Space race seriously stalled
Posted by MelSkunk (Melissa Drake) on Thu 2 Jan 2003 - 19:05
If you've been looking around and going "It's 2003 already, where's my moon colonies and Martian hotels?", you're not the only one. 2002 was a year of disapointments in the world of space development, with fewer lauches and job cuts all around the world.
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a student and Skunk from Toronto, ON, interested in writting, art, classic cars and animals
I feel that China's new push to put men into space could ignite a new space race.
I wouldn't be surprised if China, not the US or Russia, makes the next trip to the moon.
And what reason do we have for going out further into space? To pick up some rocks from Mars? Hmmmm... I dunno. Until there is a better reason than "Because it's there" i twill not be paid much attention- partly because there are current "real" issues here on mother earth that need to be attended to. If the "Axis of Evil" had a space program, you'd bet US's NASA administration would have one better staffed and better budgeted. But recently, given the inability to even get their spacecraft to be reliable... the resulting costs for a place in space continue to get higher, and the near inability of the different countries to work together, already shown in spades with the current space station, will continue to leave it out of reach for the near term. Investment Hint: You'll get a better return on your money this year with Boeing, than you will with real estate bought at http:\\www.marsshop.com
Grace and Peace - Camstone Fox
Well, for myself, the failed realities of planned spaceflights and colonization represent not a material loss but serve to point out the saddening lack of importance we place on science and discovery.
It would be nice to think that we could spend our dollars to fund R&D to benefit the planet and those that live on it, but unfortunately, the product of much of that research (whether originally intended or not) is directed at taking life, rather than healing it.
Enamoured with technology, we often get a bit ahead of ourselves with its potential. We have the ability - even now - to do SO much, but for the average person anywhere, that means VERY little. It is the few who benefit from the technological dream, and while it is a dream I share with many, it is, and will be a long way in coming.
Good insights Cordite! I would only add this... Would it surprise you that based on latest public US government figures, that $59 Billion for defense compared to $47 Billion for non defense research is planned for fiscal year 2003? Also that a number of the Defense department dollars, go into research for medical health, as well as spacelift capabilities? Looking at other government figures, it's terribly difficult to separate in comparision, as most other nations have their health or spacelift capabilities included in their defense budgets in their entirety. So while there is a greater value in sheer specific values, I would think it's closer to parity in real life. Lest we forget, many of the luxuries we have now, were made possible either as part of the space race, or the desires to be superior in a time of cold war. I for one am thankful we never went over the "brink"... but fear that in order to progress, must seek a balance between the ability to improve ourselves... with an ability to defend that for -all- to enjoy.
Grace and Peace - Camstone Fox
No, it wouldn't suprise me, as I did bother to look at the federal budget allocations prior to making the post ;)
However, NASA's portion of that $47 Billion was (in 2002) $15 Billion. Now, that's a lot of money, but in aerospace terms... well. Anyway, as you point out the Cold War did a lot to drive things along, and since its end NASA has had to adopt a "faster, better, cheaper" approach which has unfortunately resulted in several extremely costly failures (Mars Polar Lander, et al.)
The Viking Project was well funded and had a staff of over 300 if I recall correctly, while the Polar Lander had to rely on less than a tenth of that. (This is recollection - I tried to find figures...) Of course, we're talking about more than a twenty year time frame, so things have to change, but I'd rather spend a lot of money on something that works than a whole lot more money on a bunch of projects that don't.
Also, as you point out, Defense and "Non-Defense" are in bed. NASA is a convienent "white" and "gray" R&D testbed for "black" projects which we most likely see perhaps a decade from now (if ever). Simply compare the "white" X-38 re-entry vehicle with the alleged "black" Aurora Project.
The big motivation for going into space will be military.
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