Shaken and Stirred
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Every Astronaut Left Behind
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Things to keep in mind about the moon/Mars plan – and I think the end goals here are worthy. Yes, Bush has been an irresponsible spender, but in this case I think the irresponsible part of the plan is that it doesn't propose to spend enough to actually accomplish the objectives. This is one of if not the most sensible of all Bush's proposals, and saying no because he's spent a billion tons of money the wrong way won't make those past mistakes go away.

So, here are some thoughts on this whole business, knowing that shell games are already being played with NASA's budget. I am in great debt to a friend who shall remain unnamed who knows a hell of a lot more about this than me for the numbers and facts and the pithy wording, but if they're wrong, just blame me. These are serious issues that should be on the table in this discussion.

Let’s not forget the lessons of No Child Left Behind: mandated sweeping change with no real funding to see it through. Under this proposal, NASA’s budget would increase $1B over five years; that’s $200M per year, an increase of about 1 percent. During those five years, NASA’s main priorities (things they are expected to accomplish) would be:

1) return the shuttles to flight;
2) complete the International Space Station;
3) develop the new Crew Exchange Vehicle; and
4) begin robotic precursor missions to the Moon.

But that should be no problem, since $11B will be reallocated for these mandates from other NASA programs. But since the shuttle and ISS make up 60 percent of NASA’s budget, some programs are going to get gutted. No one’s talking what specifically yet, but some that may be good candidates are:

1) Mission to Planet Earth – Get rid of the source of data on global warming and ozone depletion and then we can officially ignore it, right?
2) Missions to outer planets – Who cares if we see Neptune and Saturn? Just a few stupid scientists.
3) Space telescopes – Haven’t we got enough pictures from the Hubble?
4) Aeronautics – Who needs that first A in NASA? One A is plenty.

Just for context’s sake, the augmentation Bush is proposing for NASA is 1/400th the augmentation the DoD was given for Iraq this year.

"We will go to the Moon in this decade, and we will do so for $500."
-if it had been Bush instead of Kennedy in 1961

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