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NASA: Back to Eating Seed Corn?

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The continued layoffs at NASA have inspired a serious look at the viability of this vital organization even as it reaches for the sci-fi dreams of a generation inspired by 2001 A Space Odyssey, Apollo 13, and Star Trek – The Next Generation.

We expect NASA to reach for the moon and the planets, but has underfunding caused NASA to cut programs essential to the “primary mission” of NASA?

Read about the latest debate in this Science Magazine Editorial . I suggest Emailing this article to your Senator or Congressman.

There’s a series of articles on the NASA layoffs at NASA Watch.

I tell ya, now’s not a bad time to join the National Space Society . They send out a great quarterly magazine packed with articles and upcoming events. Worth the minimum.

Also posted at VERMONT SPACE
(if it seems too good to be true… )

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About Bennett Dawson

  • Some modest portion of the $820,000 per minute we spend on the Military Budget could surely go to shore up NASA.

    The picture of the Earth, the fragile globe with no lines on it, changed the world more than all the books of religion and philosophy in history. And the Hubble pictures? Raw awe.

  • Howard

    One of the great moments in my 77 year life was watching the first moon landing on TV. I would take breaks of watching TV to go out in my Nassau Bay backyard to study a moon on which my neighbors had just landed. That and other marvelous accomplishments by NASA do not justify the money being spent today on poorly designed programs now in place. Space exploration should be put on a back burner while we address our massive deficit. Someday the world will tire of financing our folly. On that day we’ll be sorry we didn’t pay more attention to our spending.


  • NASA is being replaced by the Office Of Special Projects who ran Project Blue book among others….the plot thickens 😉

  • We spend so much money supporting so many dopey things yet we cheap out on science and technology. It’s a shame.

  • Bennett

    Howard – The problem with putting science and the space program on the back burner is that it gets more and more expensive to restart these programs.

    I agree with both DJRadiohead and pogblog, the money is there, we just squander our future by adding pork onto domestic programs, and overspending on our military so that we can be the policemen of the world.

    Reverse the tax cuts for the richest Americans, legalize and tax marijuana, and release anyone currently doing time for non-violent crimes related to marijuana.

    Add a flat 10% tax on every dollar earned over 500k in income, and we’ll have a good start on dealing with the budget deficit.

  • NASA has a huge communication problem, among its many other problems. Most Americans no longer recognize space exploration is an investment in a prosperous future. Instead they think of it as a series of costly joyrides for a handful of astronauts, and missions for robots with no useful purpose, designed solely to satisfy the idle curiosity of a few ivory-tower intellectuals.

    Of course it’s not entirely NASA’s fault that their work has been conducted without any central vision that could give the public a clear sense of return on their investment.

    That problem started at the top of the political leadership, with Nixon being the biggest culprit and Johnson not far behind, both utterly failing to appreciate the scope of Kennedy’s reasons for launching the Apollo program.

  • Perfect analysis of the NASA situation, Victor. It’s such a shame that a few dunderheads can have such a negative impact on the direction of our country.

    I try to grapple with the difference in outcome if, instead of invading Iraq, the prez had spent that 500 billion on NASA, or split it between NASA and a scholorship program for engineers and scientists.

    America rode the economic benefits of the space program from 1980 through 2000, without reinvesting the profits in continuing the momentum. We drew back, and lost an incredible opportunity to take the world into a new frontier.

    We stand once again at the crossroads, and only the interest by the congress and senate keep me hopeful that we will pick the right path.

    Katrina was a real bummer from a NASA standpoint, and with our economic bag empty, I fear that we will continue on the disasterous path that brought us to the brink of collapse.

    Ultra rich and mega corporations, shortsighted bribery (lobbyists) and corruption driving our government, an evaporating manufacturing base, a third world rate of graduating engineers and scientists, and a dwindling middle class all add up to a depressing forcast for America as a leader in anything.

    But, we could pull it out with only minutes to go in the fourth quarter. My gut tells me that Griffin’s our last hope for a very long time.

    Or, we just watch the ESA, JAX, Russia, and China do it while we watch soaps and eat frozen pizza.