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    Default GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    By Mike Wall
    Published January 27, 2012
    | Space.com


    • NASA
      Artist's concept of a possible colony on the moon.


    Newt Gingrich defended his ambitious spaceflight goals against attacks from the other three contenders for the Republican presidential nomination during Thursday night's debate in Florida.
    Gingrich said his plan to establish a manned moon base by 2020 would help reassert American dominance in space, spur the growth of a vibrant commercial spaceflight sector and encourage kids to study science, engineering and math.

    However, the other three candidates onstage with Gingrich in Jacksonville — former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Texas congressman Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum — generally dismissed the onetime Speaker of the House's bold space proposals as too expensive and too impractical.
    NASA's current space exploration plan under President Barack Obama is focused on sending astronauts to an asteroid by 2025 and toward a Mars landing in the 2030s. This deep space exploration plan follows NASA's space shuttle program, which retired in 2011 after 30 years of spaceflight. NASA plans to rely on private American spacecraft to ferry astronauts and cargo to and from low-Earth orbit while focusing on its deep space missions.
    The four GOP presidential hopefuls discussed NASA, human spaceflight and America's space policy for nearly 12 minutes during the heated debate, the last one before Floridians vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday (Jan. 31). Here's a sampling of what the candidates said.
    Romney (asked by debate moderator Wolf Blitzer if Gingrich's moon colony goal is too expensive): That's an enormous expense, and right now I want to be spending money here. Of course, the Space Coast has been badly hurt, and I believe in a very vibrant and strong space program.
    To define the mission for our space program, I'd like to bring in the top professors that relate to space areas, of physics, top people from industry, because I want to make sure what we're doing in space translates into commercial products. I want to bring in our top military experts on space needs, and finally, of course, people from the administration, if I have an administration.
    I'd like to come together and talk about different options, and the cost … I believe in a manned space program; I'd like to see whether they believe in the same thing. I'm not looking for a colony on the moon. I think the cost of that would be in the hundreds of billions, if not trillions. I'd rather be rebuilding housing here in the U.S.
    Gingrich: (on how he'd achieve his moon colony goal while keeping taxes low): You start with a question: Do you really believe NASA in its current form is the most effective way of leveraging investment in space? We now have a bureaucracy sitting there which has managed to mismanage the program so well that, in fact, we have no lift vehicle …
    I believe by the use of prizes, by the use of incentives, by opening up the spaceport so that it's available on a ready basis for commercial flight, by using common sense — for example, the Atlas 5 could easily be fixed into a man-capable vehicle so you didn't have to rely on a Russian launch or a Chinese launch —there are many things you can do to leverage accelerating the development of space.
    Lindbergh flew to Paris for a $25,000 prize. If we had a handful of serious prizes, you'd see an extraordinary number of people out there trying to get to the moon first in order to build that. And I'd like to have an American on the moon before the Chinese get there. [Photos of NASA's Apollo Moon Missions]
    Santorum: One of the big problems we have in our country today is that young people are not getting involved in math and science and not dreaming big dreams. And so NASA, or the space program, or space, is important. NASA is one component of that. Our space defense is another area, I think both of which are very, very important.
    I agree that we need to bring good minds in the private sector much more involved in NASA than the government bureaucracy we have. But let's just be honest. We're on a $1.2 trillion deficit right now. We're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar. And to go out there and promise new programs and big ideas, that's a great thing to maybe get votes. But it's not a responsible thing when you have to go out and say that we have to start cutting programs, not talking about how to grow them…
    Those are things that sound good and maybe make big promises to people, but we've got to be responsible in the way we allocate our resources.
    Paul: I don't think we should go to the moon. I think we maybe should send some politicians up there…
    The amount of money we spend on space, the only part that I would vote for is for national defense purposes. Not to explore the moon and go to Mars — I think that's fantastic, I love those ideas, but I also don't like the idea of building government-business partnerships.
    If we had a healthy economy and had more Bill Gateses and more Warren Buffetts, the money would be there. It should be privatized. And the people who work in the industry, if you had that — there would be jobs in aerospace.
    I just think that we don't need a bigger, newer program… I mean, health care or something else deserves a lot more priority than going to the moon. So I would be very reluctant. But space technology should be followed up to some degree for national defense purposes, but not just for the fun of it, and, you know, for scientific purposes. [Top 10 Space Weapons]
    Gingrich: It is really important to go back and look at what John F. Kennedy said in May of 1961. When he said we will go to the moon in this decade, no American had orbited the Earth. The technology didn't exist. And a generation of young people went into science and engineering and technology, and they were tremendously excited, and they had a future.
    I actually agree with Dr. Paul. The program I envision would probably end up being 90 percent private sector. But it would be based on a desire to change the government rules and change the government regulations to get NASA out of the business of trying to run rockets, and to create a system where it's easy for private-sector people to be engaged.
    I want to see us move from one launch occasionally to six or seven launches a day… I do not want to be the country that, having gotten to the moon first, turned around and said, "It doesn't really matter. Let the Chinese dominate space. What do we care?" I think that is a path of national decline, and I am for America being a great country, not a country in decline.
    Romney: I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, "You're fired."
    The idea that corporate America wants to go off to the moon and build a colony there — it may be a big idea, but it's not a good idea.
    Look, this idea of going state to state and promising what people want to hear — promising billions, hundreds of billions of dollars to make people happy — that's what got us into the trouble we're in now. We've got to say no to this kind of spending.



    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/...#ixzz1khQnUB4e
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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    I personally understand when someone shouts about the cost of having a base on the moon, even though it shows they have a small vision for the future. I also wonder about some of the unimaginable benefits and advancements that would be achieved in such an undertaking. Sometimes to heck with the cost when it comes to space, science and engineering the sky should be the limit....just go and get it done that is the American way.

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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    Frankly, after watching the news after Gingrich made these comments, I'm a little dismayed at how they are being treated in press and, to be honest, by some "conservatives".

    So many talking heads are sitting there laughing this off as pie in the sky nonsense. I think this really shows where our nation is headed. I wasn't alive back when the moon landings were happening but I'm pretty confident in saying, even though there may have been skeptics of the moon program, I am very doubtful that the ideas were treated as Gingrich's comments are now.

    Hell, the moon landings were more than 40 years ago and what have we done in space since then? If we showed even half of the zeal we had back then, I have no doubt we'd be on Mars by now.

    Instead, going to the moon is now treated as a joke. Stupid Luddites...


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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    Sure beats the current mission...

    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
    Barack Obama: NASA must try to make Muslims 'feel good'

    The head of the Nasa has said Barack Obama told him to make "reaching out to the Muslim world" one of the space agency's top priorities.

    By Toby Harnden in Washington
    Published: 8:00PM BST 06 Jul 2010



    Barack Obama wants Nasa to acknowledge Muslim achievements and contributions to science maths and engineering Photo: AFP/GETTY

    Charles Bolden, a retired United States Marines Corps major-general and former astronaut, said in an interview with al-Jazeera that Nasa was not only a space exploration agency but also an "Earth improvement agency".

    Mr Bolden said: "When I became the Nasa administrator, he [Mr Obama] charged me with three things.

    Related Articles


    "One, he wanted me to help reinspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering."

    He added: "It is a matter of trying to reach out and get the best of all worlds, if you will, and there is much to be gained by drawing in the contributions that are possible from the Muslim [nations]."

    Byron York, a conservative columnist for the Washington Examiner, characterised Mr Obama's space policy shift as moving "from moon landings to promoting self-esteem"

    Earlier this year, Mr Obama announced the scrapping of the moon programme in favour of an aspiration to visit Mars, cancelling the Constellation programme for manned space flight, the successor to the Space Shuttle.

    It means Nasa would not be able to travel beyond the Earth's lower orbit without international assistance and need the help of allies to make it to Mars.

    The proposal angered Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan, the first and last men to walk on the moon.

    Along with Jim Lovell, the Apollo 13 commander, they issued a statement denouncing the decision "devastating" and a plan that "destines our nation to become one of second- or even third-rate stature."

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    /chuckles

    Muslims, then by deductive reasoning must be Aliens.
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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    I'm a Conservative. I'm not a "Liberal Scientist" (though some might take me for one sometimes).

    However... Space isn't about "America". Not totally. We were the leaders for 60 years. Except for a few firsts by Russia, we were there and we did it better, cheaper usually and with more "zeal" as Ryan put it.

    The truth is... we live on a rock that has been here roughly 13 billion years. And in the last four million 99.99% of all creatures that have ever lived, died here. Almost every species has "gone extinct" at some point in its terrestrial reign.

    The Human Race, while intelligent - Homo Sapiens - literally "Man of Wisdom" - we are nothing more than creatures ourselves made up of the same star stuff as every other creature that has lived and died on this rock.

    For us to have put men on the Moon is the GREATEST achievement ever accomplished by mankind.

    To NOT top that achievement is the worst, most disgusting sin of man. God didn't put us on this planet to STAY here. He put us here to go out THERE. To expand, multiply, populate and eventually stray all over the Galaxy.

    In a few billion years the human race can, and would if we were to try, figure out how to harness the energy of entire star systems and perhaps galaxies. (Then, so says Kaku, Hawking and me we can travel through time in any direction we desire.)

    But, without the drive, a mandate to do it from a strong leader - we won't. Now, I personally think John Kennedy was a stinker when it came to his wife and Ms. Monroe - but he was a war hero and a man of vision. He hated the Commies as much as the rest of us do. He understood Capitalism and Leadership.

    I don't care what he was like in bed with his various women. That he was a Leader can't be denied by anyone I don't think. But, he too, like the rest of us was merely human as the bullets from Lee Harvey Oswald's rifle proved.

    But, he had the vision to send America to the Moon and I firmly believe had he lived, we'd already have gone to Mars.

    Since his death Reagan and George H.W. Bush are the ONLY two other men with enough vision to advance the space program. I traveled with Bush several times while he was looking over plans for the International Space Station. I watched the budget cut from 13 or 14 billion dollars down to about 4 billion over the years as other "leaders" came into being.

    Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barry Sorreto (aka Obama) have destroyed any chance America had in the next 50 years of getting back into space beyond the ISS.

    And even trips to the ISS are in jeopardy. (http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/...ntcmp=trending)

    America, my friends won't be the humans to reach into space, we won't be "The Star Trek Generation" and there won't be Vulcans or Klingons, only the deep, dark vacuum of space.

    I predict without a good man in the White House we won't even keep our systems going, the military's back will be broken and this country WILL be invaded... not by the Chinese, or the Russians, but by the Mexican Drug Cartels. Texas will fight - for awhile until money runs out.

    But in twenty-five more years, half of my life already lived, America will be nothing more than another "3rd World Has Been".

    Oh, how the Mighty have Fallen.

    Boys and Girls... if we don't get out there and take back America from the Leftists, Liberals and Communists, there won't be any America left in a few years. Your kids and grandkids will be slaves to the Left/Commies. Most of us will be gone -executed or murdered in our sleep.

    Hitler has come back, but only as an idea. America will be like Germany 1935 a LOT sooner than the stuff above if we don't fight it, every man, woman and child who can think and act for themselves needs to stand up and be heard.

    We need to start saying NO to Obama, his idealism, his Socialization of America. We need to say NO to Congress when they try to spend more money on dumb ass things like unions, bailouts, shutting down jobs and pipelines.

    Either we stand by and watch Ayn Rand's visions of John Galt come true, or we fight it and take back our country, the space program, ownership of Capitalism and help the destruction of Communism.

    The choice friends is ours to make.

    MY time here is nearly through. Its going to be up to those I leave behind.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    Rick space may not be about America in the grand scheme of things but I would like to think one day light years into the distance someone on another planet asks humans what is the name of your planet and they say The United States of America LOL....little joke sort of lol.

    But seriously you are right about leadership we have had certain presidents that have had it and others have zero vision. The other space thread reignited (pun not intended) my fifth grade like enthusiasm for NASA and the space race. I have watched probably for the last month twenty-some documentaries now and read every night something about the space exploration. I have come away with a great respect for people that have done those things and that are now involved in it. I feel the survival of man and our advancement is through deep space travel, we do that all the others things that we desire to achieve as humans will come with it.

    We have to by all means necessary get serious about space again.

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    Default Re: GOP candidates clash over US space exploration future

    Agreed. If we do NOT get serious about it, and we worry more about the people who are whining and wanting welfare, we will die here... extinct very much like the dinosaurs.

    In fact, I PREDICT our demise will come from a cosmic strike on this planet. Either a massive gamma radiation burst from some distant place that randomly hits us, or an asteroid strike.

    If you look at what we know about various lifeforms that once existed here on our planet, the fossils and so forth, you will see there were times throughout history that most everything that was here was wiped off the planet. Several times there were "Mass Extinction Events" that took out anywhere from 75%-99% of life that existed at the time, all the way from plankton to upper level creatures.

    The dinosaurs are just the most well known among them and one group that vanished in a relatively short period of time.

    Humans have the reasoning ability to save themselves, IF they know what is coming and how long they have. Many would turn away from the facts and disbelieve, others would riot, and destroy what we have now - others would "protest" that "only the rich get to go" or some such crap.

    Either way, our civilization as we know it now will flounder when it is known that an incoming bullet has our name on it.

    The Government might try to keep it a secret. They probably WOULD, given the things I've seen and know about our government from a first-hand perspective.

    At some point the secret however will be "revealed" - by a whistleblower or whatever. That's when it will get very, very dicey for the human race.

    Humans will seek to destroy that which they can not use themselves. We won't be able to evacuate everyone. And we will all know and realize it.

    This isn't a prediction that I think will happen in the next few years - but it COULD happen any second of any day.

    We can't and don't know where all the NEAs and PHA happen to be. Sure we know a LOT of them, but every so often something passes by the Oort cloud and disturbs what is there.

    Those rocks, sometimes BIG ones can plunge in toward the suns gravity well and be whipped around at a fast speed, perhaps coming into contact with the Earth itself. Sure the prospect for this is astronomically huge --- we have an average chance of being hit by an asteroid that will have globally disastrous consequences of about one, ever 1000 CENTURIES.

    I am not too sure how that is calculated because honestly, there are a lot more rocks in space than we know about. We also have no idea how many times Earth has been hit with such a rock.

    JPL says the following:

    "The threshold for an impact that causes widespread global mortality and threatens civilization almost certainly lies between about 0.5 and 5 km diameter, perhaps near 2 km. Impacts of objects this large occur from one to several times per million years.

    "Because the risk of such an impact happening in the near future is very low, the nature of the impact hazard is unique in our experience. Nearly all hazards we face in life actually happen to someone we know, or we learn about them from the media, whereas no large impact has taken place within the total span of human history... It is this juxtaposition of the small probability of occurrence balanced against the enormous consequences if it does happen that makes the impact hazard such a difficult and controversial topic."

    You will note they state "the nature of the impact hazard is unique in our experience".


    This means we have NO IDEA truly if, when, where or how big such an impact could be.


    This is what makes it this much more IMPORTANT to the colonization of space, other planets away from Earth and eventually away from our own star system.


    If we "spread the seed of humanity" in several directions some of them will survive. Some of them will colonize other places. Some of our genes will carry on.


    If we do not do this... the human race is doomed to die on this blue marble in the not that distant future.


    I'll point out that we believe "modern humans" have been around about 200,000 years.

    Dinosaurs existed for about 135 million years. We've barely scratched the surface of this amount of time. However... nothing will stop a 6 mile wide asteroid from killing nearly every living thing on this planet with even the technology we have now, and a short time span to do anything.

    It would take more than 10 years from our present position in technology to launch an attack on such a dangerous thing.

    Right now, we have 17 years before Apophis (see the Space thread and the sticky thread there for more information which I've been tracking for a few years) passes very close to us the FIRST time. There is a very high probability that it will hit something we call a "keyhole" which is a short way of saying "catches the Earth's gravity JUST right, presenting the right amount of English on the billiard ball in space, and bringing it back around to smash right into Earth a few years later".

    Basically, 17 years from now, we could all die.


    If we don't there's a very HIGH chance the asteroid will be back in 2036. Many of us won't be here any more after 24 more years (2036) but our kids and grand kids having been saddled with the bills of this current Presidential administration will be slaves to the government by then. There won't be a chance in hell if this happens that the human race will survive the next approach of Apophis.


    There won't be the money, the inclination and you can bet your ass any government that has morphed into a Communist "Big Brother 1984" system will bother to tell the "workers" of the impending doom. Or, for that matter, would they probably even KNOW about it.


    So - if we get a Conservative in office who pooh poohs a moon base, you can bet that 2029 will be a very nearly death sentence for us.

    The asteroid has been predicted to miss us in 2029. However, it won't miss us by much. I've done my own forward and backward calculations too. If it misses us, it will be by less than a 10th of the diameter of the Moon's orbit. That's about 25,000 miles. That's still pretty far. But, the "keyhole" is the Key.


    According to the most recent status put out by the government of the USA the chances of the "keyhole" incident occurring are very, very slim.


    But, then... even so, Apophis is only 270 meters across (about 890 feet). Even if it hits we won't sustain an mass extinction event, but we most certainly could lose a city, or a lot of cities were it to hit an ocean.

    This is the one we KNOW about.

    If a Rock from Space measures about 2 miles across, it can and will destroy everything living on the planet.


    I guess though - it ain't up to me to keep pointing this out to anyone. I don't have a degree in astrophysics, I'm not someone that scientists will pay much attention to normally unless I present something to them in a mathematically reduced set of equations. That's about as likely to happen as Michio Kaku calling me on the telephone to discuss my theory of time travel with him.
    Libertatem Prius!


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