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Thread: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelzie View Post
    Whoa, just slow down.

    The foam to milk to espresso ratio is extremely important for a good latte.
    I may be a philistine in these matters, so I will bow to your expertise.
    Growing up, I was of the opinion that one could not add enough sugar to make coffee taste good.
    OTOH, Earl Grey Tea, hot or cold, with honey....that is my favorite drink...

    As for our world famous astronauts, let them drink Tang...
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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Why are some even comparing the Kennedy Administration with Obama's? It's clear the background to Kennedy's decisions were completely different.
    "I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously."
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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    OTOH, Earl Grey Tea, hot or cold, with honey....that is my favorite drink...

    As for our world famous astronauts, let them drink Tang...
    You must be a Red Coat


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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Three points:

    First, that President Bush’s approach had serious flaws does not make it the proper standard against which to measure the new approach. Noting the very limited ambitions of the new approach is not the same thing as expressing support for the Bush approach.

    Second, the Apollo program was truly revolutionary. It required the U.S. to develop new technologies that did not exist at the time of President Kennedy’s speech. It set forth a very demanding timeline. Its larger purpose was to regain leadership in space for the U.S.

    In the wake of Kennedy’s bold address, critics immediately attacked the program as ‘proof of American decadence,’ ‘extremely wasteful,’ ‘unlikely to yield the expected results,’ an initiative that would ‘steal’ engineers from Detroit and other productive industries, among other things. They advised that “we can spend money to better advantage on earth than by shooting it into space.” Both the President and Congress chose the bolder course and the “expected results” were achieved even sooner than the President had envisioned.

    Third, the flippant “Star Trek” comment is nothing more than a powerful rationalization for seeking limited aspirations. It is outright dismissive of a pursuit that would push the frontiers of progress, technology, and knowledge. It advocates the easier approach, but one that can only undermine the spirit of exploration, research, and risk-taking that leads to revolutionary breakthroughs and/or sustains a nation's position of leadership.

    Had that perspective prevailed, the U.S. would never have undertaken the Manhattan and Apollo Projects. Proposals for such initiatives would have been derided as figments of science fiction. Then, the Soviets would almost certainly have achieved the first nuclear breakthrough and the world would likely be vastly different today. Man would likely still be waiting to take the first steps on the Moon.
    I respect your logic, and feel sure you recognize the difference between Kennedy's commitment to a specific goal, and the current challenge of prioritizing the beginnings of a centuries-long dedication to deep space exploration. By jettisoning Bush's half-assed ideas and offering incentives to bring private enterprise into the effort, I believe Obama has laid exactly the right foundation to establish America's ascendancy in space.
    By the way, Buzz Aldrin's interest is not just historical, he heads a company that is developing a heavy lift rocket - exactly the kind of free enterprise collaboration we need to transfer the cost of spaceflight to private enterprise.
    Last edited by WillRockwell; 04-16-10 at 01:25 PM.

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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by The Carnage View Post
    Why are some even comparing the Kennedy Administration with Obama's? It's clear the background to Kennedy's decisions were completely different.
    The single point of comparison is that one approach offered a bold, unifying purpose, while the other lacked such a sense of purpose and is relatively incremental in nature. One approach pushed the frontiers of technology. The other seeks to leverage the normal rate of technological change. One provided demanding deadlines. One offered enormously lengthy timelines.

    No arguments, at least that I'm aware of, concern literally redoing the Kennedy-era program. Instead, there are arguments that the new approach should have been bolder, should have had an overriding purpose, etc.

    Finally, if one had read the thread more closely, one would also have come across discussion of the differing policy background. For example, earlier in the thread, I noted:

    Perhaps it was the challenging geopolitical environment and strengthening Cold War rivalry with the Soviet Union that created an opportunity for bold leadership that President Kennedy seized.

    At the time of President Kennedyís notable speech of 1961 in which he committed the nation to landing a man on the moon, the U.S. was still reeling from the Soviets having taken the early lead in exploring the frontier of space with their 1957 Sputnik mission.

    This time around, the U.S. is not confronted with a similarly urgent challenge. It remains the leader in a broad range of space technologies and capabilities. The U.S. has been drifting for more than a decade, even as a slowly growing number of nations embarked on their own space programs. During that decade of drift, the qualitative U.S. edge has been eroding. Yet, perhaps because the pace of erosion in the U.S. edge has been slow and progress to date among the other nations has consisted largely of their covering ground already forged by the U.S., the relative decline in the U.S. position has been beyond the detection of the nationís policy makers. As a result, even as the White House has changed hands, there remained strong continuity in a policy paralysis that has been nourished by a strong bias toward complacency, not to mention pain of the recent severe recession.

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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by winston53660 View Post
    You must be a Red Coat

    Target aquisition, ON.
    Range, SET
    Windage, SET
    FIRE!!!

    Leave it to the Brits to wear bright red on the field of battle...
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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    I respect your logic, and feel sure you recognize the difference between Kennedy's commitment to a specific goal, and the current challenge of prioritizing the beginnings of a centuries-long dedication to deep space exploration.
    A goal to strengthen America's advantages in space, namely to build an advantage in deep space exploration could have been articulated as the overriding mission. The President could have said:

    1. America will become the leader in manned exploration beyond the lower earth orbit.
    2. To get there, the U.S. will need to develop reliable and safe technology.
    3. A critical ingredient will be a suitable rocket.
    4. That rocket will be completed and used for its first trip within a decade.
    5. Successful attainment of that step will provide a foundation for further progress.

    The goal would have been specific. There would have been focus on a pivotal early step. A specific deadline for the early outcome would have been established. It would be clear that the outcome marked a step along a longer journey.

    The speech did not contain such clarity. There is little doubt that the President is committed to manned space exploration. But setting a goal for leadership is a bolder pronouncement than affirming a commitment to manned space exploration.

    With respect to the rocket, he declared, "And we will finalize a rocket design no later than 2015 and then begin to build it." Although that is well-intended, it is far from a concrete commitment to success. After all, the troubled F-35 fighter jet has passed design and has been in the building phase for a number of years. To date, all the U.S. has to show for it is delays and cost-overruns.

    A commitment to complete and launch the rocket would be much bolder. There would be the kind of sense of urgency that cannot exist under a more limited commitment to settle on a design and then to begin building the rocket.

    In sum, the biggest issue concerns the lack of concrete outcomes. It is far easier to suggest that one will start a process than to pledge to complete it. There are abundant examples where an absence of commitments led to insufficient progress toward concrete outcomes. The rebuilding on the grounds of the World Trade Center offers another example. No commitments were made in terms of when the project would be completed. Today, almost a decade later, very little has been achieved except in the generation of a growing litany of excuses for the failures to date. Whether in the private sector or public sector, an emphasis on starting projects is far less effective in generating progress than an emphasis placed on concrete outcomes.

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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    ... Kennedy's speech was not the source of NASA's moon landing success, although it was helpful in other ways, like improving the state of the national consciousness. NASA succeeded because of its Cold War military mentality, which was relative to its members perceptions of their nature of their work (saving America from Soviet attacks from orbit).
    Last edited by Morality Games; 04-16-10 at 02:41 PM.
    If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself, but be certain the evil you commit is always your own and yours to acknowledge.

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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by WillRockwell View Post
    You are calling for another one trick pony, a gimmick to capture the imagination. We are not children anymore, and it's time to begin the serious work of designing hardware to enable man to explore space on a large scale. These are the boldest footsteps yet, you just refuse to see them.
    Man! You really like Obama! It seems the man can do no wrong in your eyes.

    Boldest footsteps? That's a joke, right? My, my, my...

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    Re: Neil Armstrong, other astronauts call Obama's NASA plans 'devastating'

    Quote Originally Posted by UtahBill View Post
    A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon we are talking about a lot of money.
    Question remains, would you pay extra to support your favorite programs?
    If the tax form had a section for voluntary extra payment to NASA, would YOU pay extra?
    Absolutely I would pay. In 2004, about 89 million Americans filed a tax return that had more than zero liability(1). That means each one of those Americans would only have to pay approximately $169 a person in order to pay for NASA's budget; I'd pay at least three times that amount if my tax burden wasn't already so large.

    That doesn't take into account revenues accrued from payroll taxes, corporate income taxes, excise taxes, customs and duties, and estate taxes.

    As I said, NASA only accounts for a minuscule portion of our total budget outlays, but the point is moot, since Obama isn't even decreasing NASA's funding; he's just transferring it from space exploration to climate research. Which is more important to you?

    (1) - The Tax Foundation - Number of Americans Outside the Income Tax System Continues to Grow

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