human space flight review committee (this is the second such panel convened over the past four years). He gave a less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of Obama's targeted mission to an asteroid. He didn't say NASA ought not do it, but he loaded up on caveats and qualifiers.

Bolden stressed that the president's goal of going to an asteroid, as a way to learn lessons that might advance our capability to ultimately send people on the longer and more difficult journey to Mars, did not mean that the space agency need launch a human spacecraft to an asteroid's current location. He told the NRC panel that the only way NASA could achieve the goal of a mission to an asteroid by 2025 is if the asteroid were somehow brought closer to Earth, an idea that is getting some discussion in various space policy analysts and even some astronauts.

Keep in mind, 2025 is 13 years from now and eight years past the time when NASA is supposed to, under current space policy, be ready to launch astronauts aboard its planned Orion human exploration spacecraft using a still-in-development super rocket. While many space pundits are focusing on the idea of bringing the asteroid closer, perhaps the more alarming questions center around the space agency's progress on Orion and the Space Launch System rocket development project.

If that rocket and spacecraft, presumably being designed for missions beyond low-Earth orbit, is not likely to be capable of flying a human mission to an intermediate destination such as an asteroid by 2025, then what is the plan for the multi-billion dollar projects? Are SLS and Orion severely behind schedule? Are the rocket and spacecraft going to be flying test missions only, in Earth's orbit, for more than eight years?

Furthermore, if NASA has leadership that believes the agency incapable of flying to an asteroid 13 years from now, when is the agency going to adapt its timelines and long-term budgets?

In a time when the nation has to make hard decisions about its priorities, further uncertainty is not good. NASA leadership appearing to be "adrift" on goals and timelines is not a sign of strength.

Nervous Congressional budget leaders, already less than confident in NASA's ability to deliver what it promises for the money it's provided, are not likely to feel more supportive if the agency can't show that its staff and its top leaders know the goals, agree with the goals and feel confident they're able to achieve the goals.

Somewhere at the top of the agency, or perhaps even at the White House, someone needs to spell out what NASA is supposed to be doing and making sure that the troops know the goal.
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 03:53:27 AM »
I have three friends at NASA (or who work for NASA contractors).

There is no guiding vision for NASA in human spaceflight.

We had Constellation, which was underfunded and had timelines that were too tight. But then Obama cancelled that. Now NASA is just sending up satellites.

Hooray Obama.
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Offline tmw89

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2012, 03:55:46 AM »
I for one look forward to the advent of a privatized space initiative: one which will get us to Mars in the 2020s as opposed to, say, the 2050s.

Thoughts on the privatization of the space industry, Kaesekopf?
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2012, 04:20:48 AM »
I for one look forward to the advent of a privatized space initiative: one which will get us to Mars in the 2020s as opposed to, say, the 2050s.

Good luck.  :P  Privatized space won't do it, I think.  The utility/need to go to space is rather low in terms of direct benefits to a corporation/private group. 

Quote
Thoughts on the privatization of the space industry, Kaesekopf?

I think it's a futile effort.  The capital and centralization required to pull off a comprehensive space program can only efficiently be achieved by a government, I think. 

There are very few/rare direct benefits from going to space.  You can't really mine things (given the treaties most space-faring countries have signed) and you don't get much out of it, aside from a greater knowledge of science and space.  Most corporations are worried about profit and results.  What's the point of dropping millions into a tin can shot off by a rocket?  Not too much.

I think most science needs to be heavily subsidized by the federal government, because they are the ones who can allocate a large amount of funds to different projects.  It also bleeds out into a benefit to the general public. 

Warning, PDF:
http://www.astrosociology.com/Library/PDF/Impacts_Sadeh.pdf
Societal Impacts of the Apollo Program
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Offline Mithrandylan

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 09:00:37 AM »
Aw hell yea.

SPACE
Ps 135

Quia in humilitáte nostra memor fuit nostri: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Et redémit nos ab inimícis nostris: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Qui dat escam omni carni: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Confitémini Deo cæli: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Confitémini Dómino dominórum: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.

For he was mindful of us in our affliction: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
And he redeemed us from our enemies: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
Who giveth food to all flesh: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
Give glory to the God of heaven: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
Give glory to the Lord of lords: * for his mercy endureth for ever.

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Offline Mithrandylan

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 04:53:29 PM »
I actually have thought about this conversation that isn't just the word "space" made real big in all caps.

In my public speaking class a few semesters back, someone gave a speech on the space program.  I had no idea (percentage-wise) that we spend like next to nothing out of the budget for space.  I mean, I'm pretty sure it was less than one percent and honestly I feel like he said it was less than a tenth of a percent of the national budget going to space.

I thought that was a crazy low number, and now I get peeved any time someone makes some smart ass comment about "16 trillion dollars in debt and we're spending x on sending stuff into space."

Ps 135

Quia in humilitáte nostra memor fuit nostri: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Et redémit nos ab inimícis nostris: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Qui dat escam omni carni: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Confitémini Deo cæli: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.
Confitémini Dómino dominórum: * quóniam in ætérnum misericórdia eius.

For he was mindful of us in our affliction: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
And he redeemed us from our enemies: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
Who giveth food to all flesh: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
Give glory to the God of heaven: * for his mercy endureth for ever.
Give glory to the Lord of lords: * for his mercy endureth for ever.

-I retract any and all statements I have made that are incongruent with the True Faith, and apologize for ever having made them-
 

Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 05:02:44 PM »
Mith, according to Wikipedia, the US Federal Gov't currently spends $17 billion on NASA, making that 0.48% of the federal budget (2012 budget).

Meanwhile, in 2008, Social Security paid out $615 billion. 

This is a good link to Wiki.  That, and the PDF I linked, show the economic "cost" of NASA is well outpaced by its benefits to society. 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_NASA#Economic_impact_of_NASA_funding
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Offline tmw89

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Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 05:25:45 PM »
UGH!  Those numbers are awful.  Whatever happened to all the cool space initiatives like SDI?  Given that Social Security is on its way out in the next decade or so, I propose re-allocating SS money to make satellites that shoot lasers at missiles.

#seemslegit
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Offline Kaesekopf

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Re: Re: Does NASA know what its goal is?
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2012, 05:28:25 PM »
UGH!  Those numbers are awful.  Whatever happened to all the cool space initiatives like SDI?  Given that Social Security is on its way out in the next decade or so, I propose re-allocating SS money to make satellites that shoot lasers at missiles.

#seemslegit

You're telling me!  :p.

SDI and such were under DoD, though, as far as I can tell.   They had primarily a military application, while NASA is civilian. 

So, DoD has more than enough money to shoot lasers at missiles.  The only problem about that is in atmosphere, lasers become less effective.  (There is a point where they just turn the air in front of the laser to plasma and the laser loses significant amounts of power).

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Wie dein Sonntag, so dein Sterbetag.

I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side.  ~Treebeard, LOTR

Jesus son of David, have mercy on me.