Friday, 23 October 2009
The tragedy of NASA
And so the long awaited Augustine Commission report has been released, offering its vision for NASA's future.
And what did it recommend?
Eight piss-weak alternatives to keep NASA on a shoestring - two maintaining the current funding and six with a paltry $3 billion p.a. top-up.
To achieve what?
Bugger all really. Skip the moon. Forget landing on Mars in the next thirty years. Go visit an asteroid! Do a Mars flyby! Or go check out Phobos or Deimos and do some 'exciting science' there.
Oh, going back to the moon should be a goer by 2030...
Jazus H. Fucking Rice Crispies!
In the 1960s NASA got the moon and back in less than ten years from a standing start, and now a bunch of learned bean counters say it can't be done again in under twenty!
NASA has achieved some of the greatest events in all of human history. Getting off the Earth CAN be achieved. And getting off the third rock from the sun is both inevitable and a total human necessity.
The U.S. has the financial muscle to do this. The money exists.
The elephant in the room is - of course - the U.S. military. The U.S. Department of Defense gets more money each year than NASA has been granted in its full history of 50 years - over $500 billion. Every year.
To do what?
Stuff all! Piss off middle eastern countries and rattle the sacred sabers. A colossal fucking waste of money and resources with few tangible gains.
Just 5% of the Defence budget moved to NASA would put a permanent human presence on both the moon and Mars in just a few years, doing real science and expanding human boundaries in amazing ways. Our first steps to the stars.
Or, the preferred option of gun luvin' American paranoids, keep the status quo and keep on spending trillions of dollars, beating the crap out of carefully nurtured enemies.
Carl Sagan was right. A great civilization itching to snuff itself out of existence when on the verge breaking free.